10 Side Effects Of Pre-Workout Supplements: How To Reduce?

10 Side Effects of Pre-Workout Supplements: How to Reduce?

Last Updated on October, 2023

Although pre-workouts can be beneficial, you may experience side effects after consuming them. Thus, you need to know how to avoid these side effects.

Don’t worry! This article will help you.

So, keep reading to learn about the side effects of pre-workout supplements, tips to reducethem, and their benefits.

Let’s get started!

Side Effects You May Experience With Pre-Workouts

Side Effects of Pre-Workout Supplements

Most side effects associated with your pre-workout are harmless. But they can make you uncomfortable.

The main reason for these side effects is ingesting more than the recommended dosage.

Pre-workout supplements contain a mixture of many ingredients. These ingredients are the reason behind the side effects that you may experience.

So, here are some potential side effects associated with the consumption of pre-workouts.

1. Leads to High Blood Pressure

Hypertension is one of the most severe side effects of pre-workouts.

Your blood pressure will SKYROCKET due to the Caffeine in your supplement. Besides, Caffeine is the primary ingredient in many pre-workouts. (1)

So, if you already have high blood pressure, pre-workout may be a BIG NO-NO for you.

Take caution!

Too much Caffeine in a day increases the risk of a heart attack. So, consuming pre-workouts in approved doses is always a great idea.

If you are prone to heart problems, take advice from your doctor before taking a pre-workout.

Related article: Is Pre-Workout Bad for Your Heart?

2. Increases Water Retention

Did you know that pre-workouts may cause water retention due to the presence of Creatine in them?

Creatine is a type of amino acid. It can pull water to the working muscles from the other areas of the body. (2)

As a result, Creatine may cause dehydration, bloating, and water weight gain

But, water retention is less likely to be persistent. It may only occur during the first few days of consuming pre-workouts. 


Don’t forget to drink plenty of water while taking these supplements.

3. Causes Digestive Issues

Your pre-workout may cause digestive issues if you have a sensitive stomach. Digestive problems occur due to some ingredients in the pre-workout. 

These ingredients are:

  • Caffeine.
  • Creatine.
  • Sodium Bicarbonate.
  • Magnesium.

You will suffer from an upset stomach if your supplement contains significant amounts of these ingredients.

So, let’s see how your pre-workout supplement affects your tummy.

Caffeine, Creatine, and Magnesium have a higher tendency to cause diarrhea. For example, Magnesium draws water into the intestines. It boosts bowel motility. 

You will have to go to the toilet immediately after consuming the supplement.

Caffeine may also cause acid reflux. Sodium Bicarbonate will give you stomach aches

So, make sure to consume in approved doses.

4. Gives You Headaches

Experiencing headaches is one of the most common pre-workout side effects.

Now you know that pre-workouts cause dehydration. Well, headaches tag along when your body gets dehydrated!


Some pre-workout supplements include ingredients like Beta-Alanine, Citrulline Malate, and Arginine. 

These components are vasodilators. They expand blood vessels to increase muscle strength.

Moreover, Caffeine and Citrulline allow increased blood flow into the muscles. This results in blood pressure changes in your brain.

Thus, you may suffer from headaches.

5. Causes Insomnia

The Caffeine in your pre-workout can DISTURB getting a good night’s sleep.

You might want to have a supplement to improve your evening workout session.


Taking pre-workouts in the evening is not advisable.

You know that drinking coffee at night helps keep you awake, right? 

Most pre-workout supplements contain high doses of Caffeine. These supplements contain 4-5 times of Caffeine that your coffee contains.

You must make sure to reduce Caffeine consumption before taking any supplement.

Significant amounts of Caffeine interrupt your sleep cycle

This leads to insomnia. You will stay awake for 3-5 hours at night if you take the supplements in the evening.

So, you should not consume pre-workouts before you go to bed. (3)

6. Makes You Anxious

Several ingredients in your pre-workout may lead to anxiety.

Caffeine and Yohimbine is the main reason behind this side effect. Yohimbine is a natural ingredient. So, some may consider it safe.


Yohimbine fluctuates your blood pressure and makes you ANXIOUS. Moreover, too much Caffeine also triggers anxiety. (4)

7. Tingling Sensation

You may experience a tingling sensation if your pre-workout contains Beta-Alanine and Niacin. (5, 6)

Many people feel this sensation in the face, neck, hands, and feet.

These ingredients cause a neurological effect that is harmless. This is a nervous system reaction.


This side effect will fade away within 60-90 minutes after consumption. It is funny that some individuals find this sensation enjoyable. But for some, it is UNPLEASANT.

This reaction indicates that your pre-workout is working in your body.

8. Flushed and Itchy Skin

The Niacin in your pre-workout supplement may cause flushed and itchy skin.

Niacin, also known as Vitamin B3, causes tiny blood vessel dilation.

Higher doses of Niacin (more than 500 mg) may trigger a blood rush to the surface of your skin. 

You may spot red patches on your skin. Sometimes they can be itchy. Skin reddening usually appears on the face, arms, and chest. 

This side effect is NOT HARMFUL at all. But it can be unsettling for many individuals.

9. Reduces Your Appetite

Did you know that taking pre-workout supplements can affect your hunger?

Many pre-workouts contain fat burners such as Green Tea Extract, Vitamin B3, and B6. While aiding weight loss, these ingredients can limit your hunger and appetite.

Moreover, the branched-chain amino acids (BCCAs) in your pre-workout may also decrease hunger.

Make sure not to overdose on these ingredients. Otherwise, you may experience a severe loss of appetite. 


All pre-workout supplements do not reduce your appetite. If one pre-workout does not work for you, you should try another. 

