Woman drinking pre-workout

When to take pre-workout for the best results

9 min read


25 Mar 2024

Grab your cheat sheet

  1. When to take pre-workout
  2. What is pre-workout?
  3. What types of pre-workouts are there?
  4. What to watch out for
  5. Should you take a pre-workout?
  6. Why Crazy Nutrition pre-workout

For fitness enthusiasts striving to power up their exercise performance, pre-workout supplements have become essential tools. 

Why? Well, because they bridge the gap between gym sessions and home workouts.

But one common question persists on the tip of every athletic tonguewhen should you take it?

Here, we’re going to reveal what pre-workout is, what types are out there, when to take it, and much more.

So get ready to discover the sheer strength of pre-workouts and how to use them best.

When to take pre-workout

It’s the question everyone wants to know the answer to! 

So, let’s jump in and talk about pre-workout timing. When should you avoid taking pre-workouts, and when is peak time to relish the benefits?

Are there pre-workout ingredients that require different timing?

Research suggests that the optimal time to consume pre-workout supplements is approximately 30 to 45 minutes before starting your workout. 

This time frame allows for the absorption and utilization of the active ingredients in the supplement to coincide with the high-intensity demands of exercise.

While the general recommendation is to take pre-workout supplements 30 to 45 minutes before your workout, it's important to consider the specific ingredients in your pre-workout. 

For instance, caffeine is a common ingredient that typically kicks in 30 to 60 minutes after having it. 

So, it’s good workout sense to time your intake of caffeine-containing pre-workout supplements so it isn’t too close to bedtime when it affects your ability to fall asleep.

No one wants to be lying awake at bedtime ‘cos of poor supplement timing.

You can also buy caffeine-free supplements if that’s your preference.

Does the timing depend on the type of pre-workout?

The timing of when to take your pre-workout supplement may vary depending on the type of supplement you are using. 

Specifically, if your pre-workout contains caffeine, it is really important to consider the timing of consumption due to when caffeine hits—it hits!

Stimulant-containing pre-workouts

Caffeine and green tea are common ingredients in pre-workout supplements that usually take around 30 to 60 minutes to hit their peak. 

So, taking pre-workouts of this type is recommended ideally 30 minutes before to align with their performance-enhancing effects.

Making the most of your pre-workout

The brands formulated their products with specific goals and ingredients in mind. Read the product labels and follow the instructions, as they’ll have specific guidance on the ideal timing for consumption, considering the formulation and ingredients of the supplement.

What is pre-workout?

Man making pre-workout supplement

A pre-workout supplement is a dietary supplement specifically formulated to improve athletic performance. 

It’s used by many gym goers and elite athletes alike to smash their workout performance and also hit their sports nutrition macros.

Think of a pill, gummies, capsules or pre-workout powder that contain a powerful blend of ingredients designed to increase energy, improve blood flow and delay fatigue. Nice.

Pre-workouts come in a variety of formulas, with varying ingredients, quantities, quality and dosages.

You can expect to find some serious heavy-hitters in the ingredient lineup, including branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), beta-alanine, caffeine, and creatine. 

These powerhouse ingredients work together in harmony to maximize your workout performance and get you those gains you know you deserve.

What is in pre-workout supplements?

These supplements contain a unique combination of ingredients, each with its own purpose and benefits. 

We’ve broken them down into the main categories below.

Absorption Ingredients 

To make sure your body fully receives the benefits of the pre-workout supplement, absorption ingredients play a super important role.

These ingredients are specifically added to enhance the body's ability to absorb other essential compounds present in the supplement. Take, for instance, black pepper extract, also known as Piperine. 

This substance aids in the absorption of curcumin, a beneficial ingredient for exercise and wellness. 

By ensuring efficient absorption, Piperine maximizes the advantages of the pre-workout supplement, allowing you to reap the rewards in your workouts.

Acute Ingredients 

These powerful components rush you with immediate effects like an increase in energy, improvement in focus—and better muscular performance.

One of the most common acute ingredients is caffeine, a natural stimulant known for its ability to boost energy levels and bring focus to your workout. 

Getting a hit of caffeine in your pre-workout routine can improve brain function during exercise, helping you push through tough workouts and maximize your results. Impressive, huh?

Saturation Ingredients

Another important group of ingredients found in pre-workout supplements are the saturation ingredients. 

These substances require time to accumulate in your body before yielding their full benefits. 

Take creatine, for instance. This naturally occurring compound is an absolute favorite among power athletes for one heck of a reason: it has the power to supercharge muscle performance like nothing else!

But to truly unlock the full potential of creatine, you gotta combine it with some hardcore resistance training. 

Research suggests that this dynamic duo can take your anaerobic performance to new heights and even increase that muscle mass you've been working so hard for.

What types of pre-workouts are there?

Making supplement

Let’s take a quick look at the types of workouts on the market. As you’ll see, they are formulated based on fitness goals. 

Stimulant-based pre-workouts

Pre-workout supplements usually contain stimulants like caffeine, to quickly enhance energy and improve focus during your workout. 

Stimulants like caffeine and green tea are commonly included in pre-workouts for their ability to provide a surge of energy and enhance alertness, which helps to optimize workout performance.

How much caffeine they contain is down to the brand but it’s usually around 150 to 300 milligrams (mg).

Strength and power pre-workouts

These types of pre-workout products help you supercharge muscle growth, ignite strength and power, and elevate performance levels, especially during intense strength training sessions.

