Does Pre-Workout Make You Poop? Can It Cause Diarrhea?

Does Pre-Workout Make You Poop? Can it Cause diarrhea?

Last Updated on November, 2022

You’re super hyped about hitting the gym with your buddies today. But before you zoom to the gym, you grab hold of your Pre-Workout and ingest a hearty dose of that great workout promise.

The workout session gets to a flying start, and you’re hauling iron like Arnold Schwarzenegger!

Barely into the first few sets, the gym session comes to a screeching halt as you are hit with excruciating pain in your abdominal muscles!

Before you know it, you’re running like Usain Bolt to the toilet, screaming to save yourself from impending bowel explosion doom!

Why is this happening?

Is it for Real? Does Pre-Workout Really Make You Poop?

A gym man feeling stomach pain

A huge number of gym-goers have complained about stomach problems after taking Pre-workout. They nag about ruined work-outs and tons of embarrassment because of disastrous runs to the toilet. All evidence points to Pre-workout as the obvious culprit. 

Let’s analyze why Pre-workout could be your ultimate “workout killer”!

Reasons for Becoming a “Poop Bomb” After Taking Pre-Workout

Pre-Workout supplements are multi-ingredient dietary formulas. Experts agree that they give you more energy and athletic performance. With Pre-workouts, your gym sessions will be more intense and last longer, giving you better results. 

Among the ingredients are several inputs that induce laxative effects on the human digestive system.

Caffeine

Multiple studies have shown that Caffeine content in Pre-Workout helps to improve mental alertness, increase energy levels and exercise performance and accelerate weight loss. (1)

However, research has revealed that high doses of Caffeine increase blood pressure, disturb sleep, and increase anxiety. Excess Caffeine in the system also makes you poop as it stimulates colon muscle cells.

Artificial Sweeteners

Artificial sweeteners such as Sucralose or Stevia make the Pre-workout formulas appeal to the consumer palate. Life will be harder if you gulp down a rather unpleasing concoction of ingredients that taste like s#*!.

Artificial flavors and sugar alcohols cause intestinal distress and create discomfort, gas, bloating, and diarrhea. Undigested sweetener absorbs water and makes your trip to the toilet even more urgent. 

Magnesium

Magnesium, in the form of Magnesium Citrate in the Pre-Workout supplements, boosts cardio performance and increases the intensity of workouts. (2)

But, ill effects of these Pre-workout make water collect in the bowels and increase the urge to make you poop. It is the age-old method used to induce more bowel movements as a home remedy. 

Be wary of Pre-workouts that have a high dose of such ingredients. A safe range for Magnesium content is between 40 – 55 mg.

Vitamin B12

It is an expert opinion that Vitamin B12 in Pre-workout supplements delays fatigue and improves reaction times in physical workouts. But, Vitamin B12 in Pre-Workouts enables muscle contraction in the digestive system, creating the need to rush for that emergency trip to the toilet. (3)

Vitamin C

Research has pinpointed that ultra-high doses of Vitamin C in Pre-Workout supplements reduce muscle inflammation, fight against tissue damage, and help faster post-exercise recovery. But, loading up on the Vit C can trigger bowel movements, and dosage of over 2,000 mg per day is not recommended.

Nitric Oxide

Nitric Oxide occurs naturally in our bodies through a healthy diet, and it helps to improve blood flow so that you can pump up more reps of your demanding sets. Precursors of Nitric Oxide are L – Arginine and L – Citrulline, which gives the nudge needed for the body to produce this awesome gas!

While it helps you to do intense workouts and shine bright in the bedroom department, studies have shown that Nitric Oxide taken as a Pre-Workout supplement ingredient induces bowel movements.

It seems like an impossible task to locate a Pre-Workout supplement that doesn’t have all the above ingredients!

Don’t worry. Help is here!

Below is a list of tips and tricks to make the most of Pre-Workout supplements minus the unpleasant bowel movements!

What Can Be Done to Minimize Pre-Workout Poop?

Go Easy on the Caffeine Content

Caffeinated coffee makes our world go around by keeping us energized and focused. Coupling this intake with a significant amount of Caffeine from Pre-Workouts lead to a serious “Caffeine overload.”

Experts agree that selecting Pre-Workout supplements with a Caffeine range of around 150 – 300 mg per serving may be the ideal way to start the Pre-Workout drink.

You can also try decaffeinated coffee if you want to continue using your favorite Pre-Workout with higher caffeine content. (4)

Or, try the other way by choosing a Caffeine-free Pre-Workout and stick to your normal intake of that caffeinated cup of heaven!

Avoid Artificial Sweeteners / Sugar Alcohols

Artificial sweetener ingredients have to be swapped out in favor of natural alternatives such as naturally sweetened products. Experts claim that opting for natural ingredients enables gym-goers to carry out an intense workout session with minimal digestive discomfort.

Beet root extract gives a tasty punch without artificial sweetener. It’s also a great source of dietary Nitrates that help to produce energy to build that chiseled muscle mass!

Take Pre-Workout With Less Water

Not everyone can “dry scoop” their Pre-Workout (as a sign of showing off their macho-madness in line with the current TikTok craze!).

Mixing Pre-workout powder with water increases the need to make you poop and can result in watery stools.

