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Does Pre-Workout Have Calories?

by Nader Qudimat
Updated July 30, 2023

Pre-workout supplements have become a staple for many.

They boost your energy, endurance, and focus during workouts.

But a question you may have is, "Does pre-workout have calories?"

Let's dive right in and find out...

Does Pre-Workout Have Calories?

The answer to this question is not as straightforward as it might seem. Some pre-workout supplements do contain calories, while others do not.

It all depends on the ingredients used in the specific product.

For instance, pre-workouts that contain carbohydrates will have calories, as carbs are a source of energy (calories).

On the other hand, pre-workouts that only contain amino acids or caffeine may not have significant caloric content.

Understanding Nutritional Labels On Pre-Workouts

Knowing what you're looking at is essential when understanding the nutritional labels on pre-workout supplements.

The first thing you'll likely notice is the serving size.

This is crucial because all the information on the label pertains to one serving.

You must adjust the nutritional information if you take more than the recommended serving.

Next, you'll see the number of calories per serving.

This is where things can get a bit tricky.

While some pre-workout supplements are calorie-free, others can contain 10 to 100 calories per serving.

The caloric content usually comes from carbohydrates or sugars for flavoring or quick energy.

The label will also list the amount of each ingredient in the supplement.

This is where you'll find information about the specific ingredients that may have calories, such as sugars, amino acids, and other compounds.

Here's what a supplement label looks like:

Ingredients That May Have Calories

Several ingredients commonly found in pre-workout supplements may contribute to caloric content.

These include:

  • Carbohydrates: Some pre-workouts contain carbohydrates for quick energy. These carbs can come from sugars, which have 4 calories per gram.
  • Amino Acids: Certain amino acids, such as BCAAs (branched-chain), can also contribute to caloric content. Like all proteins, amino acids have 4 calories per gram.
  • Creatine: While creatine doesn't have calories, it's often combined with sugars for better absorption, which can add to the calorie count.
  • Flavorings and Sweeteners: Many pre-workouts are flavored and sweetened to make them palatable. Depending on the type and amount of sweetener used, this could add to the calorie count.

What Breaks A Fast?

Fasting is a state of not eating, and anything that provides calories or triggers an insulin response can potentially break a fast.

This includes:

  • Caloric Ingredients: Any ingredient that provides calories, such as sugars or amino acids, can break a fast.
  • Insulin-Stimulating Ingredients: Even if an ingredient doesn't provide calories, it can still break a fast if it stimulates insulin secretion.
  • Other Ingredients: Some ingredients, such as certain artificial sweeteners, may not provide calories or stimulate insulin but can still disrupt a fast due to their effects on gut health or other metabolic processes.

While some pre-workout supplements may be low in calories or even calorie-free, they can still potentially break a fast due to insulin-stimulating ingredients.

Therefore, if you're fasting for health or weight loss, it's essential to choose your pre-workout supplement carefully.

The Use Of Carbohydrates In Pre-Workout

Carbohydrates are often included in pre-workout supplements due to their role in energy production.

When you consume carbs, your body breaks them down into glucose, used as fuel for your muscles during exercise.

Therefore, pre-workouts with carbs will have calories.

However, the amount is usually minimal and unlikely to impact your daily caloric intake significantly.

Pre-Workout And Fasting

If you're following a fasting protocol, such as intermittent fasting, you might be concerned about whether pre-workout will break your fast.

Again, this depends on the specific product. If the pre-workout contains a significant amount of calories, it could potentially break your fast.

However, if it's a calorie-free or very low-calorie product, it's unlikely to have an impact.

Understanding Nutritional Labels On Pre-Workouts

Knowing what you're looking at is essential when understanding the nutritional labels on pre-workout supplements.

The first thing you'll likely notice is the serving size.

This is crucial because all the information on the label pertains to one serving.

You must adjust the nutritional information if you take more than the recommended serving.

Next, you'll see the number of calories per serving.

This is where things can get a bit tricky.

While some pre-workout supplements are calorie-free, others can contain 10 to 100 calories per serving.

