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If you’re looking for a way to boost your training performance, by increasing strength, endurance or lowering fatigue, you’ve probably thought about taking pre-workout supplements. There is a lot of debate as to the effects of particular pre-workouts, and how long does pre workout last in your system.
In this article, you will learn all the crucial information about pre-workout, and how to really put them to good use.
What Are Pre-Workout?
Pre-workouts are performance enhancing supplements, that work through the increase of our bodies ability to combat physical resistance. When you go to the gym, ideally you should be highly motivated, energized and ready to tackle the training goals you’ve set out for yourself.
Often times however, business, relationships, and unexpected circumstances can get in the way of putting in the best effort in our workouts. This is where pre-workout come in handy.
They can allow you to push through these mental and physical obstacles with far greater ease, through use of various stimulants that affect the muscular system, brain, and oxygen distribution within the blood cells in a positive way.
How Long Does Pre Workout Effects Last
If you want a straightforward answer to this question, we are afraid to say that there isn’t one. There are many variables that come into play when determining how long and how well a supplement will effect you. Let’s examine a few important factors you should have in mind:
1. The Quality & Type Of Supplement
How long and how well a supplement works is largely determined by its quality. You could take a scoop of creatine or nitric oxide from one company and get awesome strength and endurance benefits, while another creatine product might not create any buzz, or at most cause a placebo effect.
At the same time, there are many different types of pre-workout supplements, and each one has a different duration and effect.
For instance, beta-alanine usually lasts 60-90 minutes, just like caffeine. Other supplements, like nitric oxide and creatine provide a multitude of long-term benefits that last for hours, such as improved nutrient absorption and increased blood flow into the muscle.
So it really depends on what supplement ingredients your product contains. Most of them contain a variety of ingredients that produce both short term and long term effects. Ideally, an energy booster like caffeine or beta-alanine lasts for only the duration of the workout, so somewhere along the lines of one to two hours.
Your dosage can also affect how long a supplement will remain in your system. If you take 500 mg of beta-alanine or 200 mg of the same ingredient, you will obviously have a longer or a shorter effect, and with higher or lower intensity.
That is not to say that you should increase your dosage above the recommended limit. Generally speaking, all supplements are labeled with these recommendations, and you’ll also find the average time during which it produces the desired effect.
3. Weight & Muscle Mass
Aside from the supplement itself, how long and how well it will work depends on your own unique physiological traits.
If you’re a bulky bodybuilder that weights over 200 pounds, with solid muscle mass, you will probably need to take a higher dose of the same pre-workout than a scrawny 120 pound beginner who’s set his sight on a barbell for the first time.
Just like you need more protein to maintain or grow more muscle, you also need more stimulants to produce an effect in a larger person. The recommendations are placed for an intermediate lifter, an average person. If you’re not in that category the duration of a pre-workout can sometimes be different as well.
4. Your Diet
If you eat a whole lot of food, your body will be fully absorbed in the digestive process. The huge amount of calories, macronutrients like carbs, fats, and protein all need plenty of digestive enzymes to be broken down and fed to the muscle.
When you take a pre-workout in those overeating circumstances, most of the positive effects won’t be felt, simply because the body isn’t in the best state to use it. It’s got other things to worry about.
At the same time, if you don’t eat enough, the effect of a pre-workout can be much stronger than intended. You might think that this means you should eat less, but that’s not really healthy.
Generally speaking, being malnourished and taking a pre-workout supplement can lead to digestive distress, headaches, and nausea. The best strategy to get the proper benefits of a pre-workout is to eat in moderation or adjust the doses according to your unique situation.
Pre-workouts are usually taken to get more energy and enthusiasm for a workout. In fact, to get so much energy and motivation that you couldn’t get through any other means.
However, if you’re completely fatigued, don’t expect a miracle in a bottle. You can’t take a pre-workout supplement after a few nights of partying and expect them to give you a miraculous buzz that will solve all your workout worries.
High quality pre-workout provide their money’s worth, but taking them as a lifestyle crutch is not the best to get their full potential benefits. This is another aspect of how long it will stay in your system as well.
The ingredients themselves might still be in your system technically speaking, but if your sleeping cycles are a mess, and you’re not eating properly, you won’t get the quality effects you would get if you had everything else in place.
Taking alcohol can really mess up the effects of a pre-workout supplement. The reason is simple – how well a stimulant works largely depends on your brain chemistry and hormones. Alcohol is especially bad for testosterone production and growth hormone release and messes up insulin sensitivity as well.
It also makes your brain sluggish, and the neurons have more difficulty picking up the signals of chemicals such as beta-alanine. So drinking the night before can alter the duration and the various benefits of a pre-workout as well.
Another thing to take into consideration is whether you’re hydrated or not. Getting enough liquid is crucial to moving nutrients from the digestive system into the blood and then the muscle tissue and brain. So make sure you drink enough water prior to taking a pre-workout.
How To Know If A Pre-Workout Works
To determine whether a pre-workout works for you or not is not exact science. Unless you have a laboratory as hand, you’ll have to depend on your own subjective feeling.
If you hate doing squats in regular circumstances, but then you take an awesome pre-workout supplement and can’t wait to break a PR, you’ll definitely know something positive is going on. Some pre-workouts create a special effect in your body through which you know that they work.
For example, caffeine can make you sweat more, or increase mental clarity and concentration for a short while, which is clearly noticeable. Beta-alanine creates a “pins and needles” feeling on the skin, especially on the scalp. It can last from 30 minutes to 90 minutes, depending on how well you react to the supplement.
Since a pre-workout is all about the extra kick it produces for you during training, try to compare a regular training session with the one where you took a pre-workout prior to hitting the weights, and you’ll most likely be able to tell the difference.
As you can see, determining how long does pre workout last has a lot of factors that come into play. For most supplements, we can roughly state that the energy boost lasts from 30-90 minutes, sometimes longer than that. This is a good estimate, and if it makes you overly-excited for too long, you should probably lower your dosage a bit until you get the desired effect.
If you eat well and give your body plenty of rest, most pre-workouts can work exceptionally well, and truly improve physical performance. We hope this article has expanded your knowledge on pre workout supplements and how to get the best out of them.