How Long Does Pre-Workout Last?

Young sportswoman stretching after cardio session

Pre-workout supplements are dietary formulas made from multiple ingredients to provide a quick energy boost to the body. Nowadays, most professional athletes and bodybuilders use these supplements to attain the desired results. A pre-workout supplement can help increase your energy levels and allow you to exercise more than usual. Pre-workouts are available in powdered form, and you can mix them in water and drink them 30-40 minutes before you hit the gym. Now, the big question is how long does a pre-workout last?

The ingredients inside a pre-workout last up to 30 minutes to six hours. So, in simple words, you’ll feel the supplement’s effects for a maximum of six hours. However, many other factors can affect this time, like the quality of ingredients, how much you exercise, etc. This article will cover everything about a pre-workout, its benefits, side effects, and who should or should not use it.

What Is A Pre-workout?

Pre-workouts are supplements that contain multiple natural ingredients to help enhance your workout. These supplements can give you an energy boost to last longer during cardio or exercise. They can also help enhance work capacity, improve mental focus and keep you active as long as their effects kick in. The name “pre-workout” comes from the fact that you take these supplements before a workout.  They work by increasing the blood flow and dilating your blood vessels using ingredients like arginine.

Most of these supplements contain caffeine which helps increase your energy levels. Some pre-workout products contain creatine for high-intensity workouts to improve your exercise performance while lifting heavy weights. Bodybuilders and weight lifters use creatine-filled supplements to support their muscle growth. Creatine is mainly used to increase lean muscle mass and help promote muscle recovery during a workout.

You can find these supplements in multiple forms like powder, capsules, or canned drinks. The easiest way of taking pre-workout is to mix the powder in water or your favorite beverage. Some people mix it in coffee, but mixing it in coffee can lead to caffeine tolerance if your formula already has caffeine.

You can also try muscle building supplements & mass gainer Most pre-workout supplements contain common ingredients, and some brands use different materials to enhance the results.

However, a pre-workout supplement should only contain natural ingredients, as artificial ingredients can bring adverse side effects. Here are some common ingredients you’ll find in most pre-workout formulas:

  • Caffeine
  • Creatine
  • Arginine
  • Vitamin B3
  • Citrulline
  • Tyrosine
  • Amino acid

Some companies might mention these ingredients as proprietary blends instead of sharing their name. Moreover, you’ll also find supplements containing flavors to improve the taste and make them easy to take. We highly recommend choosing products whose ingredients are mentioned and have no artificial sweetness or flavors.

Summary

Pre-workouts are supplements to enhance body performance for exercise and boost energy. They contain many natural ingredients like caffeine, arginine, and creatine to offer quality results.

How Long Does Pre-Workout Last?

It depends on your pre-workout ingredients and how much exercise you do after taking it. The two most common ingredients in these supplements are caffeine and arginine. Typically, you should start feeling the effects of a pre-workout after 40 minutes, but it might take up to 60 minutes if your body is used to such supplements. Caffeine provides the body with an energy boost, while arginine is responsible for dilating the blood vessels. This increases the blood flow, making you active and improving mental health as blood takes more oxygen to the brain. The half-life of caffeine is around five hours, but arginine has a half-life of two hours max.

This means the energy boost you get from a pre-workout can last up to five hours, but your blood flow will return to normal within two hours. The full effects of a supplement will last for two hours, but if you exercise a lot after taking a supplement, it can get down to one hour or even less. It is better to get a pre-workout with stamina recovery and muscle fatigue managing ingredients so you can sleep better after a hectic exercise.

You can also take multiple pre-workout supplements as they might act as an ergogenic aid for active individuals. You can also opt for a caffeine-free pre-workout if you don’t want to have a long-lasting energy boost. Such supplements have other scientifically backed ingredients to boost the body’s energy. These are the best option if you want to take your pre-workout with coffee in the morning. Here are the factors that can alter your pre-workout effects:

  • Your muscle mass
  • The exercise intensity
  • Ingredients per serving
  • How many servings do you consume in a specific time
  • How sensitive you are to caffeine

Summary

A pre-workout lasts up to 30 to 120 minutes, based on the ingredients and how much you exercise. The enhanced blood flow will last up to two hours, while the energy boost can take up to five hours to wear off.

Many companies suggest not taking pre-workout late at night so you won’t be bothered with the energy boost as you try to sleep. It is better to take them in the morning for a workout so you can spend your day full of energy.

Is Taking A Pre-workout Safe?

As long as a pre-workout product contains natural ingredients, it is safe to consume. However, you must follow the dosage instructions given by the brand. Any supplement with synthetic ingredients can improve the overall results, but its side effects can be harmful. Overdosing a supplement never shows quick results and increases the chances of side effects like pain, headache, vomiting, and more. Additionally, you should check the ingredients list for possible allergens. 

Research suggests that taking supplements with multiple natural ingredients is potentially safe. However, consuming them in excess can bring harmful side effects that might stay with you for a long time. While using a supplement, if you experience any extreme reaction, stop using it and consult your doctor immediately. Following are some potential risks associated with using pre-workouts.

