GAIN MUSCLE

How Much Pre-Workout Should I Take? [2023 Guide]

by Nader Qudimat
Updated December 31, 2022
OVERVIEW
Type
Pre-Workout
Price
Varies
Serving Size
Varies
Availability 
Available Everywhere
Positives
Can increase energy and focus
Maximizes muscle and strength
Increases endurance and focus
Negatives 
Can be misused

Bottom Line

When it comes to supplements, pre-workouts have worked their way to the very top. 

It shouldn't come as a surprise that this comes with misuse. 

And there are hundreds, probably thousands of pre-workouts available today. 

That comes with the possibility of cases of misuse.

Pre-workouts are likely something that you're probably considering using, sooner or later. 

Here we'll explore how much pre-workout you should take and what to look for when buying pre-workouts.

CHECK OUT THE SAFEST PRE-WORKOUTS

It doesn't matter how much you try to ignore it...

Pre-workouts are everywhere. 

If you're on social media, in the gym, or in the lockers, you're probably going to hear some talk about it. 

It doesn't matter how much hype or marketing a pre-workout has, there isn't a need for a pre-workout and it isn't necessary. 

But if you're looking into using one, you should do so safely. 

So how much pre-workout should you take?

Let's get into it...

How Much Pre-Workout Should I Take?

When it comes to measuring out a serving, you should look at the label of a pre-workout. 

Does it say how many scoops per serving? Are you using the scoop that it came with?

The thing is, there are many pre-workouts that trick you into using 2-3 scoops of their pre-workout, making it only last half or a quarter of the month. 

Pre-workouts like this used to run rampant in the market years ago, but these days it's a little better as pre-workouts are using more transparent labels.

Supplements like C4 and Jack3d used to require 3 scoops to get the full serving of caffeine while the other ingredients were still underdosed. 

Depending on the pre-workout that you use, you should only use one serving in total per day. 

Serving size does differ between all pre-workouts and the size depends on the total ingredients (including inactive and active ingredients).

Inactive ingredients include flavoring, coloring, mixability, consistency, and texture while active ingredients include caffeine, creatine, beta-alanine, citrulline, tyrosine, and more. 

Mixing creatine with pre-workout isn't an issue either. 

Take these two pre-workouts:

  • Pre-workout 1 with a 5-gram scoop but uses 300mg of caffeine,
  • Pre-workout 2 with 300mg caffeine but with a 20-gram scoop.

Both of these pre-workouts use the same amount of caffeine but the scoop size varies greatly and the serving size is quite different.

Although caffeine can be the same between pre-workouts, you should consider how much caffeine is in each serving. 

You shouldn't take 3 scoops of the 5-gram pre-workout because then you would be getting 900mg of caffeine.

And consider this, most pre-workouts use multiple forms of stimulants but the most common one is caffeine. 

Caffeine can come in different forms, including caffeine malate and caffeine citrate. 

And caffeine should be the first thing you look at as it has the most potential for side effects. 

But of course, there are pre-workouts that do not have stimulants at all and they should be considered if you want to use a pre-workout late in the afternoon or evening.

How much caffeine you should take is coming up in the next section...

How Much Caffeine Can I Take Per Day?

Something to be aware of is avoiding combining caffeine sources and you'll understand why...

How much caffeine is safe?

Although there are pre-workouts that use 600mg of caffeine along with other stimulants, the general consensus is that 300mg of caffeine is more than enough to boost workout performance. 

In a day, up to 400mg is generally safe and doesn't raise any concern for side effects. [1, 2]

Anything higher than 600mg can lead to side effects like elevated blood pressure, irregular heart rate, and more. [3, 4]

More is not always better, so there really isn't a need to use pre-workouts that have between 600-700mg of caffeine. 

However, if you're new to pre-workouts, then you should stick to 300mg or less of caffeine as you're more likely to experience jitters and anxiety if you're not a habitual consumer of caffeine. [5, 6]

Of course, all of this should be applied to healthy consumers.

Doses around 5-6mg per kg of body weight per day, or 11-13mg per pound of body weight, are considered to be optimal doses for increasing performance. [7]

Even advanced pre-workout users will agree that 400mg of caffeine is more than enough.

Cases that involve death around caffeine are rarely based on caffeine alone but it is possible for many caffeine-related fatalities to be caused and exacerbated by caffeine. 

Why Do Pre Workouts With The Same Caffeine Hit Differently?

