Is your pre workout keeping you up at night? Or is it making you crash at the office after a morning workout? We’re going to dig in and find out what’s making you experience pre workout insomnia or mid-day crashes.
The main ingredient in most pre workouts is caffeine, which can come in many different forms. The most common form, Caffeine anhydrous (also known as “supplement caffeine”) is both economical and effective. Although used scarcely, Caffeine citrate kicks in quickly, but doesn’t last too long. Another form, Di-Caffeine Malate, activates slower but provides more sustained energy levels. Now if you’re any type of supplement connoisseur, you’re probably thinking about ways you can layer these caffeine types to prevent a crash all-together! We wish it was that simple. Before we look at ways to layer stimulants to prevent crashes, we should really be looking at how tired the body is.
Taking caffeine when your body is heavily fatigued and expecting to feel fine after beating it up in the gym when the caffeine wears off, is like expecting your mouth not to hurt when novocaine wears off after getting a tooth pulled at the dentist. Much like novocaine, caffeine essentially numbs your body and can help make it feel “normal.” But when it wears off, your body still feels fatigued. If you need better scientific insights on how that works, check out the video below.
How Do You Prevent Pre Workout Crash?
The most obvious way to fix a pre workout crash is to give your body a break; get more sleep, and also reduce your caffeine consumption. This doesn’t happen overnight, but only using pre workout when you’re well rested and preventing yourself from using it daily, can help you resist the crash effects of caffeine.
You can also work on reducing daily caffeine intake. If you feel like you need caffeine or you're too sluggish, tired, and sore, then you should listen to your body. There is a reason why you feel that way and relying on caffeine to feel normal is likely inhibiting your performance and results both in and outside of the gym.
Sometimes you’ll experience a crash from pre workout when you are fully rested, rarely use caffeine, and are completely healthy - what causes that? Pre workout supplements are called formulas for a reason. Each one is slightly different. Even if a product has the same ingredients as another, the source of the ingredients, quality of the ingredients, and manufacturing procedures could differ. Pre workouts aren’t just a form of caffeine and flavor though. Typically these products will have 4-8 different stimulants in them, all at different dosages. Each dosage of these active ingredients plays a huge effect on how the product performs. Think of it like a DJ’s mixing board. Each stimulant is another slide.
Additionally, when you add pump ingredients, specifically vasodilators, it changes the effects of the stimulants, which becomes another piece of the pre workout puzzle.
Some ingredients, like DMAA (no longer available), naturally provide a crash feeling. Original HYDE and Jack3d users loved this because they could get all jacked up for a late night gym session and by the time they came home they were ready to pass out. On the flip-side, if they lifted in the morning, often their head was on their desk by noon.
The ingredients in pre workouts can have a direct contribution to whether or not you crash, but even before that, looking at the condition and fatigue of your body is more important.
Is Your Pre Workout Keeping You Up At Night?
This side effect is different from the crash treatment and is often a direct result of the pre workout formula. If you’re sensitive to caffeine (that’s a good thing), or don’t consume it regularly, caffeine intake alone might be the cause of why you’re energized at night and unable to sleep. If you take pre workout on the regular and certain products keep you up, it’s time to look at the ingredient labels. Here is a list of things to look for:
- The amount of caffeine per serving
- Did you take the correct serving amount (sometimes a serving is actually half of a scoop)
- Does the product contain other stimulants
and many more stimulants & nootropics can provide a prolonged high intensity feeling.
Nobody is expecting you to be a chemist and know what every ingredient at every dose does, let alone the changes when they’re paired with other ingredients. One thing you could do is an elimination process. If you know a product has 300mg of caffeine, theobromine, and alpha gpc in it, try a product with only two of those ingredients. Depending on the ingredient breakdown of the product - whether or not it’s a proprietary blend (non specific amounts) or fully disclosed (exact dosing listed) will make this easier. If you’re really into it, buying raw ingredients and formulating your own product using a scale might be the ultimate option.
When you’re experiencing the crashing or insomnia effects of a pre workout, first look at yourself, then analyze the label, and then start making changes.