With anything in life, timing is everything. So it is with most nutritional supplements. So when should you take a pre workout? Take it too soon, and it may not work properly. Take it to late and it may not work properly. Take too much and you could have negative effects or too little and not feel anything.
Pre workout supplements are made to take your workout or exercise routine to the next level. It will give you additional energy, strength, stamina and focus to help achieve your fitness goals. Because of this, we are going to discuss more about how does pre workouts work and if a pre workout supplement is right for you.
This is why I feel that it is important to discuss when to take a pre workout. Therefore, we will discuss the best timing and strategy for taking your pre workout, the quantity to take for the best results, how it is absorbed into your body as well as muscle recovery time.
Timing is everything – When should I take a pre workout
The timing of when to take your pre workout is not an exact science by any means.
It depends on many factors such as your height and weight, how fast your body metabolizes, which pre workout supplement you are using, the last time you ate, your genetics and your tolerance to the supplement. That being said, it is not that difficult to figure out an estimated time period.
Let’s start with a comparison of a liquid that you know very well. Coffee, with the active ingredient being Caffeine. A cup of coffee takes about 45 minutes to be absorbed and then can last between 4 and 6 hours.
Coffee can also be used as a pre workout, though you do not get the additional advantages of muscle pump, vascularity and endurance that you would from the ingredients in pre workout. .
The average pre workout can take between 30 and 45 minutes to absorb and last for 3 to 6 hours. 30 minutes is enough time for the majority of ingredients to begin saturating your muscle tissue. If you take your pre workout too far ahead, then it may be used up by the time you hit the weights. Too soon, and you have to wait for it to start up.
It is best to take your pre workout on an empty stomach. It will kick in faster and longer. Taking it on a full stomach may reduce the effects that you are looking for. This is not critical if you do need to eat, but who really wants to work out on a full stomach anyway.
When I am hungry before the gym, I will eat a protein bar. Not only does it solve the discomfort, but gives my body some additional energy to burn.
If you have any questions or perhaps insights on when to take a pre workout, please leave a comment in the box at the bottom and I will respond.
How much pre workout should you take
As we discussed, the quantity is also based upon many factors. Obviously, if you weigh above average you would need more than the recommended serving size, and if you are lighter than average you may need a little less. If you are already high energy, we don’t want you off the charts so go easy.
Check your pre workout for how many milligrams of Caffeine it contains. Higher caffeine levels can increase the time of absorption. A higher caffeine quantity can also keep you up at night. I’ve had it happen, and it is no fun. If you are caffeine sensitive, there pre workouts that contain less.
If you happen to be Caffeine intolerant, you can try a Caffeine Free Pre Workout. Organic Pre Workouts and Plant Based Pre Workouts contain a more natural form of Caffeine. This may be better for you if you tend to get anxiety or the jitters from too much Caffeine.
I’m 190lbs and am pretty good with a little more that one scoop(or serving). That is if I haven’t eaten. I would guess that if you are over 200lbs, you would need closer to 1 1/2 scoops. If you are 150lbs, you would need just under a scoop.
Start out slow!! Pre workout is strong stuff. Many people have ended up with a migraine from taking too much. Especially your first time, make sure that you work your way up to what is comfortable
How is pre workout absorbed
Pre workout goes through the stomach, and then the Amino Acids (proteins) are absorbed by the small intestine. From there, they go into the blood stream so it can be used by your brain for energy and muscles for strength and endurance.
After the Amino Acids from this supplement are absorbed by your body, it affects the functioning of the cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, and nervous systems.
It is then slowly metabolized while it is giving you the effects. Whatever is left over is eventually cycled out through the liver. Pre workout supplements are not recommended for pregnant women as it can affect fetal health.
You don’t get the effect from your pre workout until it has made it to your blood stream. At this point, the caffeine goes to your head sometimes creating a euphoric feeling, and the nitric oxide (an essential Amino) goes to your muscles to create pump and vascularity. The most important part is the endurance that the pre workout helps your muscles perform stronger than usual.
You can’t have pre workout supplements without post workout supplements. Post workout protein powder timing is also important. The post workout supplements should be taken within a certain amount of time after your workout to have maximum effectiveness.
There is a window when your body is at a peak absorption rate for the ingredients. This can be called “the sweet spot” because your body is ready to uptake the post workout nutrients.
It’s not the end of the world if you can’t take advantage of this window of time. Your body will still absorb what it needs.
Many post workout supplements contain BCAA’s (Amino Acids), protein, Beta-alanine, vitamins and Creatine. Post workout supplements do not contain caffeine or anything that gives you energy. Post workouts are directed to give the body what it needs to help jump start your recovery process. After this it is up to you to eat plenty of protein and a healthy diet.
When Should You Take A Pre Workout
The answer to the most important question in this post how to time your pre work out to get the maximum effects. Once again, most pre workout supplements take approximately 30 to 45 minutes. Different brands, your metabolism, strength and quantity can change this timing.
Most brands say that the effects will last for about 3-6 hours. From my personal experience, it is a lot closer to 3 hours. This is factored again by metabolism, strength and quantity, so we will all have variation.
To demonstrate the advantages of pre workout, one case study shows that experienced cyclists were able to ride faster for 60 minutes at 80% of peak power output compared to cyclists that weren’t stimulated. Other studies have found improved reaction time, mental clarity, pain tolerance and focus in athletes that take pre workouts.
So find the correct pre workout supplement for you. Then make sure you take it correctly so you will get to your ultimate “sweet spot” and get the strongest results.
If you have any more questions about when to take pre workout or need any other information on pre workout supplements in general, please leave a comment below. I will respond as soon as possible.