Something to be aware of is avoiding combining caffeine sources and you'll understand why...

How much caffeine is safe?

Although there are pre-workouts that use 600mg of caffeine along with other stimulants, the general consensus is that 300mg of caffeine is more than enough to boost workout performance. 

In a day, up to 400mg is generally safe and doesn't raise any concern for side effects. [1, 2]

Anything higher than 600mg can lead to side effects like elevated blood pressure, irregular heart rate, and more. [3, 4]

More is not always better, so there really isn't a need to use pre-workouts that have between 600-700mg of caffeine. 

Can I Combine Pre-Workout With Coffee?

No, you shouldn't combine other sources of caffeine with a pre-workout in a single day. 

If the pre-workout has 200mg of caffeine and then you can likely have one cup of coffee later or at the same time.

But if you need another cup of coffee with your pre-workout, then you probably need a pre-workout that has around 300mg of caffeine. 

You'll find a lot of TikTok videos where people are combining energy drinks with their pre-workouts, this is a big no-no. 

Unless your pre-workout is a non-stimulant formula like the ones found here, then you shouldn't be combining any other caffeine source. 

Can I Double Scoop My Pre-Workout?

Double scooping is not recommended.

Every pre-workout has its specified dosage range to make for one serving. 

Some of them require 2 scoops for full dosages, but there are also many that only need 1. 

So this is why you should read the instruction label for instructions. 

If it says 2 scoops are for one serving, and you checked the total caffeine, then you can take 2 scoops.

Stick to the recommendations for dosing and don't combine other sources of caffeine. 

You should stay at one serving per 24 hours, and don't exceed more than one serving in 24 hours. 

One serving could mean 2 scoops for some pre-workouts, which is why you should look at the label first. 

Can I Combine Pre-Workout With Creatine?

Yes, you can.

Some pre-workouts already have creatine, but if it doesn't, you can add your daily dosage of creatine. 

You can also take creatine any time of the day, it doesn't have to be at a certain time as your body will get saturated with it. 

Can I Dry Scoop My Pre-Workout?

Dry scooping is not recommended. 

Some ingredients, like betaine, creatine, and glycerol monostearate require increased water intake. 

This means you need to drink water to make the most out of these ingredients. 

If you dry scoop, you're to not be consuming enough water with your pre-workout. 

Dry scooping can also make you cough out the powder. 

Can I Take Pre-Workout Twice Per Day?

No, you shouldn't be taking a pre-workout twice per day. 

It's designed to be taken 30-60 minutes before your workout. 

If the stimulants are overly done, you can experience side effects by taking it twice a day. 

However, if the caffeine is low enough, you can safely take it twice a day. 

Or you can take half a serving twice in one day.

Do I Need To Cycle Pre-Workout?

If you're no longer feeling the effects of pre-workout, and you feel it's doing the total opposite then it's likely time to taper off or completely cycle off pre-workouts. 

For most people, going completely off caffeine is not an option as they need it to function. 

So in this case, lowering your caffeine dosage is fine if you can do it for a few weeks. 

To prevent tolerance build-up issues, try to cycle between two pre-workouts throughout the month. 

The one with the heavier stimulants should be saved for intense days, when you need to break a PR. 

What Ingredients Should I Avoid?

When it comes to ingredients that you should avoid, it depends and varies on a case-by-case basis. 

If you feel jittery and anxious from a pre-workout and it has less than 300mg of caffeine (and you can handle this amount of caffeine normally), then check if it has yohimbine. 

Yohimbine can cause this feeling of jitters and anxiety. 

There are also stronger stimulants like DMAA, DMHA, or super synephrine. 

If you're not used to taking pre-workouts, then you may find these to be overwhelming. 

Check out this list for the safest pre-workouts, or this list for pre-workouts for beginners. 

Final Words

Pre-workouts tend to vary greatly in ingredients and stimulants.

The one thing you should watch out for is the total scoops and how many servings it has along with the caffeine dosage. 

If there are other stimulants, it can make it much stronger even if the caffeine is only dosed with around 250mg. 

The best type of pre-workout will always have a fully transparent label with lots of reviews.

They can also be effective for focus and energy, but they can also interfere with your sleep if you take it too late in the day.  

by Nader Qudimat

Forged by the iron and cold steel, Nader takes his knowledge and hulks it up into this site.

Having to be stuck as a 110lb skinny guy in the early days, he has had no choice but to keep improving himself until he cannot.

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

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