When to Take Pre-Workout — What’s the Best Time to Drink Your Pre-Workout Mix?

In line with your coaching schedule, at present’s the day to get after it. You’ve been ramping up and progressively overloading identical to your program says to. You need to go as arduous as your routine requires, however your physique — or your thoughts — simply isn’t feeling it at present.

Reaching in your pre-workout powder and tossing a scoop or two into your shaker bottle isn’t going to resolve all of your issues. However sure, it would assist wake your physique up and get your head within the sport. Pre-workout is designed to focus your thoughts and your muscles so to carry out your finest within the gymnasium.

A shirtless athlete drinks pre-workout before a training session.
Credit score: vectorfusionart / Shutterstock

However when precisely are you alleged to take it? Right here’s when to take pre-workout — and which elements ought to affect your determination.

Editor’s Notice: The content material on BarBend is supposed to be informative in nature, however it shouldn’t be taken as medical recommendation. When beginning a brand new coaching routine and/or weight loss plan, it’s all the time a good suggestion to seek the advice of a trusted medical skilled. We’re not a medical useful resource. The opinions and articles on this website are usually not meant to be used as prognosis, prevention, and/or remedy of well being issues. They aren’t substitutes for consulting a professional medical skilled.

What Is Pre-Exercise?

For the however uninitiated, pre-workout is a supplement — typically taken within the type of a powder blended with water — taken earlier than coaching to boost efficiency within the gymnasium.

Completely different manufacturers of pre-workout provide different ingredients. Some pre-mixed blends place a premium on growing your focus throughout your coaching to assist gas that intensive mind-muscle connection many bodybuilders chase. Different pre-workouts will emphasize growing your pump, or setting you up for elevated restoration and muscle progress after your session.

The widespread denominator of pre-workouts tends to be their deal with growing power in your exercise. So except you’re choosing a non-stim pre-workout, you’re probably going to come across a proverbial boatload of caffeine in a pre-workout.

Frequent Pre-Exercise Components

In a round-up of the highest 100 business manufacturers of pre-workouts, one research instructed that the commonest substances in pre-workouts are as follows. (1) These substances embrace:

When you’re aiming to maintain sugar or artificial sweeteners out of your nutritional plan, make sure you verify the substances label. Whereas the lively substances of pre-workouts may assist get you pumped, you’ll need to ensure that something they’ve to assist them style good additionally meshes along with your dietary plan.

How A lot Pre-Exercise to Take

Pre-workouts usually are available in pre-prepared blends — one scoop typically accommodates a mess of substances. As a rule, it’s not advisable to take greater than the really useful dose of any given complement. 

When you’re trying to stack totally different particular person dietary supplements collectively to combine your individual pre-workout, listed below are some normal numbers to remember.


This widespread pre-workout ingredient could possibly provide help to crank out a number of further reps by delaying muscle fatigue and lactic acid build-up. (2) A non-essential amino acid, your physique naturally produces beta-alanine — however you continue to may need an additional jolt in your pre-workout.

You don’t want that a lot beta-alanine to reap the advantages. Taking between 1.6 and 5 grams in your pre-workout may boost your endurance in increased quantity (eight to fifteen rep) units. (3)


Whenever you need an extra dose of focus and power within the gymnasium, you would all the time have a great old school cup of Joe. Or, you may take it in powdered type along with your pre-workout.

If solely a hint of coffee will get you jittery, take a caffeinated pre-workout with warning. In a small cup of espresso, you’ll absorb about 100 milligrams of caffeine. In contrast, some pre-workouts might have as much as 350 milligrams of the stuff. (4) Take note of your physique — if your heart rate doesn’t prefer it, you in all probability don’t need to take it.

Don’t fear about not getting enough caffeine to gas your good points: extra isn’t all the time higher. Analysis means that consuming two to a few milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of physique weight is simpler for serving to exercises than 5 to 6 milligrams per kilogram of physique weight. (4)

For many individuals, one to 2 milligrams per kilogram of physique weight quantities to 2 to a few cups of espresso. (5) Ensure you’re accounting for any espresso you’re consuming along with your pre-workout within the instant window before your workout.


