Does Pre-Exercise Work: Is It Dangerous or Good for You?

You’ll be able to’t count on to show as much as each exercise feeling 100%. When you’ve been feeling drained, torpid, or unmotivated, pre-workout will be the enhance your exercise wants.

The pre-workout business is inundated with chews, capsules, canned drinks, powders, and colourful liquid in shaker bottles all promising that can assist you get a greater exercise.

However do they actually work? And most significantly, are they protected? We reply all under.


What’s Pre-Exercise?

“Pre-workout” is any complement—normally a powdered drink combine—that claims to spice up exercise efficiency.

Nearly each complement model on the market that provides a pre-workout method has its personal distinctive mix. That means whereas some manufacturers may share related substances, no two tubs are the identical.

In truth, one 2019 research discovered that of the highest 100 commercially out there pre-workout dietary supplements, practically half of all substances have been a part of a “proprietary mix”, which means the quantities of every ingredient weren’t disclosed (1).

Sometimes, these substances embrace a mix of B nutritional vitamins, carbs or sugar, caffeine, and different energy-boosting stimulants like creatine, BCAA’s, Taurine, and NO2 boosters. 

However with out regulation or clearer labeling, it may be tough to pinpoint precisely what you’re getting in a bath of pre-workout. It additionally means apart from boosting efficiency, there’s no clear definition of what a pre-workout complement is. 


Why Do Individuals Take Pre-Exercise?

Most individuals take pre-workout to rev themselves up for a exercise, or for particular efficiency or focus-boosting advantages. Pre-workout dietary supplements will help enhance power, energy, and endurance, cut back fatigue, and even alter your notion of effort.

For these causes, individuals could select to take pre-workout, and a few individuals could favor totally different pre-workout formulation greater than others.


Does Pre-Exercise Work?

It’s a mixture. Some pre-workout substances are effectively studied and may enhance your efficiency.

For instance, one research discovered that combining a pre-workout method containing caffeine, creatine, and amino acids with HIIT exercises resulted in vital will increase in VO2 max, coaching quantity, and lean physique mass whereas decreasing physique fats sooner (2).

However less-popular substances could be ineffective at finest, and harmful to your well being at worst.


What Are the Advantages of Pre-Exercise?

As a result of the substances of pre-workout range, the advantages range, too. However there are just a few widespread (and protected) pre-workout substances which have been proven to extend exercise efficiency. Listed here are the advantages you’ll be able to count on primarily based on what’s in your pre-workout of selection. 



Carbs are your physique’s go-to supply of vitality. When exercising—particularly at excessive intensities—your physique makes use of glucose and glycogen (saved carbs) for vitality. That’s why consultants suggest consuming carbs earlier than a exercise to correctly gasoline. Topping off your carb ranges earlier than a exercise with pre-workout is only one approach to enhance vitality and efficiency.



You’ll discover caffeine in practically each pre-workout (minus the non-stim class). Caffeine is a stimulant identified for reinforcing vitality and application. One evaluate even concluded that caffeine supplementation can improve cardio endurance, muscular power, leaping efficiency, and velocity (3).


Creatine Monohydrate 

Creatine monohydrate is usually included in pre-workout formulation. Creatine is of course produced within the physique, and it’s saved in your muscle groups as fast vitality for prime output efforts. Creatine will help you set in additional effort throughout your exercise and assist higher muscle progress after your exercise.

Research constantly present that in regular doses—three to 5 grams per day—creatine may be very protected for wholesome adults. Creatine has additionally been linked to improved cognition (4), decreased threat of despair (5), and a decrease threat of coronary heart illness (6).


B Nutritional vitamins

Nutritional vitamins B1, B2, B5, and B6 all play necessary roles in vitality manufacturing and effectivity. Whereas vitamin B12 helps blood manufacturing, vitamin B3 boosts DNA restore, which all play a task in serving to your physique work effectively throughout your exercise.


