Hey there friends and fitness enthusiasts. If you’ve ever found yourself in front of a wall full of pre-workout powders, asking “can I take pre-workout powders every day”?
You aren’t alone, I’ve been there and done that more than once because the sheer number of brands and ingredients often leave me wondering. I’ve made it my mission to uncover the mystery for you.
I’ve crunched the numbers and done the research regarding how often they can be used so you don’t have to. We’ll explore the benefits and potential drawbacks of using this workout supplement staple.
So buckle-up, you’ll be sure to walk away with the knowledge you need to put you on top of your pre-workout game.
While you can technically use pre-workout supplements every day, it’s not advisable because of the potential for developing a dependency, tolerance, and experiencing side effects over time. Always consult a physician or healthcare professional before starting use.
For the most part, the supplements that go into pre-workout mixes are not regulated by the FDA. The one thing they have going for them is the fact that many of the nutrients have been thoroughly studied and tested.
How Often Should You Take Pre-Workout?
You should only take pre-workout as recommended by the manufacturer. You’ll be able to find this on the nutritional label. And of course when in doubt, seek a physician out (rhyme not intentional).
Most pre-workout brands recommend once per day roughly 15-30 minutes before working out. The amount used varies from one scoop to several depending on the amount of energy you want. Be careful of the jitters and tingling face feelings you can get from too much caffeine or beta-alanine if you are sensitive.
Addiction is a Problem with Daily Intake of Pre-Workout Formulas
It’s just like anything else. Most pre-workout formulas already contain caffeine, which is a well-known substance that definitely falls in the “easily addicting” category. Some of the other substances can become addicting too.
Coming off of them has the potential to be nightmarish, in terms of withdrawal symptoms. The biggest single problem with pre-workouts is the level of caffeine in them. As an addictive substance, your body will get used to it and you will have to take more.
If you don’t take more, you’ll lack the energy boost you once had whenever you took your pre-workout. Too much caffeine is capable of causing horrendous problems in the body, including insomnia, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, rapid heartbeat, increased blood pressure, and even cardiac arrest or stroke.
If those things don’t sound too good, just for a pre-workout measure, that’s because they aren’t good. None of those side effects are supposed to be a part of your pre-workout consumption and ritual. Unfortunately, you may experience some of them if you consume pre-workouts daily.
Then there are the side effects of coming off pre-workout, assuming you’ve been consuming it on a daily basis. Caffeine headaches might be the least of your problems.
Caffeine Comparison of Popular Pre-Workout Brands And Coffee
There are an endless supply of pre-workout brands, but for compassion sake, here’s the caffeine content of two popular ones: Cellucor C4 and Joko Go pre-workout.
The FDA recommends that caffeine intake does not exceed 400 mg per day. Both of these pre-workout have much less than that and a single dose of either is well below the recommended limits. But multiple does will exceed that quickly. Especially if used with something like coffee.
Caffeine Comparison Table:
|Pre-workout brand or caffeinated drink
|Mg Caffeine per serving
|Cellucor C4 Sport
|Joko Go Pre-workout
|Cup of Coffee
So using pre-workout powders in moderation is likely safe.
Pay Attention to Ingredient Labels
Look for the acronym, USP somewhere on the container. USP is an independent certification lab that rests and verifies the efficacy of the ingredients in your pre-workout. It’s important to know what you’re getting when you take pre-workout, to avoid taking too much, gaining a tolerance, or taking too little.
It’s also just a good idea period. You should always know what you’re putting into your body and some of the things these brands put in their pre-workout are not entirely honest. Think of it as a ‘white lie.’
USP verification helps to clarify what is and what isn’t in your pre-workout formula to help you make better decisions about what you use to fuel your body. Also, knowing which ingredients are which and how much you’re getting helps your cycling ability as you come off and go on various pre-workouts.
Knowledge is power as they say and there is no greater power than knowing and understanding your body and its limitations.
Joko Go Pre-workout Nutritional Label
Cellucore C4 Sport Nutritional Label
What Are The Long-term Side Effects Of Taking Pre-workout?
Pre-workout supplements can be beneficial in helping you optimize your workouts in the short term by enhancing energy, focus, and endurance. However, long-term use of pre-workout supplements may not be all that helpful.
There aren’t a ton of studies out there, but the National Library of Medicine (NIH) conducted a study of over 800 people who use pre-workouts. Their goal was to understand habits and dangerous side-effects.
Most of the subjects used pre-workout powders 4-5 times per week over the course of a year to increase energy and focus, blood flow, and endurance.
The study revealed that more than half the participants reported some side-effects. But, they also stated more research is needed.
Key takeaways of the study:
- Common side effects reported: Nausea, self-diagnosed heart problems, and skin irritation.
- Females were more likely than men to have experienced side effects even when using smaller serving sizes.
- Many people used pre-workout with other products that contain caffeine and should avoid excessive consumption.
- The same goes for niacin, a common ingredient that can approach the tolerable upper levels. Side effects can include, flushed or red skin, headache. Upset stomach and diarrhea.
Effects Of Other Common Pre-Workout Ingredients
When it comes to pre-workout formulas, there are almost always a large variety of ingredients going on, especially if you are stacking different supplements on top of what’s already there. Those ingredients may be harmful or not, depending on how much you consume and how much you’re used to.
