Does Pre-Workout Make You Poop?

by Nader Qudimat
Updated August 14, 2023

Pre-workout supplements have become a staple in the fitness community, known for boosting energy and enhancing performance.

But there's an unexpected side effect that some gym-goers have noticed: a sudden urge to visit the bathroom.

This article explores the reasons behind this phenomenon and offers solutions to those in this uncomfortable situation.

Can Pre-Workout Make You Poop: Quick Answer

Yes, taking a pre-workout supplement can cause a sudden bowel movement.

However, not everyone will experience this effect, as it depends on several factors, including individual sensitivity and the specific components of the pre-workout.

7 Ways Pre-Workout Can Make You Poop

Pre-workout supplements contain various ingredients that can stimulate the digestive system.

Here's a breakdown of seven ways these supplements might make you poop:

Caffeine's Impact

One ingredient shared by nearly all pre-workout supplements is caffeine.

This stimulant boosts energy levels but can also increase the desire to defecate.

Studies show this effect can occur within 10-15 minutes of consumption.

Pre-workouts contain 150 to 400+ mg of caffeine, intensifying the urge to poop compared to a regular cup of coffee, which contains 80 to 150 mg.

Vitamin C's Laxative Effect

Some pre-workout supplements contain large amounts of vitamin C.

Scientific reviews suggest that mega doses of 2000 mg or more per day can have a laxative effect.

However, a typical pre-workout supplement like C4 contains only 250 mg, so most people should be fine.

Vitamin B12 And Digestive System

B12 and other B-complex vitamins stimulate muscle contraction in the digestive system, making you feel the need to go.

If you're experiencing this issue, check your supplement label for high levels of B12.

Magnesium's Role

Magnesium draws water into the intestines and stimulates bowel activity.

However, only a few pre-workout supplements contain magnesium, and the dosage is usually less than the recommended daily intake, so it's unlikely to be the main contributor to pre-workout poops.

Yohimbine's Adverse Effects

Yohimbine, found in some pre-workout and fat-burning supplements, can cause an upset stomach and other adverse effects.

Taking yohimbe bark extract on an empty stomach can result in an emergency evacuation.

Added Sugars And Artificial Sweeteners

Some pre-workouts contain artificial sweeteners known as sugar alcohols, which don't absorb well in the gut and can cause diarrhea.

Water And Digestive System Movement

You probably mix your pre-workout powder with water unless you're dry scooping.

Drinking a glass of water can get your digestive system moving, especially in the morning.

To delve deeper into why pre-workouts can make you poop, check out this guide that answers why pre-workouts make you poop.

Other Factors Relating To Pre-Workout Poops

Understanding the various factors contributing to pre-workout-induced bowel movements can help you make informed decisions about supplements.

Here's what you need to know:

Dosage Considerations

The little plastic scoop inside the container dictates the serving size, but a full scoop isn't the correct dosage for everyone.

If you're experiencing side effects, consider scaling back.

Timing And Effects

Whether you work out in the morning or the evening could result in different effects after taking pre-workout.

Empty Stomach vs. Pre-Workout Meal

Taking pre-workout on an empty stomach is more likely to cause immediate poops or digestive discomfort.

You could be better off taking your supplement with a healthy pre-workout meal.

Pre-Workouts That Won't Make You Poop

Finding the right pre-workout that doesn't cause digestive issues is possible.

Here are some strategies to consider:

Stimulant-Free Options

Caffeine is the most likely poop-inducing ingredient, so you might want to test a stim-free pre-workout like Genius Pre.

Minimal Mixtures

Taking a pre-workout supplement with fewer ingredients decreases the chance for side effects.

Homemade Pre-Workout Brands

Consider making your pre-workout to control the ingredients and avoid unwanted side effects.

Crafting Your Pre-Workout: A Solution To Unwanted Bathroom Trips

Creating a homemade pre-workout mix can be an excellent solution for those who experience digestive issues with commercial pre-workout supplements.

By controlling the ingredients, you can tailor the mix to your specific needs and preferences, avoiding substances that may trigger bowel movements.

Why Consider Homemade Pre-Workouts?

Commercial pre-workouts often contain various ingredients, some of which may cause digestive discomfort for certain individuals.

By making your pre-workout at home, you have complete control over what goes into the mix, allowing you to exclude any ingredients that may cause unwanted side effects.

Ingredients To Include

  • Beta-Alanine: Enhances endurance without affecting the digestive system.
  • Creatine Monohydrate: Boosts energy and strength without known digestive side effects.
  • L-Citrulline: Improves blood flow and can be easier on the stomach than other amino acids.
  • Natural Sweeteners: Using honey or stevia instead of artificial sweeteners can reduce the risk of digestive issues.

