The ten Most Widespread Pre-Exercise Facet Results

To paraphrase the nice American author, Mark Twain, “An excessive amount of of something is unhealthy, however an excessive amount of pre-workout is barely sufficient.” Twain initially selected whiskey because the beverage of selection, however there’s a superb probability he’d discover the humor within the near-obsession some modern-day “health” fanatics have with potent pre-workout concoctions.

Even handed use of a pre-workout can definitely result in larger depth classes that last more and ship a larger muscle-building, fat-burning stimulus. Nonetheless, all pre-workout formulation are designed with completely different elements in several doses, so “one scoop” of one thing isn’t at all times corresponding to “one scoop” of a special combination.

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Realizing what you’re taking, how a lot, and, extra importantly, how your physique reacts to these elements is important to get the most effective outcomes. Earlier than you begin your subsequent coaching session with a high-potency pre-workout, right here’s tips on how to know the doable unintended effects you may encounter.

Editor’s Be aware: The next info is supposed to be informative in nature, however shouldn’t be taken as medical recommendation. The content material offered isn’t meant to be used as analysis, prevention, and/or therapy of well being issues. It isn’t an alternative choice to consulting a certified medical skilled.

Pre-Exercise Facet Results

Most Widespread Pre-Exercise Elements

Pre-workouts are technically a common class of dietary supplements made up of various mixes with quite a lot of elements. Nonetheless, some comparable forms of elements are inclined to pop up throughout completely different formulation.


Presumably essentially the most well-known and, for some, most desired, kind of ingredient is a simple stimulant to bolster bodily and psychological vitality. Caffeine, tyrosine, yohimbine, and theacrine are among the most typical sources of stimulants.

person in gym preparing to lift barbell
Credit score: Ihor Bulyhin / Shutterstock

Whereas the vast majority of pre-workouts include some type of stimulant, there are a lot of non-stimulant pre-workout mixes that may be simply as efficient whereas omitting key energizing elements.

Blood Move Enhancers

Many pre-workouts include elements designed to enhance blood circulation all through the physique. This may help to enhance “the pump” whereas coaching and should improve endurance. Widespread nitric oxide boosters, typically referred to as “NO2 boosters,” embrace arginine, citrulline, and betaine (to not be confused with beta-alanine, which is an unrelated ingredient with completely different results).

Endurance Assist

Many pre-workouts enhance your bodily endurance throughout a coaching session. This could both happen physiologically, by bettering your physique’s capability for sustained output, or by lowering your sense of fatigue so that you primarily “really feel much less drained” as a exercise progresses. Widespread endurance boosters embrace extremely branched cyclic dextrins (which are literally a carbohydrate supply slightly than a selected complement) and beta-alanine.

Advantages of Pre-Exercise

When it’s time for a pre-workout to deliver results, many formulation knock the ball out of the park. Pre-workouts are widespread largely as a result of they’re efficient. Listed here are among the most noticeable advantages.

Elevated Vitality and Alertness

Whether or not by stimulants, improved blood stream, or different mechanisms, pre-workouts usually get you “fired up” headed right into a coaching session. This may be helpful should you prepare after a tiring day at work, should you’re dragging in a sluggish gear earlier than your first repetition, or should you head right into a exercise when your psychological focus is lower than 100%.

Elevated Energy and Power

Pre-workouts can have a direct affect in your energy output throughout a given exercise. (1) By serving to to recruit extra muscle models, thrilling your central nervous system, or bettering your muscle tissues’ capacity to contract, pre-workouts might assist to maneuver extra weight for extra reps. Over time, this will contribute to larger strength gains and muscle mass.

Improved Blood Move

Many pre-workout formulation improve total-body circulation. This improved blood stream might assist with common alertness and vitality, larger motivation to coach, elevated bodily endurance, and an improved muscle pump. The pump, particularly, has been related to a larger muscle-building stimulus. (2)

Enhanced Endurance

The power to carry out longer exercises with out lowering output has been a time-tested recipe for improved health, energy, and efficiency.

Long-haired person running on treadmill
Credit score: Drazen Zigic / Shutterstock

Many pre-workouts assist to enhance endurance throughout a coaching session, both by lowering your physique’s sense of fatigue or by encouraging a sustained energy output. This may be achieved both with improved restoration between units or with higher fueled efficiency at a better depth.

