Is Pre Workout Bad for You?

by Matt Wilson
Last Updated: 08/04/2021
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You want that surge of energy? You want to boost your strength and feel like a superhuman during your workout (Yeah, man, what the hell ofc. I do)?

Before you do that, you should be mindful of pre-workout dangers and its side effects (there are side effects?).

The big questions, like: is pre-workout good or is pre-workout dangerous? 

Can any of the ingredients have a negative side effect? What are those side effects? 

This is a lot of questions to answer at once, but this article is strong enough and can easily take on even more! (but please…no more!?)

We will try to answer those questions for you (like seriously?). 

Yeah, seriously.

Can Pre Workout Be Bad for You?

There are numerous benefits as well as some side-effects when taking anything.

At the end of the day, it all boils down to the ingredients.

Most of the common ingredients found in pre-workout supplements are caffeine, beta-alanine, creatine, creatine monohydrate, branched-chain amino acids or BCAA-s, etc.

The amount of each ingredient varies, depending on the brand.

All of those can have some side effects, if taken in high doses or if you have underlying health issues.

In order to combat the negative side effects, you should inform yourself about them. For example, there are differences between beta-alanine and creatine when it comes to their effects on performance.

Keep reading this article to learn more about pre workouts and if there are potential side effects that you should know about.

Why You Shouldn’t Take Pre Workout?

Average serving for a lot of pre-workout supplements contains around 500 mg of caffeine. Compare that to an amount of caffeine per one coffee cup (80-100 mg), and you can start to get the picture (maybe there is too much caffeine).

Caffeine, while responsible for giving you that, much needed energy boost, can also have some side effects [1].  

So, it goes without saying, that if you have problems with high blood pressure (or with your heart) you should not be taking these supplements or at least the ones that contain 500 mg of caffeine as an average amount of caffeine per one serving.

You should also restrain from using supplements late at night since they can induce anxiety and disturb your sleep. If you don’t take this seriously don’t be surprised if you get insomnia.

What Are the Cons of Pre Workout?

Even though it is true that there are many problems with supplements, it is worth noting that almost all of them are not that serious.

That does not mean that you do not need to be very careful when choosing your product.

Nitric oxide, for example, produced by a number of cells in a human body, is one of the most commonly used ingredients in supplements that are used to give you an energy boost during your workout.

It is responsible for increasing the blood flow in your muscles. It does so by relaxing the inner muscles of your blood vessels causing them to widen.

You might be thinking, well, what’s the problem with that? Nothing, in general, until I tell you about the negative side effects (strap on, this can get a little scary).

Blood in your urine (yeah, that will get you out of bed), breathing problems, low blood pressure and possibly a collapsed lung [2]!

My advice on this would be to check the labels, and make sure (if needed talk to a doctor) that you don’t have any health problems.

For most people, (like caffeine), this supplement will not cause serious health issues. As long as you are a healthy individual, you should be fine taking it. 

Related Article:

Can Creatine Cause Hair Loss?


Is Pre Workout Bad for Your Liver?

In most countries, pre-workout supplements are considered dietary supplements, so they are not as regulated as some medical products. This can give leeway to some manufacturers with what they put in their pre-workouts.

You should always try to use pre-workout supplements that are third party tested.

Why? Because most of the ingredients listed don’t cause liver problems. Then what does (you might be asking)? The answer is simple, anabolic steroids!

1,3-Dimethylamylamine or DMAA was possibly responsible for a couple of deaths (this is definitely the worst side effect) of US soldiers [3]. 

That is why it was made illegal as an ingredient in any sort of dietary supplements.

The Bottom Line

We’ve discussed the side effects of pre-workout supplements. Overall, supplements are not bad for you if they are taken with precaution and in moderation.

For healthy individuals they are pretty safe, but, nevertheless, you should pay attention to what you are buying and always (always!)  look at the list of ingredients. 

Those with health issues need to be very careful and consult a doctor before deciding to use supplements.

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