Pre-Workout on Empty Stomach

Pre Workout On Empty Stomach

If you workout early in the morning or in a fasted state, odds are you take a pre-workout supplement on an empty stomach. But you might notice some unpleasant side effects when doing this.

So should you take pre-workout on an empty stomach? Or should you eat something before taking your supplements?

This article answers that question and more to help you optimize pre-workout nutrition and get better results from your training.

Working Out on an Empty Stomach

Before we get into what happens when you take pre-workout on an empty stomach, let’s talk about fasted workouts. Some people use this strategy to reach a particular fitness goal, while others do it because they don’t like having a full belly when training.

But what are the advantages and disadvantages of fasted workouts? Multiple studies suggest fasted cardio exercise results in greater fat oxidation than cardio after eating1.

How to Use Fasted Cardio for Faster Fat Loss

Workout on Empty Stomach

On the other hand, fasted exercise results in higher levels of catabolic hormones that break down muscle tissue. So it’s typically advantageous to eat something before muscle-building resistance training workouts.

Taking Pre-Workout on Empty Stomach

There are a few scenarios where you might take pre-workout on an empty stomach. Like if you train first thing in the morning and don’t have time to eat breakfast on your way out the door.

Or you may choose to work out fasted as part of an intermittent fasting meal plan. But sometimes, you just haven’t had a meal for a few hours before hitting the gym in the afternoon or evening.

Whichever scenario you find yourself in, you may wonder, “can I take pre-workout on an empty stomach?”

Pre Workout on an Empty Stomach

Can you take pre-workout on an empty stomach?

The short answer is, yes, you can take pre-workout on an empty stomach. Most people won’t have problems taking these supplements without having a meal first.

However, your digestive system may react differently than other people’s. And the way pre-workout affects your gut depends on the ingredients and formulation.

For example, high doses of caffeine might make you feel more jittery if you’re fasting. In addition, specific ingredients like yohimbine can cause adverse effects when taken on an empty stomach2.

Best Pre-Workout for Empty Stomach

Using a pre-workout with fewer stimulants and minimal added ingredients is the best way to avoid issues with taking it on an empty stomach.

In my experience, Alani Nu pre-workout is one of the best for quality ingredients at the proper dosages without any excess stuff. While this supplement brand generally markets to women, it works equally well for men.

Another safe pre-workout on an empty stomach is Naked Energy. This clean supplement contains just 10 quality ingredients with no additives or artificial sweeteners.

Therefore, this formulation is ideal for someone with a sensitive stomach. Plus, there is a stimulant-free version if you get jitters from caffeine on an empty stomach.

Pre-Workout on Empty Stomach FAQ

Next up, I’ll answer some more frequently asked questions about taking pre-workout on an empty stomach.

Is pre-workout more effective on an empty stomach?

Taking pre-workout on an empty stomach may increase certain ingredients’ absorption rate and peak concentration. And this could potentially result in greater benefits during your workouts.

One study showed that caffeine took effect twice as fast when taken in a fasted vs. fed state. And the peak concentration was 16% higher with fasted caffeine intake3.

Pre-Workout on Empty Stomach Timing
Pre Workout on Empty Stomach Caffeine

However, to my knowledge, no studies evaluate the effectiveness of multi-ingredient pre-workout supplements taken after a meal or on an empty stomach. So this doesn’t necessarily mean pre-workout is more effective when fasted.

What are the side effects of taking pre-workout on an empty stomach?

Taking pre-workout on an empty stomach could result in headaches, jitters, nausea, or upset stomach. However, a recent study suggests that these side effects generally are insignificant and occur in a small percentage of people4.

Related: Does Pre-Workout Cause Acne?

Can pre-workout damage your stomach?

While taking pre-workout can cause digestive discomfort, there are no indications that supplementation results in stomach damage. But, of course, any supplement’s short-term and long-term side effects depend on the formulation and dosage, so always check the label.

Does pre-workout on empty stomach make you poop?

Taking a pre-workout supplement can cause a sudden bowel movement. And this result may be more pronounced when you take pre-workout on an empty stomach.

However, not everyone will need to go number two because it depends on several factors, including the amounts of specific ingredients in the pre-workout supplement.

Related: 7 Pre-Workout Ingredients That Can Make You Poop

Does Pre Workout Make You Poop

Can I take pre-workout when fasting?

Most pre-workout supplements contain ten calories or less, so they won’t significantly alter your calorie intake while fasting. In addition, the artificial sweeteners used to add flavor shouldn’t raise insulin above fasting levels5.

However, pre-workout powders may have other ingredients that could kick you out of a fasted state. For example, BCAAs do contain calories, despite not showing up on the nutrition label, and will raise insulin.

Should I eat before taking pre-workout?

If you experience any issues or side effects from taking your pre-workout, you could try taking it with or shortly after a meal. The added stomach contents will slow down the absorption of the supplement’s ingredients and reduce the concentration of caffeine in your bloodstream.

In addition, eating before your workouts helps reduce muscle breakdown and promotes recovery after you leave the gym.

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Pre-Workout Meal

Working out fasted has its benefits, particularly if your goal is maximizing fat loss. And I am a huge fan of fasted cardio. However, there are potential downsides to fasted resistance training, such as losing valuable lean muscle.

Therefore, I generally recommend that my clients eat something before hitting the gym. But the contents of this pre-workout meal depend on your fitness goals.

Click here for my top 11 pre-workout meals for fat loss and muscle gain.

Pre-Workout Meal
Pre-Workout Meal Ideas

With this information, you’re well on your way to optimizing your pre-workout nutrition. And your workouts will improve as a result.

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