The caloric content usually comes from carbohydrates or sugars for flavoring or quick energy.

The label will also list the amount of each ingredient in the supplement.

This is where you'll find information about the specific ingredients that may have calories, such as sugars, amino acids, and other compounds.

Ingredients That May Have Calories

Several ingredients commonly found in pre-workout supplements may contribute to caloric content. These include:

  • Carbohydrates: Some pre-workouts contain carbohydrates for quick energy. These carbs can come from sugars, which have 4 calories per gram.
  • Amino Acids: Certain amino acids, such as BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids), can also contribute to caloric content. Like all proteins, amino acids have 4 calories per gram.
  • Creatine: While creatine doesn't have calories, it's often combined with sugars for better absorption, which can add to the calorie count.
  • Flavorings and Sweeteners: Many pre-workouts are flavored and sweetened to make them palatable. Depending on the type and amount of sweetener used, this could add to the calorie count.

Ingredients That May Cause An Insulin Spike

Certain ingredients in pre-workout supplements can cause an insulin spike, potentially breaking a fast. These include:

  • Sugars: Sugars are quickly absorbed and cause a rapid increase in blood glucose levels, leading to an insulin spike.
  • Artificial Sweeteners: Some research suggests that even zero-calorie artificial sweeteners can cause an insulin response.
  • Amino Acids: Certain amino acids, especially BCAAs, can stimulate insulin secretion.

Side Effects And Interactions

Like any supplement, pre-workout can have side effects and interactions.

Common side effects include jitters, increased heart rate, and upset stomach, usually due to high caffeine content.

If you're taking any medication or have a medical condition, it's always best to consult a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement.

Who Should Use Pre-Workout?

Pre-workout can benefit anyone looking for a boost of energy for their workouts.

Whether you're a bodybuilder, an endurance athlete, or just someone who enjoys hitting the gym, pre-workout can help you perform at your best.

Who Should Avoid Pre-Workout?

Individuals sensitive to caffeine or other stimulants should be cautious with pre-workout.

Additionally, if you have any medical conditions or are pregnant or breastfeeding, it's best to avoid pre-workout unless a healthcare professional approves.

Pre-Workouts Without Calories

Pre-workouts are essential for those who want to maximize their training intensity and endurance.

However, many pre-workouts on the market contain calories, which can be a concern for those watching their caloric intake.

Here, we will discuss two calorie-free pre-workouts that can help you achieve your fitness goals without adding extra calories to your diet.

Bulk Black By Transparent Labs

Bulk Black is a pre-workout supplement by Transparent Labs designed to enhance your workout performance without adding calories to your diet.

This product is formulated with a range of ingredients that are scientifically proven to improve strength, endurance, and focus during workouts.

Bulk Black contains a blend of Citrulline Malate, Beta-Alanine, Betaine Anhydrous, and Taurine, which increase nitric oxide production, improve muscle endurance, and enhance overall workout performance.

It also includes a potent dose of caffeine and L-Theanine for enhanced focus and energy.

It's important to note that Bulk Black does not contain BCAAs (Branched-Chain Amino Acids), which are often found in other pre-workout supplements.

This makes it an excellent choice for those who prefer getting their BCAAs from other sources or following a specific diet plan.

Bulk By Transparent Labs

Another calorie-free pre-workout option from Transparent Labs is their original Bulk pre-workout.

This supplement is designed to provide a clean and effective boost to your workouts without adding calories.

Bulk contains similar ingredients to Bulk Black, including Citrulline Malate, Beta-Alanine, and Betaine Anhydrous for improved workout performance.

It also includes a blend of B-Vitamins for energy production and overall health.

Like Bulk Black, Bulk does not contain BCAAs, making it a great choice for those who prefer to get these essential amino acids from other sources.

Both Bulk Black and Bulk are excellent options for those looking for calorie-free pre-workouts.

They provide the necessary boost to your workouts without adding unnecessary calories to your diet.