Involved about your power output and endurance? Citrulline may be capable to assist, as it may possibly assist enhance circulation and blood flow — a should for exercising. Search for pre-workouts which have between 5 and eight grams of citrulline for max effectiveness. (6)


An amino acid shaped by three smaller amino acids — arginine, glycine, and methionine — creatine might assist boost muscle growth, energy, and recovery. It may also have a optimistic impression on mental focus and brain health. (7

One to 2 grams of creatine appears to do the trick for day by day life. (7) But when boosting strength or muscle mass is your purpose, it’s possible you’ll go for a better quantity reminiscent of three to 5 grams per day. (8)

Finest Strategy to Take Pre-Exercise

There are a number of protected methods to take pre-workout, and all of them contain mixing the complement powder with not less than the instructed quantity of liquid. That’s the best way to correctly take pre-workout — by mixing it into the quantity of liquid instructed by the producer. Some athletes may favor that liquid to be water, whereas others might need to masks the style in a pre-mixed blend or a shake.

However below just about no circumstances ought to lifters be dry-scooping pre-workout. The risks of dry scooping are well-documented and embrace cardiac unwanted side effects, caffeine overdose, choking, and even dying. (9)

When to Take Pre-Exercise

Right here we’re — the golden query. Precisely how lengthy earlier than your exercise do you have to put that shaker bottle to good use? When it comes to when pre-workout ought to be taken, the reply is without delay easy and complex.

The straightforward half is that this: pre-workout dietary supplements containing substances like caffeine, creatine, and amino acids appear to be simplest when taken about half-hour earlier than an intense exercise. (10)(11

After some experimentation and studying about your physique’s methods of processing totally different dietary supplements, you may take your pre-workout just a little earlier or later.

However it’s not all the time so simple as half-hour. 

For instance, the type of caffeine complement you’re taking might make a distinction in how shortly your pre-workout hits you. A caffeine capsule might take between 30 and 60 minutes to kick in. (12) When you can’t wait that lengthy to get into the squat rack and below that barbell, it’s possible you’ll really feel the consequences of caffeine gums or gels in as little as 10 minutes. (12)

Pre-Exercise Timing in Context

Questions of when it’s best to take pre-workout aren’t solely in regards to the hour or so main as much as your exercise. It’s additionally about your complement and dietary habits within the days earlier than your exercise. 

For instance, in case your favourite pre-workout ingredient is creatine, you may need to partake in creatine loading for max effectiveness. That’s, you may construct up a specific quantity of creatine in your physique in order that you have already got a reserve earlier than that half-hour pre-workout window.

Analysis suggests that you just may need to load up with 5 grams of creatine (alternatively, 0.3 grams per kilogram of physique weight) for 5 to seven days, 4 times a day. (7) Then, scale back your consumption to a few to 5 grams day by day (as much as 10 grams for bigger athletes). (7)

Equally, repeatedly taking BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) for 3 days earlier than a exercise might assist combat off muscle soreness extra than simply taking dietary supplements after your workout. (13)

In these sorts of circumstances, you’ll be pondering of pre-workout timing in a broader context than simply chugging your shake on the drive to your gymnasium. As an alternative, you’ll be desirous about the times main as much as your exercise, as nicely. 

Can You Drink Pre-Exercise Whereas Working Out?

Ingesting pre-workout during a workout isn’t all the time mandatory. But when your coaching is especially intense and extends past 90 minutes, you’ll probably need to refuel. (14) A easy electrolyte answer and glucose will do nicely, right here. Toss some fruit snacks into your gym bag — these will usually do the trick.

However if you wish to get a mid-workout increase from a pre-workout particularly, you would do this, too. In case your pre-workout consists of carbs, you may need to have some throughout an intense workout lasting longer than 60 minutes. (15) Simply do not forget that its results may prolong after the tip of your exercise, which you will not need.

Can You Take Pre-Exercise at Night time?

When you’re an evening workout type of individual, there’s not essentially any motive to keep away from taking pre-workout. Nighttime gymgoers deserve good points, too.

However for those who’re sensitive to caffeine, do not forget that its results gained’t know while you’re executed figuring out. You may wind up mendacity awake far longer than you meant for those who take your pre-workout at night time. Unwanted side effects like insomnia aren’t unusual with caffeine pre-workouts, particularly for those who’re typically a espresso drinker and getting near 9 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of physique weight. (16)

To be on the protected facet, you may need to err on the facet of a non-stim model in your twilight gymnasium classes.

How Does Caffeine Tolerance Influence Pre-Exercise?

Whether or not or not you’re a caffeine individual might impression how often it’s best to take pre-workout.

You may be pleased with your potential to down that after-dessert espresso after which go to sleep with no drawback. However not everybody has that type of caffeine tolerance. And with the excessive concentrations of caffeine usually present in pre-workout, you may discover you could have much less tolerance for the stuff than you thought.

