Most pre workout supplements contain caffeine. It makes sense - caffeine gives you an energy boost, as well as the heightened focus and alertness you need to zero in on your workout.
But is this a good thing? Is caffeine and pre workout a partnership that simply can’t be broken? And just how much caffeine is in these supplements?
Read on and we’ll share all you need to know, and more.
How Much Caffeine Does a Regular Pre Workout Have?
Pre workout supplements generally contain between 150 to 300mg of caffeine. For reference, the average cup of coffee has about 95mg of caffeine.
For exact measurements, you’ll want to check with the product’s ingredient list, as all products are different. But you can expect it to be within this range.
According to the FDA, 400mg a day of caffeine is generally safe for healthy adults, without getting any dangerous negative effects.
Most pre workouts come under this, though it’s worth mentioning that different people metabolize caffeine in their own way, so the safe upper limit may be higher or lower from person to person.
Does More Caffeine in a Pre Workout Give You More Energy?
At lower levels, you’ll probably notice a difference, say between 100mg and 200mg of caffeine.
But the higher you go, you get diminishing returns. When you start to get into really high levels of caffeine, you’ll only get more of the side effects without an equal boost in energy, especially if you mix it with a supplement like creatine.
One of the reasons you feel energetic and alert from caffeine is because it blocks the effects of a neurotransmitter called adenosine. Adenosine produces feelings of relaxation and tiredness - it’s one of the main factors in helping us fall asleep, and wake up.
So from this, you can see in a way how more caffeine doesn’t necessarily mean more energy. A regular dose of caffeine already suppresses adenosine in your body. Taking more caffeine on top of that is not going to do that much for your energy, then.
Is There a Problem with Caffeine in Pre Workouts?
Caffeine in pre workouts is not always a bad thing. For most people, at regular amounts, caffeine is fine, and provides a number of benefits.
At the very least, it’s a better choice than artificial stimulants, which some of the shadier pre-workout supplements use in place of caffeine for an energy boost.
But for some, caffeine doesn’t sit well. Perhaps it makes you feel unwell, or perhaps you have health conditions that mean you should limit or avoid caffeine. In these cases, it’s certainly a problem.
Coffee vs Pre Workout Caffeine
One thing you should understand is that caffeine in pre workout supplements is not exactly the same as the caffeine you’d get from a regular cup of coffee. And it’s not just the amount of caffeine.
Pre workout supplements generally use what’s called anhydrous caffeine. This has a similar effect to the form of caffeine you get in coffee, but it’s faster acting.
This means you get a boost of energy quicker, which is great, as you don’t have to wait around so long after taking your pre workout.
But it also means a faster drop-off. The rebound effect, where your energy falls off and you start to feel tired, comes sooner than if you were to have a cup of coffee instead.
This can potentially present a problem. You don’t want to find yourself running out of energy when you’ve still got 30 minutes left in your workout.
Do All Pre Workouts Have Caffeine?
Not all pre workouts have caffeine.
As mentioned before, some have artificial stimulants in place of caffeine. These are the pre workouts you definitely want to stay away from - however you feel about caffeine.
However, some pre workouts have low or no caffeine and don’t need to use dangerous additives to replace the energy kick.
There are functional ingredients that provide a clean boost and similar increases in energy, alertness, focus, and more, and they can replace a caffeine pre workout.
Reasons Not to Consume Caffeine Before a Workout
There are a number of reasons why someone may want to avoid caffeine before working out (or altogether).
You may be particularly sensitive to caffeine, or have some form of intolerance. It’s not uncommon for people to feel discomfort whenever they ingest caffeine, even in small amounts.
Then there are people with more serious health concerns, such as heart issues. It’s even more important for these people to avoid anything with caffeine in it.
Your reasons for not wanting caffeine in your pre workout could be very simple.
Perhaps you do a long workout, and don’t want to crash before your whole workout is over. Perhaps you work out at night, and are concerned that taking caffeine at this time will affect your sleep.
Or maybe you just like to drink coffee or energy drinks throughout the day as well.
For a lot of us, a morning cup of coffee or two is something we enjoy, and part of our daily routine. Adding a pre workout with 300mg of caffeine on top of that can easily take you over the FDA’s recommended maximum of 400mg per day.
How to Get a Pre Workout Boost Without Caffeine
While many people take caffeinated pre workouts without issue, there’s clearly reason for a lot of others to want the same kind of beneficial boost in energy, alertness and focus, without caffeine.
Our caffeine free pre workout is a great choice for these people. The mix of clean fucmtional ingredients in the Stim Free formula gives you the benefits of a pre workout for performance, without the risk of side effects you get from caffeine.
These include Carnosyn Beta-Alanine, which improves recovery and muscular endurance, and works with the B vitamin Niacin to give you the “tingling” effect you tend to get from pre workouts.
It features certain amino acids that produce a vasodilating effect (widening of the blood vessels), giving you increased blood flow and a powerful “pump”.
You get a boost in adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production, which delivers more energy to the muscles and increases power output.
The goal is to give clean athletes what they need to perform better in the gym, without caffeine, or any dangerous alternatives.