Pre-workout supplements are among the most popular fitness supplements available on the market. These pre-workout supplements boost your mental and physical energy during a workout. But how long will they last in your system after taking them?
Studies suggest that consuming pre workout supplements does not increase your body strength. Instead, they tend to improve your anaerobic power performance. But for them to work as intended, you must take them before your workout. (1)
How long does pre-workout last in your system?
Giving a direct answer to the question: how long does pre workout last in your system can be very challenging. In many cases, the effects of these pre workout supplements can last from 30 to 60 minutes after you consume them. But the time depends upon the ingredients in what you are taking.
Another study shows that many gym-goers take these supplements long-term. And the study reported no adverse side effects if they don’t deviate from the prescribed dosage.
Pre workout supplements are rich in caffeine. Thus, they can improve your overall aerobic performance. But long-term consumption can lead to some delirious side effects. (2)
In this article, we will explore what pre workout supplements are and try to answer the question: how long does pre workout last in your system.
What is a pre-workout supplement?
Pre-workout supplements, just like pre-workout foods, enhance performance during your workout. They do so by increasing energy and work capacity. Thus, they focus on potential performance enhancement.
Pre workouts pump blood flow in your muscles. They have ingredients (arginine) to dilate your blood vessels. These supplements also have caffeine that can boost your energy levels.
Pre workout supplements also contain creatine. It can help boost your performance during those high-intensity exercises. Most of these supplements come in powdered form. You will have to mix them in juice or water. Some pre-workouts also come in capsules, bottled drinks, or cans.
Different brands and formulations for each of the pre-workouts are available. Manufacturers mention the ingredients and dose per serving on the label.
The ingredients vary from brand to brand. Some pre-workouts have a proprietary blend of ingredients.
According to research, here are some of the most common ingredients:
- Niacin (vitamin b3)
These ingredients are present in all pre-workout supplements. The ratios will be different from one brand to another. Moreover, many manufacturers also add coloring, flavoring, and artificial sweeteners.
How long does pre workout last in your system and can the ingredients in the product influence the duration? Ingredients work differently. Thus the type of ingredients in each product will have an effect on its effectiveness and how long it can stay in your body.
Types of pre workout supplements
How long does pre workout last and can the type of pre-workout affect the length is another question many ask.
There are five different types of pre-workout supplements. You can focus on a particular section of your body during your workouts.
The type of pre workout you take can affect your performance during your training. And the length of time each remains in your system will be different.
Strength & size pre workouts
These pre-workouts specifically focus on improving your size and strength.
But they are not highly effective in cardio or high-rep ranges. Because most users aim to boost their strength during their workouts, they work best with strength training. These supplements contain:
Endurance pre workouts
These are slightly less popular but are best for prolonged training. They don’t focus on maximizing your strength. They are best for Crossfit trainees and endurance athletes.
Such supplements contain:
- Sodium bicarbonate
These are some of the modern pre workouts. They are for boosting your mental strength. Thus, people use them for various reasons including gaming or studying, apart from physical training.
The ingredients include:
- Acetyl l carnitine
- Alpha GPC
- Choline bitartrate
- Huperzine a
As the name implies, these pre-workouts don’t have caffeine. But they also deliver similar results as other pre-workouts.
Caffeine can affect your sleeping pattern if you don’t hydrate that much before bedtime. So, this pre workout could work well for those with sleep issues.
These have a wide range of different ingredients. They can boost fitness in all aspects. As these have most ingredients, they tend to be expensive. They are better for powerlifters and marathon runners.
Benefits of pre workout supplements
Pre workout supplements do have their benefits. But only if you consume them according to the dosage instructions. Their effectiveness will depend upon your goals and what you expect to gain from their use.
For instance, consuming pre-workouts can boost your peak and main anaerobic power. The study considered the Wingate anaerobic power test. This test assesses the ability to exert intense energy in a short period. But it doesn’t improve upper or lower body strength.
Another study suggests that these pre-workout supplements help in:
- Mood improvement
- Muscular endurance improvement
- Lean muscle building (during resistance training)
Pre-workouts can boost various aspects of your physical performance. But the overall research on this topic is still inconclusive. And there’s plenty of room for more research.
Is taking a pre-workout safe?
The multi-ingredient variants are relatively safer among all five types. But the supplements have ingredients that can be harmful if you consume them in excess.
Caffeine can be harmful and even fatal if you consume it in excess. Generally, caffeine in tea and coffee is very safe to consume
But concentrated powders like these pre-workouts have high caffeine doses. You can easily overdose. So, the supplements pose a greater risk than caffeinated drinks. Thus, paying close attention to the stated dosage of what you intend to take is necessary.
