How Long Does Pre-Workout Last? (An Expert Answers)

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.

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.

how long does pre-workout last

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. [1]

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

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:

  • The quality and type of pre-workout you’re taking.
  • Your body composition - Including your age, weight, and muscle mass.
  • Your caffeine tolerance - If you drink caffeine regularly, you’ll be used to the effects and will require a larger caffeine intake before your training session. 
  • Your diet - How much water you’re consuming each day and the foods you eat will affect how long pre-workout lasts in your body. Your body is a machine, and it needs fuel to keep it working; no amount of pre-workout will help a poor diet.
  • Don’t forget other caffeinated beverages will need to be taken into consideration.
  • Build-up of fatigue - A build-up of fatigue before you have a pre-workout supplement will enhance performance, but it’s not a miracle worker. If you’re over tired, it will reduce how long pre-workout lasts.

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:

  • Avoid any further supplements for the day
    This one might seem obvious but is often overlooked. Some supplements have additional ingredients to boost your energy levels and could enhance the effect of your pre-workout’s active ingredients.
  • Don’t consume any additional caffeine
    The last thing you want to do is top up your body’s energy level.
  • Drink more water
    While drinking more water won’t help dilute the caffeine in your body, it can help reduce some of the possible side effects.
  • Eat some carb-rich light snacks
    If you're suffering some of the negative effects of using a pre-workout, such as a sour stomach, pains, or cramps, it could be due to the pre-workout mixing with protein in your stomach. Eating carb-rich or fatty snacks can help with these symptoms.
  • Seek medical attention
    Ok, I need to add this one here. If you feel you've had far too much caffeine and need some help, don't be afraid to seek help from a doctor; excessive amounts of caffeine can be dangerous.

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 pre-workout to kick in

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.

Read More - Best Pre-Workout Energy Boosters

how long does pre-workout last in your system

Lasting Time of Popular Brands

When it comes to how long pre-workout stays in your system, each product is different.

  • Total War Pre-Workout 
    Total War will stay in your system for around 1.5-2.5 hours. This is fairly reasonable and could be an option for afternoon workouts.
  • Alani Nu Pre-Workout 
    You’ll feel the effects of Alani Nu for around 2-3 hours after taking it. After this, it will start to wear off.
  • Ghost Pre-Workout 
    Ghost will last you around 2 hours, which is plenty of time to have a killer workout.
  • Bucked Up Pre-Workout 
    You’ll feel the peak of the effects at the 60-minute mark. But the supplement stays active in your system for up to 4-6 hours. Probably not the best idea to have this one too late in the day.

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:

Sleep issues

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.

Heart problems

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.

Diarrhea

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.

Tingling

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.
how long does pre-workout last in 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:

  • Performance Enhancement
    When taking pre-workout, one of the most noticeable side effects is the extra energy you feel. Pre-workout enhances your workout by boosting performance, making those 1RM’s feel easy. You’ll also have better muscular endurance and improved muscle strength.
  • Improved Focus and Concentration
    Common ingredients include L-theanine and L-tyrosine, which help improve your cognitive performance and increase your focus. Improving your concentration helps you remain focused during your workout, allowing you to attack your fitness goals with everything you’ve got.
  • Increased Metabolism
    Pre-workouts help temporarily boost your metabolism. However, this boost is short-lived and only occurs as long as your pre-workout stays in your system.
  • Improved Endurance
    As pre-workout often contains creatine and beta-alanine, both of these ingredients have been shown to improve endurance. [2] This makes it an excellent sports nutrition supplement to add to your supplement stack.

Metabolizing Pre-Workout Related Questions

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 [3].

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.


Conclusion

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.

Last Updated on July 26, 2022