how long does pre workout last

Every up-and-coming or pro sportsman desires to be productive and energetic out there during training at the gym or even on the field. Thus, a pre-workout is one out of many great fitness boosters known to many. It doesn’t matter whether you are an athlete or a normal recreational gymnastics lover, this supplement is good for you.

A pre-workout is created in such a way that your mental and physical vigor is boosted during your workout sessions. But how long does this effect last? This article is a detailed guide for you to explore what pre-workouts are, their effects and time duration, usefulness, and risk factors. You will also get tips to help you decide whether you should take one of these supplements or not.

What is a Pre-Workout?

Pre-workouts are a class of dietary boosts programmed to increase your energy level during a workout session. Not only that, but it also enhances your work capabilities, focus, and possible performance advancements.

These supplements are designed to boost the flow of blood to and from the muscles with special ingredients that widen the blood vessels. An example of such an ingredient is arginine (click here to read more) while caffeine is another ingredient that helps to increase the degree of your energy.

In addition, an ingredient known as creatine found in most of these workout boosters can help enhance one’s performance during a heated task. The majority of these pre-workouts are powdered, enabling you to combine them with juice or preferably water. On the other hand, some of them are in capsules or sold as canned drinks.

A lot of pre-work supplements are made accessible from tons of brands out there. And they each have unique ingredients and formulas. Depending on the brand, the ingredients and the dosage are usually listed on the product packaging. 

Research shows that some of the ingredients used in pre-workouts include but are not limited to the following: 

  1. Caffeine
  2. Taurine
  3. Creatine
  4. Beta-alanine
  5. Tyrosine
  6. Arginine
  7. Citrulline
  8. Niacin (otherwise called vitamin B3)

The constituent element of some of these supplements is a combination of all or some of these elements mentioned above. Additionally, some brands add other sweetened flavors, artificial sweeteners, and coloring to enhance appearance and taste to potential and established customers alike.

How Long Does Pre Workout Last?

Pre-workouts could last anywhere within 30 minutes to 2 hours. However, the kind of ingredients used in the product determines the kind of effect that you get. According to research, there are two most studied and active elements in these work boosters. They are arginine and caffeine.

The effects of caffeine kick in at most 1 hour after consumption whereas the arginine’s effects are within ninety minutes. Also, arginine widens the vessels of the blood, thereby, increasing the flow of blood. According to research, arginine’s half-life spans between 30 to 120 minutes, based on the quantity taken and the person involved. 

On the other hand, caffeine lasts for about 5 hours. However, the intense effect of this ingredient appears after an hour and lasts between 1 to 9 hours, but this also depends on the individual. Thus, we can conclude from the different half-lives of the ingredients, that any pre-workout’s effects will last for thirty minutes and up to two hours. 

Studies also reveal varying degrees of usefulness period for the major ingredients used, depending on the individual. Therefore, your adventures with these supplements and their accompanying effects may also vary. However, the span of any work booster is dependent on the following:

  1. The quantity of ingredients in each serving
  2. The dosage you consume per time
  3. Your weight
  4. Your level of caffeine sensitivity 
  5. The degree of workouts you do

Potential Risks of Using Pre-Workouts

You may wonder whether it is safe to take this drink before your workout sessions. Though the ones made with plenty of ingredients are quite safe, some ingredients are potentially harmful when you take them excessively. Some of those potential risks include:

1. Caffeine Toxicity

When you consume large quantities of caffeine, it could harm your system. It may also have very fatal consequences. For instance, if you consume caffeine traditionally by drinking tea or coffee, it is very hard to get to a catastrophic dose. This is because of the amount of liquid that you will consume to get to that level.

However, high consumption of pre-workout supplements that have excessive quantities of caffeine can be very disastrous. Its powdered form enables you to consume it in plentiful amounts. People who take pre-workouts along with other caffeinated drinks including supplements stand the risk of an overdose. 

Additionally, persons who don’t weigh much are at greater risks. Research reveals that those who consumed this product more suffered from heart anomalies, skin reactions, as well as nausea. The most unfortunate part of it is that females were the likely victims of these consequences including those who consumed more than two servings daily.