Take into account while you’re selecting your pre-workout that the minimal efficient dosage for giving exercises a lift could also be as little as 1.5 milligrams per kilogram of physique weight. (12) No matter timing, this low finish of the spectrum could also be fascinating for folks vulnerable to excessive blood pressure — excessive ranges of caffeine consumption might increase blood stress. (16)

On the flip facet, getting as much as 9 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of physique weight might begin impacting your sleep — so bear in mind to account in your day by day espresso or tea complete consumption when selecting your pre-workout dosage. (16)

However so long as you’re staying throughout the tolerable limits in your physique, evidently having caffeine habitually gained’t take away the effectiveness of caffeine in your pre-workout. (17) So hold your complete consumption in thoughts, however it looks as if taking caffeinated pre-workout within the instant lead-up to your workout ought to be superb in tandem along with your morning journey to the espresso store.

Pre-Exercise Timing, Defined

The substances in your pre-workout powder may be sophisticated, however your timing doesn’t must be. The query of when to take pre-workout is settled across the quantity thirty. Assuming you’re consuming a standard pre-workout powder correctly blended with water, decide to take pre-workout round half-hour earlier than your coaching session.

For some, that may imply taking it proper earlier than a protracted and opulent warm-up routine. For others, it would imply sipping your pre-workout shake on the drive over to the gym. No matter your routine, take into account making your pre-workout part of your coaching ritual. Consistency does are inclined to convey outcomes, in spite of everything.


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  2. Maté-Muñoz JL, Lougedo JH, Garnacho-Castaño MV, Veiga-Herreros P, Lozano-Estevan MDC, García-Fernández P, de Jesús F, Guodemar-Pérez J, San Juan AF, Domínguez R. Results of β-alanine supplementation throughout a 5-week energy coaching program: a randomized, managed research. J Int Soc Sports activities Nutr. 2018 Apr 25;15:19.
  3. Hobson RM, Saunders B, Ball G, Harris RC, Sale C. Results of β-alanine supplementation on train efficiency: a meta-analysis. Amino Acids. 2012 Jul;43(1):25-37.
  4. Smirmaul BP, de Moraes AC, Angius L, Marcora SM. Results of caffeine on neuromuscular fatigue and efficiency throughout high-intensity biking train in reasonable hypoxia. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2017 Jan;117(1):27-38.
  5. Grgic J. Exploring the minimal ergogenic dose of caffeine on resistance train efficiency: A meta-analytic method. Vitamin. 2022 Might;97:111604.
  6. Suzuki T, Morita M, Kobayashi Y, Kamimura A. Oral L-citrulline supplementation enhances biking time trial efficiency in wholesome educated males: Double-blind randomized placebo-controlled 2-way crossover research. J Int Soc Sports activities Nutr. 2016 Feb 19;13:6.
  7. Kreider RB, Kalman DS, Antonio J, Ziegenfuss TN, Wildman R, Collins R, Candow DG, Kleiner SM, Almada AL, Lopez HL. Worldwide Society of Sports activities Vitamin place stand: security and efficacy of creatine supplementation in train, sport, and medication. J Int Soc Sports activities Nutr. 2017 Jun 13;14:18.
  8. Antonio J, Candow DG, Forbes SC, Gualano B, Jagim AR, Kreider RB, Rawson ES, Smith-Ryan AE, VanDusseldorp TA, Willoughby DS, Ziegenfuss TN. Frequent questions and misconceptions about creatine supplementation: what does the scientific proof actually present? J Int Soc Sports activities Nutr. 2021 Feb 8;18(1):13.
  9. Allison Lin, Nelson Chow, Mary O’Connor, Setu Mehta, Reta Behnam, Duy Pham, Claudia Hatef, Hannah E. Rosenthal, Ruth Milanaik; Dry Scooping and Different Harmful Pre-workout Consumption Strategies: A Quantitative Evaluation. Pediatrics February 2022; 149 (1 Assembly Abstracts February 2022): 204.
  10. Smith AE, Fukuda DH, Kendall KL, Stout JR. The consequences of a pre-workout complement containing caffeine, creatine, and amino acids throughout three weeks of high-intensity train on cardio and anaerobic efficiency. J Int Soc Sports activities Nutr. 2010 Feb 15;7:10.
  11. Cabre HE, Gordon AN, Patterson ND, Smith-Ryan AE. Analysis of pre-workout and restoration formulations on physique composition and efficiency after a 6-week high-intensity coaching program. Entrance Nutr. 2022 Nov 2;9:1016310. 
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Featured Picture: vectorfusionart / Shutterstock

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