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Further Reading on Pre-Workouts

For those who want to delve deeper into pre-workouts, we have a range of articles covering various aspects of these supplements.

Here are some of the topics we've covered:

  • What to Look for in a Pre-Workout: This article provides a comprehensive guide on the key factors to consider when choosing a pre-workout supplement. It covers everything from the types of ingredients to look for, to the importance of transparency in supplement labeling.
  • How Long Does Creatine Stay in System: Creatine is a common ingredient in many pre-workouts. This article explores how long creatine stays in your system and what that means for your workout and recovery periods.
  • What to Mix Pre Workout With: Not sure what to mix your pre-workout powder with? This article provides some suggestions and explains why the choice of liquid can impact the effectiveness of your pre-workout.
  • Caffeine Pre Workout Vs Coffee: If you're wondering about the differences between getting your caffeine fix from a pre-workout versus a cup of coffee, this article is for you. It compares the two sources of caffeine and discusses their effects on workout performance.
  • Who Shouldn't Take Pre Workout: Pre-workouts aren't for everyone. This article outlines who might want to avoid pre-workout supplements and why.
  • Can Pre Workout Cause Anxiety: Some people may experience anxiety after taking pre-workout supplements. This article explores the potential link between pre-workouts and anxiety, and provides tips for managing these side effects.

These articles provide information for anyone looking to optimize their workout routines with pre-workout supplements.

Whether new to pre-workouts or an experienced user, there's always more to learn about these powerful supplements.

FAQs

Do all pre-workout supplements contain calories?

No, not all pre-workout supplements contain calories. Some are calorie-free, while others can contain 10 to 100 calories per serving. The caloric content usually comes from carbohydrates or sugars for flavoring or quick energy.

Can a pre-workout supplement break my fast?

Yes, a pre-workout supplement can potentially break your fast if it contains calories or ingredients that stimulate insulin secretion, such as sugars or certain amino acids.

What ingredients in pre-workout supplements can cause an insulin spike?

Sugars, certain amino acids (especially BCAAs), and possibly some artificial sweeteners can cause an insulin spike.

Can I take a pre-workout supplement while fasting?

It depends on the specific supplement and your goals for fasting. The supplement's calories or insulin-stimulating ingredients could break your fast.

How can I tell if a pre-workout supplement has calories?

Check the nutritional label. It will list the number of calories per serving and the amount of each ingredient.

Are there any calorie-free pre-workout supplements?

Yes, there are calorie-free pre-workout supplements available. However, even these can break a fast if they contain insulin-stimulating ingredients.

Can artificial sweeteners in pre-workout supplements break a fast?

Some research suggests that even zero-calorie artificial sweeteners can cause an insulin response, potentially breaking a fast.

What are the benefits of taking a pre-workout supplement?

Pre-workout supplements can boost energy, improve workout performance, and enhance focus and concentration. However, their effectiveness can vary depending on the specific ingredients and the individual.

Can I take a pre-workout supplement on non-workout days?

While taking a pre-workout supplement on non-workout days is generally safe, it may not be necessary. These supplements are designed to enhance workout performance, so taking them on rest days may not provide any additional benefits.

Are there any side effects of pre-workout supplements?

Potential side effects of pre-workout supplements can include jitteriness, increased heart rate, upset stomach, and difficulty sleeping, especially if taken later in the day. Always start with a lower dose to assess your tolerance and consult a healthcare professional if you have any concerns.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, whether or not pre-workout has calories depends on the specific product and its ingredients.

While some pre-workouts contain calories, the amount is usually minimal and unlikely to impact your overall daily caloric intake significantly.

As with any supplement, it's important to read the label and understand what you're putting into your body.

by Nader Qudimat

Forged by iron and cold steel, I'm Nader, a mid-30s natural bodybuilder. Once a 100lb skinny guy, I've transformed into a 200lb muscular athlete with over 15 years of lifting experience. Today, I leverage my transformation and extensive experience to guide countless individuals on their fitness journeys.

Click here to check out my 12 year transformation: Natural 12 Year Transformation

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