Can Pre-Workout Cause Anxiety?

can pre workout cause anxiety

Taking pre-workout is a common practice among athletes as it improves their performance, energy levels, and recovery time.

Surprisingly, you have started experiencing some other effects as well.
It is hard to connect the dots that anxiety or jitters are a side effect of pre-workout.

What are the possible reasons behind workout-induced anxiety?

Increases in heart rate, anxiety, and panic attacks are among pre-workout consumers. Some pre-workouts have stimulants or caffeine in high quantities that create these side effects.

But there’s a lot to explore. This article will highlight why pre-workout causes anxiety and how you can decrease this side effect.

Why Does Pre-workout Cause Anxiety?

Pre-workout supplements are commonly used by weightlifters and athletes to improve their performance and muscle mass.

Pre-workouts are known to have countless benefits, but some underlying side effects are significant.

Most participants undergo anxiety, increased heart rate, fluctuation in blood pressure and adrenaline levels. Pre-workouts contain caffeine and other stimulants that are likely to cause sensitivity.

These stimulants increase your energy levels and focus. However, some stimulants present in pre-workouts also work as fat-burning agents.

Stimulants aggressively activate sympathetic nerves that trigger anxiety attacks in some people.

Everyone reacts differently to the pre-workout ingredients, but read the label before consuming.

You might be allergic to certain ingredients, so avoid using them to subside these side effects.

Pre-workout Ingredients Associated With Anxiety


Not all pre-workouts cause anxiety. Anxiety is associated with some specific ingredients, and pre-workout with those ingredients is likely to cause anxiety.

Some come pre-workout that causes mentioned below:

Yohimbe Bark Extract

Yohimbe is a natural ingredient derived from the bark of an African tree. Yohimbe drastically improves athletic performance and lower blood pressure.

It is commonly available as a natural ingredient present in many pre-workouts.

Yohimbe is still a very less researched ingredient. However, some people have observed side effects like seizures, anxiety, and heart attacks.

People with underlying conditions should avoid Yohimbe. Always read the label before taking any pre-workout.


In many pre-workout formulas, caffeine is abundantly present due to its other positive effects. It won’t be wrong to say that caffeine is the most common stimulant used in energy drinks.

There are some safety limits prescribed by the Food and Drug Authority for caffeine consumption.

On average, an individual shouldn’t consume more than 400 mg of caffeine in a day. Whereas, a single pre-workout contains 200 to 300 mg of caffeine.

Going beyond the prescribed limit can cause side effects like itchiness and anxiety. Caffeine intake varies on the body weight and the quality of brewed coffee.

Bitter Orange Extract

Orange extract is a famous ingredient in traditional Chinese Medicine. It has many health benefits, but the active ingredient in the extract, synephrine, has dangerous side effects.

Later, it was banned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

Bitter orange extract is used in pre-workout, but due to its lesser-known side effects it is better to avoid it.

Other stimulants

Stimulants are present in many pre-workouts in large quantities. They do give quicker results, but if you consume them regularly and in excess that can cause anxiety.

Also, in some pre-workouts more than one stimulant is present. Such pre-workouts are strong, and after some time their efficacy is not the same as it was in the start.

Later you might experience distraction, jitters, nausea, and anxiety.

Are there any safe pre-workouts?

Pre-Workout Ingredients

If you want to stay safe from the side effects, look for the below-mentioned ingredients. These ingredients are comparatively safe with notable benefits and serve the purpose.


Creatine is considered the safest pre-workout with magical results. It is also present naturally in our body, and you can acquire it from your diet through fish, meat, and eggs.

Creatine monohydrate is the most used form with positive effects. It readily provides the body with ATP that improves performance. Creatine also helps in muscle recovery and muscle building.


Branched-chain acid works on muscle strengthening and decreases post-workout muscle stiffness and fatigue. BCCA positively impacts your immune system, glucose metabolism, and brain functioning. The improved brain function reduces anxiety and depression.


L-Citrulline is a non-essential amino acid used as a pre-workout. It improves your blood flow and lowers your blood pressure.

L-Citrulline converts into L-arginine and nitric acid. This ingredient is actively involved in reducing anxiety.


Beta-alanine is present naturally in food components and pre-workout. It is involved in reducing post-workout muscle soreness and improving muscle mass.

Beta-alanine is known to elevate your mood.


You can obtain niacin from protein and dairy resources. It is also involved in quicker muscle recovery and better metabolism.

Niacin deficiency can be a cause of anxiety or fatigue. So, it is advised to have niacin through food and supplements.

Tips To Reduce Anxiety Associated With Pre-workout

Stay Hydrated

By adopting the following habits, you can reduce or get away with the anxiety caused by pre-workout.

Stay Hydrated

If you are experiencing anxiety after having a pre-workout, the best tip is to hydrate yourself.

Pre-workouts have stimulants, and overconsumption of them can cause anxiety. In such a situation, drink plenty of water to normalize your body.

A good tip is to have 2 glasses of water with each cup of pre-workout. In a dehydrated state, the side effects of pre-workout increase.

Workout Routine

Taking pre-workout and not exercising is the most alarming, as it can trigger anxiety attacks.

Pre-workouts provide excess energy, and it is not suitable for a sedentary lifestyle.

Pre-workouts are formulated to enhance athletic performance or maximize your exercising capacity.

After consuming pre-workout your energy levels spike, and physical activity is advised. If not, then it can cause dangerous effects like anxiety.

Stretching and Meditation

Pre-workout causes anxiety if you keep sitting. There are possible chances of panic attacks.

You can overcome anxiety by doing stretching to keep your muscles in movement. This will relax your muscles; for the relaxation of your mind, you can do meditation.

Peaceful Sleep

A good amount of sleep is required for both body and mind to function properly. If you haven’t rested well and consume pre-workout, your body likely reacts negatively to the spike in nerve impulses.

So, rest well to lower the chances of anxiety caused by pre-workout.

Herbal Teas

Some herbal teas help you in relaxing your muscles and brain. If you readily get anxiety attacks after pre-workout, drink chamomile tea to your body’s and brain’s muscles.

Herbal teas are known to neutralize the effects of stimulants like caffeine.

Not only does it help relax your muscles, but it also lowers blood sugar levels and inflammation.


So, can pre-workout cause anxiety? Yes, it can.

Even reputable pre-workout manufacturers use stimulants in pre-workout composition in different quantities.

Not all consumers will go through side effects of the same intensity. The side effects vary depending on specific ingredients, their classes, and the individual’s tolerance.

If you experience anxiety, headache, or excessive sweating after pre-workout consumption. In that case, chances are you are either allergic to some ingredients or the amount of stimulant is more than your body can tolerate.

Pay close attention to the composition of pre-workout and look for safer options.

With the help of a healthcare professional, you can manage your dose to lower the episodes and intensity of anxiety.

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