Does Pre-Workout Actually Do Something?

Written by Tihomir Stefanov, M.S.(C), PT

| Published on

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Do you feel like your pre-workout is nothing more than a sugary pick-me-up? 

Well, have no fear: after reading this blog post, you’ll know whether that pre-workout powder has any actual benefits – or if something else will make a bigger impact on your workout routine. 

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So put down the blender and back away slowly. We’re about to go on an epic journey of finding out just how much ‘oomph’ our pre-workout powders are really packing!

What’s A Pre-Workout

Pre-workout supplements are the gameshark codes of the fitness world. They’re supposed to make your muscles bigger, your heart rate faster, and your endurance higher…but do they really work? 

This mystery elixir of sorts typically comes in powdered form and often includes stimulants like caffeine and taurine. 

Of course, the jury’s still out on whether or not these pre-workouts actually up your fitness game or just make your wallet lighter. 

The thing is, there are many formulations when it comes to pre-workout, and some can be effective.

So before downing that hulk juice, make sure you’ve done plenty of research about its content.

Effective Ingredients

For the dedicated gym fanatic, having a good cup of coffee before your work-out is all you really need. 

For serious athletes, however, pre-workout supplements are like a cherry on top of that very pre-workout sundae – it provides you with extra performance power and noticeably improves the overall experience. 

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Though most people won’t need pre-workout supplements, the fact of the matter is that they do, indeed, contain some effective ingredients. 

Let’s have a look at those, shall we?


Caffeine is an extremely effective ingredient in pre-workout supplements, taking your gym session from a mild jog to an energetic power walk! 

When consuming a pre-workout containing caffeine, you’ll find that your energy levels soar, and you’re ready to take on anything that comes your way. 

Soon, instead of post-workout fatigue, you might be asking yourself how many more reps you can do! 

So if you’re looking for an effective pre-workout, make sure it contains a good dose of caffeine… Not too much, though!


If you’re looking to give yourself a competitive edge at the gym, creatine is your exogenous wingman. 

Not only does it provide you with an energy reserve for high performance before your workouts, but its potential health benefits are nothing to sneeze at, either. 

Generally speaking, if you’re looking for a great pre-workout supplement with adequate dosages of creatine, you can get away with acting like an elephant in a china shop and make sure you don’t miss the mark. 

Our bodies have no problem utilizing the additional “oomph” when the time comes to perform our exercises, so why hold yourself back? 

Find a PWO with 3-5g of creatine per dose!


Beta-alanine has been dubbed the ‘miracle ingredient’ in many pre-workout supplements, and for a good reason – it could give you increased athletic performance! 

It’s impossible to ignore the results it can bring – improved strength and high-intensity endurance. 

But before you go puffing up your chest and telling everyone your biceps have grown four inches since taking the supplement, we should mention that beta-alanine won’t give you superhuman powers…

Although, rumor has it that one brave soul out there managed to pull a car off his grandpa by taking way too much! 

Citrulline Malate

If your regular pre-workout supplements just aren’t cutting it for you anymore, you might benefit from a supplement that has citrulline malate in it.

This ingredient is an amino acid commonly found in watermelons and has been known to stimulate nitric oxide production, boosting your endurance levels as a result. 

In other words, if you find yourself getting completely beat at the gym after a couple of sets, you now have what could be considered a superhero-strength supplement ready to come to your aid. 

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With Citrulline Malate added to your pre-workout routine hey, why not be prepared for some multi-level workout scaling?

The Blend Promise

It’s true- there are indeed some effective ingredients in pre-workout supplements.

But it seems like every pre-workout supplement manufacturer claims to have discovered the newest, hottest, and most revolutionary way to provide energy for your workout.

“This blend is unlike any other!” they all claim. 

In reality, most pre-workouts are successful because of their caffeine content because, well, out of the bunch, caffeine is the most effective and stimulating ingredient.

This can leave us wondering why we should believe these companies have invented something new when they just added a few tweaks to established formulas. 

So, again – before jumping into the cart page of a newly-found PWO manufacturer, make sure to do some proper research!

Does Pre-Workout Actually Do Something?

So, are PWO supplements worth the money or are you just chugging a bunch of flavored water?

Well, the truth is that pre-workout supplements can be a great way to get an extra boost before a workout for many people. 

However, if it doesn’t work out for you, you don’t have to stress about it – a large cup of coffee will likely do the trick. 

It’s more natural and more cost-effective than pricey pre-workout supplements, and most athletic coaches around the world use it. 

Caffeine truly is the most effective ingredient when it comes to increasing athletic performance, so the choice is yours!

Pre-Workouts Are Your Secret Weapons

Feeling tired? Got a big workout planned? Then don’t reach for those pre-workout supplements just yet! 

Even though they might be tempting, pre-workout supplements aren’t meant to be taken daily. 

In fact, think of them like the apple you get from the witch in a fairy tale – take one too many, and you’re likely to turn into a frog! J

Joking aside, using pre-workout supplements on a daily basis can end up putting some unnecessary strain on your body. 

Besides, with regular use, you will adapt to caffeine way quicker, and you will need more and more of the substance to feel the same effect.

Stick to getting your energizing kick from natural sources of energy instead, like green tea, coffee, or any healthy snack!

Think of your pre-workout supplement as your secret weapon – strictly reserved for special use cases, such as before a really tough workout or on a day when you need that extra kick.

Pre-Workout & Sleep

As you learned, pre-workout supplements are an effective way to kickstart your workout. 

However, it can be easy to forget that many of them contain strong stimulants and should not be taken late during the day and around bedtime. 

These ingredients, such as caffeine, guarana, and taurine, can cause an overwhelming surge of energy which can keep you awake for hours if taken late in the evening. 

Instead, it is best to take pre-workout supplements at least 5-6 hours before any intended sleep. 

For those who work out late into the evening, having a light snack and plenty of water will ensure that you can perform at peak physicality while staying safe from the potential sleeplessness caused by the highly stimulating effects of pre-workouts.


And so, does pre-workout actually do something?

Well, all things considered, it does not seem like pre-workout is a miracle supplement. 

However, if you are someone who struggles to find the motivation to work out, it might be worth giving it a try. 

Nevertheless, you should not completely rely on PWOs, because, for the most part, a good cup of fresh coffee will do the trick.

And if you decide to get a pre-workout supplement after all, keep it as a secret weapon for days when you need extra energy or are planning to murder a highly intense workout!

What’s your take on PWO supplements? Comment below!

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