Pre-Workouts: Why, When, and How to Take Them

At Raw Nutrition, we’re all about fitness—and we love helping our customers find the best pre-workout supplements. Whether you’re feeling run-down after a hard week, you woke up early to get a gym session in before work, or you just aren’t feeling it, pre-workouts offer a little something extra. Here, we’ll explain how proper timing helps you get the most out of a pre-workout supplement.

Pre-Workouts: What Are They?

All pre-workouts—including ours—are designed to improve gym performance. They work by sharpening focus, boosting energy, improving blood flow, and delaying muscular fatigue. With a Raw Nutrition pre workout supplement, you’ll get the power to push through a tough workout. 

Who Needs a Pre-Workout?

Not all workouts require supplementation but taking a pre-workout at the right time offers several benefits. Use pre-workout supplements as directed and discuss them with your doctor before starting. You may benefit from pre-workout usage if:

  • You’re a bodybuilder or an athlete. Those who prefer intense workouts may benefit from the additional energy, focus, and endurance these supplements provide.
  • You have a busy schedule. If you lack the motivation to hit the gym, a pre-workout may be right for you.
  • You have specific goals. Those trying to gain muscle or lose fat may find supplements beneficial.

Pre-workouts offer several advantages but aren’t without risks. Before using a supplement, do some research and choose one that’s effective and safe.

The Best Time to Take a Pre-Workout Supplement

There are a few factors to consider, both universal and unique, to consider when timing supplementation. People metabolize caffeine at different rates, which means some can get by with a quick drink 20 minutes before a workout, while others must supplement an hour before hitting the gym. Eating habits also play a role, as supplements tend to hit an empty stomach sooner.

It may take a bit of experimentation to see what works for you based on your fitness routine and meal timing. If you crash halfway through a workout, you took the supplement too soon—and if you don’t feel anything until you walk out of the gym, you took it too late. It’s important to note that caffeine has a half-life of about five hours, so proper timing is essential for those who train in the afternoon and evening. If you find it hard to fall asleep at night, train in the morning or use a stimulant-free pre-workout supplement.

Why Take a Pre-Workout?

The biggest benefit of pre-workout supplements is the additional energy they provide. When fatigue sets in, that extra pep can help you get through a challenging workout. Besides caffeine, our supplements contain ingredients proven to decrease fatigue, improve focus, boost hydration, and increase blood flow. Every pre-workout is different, and reading the ingredient list will let you know what to expect.

What’s In Pre-Workout Supplements?

There are hundreds of pre-workouts on the market, and we’re glad you chose ours. Raw Nutrition’s pre-workout supplements include tested, proven ingredients like:

  • Electrolytes. Essential minerals like potassium and sodium are lost when we sweat, and we include them in our supplements to boost hydration. 
  • Caffeine. One of the world’s most well-known stimulants, caffeine improves sports performance and energy levels. 
  • Creatine. Typically used for power and strength during intense workouts, creatine monohydrate gradually increases muscle mass and strength. 
  • Beta-alanine. Providing the tingle we all know and love, beta-alanine builds up with time and improves endurance.
  • L-citrulline. It’s added to pre-workout supplements because it increases the production of nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels and improves blood flow. It offers the pump we all look for.
  • BCAAs. Also known as branched-chain amino acids, BCAAs are found in complete protein sources. Isoleucine, leucine, and valine are included in pre-workouts for muscle recovery, but you’ll need all nine essential amino acids for growth.
  • Betaine. A component of beetroot, betaine may boost endurance during long, intense workouts.
  • L-theanine. Often used with caffeine for improved cognitive function, L-theanine decreases the jittery feelings caffeine brings.

These ingredients, when combined in the right quantities, will give you the extra push to get through the toughest workouts. Five-time Mr. Olympia champion Chris Bumstead relies on Raw Nutrition, and so should you.

Qualities to Look for in Pre-Workouts

With hundreds of options available, it’s tough to choose the right one. Here are some of the most important factors to consider when choosing a pre-workout supplement.

  • Caffeine content. According to the Food and Drug Administration, an adult can safely ingest 400 mg of caffeine per day. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, check out our non-stimulant pre-workouts.
  • Truth in labeling. All good dietary supplements—ours included—tell you just what you’re getting. Transparency is at the heart of everything we do, and you will find no proprietary blends here!

All our ingredients are tested for purity, quality, and efficacy, so you can buy our pre-workout supplements and hit the gym confidently. 

How Long Will It Be Before My Pre-Workout Kicks In?

Everyone is different, and the time required to feel ‘the boost’ depends on factors including caffeine consumption and eating habits. While caffeine usually kicks in about 45 to 60 minutes before a workout, every person metabolizes it at a different speed. If you’re unsure where on the spectrum you fall, see how long it takes to feel the effects next time you take a pre-workout and use that information to make a dosing schedule.

Pre-Workout Side Effects: Should You Worry?

All supplements, pre-workouts included, come with potential side effects. Products with high stimulant levels, for instance, may cause jitters, headaches, high blood pressure, and insomnia in sensitive individuals. Drink enough water and follow the supplement’s usage directions to avoid side effects without sacrificing gym performance.

Our Thoughts on Pre-Workout Timing and Benefits

There’s no hard-and-fast rule on pre-workout timing, simply because every gym-goer is different. Taking a supplement too early may cause a premature crash while taking it too late creates evening jitters. With focus, dedication, and a willingness to experiment, you’ll find a pre-workout dosing schedule that works for you.