How Long Does Pre-Workout Last

How Long Does Pre-Workout Last?

Explore how long pre-workout supplements last and optimize your fitness routine with our comprehensive guide on their effects.
When to Take Amino Acids? Reading How Long Does Pre-Workout Last? 12 minutes Next When to Take Amino Acids?

“Your health account, your bank account, they’re the same thing. The more you put in, the more you can take out.”– Jack LaLanne

The importance of exercise cannot be overstated, however there are days when going to the gym or working out at home is challenging. A pre- workout can be a great way to get over that feeling. It is important to select a pre-workout that works best for your body type. Pre-workout supplements are often referred to as just “pre-workout.” 

What is a pre-workout?

Pre-workout, also known as “pre-workout supplements” or simply “pre” in sport and fitness circles, is a dietary formula created to boost energy, intensify physical performance, and help with endurance. Homemade DIY recipes or protein shakes have been included by weightlifters and bodybuilders for a long time.

Realizing the benefits; it has become a routine for professional athletes, trainers and gymgoers to grab a pre-workout before hitting the gym. In 2020, the global pre-workout market was valued at $13.98 billion by Grand View Research.

Pre-workout contains a diverse range of ingredients that help fitness enthusiasts to achieve their goals as per individual body requirements. It usually comes in a powder form that can be mixed with water, like a protein powder.

There are multiple pre-workout supplements in the market, and each one has a different set of ingredients. Some of the most common ingredients found in pre-workout supplements include creatine, beta alanine, citrulline, L-Tarurine, L-Leucine, isoleucine, valine and caffeine. Some pre-workouts also include ingredients to improve blood flow in addition to the common ingredients, while others include electrolytes to keep you hydrated.

So, what exactly do these ingredients do to help boost athletic performance?

Also Read: Pre-Workout for Beginners - All You Need to Know

How long does a pre- workout last?

Most pre-workouts include several individual ingredients varying the duration of effectiveness. Caffeine, Creatine, Beta-Alanine, Arginine, BCAA’s, and Citrulline are common ingredients you will see listed, and each serve a unique purpose, working together to enhance your workout.

Typically, it takes a pre-workout between 30 mins to 90 mins to take effect. The greatest impact is seen 60 mins after taking caffeine and 60 to 90 mins after arginine consumption. To maximize the potential of a pre-workout, you want it to reach to their peak in your bloodstream.

Caffeine inclusion in your pre-workout is beneficial as it takes typically an hour to reach its peak, and for most people, stays for several hours in the bloodstream. Depending on the timing of your workout, you may want to make sure to have enough time to calm down naturally for sleep.

Arginine helps the blood vessels to expand allowing more blood to flow through them. Depending on the dose and individual, half-life of arginine ranges from 30 mins to 120 mins. It is important to time the consumption to maximise its potential.

Also Read: Does Pre-Workout help you Lose Weight? 

Beta- alanine is known to be go to fuel if you are looking for greater focus, better performance, sustained endurance, and better gains. The best time to take beta- alanine is 10 to 20 mins before a workout. This helps athletes and bodybuilders to take advantage of its short-term effects on nervous system and helps to give a jumpstart to muscles on recovery.

Now that we know when to take pre-workouts there is another time “half-life” of the ingredients that should be considered. Half-life refers to how long it takes for half of the original dose of the substance to leave your system.(7)

Most ingredients in pre-workout have a half-life of 4-6 hours. That means the pre-workout will last and remain in your system for about 4 hours; however, you may only feel the effects for an hour or two.

Considering these common ingredients’ half-life, kick-in timing and peak timing, most people take pre-workouts 30 minutes before working out to ensure the effects will last throughout their workout. You can expect to feel the effects for around an hour, though the pre-workout may stay in your system for 4 hours or so. 

Main Ingredients of a Pre-Workout Supplement

1. Caffeine

Caffeine is indeed a popular choice of ingredients for boosting energy and focus during workout sessions, and many pre-workouts contain a significant amount of it.

However, it is important to be mindful of your caffeine intake, as tolerance can build up over time, requiring higher doses to achieve desired effects. If you take caffeine regularly, you might need more than a scoop to feel the effects.

For healthy adults, the FDA has suggested a serving limit of about four or five cups of coffee (400 milligrams a day)—as an amount not generally associated with dangerous, negative effects. However, it varies depending on how sensitive people are to the effects of caffeine and how fast they break it down.(1)

It's important to be aware of your own caffeine tolerance and to consume it in moderation to avoid potential negative effects such as increased heart rate, jitteriness, anxiety, and disrupted sleep patterns. 

2. Beta Alanine

Beta alanine is another popular pre-workout ingredient due to its potential benefits in enhancing endurance and delaying muscle fatigue. If you want to bear the burning sensation of your last few reps and maxing your muscles out to limit, you can trust beta alanine to help you push through it.

Beta-alanine combines with the amino acid histidine to form another amino acid called carnosine. Effectively, carnosine buffers the pH decline that causes muscle fatigue and failure, at the same time, building endurance and improving recovery.

Beta alanine helps both in short duration (strength training) and longer duration (cardio based) activities. Generally, beta alanine has been shown to be safe in recommended amounts, it can have side effects. It is important to consider its effects on your body type.(1) 

3. Arginine

Arginine is an essential amino acid that plays a crucial role in protein synthesis within the body. Beyond this fundamental role, t also contributes to enhancing exercise performance by promoting endurance, facilitating more rigorous and extended workouts, and aiding in the development of greater strength and muscle mass even helps in burning fat.

