How long do pre workout supplements take to kick in?

There’s no doubt that pre-workout supplements are an incredible way to make the most of the hours you spend exercising and training. And that’s why they are on the rise among fitness enthusiasts when it comes to boosting their energy levels and motivation.

However, there is a lot of confusion and misinformation surrounding the use of pre-workout supplements. One such confusion experienced by most gym-goers is about the timing for when the effects kick in, and how long do their effects last.

With the stimulants present in pre-workouts, it is important to be careful with the time of consumption so that you don’t face sleepless nights and feel the desired effects when you hit the gym.

So, the chief question to answer here is how long does pre-workout take to work?

How Many Minutes Does It Take For The Supplement To Start Working?

A pre-workout takes approximately 15 to 30 minutes to start working, but this may vary with the active ingredients, the pre-workout tolerance of your body, and your metabolism.

It’s very significant to time the intake of your pre-workouts carefully so you don’t consume it too early and end up missing its benefits when exercising, or consume it too late and face difficulty in sleeping.

The Curse pre workout

Generally, 15-30 minutes is the average time required by the nutrients to travel to your blood and cells from the stomach. Research states that the pre-workouts reach their peak levels in the bloodstream in about 30 minutes, so taking the supplements about half an hour prior to working out is the best.

Personally, I like to take my pre-workout as late a possible. This way, it starts working during my gym session. It also means that there is less chance of the effects wearing off during my exercise routine.

How Long Does Pre-Workout Stay In Your System?

The answer is that pre-workout will stay in your system for around 1 to 2 hours. However, this largely depends on several factors like the ingredients, your age, weight, muscle mass, activity levels, daily diets, your tolerance, and what other things you also consume. If your tolerance is high, it might be time to consider a cycle off pre-workout for a while.

caffeine formula

Usually, the body processes the supplements fully within a maximum of 24 hours, passing the unused elements via urination as most ingredients in the supplements are soluble in water.


Caffeine has a half-life of 5 hours, but it doesn’t provide stimulation for that long. The effects start decreasing after an hour.

Green Tea Extract

The fact that green tea also contains little amount of caffeine makes it last in the system for 3-4 hours. You don’t actually need to be concerned about how long does it last as the detox action are non-stimulating.


Beta-Alanine is used to enhance exercise performance by delaying lactic acid accumulation after intense exercise. Its half-life is around 8 to 12 hours, thus providing an energy boost for about 3-4 hours. The tingling sensation doesn’t last longer than an hour.


L-Carnitine has been linked to improvements in exercise performance. It exhibits effects within half an hour and usually diminishes in less than 60 minutes.


Conjugated linoleic acid has no stimulating action but it makes it easier for the body to burn fat to boost energy levels. These supplements last in your system for about an hour to 90 minutes.

How Long Do Pre-workout Supplements Last?

As stated above, the specific ingredients in your pre-workout supplement and your caffeine sensitivity determine how long it will last, but mostly, the effects last for about 2-3 hours.

Cellucor C4

If you can still experience the effects more than three hours later, make sure to take a smaller dose next time. After all, you surely want to feel strong and energized for a workout session, but you may not want to still feel amped when you want to relax after all that exercise.

Those who are less sensitive to stimulating ingredients can expect to experience the best effects within 45 minutes, further lasting for 3-6 hours. On the other hand, the more stimulant-sensitive individuals feel the effects faster, while continuing to experience the same for closer to 6 hours.

If you don’t enjoy the effects so much, you may wish to try to get your pre-workout supplement out of your system.

How To Tell That Your Pre Workout Has Started Working?

The effects can differ greatly depending on the number of pre-workout scoops that you take. One of the main effects that tell that a pre-workout has started working is more mental focus. You will be able to concentrate better, thereby making the most of your gym session.

Make sure to be careful with the supplement intake to avoid overstimulating yourself. Some experience an itchy or tingling sensation in the skin and muscles when the pre-workout starts to kick-in. This is because of beta-alanine. It’s quite normal and nothing to worry about.

man in gym with a headache

If you time your supplements right, i.e. about 20 minutes ahead of your training, you will notice a boost in energy after the warm-up. You can get through the heavy exercises such as deadlifts, squats, etc. with less effort and feel better pumps.

What Can Change The Effects Of Pre-Workout?

The effects of pre-workout supplements may change with numerous factors.

Personals Stats

Your receptiveness to different pre-workout supplement ingredients may change with your age. Your body weight and muscle mass also play a key role in the same – the effects of a certain dose are likely to decrease the more you weigh.

Ingredients and Supplement Quality

The type of ingredients of a supplement, along with their quality matter as all pre-workouts are crafted differently. Some pre-workouts don’t list the ingredients and their amounts, instead mention ‘proprietary blends’. Go for a supplement that’s known for its genuineness.


The quantity consumed also changes the working of a pre-workout. However, make sure you don’t consume more than the prescribed amount. Follow the recommendations you get with the pre-workout and you will experience all its benefits while being safe too.


Your daily diet impacts the effectiveness of your supplements as it’s the foundation of your overall health and performance. To ensure that your supplement performs the best, drink enough water daily while consuming the right amount of calories, macronutrients, and micronutrients.

Fatigue Level

Your daily levels of fatigue and tiredness will have a big impact on your exercise and the effects of a pre-workout supplement. It’s important to get enough rest to feel the full benefits.

Your Caffeine Tolerance

One of the most significant factors that change the performance of a pre-workout is your tolerance to caffeine. If you drink 4-5 cups of coffee regularly, you may find that your pre-workout feels a little disappointing.

Once you are aware of when the pre-workouts start exhibiting their effects, how long do they last, and what all alters their actions – you can be more precise about the right time to take them as well as make them more effective for better performance.