We all know that exercise is vital when it comes to feeling great and achieving our fitness goals. Sometimes, though, you just need an extra push to get in the gym and get moving.
Pre workout can be a lifesaver in these situations. However, you need to make sure you’re timing your supplementation correctly if you want to feel energized throughout your entire workout.
Not sure when to take pre workout for the best results? We’re addressing all your questions about pre workout supplement timing below.
Why Does Timing Matter?
Is it really important to pay attention to the timing of your pre workout supplementation?
Technically, you can take your pre workout whenever you want. However, if you’re looking to make the most of the energy you get from your pre workout drink, timing can make a difference.
Here are some of the top reasons why we recommend making the timing of your pre workout drink a priority:
Experience Maximum Energy
On average, levels of caffeine will peak in the bloodstream within about 15 to 45 minutes of consumption. You’ll still feel some effects from the caffeine after this period, of course. However, the maximum amount of energy will likely come during this 15-45-minute span.
Avoid a Crash
We’re all familiar with the crash that can happen after you take in a bunch of caffeine, right? You get a lot of energy at first, but you might also experience a bit of a crash later?
If you take your pre workout supplement too early (especially if it doesn’t contain ingredients that prolong the effects of caffeine), you may end up dealing with this crash, or at least a noticeable dip in energy, in the middle of your workout.
Avoid Sleep Problems
On the other end of the spectrum, you can also run into trouble if you take your pre workout too late. If you wait too long to drink your pre workout drink, you might find that you have trouble falling asleep when nighttime rolls around.
What’s the Best Time to Take Pre Workout?
As a general rule, you’ll see the best results from your pre workout supplement if you take it within about 30 minutes of your workouts. It’s during this time frame that caffeine reaches its peak effectiveness.
If you take your pre workout during this time frame, you’ll have enough time for the ingredients to get into your bloodstream and take effect.
You’ll likely feel some of the effects of the caffeine almost instantly after you consume your pre workout. However, other pre workout ingredients, such as Beta-Alanine, take a little more time for them to kick in.
How Much Pre Workout Should You Take?
For healthy adults, it’s safe to consume about 400 milligrams (0.014 ounces) per day.
When you’re measuring out your pre workout supplement, be sure to also factor in how much caffeine it contains per scoop and how much you’ve consumed before your workout.
For reference, one cup of coffee contains roughly 100 milligrams (0.003 ounces) of caffeine.
Start Low and Slow
Just because you can safely consume 400 milligrams (0.014 ounces) of caffeine per day, that doesn’t mean you have to take in that much to feel energized before your workout. In fact, if you’re new to using pre workout supplements, you’ll likely be better off starting with a smaller dose and working your way up over time.
Pre workout is generally considered to be a safe supplement, especially if you’re using a high-quality product that has been tested by a third-party lab. However, if you take too much, you might experience some side effects, including the following:
- Rapid heartbeat
Taking the “low and slow” approach can reduce your chances of experiencing these side effects. If you’re concerned about any of them, though, it’s a good idea to check-in with your doctor before including any kind of supplement in your routine.
How Late Can You Take Pre Workout?
If you’re taking a pre workout supplement that contains caffeine, make sure you’re not taking it too late in the day.
Caffeine has a half-life of about 5 hours. That means that you’ll still feel some of its effects and have 50 percent of it in your system about 5 hours after you’ve consumed it.
If you drank a pre workout drink at 9 AM that contains 200 milligrams (0.007 ounces) of caffeine, for example, you’d still have approximately 100 milligrams (0.003 ounces) in your system at 2 PM.
Because of caffeine’s relatively long half-life, those who exercise in the late afternoon or evening may experience sleep problems if they take a caffeine-containing pre workout before they start training.
That being said, it’s also worth noting that everyone metabolizes caffeine differently. Some people don’t have any problems taking it at a later time, whereas others have to cut off their intake very early to avoid sleep disturbances.
If you do notice that you struggle to fall asleep after an afternoon or evening training session, consider using a smaller scoop or using a stimulant-free pre workout instead.