Beta-Hydroxy-Beta-Methylbutyrate (HMB)  

HMB is a substance your physique makes out of the amino acid leucine and can be present in protein-rich meals. HMB can cut back muscle breakdown, enhance muscle restore, and improve muscle progress after your exercise (7,8). A latest evaluate additionally means that HMB supplementation might assist throughout your exercise too, by rising muscle energy and enhancing cardio efficiency throughout your exercise (9).


Is Pre-Exercise Harmful?

Exercise efficiency questions apart, security is an enormous concern since pre-workout dietary supplements should not regulated by the FDA as intently as medication. Due to this fact, it pays to learn the substances label earlier than investing in a full tub.

The one approach to assure a product comprises what it says it comprises (and nothing it doesn’t) is to discover a product that’s licensed via a 3rd get together just like the NSF. The NSF even affords an NSF Licensed for Sport program, which is a program that offers athletes (and common Joe’s such as you and me) assurance that the merchandise we devour aren’t contaminated, dangerous, or banned from athletic competitors.

One other factor to look out for is protected substances that may grow to be dangerous in excessive concentrations—like caffeine. The higher limits of caffeine (400mg) may cause some critical well being points like anxiousness, insomnia, and hypertension.

For reference, a regular cup of espresso comprises wherever from 60-80 mg of caffeine. However many pre-workout dietary supplements push nearer to or breach 400 mg. One thing to look out for on the whole, and necessary to think about for those who’re a espresso or tea drinker, too.

It’s additionally smart to keep away from dietary supplements that include greater than 100% of your really useful each day allowance of anybody nutrient until in any other case prescribed by your physician.


Do You Must Take Pre-Exercise to Get the Most Out of Your Exercise?  

In brief, no. There are various different methods to realize vitality and improve the efficiency of your exercise. For one, espresso and pre-workout share a typical ingredient—caffeine—and the identical profit, albeit at a decrease (and extra applicable) dose. Espresso is a good pure pre-workout.

Most significantly, one of the simplest ways to gasoline your physique with the vitality and vitamins it wants to your exercise? Actual meals. When you’re consuming complete meals, you already know precisely what you’re getting.

Plus, for those who’re assembly your diet wants via an entire meals weight-reduction plan and timing your diet appropriately round your coaching, most wholesome, lively people may have every thing they should carry out their finest.

Backside line, get your fundamentals—fueling to your vitality requirement, hydrating, taking relaxation days, and getting good sleep—so as first. From there, for those who’re in search of an added vitality enhance, pre-workout could be the cherry on prime.


(1) “Widespread Ingredient Profiles of Multi-Ingredient Pre-Exercise Dietary supplements.” Vitamins, 2019 Accessed 8 August 2022.

(2) “The Results of Pre-Exercise Complement Containing Caffeine, Creatine, and Amino Acids Throughout Three Weeks of Excessive-Depth Train on Cardio and Anaerobic Efficiency. Journal of the Worldwide Society of Sports activities Vitamin, 2010 Accessed 8 August 2022.  

(3) “Wake Up and Odor the Espresso: Caffeine Supplementation and Train Efficiency—an Umbrella Assessment of 21 Printed Meta-Analyses” British Journal of Sports activities Medication, 2019 material/bjsports/54/11/681.full.pdf. Accessed 8 August 2022.  

(4) “Oral Creatine Monohydrate Supplementation Improves Mind Efficiency: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Managed, Cross-Over Trial.” Proc Biol Sci. Accessed 8 August 2022.

(5) “A Randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Managed Trial of Oral Creatine Monohydrate Augmentation for Enhanced Response to a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor in Ladies With Main Depressive Dysfunction.” The American Journal of Psychiatry, 2012. Accessed 8 August 2022.

(6) “Creatine Supplementation Alters Homocysteine Stage in Resistance Educated Males” Journal of Sports activities Medication and Bodily Health, 2015. Accessed 8 August 2022.