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20 Pre-workout Side Effects: Know Before You Go

As a regular gym goer, you must have been recommended pre-workout supplements. These have major side effects. Learn about 20 pre-workout side effects below.

5 min read
20 Pre-workout Side Effects: Know Before You Go

Do you love to utilize your gym time to the fullest by taking a pre-workout supplement? However, there are a few things you should be aware of taking supplements in general. Here are 20 pre-workout side effects you need to know

What are Pre-workout Supplements? Pre-Workout Meaning

Pre-workout supplements are meant to enhance your performance just before exercise. They are designed to improve focus, stamina, energy, and athletic performance. These include a variety of substances, such as caffeine, stimulants, and amino acids. Pre-workout supplements come in various forms, including premixed drinks, powders, pills, and snack bars. Beta-alanine, caffeine, citrulline, tyrosine, taurine, creatine, and niacin are some of the common components found in them. However, pre-workout supplements’ side effects can weaken your body over time. Learn about these side effects below.

Pre-workout Side Effects

Pre-workout is a product that lots of gym goers adore using to boost their energy and even performance! However, a few pre-workout ingredients can have side effects. Here are 20 pre-workout supplement side effects.

1) Feeling Unwell or Jittery

Pre-workout supplements commonly include the stimulant caffeine. Although it lessens fatigue and boosts your muscle output, there is one drawback - one of the most common pre-workout side effects is their tendency to make you feel unpleasant or jittery.

2) A Tingling Sensation

Taking beta-alanine or niacin (vitamin B3)-containing pre-workout supplements may give you a tingly or "pins and needles" feeling. While beta-alanine helps you work out longer, it can also create a safe nervous system reaction that feels tingly.

3) Get a Headache

Prominent pre-workout side effects involve headaches. These supplements contain substances that help boost blood flow by increasing nitric acid. However, the increased blood flow impacts the brain, triggering headaches.

4) Stomach Upset or Diarrhoea

Caffeine, creatine, sodium bicarbonate, and magnesium are a few ingredients in pre-workout supplements that may have laxative effects.

These digestive problems typically arise from either excessive consumption or adding too little water.

5) Experience Sleepless Nights

You might need a surge of energy to get through your workout after a hard day, but pre-workouts contain a lot of caffeine (almost four times as much as a cup of coffee), so there is a good possibility that it can keep you up all night.

6) Dehydration

Dehydration is another common pre-workout supplement side effect because it contains ingredients that draw water. In addition, dehydration is brought on by stimulants, resulting in fainting, dizziness, and nausea.

7) Muscle Cramps

Dehydration brought on by stimulants in pre-workout supplements increases the possibility of cramps. Ensure you drink lots of water to maintain hydration, especially after exercise.

8) Water Retention

Creatine, known to boost lean body mass increases and high-intensity workout capability, is a common ingredient in pre-workout supplements. However, some people may experience water retention due to creatine.

9) Increased Risk of Renal Stones

Another pre-workout side effect is kidney stones. Drinking at least eight cups of water is essential to reduce this risk. If you have kidney problems, consult a doctor before ingesting a pre-workout.

10) Possible Skin Reaction

Niacin, added to many pre-workout supplements for its skin-flushing effects, is another component with minor drawbacks. It can cause a blood rush to your skin's surface in high dosages, resulting in a red skin rash.

11) Chances of Gaining Weight

Creatine is one of the common substances in several pre-workout supplements. Creatine pre-workout supplement side effect is weight gain caused by water retention.

12) Lack in Focus

It is not surprising that pre-workout supplements are designed to give you an energy boost. However, you might experience increased energy when paired with coffee, affecting focus and productivity.

13) Risk of Liver Problems

Pre-workout supplement side effects include harm to your liver when taken in large doses. For those who have cardiovascular disorders, this can be risky, and it can also result in several other health issues.

