If you love going to the gym and want to enhance your performance, you need a pre-workout supplement.
But, one of the side effects of taking caffeinated beverages is extra energy. This leaves you wondering how long does pre-workout last in your system?
Throughout this article, I’ll discuss this question and others, giving you everything you need to know about pre-workout supplements.
Table of Contents
- How Long Does A Pre-Workout Stay In Your Body?
- How Long Does It Take For Pre-Workout To Kick In? (Signs It's Working)
- Lasting Time of Popular Brands
- Is Taking A Pre-Workout Completely Safe?
- Metabolizing Pre-Workout Related Questions
How Long Does A Pre-Workout Stay In Your Body?
What Exactly is a Pre-Workout?
Pre-workout is a sports supplement you can take to increase your athletic performance, and it helps give you an energy boost while reducing muscle fatigue.
The mental focus it provides is one of the most beneficial aspects of taking pre-workouts. They’re often used by athletes and gym-goers looking to build muscle mass.
The ingredients in the pre-workout help increase blood flow by dilating the blood vessels. Most gym-goers can reap the benefits of pre-workout supplements.
Is It Right For Your Training?
Taking a pre-workout to enhance athletic performance is becoming more and more common among gym-goers. But this begs the question, is it suitable for your training?
If you’re weight lifting, I’ve always found you can significantly benefit from using pre-workout supplements.
A 2018 study found that consuming caffeine significantly increases your strength and confidence. Both of which will aid you to lift heavier weights, enhancing your muscle growth potential. 
If your style of training is more HIIT or cardio-based, you’ll also find a pre-workout supplement that can aid your exercise performance.
The nitric oxide (which most pre-workouts promote in your body) enhances performance by widening the blood vessels allowing your body to shuttle more oxygen and nutrients to the muscles you work.
Beta-alanine is another common ingredient that reduces muscle fatigue and enhances performance. It's well known to give you that 'tingling sensation' during your exercise session.
But, from my experience, some pre-workouts and cardio don’t mix, but that could just be me. The best bet is to try one out with your exercise program and see how you perform.
Related Article - BCAAs Vs Pre-Workouts
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How Long Before Pre-Workout Starts to Wear Off?
If you’re wondering how long a pre-workout lasts, you’re in the right section.
Most of the best pre-workout supplements last between 30 minutes to 2 hours. However, this time can vary between individuals.
If you’re caffeine-sensitive (like me), you’ll feel your energy levels peak for several hours.
What Influences Pre-Workout Supplements To Last Longer?
A few factors influence how long pre-workout stays in your system:
Can I Flush It From My System Faster?
Sometimes you might want to get the supplement out of your system faster. We’ve all been there… maybe you’ve taken too much, or you’ve taken it later on in the evening and need to go to sleep.
While there are a few things you can do to help get pre-workout out of your system faster, it’ll all depend on your body, your intake amount, and the type of product.
But, you can try the following:
What Is Pre-workout Crash and When Does It Occur?
Pre-workout supplement crash is a point usually several hours after taking the supplement when your body begins to feel fatigued. It’s pretty common for your body to go through this phase.
It occurs when the initial “rush” of taking the supplement has worn off. The amount of time for this to happen can vary (see the “how long does pre-workout last” section).
How Long Does It Take For Pre-Workout To Kick In? (Signs It's Working)
Pre-workout kicks in quickly, usually within 30 minutes, sometimes faster.
1. Increased Mental Clarity And Focused Motivation
You know that moment in the movie "Limitless" where everything seems to fall into focus…that's how pre-workout makes your mind feel.
You'll be completely focused on the task at hand (your workout) and will have the motivation you need to complete the sets you'd generally dread.
2. Tingling Feeling
Ever had pins and needles in your lips? It’s fairly common for beta-alanine and niacin to cause a tingling feeling in all areas of your body.
I often get mine in my lips and ears, it’s a funny sensation but a sign it’s working.
3. Boosted Muscle Energy
The caffeine (one of the most common ingredients in pre-workout formulas) helps your muscles have the energy to work through almost any exercise you put in front of them (within reason).
The set you struggled with last week will probably feel easier after you’ve had a few scoops of pre-workout.
Lasting Time of Popular Brands
When it comes to how long pre-workout stays in your system, each product is different.
Is Taking A Pre-Workout Completely Safe?
Although pre-workouts can be bought over the counter, it doesn’t mean they are without risk.
Some pre-workout ingredients are banned in professional sports, while others are dangerous in large amounts.
