How Long Does Pre Workout Last?

A man drinking pre workout out of a water bottle in preparation for weightlifting in the gym

We’ve all been there—dragging our feet during a workout because we lack energy, just wishing for a jolt that can boost us into high gear.

If coffee isn’t cutting it anymore, pre-workout may be your answer!

When it comes to your workout routine, pre-workout supplements can be a beneficial option for competitive athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike. It can enhance focus, give you an energy boost, and improve exercise performance.

But with ingredients like caffeine, is pre-workout going to keep you up all night when you’d rather be dreaming of those gains? So how long does pre workout last?

Let’s break down how pre-workout works.

What are Pre-Workout Supplements?

Pre-workout supplements, better known as pre-workout, are typically powder, multi-ingredient dietary formulas designed to boost energy levels, increase work capacity, and improve focus and physical performance.

When browsing the shelves for pre-workout supplements, common ingredients you can find listed on the back include:

  • Arginine
  • Beta-alanine
  • Caffeine
  • Citrulline
  • Creatine
  • Niacin (vitamin B3)
  • Tyrosine
  • Taurine

Taking a pre-workout supplement prior to a workout helps transport nutrients to your muscles as we’ll explain below. A combination of a few or all of these active ingredients can help give you the extra push you need when it comes to your physical and mental performance. 

Arginine is an ingredient that helps dilate your blood vessels to increase blood flow to your muscles and give you the coveted workout “pump.” Caffeine intake increases energy levels, while creatine has been shown to improve exercise performance for high-intensity training programs and increase muscle growth. Beta-alanine helps muscle function but may also cause you to feel a tingling sensation on your skin.

A woman that has taken pre workout to energize her while performing a chest exercise using a machine in the gym

The Benefits of Pre-Workout

Power, energy, and stamina! All elements we’d like to improve when it comes to working out.

Pre-workout has been shown to improve performance during both anaerobic exercise like weightlifting and endurance exercises like running. 

Here are some benefits you may see if you start adding pre-workout to your fitness plan.

An Energy Boost

If you workout early in the morning or after a long day at work, you can benefit from the caffeine intake. Pre-workout can help you give 100% during a workout, especially during those tough training sessions.

Keeping Mental Focus

Pre-workout can help you get into the zone (and keep you in the zone) for the duration of your workout. Enhanced focus allows you to engage the specific muscle you are trying to target.

Your workout routine becomes more purposeful, engaged, and optimized.

Increased Blood Flow

Pre-workout helps deliver a strong supply of more oxygen and nutrients to your muscles. 

Arginine and nitric oxide dilate your blood vessels to increase blood flow, allowing the delivery of amino acids and other nutrients can help increase strength and endurance.

Quicker Recovery

Ingredients in pre-workout supplements can support muscle recovery and help you avoid long-lasting soreness. Amino acids and creatine help remove waste and repair cells so you can heal faster.

You can get back to your training program without any delays!

Fat Loss

Pre-workout can help to boost metabolism, which can give us more energy and allow us to burn more fat.

A man taking an omega-3 supplement to improve overall health and wellbeing

How to Use Pre-Workout

Most pre-workouts come in powder form. All you have to do is mix a scoop with water or juice. Other pre-workouts are sold in pill capsules or bottled drinks.

You may have seen other gym goers on social media dry-scooping pre-workout. There is no evidence this method increases its effects and, in fact, increases the risk of inhaling the powder and choking on it.

Be sure to read the recommended dose and dose per serving as it can vary between pre-workout brands. By doing so, you can help to ensure you are reaping maximum benefits while avoiding over-consumption of caffeine.

It’s important to consult a healthcare professional before adding in pre-workout supplements into your diet.

How Long Does Pre Workout Last? The Pre-Workout Supplement Life Cycle

We’ve covered what pre-workout is, the common ingredients, benefits, and how to use it, now it’s time to talk about how long pre-workout lasts! Here’s what to know about pre-workout before, during, and after your session at the gym.

