How Much Caffeine is in Pre-Workout?
Caffeine is great: it helps improve cardiovascular health, wakes up our brains, and if it derives from coffee or tea, there are tons of other benefits that go along with it.
But for some of us, it makes us jittery, jumpy, and unable to rest. So where’s the fine line, and how do we draw it?
Most pre-workouts come with caffeine included in the ingredients list. That’s because caffeine actually has a lot of health benefits and ways to help you work out, but that doesn’t mean that everyone will feel them the same way.
Let’s talk about how much caffeine is actually in pre-workout, and what you can do about it.
What is Pre Workout Actually?
Every pre-workout formula is different., and usually mixed proprietarily based on the company that creates it.
There are hundreds of different ingredients and different ingredient variables you can find is you just look at a dozen or so labels.
Each of these ingredients is blended and dosed in a way that is supposed to promote energy during your workout.
You take it 30-60 minutes before you exercise, and if all goes well, then you end up with a boost of energy that helps carry you through your workout.
Even if you’re not feeling super alive but you know you want to work out, a pre-workout can help give you that energy to push on through.
There are benefits designed to help prevent post-workout fatigue, as well as reducing the rate that your glycogen storage in your muscle depletes.
How Does it Work?
Pre-workout relies on a few ingredients and effects to help promote better health while working out, and increase your energy levels.
These are a few of the ingredients you can expect to see, and what they do:
- Beta-Alanine: This funny little chemical is a non-essential amino acid, yet your body produces it naturally. However, it helps to create other chemicals that help with high-intensity exercises and muscular endurance. In short, it helps you go harder for longer without as many of the negative side effects.
- Amino Acids: You always hear that these are the building blocks of life, and that’s 100% correct. Because these are essential proteins, amino acids help produce proteins that can aid in muscle growth. There are a lot of amino acids though, so it’s important to get familiar with which kind is in your pre workout mix.
- Creatine: Creatine isn’t a protein powder like many individuals assume. Instead, it actually helps to boost cell production in the muscles, and it boosts pre-existing proteins that help establish new muscle fibers. It helps to improve your muscle’s responsiveness and energy stores during high-intensity exercises as well.
- L-Citrulline: This one is weird because it’s classified as a non-essential amino acid. However, you can thank your liver for making it into something that is essential: L-arginine. This essential amino acid that it converts it to is important for your heart and blood vessel health, along with another chemical that it turns into, nitric oxide.
- Electrolytes: Electrolytes are necessary for just about everything in the body. They’re the reason that your cells have the ability to move water in and out of, and as water-based organisms, you can imagine why that’s pretty important for us.
Every person’s body is different, which is why it’s so difficult to find the perfect pre-workout that works for you. You will have varied results from your friend or neighbor even on the exact same dosage and brand of a pre-workout.
Pre-workouts are helpful, so don’t throw in the towel after one of them doesn’t work: you have to toy around with a few different ones to find what works.
How Much Caffeine is There in Pre Workouts?
When you look at some of the best pre-workout out there, the ones with the highest ratings and most customers, they’ll have around 180mg to about 220mg worth of caffeine included on the label. This is a common amount.
Some are known to be caffeine-heavy and push 250mg up to 300mg, but for many of us that can be too much.
For context, a 10 oz coffee has roughly 110mg up to 130mg of caffeine depending on the roast. Your average pre-workout is 1.50x up to 2x the caffeine of coffee.
You can use this as a legend to test your caffeine tolerance. Are you someone who drinks 3-4 cups per day?
Then you can probably handle most pre-workouts if you skip that first-morning cup (and perhaps your second cup, depending on how much caffeine you intake on a regular basis).
Are There Pre-Workouts Without Caffeine?
Yes, there is a good batch of caffeine-free pre-workouts on the market. You can also find some that prohibit the inclusion of stimulants as well because caffeine is often not the only stimulant you’re going to find in pre-workout formulas.
You have to dig sometimes, but there are options. Sometimes stimulants are cheap, so they’re seen as fillers and are relatively inexpensive.
For caffeine-free formulas, they might include other stimulants that aren’t as cheap. For no-stim pre-workouts, you might find that the price is up to 1.50x higher than standard pre-workout.
But if it’s important to you, avoiding stimulants is worth the cost.
Caffeinated or Decaffeinated: It’s up to You
You can get non-caffeinated pre-workouts, but the benefits of caffeine are pretty fantastic. If caffeine really bothers you that much, consider taking a small caffeine pill supplement with a non-caffeinated workout.
This can give you about 20-30% of the caffeine you would normally find in pre-workouts, so you reap some rewards without getting jittery or getting a headache.
As long as you don’t have an acute sensitivity that derails your whole day, it’s worth it to toy around with tolerable levels of caffeine and incorporate them into your pre-workout.