What Exactly is Pre-Workout, and Should You Be Using It?

Within the last year, most have us have taken to at-home workouts.

And tbh, we really miss going to the gym or yoga studio, so actually getting the motivation to workout has been harder than ever. One thing that people say helps, though, is pre-workout. It typically comes in a powder form, and you add it to water. More or less, it's supposed to give you a burst of energy. But is it safe?

We spoke with nutritionist Lisa Richards, an expert in the health field. Continue below for our full interview with her, where she answers our most pressing questions about pre-workout.

Sweety High: What is pre-workout?

Lisa Richards: Pre-workouts are supplements that have been formulated for the purpose of fueling the consumer with nutrients and providing energy for an effective and efficient workout. Pre-workouts are made from water soluble in that they draw water out of blood plasma into muscle to increase endurance and strength during the workout.

They are commonly made with some sort of stimulant, most often caffeine, branch chain amino acids, and energizing nutrients like B vitamins. They also may come with L-citrulline to improve muscle recovery and increase the weight load.


SH: Is there a specific age range for taking pre-workout?

LR: There is no specific age range for taking pre-workout, but it is ideal for those in their late teens to early forties. This is primarily because adolescents should watch their caffeine intake and likely don't need as much to get the motivation they need.


SH: What pre-workouts do you recommend for women?

LR: There are a few important ingredients women will want to make sure are included in their pre-workout—caffeine, BCAA's, beta-alanine and carbohydrates.

My personal top picks for women include—Gold Standard Pre-Workout, PE Nutrition and Ideal Lean Pre-workout.



SH: How many minutes before a workout should you take pre-workout?

LR: Most pre-workouts are formulated to be taken about 30 minutes before a workout. They are still effective if you have to take them sooner than that, as the active ingredients will kick in during your workout.

Most quality pre-workout supplements kick in with just a few minutes. Anyone wanting to workout for an extended period of time or who are needing extra energy for motivation can benefit from a pre-workout.


SH: Are there any cons to pre-workout?

LR: Yes, pre-workouts can lead to excessive caffeine intake, especially if the individual will be consuming other caffeine sources during the rest of the day. They can also be a diuretic, which may cause you to stop your workout multiple times to use the restroom. The ingredients can also cause rapid heartbeat, blotchy skin and irritability. If taken in the evening or within a few hours of sleep, they could lead to sleep disturbances.


SH: What are the benefits of pre-workout?

LR: Pre-workouts are great at giving the user motivation to get to the gym or exercise. They are also ideal for making your workouts more efficient.


On the hunt for an at-home workout? Look HERE for some great workouts created by fitness influencers.