How Long Does Pre-Workout Last?
by James Lee on December 27, 2021
If you’re a student of the history of workouts, you probably know that the 1970s was a major turning point for folks of all ages. Gyms opened. Jogging came into its own. Aerobics took the U.S. by storm, and a new job niche emerged: personal trainers.
As interest in fitness grew over the next five decades, a new industry evolved that continues to thrive. Today’s fitness machines, methods, and innovations are all built on this history and the industry shows no sign of slowing down.
Was it inevitable that pre-workout supplements would become a major part of regimens adopted by folks eager to stay fit? The answer, according to medical authorities, is yes. Importantly, you want an answer to the question often asked by newbies: how long does pre workout last?
We explore the ins and outs of this timely subject so you can make informed decisions about the fitness decisions you make down the road.
What is pre-workout and what does it do for you?
According to the online resource Healthline, energy supplement formulations are designed to enhance physical performance, hype energy levels, and they’re safe for healthy adults eager to reach peak physical conditioning.
Most often formulated as a powder that's mixed with water, ingredients differ from product to product and may include nitric oxide precursors, caffeine, creatine, beta-alanine, and branch-chain amino acids.
Depending upon the brand, some energy supplement formulations add artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols. As a rule, these supplements support whole food alternatives, say experts writing for the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), but the differences are stark.
Foods loaded with protein, carbs and fat should be consumed around 2-3 hours before workouts. Pre-workout supplements are usually taken about 30-60 minutes before hitting the gym. Is that number set in stone? Hardly. Some are made to be taken 20 minutes before you workout.
How long does pre workout last and why?
You may be surprised to learn that the work of pre-workout products begins even before they are swallowed, according to physiologists and sports nutritionists undertaking research for the United States Sports Academy at Chicago’s Concordia University.
“Many of the ingredients in pre-workout supplements are intended to give athletes the perception that their workout is supercharged,” reported researcher Jordan Moon when answering the question of how long does pre workout last.
Consuming the product triggers common physical responses that include increased blood flow, elevated heart rate, improved focus, less fatigue, and an energy rush born of caffeine. Creatine contributes to this response by impacting muscle cells that “draw fluids from the blood plasma into the skeletal muscle,” Moon adds.
Given variations in formulations, the window of time during which these products impact the body can be anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours, according to a consensus of experts.
How safe are pre-workout products?
According to a study published by the National Institutes of Health, multi-ingredient pre-workouts “appear to be relatively safe,” though consuming them in excess is never advised. The downsides of overindulging include the potential for caffeine and/or niacin toxicity, each reaction capable of doing harm if the reaction is extreme.
Not yet regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there is a class of pre-workout products manufactured with banned substances like N,α-diethyl-phenylethylamine (N,α-DEPEA), a methamphetamine analog.
Avoid such products assiduously by scouring product labels. If you see deterenol, phenpromethamine, beta-methylethylamine and/or octodrine listed on a label, understand that you could put your health at risk if you take it.
How to stay safe while taking advantage of pre-workout products
Because new products are constantly being produced, it’s up to you to be your own safety advocate, so you enjoy the benefits these supplements offer without harming your body. These tips can help as you adjust to the period it takes to adapt and discover for yourself the answer to the question, how long does pre workout last:
-Consult your doctor to make sure you’re healthy enough to consume these products.
- Limit your intake to one serving a day.
- Seek out products that have been third-party tested.
- If you don’t recognize an ingredient, look it up.
- If you experience side effects, stop taking the supplement.
- If powder toleration is a problem, consider pre-workout pills.
- Start slowly. Let your body adapt before taking the full recommended dosages.
Is there a pre-workout product in your future?
Whether you’ve already climbed onboard the pre-workout train or you’re waiting at the station, there’s plenty to recommend these products and a lot of science behind them. It will be up to you to decide which of the many products on today’s market to try.
Please keep this in mind: If you choose one and experience common side effects -- itching, insomnia, hives, anxiety, unusual body odor, blood pressure fluctuations, diarrhea, or headaches -- don’t abandon your desire to improve your performance. Try another formulation until you find the right one.
The secret to success once you find the product that delivers on benefits is making it part of your daily routine. If you forget and show up at the gym ready to perform at max capacity, your body is going to notice the absence of the supplement big time.
What reactions could you experience? Don’t be surprised if you’re too exhausted to complete your usual circuit since the fatigue delaying aspect of caffeine is likely to be the most dramatic reaction of all.
Should you expect miracles from the moment you add pre-workout to your routine and become accustomed to the process that answers the burning question, how long does pre workout last? Get serious! Your body isn’t designed to acclimate itself to physical changes quickly, so expect a gradual increase in energy and bodily changes, feeling confident that your performance will improve in ways you've only dreamed of!