The ten Most Widespread Pre-Exercise Aspect Results

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

Considered use of a pre-workout can definitely result in increased depth periods that last more and ship a larger muscle-building, fat-burning stimulus. Nevertheless, all pre-workout formulation are designed with totally different elements in several doses, so “one scoop” of one thing isn’t at all times similar to “one scoop” of a distinct combination.

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

Editor’s Notice: The next data is supposed to be informative in nature, however shouldn’t be taken as medical recommendation. The content material introduced shouldn’t be meant to be used as prognosis, prevention, and/or remedy of well being issues. It isn’t an alternative choice to consulting a professional medical skilled.

Pre-Exercise Aspect 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. Nevertheless, some comparable varieties of elements are likely to pop up throughout totally different formulation.


Probably probably the most well-known and, for some, most desired, kind of ingredient is a simple stimulant to bolster bodily and psychological power. Caffeine, tyrosine, yohimbine, and theacrine are a few of the most typical sources of stimulants.

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

Whereas nearly all of pre-workouts include some type of stimulant, there are numerous 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 will enhance endurance. Widespread nitric oxide boosters, typically known as “NO2 boosters,” embrace arginine, citrulline, and betaine (to not be confused with beta-alanine, which is an unrelated ingredient with totally different results).

Endurance Help

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 reducing 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 particular 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 well-liked largely as a result of they’re efficient. Listed below are a few of the most noticeable advantages.

Elevated Power and Alertness

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

Elevated Energy and Power

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

Improved Blood Move

Many pre-workout formulation enhance total-body circulation. This improved blood move might assist with common alertness and power, 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 flexibility to carry out longer exercises with out reducing output has been a time-tested recipe for improved health, power, and efficiency.

Long-haired person running on treadmill
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Many pre-workouts assist to enhance endurance throughout a coaching session, both by reducing 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 the next depth.

10 Potential Aspect Results

For all of its potential advantages, a pre-workout additionally has the potential to ship some uncomfortable side effects. No lifter ought to fairly anticipate all acquire for no proverbial “ache” within the gymnasium, whether or not it’s a difficult set or a helpful complement. Listed below are the most typical, although definitely not assured, potential points from utilizing a pre-workout.

CNS Burnout

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

As a result of pre-workouts enable you practice practice more durable and longer — with larger depth and doubtlessly extra quantity — it’s possible you’ll be in danger over overstressing your CNS with extreme use.

Impaired Sleep

Maybe probably the most “apparent” potential downside of a stimulant-laden pre-workout is interrupted sleep and potential insomnia. That is primarily a problem with stimulant-heavy pre-workouts (these which embrace caffeine or different stimulants of their formulation), significantly 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. Nevertheless, particular person sensitivities and complete every day caffeine consumption (from espresso, tea, soda, and so on.) is usually a issue.


Typically 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 numerous elements swirling round your intestine, a robust pre-workout may depart you feeling queasy, which might in the end interrupt your coaching session. Some analysis suggests that is truly one of the widespread uncomfortable side 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, usually on account of high-dose stimulants or associated elements. This could severely interrupt a coaching session, usually derailing a exercise earlier than it’s even begun. In excessive instances, it might be extreme sufficient to drive a lifter to desert a exercise completely.


Whereas stimulant-based pre-workouts may be extremely efficient for bettering power, energy, and endurance, they will additionally ship steadily 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 influence, purpose to make use of a pre-workout not more than each different day, slightly than each exercise. Should you continuously eat important quantities of caffeine throughout an everyday day, take into account slicing again or utilizing a pre-workout even much less continuously. This could enable the formulation to ship a extra noticeable profit. (6)


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

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

This may increasingly not essentially be accounted for with adequate intra-workout hydration. Dehydration can result in an total lower in energy and endurance, making the exercise counterproductive.


One other potential facet impact of pre-workout, which can be noticeable sooner slightly than later throughout some periods, is a simple headache. Many pre-workout elements enhance total blood move which may be helpful to muscular efficiency, however will also be contraindicated in an individual who’s already experiencing hypertension. (8)

Should you’re at present coping with hypertension, double-check your pre-workout formulation for elements which can exacerbate the problem reminiscent of arginine, citrulline, and different purported “nitric oxide boosters.”

Elevated Coronary heart Charge

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

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

Pores and skin Response

A comparatively minor facet impact, however no much less distracting, is a “tingling” or itching pores and skin sensation after taking a pre-workout. This may be significantly widespread 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 of a “profitable signal” that the complement could also be working.

Treatment Interplay

Many dietary dietary supplements carry the chance of potential interactions with prescription drugs. Pre-workout formulation are not any totally different and needs to be approached with sufficient consideration.

A number of particular person elements widespread to pre-workout mixes are thought of “contraindicated” when taking key classes of medicines. For instance, NO2 boosters reminiscent of arginine or citrulline might have an additive impact in individuals taking sure drugs 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 will result in elevated blood strain and associated issues.

Pre-Exercise with Care

Pre-workout formulation may be distinctly helpful when used strategically. Nevertheless, like several complement, there are additionally potential uncomfortable side 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 you have these particulars sorted out, you’ll be higher ready to anticipate and mitigate any potential uncomfortable side effects, resulting in larger outcomes total.


  1. Martinez, N., Campbell, B., Franek, M., Buchanan, L., & Colquhoun, R. (2016). The impact of acute pre-workout supplementation on energy and power efficiency. Journal of the Worldwide Society of Sports activities Diet, 13, 29.
  2. Schoenfeld, Brad J. PhD, CSCS, CSPS, NSCA-CPT1; Contreras, Bret MA2. The Muscle Pump: Potential Mechanisms and Purposes for Enhancing Hypertrophic Diversifications. 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 Important Evaluation. Journal of human kinetics, 49, 159–169.
  4. Jagim, A. R., Camic, C. L., & Harty, P. S. (2019). Widespread Habits, Antagonistic Occasions, and Opinions Concerning Pre-Exercise Complement Use Amongst Common Shoppers. 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 consequences of caffeine following abstinence and regular caffeine use. Psychopharmacology, 207(3), 423–431.
  7. Decide, L. W., Bellar, D. M., Popp, J. Okay., 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: Data, Attitudes, and Behaviors Amongst Collegiate Observe 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 power expenditure and train efficiency in recreationally energetic females. Journal of the Worldwide Society of Sports activities Diet, 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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