Another positive effect of arginine is its ability to stimulate he production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a vasodilator, promoting increased circulation of oxygen and essential nutrients like proteins and amino acids, vital for body development and muscle growth.(2) 

4. Creatine

Creatine, another common pre-workout ingredient serves to energize muscles during intense exercises like strength training. Our body uses creatine to make energy, being able to take your workout one step further has the potential to improve your performance and make the road to fitness easy. Creatine not only builds muscle but also helps to lean out or tone up.(1)

Also Read: Can I Mix Creatine with Pre-Workout? 

5. Betaine

Betaine is an amino acid that not only supports protein synthesis and safeguards cells during periods of dehydration, but also increases your resistance training performance.

Betaine supplementation has recently gained popularity in bodybuilding and fitness communities due to its effects on muscle building, enhanced cellular hydration and increasing endurance. In addition to these benefits, betaine is also recognized for its positive impact on heart health, digestion, and liver function.(3) 

6. L-Tyrosine

During the times of stress, our body releases stress hormones adrenaline (noradrenaline or norepinephrine) and dopamine two hormones called catecholamines that might help to reduce stress. Catecholamines are important neurotransmitters in the brain during stressful situations.

Tyrosine helps by supporting the process of making more catecholamines during stressful conditions and helping maintain focus and enhance endurance.(4) 


Leucine, isoleucine, and valine are known as branched-chain amino acids, named for their structural resemblance to tree branches. These three amino acids are among the nine essential amino acids that our body cannot synthesize independently and must be obtained from dietary sources.

BCAAs are a popular sports nutrition because of their wide range of benefits. These three BCAA’s make up a significant portion of your muscle tissue and provide fuel source during exercise to support endurance. The reason being is that they respond to the stress of a hard workout and will help with energy production.(5) 

8. L-citrulline

L-citrulline is a non-essential amino acid, which means your body produces it naturally like it does creatine and beta alanine. Your kidneys change L-citrulline into another amino acid called L-arginine and nitric oxide, which are important to your heart and blood vessel health as well as your immune system.

Nitric oxide plays a crucial role in enhancing the relaxation and function of arteries, thereby promoting overall health of blood vessels and optimization of blood circulation throughout the body.(6) 

9. Vitamin B-6

In addition to different types of amino acids, vitamin B-6 is also included in some of the pre-workouts. Vitamin B-6 plays a crucial role in breaking down the muscle glycogen, making it a key player in your body’s energy production. Not only can it help with weight loss it is also crucial for your metabolism, particularly during exercise.(1)

Benefits of Pre-Workout Supplements

Pre-workout supplements - assuming you stick to a safe and trustworthy pre-workout brand - can have tremendous impact on physical and mental performance in the gym.

They're designed to get up to full speed faster and maintain higher energy levels and focus across your entire workout routine, leading to greater overall exercise performance, and better results.

The specific benefits of taking pre-workout include:

  • Increased physical energy,
  • Increased mental focus and motivation,
  • Higher output (e.g. strength, power),
  • Increased muscle mass,
  • Better muscular endurance,
  • Reduced mental and muscle fatigue,
  • Reduced soreness and,
  • Increased recovery. 

The Bottom Line

Whether you are a novice or a seasoned fitness enthusiast, a pre-workout can be a trusted ally. The mix of ingredients may help you feel more energized, alert, and focused to help boost your performance in the gym. 

The effect of pre-workouts generally lasts around 2 hours. However, the duration can differ depending on the ingredients, dosage, and personal characteristics, such as your body weight and tolerance to caffeine. 

The best pre workout supplements give you a smooth, sustained energy boost, with improved performance without a big crash or any negative side-effects. 

Always stay alert as to how you are feeling and try a different supplement or pre-workout alternative to find one that works for you. 


  1. Spradley BD, Crowley KR, Tai CY, Kendall KL, Fukuda DH, Esposito EN, Moon SE, Moon JR. Ingesting a pre-workout supplement containing caffeine, B-vitamins, amino acids, creatine, and beta-alanine before exercise delays fatigue while improving reaction time and muscular endurance. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2012 Mar 30;9:28. doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-9-28. PMID: 22463603; PMCID: PMC3361498.
  2. Yavuz HU, Turnagol H, Demirel AH. Pre-exercise arginine supplementation increases time to exhaustion in elite male wrestlers. Biol Sport. 2014 Aug;31(3):187-91. doi: 10.5604/20831862.1111436. Epub 2014 Jul 15. PMID: 25177096; PMCID: PMC4135062.
  3. Cholewa JM, Wyszczelska-Rokiel M, Glowacki R, Jakubowski H, Matthews T, Wood R, Craig SA, Paolone V. Effects of betaine on body composition, performance, and homocysteine thiolactone. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013 Aug 22;10(1):39. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-10-39. PMID: 23967897; PMCID: PMC3844502.
  4. Tumilty L, Davison G, Beckmann M, Thatcher R. Oral tyrosine supplementation improves exercise capacity in the heat. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2011 Dec;111(12):2941-50. doi: 10.1007/s00421-011-1921-4. Epub 2011 Mar 25. PMID: 21437603.
  5. Blomstrand E, Eliasson J, Karlsson HK, Köhnke R. Branched-chain amino acids activate key enzymes in protein synthesis after physical exercise. J Nutr. 2006 Jan;136(1 Suppl):269S-73S. doi: 10.1093/jn/136.1.269S. PMID: 16365096.
  6. Pérez-Guisado J, Jakeman PM. Citrulline malate enhances athletic anaerobic performance and relieves muscle soreness. J Strength Cond Res. 2010 May;24(5):1215-22. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181cb28e0. PMID: 20386132.
  7. Hallare J, Gerriets V. Half Life. [Updated 2023 Jun 20]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan-. Available from:

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