Can Pre-workout Make You Sick? (how serious?)

January 8, 2024 |

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How long does pre-workout sickness last?

Does it make you sick in the first place?

You’re psyched to hit the gym and get in an intense lifting session, but you can’t seem to muster the energy to get through your workout.

So you grab a scoop of pre-workout powder, mix it up, and take a few sips. Ten minutes later, when the powder starts working its magic, you feel like you could lift a car.

But then, as you’re finishing up your workout, you start feeling a little… off.

Maybe it’s a weird stomachache or feeling nauseous. Perhaps the room is beginning to spin, and you wonder if it’s time to sit down for a sec (or call an ambulance).

You may be experiencing “pre-workout sickness.”

Many of these products contain caffeine and B vitamins, which can upset some people’s stomachs. The side effect is prevalent among beginners who aren’t used to taking supplements like pre-workout. The symptoms are temporary but can be pretty uncomfortable.

So – what exactly is going on? Is pre-workout excellent or bad for you? Can it make you sick? Let’s find out!

Is it Possible to get sick from Pre-workout Supplements?

Most pre-workout supplements don’t cause adverse effects, but you may experience some side effects if you take too much. The prevalent effect is headaches, which arise from dehydration.

To combat this, drink plenty of water when taking pre-workout.

Pre workout scoop

Since most manufacturers include caffeine in their products (although you can find caffeine-free options), you may experience symptoms of jitteriness or anxiety. Not unlike what you would feel if you overindulged in coffee or soda.

In such cases, simply scale back and go with a lower dose rather than stopping the supplement altogether.

Suppose you’re new to taking pre-workouts (or stimulants in general); experts recommend starting small and building your way up as needed.

You won’t know how well a particular product works for your body until you try it.

If any other side effects occur while taking your pre-workout supplement and don’t subside after use, consult with your doctor and stop using the product immediately.

How long does pre-workout sickness last?

Pre-workout sickness can last a few hours to more days. It depends on your body’s ability to tolerate it. Everyone’s recovery might be different.

In addition to body tolerance, the severity of the sickness can also be affected by:

  • How sensitive you are to caffeine (the most common stimulant in pre-workout supplements)
  • The amount of caffeine in your pre-workout supplement (varies widely between brands)
  • What other ingredients are in your pre-workout (some ingredients can be more difficult for your body to process than others)
  • Your diet and how well hydrated you are before working out

Consult your doctor if you’re experiencing pre-workout sickness and are concerned about the duration.

Are there other risks to taking pre-workout?

Some of the ingredients in pre-workout can cause serious side effects if misused, especially for people with underlying health issues such as liver or kidney problems.

Some ingredients can cause high blood pressure or heart palpitations if taken regularly. This risk increases if you exercise while taking pre-workout because it increases your heart rate.

The caffeine content in some pre-workout supplements can be very high.

It could lead to insomnia or even jeopardize your ability to give up coffee! Several ingredients may interfere with common medications such as antihistamines and thyroid medicines.

What does pre-workout do to you?

Pre-workout is a dietary supplement that enhances muscle size, strength, and endurance. It’s consumed before an intense workout session to increase overall performance.

Although the supplements may seem like a miracle in a bottle, they can have some adverse side effects if taken incorrectly or with other products with similar ingredients.

Many health officials have questioned its safety for this reason.

Pre-workout supplements typically include:

  • Caffeine
  • amino acids that encourage muscle growth (arginine or citrulline),
  • creatine, branched-chain amino acids, and
  • beta-alanine.

Research has shown that these supplements are generally effective. It’s the combination of them together in one product that may be hazardous to your health.

Some of the above supplements are stimulants, while others are vasodilators (widening blood vessels). Others can also cause interference with natural processes in the body. Such as electrolyte balance and blood pressure regulation, making you feel ill when mixed improperly or overused.

Our advice? Keep it stupid simple!

Stick to one type at regular intervals throughout your day rather than taking them all together before hitting the gym.

