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How long does pre-workout last and what does it do? When it comes to getting the best results in the gym, most hardcore gym bunnies will want to take some pre-workout supplements. These are minerals or vitamins that are designed to give you a boost before you work out.
However, with these pre-workouts come plenty of benefits as well as a few drawbacks. Some of these supplements include creatine, caffeine, and taurine. These affect your body in very unique and different ways.
So what are the best pre-workout supplements for your needs? Where can you pick up the best supplements? How much do they cost? What are the risks of taking them?
If you want to know the answer to these questions and a lot more, we would suggest that you keep reading.
What Is A Pre-Workout Supplement?
In short, a pre-workout works by increasing the ‘pump’ in your body, that is, the blood flow to and from your muscles.
These supplements help you by dilating your blood vessels, increasing the amount of oxygen that gets to the cells and the amount that is transported away from the cells.
Some of these supplements also contain caffeine, which will generally help to boost your energy levels.
A lot of these energy supplements will take the form of powder or pills, both of which are designed for quick ingestion and uptake in the bloodstream. You can also buy them as canned or bottled drinks.
You should be able to see the list of ingredients on your pre-workout supplement. This is very important if you are looking for something that will give you an energy boost and give your muscles the best chance of repairing.
Regardless of the supplements you’re going to buy, you can be sure that they will have the following ingredients:
- Niacin, also known as vitamin B3
However, some manufacturers will add certain flavorings to make these supplements slightly more palatable.
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How Long Does Pre-Workout Last?
To cut to the chase, the duration of pre-workout effects depends on various factors, including the specific product’s ingredients, your body’s metabolism, and the dosage.
Generally, pre-workout effects can last between 1 to 6 hours, with the most noticeable effects usually peaking within the first hour and gradually wearing off over time.
If you are taking a pre-workout prior to exercise, then we would recommend that you take it around 60-90 minutes before you start exercising. The two components of these supplements are usually caffeine and arginine.
The arginine will usually kick in after the 90-minute mark. This will cause the blood vessels in your body to widen, allowing in more oxygen and increasing the amount of energy in your blood.
Caffeine may be metabolized more slowly than other ingredients and can remain active in the body for several hours after consumption. So if you’re interested in getting any sleep, heed the warning on the label and don’t take it close to bedtime.
How Safe Are Pre-Workouts?
There are minimal risks when taking a pre-workout if taken responsibly, as most of the ingredients are harmless when taken in moderation. However, you should be wary of consuming these tablets beyond the stated dosage.
Caffeine toxicity can be an issue when you are taking a lot of these supplements. It is much harder to overdose on caffeine in a drink, as the dosage is so low, however, in these supplements, the dose of caffeine is a lot higher.
Some people have reported numerous side effects when taking these supplements, including nausea, skin irritation, and abnormalities in the heart.
You can also suffer from niacin toxicity, which could result in liver failure, multiple organ failure, and low blood pressure that could reach dangerous levels.
Make sure that you don’t take beyond the stated dose of your pre-workout supplement.
You might experience a niacin flush, which is when the skin gets very warm on the surface. However, these symptoms will usually disappear after an hour. If they persist for any longer, then you should consult a doctor.
Banned Pre-Workout Ingredients
There are a few banned stimulants that can occur in certain brands of pre-workout supplements. This might be problematic if you are competing and you don’t want to be disqualified.
Some of the chemicals that have been detected in pre-workout supplements that are ruled out by competitions are as follows:
If you are competing in professional sports and you want to rule out getting disqualified from competitions, then we would recommend that you get your pre-workout tested by a trusted third party before you take them.
How To Stay Safe When Taking Pre-Workout Supplements
If you are taking pre-workout supplements regularly, then we would recommend that you follow the guidelines to make sure that you are not experiencing any negative effects:
- Make sure that you are not taking any additional supplements that contain caffeine, niacin, or arginine.
- Buy a supplement that contains all the ingredients listed on the side, as well as how many of these ingredients they contain.