Before Your Workout

It’s recommended to take pre-workout 30 minutes before hitting the gym. This gives the ingredients time to kick in and gives you an opportune window to maximize your entire workout and athletic performance.

During Your Workout

After 30 minutes, the nutrients should be in your system, and you’ll start feeling the effects. 

Most ingredients in pre-workout have a half-life (the time it takes for half the dose to be metabolized and removed from the bloodstream) of 4–6 hours. This means you’ll typically feel the peak effects for 2 hours, which is the prime time to enhance your training session.

Different ingredients in your pre-workout metabolize through your system at different rates. For example, caffeine has a half-life of around 5 hours, while the half-life of arginine is between 1–2 hours. If you consume 200mg of caffeine in your pre-workout, after 5 hours you’ll still have 100mg in your system.

After Your Workout

If you’re new to using pre-workout, have a caffeine sensitivity, or are trying a different brand or dose, be sure to monitor how you’re feeling after your training session. 

If you continue to feel the effects of your pre-workout for more than 3 hours after your training sessions, try taking a smaller dose next time.

Though each ingredient processes through your body at different rates, your pre-workout should be fully excreted from your body within 24 hours as the majority of the ingredients are water-soluble.

A man preparing for a workout in the gym drinking pre workout out of a shaker bottle while holding skipping rope in his other hand

Is It Safe to Take Pre-Workouts?

While most of the ingredients found within an exercise supplement are considered safe, it’s important to take it with caution.

Consult with a healthcare professional for advice before taking any supplement, including pre-workout, to ensure you are helping your body, not harming it.

Pre-workout supplements should be taken according to the manufacturer’s instructions in general. If taken in excess or have a certain medical condition, you may experience potential side effects.

Potential Pre-Workout Side Effects

Caffeine is one of the main ingredients in pre-workout. Though caffeine can increase your output during a training session, it can also cause unwanted side effects if you consume too much.

Ingesting too much caffeine may lead to negative side effects, including:

  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Increased heart rate
  • Frequent urination
  • Jitters
  • Irritability

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends healthy adults shouldn’t be consuming caffeine 6 hours or less before bedtime.

If you’re a late night gym-goer, you may want to consider pre-workout or other dietary supplements with limited amounts of caffeine.

Again, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional or nutrition coach to determine if pre-workout is right for you.

Do You Crash After Pre-Workout?

If you’re a coffee drinker, you may have experienced a caffeine headache. This is because when caffeine is in your system, it narrows the blood vessels around your brain and when consumption is stopped, the blood vessels enlarge and lead to the dreaded headache.

If your caffeine consumption is low you can also feel sleeplessness, fatigue, and irritability.

To avoid the crash, you can test your tolerance by monitoring how many milligrams of caffeine are in your scoop of pre-workout. If you’re feeling any potential side effects of the crash, try switching it up! You can lower your dose or try a non-stimulant pre-workout supplement.

Non-stimulant pre-workout supplements give you all the great benefits of regular pre-workout, without the tingling sensation. Feel the pump and the increased energy, all without the potential crash.

Non-stimulant pre-workout can be a great option for late night gym sessions too!

A full scoop of protein powder at the edge of a counter top with a full group of other supplements blurred in the background on the other side of the counter

Is Pre-Workout Right for You?

Pre-workout might just be the missing piece to amplify your entire workout routine. 

Whether you’re looking for guidance on nutrition and dietary supplements, need a workout plan you’ll stick to, or need extra motivation from an accountability coach, EverFlex is here to help.Book a consultation today to learn more.

Mike Hamlin | Personal Trainer

Personal Trainer

Mike Hamlin | Personal Trainer

Mike has been in the training industry since 2008 and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. His personal training philosophy is anchored in developing an effective mindset: Once you have a solid mental foundation to commit to fitness, you can achieve greater fitness goals. You can learn more about Mike on his training profile.

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