What Is Pre-Workout? How It Works? Does It Really Benefit Your Workouts?

Medically reviewed by Maria Sarino, MD FACT CHECKED

Pre-workout is generally a term for a wider range of supplements used before the workouts by the athletes.

The basic purpose of pre-workout is to boost the performance during the workout by increasing the focus, energy, and endurance of the athletes who consume it.

Most pre-workout supplements are considered to be safe for adults and could be considered for boosting performance.

Since they might prove to be providing a lot of energy boost and stamina.

Having pre-workout supplements might be worth it if taken invariably but it might not be a compulsion.

But having a pre-workout in a proper form of diet might help to gain muscle mass and also lead to a loss in body fat.

Sometimes after working for a whole day you might feel exhausted and then you might feel that you need a boost.

It is when a person might need a pre-workout supplement to feel 100% of energy before a workout.

Here in this article, we are going to discuss all of the most basic concepts regarding pre-workout.

Pre-workout could be a general term for different ranges of bodybuilding supplements or diets which might have the capability of providing more endurance and energy to the athletes.

Along with endurance and energy it would also boost your focus while working out. The pre-workouts are available in pill or powder form.

These products contain electrolytes that could help in maintaining the hydration level in the body and make your muscles movement easier and smoother.

They could increase the alertness of your brain while you perform workouts and keep your stamina and strength in check.

What Does Pre-Workout Do?

As per the maker of pre-workout supplements, it is conveyed and proclaimed that pre-workout could help you to boost your focus, energy, and endurance.

A pre-workout could also aid the other necessary performances while you engage yourself in the workouts.

Since caffeine is used as the main ingredient at a higher level. The data say that the fluctuation of caffeine per serving ranges between 145 mg to 325 mg per serving of a supplement.

This is equivalent to around 3 cups of coffee. This might be best suitable for people who are not allergic to caffeine.

Whereas people who are allergic to caffeine must seek some natural ways of achieving the necessities or look for non-caffeinated pre-workouts available on the market.

Consistent Use Of Pre-Workout Supplements

Some of the studies claim that consistent use of pre-workout supplements can give you a proper result.

They might help you to save yourself from being affected by weakness when it’s compared to irregular use of pre-workout supplements. 

Continued use of these supplements for around 6 weeks could give you better performance while and after working out, i.e. less fatigue and less tiredness.

Benefits Of Pre-Workout

Pre-Workouts are generally a mixture of many different ingredients. The benefits of pre-workout are very subjective since they could vary from one person to another.

The main benefit of having a pre-workout is solely based on performance.

  1. One of the most prominent ingredients is Creatine. It is used to boost the performance of an athlete.

    According to this study claim it to be very effective when the candidates start to use it in a supplement form during high-intensity workouts and also it could speed up muscle recovery after the training.

  2. Another ingredient that could be relied upon might be Caffeine. Since caffeine could help you to keep yourself focused and also would keep you alert.

    The best part of caffeine is that it starts to work immediately after the consumption, i.e. within 60 minutes.

    Results of various studies also claim that caffeine could be capable of increasing the strength of the upper body.

  3. Some of the studies also claim MIPS to be very effective if consumed as a pre-workout supplement. MIPS stands for Multi Ingredient Pre-Workout Supplements.

    They as per their name uphold a mixture of some of the essential ingredients like nitrates, caffeine, creatine, branched amino acids, beta-alanine, and some the other ingredients. 

    These when combined might work like a wonder and add to the improvement in the performance of acute exercises. 

    They must be consumed around 4-7 grams per day to reap the best possible benefits.

Note: Pre-Workout must never be taken during the workouts. It must always be taken 30 minutes to 60 minutes before the workout.

This might include the training cardio and weights.

Is Pre-Workout Bad For You?

Pre-Workout is related to the supplements that people consume before they indulge in their routine exercises.

This supplement could increase the overall performance and stamina of the people who consume it.

These supplements are available in various forms like powders, shakes, snacks, oils, or dry forms.

These supplements could generally boost the endurance and energy of the people who consume them but sometimes might also show some adverse effects on their bodies.

These effects could be in the form of nausea, diarrhea, increased heart rate or fluctuation in blood sugar levels, and skin irritations.