- Ingesting high amounts of creatine facilitates bloating, excess water retention, weight gain, and other digestive issues
- Citrulline expands blood vessels so excessive use may lead to extreme headaches, high blood pressure, and even migraines
- Sodium bicarbonate, magnesium, caffeine, and creatine have the potential to combine for some aggravating bowel problems
- Too much Beta-Alanine causes tingling in the hands and feet
Normally, none of these ingredients is a problem in regular doses, unless you have some sort of bad reaction to one or more of them (allergies). But, taking them every day, with no break, can cause accumulation effects and overdose effects if you have to increase the amount because of tolerance.
For the most part, you will notice cramping, bloating, and nasty bowel movements if you get excessive with pre-workout formulas.
How To Start a New Pre-Workout Formula
Unless you just really know your stuff and are attuned to how your body reacts to ingredients you know and understand, you should always start a new pre-workout at ⅓ dose. In most cases, these ingredients will be entirely new to your body, so starting out with a third of a typical portion is informative.
You’ll gain a better understanding of your tolerances going in. Also, it gives you the added advantage of maintaining a single pre-workout formula for longer than someone starting off on a full dose.
When you are starting to achieve a certain level of tolerance towards the ingredients, it’s also a good idea to taper off of it, reducing your intake to ¾, then to ½, then to ¼, then completely off of it.
Make sure you aren’t also consuming expired pre workout. It has a long shelf-life, but its worthwhile to verify to avoid other issues.
How To Cycle Your Pre-Workout to Avoid Tolerance Build-Up
Over time, your body will develop a tolerance to every ingredient in your pre-workout formula (assuming you’re taking it on a daily basis, seven days a week). This naturally leads to a dosage increase. The more you increase, the riskier it is to your overall health.
Cycling your pre-workout is a great way to avoid tolerance increases. You should also consider shifting to different pre-workout formulas, paying close attention to the ingredients so your body never develops a tolerance to a single one.
When you cycle off of your pre-workout or shift to a different formula, the period should last between six and eight weeks to give your body the maximum amount of time to shed its tolerance towards specific ingredients.
For coffee drinkers out there, you can continue to drink coffee if you’re just religiously dedicated to it. However, don’t expect the energy boost from a straight line of coffee that never increases in dosage.
Increasing caffeine intake is dangerous, so you should always keep it moderate, even if you no longer feel the benefits of it.
Tip: Only Use Pre-Workout on Days You Workout
This kind of goes without saying. There’s really no need to dose yourself up with a bunch of ingredients for a pre-workout when all you’re going to do is sit on the couch and watch football all day.
When it comes to taking pre-workout, common sense should rule your decision-making process. If your workout regimen covers the entirety of your muscle groups in four days, you should only take pre-workout for those four days. No more and no less.
On days you aren’t working out, just drink your coffee black in the mornings to get your daily caffeine. Plus, it will keep you from becoming a raging maniac as you withdraw from caffeine over a three-day period.
Winding Down: A Final Analysis on Daily Pre-Workout Intake
We all love the enhanced energy, endurance, and focus that pre-workout supplements can bring to the gym, but be mindful of too much daily intake. Overuse can lead to dependency, a tolerance build-up, and possible long term health risks/
Regular cycling off and paying attention to ingredients can help manage this.
Keep in mind that it is always helpful to talk with a healthcare professional before starting any supplement, pre-workouts included to ensure safe use. The side effects that can be brought on in addition to their benefits support the mantra: “moderation is key”.
IS TAKING PRE-WORKOUT EVERY DAY BAD FOR YOUR HEART?
While pre-workout supplements can help boost energy, overuse may cause increased heart rate and blood pressure, potentially leading to heart-related issues over time. As with any supplement, moderation is key, and it’s important to consult a healthcare professional before daily use.
PRE-WORKOUT PROS AND CONS:
Pros: Pre-workout supplements can provide increased energy, focus, and stamina for your workouts.
Cons: Daily use can lead to dependency, tolerance (needing more for the same effect), potential sleep disturbances, and possible cardiovascular risks.workout every day: pros and cons.
Should you take a break from using pre-workouts?
Yes, it’s advisable to take breaks from pre-workout supplements to prevent dependency, tolerance, and to give your body a chance to reset. Regular breaks can help maintain the supplement’s effectiveness
DO YOU NEED TO CYCLE OFF PRE-WORKOUT?
Yes, cycling off is basically taking a break from pre-workout supplements as mentioned above. It is recommended to reduce the risk of developing a tolerance, allowing the supplements to remain effective, and to minimize potential side effects. Always consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice.
What time of the day is best for pre-workout?
Pre-workout supplements are best taken 15-30 minutes before exercise, regardless of the time of day. However, because they often contain stimulants like caffeine, taking them too close to bedtime can make it hard to sleep.
CAN YOU DRY-SCOOP PRE-WORKOUT POWDER?
Dry-scooping pre-workout powder might be the latest “thing” at the gym, but it can pose some problems. Doing this can lead to the risk of digestive problems, choking, and a host of other problems. As always, think safely and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Citations / References
Glick, M. (April 9, 2021). We Don’t Really Know What’s in Pre-Workout Supplements
Retrieved from: https://www.discovermagazine.com/health/we-dont-really-know-whats-in-pre-workout-supplements
Hinchman, W. (March 7, 2021). Are Supplements Regulated by the FDA?
Common Habits, Adverse Events, and Opinions Regarding Pre-Workout Supplement Use Among Regular Consumers
Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6520716/
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