If you love going to the gym and want to enhance your physical and mental 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.

Generally speaking, the effects of many pre-workout supplements start to wear off after 2 to 3 hours and dissipate entirely within 6 hours upon consumption.

While this is a general timeframe, it isn’t always true, as several factors can influence the duration and intensity of pre-workout effects.

For example:

  • Weight: Generally, body weight can influence how an individual responds to various substances, including those found in pre-workout supplements. A person with a larger body mass might require a higher dose to experience the same effects as someone smaller. Conversely, a lighter individual might feel the effects more intensely and for a longer duration from a standard dose.
  • Food Intake: Taking a pre-workout on an empty stomach might lead to faster absorption and a quicker onset of effects. However, it might also result in the effects wearing off sooner. On the other hand, if you consume your supplement after a large meal, especially one rich in fats and proteins, absorption might be slower.
  • Hydration: Staying well-hydrated can influence how your body processes the ingredients in pre-workout supplements. Dehydration can intensify the effects of stimulants, potentially leading to jitters, headaches, or other side effects.
  • Individual Metabolism: Just as some people can drink coffee before bed and sleep soundly, while others may feel jittery from a single cup in the morning, the way one metabolizes ingredients like caffeine plays a role in how long the effects of a pre-workout supplement last.
  • Specific Ingredients: While caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, other ingredients might have longer or shorter half-lives. For instance, ingredients like beta-alanine or creatine might not provide an immediate "kick" like caffeine but could have lingering effects on exercise performance [2].
  • Dosage: Naturally, the more potent the dose, the longer and more intense the effect. Always adhere to recommended dosages, as taking more than suggested can lead to adverse side effects.

Now, the best pre-workout supplements formulas optimize both exercise and mental performance, and they usually peak in effect 30 to 60 minutes after consumption. 

This is when you’d usually feel the most significant energy boost and heightened mental clarity that would stay with you for another hour or two, depending on the pre-workout formula.

Related Article - What To Look For In Pre-Workout?

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 pre-workout, 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 powder 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. Most pre-workout formulas have additional ingredients to boost your energy levels, improve your blood flow and pump, 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 [1].
  • 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.
  • Work out 
    Working out can cut the half-life of caffeine by up to 50%. So, if you want to flush out the extra caffeine from your body, you could muster up strength for another resistance training by taking something like a Transparent Labs Stim-Free Pre-Workout and hitting the gym again.
  • 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.

When Can We Say That Pre-Workout Is Starting To Kick In?

When you begin to feel a surge in energy, increased heart rate, and heightened senses - you can say that pre-workout is starting to kick in.

As we said earlier, this will usually happen around a 30-minute mark, but you could feel all of these as early as 15 minutes upon consumption. 

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.

Tingling Feeling

Ever had pins and needles in your lips? It’s fairly common for beta-alanine and niacin to cause a tingling feeling while taking pre-workout 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.

Boosted Muscle Energy

The caffeine in pre-workout 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 and your athletic performance has been elevated.

Related Article - Coffee Vs Pre-Workout

man holding pack of pre-workout outside

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.

Lasting Time of Popular Pre-Workout 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.

Related Article - Alani Nu Pre-Workout Review

What Is Pre-workout Crash and When Does It Occur?

Pre-workout 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.

Related Article - Can You Get Addicted To Pre-Workout?

Woman crashing after taking pre-workout

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.

References:

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5839013/
2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17194255/
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

Miloš Lepotic

Miloš Lepotic

Meet Miloš, a certified sports nutritionist and self-taught supplement expert whose pharmacological background and nearly a decade of gym experience make him the perfect guide for optimizing your health and athletic performance through supplement reviews and practical advice rooted in factual, science-backed information.