For a regular pre-workout supplement the usage of the following ingredients is undertaken which include

  • Niacin
  • Tyrosine
  • Caffeine
  • Creatine
  • Citrulline
  • Beta-alanine
  • Taurine

Generally, most of the ingredients are not likely to cause any side effects if they are taken under proper guidance and at a proper dosage.

Even though they cause a side effect they are most likely to be temporary since they do not have any mild effects and cause a very less span of discomfort.

Precaution is a must whenever you decide to take these supplements since any side effects caused could be uneasy for you and could also be a reason for an uneasy feeling.

There could be side effects for people suffering from diabetes, anxiety, insomnia, or any heart-related diseases.

The people who suffer from any of these diseases must consult a health professional before starting the pre-workout supplements.

Reduction in side effects

This can always be done by following the dosage recommended on the label of the product and ensuring to not exceed the given amount of dosage. 

If you still find stomach-related issues or have issues with your digestion then you could try reducing the dosage.

If you spot any sleep-related issues then you must avoid taking the pre-workout before sleep.

You could try to take the supplements at least 4 hrs before sleep and have a proper workout after 30 minutes of consuming the supplement.

Pre-Workout Meal

Each of us is always in search of improving our performance levels during the workouts and achieving the goals that we have set for ourselves.

Instead of supplements, we could also look out for the best natural resources to consume to serve the purpose of these supplements.

Here is a list of the things you might include in your diet before the workout to boost your energy levels as well as your endurance and focus so that does not get distracted.

  1. Carbohydrates

    Carbohydrates work as a fuel to your muscles by using the glucose present in them.

    Our body stores glucose in the form of glycogen mainly in the muscles and the liver.

    For a high-intensity workout in a short period, the main source of your energy is the glycogen stores.

    For a longer period studies show that glycogen stores could be increased by more carbohydrate consumption.

    Carb-loading is a high carbohydrate diet for 1-7 days which might help in the maximization of glycogen stores.

  2. Protein

    Protein could be one of the best sources of energy when it comes to a diet before or after the workout.

    It helps to increase the synthesis process of protein in muscles.

  3. Fats

    Fats if consumed a few hours before a workout might help you to retain a proper and much-needed amount of energy for a moderate to lower the intensity of the workouts. 

    Some of the studies even claim that fat intake consisting of a 40% diet for a long period could increase endurance in athletic runners.

Pre-Workout Snack

Pre-Workouts could be a difficult choice sometimes regarding what to have and what could give the maximum energy apart from supplements.

Here is a list of what to have as a snack if you have very little time for a pre-workout, i.e. around 60 minutes.

  1. Cereal and milk.
  2. Banana with a blend of peanut butter.
  3. Chocolate milk and banana.
  4. Milk with oatmeal.
  5. Granola bar with chocolate.

Snacks that you could consider if you have more than an hour

  1. Peanut butter with banana and honey.
  2. Parfait du fruit.
  3. Fruit Smoothie.
  4. Overnight oats of Banana and Cinnamon.
  5. Peanut butter and Milk and Jelly Sandwich.

How Long Does Pre-Workout Last?

Pre-workouts are designed for the increment in mental and physical energy during workouts. 

However, the pre-workout effects would last around 30 minutes to 2 hours after consuming the supplement.

This could vary from person to person and is completely dependent on the ingredients. 

Caffeine might last for 5 hours and might start a kicking effect within an hour.

Natural Pre-Workout

When it comes to pre-workout nothing could serve better than natural resources. Five natural pre-workout foods could give you a complete boost before your workout.

  1. Bananas

    These are some of the favorite fruits that a normal guy prefers. It gives a spike to your body by providing instant energy.

  2. Oatmeals

    Studies show that it is a very rich source of fiber and could take time to digest.

    It is done by releasing the blood sugar into the bloodstream and boosting you up with a lot of energy for a longer duration.

  3. Yogurt

    This is the best source of carbohydrates and a blend of lactose and sugars and does not need time to break down.

    Yogurt would be capable of energy-boosting almost in a very short period.

  4. Apple

    As per some of the studies an apple is capable of delivering a boost of energy which is quite similar to coffee.

    This makes it an amazing alternative to coffee.

  5. Peanut Butter Sandwich

    It is a blend of carbohydrates, fiber, and fat which could ultimately raise the levels of your energy.

    This must be consumed around 20-30 minutes before the workout.