Have a long day of work ahead of you, and need a boost of energy to get you through the day?

While caffeine might do the trick, you might wonder if you could take a pre-workout instead.

Today, I'll go over the pros and cons, when to take it, and provide you with everything you need to know about whether you should take pre-workout before work.

It is absolutely okay to take a pre-workout before work. A well-formulated and well-dosed pre-workout will contain several cognitive and performance-enhancing ingredients that could help you perform at a higher level, regardless of the nature of your work.

While most individuals think of a pre-workout supplement strictly in terms of physical performance enhancement and exercise performance, as someone who has taken them for nearly a decade at this point, I can tell you there are many ingredients within a pre-workout formula that also benefit cognitive measures and excel at providing an energy boost.

Compounds like caffeine, L-tyrosine, and L-theanine are common with pre-workout supplements, and they can have a profound effect on your cognitive focus, motivation, and feelings of relaxation, as well as muscle growth and increased muscle mass, better athletic performance, muscular strength and endurance, and others. [1].

man scooping pre-workout out of gray container

Benefits Of Taking Pre-Workout Before Work

  1. 1
    Higher Energy Levels
    Pre-workout ingredients such as natural caffeine, DMAE, and theacrine not only benefit exercise performance but also provide you with a boost of energy to get work done efficiently.
  2. 2
    Increased Blood Flow and Muscular Endurance
    The pre-workout ingredients also increase blood flow, which triggers the release of nitric oxide from the walls of the blood vessels, resulting in enhanced muscle endurance, which could be beneficial in a physical line of work.
  3. 3
    More Strength
    Good pre-workout formulas come with well-dosed stimulants and power-enhancing compounds such as creatine monohydrate. Ingestion of those can lead to increased physical power and strength necessary for some lines of work.
  4. 4
    Elevated Alertness and Focus
    The great thing about a pre-workout supplement is that the stimulants and various amino acids are great for keeping you calm, alert, and focused. [2] A proper caffeine dose can keep your mind laser-focused for several hours on end, allowing you to do more work at once.
  5. 5
    Better mood
    Taking pre-workouts can be brilliant if your line of work is stress-inducing. Some compounds, such as L-theanine, promote feelings of relaxation, and well-known stimulants, like caffeine, can be mood boosters.

A side note - You may hear that energy drinks can give you all of these benefits.

However, the difference between energy drink and pre-workout is that many pre-workout formulas typically contain fewer calories and sugars, but contain more additional ingredients, such as amino acids necessary for optimal well-being and enhancing exercise performance.

Personally, I'd much rather drink a high-quality pre-workout than an energy drink.

Downsides Of Pre-Workout Before Work

  1. 1
    Caffeine Crash
    If you take your pre-workout supplement too early - or if you don't really need pre-workout in the first place, you may deal with a crash or a noticeable dip in energy in the middle of work due to high doses of caffeine. 
  2. 2
    Sleep Issues
    Similarly, if you take your pre-workout supplement too late, due to the high levels of caffeine, there's a chance that pre-workout could keep you awake when evening rolls around.
  3. 3
    Side Effects
    While your pre-workout does contain ingredients that'll provide you with that boost of energy, most pre-workout drinks contain key ingredients that can cause an elevated heart rate, restlessness, skin-tingling, and even nausea. [3] As some pre-workouts contain a high amount of caffeine, they can also increase the risk of high blood pressure, so that's something to consider if you're consuming a pre-workout consistently.
man in button up shirt drinking coffee while walking

When Should You Take Pre-Workout Before Work?

As seen above, there are pros and cons to taking a pre-workout drink before work. If you choose to take it, make sure you're taking the below into consideration.

1. Physically Demanding Labor Job

If you're working in a labor-intensive job that requires heavy lifting, regular bursts of energy and lots of walking, you can consider regularly supplementing your job with sports nutrition like a pre-workout.

Drinking pre-workout will not only provide more energy, but it can also help to improve your work performance.

2. Long Hourly Shifts

Whenever I have to pull an all-nighter, I turn to the caffeine in a pre-workout to help me stay on track.

So, no, this doesn't just apply to a physically demanding job but also if you've got extensive project demands that you'd need to work through long hours to finish.

In terms of when you should take your pre-workout, I usually take it right before I'm about to start so I can ride the caffeine buzz for three to four hours.

3. Competitive Cognitive Demands

As mentioned earlier, pre-workout formulas aren't just about conquering your fitness goals; they're also cognitive enhancers.

If you've got performance outcomes that you need to achieve which require competitive cognitive demands, you can take your pre-workout prior to tackling this project.

Pre-workout formulas will not only help with sharpening focus, but it's also great for cognitive endurance.

4. Need To Study At Work

Some of my friends have found that consuming a pre-workout product hasn't just helped with high-intensity exercise, but it's also great at providing a cognitive boost and stimulation that aids around midterms or finals.

Certain pre-workouts contain ingredients such as L-theanine that are great at boosting memory recall while also improving brain function and maintaining your overall attention span.

When Shouldn’t You Take Pre-Workout Before Work?

You shouldn't take pre-workout before work if you are:

  • Sensitive to Stimulants: Low tolerance to stimulants can jitters, increased heart rate, and feelings of restlessness.
  • Working Late: Consuming caffeine late can disrupt sleep patterns and sleep quality.
  • High-Stress Job: Stimulants can exacerbate feelings of anxiety, which could be even more detrimental to your overall health.
  • On Medication: There could be potential interactions between supplements and prescriptions.
  • Medical Conditions: Heart issues or high blood pressure could be further aggravated by stimulants.

In addition, if you are pregnant or you fear that the common pre-workout side effects could cause your work performance to drop, the following professions should probably stay away from pre-workout drinks before work:

  • Truck Drivers or Heavy-Machinery Operators
  • Doctors, Surgeons, and other Healthcare Providers
  • Professionals in High-Stress Decision-Making Roles
  • Pilots
  • Teachers
  • Police Officers and Military Personnel
  • Bankers and Financial Advisors
  • Lab Technicians and Researchers
  • Therapists and Counselors

What all of these professions have in common is that they require calmness, alertness, focus, a steady demeanor, and unimpaired decision-making, all of which can be potentially worsened by pre-workout consumption.

woman sitting in front of a macbook studying and working

Common Taking Pre-Workout Before Work Questions

Will pre-workout help motivate me at work?

Yes, pre-workout will help motivate you at work. For me, pre-workouts aren't just for working out. Some clean formulas I prefer do a great job of improving focus, alertness, and motivation.

How much pre-workout should I take before going to work?

You should take one scoop or half a scoop of pre-workout before going to work, as long as you don't exceed your caffeine RDA.
For healthy adults, it's safe to consume about 400 milligrams of caffeine per day, so do the math yourself.

Is the energy you have at the gym the same as at work after taking pre-workout?

The energy you have at work will be nearly the same as the one at the gym after taking pre-workout. In some instances, the energy boost might be even more pronounced if you are not exerting yourself physically at work.

Conclusion

In summary, pre-workout supplements before work can be a good idea if you are taking them responsibly. However, if you are someone with a high-profile, high-risk, and high-responsibility profession, it is probably best you stay away from them to minimize the risk of side effects impairing your performance.

On the other hand, if you choose to supplement the best pre-workout supplements before work, just make sure you're not doing it consistently and consider the ingredients you're consuming. Conversely, you can always go for a stim-free pre-workout version - where I would recommend Transparent Labs stimulant-free pre-workout.


References: 

1. https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-016-0138-7
2. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/pre-workout-supplements
3. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/pre-workout-side-effects

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.