Does pre-workout work?

Pre-workouts increase energy and focus before workouts.

Athletes, weightlifters, and gymgoers often use pre-workout supplements to help them get through their activities, especially when feeling tired or unmotivated.

The supplement comes in many different forms, including powders (ingested as drinks), pills and capsules, and energy bars.

The pre-workout ingredients are varied, with other products having other nutritional components. However, the essential elements for most people are caffeine and creatine.

Caffeine is a stimulant that helps the body to feel more alert and focused.

It dilates blood vessels, increasing blood flow throughout the body while also helping to break down fat cells more efficiently. Caffeine also improves metabolism, causing the body to burn more calories during exercise.

Creatine is a nutrient found in muscles that helps them to contract more efficiently.

By increasing muscle contraction rate, creatine allows you to work out harder for more extended periods without feeling weary or tired.

Pre-workout can help you:

  • Push yourself harder than usual
  • Stay alert during your workout
  • Have more energy
  • Obtain more significant gains in strength training
  • Burn more fat

However, pre-workout is not a long-term solution for burnout.

Pre-workout should be used as an aid to get you back into the groove of working out, but it should not be relied on exclusively.

When using pre-workout regularly for workouts that are longer than an hour and very intense, you will notice that the benefits wear off sooner than later.

Sometimes people need to take breaks from their regular caffeine intake and allow their bodies to detoxify and get back to normal energy levels.

Can a Pre-workout make you throw up and nauseous?

Some people have reported feeling sick and vomiting after using pre-workout supplements.

Here, the main culprits are ingredients like creatine and beta-alanine, which cause your stomach to produce more acid than usual. It usually comes on pretty quickly after taking your pre-workout dose if this happens to you.

However, don’t confuse workout-induced nausea with one caused by pre-workout powder. Sometimes dehydration and low blood sugar during exercise can also make you throw up.

When you start feeling sick to your stomach, the first thing you should do is stop exercising and take a break.

Try to get rehydrated with water (and even electrolytes if possible).

If nausea doesn’t stop after a few minutes of drinking enough water, don’t hesitate to see your doctor.

You may not know about specific food allergies or underlying conditions that can trigger symptoms. Your doctor may recommend a different type of pre-workout that doesn’t have certain ingredients or ask you to stop taking pre-workout altogether.

How to not get sick from pre-workout?

sick athlete

If you are still determined to enjoy the benefits of pre-workout, there are ways to reduce the risk of getting sick.

If you experience sickness or any other undesirable side effects, keep in mind that you resist the urge to increase your dosage as a solution.

The following tips will help avoid illness from pre-workout:

  • Only take pre-workout at times when you’ll be able to do physical training within 15 to 45 minutes; never take it before bedtime.
  • Start with a smaller dose (1/3 or 1/2 serving) and gradually increase it.
  • Do not take more than one serving at a time; some people find that taking multiple servings per day causes them to feel sick.
  • Avoid mixing pre-workouts with stimulants such as caffeine pills and energy drinks.

Don’t take pre-workout on an empty stomach; eat first.

If you notice yourself experiencing nausea while on the total dose, try drinking less water with your dosage or taking it after eating something light like toast or crackers.

Take a little time to focus on your health…

In short, It depends on what your definition of “sick” is. If you’re talking about the common cold or the flu, then no, taking pre-workout won’t make that worse. But if you’re talking about symptoms like stomach pain and nausea, then yes, taking pre-workout can make that happen.

If you have chronic health problems after taking pre-workouts, it may be worth speaking to your doctor.

Regardless, you should always try a more balanced approach to maintain your energy levels.

Here are some tips for doing just that:

  • Eat a balanced diet and avoid skipping meals
  • Try to get at least seven hours of sleep per night
  • Get at least 20 minutes of exercise three times per week
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day (at least 3.7 liters)
  • Take a multivitamin daily

Also read: Can Pre-Workout Kill You?