Ingredients To Avoid

  • High Levels of Caffeine: While caffeine boosts energy, excessive amounts can lead to bowel movements.
  • Artificial Sweeteners: Some sugar alcohols are known to cause diarrhea.
  • Excessive Vitamins: Large doses of certain vitamins like Vitamin C can have a laxative effect.

Example Of A Pre-Workout Formula That Won't Make You Poop

  • Beta-Alanine: 2 grams
  • Creatine Monohydrate: 5 grams
  • L-Citrulline: 6 grams
  • Natural Sweetener: To taste
  • Water or Juice: As needed for mixing

Mix all the ingredients well, and your homemade pre-workout is ready to consume.

Further Guidance On Making Pre-Workouts At Home

For a step-by-step guide on making your pre-workout, including ingredient selection, dosing, and mixing tips, visit this article on making your own pre-workout.

Personalize Your Pre-Workout

Homemade pre-workouts offer a personalized and controlled approach to supplementation.

By understanding your body's reaction to specific ingredients and crafting a mix that suits your needs, you can enjoy the benefits of pre-workout without unexpected trips to the bathroom.

Whether you want to enhance endurance, boost energy, or avoid digestive discomfort, a homemade pre-workout may be the perfect solution.

Side Effects And Interactions

Awareness of potential side effects and interactions with pre-workout supplements is essential for safe and effective use.

Here's what to consider:

Maximum Dosing Of Pre-Workouts

Understanding the safe limits of pre-workouts is essential to avoid adverse effects.

Interactions With Other Supplements

Being aware of potential interactions with other supplements helps in making informed choices.

Common Side Effects And Reports

Analyzing common experiences and scientific studies helps in understanding potential side effects.

Who's It For And Who Should Avoid It

Pre-workout supplements are designed for specific audiences, and understanding who should and shouldn't use them is crucial:

Target Audience

Fitness enthusiasts looking to boost their energy and performance can benefit from pre-workout supplements.

Warnings And Precautions

Individuals with specific sensitivities or health conditions should consult with a healthcare provider before using pre-workouts.


Frequently asked questions provide valuable insights into common concerns and misconceptions about pre-workout supplements:

Does pre-workout always cause bowel movements?

No, it depends on individual sensitivity and ingredients.

Can I avoid this effect by choosing a different brand?

Yes, looking at the label and understanding the ingredients can help you find a suitable option.

Is it harmful to experience this effect?

Generally, no, but persistent issues should be discussed with a healthcare provider.

Why does pre-workout make some people poop?

Pre-workout supplements often contain ingredients like caffeine, artificial sweeteners, and certain vitamins that can stimulate the digestive system. Caffeine, in particular, can increase bowel movements by stimulating the muscles in the digestive tract. For some individuals, these ingredients may lead to a need to visit the bathroom shortly after consumption.

Are there specific pre-workout ingredients more likely to cause bowel movements?

Yes, ingredients like high levels of caffeine, artificial sweeteners like sorbitol, and excessive amounts of certain vitamins like Vitamin C are known to have a laxative effect on some individuals. Reading the labels and understanding the ingredients can help you choose a pre-workout that is less likely to cause digestive issues.

Can I avoid pooping after taking pre-workout?

You may reduce the likelihood of bowel movements by choosing pre-workout supplements without known digestive stimulants or by making your pre-workout mix at home. Selecting products with lower caffeine content and avoiding artificial sweeteners may also help. For more guidance on making your pre-workout, visit this article on how to make your own pre-workout..

Is it harmful to poop after taking pre-workout, or is it a normal reaction?

For most individuals, pooping after taking pre-workout is a normal reaction and not harmful. It may be a sign that your body is sensitive to certain ingredients in the supplement. If this becomes a persistent or uncomfortable issue, you may want to consult with a healthcare provider or switch to a different pre-workout formula.

Are there commercial pre-workouts designed to avoid this effect, or do I have to make my own?

Some commercial pre-workouts are formulated with digestive-friendly ingredients and may be less likely to cause bowel movements. Reading labels and looking for products without known digestive stimulants can help you find suitable options. Alternatively, making your own pre-workout allows you to control the ingredients and avoid those that may cause digestive issues. This guide provides detailed instructions on creating a personalized pre-workout mix.

Bottom Line

Pre-workout supplements can indeed cause bowel movements for some individuals.

Understanding the ingredients and how they affect your body can help you choose the right product and avoid unwanted trips to the bathroom.

Whether opting for a stimulant-free option, adjusting the dosage, or considering the timing, you have control over your pre-workout experience.

With careful consideration and awareness, you can enjoy the benefits of pre-workout supplements without the unexpected side effects.

The key is to listen to your body and make informed choices that align with your fitness goals and personal needs.

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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