Caffeine Toxicity And Tolerance

While caffeine is not harmful if consumed with coffee or tea since you can’t reach the fatal dosage. Such products have a low amount of caffeine, and you need to drink a lot of coffee or tea to cause serious health issues.

However, pre-workouts have a higher dosage of caffeine than regular coffee, which can cause potential health risks if consumed excessively. On the other hand, some people mix pre-workouts in coffee for more energy boost, which is not recommended as your pre-workout already has the proper dosage of caffeine. Mixing a pre-workout in coffee leads to caffeine tolerance. This means that if you ever stop using supplements and drink only coffee, it won’t provide any desirable effects for a long time.

It is not just about overdosing on one supplement; the results will be the same if you use multiple caffeine drinks with your pre-workout. Your body weight plays a huge role in this, so people with less weight are more at risk.

Thus, taking a break from such supplements after using them for two to three months is better. Your body should learn to do things naturally instead of relying on pre-workouts. Such breaks can keep you from the adverse side effects, and you’ll see much better results once you start using the supplements again. Most people who use caffeine-based pre-workout mentioned the following side effects:

  • Nausea
  • Skin reactions
  • Heart abnormalities
  • Feeling jittery
  • Digestive upset

People who consumed more than one serving per day were affected by such side effects. Therefore, those who follow the dosage instructions properly have nothing to fear. On the other hand, females are more prone to such side effects. Pre-workout contains around 200-400 mg of caffeine per serving. The critical dosage of caffeine is 3-5 grams. Although reaching the critical dosage requires lots of servings, it can happen if you are reckless.

Niacin Toxicity

Niacin has multiple health benefits if you keep the dosage in check. It can help reduce blood pressure, improve skin health and blood fat levels, and boost brain function. However, excessive doses of niacin can lead to skin damage and liver damage, lowering blood pressure to a dangerous level.

On the other hand, a lower dosage of niacin also causes a condition called niacin flush, which is harmless but uncomfortable. Your skin will get red and itchy, but it will be gone within an hour or even quicker. It is advisable to take a supplement with more than 30 mg of niacin to avoid this issue. Check the amount of niacin on the ingredient list to ensure that the supplement has enough.

Water Retention And Bloating

This side effect is exclusively connected to creatine as it carries water into the muscles. Sometimes your muscles cannot absorb all the water leading to bloating. However, studies have shown that it only happens in the initial stages and won’t last long.

Creatine-based supplements can also increase diastolic blood pressure, but this side effect is not harmful. However, those who already have issues with blood pressure should be cautious while taking such supplements.

Safety Concerns Related To Pre-workouts

The truth is that scientists have not tested pre-workouts for long term effects. The studies and experiments they did have only lasted for months. Thus, it is unknown how safe they are if you use them for years.  Most pre-workouts start showing noticeable differences in the body after months of usage, so people stop using them after a while.

Companies advise taking breaks for one to two months after using supplements for two to three months. This helps prevent supplement toleration and keeps your body safe from many health problems. Since every supplement has different ingredients, they can reduce or increase caffeine side effects. There is no way to find a general method to tell the safety of a pre-workout. This is why professionals tell you about each ingredient’s critical limit and advise you not to pass it.

The real issue begins when companies sell pre-workout supplements without third-party lab tests. They might contain banned or artificial ingredients, which might boost the results but bring adverse health problems. You might see proprietary blends in the ingredients list. Companies mention this when they don’t want to disclose what is inside their formula. Unless an ingredient is specifically banned, brands might add it to their formula for quick results.

On the other hand, most companies won’t provide any guarantee for their supplement. They claim that this product will work but then add multiple complications. Moreover, you won’t find such complications on the product’s label; instead, you have to search the brand’s website to find it. Ultimately, it is all about thorough research before purchasing a pre-workout supplement. Check your goals, research, and opt for the products with the ingredients that produce such results.

Might Not Be Suitable In Sports

Many athletes use pre-workout to get an energy boost. Each sport requires a drug test before a person can compete. You might get disqualified if they find traces of banned substances in your blood. There were many cases of athletes getting disqualified for using banned substances despite the brand mentioning that their product has none.

Even the meager amount of a banned substance can result in disqualification. Most people have no idea about it until they find it in their pre-workout supplement upon further inspection. While choosing pre-workouts for sports, watch out for the following:

  • Beta-methylethylamine
  • Dimethylbutylamine
  • Octodrine
  • Phenpromethamine

It is impossible to know if the company willingly added these or if they have no idea about them. But if you see such substances in your pre-workout, avoid using them at all costs. Choosing a brand that provides lab reports of every product they sell would be better, especially if you want to compete in professional sports.

How To Properly Choose A Pre-workout Supplement?

Here are some guidelines you can follow to avoid facing the adverse side effects of a pre-workout supplement.

