5 Pre-Workout Side Effects and How to Reduce Them

There's one supplement many gym-goers love to take as a way to increase their energy levels and even performance – pre-workout! Pre-workout supplements are a powder drink mix that includes a blend of ingredients that are meant to increase energy, muscular endurance, power, speed, and so much more.

However, there are a few ingredients in pre-workout that can cause potential side effects. The potential side effects of pre-workout supplements aren't necessarily bad, but they can be uncomfortable. Luckily, there are easy ways to overcome them and reduce the effects. Since we have our very own all-natural Pre-Workout Supplement, we know a lot about these products! So, in this article, we'll break down the five main side effects of pre-workouts plus tips on how to reduce them.

It might make you feel jittery

A vast majority of pre-workout supplements contain the stimulant caffeine. There are non-stimulant pre-workouts that contain no caffeine, but most prefer it to get a huge boost in energy, especially if working out in the early morning or evening after a long day!

Despite its benefits of reducing fatigue and increasing muscular output, it has one downside... It can have an unpleasant jittery effect. Consuming high amounts of caffeine can cause a feeling of restlessness, and unfortunately, a lot of pre-workouts contain high dosages. The amount of caffeine found can vary between 100-400 mg per serving!

What can you do to reduce this?

Some people can tolerate caffeine better than others, but if you tend to feel extremely jittery and restless after having a cup of coffee or any type of caffeine, consider going with a stim-free pre-workout.

For those who prefer caffeine in their pre-workout, but simply want to reduce this side effect, start with a low dose. Avoid any pre-workout supplements that contain 200+ mg of caffeine, and before trying a new one, start with half a scoop and continually increase it to find the perfect dosage for you.

Another way to avoid this pre-workout side effect is by choosing one with natural caffeine as opposed to synthetic caffeine. Natural caffeine delivers caffeine into your system in a steady manner which can prevent sudden jitters and crash shortly after. On the other hand, synthetic caffeine delivers a quick, sudden energy boost which can cause jitters. So, look at the nutrition label for natural caffeine – like ours!

It might cause a tingly sensation

Pre-workout supplements that contain beta-alanine or niacin (vitamin B3) can cause a tingly sensation or a "pins and needle" type of feeling. Beta-alanine is a common ingredient found in pre-workouts for its ability to help you sustain your workout longer. It's an amino acid that basically helps reduce lactic acid build-up in your muscles during intense exercise that way you can train harder for longer. However, it can cause a harmless nervous system reaction that causes a tingling sensation on the face, hands, or feet.

Niacin is another common ingredient that can give a similar effect. Its commonly found in pre-workouts for its role in energy metabolism, but it can come with an uncomfortable skin-flushing effect.

Fortunately, both ingredients produce harmless side effects that subside over time, but some find it unpleasant which can lead to avoiding pre-workout altogether.

What can you do to reduce this?

You can easily reduce these side effects by drinking more water or making to consume a lower serving size of each ingredient. Look for a pre-workout with 2-3 grams of beta-alanine, or less than 500 mg of niacin.

You can also opt to avoid both ingredients in your pre-workout. Niacin really doesn't have added benefits, but beta-alanine does, so we recommend just looking for a lower dosage of it in your pre-workout.

It might cause headaches

There are certain ingredients in pre-workout supplements that help increase blood flow, the two most common being caffeine and citrulline. Citrulline is an amino acid that helps boost nitric oxide levels in your blood, thus leading to an increase in blood flow to your muscles. This results in that "pump" effect that lifters love. However, the increase in blood flow also affects your brain which leads to some experiencing headaches.

Another possible cause of headaches can be due to dehydration. Not only are you sweating profusely due to your intense training, caffeine is a diuretic, meaning it causes your kidneys to work harder and flush more water from your body.

What can you do to reduce this?

First and most importantly, make sure that you're drinking enough water throughout your workout and after to avoid dehydration. If you're still getting headaches despite staying hydrated, reduce your dosage of citrulline. The typical dosage is between 6-8 grams, so reduce it anywhere between 3-4 to see if that helps. If it doesn't, consider finding a pre-workout without citrulline.

It might cause digestive issues

There are several ingredients in pre-workout products that may have laxative effects, they include, caffeine, creatine, sodium bicarbonate, and magnesium.

Diarrhea is not a cause of panic, but the last thing you want is a trip to the bathroom shortly after starting your workout! These digestive issues usually happen if there's an overconsumption of the ingredients above or when mixing pre-workout powders with too little water. Most pre-workouts don't have high doses of those ingredients, except caffeine, but when you don't add enough water it leads to a very concentrated liquid which then leads to an upset stomach.

What can you do to reduce this?

Always mix your pre-workout powders with enough water, anywhere between 8-12 ounces. This will help minimize any digestive issues.

It can cause sleep difficulties

Getting a good night's sleep is a top priority, not only to avoid being tired the next day but because it's essential for optimal muscle recovery. However, those training in the evening and taking a pre-workout can find themselves unable to get the sleep they need.

After a long day, you may need a boost in energy to get through your workout, but since pre-workouts contain high quantities of caffeine (nearly 4x as much as a cup of coffee) there's a high chance you'll be tossing and turning throughout the night.

What can you do to reduce this?

The solution is quite simple, reduce your caffeine consumption before a late-night session or opt for a stim-free pre-workout to avoid that altogether.

Should you avoid taking pre-workout supplements?

Pre-workout side effects are harmless and can easily be reduced and avoided, as you can see. You don't need to avoid them altogether, just simply follow our tips listed above to help you reap the benefits of pre-workout without any of the uncomfortable side effects.

Knowing what to look for and what to avoid can help guide you in the right direction to finding a good pre-workout that fits your needs and goals. So, if you're still struggling to find one, check out our article that details exactly what to look for in a pre-workout and what to avoid.

In need of an all-natural pre-workout that actually works and won't make you crash?

373 Lab's Pre-Workout is the answer to your solution! 

One scoop of our Pre-Workout Supplement provides 150 grams of natural caffeine, along with effective doses of Citrulline Malate, Beta-Alanine, Arginine, Tyrosine, and Theanine. Plus, it's free of unnecessary additives and fillers, and we're completely transparent about the dosages (no proprietary blend here)! All to provide you with clean, sustainable energy that will enhance your exercise performance.

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