When To Take Pre Workout

When To Take Pre Workout


January 22, 2022

Feeling reluctant when it’s time to hit the gym?

Perhaps you wish you could overcome the inertia and power through a 6 am workout session?

We’ve all been there! And boy, are we glad to knock back a pre-workout supplement!

It gives you that extra boost of energy to get off the couch, head to the gym, and carry on like it’s what you’re born to!

But the big question is:

Is it okay to take supplements each time you work out? Are there any drawbacks? Read on to learn when to take pre-workout and other safety tips.

What is Pre Workout?

What is Pre Workout?

Pre-workout is the general term for supplements designed to boost energy levels and performance during exercise.

Typically, pre-workout contains a combination of ingredients specifically to increase training output, and in turn, allow trainers to get more intensity from their workout sessions.

The fitness industry is packed full of different types of pre-workout products. These are available in drink or powder form.

In most cases, the products are formulated with beta-alanine, creatine, amino acids, and of course, caffeine.

Let’s get something clear.

Pre-workouts are not steroids – at least, not the man-made versions. Instead, they are supplements that provide extra nutrients to the body.

But you want to use the supplement in moderation because even a good thing can become harmful in excess!

Reasons to Take Pre Workout

Just about anyone who takes their fitness seriously has a pre-workout ritual that gets them up and going. Adding a pre-workout supplement to that ritual can offer immense benefits.

Still having doubts about pre-workout?

Here are some good reasons to include it in your pre-workout ritual.

Boosts Energy

When To Take Pre Workout

One of the most solid reasons to take a pre-workout is because it can give you more energy. In fact, that’s the primary function of the supplement, to begin with.

No matter what time you schedule your workout, there are days when overcoming inertia can be a tough job. This is certainly when to take pre-workout!

A little boost of energy from pre-workout can get you on the move, make you feel more energized, and activate the can-do attitude.

Improve Focus

The pre-workout drink helps you to focus while training during workout sessions. This is usually the function of ingredients such as beta-alanine and caffeine.

In addition to boosting blood flow, these compounds can get you in the ready mode so you are ready for whatever challenge you face during your workouts.

Plus, you can adjust your focus accordingly, especially when the weights start to increase.

With pre-workout drinks, you can better tune in to the muscles you are training and actually feel the effect of the exercises on your body.

Increase Fat Loss

Increase Fat Loss

Pre-workout products can stimulate and even speed up fat loss. This applies whether you take the stimulant-free variety or you prefer the stimulant-containing types.

Both types of pre-workout products contain some ingredients with thermogenic effects (increase heat through metabolic stimulation) to boost the body’s metabolism.

In other words, the ingredients (such as caffeine) help break down body fat rather quickly. This is a huge plus for anyone whose primary aim is to lose weight.

But there’s a caveat. These supplements are not magic pills! You won’t likely lose weight overnight just because you gulped down some “special formula” before heading to the gym.

The odds of that happening are almost certainly zero!

However, pre-workout supplements can enhance your body’s ability to burn more calories.

Better Performance

You have a great chance of performing better during each exercise session if you are energized and focused.

Regardless of what you are training for – setting a world record or simply personal fitness – incorporating a good-quality pre-workout product into your exercise regimen is a great idea.

It will help you to perform to the best of your ability whether at home or in the gym.

Quick and Improved Recovery

When To Take Pre Workout

Nearly everyone knows the vital role of proper recovery after workouts. And while pre-workout supplements can help you hit the ground running, they are also great at speeding up recovery.

Some of the widely-used ingredients in these products are added to aid quick recovery. They do this by increasing blood flow, oxygen, and essential nutrients to the muscles.

And that’s not all.

The supplements are highly efficient when it comes to flushing out waste products from the muscle.

Some pre-workout drinks contain ashwagandha and other adaptogenic herbs that promote the body’s ability to handle stress and recover speedily.