Creatine supplementation is a super efficient way to help tired muscles recover quicker, repair muscle tissue and ease off post-shred soreness after a tough workout. 

That’s why strength and power pre-workouts frequently include it as a main ingredient.

Nitric oxide boosters

A nitric oxide booster is a pre-workout supplement that increases the levels of nitric oxide in the body. 

Why is it a pre-workout ingredient? 

Well, because nitric oxide helps to relax blood vessels, improve blood flow, vascularity and muscle fullness assist in the delivery of both oxygen and nutrients to the right places in the body.

The ingredients found in these pre-workout formulas are L-arginine and L-citrulline, amino acids that enhance the production of nitric oxide.  

Endurance-boosting pre-workouts

Some pre-workout supplements focus on enhancing endurance by incorporating ingredients like beta-alanine. Beta-alanine helps delay muscle fatigue and improve workout capacity.

It’s one of the key ingredients when it comes to delaying muscle fatigue so you can hit that intense training session with the confidence that you can push through to the end.  

What to watch out for…pre-workout edition

The pre-workout market is filled with options. But not all supplements are made with the same care, attention, and quality. 

Before you get specific about a particular pre-workout, here are some tips on things to look out for.

Natural vs. synthetic ingredients

Natural ingredients

Pre-workout supplements feature various natural or synthetic ingredients, each delivering specific benefits, with individual drawbacks. 

The reason why natural supplements are considered better for you is because they're often minimally processed, making them a safer option. 

Synthetic supplements may contain artificial preservatives, additives, or heavy metals that can be harmful to your health. And when you are looking after your body with exercise, it kinda makes sense to look after it in terms of what you consume, too.

Natural supplements are derived from naturally occurring sources, and they tend to contain fewer additives and preservatives. 

These powerhouse supplements are filled with ingredients such as herbs, fruits, and vegetables, which are rich in vitamins, minerals, and other vital nutrients. So, they’re often easier to absorb and have a better and more natural nutritional value.

Here are some synthetic ingredients you should try to avoid.

Synthetic ingredients

  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Synthetic caffeine
  • Di-caffeine malate

Regulations and testing

The pre-workout market is highly regulated, meaning there are stringent standards that companies must meet. 

You’ve gotta question the regulatory guidelines and industry standards before buying a pre-workout supplement if you really want to know what is in it and what it’ll do for you.

 Look for supplements that feature:

  • Third-Party Testing
  • FDA Approval
  • Quality Certifications
  • Trusted Brands

Also, think about these factors when choosing your workout, ‘cos knowledge is power and the right pre-workout will power your workout.

  • Ingredient transparency and effectiveness
  • Potential side effects and allergens
  • User reviews and feedback

Allergies and sensitivities

Don’t forget this one! 

Consider any allergies or sensitivities you may have before taking a pre-workout supplement. 

Read the ingredients carefully to ensure you're not consuming anything that could trigger an allergic reaction. Your health comes first.

If you have any known sensitivities or specific dietary restrictions, you’ve gotta find a pre-workout that aligns with your needs or consult with a healthcare professional for guidance—they know their stuff.

Should you take a pre-workout?

Man before workout

Let’s cover a few more points you might not have considered when choosing a pre-workout so you can find your perfect match.

Your fitness goals

Your specific goals play a mega role in deciding whether a pre-workout supplement is suitable for you. 

If your primary goal is to increase energy levels, enhance focus, and improve performance during intense workouts, a pre-workout may be beneficial. 

But, if your goals are more focused on endurance training or shedding those pounds different supplements or strategies may be better.

Ingredient profiles

If the name of the game is stacking those muscles sky-high, keep an eye out for a pre-workout packed with potent ingredients like creatine and branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). 

These bad boys will give your muscles the fuel they need to grow and get swole!

But hey, if you're on a mission to shed those extra pounds, look for ingredients like green tea extract or L-carnitine. These powerhouses will help crank up your metabolism and burn fat like a furnace.

Caffeine sensitivity

Many pre-workout supplements contain caffeine, which provides an energy boost. 

But, if you have a sensitivity to caffeine or if you're trying to limit your overall caffeine intake, it's important to select a pre-workout with lower caffeine content or consider caffeine-free alternatives. 

Excessive caffeine consumption can lead to jitters, restlessness, or disrupted sleep patterns. And we all know, going to the gym tired is a no-go.

Proper usage and timing

Follow the recommended dosage instructions provided by the manufacturer. It's important not to exceed the recommended dose, as unwanted side effects can follow.

And don’t forget the name of the game is timing.

Take the pre-workout supplement based on the recommended time frame to ensure optimal performance during your workout.

Why Crazy Nutrition pre-workout?

Well, we tick a lotta boxes when it comes to the best pre-workout for your workout. 

Whether you’re gearing up for high-intensity exercise or you just want an energy boost before pilates, our formula hits your sweet spot, every time.

Our premium, natural and easy-to-digest INTENSE PRE-TRAIN FORMULA is perfect for all fitness levels and goals. It’s also devoid of fillers, synthetic ingredients and any nasties. Only good vibes.

Because for you to perform at your best you need to be fueled by the best.

This fearless pre-workout product has a unique blend of 13 powerhouse natural ingredients plus just the right caffeine hit to get you energized and not jittery.

Just add one scoop of INTENSIVE PRE-⁠TRAIN to 300-400ml of water in a shaker, and you’re sorted.

Want nothing but intense focus, determination and explosive strength? We’ve got you.