In case, you are not familiar and are now wondering what is pre workout – they are supplements you take before any exercise session. They help increase your performance and lower the risk of injuries and fatigue.
They help increase your energy and muscle mass through ingredients like caffeine, creatine, and amino acids.
How long does pre-workout last? Short answer: long enough for you to finish at least one workout session.
But the duration for which a pre-workout lasts depends on a lot of factors like its ingredients, the dose, and your activity levels. So, we are sure you can’t wait to get into the details.
Let’s get right into it!
How Long Does Pre-Workout Last in Your Body?
What we find is that a pre-workout might last anywhere between 30 minutes and two hours.
The duration of pre-workout effects is mostly determined by the following factors:
- the amount of each ingredient in the pre-workout
- the total number of doses you consume in a certain amount of time
- your body weight
- amount of physical activity you do
- caffeine sensitivity
The range of 30 min to 2 hours is based on the half-lives of two primary ingredients of pre-workouts – caffeine and arginine (amino acid).
That’s because caffeine’s acute effects, according to research, begin to take effect after 1 hour. And they can continue anywhere between 1.5 and 9.5 hours, depending on the person.
According to a 2020 study, arginine has a half-life of 30–120 minutes, again depending on the amount and the individual.
Beta-alanine – another essential amino acid in pre-workouts has a half-life of 25 minutes. And that, with a return to baseline concentrations occurring 3 hours after intake.
What is the half-life, you ask?
The half-life is the time it takes for the drug’s concentration levels in plasma or the total quantity of the drug in our body to get lowered by half. To put it another way, after one half-life, the drug concentration in the body will be half of the initial dose.
Note: You would want to relax after a workout session. So, you won’t need much energy for a cool-down exercise. Therefore, you can easily reduce your dose or take the pre-workout. But don’t take our word for it. Experiment and see for yourself, how long does pre-workout last in your body.
When Should You Take Pre-Workout?
Before getting to this question, let’s understand how long does it take pre workout to kick in. According to medical experts, the two most active ingredients – caffeine and arginine would take about an hour to 1.5 hours to kick in.
So, you can consume pre-workout foods an hour before your workout.
The other factor to this question is how many times should you take pre-workout in a day.
Most people take pre-workouts once a day, about an hour before their high-intensity workout session.
But, some people like to take a pre-workout twice a day – morning and evening, no matter if they are going to exercise in the evening or not.
While that works for some people, it doesn’t for most fitness freaks.
The primary reason is that pre-workouts are full of caffeine. And that can hamper your sleep cycle if you take a dose in the evenings.
For anyone who works out regularly, a sleep session is a quite important activity, if not the most essential one. That’s because sleep helps the muscles recover and make them stronger.
A gym session without a rest period afterward is a waste for anyone trying to make exercising a good and healthy habit.
So, to answer your question – you should take pre-workouts ideally in the morning 20-30 minutes before your workout session. But definitely not in the evening.
In case you work out in the afternoon, try taking your dose around noon, so the effects of pre-workout don’t end up ruining your sleep at night.
Pros & Cons of Pre Workout
Like everything else in the world, even the best pre-workouts have pros and cons, too.
Let’s start with the benefits of pre-workouts:
- They enhance your fat-burning ability.
- They improve your overall productivity.
- They increase muscle mass.
You can read more about the benefits of pre workout energy drinks here.
Pre-workout side effects:
- Risk of overstimulation
Do you remember that episode from FRIENDS when Ross Gellar starts acting crazy after eating too much maple candy?
Well, that was the jitters from sugar. You can experience something similar or much more unnerving due to the high amounts of caffeine (and also, sugar) present in regular pre-workout formulas.
All fitness professionals who have been using supplements for a long time are well aware of the jitters that might accompany taking a pre-workout.
The wobbly sensation, on the other hand, can be unsettling for people who are new to using it.
When you ingest more caffeine than your body is accustomed to, your nervous system is unable to utilize all of the energy available to it. Thus, resulting in jitters and tingles.
The jitters aren’t a problem for everyone, and some people don’t mind it, but if it bothers you, reduce your pre-workout dose or avoid it completely.
- Reduced effectivity
When you consume certain ingredients regularly, your body gets used to them.
With time – whether it’s caffeine, sugar, or arginine, the compounds bring the few negative effects they have. But without showing the positive effects they showed initially.
This reduces the effectiveness of these ingredients. So, you will have to increase your pre-workout dose as time goes by. And if you wish to work out with passion for all your life, that will mean a large hole in your pocket.
The best way to go about pre-workouts is to use them only for exercise emergencies. For example, when you know you have snoozed that alarm too many times for the past few days and can’t afford to lose a workout on a particular day.
This way, pre-workouts will keep working for you for years to come.
- Can be unsafe
Always study the label before buying and using a pre-workout. Some may contain wrong ingredients or inappropriate doses of the ingredients.
And consuming them often could have a negative impact on your training and, more importantly, your health.
How To Take Pre-Workout (With Water Or Dry)?
The easiest and preferable way to take pre-workout is with water.
This is not only useful for the pre workout to last longer in your system, but is also a safer way.
The other ways you can consume pre-workouts is through smoothies or dry scooping. While smoothies are safe, dry scooping isn’t.
Dry scoopers just fill a scoop full of pre-workout powder and eat it away like regular food.
This is problematic because all it does is flood your system with caffeine in one go. You may experience a spike in blood pressure and heart rate when taking in the powder, particularly when you begin exercising. This can get risky, especially if you plan on doing heavy lifts or more than average reps of exercise.
Adding water to the pre-workout not only prevents this risk during workouts but also speeds up your body’s absorption of it.
Now you know what is pre workout, how long does it take pre workout to kick in, and when is the best time to take pre workout according to how long does pre workout last.
You also know the positive effects and pre workout side effects. And how pre-workout with water is a good to prevent a few of the risks.
It’s time now to analyze your workout schedule and find what time and what dose of pre-workout suits you best.
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