14) Sweating Problems

Excessive perspiration can be one of the pre-workout side effects. The stimulants in these pre-workout supplements are the culprits. These substances can boost your body temperature, which may cause excessive perspiration.

15) Increased Skin Breakouts

Prework-out supplements cause acne and other skin issues. If you have sensitive skin or skin prone to acne, some substances, such as sugar, BCAAs, caffeine, and artificial sweeteners, may irritate your skin.

16) Risk of Ulcers

Some persons have a higher chance of developing gastritis and ulcers when taking a pre-workout. Consult your doctor before including a pre-workout supplement in your regular routine if you have underlying stomach problems.

17) Interactions with Medications

Another typical pre-workout supplement side effect is its ingredients' negative interactions with some prescription drugs. It includes antibiotics, antidepressants, and other prescription medications.

18) Nitrate Overload

Nitrate overload is among pre-workout supplements' side effects. When these supplements are consumed in large concentrations, nitrosamines are produced. These byproducts can cause cancer.

19) Blood Pressure Fluctuation

Pre-workouts may raise blood pressure when paired with arduous activity or HIIT because they contain stimulants, particularly caffeine, which lead to the same.

20) Caffeine Withdrawal Symptoms

Caffeine, a potent substance that increases energy levels, is a common ingredient in pre-workout supplements. Without caffeine, you risk experiencing withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, irritability, headaches, and exhaustion. However, at some point, if you are willing to stop it, you must do it gradually

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Should You Use Pre-workouts?

Formulas for pre-workouts are not for all. If you frequently lack energy or struggle to finish your workout, consider other lifestyle elements, including nutrition, sleep, and hydration, instead of taking supplements.

Furthermore, the efficacy of pre-workout supplements due to the wide variation in their constituents is not yet scientifically proven.

In addition to pre-workout side effects, these supplements are quite pricey. However, you can continue taking them if you feel they are effective. Just be aware of its ingredients. Before using them, discuss their dosage with a medical health professional.

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Alternatives to Pre-workouts

Consider simple, nutritious foods as an alternative to pre-workout supplements. You can sustain your body through various training sessions by eating the right foods before your workout. Here are some tips to avoid pre-workout supplements' side effects.

  • One of the primary energy sources is glucose, which your body obtains from carbs. You can substitute carbs for pre-workout supplements if you time them correctly.
  • Reserve your protein-rich drink right after your workout because protein is not your body's primary energy source during a workout.
  • Fats are a good source of energy for light to moderate exercise.
  • Making a pre-workout supplement substitute consisting of an ideal quantity of fat, protein, and carbohydrates is a terrific idea. Some options are smoothies, greek yoghurt, nutmeals, oatmeal, brown rice, sweet potato, fruits like apples, bananas, berries and pineapple, water, caffeine, and green/black tea.

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Tips to Get Rid of Pre-workout Side Effects

The following tips can spare you the trouble of dealing with pre-workout side effects:

1) Consume in Smaller Amounts

Pre-workout supplements' side effects usually come from overdosing on certain ingredients. Most of these issues are avoidable if you first take them slowly and in small amounts. Start with half or a quarter of a scoop, then gradually increase the dose.

2) Avoid Using Proprietary Blends

Companies may use mixtures known as proprietary blends in which the precise ratio of every ingredient used is not disclosed. Please stay away from them because you do not know how many stimulants or allergenic substances are present in such pre-workouts.

3) Choose Products with Little Caffeine

Consuming a hefty dose of concentrated caffeine is the cause of many of the pre-workout side effects. Because of this, you must choose only items that contain little to moderate amounts of caffeine.

4) Look for Allergens

You should always read the ingredient list before buying supplements because it is essential to understand what you put into your body. This becomes even more essential if you have a history of a food allergy, such as lactose intolerance or caffeine sensitivity.

5) Never Take a Dry Scoop

Pre-workout supplements’ side effects arise when you consume a dry scoop. Consume it in a liquid mix after being dissolved in sufficient water.

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