One of the most common questions gym lovers ask is how long it takes for pre-workout to kick in. Nowadays, many athletes use pre-workout supplements, which are user-friendly, efficient, and give rapid results.
Depending on the active ingredients, it takes 30 minutes to 90 minutes for them to start working in your body. For this reason, taking pre-workout before working out allows you to perform at your best. Most pre-workout supplements contain caffeine and arginine. And each of these ingredients requires a slightly different amount of time to reach its full potential.
Pre-workout supplements give quick and exceptional results, due to which many experts recommend them. However, the question of when a pre-workout begins to work is a common one, despite its ease of use.
When Will the Pre-workout Kick in & How Long Will It Last?
The desired impact of pre-workout supplements can be sustained varying amounts of time, depending on the ingredients. Most pre-workout supplements contain caffeine and arginine as two of the top active ingredients.
For these two ingredients, it typically needs about 30 to 90 minutes for the pre-workout to kick in. It takes caffeine 60 minutes to reach its maximum effect, while arginine takes 60 to 90 minutes after consumption.
Therefore, if your pre-workout contains caffeine and arginine, you can expect it to be most effective within 30 to 90 minutes. In pre-workout, arginine increases blood flow by widening blood vessels.
According to the dose and individual characteristics, arginine’s half-life varies between 30 and 120 minutes. Further, the half-life for caffeine is approximately 5 hours. It has been found that caffeine’s acute effects begin within an hour and can last between 1 and 9 hours, which varies from person to person.
Because caffeine and arginine have varying half-lives, pre-workouts will have varying periods of effectiveness. So, since each ingredient has different half-lives, your pre-workout experience may vary from person to person.
How to Take Pre-Workout
You can usually find instructions for taking pre-workout products on their packaging. And it’s always best to adhere to these.
However, you shouldn’t be afraid to start with a smaller serving to see how you react to the supplement. Mainly if the supplement includes caffeine or alanine amino acids.
Be prepared to feel the tingling effect when taking supplements that contain alanine. These are harmless but may be uncomfortable for some people.
When Should I Take Pre-workout?
It’s best to take pre-workout supplements approximately 30 to 60 minutes prior to exercising. By doing so, the ingredients have enough time to advance and affect the bloodstream.
If there’s caffeine or additional stimulants in your pre-workout, you should take it during the day. The reason for this is that these stimulants could interfere with your sleep.
Do I Have to Eat Something Before Taking Pre-Workout?
Have you experienced jitteriness or lightheadedness? Having an empty stomach feels like this after drinking coffee. You’ll feel exactly this way if you don’t eat anything before drinking a pre-workout.
My recommendation is to eat something light an 60 to 120 minutes prior to exercising. In doing so, you’ll avoid the potential harmful consequences of taking pre-workout on an empty stomach. And you’ll also have plenty of calories to keep you going during your hard workout.
If, however, you are worried about the efficacy of a pre-workout on an empty stomach, stay away from fiber-rich foods. Foods high in fiber may slow digestion. This prevents carbohydrates from being absorbed into your bloodstream as quickly, which is what you want.
Besides, while taking vitamins and supplements, some individuals neglect to drink enough water, decreasing their workout performance, hampering their muscle gains, and dehydrating themselves.
During the metabolization of vitamins and elements, water plays a crucial role. Therefore, you should not avoid drinking water with pre-workout supplements. In addition, if you neglect to drink water before a pre-workout, it can negatively affect your kidneys.
Is It Safe to Consume Pre-workout?
According to a study by PMC Lab, it appears to be relatively safe to take pre-workouts. However, it is essential to note that pre-workout supplements may promote health risks if you consume them in excess.
Pre-workouts come with these risks:
- Toxic Effects of Caffeine
Overconsumption of caffeine can be hazardous and even fatal. However, consuming a fatal dose of caffeine from traditional sources like coffee or tea is very difficult.
But it is much easier to consume large amounts of caffeine by taking concentrated powders containing caffeine, such as pre-workouts. As a result, pre-workouts have a greater risk than ordinary caffeine-based drinks.
Caffeine overdose is possible if a person drinks several caffeinated drinks along with pre-workout. The risk is higher for people who weigh less.
- Toxic Effects of Niacin
Many pre-workout supplements also contain niacin which can be dangerous if used excessively. The risks associated with high doses of niacin include severe hypotension and liver damage.
On average, pre-workout supplements consist of 25.8 mg of niacin. As a result, one serving could lead to niacin flushes after pre-workout.
Look at the amount of niacin on the product’s label to determine how much you’re taking. Make sure you’re taking the recommended amount.
- Other Risks
There has been no research on pre-workout supplements for an extended period, so there is no way of knowing if they cause harm over time or not.
However, additional ingredients may contribute to caffeine’s side effects or increase their severity. Due to this, it is hard to inform the public more broadly about the safety of pre-workout supplements.
You should always exercise caution when taking a supplement, especially if you’ve never taken it before. And consuming a pre-workout supplement that contains caffeine and arginine should be done with care.
Remember that these ingredients will essentially increase your blood flow and heart rate. Therefore, it’s always advisable to seek advice from your physician before taking pre-workout.
That said, if you take the supplement responsibly, you can enjoy a beneficial workout when the pre-workout kicks 30 to 90 minutes later.