Seems like common sense, huh? Well it’s mainly self-explanatory, but in order to get the most out of your supplement, I’m going to give you a few tips on how to take a pre workout.
It’s in the name – pre workout supplements are obviously consumed prior to your workout. But the questions that arise are when exactly do I take the pre workout? How much do I consume?
In this post I will provide you with a quick overview on how to get the most out of each workout using your pre workout supplement.
As you might have guessed from the title, this is geared towards people who are new to pre workouts, however, don’t be afraid to take a look if you’re a so-called expert.
Choose Your Pre Workout
I know, I know, it’s quite obvious, but it is an important step in the process. You want to make sure you and your pre workout are compatible to feel that extra pump.
Now, the majority of the pre workouts out there come in powder form, so that is what I will be referring to in this post.
I will discuss my experiences with specific pre workouts in my future posts. Stay tuned for those!
Flavors of Pre Workout
Berries! Any pre workout with a berry flavor is the way to go (at least in my opinion and the opinions of many others). Despite what you may have heard, not all flavors are created equal. I’m not exactly sure what it is, but a lot – and I mean a LOT – of companies offer a fruit punch flavor, and it’s just not all that great to tell you the truth.
I would recommend trying a single serving sample packet of the pre workout if you are unsure of the flavor. I have done this many times to try out and review the many interesting flavors out there.
Without further ado, here are my opinions on some of the most common/popular pre workout flavors on the market.
Some of the flavors I’d recommend:
- Blue raspberry
- Pink lemonade
Not the best, but certainly not the worst:
- Green apple
Some of the flavors I’d suggest you stay away from:
- Fruit punch
- Coffee (not a big coffee fan)
There are also many weird flavors out there. I’m looking at you Warheads Sour Black Cherry. Feel free to experiment with all the unique flavors on the market to see if you can find one that overtakes the taste of your current pre workout.
How Much Pre Workout Do I Take?
You have your pre workout ready to go – now what? Well that my friend is figuring out how much you need to take in order to get a grade A workout.
The instructions on the container normally recommend taking a single scoop. While this is usually a good idea, there are a few caveats to this general rule. They are as follows:
- If the caffeine in a cup of coffee affects you more than the average person, it may be best to begin with half a scoop or ¾ of a scoop.
- If caffeine/coffee doesn’t affect you much, and this is your first time taking a pre workout, or it’s a new brand, then take the recommended single scoop (or the amount directed on the container).
- If you have been taking your pre workout for quite some time now and don’t feel like it’s working as well as it once did, or you’re some kind of expert, try one and a half to two scoops.
When to Take Your Pre Workout
You should have your pre workout of choice, with a clearer idea of the serving size most suitable for you. The only other question is, “when do I take this stuff?” Well, I am here to provide you with this answer, my friend!
This is where we get into a bit of gray area, because the ideal time to take your pre workout depends on a few things, such as the following: How far are you from your workout destination? When are you planning on working out? What pre workout supplement are you currently enjoying? What is your chemical composition?
My general rule of thumb is that you take your pre workout 20-30 minutes before you begin your exercise. This typically gives the supplement enough time to flow through your body so that you feel that surge of energy you are seeking. Sometimes it can affect you sooner or even later than that, but I’ve found that the sweet spot is the 20-30 minute mark.
This means that if you’re the chatty type at the gym, need to find the right song to begin your workout (trust me, this is important), or take a long while getting in the zone, then you should opt to take your pre workout once you arrive at the gym.
If you get right to business as soon as you enter the gym, then it’s best to take your pre workout before you leave home (assuming you don’t live 40-50 minutes away from your destination, because that would be bizarre).
Best Way to Drink Your Pre Workout
There isn’t necessarily a best way to guzzle your pre workout, but I can provide you with some suggestions.
While it is safe to allow the scooper that comes in the container be your guide, there are a few different ways to go about prepping your pre workout. They all involve a cup, pouring your pre workout into said cup, and adding some water. The difference comes in how much water you add. Your choices are:
- Full cup of water
- Half a cup of water
- Quarter cup of water
I’ll be up front with you. Pre workouts normally aren’t the most pleasant drink to glug down. Sometimes they are quite nasty. In these types of situations, it’s best to get it down as quickly as possible. For this method, you would want to scoop the pre workout into a cup, fill it a quarter of the way full with water, mix, and then drink it quickly like a shot of your favorite (or least favorite) liquor (or juice). This is also a good technique if you are short on time or water.
There is also some speculation out there that if you have less water, the pre workout is less diluted, which can lead to you feeling the effects of the pre workout quicker. I find this to be true, so take notes people!
I have a good grip on my flavor preferences, so my preferred method of knocking back a pre workout is option 2. I pour in my scoop of pre workout into a cup, fill the cup half-way with water, and mix. This is typically the most popular method.
The final method is one I characteristically do not partake in, as it takes the most time. I personally don’t like to down a whole glass of water before hitting the gym…but I digress. If you really hate the taste or you like your pre workout watered down plenty, then this option is for you. Scoop your pre workout into a cup, fill the cup all the way up with water, and mix (DO NOT SPILL).
As a side note, certain pre workout powders require more mixing than others because they take a tad bit longer to fully dissolve. No worries – just keep on mixing! Some pre workout powders also do a better job dissolving in warm water as opposed to cold.
In order to ensure that your powder is fully mixed, you can purchase a shaker cup. They are inexpensive and guarantee your drink will be free of any leftover powder particles.
If you are new to this or are just unsure, it is a safe bet to take the recommended amount of water along with the recommended amount of powder. Once you get the hang of things, you can try different amounts of water, and figure out which method you prefer. Remember, you can never have enough water, especially if you live in a hot, dry climate like I do.
Eating Before Taking a Pre Workout
Ah yes, the age-old question! Well actually not really, but it is still asked quite often.
Once again I’m going to respond with everyone’s favorite answer, which is that this is more of a gray area. It honestly depends person to person. See a trend here?
If you are looking for a more concrete answer, then I’ll be nice and provide that for you. I personally don’t eat right before a workout, but I also don’t workout on an empty stomach.
Are you confused? Allow me to explain.
If I take my pre workout and then begin working out without having eaten anything for about 3-4 hours (or for 8 or so hours since my last meal the night before on the extremely rare occasion that I do an early morning workout), then I find I can’t workout for as long and with as much intensity. I don’t have the fuel that a healthy meal provides me with, and sometimes I even feel sick! I know it’s awful – poor me.
On the flip side, if I eat directly before my workout, then again, I feel sluggish and nauseous! Once again, poor me. Frankly, taking a pre workout on a full stomach also greatly decreases the supplement’s effectiveness – not good.
So as with most things in life, I like to find a happy medium. Now once more, this is my method and recommendation, but to each their own. I need to eat a good-sized meal about an hour and a half prior to working out. This gives me the needed energy to get the most out of my workout, and at the same time, I am not overly full to the point I feel sick. The happy medium!
Closing the Container
No, I’m not going to provide information on this step. I’m pretty sure you can close that thing on your own. I just thought it was a clever way to say, “I want to wrap things up, thanks for reading.”
It appears that I went on a lot longer than I thought I would, but that’s OK because I want this to be as thorough as possible. If you’re not happy, then I’m not happy.
I truly hope I provided you some informative notes on how to take a pre workout. I know it’s intuitive for most, but for those who are new to this, I want to be able to provide you with proper instructions.
If there are any questions at all, don’t hesitate to ask me in the comments section below. I don’t want you getting your hand stuck in the container, powder in your eye, or an arrow to the knee, so ask away!