Pre-workout: side effects and benefits

Find out more about the meaning of the term pre-workout, it's side-effects & benefits. Bonus: natural pre-workout drinks!

August 26, 2019
Pre-workout: side effects and benefits

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Up until recently, pre-workout was a term used for a meal you would eat before you hit the gym or workout park. However, since the supplement industry started to grow, more and more products are offered as pre-workout supplements.

On the other hand, trends of superfood consumption and clean eating also offered a wide range of smoothies or miracle foods, often suggested as great natural pre-workout snacks and drinks.

But, what is the meaning of the term "pre-workout"? What side effects and benefits do you have from taking pre-workout supplements? Madbarz brings you a detailed review of this topic.

What is the meaning of pre-workout?

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First, what is pre-workout? Is that a meal you take before your workout, supplement in the form of powder or pills or some superfood you consume?

The meaning of the term pre-workout is any supplement, usually a powder drink mix, that claims to boost workout performance if you consume it beforehand. These supplements are often a mix of various ingredients (virtually every fitness brand out there has its own mix) aimed to give you extra energy.

In addition, more and more superfoods are considered to be natural pre-workout. However, even those superfoods are often in the form of the powder and consumed as a drink. Quite often they can be found in the form of the pills, but the bottom line is - just because they are natural, they are still considered supplements.

Some of the most known pre-workout supplements are:

  • Creatine - is a substance found naturally in muscle cells. It helps your muscles produce energy during heavy lifting or high-intensity exercise. Creatine is most commonly taken in the form of a powder, alone or mixed with other ingredients.

  • Caffeine - a natural stimulant most commonly found in tea and coffee. It's used in many pre-workout supplement formulas, as it gives you more energy and better focus for your workout. It can also be consumed in the form of caffeinated beverages or coffee.

  • Taurine - a naturally occurring organic acid that contains sulfur. Taurine acts to increase muscle force production and enhance fatigue resistance from severe high-intensity exercise. It's a common ingredient of many pre-workout supplement formulas.

  • Matcha - finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea leaves. Matcha increases your endurance and boosts your metabolism. It's most commonly consumed as a hot or cold drink.

  • Beetroot - a plant eaten as a vegetable, it contains high amounts of nitric oxide, a molecule that increases blood flow, which gives a better "pump" and boosts stamina. It can be consumed in various ways, mostly as juice, smoothie, or powder. Beetroot powder is a common ingredient of pre-workout supplement formulas.

Each of these supplements has a different effect on the body, but they all have the same goal of giving you an additional boost of energy, enhancing your performance and endurance. But, do pre-workout supplements really benefit your workout? Are there any side effects you should consider? Keep reading to find out!

Top 3 pre-workout benefits

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Many articles are discussing the benefits of various pre-workout supplements, as well as a great number of researches done to find out the potential benefits of every supplement. Since that much information is hard to put in one article, we are going to discuss the top 3 benefits of the above mentioned most-known pre-workout supplements. 

1. More energy for the workout

Some pre-workout supplements are proven to give you more energy for the workout. The most mentioned one is caffeine: it acts as a stimulant and helps you feel energized and ready to work out. Also, it raises your focus and may improve mental alertness. Being focused on the way you perform exercises helps you avoid injuries.

L-theanine and caffeine combination in matcha improves focus and attention in a similar way as caffeine does, giving you more energy for your workout. These pre-workout supplements are a great choice if you are looking for an energy boost.

2. Increased workout performance and efficiency

When trying to increase workout performance and efficiency, most of the people will reach for creatine. This is completely justified since creatine has the following effects:

  • Boosts the effects of resistance training on strength and body mass

  • Increases the quality and benefits of high-intensity intermittent speed training

  • Improves endurance performance in aerobic exercise activities that last more than 150 seconds

  • May improve strength, power, fat-free mass, daily living performance, and neurological function

Creatine is not the only supplement that can help you boost your performance. One of the most known natural pre-workouts, beetroot powder, is a natural source of dietary nitrate, which helps increase blood flow and boosts athletic performance and stamina.