Nausea and heart anomalies were aftermaths of too much consumption of caffeine while the skin reactions were caused by niacin. The degree of these consequences comes with the number of servings taken.

Therefore, it is imperative that people watch their daily intake and consumption of supplements that contain high quantities of caffeine and arginine. This calls for moderation in dosing.

2. Niacin Toxicity

Consuming high doses of niacin can result in the following:

  1. A reduction in blood pressure to a dangerously low level
  2. Damages in the liver which in turn leads to failure in the liver 
  3. Failure of various organs

In the same vein, taking low quantities of niacin can lead to an inconvenient but harmless situation known as a niacin flush. In this condition, the skin becomes itchy and red and then becomes warm.  But after an hour, it disappears.

Some high-level pre-workout brands may or may not contain high quantities of niacin. Therefore, it is very possible to be a victim of niacin flush in just one serving or dosage. To be on the safe side, you have to check the level of niacin on the product’s label and ensure you take the prescribed amount of serving.

Other Safety Issues

Scientists are yet to investigate the safety of consuming these substances in the long run. As a result, we are still in the dark over the long-term consequences of using pre-workouts. Additionally, some other constituents may have devastating consequences on its users or increase the consequences of a too-much intake of caffeine. Thus, we cannot generalize that pre-workout supplements are totally safe.

The truth is that some of these supplements may contain substances that are harmful or may have been banned.  That said, though C4 is not FDA approved (because the FDA does not regulate pre-workouts), the reviews have been positive. 

Note that manufacturers are not allowed to lay claims to the usefulness of a supplement to cure, treat, or avert the consequences of a particular sickness. They can however claim that the products are effective. In this way, it is now an issue for the buyer to exercise caution when purchasing any of such products.

Aside from that, pre-workouts may contain harmful substances prohibited by professional and international sports bodies. Before any sporting events, tests are usually conducted. This is to ascertain the level of drugs that enhances performance in the athlete’s body. Thus, consumption of some of these workout boosters can disqualify the athlete.

Research has shown that some of these banned products in sports are found in pre-workout supplements. They include octodrine, phenpromethamine, deterenol, and beta-methylethylamine. The inclusion of the above-mentioned banned products is a cause for alarm considering the fact that we do not whether they were added intentionally or accidentally. 

More cause for alarm is the fact that there are no properly documented data on the consequences of mixing lots of catalysts in different quantities. These mixtures are not even stated on the product’s label. In addition, there are unknown consequences that pre-workout supplements may cause on our health. 

It could also cause a fight as sportsmen and coaches argue extensively to show that a drug test found positive was purely accidental. They also try to prove that it was caused by supplements that were tainted. Whatever the case may be, it is advisable for professional athletes to ensure that they get a third-party lab to test workout supplements before they consume them. This will prevent them from consuming any banned products.

Safety Measures for Consuming Workout Supplements

Some safety measures to consider are:

1. Take no more than one serving daily.

2.  Don’t take other boosters that contain niacin or caffeine if you want to consume any pre-workout supplement that exact day.

3. Make sure the products are tested and approved by professional regulatory bodies.

4. Ensure the ingredients used in production are listed on the product’s packaging, as well as the amount of dosage to be taken per day or serving.

5. Look up the ingredients online to know what exactly they are used for and if possible, the consequences.

6. Be committed to one dose of a particular pre-workout, especially if it’s your first.

7. Endeavour to seek advice from a doctor if you should take one, especially if you have been diagnosed with medical conditions. If possible, make the doctor aware of the ingredients in the product you want to consume and get their final feedback and recommendations.


Pre-workout supplements are proven to increase energy levels and work efficiency. Therefore, both sportsmen and people who use the gym regularly can use them. However, it is important to follow medical precautions while taking any of those substances. In this article, we discussed the duration of a pre-workout’s effects as well as its potential risks. We hope that the information will guide you to choosing a product that works for you.

By Caitlyn

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