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November 09, 2021 8 min read

Caffeine is one of the most common ingredients found in pre-workout supplements, usually consisting of somewhere between 150 - 300mg per serving. However, the amount of caffeine in pre-workout varies depending on the brand and strength of the supplements. 

What Are Pre-Workouts?

Pre-workout supplements are nutritional supplements that are used before an exercise. They may be used to boost energy levels, improve strength and endurance, and sharpen concentration.  Many different substances make these goods, including caffeine, creatine, beta-alanine, tyrosine, and other amino acids.

3d render of pre-workout powder with dumbbells and kettlebell isolated over white background

Like protein powder, pre-workout is generally a powder that you combine with water. Pre-workouts may be taken as a pill or as energy-dense foods or beverages. 

Benefits of Caffeine

  • Caffeine is a natural stimulant derived from the fruit, leaves, and beans of the coffee, cocoa, and guarana plants. However, it may also be synthesized. It is used to treat a variety of  ailments, including insomnia and anxiety.
  • Caffeine has a significant impact on our cognitive abilities once consumed. It works by inhibiting the effects of adenosine, a neurotransmitter involved in the relaxation of the brain and the production of tiredness in humans.

Adenosine accumulates in our brains during the day, which causes us to get increasingly tired as the nighttime hours approach. As a result, coffee may help to alleviate this fatigued sensation. Besides that, coffee raises our adrenaline levels and increases dopamine and norepinephrine activity in the brain, which further stimulates the brain and causes us to feel more alert and concentrated.

As little as 20 minutes after consuming caffeine, whether, in the form of a cup of coffee or a pre-workout supplements, the effects of caffeine start to kick in.  

Caffeine's Benefits for Sports Performance

Caffeine consumption has been proven to significantly improve various aspects of athletic performance, the most prominent of which are:

  • Muscular endurance
  • Repeated sprint performance 
  • Training at a high level of intensity
  • Performance over a long period

As a result, it seems that caffeine can help you perform better with certain exercises and we will discuss this below:

  • Caffeine and Endurance Performance: Coffee will help you the most if you're an endurance athlete. Caffeine use before endurance training has been found to boost performance by dramatically increasing the time required to fatigue. This implies that endurance athletes may push themselves harder for extended periods, notably long-distance bikers, runners, and cross-country skiers.
  • Caffeine and Exercise at a High Level of Intensity: Although the evidence in this area is pretty inconsistent, the overall conclusion from several studies is that caffeine may be helpful for highly trained athletes. Caffeine is believed to enhance performance during high-intensity activities such as sprinting, rowing, and team sports.
  • Caffeine and Strength: Caffeine is known to increase muscle endurance, which may translate to strength in situations requiring repeated repetitions of a given exercise.
  • Caffeine and Fat Loss: Caffeine is often the primary component in many weight-loss products. Caffeine enhances energy, allowing a person to move more, workout harder, and burn more fat. Additionally, coffee may aid in the release of fat storage during exercise, allowing the body to burn fat more quickly. This is accomplished by raising heat production and epinephrine, which aid in burning excess calories and fat.
  • Caffeine and Cognitive Function: Not only may caffeine improve physical performance, but some study indicates that it may also affect cognitive functions.
  • Caffeine acts as a stimulant to the central nervous system. Thus, depending on the dosage, it may aid in enhancing mental performance, namely alertness, attention, and focus.

How does caffeine affect a person's capacity to participate in sports?

  • Caffeine makes some individuals feel more energized and allows them to exercise harder and for longer periods though it can cause other individuals to feel jittery or anxious, making it difficult to perform effectively during sporting activities.
  • Caffeine has been shown in studies to improve endurance in certain persons (able to exercise longer). This might be due to coffee causing the body to absorb fat as fuel instead of glycogen (stored sugar).
  • Caffeine has an impact on the brain by making athletes less conscious of their tiredness. Caffeine, when used in moderation, may provide you with a mental advantage while competing. It may also enhance your mood and make you want to exercise regularly.

Side Effects of Caffeine

  • Caffeine may hide the reality that your body needs more sleep. Instead,  pay attention to your body and allow it to rest after activity.
  • Caffeine is also a diuretic, so it might cause you to urinate more than usual. Reduce the quantity of caffeine you consume if this is an issue for you. Drink more water for two to three days before a sporting event.
  • Caffeine-containing beverages or supplements might cause your bowels to flow faster than usual, mainly if consumed first thing in the morning. This might be beneficial before participating in sports. However, you must be cautious to plan it correctly so that you do not have any issues throughout the tournament. Caffeine may induce diarrhea if you already have loose bowel movements due to exercise.
  • In addition, some individuals get nausea (upset stomach) or indigestion (sour stomach) if they consume too much coffee before engaging in strenuous activity. Therefore, you must determine the appropriate dose of caffeine for you and take it at the appropriate time before exercising.
  • Caffeine may not be beneficial if you are apprehensive or have pre-event jitters. Caffeine may make you anxious, produce muscular tremors, and make it difficult to focus.
  • Caffeine use at high levels, such as 800 mg per day, has been prohibited by the International Olympic Committee and other organizations. However, most individuals can remain under the legal limits if they use less than 350 mg per day.

How Much Caffeine Is In A Pre-Workout

Caffeine is one of the most important components of a pre-workout supplement since it provides the most strong effects. Pre-workout amino acids improve muscular endurance and athletic performance, but this stimulant also improves attention, energy, and drive and most pre-supplements have between 150-300mg of caffeine per serving.