10 Potential Facet Results

For all of its potential advantages, a pre-workout additionally has the potential to ship some unintended effects. No lifter ought to moderately count on all achieve for no proverbial “ache” within the gymnasium, whether or not it’s a difficult set or a helpful complement. Listed here are the commonest, although definitely not assured, potential points from utilizing a pre-workout.

CNS Burnout

Your central nervous system (CNS) is basically the best way your mind communicates with, and prompts, your muscle tissues throughout train. Your CNS can develop into extra pressured when coaching depth or quantity is elevated, which might negatively have an effect on general restoration and efficiency. (3)

As a result of pre-workouts permit you prepare prepare more durable and longer — with larger depth and probably extra quantity — you could be in danger over overstressing your CNS with extreme use.

Impaired Sleep

Maybe essentially the most “apparent” potential disadvantage of a stimulant-laden pre-workout is interrupted sleep and potential insomnia. That is primarily a difficulty with stimulant-heavy pre-workouts (these which embrace caffeine or different stimulants of their method), notably if they’re taken within the afternoon or night.

For instance, taking a pre-workout round 5 p.m. for an afterwork coaching session is more likely to trigger sleep issues than a pre-workout taken at 7 a.m. for an early morning exercise. Nonetheless, particular person sensitivities and whole each day caffeine consumption (from espresso, tea, soda, and so on.) generally is a issue.


Generally easy arduous coaching can result in nausea. Many skilled lifters have wanted to go to the “puke bucket” throughout high-rep squats, however potent pre-workout formulation may flip even a mean exercise right into a bitter abdomen fiasco.

Whether or not it’s on account of an overload of stimulants, an extreme workload, or simply a mixture of varied elements swirling round your intestine, a powerful pre-workout may go away you feeling queasy, which might in the end interrupt your coaching session. Some analysis suggests that is truly one of the frequent unintended effects some lifters expertise after taking a pre-workout. (4)

GI Upset

Just like nausea, some lifters might expertise gastric misery (upset abdomen and/or bowel points) after taking a pre-workout, typically on account of high-dose stimulants or associated elements. This could severely interrupt a coaching session, typically derailing a exercise earlier than it’s even begun. In excessive instances, it might be extreme sufficient to power a lifter to desert a exercise completely.


Whereas stimulant-based pre-workouts could be extremely efficient for bettering energy, energy, and endurance, they’ll additionally ship progressively diminishing outcomes if utilized in extra. The physique can develop a tolerance to stimulants, together with caffeine, making their helpful results much less impactful over time. (5)

To make sure most affect, intention to make use of a pre-workout not more than each different day, slightly than each exercise. If you happen to steadily eat vital quantities of caffeine throughout a daily day, contemplate slicing again or utilizing a pre-workout even much less steadily. This could permit the method to ship a extra noticeable profit. (6)


A notable, however comparatively simply preventable, aspect impact of pre-workouts is dehydration. By prompting a tougher exercise, some lifters might develop into extra depleted throughout a excessive depth coaching session through elevated sweating and the lack of primary vitamins. (7)

Muscular person resting in gym while sweating
Credit score: Floor Image / Shutterstock

This will not essentially be accounted for with ample intra-workout hydration. Dehydration can result in an general lower in energy and endurance, making the exercise counterproductive.


One other doable aspect impact of pre-workout, which can be noticeable sooner slightly than later throughout some classes, is a simple headache. Many pre-workout elements improve general blood stream which could be helpful to muscular efficiency, however may also be contraindicated in an individual who’s already experiencing hypertension. (8)

If you happen to’re at present coping with hypertension, double-check your pre-workout method for elements which can exacerbate the problem comparable to arginine, citrulline, and different purported “nitric oxide boosters.”

Elevated Coronary heart Fee

Pre-workouts might improve a lifter’s coronary heart price, both comparatively immediately via stimulant-based elements or by supporting a excessive diploma of coaching depth. In lifters with hypertension or different cardiovascular dangers, an elevated coronary heart price might current a possible hazard.

Whereas train, in itself, might elevate an individual’s coronary heart price, the addition of a pre-workout might carry it to inappropriate or surprising ranges.