According to the above study, overdose users reported the following side effects:
- Heart abnormalities
- Skin reactions
With a high dose, niacin can cause severe reactions. These include:
- Multiple organ failure, including liver failure
- Dangerously low blood pressure
Consuming niacin of fewer than 30 milligrams per day can induce a niacin flush. While it may be harmless, it can make you feel very uncomfortable.
It can cause the skin to become red, itchy, and warm. But the condition goes away within an hour, in many cases.
Other safety concerns
There aren’t many detailed studies associated with the long-term use of these pre-workouts. But it is believed the combination of the various ingredients in these supplements could potentially increase any side effects of caffeine.
Some supplements might also contain harmful or banned substances. The US FDA doesn’t regulate pre-workouts. Thus, it is a case of: “buyer beware” with these pre-workouts and other supplements.
How long does pre workout last and what are some of the safety measures to consider?
There are some safety guidelines you need to follow when taking these pre-workouts. You must ensure you don’t consume more than the recommended daily serving.
Ideally, avoid other caffeine or niacin-based supplements if you plan to take pre-workouts
- Look for products tested by 3rd-party organizations like Eurofins Scientific or Labdoor. Also, make sure all ingredients are listed.
- Research all ingredients, and check their side effects.
- Do not go for any pre-workouts with prosperity blends.
- If you have any medical conditions, only take the pre-workouts after consulting your doctor.
Who should take pre-workout supplements?
Who should take a pre-workout supplement and how long does pre workout last in your system?
Manufacturers of pre-workouts often market them to powerlifters, bodybuilders, and weightlifters. But, athletes of other sports can also take them. Physique, strength, and endurance athletes can also consume pre-workouts.
Caffeine has proven benefits for both mental and physical performance. But as your caffeine tolerance increase over time, the benefits tend to decrease.
Careful consumption of pre-workouts can be good in most high-intensity sports. Thus, it is beneficial for resistance training and weightlifting.
How do you know if a pre-workout supplement works?
The primary ingredient of these pre-workout supplements is caffeine. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and significantly improves reaction time. It can also reduce fatigue, making it a good option for hard training sessions.
But it will only work for you if you are somebody who is prepared to push yourself beyond your limits. That means it will work for you if you use them for high-intensity workouts.
But be aware that you will develop caffeine tolerance if you use them for extended periods, reducing their benefits.
When should you take a pre-workout supplement?
Athletes can consume most pre-workouts at least 30 to 60 minutes before the workout. That is the estimated time for the ingredients in the supplement to reach your bloodstream and kick in.
The supplement comes in powdered form in most cases. You will have to dissolve the powder in fruit juice or a glass of water. But, there are other forms available, including capsules and cans.
How long does a pre workout supplement take to start working?
As mentioned above, the ingredients in the pre-workouts take about half an hour to a full hour to kick in. Therefore, you must take them within that period before your training.
How long does pre workout last in your system?
How long does pre workout last in your system? It is not a straightforward question to answer. It will vary according to the ingredients and various other factors. But some of their effects can start waning after 30 minutes.
Thus, you must take the duration of your training sessions into consideration when deciding what to go for
What factors can affect the effectiveness of pre workout supplements?
Various factors can influence the effects of pre-workout supplements. In many cases, the ingredients and their quantities can have an impact.
- Your BMI, weight, and height can also alter the effects.
- The workouts and the body sections you are targeting can also alter the effects. And the dosage and its timing can influence their performance as well.
- Certain medical conditions can also distort their effect. Thus, you must take them only after consulting your doctor.
Helpful tips when taking pre workout supplements?
Here are some tips to consider when consuming these pre-workouts:
- Ensure you read the list of ingredients. And research into any potential side effects.
- Check the caffeine content in the formula you want to consume. 400 mg is the daily safe caffeine limit for most adults. A regular cup of coffee has around 60 to 80 mg of caffeine. So keep the dosage within this limit per serving.
- Ensure you time your pre-workout supplement intake properly for the best results. It is better to take them at least 30 to 60 minutes before starting your workout.
- Only buy 3rd-party tested pre-workouts that label all the ingredients.
- Using caffeine-based supplements for over a year can lead to caffeine tolerance. And you might not get the results you want. Thus, limit them for short-term use.
- Do not ignore your pre-workout foods. Such foods will supply you with the energy you need for your training.
- Pay close attention to the post-workout foods you take. They will help you recover quickly after your workouts.
How effective are pre-workout supplements?
How long does pre workout last and how effective are these supplements? Pre-workouts can be effective. But you must follow the instructions carefully.
Keep in mind that they are not power boosters. They only boost your physical and mental energy. Many variables come into play when trying to determine how long they can last in your body.
Are pre-workout supplements safe for long-term use?
No, pre-workouts have high caffeine content in them. A high caffeine intake has side effects, and so too is the niacin found in most of them. It is best to consume pre-workouts in the short run (less than a year) to get the most out of them. Any prolonged use can result in the development of caffeine tolerance. And it will diminish any effects of these supplements.