Working out in the morning is one of the primary goals of many people. And, to maximize the performance, they consume pre workout on an empty stomach before entering into the gym.
But is it okay to consume pre-workout supplements first thing in the morning? Well, if you want to know the answers that are based on science and my personal experience, read till the end.
In this article, I’ll share the pros and cons of taking pre-workout supplements on an empty stomach that will help you decide whether you should have them or not.
What Are Pre-workout Supplements?
Pre-workout supplements are energy booster that increases endurance to make your workout last longer, improve physical performance, prevent premature fatigue, reduce protein breakdown, and help in muscle recovery and bodybuilding.
Branched-chain amino acids, caffeine, creatine, citrulline malate, electrolytes, protein, taurine, and vitamin B12 are common ingredients present in most pre-workout supplements.
Caffeine works effectively for Weight Watchers while creatine suits most those who want to build muscle – an article published on Health Line suggested.1 Pros and Cons of Mixing Creatine and Caffeine – Medically reviewed by Kristen M. Moyer, MD, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Hospice and Palliative Medicine – Healthline.com
When you buy pre-workout, please check out the list of ingredients. The higher the essential ingredients, the better nutrition you’ll get.
Benefits of Taking Pre-Workout Supplements
- Taking multi-ingredient performance supplements (MIPS) positively impacts muscular endurance, aerobic performance, and body composition. It also provides ergogenic aid for active individuals during the workout.2 Harty PS, Zabriskie HA, Erickson JL, Molling PE, Kerksick CM, Jagim AR. Multi-ingredient pre-workout supplements, safety implications, and performance outcomes: a brief review. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2018;15(1):41. Published 2018 Aug 8. doi:10.1186/s12970-018-0247-6
- Consuming pre-workout supplements for six weeks increases aerobic power and improves trained muscles’ lean mass.3 The effects of six weeks of supplementation with multi-ingredient performance supplements and resistance training on anabolic hormones, body composition, strength, and power in resistance-trained men – Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition
- A small study suggested that pre-workout on an empty stomach increases upper body muscular endurance, improves power output during anaerobic exercises, prevents pre-mature fatigue, and increases alertness during high-intensity workouts.4 The acute effects of multi-ingredient pre-workout ingestion on strength performance, lower body power, and anaerobic capacity – Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition
Common Types of Pre-Workout Supplements
Caffeine is a key ingredient in most pre-workout supplements, so taking it on an empty stomach is generally fine. At times, it may cause intestinal upset, especially if you’re adding it to your regime for the first time. However, your body will adjust to it over time and will likely not upset your stomach.
Caffeine may increase blood pressure and anxiety (if you over-consume). And it quickly burns calories that can make you feel dehydrated when taking on an empty stomach in the morning.
Creatine is a substance naturally found in our muscles and some foods. It helps our muscles have more energy for short, intense activities like lifting weights or sprinting.
You can take creatine on an empty stomach without any issues. Your body can absorb creatine well, whether you take it with food or on an empty stomach.
However, some people find that taking creatine with a small meal or carbohydrates can help absorb it better. It is because carbohydrates can help insulin transport creatine into muscle cells more effectively.
Taking creatine on an empty stomach is fine as long as you follow the recommended dosage, stay hydrated, and your digestive system can tolerate it.
BCAAs are essential nutrients that help build and repair muscles. They include three essential amino acids – leucine, isoleucine, and valine – that are not produced naturally by the body.
You can find BCAAs in protein-rich foods or supplement your diet with powders or pills.
You can take it with or without food, depending on your preference and intestine tolerance.
The BCAAs are typically well-tolerated and absorbed by the body. Just follow the recommended dosage guidelines for your specific BCAA supplement.
Note: All of these pre-workout supplements can be taken on an empty stomach. However, it is still best to consult a professional dietician or doctor before using it on an unfilled stomach.
Do I Take Pre Workout On An Empty Stomach?
When I started lifting weights in the gym, I was wondering if I should take pre-workout on an empty stomach before the workout or not.
But after five to six months (once I developed my foundational strength), I decided to start taking creatine monohydrate to maximize my muscle growth.
