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5 Side Effects of Caffeinated Pre-Workout Supplements

5 Side Effects of Caffeinated Pre-Workout Supplements

Pre workout supplements are commonly chosen to boost performance, increase energy levels, and help you push limits when indulging in high-intensity training routines. Essentially, they contain a mixture of several ingredients, tried and tested for their effectiveness in helping you reach your peak performance. 

However, the situation isn’t as rosy as it appears. Many people experience several short to long-term side effects after consuming pre workout drinks. While the cause can be many, one ingredient widely attributed as the culprit is caffeine, a central nervous system stimulant found readily in coffee and tea.

What does the FDA say about Caffeine Consumption?

As per the FDA, a healthy adult can consume 400 milligrams daily without experiencing dangerous side effects. However, this value changes if a person has caffeine sensitivity or any other medical condition. Since most caffeinated pre workouts have 300-500mg of concentrated caffeine content/scoop, the likelihood of overdosage is pretty common.

Does that Mean that we are Against Caffeine?

No, absolutely not! In fact, we do acknowledge that caffeine has a lot of benefits in terms of improving concentration and mental alertness. However, it cannot be denied that caffeine also has drug-like addictive properties, so it’s highly important to consume it within limits.
For instance, consuming caffeine in coffee, tea, or in form of any other caffeinated drink with low doses of caffeine is absolutely safe. But, when the dosage increases and the nature of caffeine become concentrated, serious short to long-term effects can be seen.
When it comes to caffeinated pre workout drinks, it contains caffeine in the most concentrated form and in high dosage (300-500mg), which can cause serious health concerns. So, caffeine is certainly a yes, but a caffeinated pre workout is an outright NO!

5 Side Effects of Caffeinated Pre Workouts

Research studies show that caffeinated pre workout supplements can many times lead to potential side effects on health and that’s the reason why Americans have started the trend of shifting to non-stimulating pre workout drinks. 

But, what are these health effects, and how severe are they? Let’s find out as we explore the top 5 side effects of consuming caffeinated pre workout supplements. 

1. Caffeine Addictio

Caffeine is a stimulant that can improve alertness, boost metabolism, and improve overall mood. People often intake caffeine in pre workout drinks or other common caffeinated beverages to improve their performance and help them feel energetic throughout the training session. 

If stats published by the Addiction Center are to be trusted, then 90% of adults in the US regularly consume approximately 200mg of caffeine in some form. For the most part, caffeine is considered safe and harmless. 

So, if there are many caffeine benefits and if it’s safe, then how does addiction impact you?

While the American Psychiatric Association (APA) does not currently identify Caffeine addiction as a Substance Use Disorder (SUD), there is a similarity between caffeine addiction and dependency on other drugs. When caffeine becomes a daily necessity, there is a huge possibility of developing a high dependency. This is because of the chemical change in the brain due to the sustained consumption of caffeinated drinks. 

If you consume caffeinated pre workouts daily, then you’ll develop a tolerance to caffeine just like you develop it for any other drug or alcohol. This will then trigger you to increase your caffeine intake for maintaining the same amount of mental alertness. The result is an inability to function without consuming high doses of caffeine and consequent caffeine withdrawal if you try skipping on your caffeinated pre-workout or beverage. 

The pre workout supplement side effects stem from the high dose of concentrated caffeine that they contain. Most caffeinated pre workout drinks have 300mg of caffeine per scoop. When compared to caffeine in coffee, it’s almost 3 times as an average cup of coffee has just 80-100mg of caffeine. As the possibility of overdosage increases when the FDA norms are kept as a reference, so does the possibility of addiction and other caffeine side effects. 

2. Caffeine Withdrawal

Just like attempting to quit other drugs leads to a feeling of craving accompanied by other withdrawal symptoms, so is the case with caffeine. In fact, American Psychiatric Association (APA) emphasizes the drug-like dependency on caffeine and recognizes clinical withdrawal as a clinical disorder. 

Caffeine withdrawal occurs when people experience significant symptoms after abruptly quitting caffeinated pre workouts. The symptoms appear within a day of quitting and may last up to a week or so. Following are the symptoms that can be commonly seen-

  1. Fatigue
  2. Headache
  3. Irritability
  4. Anxiety 
  5. Difficulty Concentrating
  6. Low Mood
  7. Tremors

If you want to minimize the side effects stemming from quitting a caffeine-loaded pre workout, then the best way is to reduce the consumption gradually rather than suddenly quitting. Most caffeine addiction symptoms can get resolved in 7-12 days wherein your brain will naturally decrease the number of adenosine receptors on each cell in response to sudden caffeine deprivation. 

3. Jitters

Experiencing jitters is the commonest side effect of using a pre workout supplement. The main cause is obviously caffeine along with other stimulants!

The quantity of caffeine in each scoop of pre workout can range from 300-500mg. When the caffeine concentration increases, it also increases the adrenaline in the body, followed by blood pressure. This, in turn, causes a jittery feeling. 

The caffeinated pre workout effects worsen for people who already suffer from anxiety or those who consume pre workout supplements on an empty stomach as they experience jitters sooner than others. When this gets coupled with the tingling sensation that a high dosage of beta-alanine produces, it only gets harder to deal with. 

4. Insomnia

Everyone knows that caffeine keeps you awake, but do you know how a concentrated caffeinated pre workout affect sleep? Here’s how!

While keeping you awake, the consumption of caffeine also activates epinephrine and norepinephrine. These hormones keep you energized while they stay in your system. 

In general, the effects of caffeine last for up to 3-5 hours. However, the speed at which caffeine is metabolized depends on your genetics, and the longer it stays in your system, the more difficulty you’ll have in sleeping. 

If you consume a caffeinated pre workout around lunchtime or in the evening with a slow metabolism, you’re likely to struggle with serious sleep problems or insomnia. 

5. Cardiovascular Issues

Almost invariably, pre workouts available in the Indian market contain high doses of concentrated caffeine. In moderation, caffeine is safe for your heart. 

However, the problem with supplements is that they contain a lot of caffeine, sometimes way more than the limit set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which is 400mg per day. 

Consuming high doses of caffeine from pre workout supplements leads to high blood pressure and hypertension, which in turn increases the chances of a heart attack. Not only this, but it also causes heart palpitations and other heart rhythm problems, the severity of which varies from person to person. 


While pre workout formulas are made to enhance your performance, some ingredients in pre workout can be actually hazardous to your health. Caffeine is one such ingredient that can cause serious health concerns when present in concentrated as well as high doses. And these effects are not just short-term, they can also hamper your health in the longer run. 

So, why compromise your health? 

Make better, healthier, and cleaner choices for your pre workout supplement! 

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