If you’ve seen anyone not burned out or feeling excessively sore even after an intensive training session, you are probably noticing the quick recovery effect of a pre-workout supplement.

Of course, being able to recover fast from exercise stress will keep you excited to get into the gym as often as you want.

Stimulant-Free Option

Worried that you might find it difficult to fall asleep after taking a pre-workout before your evening session? 

You are not alone.

Some people are concerned about caffeine sensitivity, as pre-workout drinks can give them too much energy.

Thankfully, you don’t have to consume caffeine or any other stimulant to get the benefits of pre-workout supplements since the products also come in stimulant-free varieties.

So, you can get a boost of energy for your workout without the fear of sleep disturbances or becoming excessively jittery.

Drawbacks of Pre-Workout

As with every other product, pre-workout supplements are not entirely free from drawbacks. Some of the likely downsides (and how to avoid them) include:

Feeling Jittery

When To Take Pre Workout

This is an all-too-common side effect of taking pre-workout, and it has something to do with the caffeine content.

While caffeine can help you do more during your workout sessions some of its potential side effects include restlessness or jitteriness, drowsiness, nausea, and insomnia.

It can even cause some degree of anxiety, headaches, and may even increase your heart rate.

Thankfully, these side effects are usually only noticeable when you consume too much pre-workout.

How to avoid this side effect

Your best bet to avoid or reduce this negative effect is to take things slow, especially if you are just starting with pre-workout supplements.

Take only small doses at first and gradually increase your dosage to determine what your body can tolerate.

Alternatively, opt for caffeine or stimulant-free pre-workout products.

Possible Digestive Upset

Many pre-workout products contain magnesium and sodium bicarbonate. These compounds may have laxative effects and consuming them too much can lead to diarrhea.

How to avoid this side effect

It is usually a good practice to dilute pre-workout supplements with the recommended amounts of water to reduce this side effect. Here’s the thing, though.

It can be a bit tricky to pinpoint the exact ingredient that’s causing digestive upset.

So, you might have to try a few different pre-workout formulas to find what suits you best.

May Increase Water Retention

When To Take Pre Workout

The creatine content in most pre-workout formulas can bring about some not-so-pleasant effects, although these are often mild.

You may experience bloating and water retention.

How to avoid this side effect

Thankfully, creatine is very safe regardless of the mild side effects.

However, you can eliminate the side effects (or at least minimize them) by sticking to the proper dosage.

If you have a particularly sensitive stomach, it is usually best to take pre-workout formulas in smaller doses to prevent bloating and possible moderate weight gain.

Best Time to Take Pre Workout

Best Time to Take Pre Workout

With all of that out of the way, let’s get to the meat of the matter – when to take pre-workout for the best results.

As you may have guessed from the name, pre-workout should be taken before you start training.

Ideally, you should consume pre-workout about 20 to 30 minutes before your training session.

Keep in mind that the effects can last between 3 to 6 hours in the body, depending on the amount of caffeine or stimulant present and how sensitive you are.

For this reason, it is best to not take a pre-workout late in the evening, especially options with stimulants.

They can mess with your night’s sleep and end up giving you a bad day the next day.

To be absolutely sure on when and how to consume these products, always ensure to read the package for instructions on suggested usage.


Regardless of the possible downsides, knowing when to take pre-workout and using it in moderation can help you perform better and crush your fitness goals.

It is one thing to set goals on paper; actualizing them is a different ball game entirely.

And in a world where just about everything is set up to distract you from achieving your goals, you could do with a little nudge in the right direction.



Justin Rodriguez has spent most of his adult life inspiring people to take their fitness more seriously. He is not new to the business of providing practical solutions for those looking to set and smash their fitness goals. From sharing professional tips and tricks to recommending awesome products, Justin Rodriguez helps just about anyone who wants to get the best out of their workout routines.Having gathered a lot of experience both in and outside the gym, Justin Rodriguez uses DSW Fitness as a medium to show you exactly how to get that great-looking body with toned muscles you’ve always wanted.