Starting with a lower water quantity to gradually increase the water volume is the ideal way to kick-start your workout and improve your fitness goals.

Lactose Intolerant Souls, Watch Out!

Lactose intolerance naturally creates stomach pains and bowel movements, making you poop more than usual. Combined with other stimulants, your gym-going experience could be decimated by a devastating combo of poop-inducing substances. (5)

For the Lactose intolerant out there, make sure your Pre-Workout supplements don’t contain Lactose related ingredients, including dairy products.

Or you’ll be sorry!

Don’t Overdose

Ok, so we have already established that Pre-workout supplements make you poop. So why take the risk and OVERDOSE ON THE STUFF??

Your bowel movement will be bulging instead of your muscle mass! A total ruin of your gym day will be inevitable.

Start with the dosage companies suggest in their product labeling and notice the level of bowel movement. We strongly recommend this technique even with the best Pre-workout supplements on the market.

Don’t Take Pre-Workouts on An Empty Stomach

Gulping down Pre-workout first thing in the morning without any food in your tank is a surefire way to use those cardiovascular exercises to run to the toilet! Experts agree that most Pre-workout supplements contain many ingredients that create digestive discomfort and laxative effects.

No wonder your Pre-workout makes you poop!

Be Careful With Yohimbine

Research shows that Yohimbine in a Pre-workout supplement makes workouts last longer with high energy production for intense sessions. This effective brain and nervous system stimulator can also make you poop unintentionally. (6)

Now you know the steps to select a Pre-Workout supplement that is kind to your gut and intense for your workouts.

Don’t Take Pre-Workout With These Foods!

Fiber in our food is great for our health. But if you want to feel bloated, full and uncomfortable, fiber-rich food is the way to go. Foods like broccoli, beans and lentils will have to wait for your post-workout meal.

Also to avoid are foods high in fat. They will take longer to digest and will make you feel uncomfortable in your stomach. Fat offers vital energy but the body can’t access it. 

But, Does Pre-Workout Make You Poop Still?

a man sitting on commode

Keep-It-Simple Silly!

Finding a Pre-workout supplement with fewer ingredients and simpler mixes can help you to buy the least stomach-bashing Pre-workout supplement out there.

These products allow customers to select the level of Caffeine, artificial sweeteners, and other ingredients in the Pre-workout.

Pre-Workouts, the DIY Way…

Creating “Home-Made” Pre-workouts through online research will give you awesome, customized Pre-workout mixes. They will jack up your nervous system and blood pressure to do kick-ass workouts.

Your custom Pre-workouts can be taken with caffeinated coffee so that you don’t have to add Caffeine to the mix separately!

It’s super easy to make them Caffeine-free. Don’t mix it with coffee!

Wake That “Explorer” Up in You

Trying different pre-workouts will help you find the ones that work for you. Your experience with different brands of Pre-workout will vary wildly based on the; Caffeine, Artificial Sweeteners, Beta-Alanine, Magnesium, Vitamins, etc. in their mixes.

Get a Health Check-Up!

It’s always a good idea to get an overall health check-up just to make sure that the high frequency of pooping isn’t caused by other underlying ailments. Studies have revealed that abnormal toilet visits can be a symptom of hypertension, diabetes, ulcerative colitis, hypercholesterolemia, etc.

Regular health check-ups are always a surefire way to make sure that there’s nothing wrong “inside the hood” that we are not aware of.

The Last Resort (If Everything Fails)

Ok. You have tried every Pre-workout under the sun, but you still haven’t caught a break from visiting the shitter. 

Why not give these all-natural, no-nonsense, energy-boosting foods a try as a “Pre-workout replacement”?

According to experts, various fruits, oats, and starchy roots like sweet potatoes and bread offer the carb boost needed for those intense workouts. Instant, on-demand energy will be available through easy to digest, simple sugars to pump that iron extra hard. The complex carbs will ensure enough juice in your system to build muscle and maintain your physique over the long run.

Your gut will also thank you as bowel movements will become more systematic with the dietary fiber content in these foods. 

You can surely achieve a balanced, nutrient-packed supplement without the nasty side effects of the Pre-workout products on the market.

The Verdict

Pre-workout supplements can give you a better, more intense workout at the gym. The extra energy and punch you will have to pump that iron will help you realize muscle growth, fat loss, and shaping up your targets.

However, selecting the right Pre-workout supplement is a daunting task because of their ingredients’ imminent “poop bomb” risk.

The best idea is to take it easy, select several products and try them out gradually to find your perfect fit (with the least toilet inconveniences mid-workout!).

Or, the best option may be for you to abandon the endless pursuit of poop-proof Pre-workout supplements and go “au naturel”!

REFERENCES:

  1. https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/health-benefits-pre-workout-supplements#:~:text=pre%2Dworkouts%20are%3A-,Caffeine.,mg%20of%20caffeine%20per%20serving
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5622706/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3361498/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9581985/
  5. https://sydneygutclinic.com/signs-and-symptoms-of-lactose-intolerance/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12323115/

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Linda Walter
I’m a fitness trainer and a health coach. My GOAL is to empower everyone to live a healthier life even after passing their prime. You can find more about me here.

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