If you're not a regular gym-goer, you might find it hard to use the pre-workout as often as you'd like to, which leaves you wondering if the product is still safe to use.
Well, there's both good and bad news, but let me tell you right away - as long as you store your pre-workout supplements properly, this isn't something you should ever think about.
That said, let's tackle the question at hand.
- Does Pre-workout Go Bad?
- How Long Does It Last?
- 4 Signs of Expired Pre-Workout
- Does Pre-Workout Go Bad After Mixing? (Can You Mix In Advance?)
- Does Pre-Workout Lose Potency Over Time?
- How To Properly Store Your Pre-Workout Supplements
- Frequently Asked Pre-Workout Expiration Questions
Does Pre-workout Go Bad?
Yes, a pre-workout can go bad and will expire at a certain date, usually printed on the label. Depending on the ingredients and storage, a typical pre-workout will expire in about one to two years if unopened. When opened, their shelf-life is usually cut short, to about 3 to 6 months, provided they are kept in a cold and dry place.
On the other hand, if a pre-workout is left in direct sunlight or a hot and humid environment pre-workouts will expire much faster. While the time frame in this scenario isn't exact, you could expect to see mold growing inside the container in a matter of weeks.
How Long Does It Last?
However, since caffeine's half-life is approximately 5 hours, a pre-workout could still affect you even six or seven hours after drinking it, depending on the dose you took.
4 Signs of Expired Pre-Workout
Here are four easy-to-spot signs your pre-workout has expired.
One clear indicator that your pre-workout supplement has expired is the presence of mold, which occurs if the pre-workout is left in a hot and humid place or if the lid isn't sealed properly.
If the inside of the container contains any unusual discoloration, fuzzy growth, or spots resembling mold, it's a strong indication that the product has gone bad.
Foul Smell or Taste
Fresh pre-workout supplements typically have a pleasant, often fruity or refreshing aroma and a clean, palatable taste. Expired pre-workouts usually stink.
So, if you notice an unpleasant odor or a bitter, off-putting taste when drinking, it's a clear sign that your pre-workout has gone bad and is no longer safe and/or useful to drink.
Another clear-cut sign your pre-workout has gone bad is a nasty aftertaste or a burning sensation while drinking, at which point you're better off just throwing it away.
Related Article - How To Make Pre-Workout Taste Better?
Fresh pre-workout should be a fine, free-flowing powder that easily dissolves in water. If not stored properly, or if it's been out for too long, moisture can creep in and make the pre-workout clumpy.
Therefore, if you observe clumps (usually large ones) or hard, rock-like sections in the powder, it is very likely that moisture or humidity has caused the product to deteriorate.
In my experience, some pre-workouts (like Total War, for example) have clumping issues, in general, so if you notice clumps right upon opening, ask the seller for a refund and don't risk it.
Lack of Dissolvability
Expired pre-workout may lose its ability to dissolve properly in liquid.
This means that if you mix your pre-workout and notice that it doesn't blend well, leaving a gritty residue at the bottom of your shaker or glass, this is a sign that the product is nearing its expiration date.
While this may not seem like a big deal, proper mixability is vital for ensuring you receive the full dosage of active ingredients.
Does Pre-Workout Go Bad After Mixing? (Can You Mix In Advance?)
Generally speaking, a pre-workout can be safely consumed up to 12 hours of mixing, provided it is kept in a fridge, but yes, it can go bad after mixing if left out for too long.
So, while you can mix pre-workout the night before and leave it overnight in the fridge, I wouldn't recommend it, as it could possibly lose some of its potency or go bad.
Instead, just mix your pre-workout right before drinking it, as it takes less than a minute.
3 Risks of Consuming Expired Pre-Workout
Drinking an expired pre-workout supplement doesn't just mean you won't get to reap its benefits. It means you might suffer the consequences.
Expired ingredients or mold toxins like mycotoxins may irritate your stomach, causing symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or mild to severe abdominal pain.
It is not common, but drinking an expired pre-workout shake may lead to issues that require hospitalization or at least some form of medical intervention.
Risk of Bacterial Infection
Mold and bacteria in expired pre-workouts can produce harmful toxins that, when ingested, can lead to various health issues, including developing a bacterial infection.
Granted, side effects this severe are rare, as stomach acid usually kills the bacteria, but these contaminants can cause all sorts of health issues, so it's best you don't consume them.
Allergic Reactions and Sensitivities
The chemical composition of the ingredients will change past the expiration date, and that can increase the likelihood of triggering allergic reactions.
Allergic symptoms can range from mild skin rashes or itching, over hives and swelling, all the way to severe anaphylactic reactions in extreme cases.
Does Pre-Workout Lose Potency Over Time?
Yes, pre-workouts can lose potency over time. However, it usually takes around two years for the pre-workout ingredients to start losing potency, so it is more likely you'll encounter mold before you encounter a less potent pre-workout.
Now, that 1 to 2-year shelf life can be cut short due to various factors, such as:
However, as I said, it is more likely the product will become unpalatable before it becomes ineffective.
Learn More - How Much Caffeine Is in Pre Workout?
How To Properly Store Your Pre-Workout Supplements
You should store your pre-workout in a cool, dark, and dry place. While there isn't a precise room temperature requirement for storing pre-workout supplements, maintaining the room temperature below 74 degrees Fahrenheit is pretty much ideal as far as I'm concerned.
In addition to that, please make sure that the container is sealed tightly. Moisture and air will find the smallest gaps to squeeze through, which will impact the quality of your pre-workout supplement.
Frequently Asked Pre-Workout Expiration Questions
If you drink an expired pre-workout, you might experience a myriad of issues, but the most common side effects would be nausea, abdominal pain, or diarrhea.
Minor clumping isn't necessarily bad because pre-workout supplements absorb moisture from the air, which causes clumping. It doesn’t affect your supplement's safety, quality, or potency unless it becomes severe.
Yes, expired pre-workout can make you sick. The most common sign of sickness is an upset stomach or gas. In some rare cases, you can experience nausea, bloating, and abdominal pain.
So, yes, pre-workouts can go bad, but it usually takes a lot of time and negligence for that to happen.
Truth be told, there's a good chance you won't ever have to worry about this, as most pre-workout supplements will only last you about one to two months, depending on the number of servings and how often you use it.
Alas, knowing how to tell if a pre-workout has gone bad and how to prevent that from happening will definitely help preserve it.
Last Updated on November 2, 2023