FAQs on pre-workout supplement sickness

What will I do if I feel sick after pre-workout?

When using a pre-workout supplement, you must listen to your body. If you feel sick after taking one, there are a few things you can do:

Before you stop taking pre-workout supplements, try shifting the time when you take them.

For example, instead of taking it right before or during your workout, take it about half an hour beforehand. This change could be enough to allow your body to adjust.

If that doesn’t work, try lowering the dose of your pre-workout supplement.

Start with halving the quantity—many people find that this is effective and allows them to get used to the supplement over time – and then see how you feel.

You can continue to lower the dose until you find the best amount for you.

However, if none of this works, you should talk to your doctor. A medical doctor will check if there is an underlying condition, why you’re feeling sick after taking pre-workout supplements, and your next steps.

What ingredients in the pre-workout make me sick?

The main ingredients in pre-workout supplements that make you feel ill are beta-alanine and creatine.

Let’s talk about beta-alanine first. Beta-alanine is an amino acid, meaning it’s one of the building blocks of protein.

You can find it in certain kinds of meat and fish, but some vegan sources (quinoa, anyone?).

When you take a pre-workout supplement, beta-alanine is what gives you that tingling sensation on your skin. Some people describe this feeling as “pins and needles” or “bugs crawling under your skin.” It feels funny, but it doesn’t last for very long, and it’s a good sign that the supplement is working.

Creatine is another ingredient in most pre-workouts that is super common.

Creatine is found naturally in foods like meat, eggs, and fish. In the body, it helps provide energy to muscles.

Creatine can make you feel nauseous or have stomach cramps if you have too much at once. But most people find that they build up a tolerance over time, so they don’t notice any adverse side effects after a while.

Do I need to stop taking pre-workout to avoid getting sick?

You may not need to stop taking your supplement.

Try these tips instead:

First, make sure you’re drinking enough water before, during, and after your workout.

Pre-workout supplements are a diuretic, meaning they may cause you to lose fluids. If you’re not replenishing those fluids by drinking water, you may be at higher risk of sickness.

Second, pre-workout supplements usually contain high levels of caffeine – sometimes more than ten times the amount in a cup of coffee. There’s nothing wrong with this as long as you take the supplement as directed. But if you’re feeling sick after taking it, try lowering your dose until you find the right amount for your body.

Last, people who get sick from pre-workout typically react to beta-alanine.

his amino acid helps increase focus and endurance. You can still take pre-workouts; just look for ones that don’t have beta-alanine.

What happens if I take a pre-workout on an empty stomach?

Chugging a pre-workout on an empty stomach is like throwing a lit match into a gas-filled room; it will not go well.

We’re not just saying that because you might get sick from the caffeine buzz.

Even though that’s a real risk, with an upset stomach, nausea, and vomiting, we’re also talking about how your body will feel after digesting the pre-workout.

The bottom line is: although taking a pre-workout on an empty stomach might be tempting—you’ll see results faster and get more energy for your workout—it can cause real damage to your body if you do it too often.

Here are some of the most common side effects of taking a pre-workout on an empty stomach:

  • Digestive issues
  • Stomach ulcers
  • Dehydration
  • Lack of focus

You should avoid a pre-workout on an empty stomach.

Make sure you have at least a small snack or meal before taking your pre-workout supplement.

Final Thoughts

Pre-workout supplements are often thought to be safe, but they can make you sick if not taken properly.

Pre-workouts contain high levels of caffeine and other stimulants that can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. To avoid getting sick from pre-workout supplements, take them with plenty of water and do not mix them with other substances.

If you experience any adverse effects after taking a pre-workout supplement, stop using it and consult a health care professional.

Important Disclaimer: The information contained on MAX HEALTH LIVING is intended for informational and educational purposes only. Any statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the FDA and any information or products discussed are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat, or prevent any disease or illness. Please consult a healthcare practitioner before making changes to your diet or taking supplements that may interfere with medications.

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