Structural chemical formula of caffeine molecule with roasted coffee beans.

To convey a sense of proportion, a typical cup of coffee has 80-100mg of caffeine. People with an average tolerance may safely consume 200 to 300 mg per day. It just so happens that the average pre-workout serving contains between 150 and 300 mg. However, some pre-workout pills include 400 mg or more per dose, so you should read the label carefully before using the supplement.

The  quantity of caffeine you should consume before a workout to improve your performance is determined by several factors, including the kind of activity you will be doing. The recommended minimum amount of caffeine used before a workout in order to get consistent and significant effects is 150mg. Because of this, the lowest amount of caffeine found in pre-workout tablets and energy drinks, among other things, is 150mg.

It is difficult to determine what the upper limit is. It is recommended that you limit your caffeine intake to less than 400mg per day; however, this includes everything you eat during the day, including coffee and soft drinks. They all add up, and starting your workout with 400mg of caffeine is not a great choice!

We recommend starting with 150mg and progressively increasing the dosage as required. You'll also need less caffeine to get the same outcomes if you take a break and switch up your pre-workout beverages every now and again (which the instructions will also recommend). If you're planning to undertake cardio, consuming 250mg to 400mg of caffeine 45-60 minutes before your workout is a reasonable starting point, depending on your body size and general caffeine tolerance.

At this amount of caffeine consumption, you will notice an improvement in attentiveness and an increased capacity to maintain your maximum endurance output. This is around the caffeine content of a 16-ounce cup of coffee. Of course, more is not always better since higher dosages may not always provide stronger results.

Most individuals utilize coffee before weight training to boost their attention and general arousal to attack the weight room as hard as possible. If this is your aim, you may consume as much or as little caffeine as you need to reach beast mode.

Consuming Caffeine Before Working Out

According to current research, the best caffeine intake for improving  exercise performance is 3-6mg per kg of body weight.

For an 80kg person, this would be around 240-480mg. For perspective, 400mg of caffeine is similar to around four cups of coffee or three energy drinks.

This is why many gym-goers and sportspeople choose to consume more suitable caffeine sources before exercising, such as pre-workout supplements.

These formulae include a variety of additional compounds, the most frequent of which are caffeine, creatine, beta-alanine, and L-citrulline. Caffeine may also be found in gum or tablets (caffeine anhydrous), which is more tempting for people who participate in endurance sports and must be careful with hydration and food intake before training.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is higher caffeine content associated with a better pre-workout?

Not always. Caffeine is a powerful stimulant, but there is much more to it than that. Therefore, a decent pre-workout supplement should include additional substances that are either helpful without caffeine or mixed with it to enhance its benefits. A lower-caffeine product with theanine, for example, is an excellent option since both chemicals work well together.

They increase consciousness while decreasing any adverse effects, such as headaches caused by excessive caffeine use. Whether you use caffeine or not, look for essential performance-enhancing ingredients such as creatine, citrulline, beta-alanine, and others.

2. Do all pre-workout supplements contain caffeine?

No, they do not. There are caffeine-free or low-caffeine pre-workout supplements. These are often stimulant-free, which is ideal for those who are not ready for stimulants. 

3. What's the difference between caffeine in pre-workout supplements vs. coffee

The only difference between caffeine from coffee and caffeine from pre-workout supplements is the form. Their effects are similar, but the significant difference is that anhydrous caffeine (the sort used in pre-workout supplements) acts quicker. 

This can result in a quicker build-up and drop-off, but it also means an increased chance of post-caffeine tiredness side effects. A pre-workout pill, for example, is likely to take 30-60 minutes to attain optimum impact, but a black americano with 2 shots of espresso is more likely to take 60-90 minutes. 

Reasons Not to Consume Caffeine

One of the problems with caffeine consumption is that it reacts differently in various individuals. Massive amounts don't bother some people, but they cause severe discomfort in others.

Caffeine sensitivity is one of the most common causes of caffeine intolerance. This is determined mainly by genetics or the capacity of the liver to process caffeine. Caffeine sensitivity levels range from average to hypersensitive.

Caffeine intolerant people may experience uneasiness, nausea, racing heart, jitters, and sleeplessness.

Worse, you may have a "caffeine allergy." This is when the body misidentifies caffeine molecules as an "enemy" to the immune system. Unfortunately, some people don't even realize they have this allergy until it's too late.

Caffeine allergies cause even more severe symptoms, such as trouble breathing, throat swelling, and rashes. Some individuals avoid caffeine due to its highly addictive characteristics. In addition, quitting may be very difficult and cause withdrawal symptoms. Finally, they don't want caffeine in their diets because they don't like the way it affects their mind and body.

Wrapping Up

To summarize, caffeine in pre-workout supplements can provide energy, drive, and concentration during your workout and most pre-workout supplements have 150-300mg of caffeine in them per serving. However, some have more than 400 mg in a single dose.

You will want to be sure to keep an eye on the caffeine content of your pre-workout drinks, since the  suggested dose is just 400 mg. This figure includes your morning coffee as well as your afternoon energy drink. Excessive consumption might cause pain, headaches, and dehydration.

If you're looking to get that extra boost without all of the unwanted effects of stimulants, try  ADABOLIC. It's stimulant free but packed with essential ingredients to improver your workout performance!