- Be conscious of your size. If you are smaller in stature, then you might only need to take half the recommended dose of this supplement.
- If you are taking any existing medications, then you’ll want to consult with your doctor before ingesting and pre-workouts, as they might result in negative side effects.
Should You Take Pre-Workout Supplements?
There’s really no right or wrong answer here. Pre-workout supplements are generally designed for individuals who engage in intense physical activities, such as weightlifting, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), or endurance sports, and who need an extra boost of energy and focus during their workout.
However, whether or not someone should take a pre-workout supplement depends on various factors, including their individual health status, fitness goals, and the specific ingredients in the pre-workout supplement. And frankly, if you’re following a well-planned fitness program, a pre-workout shouldn’t be a requirement.
Individuals with certain health conditions or who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid taking pre-workout supplements or consult with a healthcare professional before doing so. It’s also essential to choose a pre-workout supplement that is appropriate for your fitness goals and to follow the recommended dosage instructions carefully to avoid potential side effects or adverse reactions.
Below is a list of some of the most commonly asked questions about pre-workout supplements:
Do you crash after pre-workout?
Pre-Workout supplements typically contain large amounts of caffeine and caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant, which means it will increase your heart rate and blood pressure. It will also make you feel more awake and alert. However, when the effects of the caffeine wear off, you might experience a ‘crash’, where you feel tired and lethargic.
Does it affect sleep?
Pre-Workout contains caffeine which is a stimulant and it can stay in your system for up to six hours. This means that if you take it at 6 pm, then you might still feel the effects of the caffeine when you go to bed at 10 pm. This can make it difficult to fall asleep and could result in you feeling unrested the next
Does pre-workout give you a buzz?
Pre-Workout is a stimulant and it can cause you to feel more awake and alert. Some people might also experience a ‘buzz’ from the other ingredients in pre-workout supplements, such as niacin.
Can I take pre-workout on empty stomach?
Yes, you can take pre-workout on an empty stomach. However, high doses of caffeine on an empty stomach can cause nausea and even vomiting. If you are sensitive to caffeine, then we would recommend that you eat something before taking a pre-workout.
How long does pre-workout last after opening?
Once you open a container of pre-workout, it will start to degrade and the nutrients will start to break down. Given this, we would recommend that you use it within 3 months of opening.
What happens if I take too much pre-workout?
Side effects of consuming too much pre-workout can include jitters, increased heart rate, feeling anxious, headaches and nausea.
Harmful side effects of consuming too much pre-workout can include hypertension, cardiac arrest, and seizures. Therefore, it is important that you follow the recommended dosage on the container of the product.
How many scoops of pre-workout should I take?
The recommended dose of pre-workout is one to two scoops. However, if you are smaller in stature, then you might only need to take one scoop. If you are taking any existing medications, then you should consult with your doctor before taking a pre-workout supplement.
Can I take pre-workout every day?
We would not recommend that you take pre-workout every day as you might build up a tolerance to the caffeine and other ingredients. If you do take pre-workout every day, then we would recommend that you take a break from it every few weeks.
How long does pre-workout last in your system?
Caffeine has a half-life of around five hours, which means that it will take five hours for the effects of caffeine to reduce by 50%. However, other ingredients in pre-workout supplements might have a shorter or longer half-life. For example, beta-alanine has a half-life of around two hours. This means that it will take five hours for the effects of caffeine to reduce by 50%.
Pre-workout supplements are certainly one way to up your performance in the gym, but it’s important to not develop a reliance. Naturally improving your stamina, endurance, and overall strength through good nutrition and recovery should always be your top priority.
Editor-In-Chief at Recovatech. Dr. Ben is a board-certified Doctor of Chiropractic with over 10 years of clinical experience. He specializes in structural and neurological imbalances with an emphasis on functional movement patterns, exercise performance, and muscle recovery. He has been the team chiropractor for professional baseball and soccer organizations, as well as collegiate athletes. In his personal life, he’s always been driven when it comes to athletics and personal performance.