Taking Pre-Workout on Empty Stomach

Written By: Jeremy Fox, CNC, CPTUpdated: December 27, 2023

Pre Workout On Empty Stomach

Are you someone who works out early in the morning before breakfast? If yes, you could experience some unpleasant side effects after taking pre-workout supplements.

So, you might be wondering whether you should take pre-workout on an empty stomach or eat something before taking your supplements. I will answer that question and more to help you optimize pre-workout nutrition and get better results from your training.

In this article, we’ll be discussing what happens when you take a pre-workout supplement without eating. Including situations where it can be beneficial to workout fasted and what pre-workouts might be best to take on an empty stomach.

Can You Take Pre-Workout on an Empty Stomach?

Yes, you can take pre-workout supplements on an empty stomach. For most people, it won’t cause any issues. However, keep in mind that everyone’s digestive system is different, so your reaction may vary depending on the specific ingredients and formulation of the supplement.

Side Effects of Taking Pre-Workout On Empty Stomach

It is believed that consuming high doses of caffeine during a fast can increase jitteriness. Taking pre-workout supplements on an empty stomach may also result in side effects like headaches, nausea, or an upset stomach.

Some ingredients like yohimbine can have adverse effects if consumed on an empty stomach2. While pre-workout supplements can cause digestive discomfort, there is no evidence to suggest that they cause any permanent damage to the stomach.

Moreover, a recent study suggests that these side effects are generally insignificant and occur in a small percentage of people4. That said, any supplement’s short-term and long-term side effects depend on its formulation and dosage, so it is always important to check the label.

Pre Workout on an Empty Stomach

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 on an empty stomach 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.

Either way, if you decide to take pre-workout on an empty stomach, using a smaller dose to see how it affects you is best. If you have no side effects, you can gradually increase the dose.

Best Pre-Workout for Empty Stomach

Another option is using a pre-workout with fewer stimulants and minimal added ingredients. This is the best way to avoid side effects when 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.

You could also try Naked Energy, which contains just 10 ingredients with no additives or artificial sweeteners. 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, I’ll answer 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 the absorption rate and peak concentration of certain ingredients. 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.

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.

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

Does pre-workout on an 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 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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Working Out on an Empty Stomach

Now that you know 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

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

Workout on Empty Stomach

Pre-Workout Meal

Working out fasted has 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

More Pre-Workout Guides

Now you have the answers to all your questions about taking pre-workout with or without food. But there are many other considerations when taking these powerful supplements.

So here are some additional guides to help you get the most out of your pre-workout supplement.

Signs You’re Addicted to Pre-Workout Supplements

5 DIY Homemade Pre-Workout Recipes for 70% Less Money

Best Cheap Pre-Workout Supplements By Category

Can Pre-Workout Cause Anxiety? How to Reduce Side Effects

Benefits of Salt In Pre-Workout & How Much To Add

Are Pre-Workout Gummies Worth The Money?

Coffee vs Pre-Workout: Which Is Better Before Exercise?

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

Check out my other great content below for more supplement, nutrition, and workout advice!

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By |December 27, 2023|Supplements|0 Comments

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