10. Triggers Nausea

You may experience nausea if you do not dilute your pre-workout in enough water.

Moreover, some ingredients in your supplement may also trigger the urge to vomit. Unfortunately, these irritating ingredients could be anything.

It varies from person to person.

Caffeine and Creatine are some of the main components that make you nauseous. It will make you feel like you will vomit after consuming your pre-workout.

How to Reduce Side Effects?

A man experiencing a pre workout side effect

You may be nervous after reading about the side effects.


You can reduce potential side effects and adverse reactions.

So, check out these tips to avoid them.

Now that you know the ingredients responsible for the side effects, you can stay away from them.

Or else, you can lower or divide the doses into smaller amounts. Be thoughtful about how much pre-workout you are taking.

If you have high blood pressure, your pre-workout supplement must be Caffeine-free.

Of course, you can reduce the side effects related to Creatine by ensuring proper dosage. (7)


Dehydration occurs if you don’t drink enough water. Besides, dehydration is a risk factor for those who engage in energy-consuming activities.

So, make sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Taking pre-workout supplements that do not have tummy-upsetting components reduce digestive issues. But, if you cannot find such a pre-workout, you should limit the dosage.

Make sure to add more water to your supplement to avoid diarrhea.

Prevent headaches by consuming pre-workouts that are free from Beta-Alanine and Citrulline.


Reduce Caffeine intake at night to avoid sleep problems.

Moreover, if your pre-workout does not include Beta-Alanine and Niacin, you will not suffer from skin reactions.

You must be more careful if you have health conditions like diabetes or heart conditions. It is always a better idea to take advice from a medical professional.

What Are the Benefits of Pre-Workout Supplements?

Pre-workout supplements provide you with many purported benefits too. Good pre-workout supplements boost your training efforts.

The benefits may differ according to the ingredients in your supplement. 

Do I have your attention?

So, let’s take a closer look.

Helps You Gain Strength

Pre-workouts increase strength and boost energy levels.

These supplements deliver nutrients that make your exercise performance challenging.

Creatine is an ingredient that enhances strength. Besides, Creatine produces biochemicals that increase muscle energy and strength.

Moreover, Caffeine gives you an energy boost and enhances upper body strength.

B Vitamins and BCCAs also improve muscle strength. In addition, they increase blood flow to power up your athletic performance.

Improves Endurance

Pre-workout supplements contain ingredients that reduce muscle fatigue.

This results in increased muscular endurance and faster recovery. (8)

Acid accumulation in muscle tissues is the main reason for muscle fatigue. Beta-Alanine and Sodium Bicarbonate remove acids in your muscles. (9)

These ingredients help pump more blood into your muscles too. Thus, your supplement will reduce pain and soreness

Then you can engage in a more extended exercise program.

Of course, you can do more INTENSE TRAINING!

For Muscle Gains

Some pre-workout ingredients benefit muscle gains.

Amino acids are the most beneficial components for muscle gains. BCCAs go into the muscle and support protein synthesis.

This process produces new proteins and rebuilds muscle tissues.


Moreover, Citrulline boosts blood flow to the muscles. It increases oxygen levels and takes nutrients to the muscles. This enables muscle gains.

Creatine and Amino acids in your pre-workout increase lean body mass and muscle mass. This will improve your body composition. 

In particular, the BCCAs promote muscle growth. BCCAs also aid in reducing muscle damage after an athletic performance.

Indeed, you can be a BODYBUILDER! 

Increases Mental Focus

Mental focus and clarity are essential to engaging in intense workouts.

You are more likely to quit your workout if you are not mentally alert. Unfortunately, in this case, you may experience injuries too.


Many pre-workout supplements help improve psychological focus.

The Caffeine in your supplement improves your alertness and focus. As a result, you will be mentally there throughout your exercise.

Is it Okay to Take Pre-Workout Daily? 

A man having Pre-workout supplement

Well, the answer is NO.

You should not consume pre-workout supplements daily. Although many people consider them safe, pre-workouts are not acceptable for daily consumption.

You are more likely to experience health consequences if you consume them daily.

Read this complete guide if you want to know more about daily consumption of pre workout.

How to Take Pre-workout Supplements?

Taking pre-workouts too early or too late will not do any good for you.

You must take your supplement 30-60 minutes before working out.

Caffeine takes at least 30 minutes to start absorbing into your bloodstream. So you should start working out as soon as the Caffeine kicks in. 

Start with small doses. Make sure to dilute pre-workout powders with enough water.

Can Pre-Workout Supplements Damage Your Heart and Organs?

Unfortunately, they can damage your heart, liver, and muscles.

Some individuals end up having health issues after consuming these supplements. These issues include:

  • Hypertension.
  • Heart palpitations.
  • Liver toxicity.
  • Breakdown of muscle tissues.

So, make sure to keep in mind the precautions and the tips we talked about earlier.

What Are Safer Pre-Workout Supplements?

There are plenty of pre-workout products on the market. But, you should consider your overall health before trying out pre-workouts.

According to health professionals, FDA-approved supplements are safe.

You need to read the label of ingredients before buying them.

Always seek advice from professionals to prevent any adverse events. 



In truth, pre-workouts are efficient in boosting your workouts. But you may experience side effects due to their ingredients. These side effects are not serious, but they can be undesirable.

If you have any health condition, it is vital to seek medical advice before trying any supplement. 

So, find the best pre-workout and get the results you want!


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5839013/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2048496/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24235903/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12519715/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26175657/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22270875/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28615996/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4947244/
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24276304/

Was this article helpful?

Photo of author
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.

Leave a Comment