Too much caffeine can lead to caffeine toxicity, while niacin toxicity can occur also. Common symptoms are nausea, itchiness, abdominal pain, erratic heart rate, etc.
What Are The Side Effects Of Pre-Workout?
Some common negative side effects of pre-workout are:
If you’ve taken the supplement too close to your bedtime, you might struggle to sleep. I highly recommend you don’t take pre-workout before your evening gym sessions.
Unless you want to get a fantastic bicep pump before you hit the bar on a Friday night. I’ve never done that, honest.
The caffeine in the pre-workout causes an increased heart rate. Always consult a doctor before taking any supplements.
Stop taking them immediately if you suffer from heart palpitations or other medical conditions.
Some pre-workouts contain sodium bicarbonate which can cause some stomach discomfort. Pair this with magnesium, and it can cause diarrhea in some gym-goers.
Always check to see what proprietary blends are used in your supplements.
Beta-alanine is well known to cause a tingling sensation around your body. This feeling will subside within half an hour (30 mins).
However, some people can have a histamine response. Histamine is a substance your body produces commonly associated with allergic reactions.
Headaches & Dehydration
A common side effect you might experience is dehydration. The caffeine in the product is known to cause mild dehydration occasionally.
Some products contain citrulline, which is an amino acid precursor to nitric oxide, which helps you get more oxygen to your muscles.
The increase in blood flow can cause headaches and migraines in some individuals.
Note: Everybody will experience different side effects. Some people won’t get a bad stomach, while others will. Certain ingredients will more commonly cause issues in gym-goers. You can only figure out the best for you through trial and error. Always be aware of your pre-workout intake, and listen to your body.
Benefits Of Using Pre-Workout
There is no better feeling than walking into the gym feeling like you can lift a car above your head… ok, not all of them make you feel this way, but I’ve definitely had a few that do.
The main benefits of pre-workout are:
Read More - How Does Caffeine Affect Your Workouts?
How long does caffeine from pre-workout stay in your system?
Caffeine has an elimination half-life of roughly 6 hours (depending on the person). The 6-hour half-life means that every 6 hours, the amount of caffeine in your system decreases by 50%.
Caffeine will usually be in your system for up to 10 hours after taking a pre-workout.
However, the supplement's effects can be felt between 30 minutes and two and a half hours after taking it.
Does pre-workout show up on a drug test?
While most pre-workout supplements shouldn’t show up on a drug test, there are times when taking pre-workout supplements will cause a false positive for amphetamines .
If you’re competing in any tested events, it’s essential to check that you’re not risking being banned from the event for the sake of using pre-workout products.
How can you create your own pre-workout system?
You can create your own pre-workout supplements by combining the common ingredients you’d find inside a store-bought product.
Most use caffeine, creatine, beta-alanine, L-Citrulline, and Electrolytes.
But, be aware that playing with raw caffeine can be dangerous. I always recommend using a store-bought pre-workout product that has passed rigorous quality control assessments.
What is the shelf life of a pre-workout?
Pre-workout lasts around two years after the manufacture date. However, this might be different for each pre-workout brand, so always check the date on the product before you use it.
Generally speaking, most products turn clumpy if they’re left for too long and can be an indication that it’s past the use-by date.
How long does pre-workout last when mixed with water?
While most state on the instructions to “consume” the product immediately after mixing it, I’ve drank mine up to 12 hours after mixing.
How long does pre-workout stay in your system when breastfeeding?
While I’m no doctor, most experts say you can breastfeed within 2-3 hours after you take pre-workout. However, I recommend you consult your doctor before you follow this advice.
How long should I take pre-workout before gym?
As a personal trainer, I always recommend my clients take the supplement 30 minutes before the session.
How long before bed should I take pre-workout?
Never take this supplement before bed. They stimulate your nervous system, sending your body and brain into overdrive.
I always recommend the latest you should use the product is 3 pm. Even then, it’s pushing the boundary.
Pre-workouts are a fantastic supplement to add to your stack during your fitness journey.
However, when it comes to how long pre-workouts last, it depends on the supplement you choose to use.
Read through the article above and check out some of the supplement companies mentioned; their powder form pre-workouts are fantastic.
Take a pre-workout and let us know what you think.
3. https://www.dlgsc.wa.gov.au/docs/default-source/sport-and-recreation/combat-sports-commission/pre-workout-supplements-fact-sheet.pdf sfvrsn=ed71d832_2#:~:text=5%20Anti%2Ddoping%20Authority%20(ASADA,for%20what%20you%20are%20taking.
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Last Updated on September 29, 2022