How Do You Know If Pre-Workout Is Hitting?

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

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You know pre-workout is hitting when you feel the need to turn up the volume of your favorite jam and dance like no one’s watching. 

Even if you’re a few reps away from the finish line, you feel ready to take on the whole gym with your pumped-up muscles. 

If that doesn’t sound like you, then maybe pre-workout will give you something even better: the energy to put in your best efforts and crush every challenge that comes your way as if they were nothing!

But how do you know if pre-workout is hitting? What does it feel like when pre-workout hits? How long does pre-workout take to crash?

We’ll answer these questions and more in this article, so stay tuned!

Let’s first have a look at the 7 main “symptoms” of pre-workout kicking in and answer questions such as “Why don’t I feel anything when I take pre-workout?”

You Feel Godlike

When the pre-workout supplement kicks in, you may feel like your head is ready to explode with endorphins, but truly, you become Superman. 

All of a sudden, you’re capable of bounding into the gym like no weight can beat you and no hour on the treadmill is too long – because, before this magical bunch of powder, the gym was practically a place to be feared (especially the squat rack.) 

So let’s face it – who needs hands of steel when it only takes a scoop of flavored powder goodness? 

At that point, it doesn’t even matter what your workout plan for the day is because any mountain will seem like a molehill, and no exercise is impossible (yes, even the dreaded squat.) Now let’s put our capes on and get started!

You Have More Motivation & Focus

So, how do you know if pre-workout is hitting? When the pre-workout kicks in, it’s like finding the missing piece of a puzzle. 

All of a sudden, that extra hit of motivation and focus can completely transform a dull workout into something productive and satisfying! 

It’s almost as if the pre-workout was calling out to you, “Hey buddy – why don’t you make something good happen right now?!” 

It’s like drinking an amazing cup of espresso before taking a vigorous test – suddenly, things have become more manageable, and you have the necessary energy needed to succeed. 

So don’t be caught off guard when your pre-workout kicks in and you ask the gods for forgiveness for slapping Zeus – embrace it!

You’re In A Better Mood

So how do you know if pre-workout is kicking in?

Well, when you take your pre-workout, it’s like stepping into a magical happy bubble. 

Suddenly, you find yourself in the perfect mood for working out. 

Your mission is clear: to hit the gym and smash all those goals that were impossible just yesterday! 

The improved mood from taking pre-workout means even when you’re really struggling with pushing those last few reps, you will have what it takes to power through each and every set! 

Pre-workout truly is a magical (and legal!) performance enhancer.

Your Endurance And Strength Are Up

If you’ve ever taken pre-workout, you’ve probably felt the unmistakable signs it gives off. 

If you don’t experience the energetic boost or the intense focus that comes along with it, chances are something went wrong when you mixed up your concoction! 

One of the more subtle signs that it’s taking effect is increased strength and endurance. 

All of a sudden, those heavy weights become light, and running on the treadmill feels like a breeze as you surpass your regular personal records – who knew being bulky and fit was this easy? 

Now, if only we could find something to give us this same boost when we have to wake up early in the morning… (psst, a plain black cup of coffee, anyone?)

You’ve Got THE PUMP!

Pre-workout is a serious business. You take the drink or capsule, and you can almost feel it kick-starting your body, ready for the coming physical challenge. 

One of the most notable signs that it’s already having an effect? The improved pump! 

It feels like your muscles are expanding to their full power – kind of like Captain America when he gets his strength back! 

It’s funny how something so small can make such a huge difference to your motivation and performance, but that’s science for you!

Pre-workouts are notorious for the skin-bursting pumps they give.

So how do you know if pre-workout is kicking in? Check out your veins.

Your Skin Itches

When you feel the pre-workout kicking in and it reaches your extremities, don’t panic if your skin starts to get itchy because it’s totally normal. 

Yes, you’re not being attacked by some horror movie itch-ghost, nor are you turning into some wild creature.

This itching is a sign that the gnarly pump is on its way and that your body is getting ready to exert more energy. 

So my advice: tackle those workout demons regardless of the tingles and tickles!


One question we get quite a lot is, “Why don’t I feel anything when I take pre-workout?”

It’s always a bummer when you chug down your pre-workout drink and then… nothing. 

You don’t get extra pumped, nor do you gain any energy from the whole thing – in fact, sometimes, it can even have the opposite effect.

If this sounds familiar, you are probably a non-responder to pre-workout supplements – still hoping for a miracle but left thoroughly disappointed. 

And well, if that stands true, your best bet is to keep up with good nutrition, sleep, and proper workout sessions!

After all, consistency is the key to everything.

Pre-Workout Crash

If you’ve ever had the misfortune of a pre-workout supplement crash, then you know the drill: you’ve totally hyped yourself up to hit the gym, powered by some tasty pre-workout powder, and suddenly you realize that it’s all come crashing down. 

The next hour or so is spent dealing with your jitters, shakiness, and other physical characteristics that make you feel like a walking disaster. 

It often makes for an embarrassing situation (if anyone sees you) and not at all the confidence-boosting experience that actually working out often provides. 

On the bright side, the pre-workout crash reveals you to yourself and gives you sort of a mental endurance challenge!

How long does pre-workout take to crash? Well, it depends on the individual but usually within one hour or shortly after the workout.

The best way to prevent a PWO crash is to take the supplement in moderation, avoiding daily intake.

Final Pumps

And so, how do you know if pre-workout is hitting? What does it feel like when pre-workout hits?

Well, it’s one of those things that cannot really be put into words – you have to experience it to gain a full understanding.

But broadly speaking, it is a potent flurry of motivation, energy, strength, and godlike confidence that makes you feel like you can take on the whole world.

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