It is used as a dietary supplement to enhance physical performance and muscle growth.5 Wu SH, Chen KL, Hsu C, et al. Creatine Supplementation for Muscle Growth: A Scoping Review of Randomized Clinical Trials from 2012 to 2021. Nutrients. 2022;14(6):1255. Published 2022 Mar 16. doi:10.3390/nu14061255
Creatine supplementation may support muscle growth by increasing water content within muscle cells (cell volumization) and stimulating protein synthesis.
I always consume creatine monohydrate after having something, such as oats, protein bars, chocolates, bread, and nut butter. I also drink plenty of water to keep myself hydrated throughout the workout and day.
However, I have never taken pre workout on an empty stomach.
Should You Take Pre Workout on an Empty Stomach
There’s a lack of research that supports or denies the pros and cons of taking pre workout on an empty stomach. It is yet to be explored in science communities, or maybe I’m not aware of any.
However, there are some people on Quora and Reddit who said they take caffeine on an empty stomach before training.
So, the results of taking pre-workout on starving mood depends on person to person and the kind of exercises they do.
In this case, the best thing you can do is to consult a nutritionist or certified gym trainer before consuming supplements, as they can affect your health.
In my opinion, I haven’t personally consumed pre-workout supplements on an unfilled stomach, so I will not recommend them to you as well.
I feel taking homemade pre-workout juice or organic foods on an empty stomach is much safer than taking the pre-workout supplement.
For example, you can eat something that can easily digest, such as smoothies, snacks, bananas, coffee, or low-fat chocolates. But make sure you consume your pre-workout meal 20 to 30 minutes before hitting the gym.
General Tips for Those Who Take Pre-Workout Supplements
1. Use Certified Pre Workout Supplement
Moreover, take only those supplements that are free from artificial additives and sweeteners because they can cause gastric distress, especially when you take them on an empty stomach.
2. Consume 20-30 Minutes Prior to Lifting
Pre-workout supplements take time to work, so it is best to take 20-30 minutes before you exercise. Once the supplement is digested, it will help maximize your performance during the training sessions and help you achieve better results.
3. Drink Plenty of Water
If you take pre-workout on an empty stomach, make sure you drink water before, during, and after the workout. It will keep you hydrated, minimize the risk of side effects, and avoid any muscle cramps.
4. Avoid Overuse
Using pre-workout supplements every day can lead to dependency and decreased effectiveness. Reserve their use for challenging or high-intensity workouts.
5. Understand Your Need
Take a pre-workout supplement that matches your goals. Some supplements help you have more energy and keep going longer, while others help your muscles feel bigger or help you recover faster after exercise.
6. Listen to Your Body
Taking pre-workout can have adverse effects like jitters, rapid heartbeat, nausea, or anxiety, so listen to your body, and if you feel any discomfort, stop taking it immediately.
Health Disclaimer: This article is only for informational purposes. We can’t assess your health personally, so we can’t suggest you take pre-workout supplements first thing in the morning. As it is related to health, it is best to consult with a certified and knowledgeable professional before consuming any form of supplement.
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- 1Pros and Cons of Mixing Creatine and Caffeine – Medically reviewed by Kristen M. Moyer, MD, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Hospice and Palliative Medicine – Healthline.com
- 2Harty PS, Zabriskie HA, Erickson JL, Molling PE, Kerksick CM, Jagim AR. Multi-ingredient pre-workout supplements, safety implications, and performance outcomes: a brief review. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2018;15(1):41. Published 2018 Aug 8. doi:10.1186/s12970-018-0247-6
- 3The effects of six weeks of supplementation with multi-ingredient performance supplements and resistance training on anabolic hormones, body composition, strength, and power in resistance-trained men – Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition
- 4The acute effects of multi-ingredient pre-workout ingestion on strength performance, lower body power, and anaerobic capacity – Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition
- 5Wu SH, Chen KL, Hsu C, et al. Creatine Supplementation for Muscle Growth: A Scoping Review of Randomized Clinical Trials from 2012 to 2021. Nutrients. 2022;14(6):1255. Published 2022 Mar 16. doi:10.3390/nu14061255