  • Follow the dosage instructions given by the company and avoid taking more than one serving each day.
  • Use only one pre-workout daily, don’t use more than one that contains caffeine or niacin the same day.
  • Only choose products and brands that put their products for lab testing. Ensure they have lab results on their website for the consumers to check.
  • Check the product label and match the ingredients with the ones written in the lab results. Make sure that each ingredient is mentioned with its dosage per serving. Avoid taking any product with “proprietary blends” written on the label.
  • Make sure to research each ingredient and whether it provides the desired results. Additionally, check for its possible side effects or possible allergens.
  • Always start with a smaller dosage, half a dosage, if it is your first time and you are lightweight. You never know how your body will react to pre-workouts, so staying on the safe side is better. If you won’t feel anything after taking half a serving, take one whole serving and monitor the results.
  • Talk to your doctor about your health, and if you are already on medication, do not use a pre-workout supplement without your doctor’s consent. It would be better to show your desired pre-workout ingredients list to your doctor.
  • If you feel any extreme reaction while using a pre-workout supplement, stop using it and visit your physician. Do not use the supplement until your doctor allows you to.

Summary

Pre-workouts with natural ingredients are safe to take, but one should only take one serving per day. Additionally, avoid taking more than one supplement daily and only opt for third-party lab-tested products.

Who Should Use a Pre-workout Supplement?

It is a misconception that pre-workouts are only made for bodybuilders or powerlifters. It all depends on the pre-workout ingredients. Caffeine provides an energy boost to your body, making you active and improving your mental health.

However, your body develops caffeine tolerance with time, and you might not get the same results. To avoid this, take a break of more than a month after using a pre-workout for two to three months. Besides caffeine, most other ingredients in a pre-workout are made to improve your exercise routine. In one way, pre-workouts are most suitable for those who want to get extra energy while doing cardio or shaping their body.

Athletes are also using pre-workout supplements nowadays to get the desired energy boost. However, if the test finds traces of banned substances in their blood, they are not allowed to participate. If you want to stay active, want an energy boost, build muscles, or enhance your physical performance, you should try a pre-workout supplement. However, do not exceed the recommended dosage mentioned by the company.

Benefits Of Pre-Workouts

While we know pre-workouts have potential side effects; they also have many benefits. A pre-workout supplement is best for you if you want to improve your physical performance and workout potential. However, you must choose a supplement that is enough to fulfill your body’s goals. There is no need to get supplements with extra ingredients as they might affect your body differently. Here are some benefits you can get from a pre-workout:

Help Increase Energy

Pre-workouts are primarily used to increase body energy levels. A caffeine supplement will give you an energy boost lasting up to five hours. These supplements are an excellent option if you do not have enough energy even after getting proper sleep and eating right. While the energy boost won’t last long, you can utilize it to complete most of your work. If you want to survive the day full of energy, make sure to take the pre-workout in the morning right before your exercise.

Focus And Mental Clarity

If you can’t focus while exercising, the chances are that you’ll get tired quickly. Your brain requires extra oxygen when you work out. The pre-workout supplement enhances the blood flow fastening the blood circulation, so your brain gets more oxygen quickly. Since red blood cells take oxygen to the brain, your brain will remain active as long as the pre-workout effects last. Moreover, pre-workout supplements keep you laser-focused throughout your workout and won’t let you get tired quickly.

Quick Muscle Recovery

While exercising, your muscles get tired, so your body swells after exercise, and you feel pain everywhere. Pre-workout supplements can increase muscle recovery time while you work out. You can exercise more and won’t feel pain after a workout. It speeds up the protein synthesis process, which helps rebuild your muscle tissues.

This enables you to sleep quickly, and your body recovers all your muscles while resting. The quicker you recover, the faster you can get back in action. A pre-workout works quickly, and you’ll feel less pain while going for the second rep.

Promote Lean Muscles

Pre-workout supplements can help promote your muscle mass and build lead muscle if you choose resistance training while using these supplements.

Summary

Studies have shown that pre-workout supplements can improve physical and mental health. They can also help increase muscle mass and improve your workout performance.

How To Take A Pre-Workout?

First, check which form of pre-workout is easy for you to take. If you are okay with swallowing tablets, they are the best since you don’t have to measure the dosage. Moreover, you can also get supplements in powder form that you can mix in water or any other beverage.

  • Make sure you have 30-40 minutes before you exercise.
  • Take your supplement with water, one serving daily. The pre-workout takes around 30 minutes to give you the energy boost and improve your blood flow for the next one to two hours.
  • Follow your regular workout routine and try adding extra reps to it.

Conclusion: How Long Does Pre-workout Last?

Pre-workout supplements are popular products people use to get an energy boost. They contain multiple natural substances like caffeine to provide your body with the necessary energy boost to start the workout. Some pre-workout supplements are made to increase muscle mass and build your body.

You can also try HGH Supplements & Post Workout Supplements How long does pre-workout last? Depending on the ingredients in your pre-workout, its effects time will vary. Some might last for two to three hours, while others end after 30 minutes. Additionally, how much you exercise can alter the timing as the more you exercise, the faster you lose energy.

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Jhalak Choudhary

Jhalak Choudhary is an experienced editor and proofreader who has held their impression on the industry for 3 years now. Their ability to work above and beyond brings only the best foot forward. Jhalak Choudhary has had extensive experience in...
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