Pores and skin Response

A comparatively minor aspect impact, however no much less distracting, is a “tingling” or itching pores and skin sensation after taking a pre-workout. This may be notably frequent in formulation which include beta-alanine — a complement usually related to a “flushing” of the pores and skin.

Some analysis associates the beta-alanine response with an overstimulation of nerve endings, slightly than a symptom of acute allergic response. (9) Regardless, the pores and skin flush could also be distractingly uncomfortable, regardless of being thought-about a “profitable signal” that the complement could also be working.

Medicine Interplay

Many dietary dietary supplements carry the chance of potential interactions with prescription medicines. Pre-workout formulation are not any completely different and ought to be approached with enough consideration.

A number of particular person elements frequent to pre-workout mixes are thought-about “contraindicated” when taking key classes of medicines. For instance, NO2 boosters comparable to arginine or citrulline might have an additive impact in folks taking sure medicines for erectile dysfunction. (10)

Equally, the amino acid tyrosine (typically utilized in pre-workouts for improved psychological focus) might work together with sure prescribed antidepressants and should result in elevated blood stress and associated issues.

Pre-Exercise with Care

Pre-workout formulation could be distinctly helpful when used strategically. Nonetheless, like every complement, there are additionally potential unintended effects to pay attention to. Mistaking pre-workout formulation as being completely risk-free can be a short-sighted error. Ensure you know what you’re taking and why you’re taking it. After getting these particulars sorted out, you’ll be higher ready to anticipate and mitigate any potential unintended effects, resulting in larger outcomes general.


  1. Martinez, N., Campbell, B., Franek, M., Buchanan, L., & Colquhoun, R. (2016). The impact of acute pre-workout supplementation on energy and energy efficiency. Journal of the Worldwide Society of Sports activities Vitamin, 13, 29.
  2. Schoenfeld, Brad J. PhD, CSCS, CSPS, NSCA-CPT1; Contreras, Bret MA2. The Muscle Pump: Potential Mechanisms and Purposes for Enhancing Hypertrophic Variations. Power and Conditioning Journal 36(3):p 21-25, June 2014. | DOI: 10.1097/SSC.0000000000000021
  3. Zając, A., Chalimoniuk, M., Maszczyk, A., Gołaś, A., & Lngfort, J. (2015). Central and Peripheral Fatigue Throughout Resistance Train – A Essential Evaluate. Journal of human kinetics, 49, 159–169.
  4. Jagim, A. R., Camic, C. L., & Harty, P. S. (2019). Widespread Habits, Hostile Occasions, and Opinions Relating to Pre-Exercise Complement Use Amongst Common Customers. Vitamins, 11(4), 855.
  5. Boulenger, J. P., Patel, J., Put up, R. M., Parma, A. M., & Marangos, P. J. (1983). Persistent caffeine consumption will increase the variety of mind adenosine receptors. Life sciences, 32(10), 1135–1142.
  6. Addicott, M. A., & Laurienti, P. J. (2009). A comparability of the results of caffeine following abstinence and regular caffeine use. Psychopharmacology, 207(3), 423–431.
  7. Choose, L. W., Bellar, D. M., Popp, J. Ok., Craig, B. W., Schoeff, M. A., Hoover, D. L., Fox, B., Kistler, B. M., & Al-Nawaiseh, A. M. (2021). Hydration to Maximize Efficiency and Restoration: Information, Attitudes, and Behaviors Amongst Collegiate Monitor and Discipline Throwers. Journal of human kinetics, 79, 111–122.
  8. Cameron, M., Camic, C. L., Doberstein, S., Erickson, J. L., & Jagim, A. R. (2018). The acute results of a multi-ingredient pre-workout complement on resting vitality expenditure and train efficiency in recreationally energetic females. Journal of the Worldwide Society of Sports activities Vitamin, 15, 1.
  9. Liu, Q., Sikand, P., Ma, C., Tang, Z., Han, L., Li, Z., Solar, S., LaMotte, R. H., & Dong, X. (2012). Mechanisms of itch evoked by β-alanine. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 32(42), 14532–14537.
  10. El-Wakeel, L. M., Fouad, F. A., Saleem, M. D., & Saber-Khalaf, M. (2020). Efficacy and tolerability of sildenafil/l-arginine mixture relative to sildenafil alone in sufferers with natural erectile dysfunction. Andrology, 8(1), 143–147.

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