Taurine is also proven to improve exercise performance in trained athletes. Also, taurine supplementation helps decrease muscle damage and muscle soreness, which helps you recover faster.

Caffeine increases endurance in athletes by 12% on average. As Healthline states, it especially benefits trained athletes in high-intensity sports like cycling or swimming. Also, caffeine can improve muscular endurance, including the number of repetitions performed at a certain weight.

3. Stimulating weight-loss and muscle growth

If you are looking to gain muscle, some pre-workout supplements can be beneficial. Creatine increases the mass of the muscles - it's stored in muscles with an adequate amount of water, it draws more fluid in muscles, giving them a bigger size.

Pre-workout supplements can also be beneficial for weight loss. When taken in doses between 100 to 400 milligrams, caffeine boosts metabolism, raises body thermogenesis and delays onset of hunger, therefore helping with weight loss. 

Matcha naturally increases your body's energy and heat production during cardio and resistance training. This tells your body to burn more calories and eventually lead to weight loss.

Besides boosting your performance, taurine improves fat burning by 16% in athletes. If you are looking for a way to lose excess weight faster, consider some of these supplements.

Top 3 pre-workout side effects

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Besides benefits, there are side effects of pre-workout supplements you have to consider. Keep reading to find the most common pre-workout side effects.

1. Increased jitteriness

High doses of caffeine can cause insomnia, nausea, increased heart rate, drowsiness, and restlessness. On the days you don't use caffeine, you can go through caffeine withdrawal, which can cause headaches or make you feel fatigued, anxious, irritable, and depressed.

These side effects can also be experienced if you consume excessive amounts of matcha powder since it's high caffeine content.

2. High blood pressure 

All stimulants increase your blood pressure, especially if taken in high doses to give you a significant energy boost you are looking for in a pre-workout supplement.

This effect is seen the most in caffeine. Since caffeine is dehydrating, it can dangerously increase your heart rate and blood pressure. This is the reason why caffeine supplementation is not recommended on days you perform intense cardio.

3. May act as a diuretic

The diuretic effect of some pre-workout supplements combines with not taking enough water or losing too much water during the exercise can lead to dehydration. Make sure to drink enough water throughout the day, especially after the workout, as dehydration can cause headaches, tiredness, dizziness, and many other side effects.

Great natural pre-workout drink

We have already mentioned two natural pre-workout supplements - matcha and beetroot. Both of these can be prepared fast and easily, to provide you with the desired energy kick.

If you are more of a DIY kind of athlete and prefer natural supplements, you probably want to include these two drinks in your routine!

Beetroot pre-workout smoothie


  • 1 beetroot, peeled and chopped

  • Juice of one orange

Just blend the beetroot and add orange juice to it. This refreshing smoothie will provide you with an energy boost, and you will avoid all the possible side effects pre-workout supplements can have. Beetroot has no known side effects,  you should only be careful if you suffer from kidney disease, and there are no known interactions with other food or medicines.

Matcha pre-workout drink


  • 300-500 ml of ice-cold water 

  • 1 teaspoon of matcha powder

Put water and powder in a shaker or water bottle and shake vigorously. Keep in mind that matcha never fully dissolves, so you might need to shake it once again before drinking.


The supplement industry offers a wide range of pre-workout formulas aimed to boost your energy and performace. Also, a lot of superfoods claim to have the same effect on your body, while being natural and free of artificial ingredients.

It’s easy to get lost among all the products in the supplement market, but the main thing to realize is that every supplement has its benefits and side effects. It all comes down to what you want to achieve with your training.

However, no supplement will do the hard work for you. You will need to sweat and burn to earn yourself the body of a warrior. Madbarz is here to help you with that!

Madbarz Premium offers you 20+ workout plans tailored specifically for your needs and fitness level, while the Nutrition guide comes with 65+ healthy recipes and helps you choose the right diet for your goals. Get your Madbarz Premium today and achieve that warrior body!

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