Why Timing When You Drink Your Pre-Workout Is Important

When you need a little boost before getting a workout in, there's not much that hits harder than a good pre-workout. Shake it up with some water and throw it back, you'll be well on your way to feeling energized and ready to break a sweat. But along with selecting the right pre-workout for your routine, you should also take when you take it into consideration. The compounds in pre-workout take a certain amount of time to begin to take effect, so timing it right is the key to making the most of those effects. Here's what you need to know about timing your pre-workout before hitting the gym. 

Before we touch on the "when," what exactly is pre-workout? Pre-workout supplements are dietary formulas that are designed to boost energy levels and improve performance during athletic activities, per Healthline. Pre-workout usually comes in the form of a powder that users mix or blend with water before drinking. While exact ingredient lists vary by brand and formula, many pre-workouts include amino acids, B vitamins, caffeine, creatine, and artificial sweeteners to make it a bit more palatable. 

People have divided opinions on the effectiveness of pre-workout, but many athletes swear by it. If you subscribe to the belief that pre-workout is a must-have for a good gym sesh, you'll want to take it at a time that makes it hit hardest. 

When to take pre-workout

Pre-workout may not be a viable option for people who squeeze workouts in last-minute between other obligations; it does take some time to get going in your body. But when used and timed properly, pre-workout can help you reach your fitness goals like muscle building, endurance, stamina, and increased resistance. While you may need to do a bit of experimenting to determine the correct timing for your own goals, a good rule of thumb is to take your pre-workout drink somewhere between 20 minutes and an hour before engaging in physical activity, per Gainful. This gives your body time to digest the ingredients and for compounds to activate within the body.

Along with what time you take your pre-workout, it is also important to consider which exercises you are planning to engage in once you're ready to work out. Men's Health reported that it is safe to take pre-workout before any of your routines, but it can be particularly helpful with certain types of exercise. A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that when you combine pre-workout with high-intensity interval training workouts (HIIT), you experience significant increases in VO2 max, training volume, and lean body mass. Additionally, the combination can also speed up body fat loss, researchers reported.  

So if you're looking to meet strength or weight loss goals, planning your workouts and making use of pre-workout could be the steps you're missing.