How Long Does Pre-Workout Actually Last?

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Pre-workout is a workout supplement that promises to boost energy and enhance performance during your workout. It takes anywhere from 15-45 minutes for pre-workout to kick in, and this is about how long before your exercise session you should take it in order to see its effects.

This is what’s typically known about pre-workout, but the less widely known information is how long the effects of pre-workout last and how long pre-workout actually lasts in your system.

We’re going to break this down for you and more. So keep reading if you want to know:

  • A refresher on what pre-workout is
  • How long pre-workout takes to kick in
  • How long pre-workout stays in your system
  • How long pre-workout lasts

What is Pre-Workout?

Pre-workout is a dietary supplement designed to boost energy and enhance performance during a workout. It typically comes in the form of a powder or pill for easy consumption. Many athletes and weekend warriors alike take a pre workout supplement in order to increase their energy throughout their workouts–helping them go that extra mile, increase their reps, or lift a higher weight. A pre workout supplement is designed to enhance the endurance of your muscles so that you can workout longer, and get stronger. This type of supplement is different than just consuming caffeine, as there are additional ingredients that are designed to help your energy level stay elevated, and avoid a crash mid-workout.

There is no set list of ingredients in pre-workout; each brand has a different formula. Some common ingredients include beta-alanine, caffeine, creatine, l-citrulline, and BCAAs. Beta-alanine and BCAAs are for controlling muscle fatigue, caffeine and creatine for elevating energy, and l-citrulline for boosting performance.

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How Long Does Pre-Workout Take to Kick In?

Pre-workout can take from 15-45 minutes to kick in, so don’t wait until you get to the gym to take pre-workout or else you’ll be well into your exercise routine before its effects start to kick in.

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It’s actually better to take pre-workout early rather than late. Most pre-workouts are stimulant based, with the stimulant usually being caffeine, and it takes your body between 3-7 hours to cut the concentration of caffeine in your blood in half.

So, taking pre-workout an hour before your workout will still allow you to see the full benefits of it, while taking it just before your workout won’t do you much good. In order to enjoy the full benefits of pre workout, make sure about an hour before you intend to workout you take your supplement. If it’s helpful, set an alarm on your phone so you don’t forget to take it! If you don’t give it time to get into your body, you can’t enjoy the results.

How Long is Pre-Workout in Your System?

The individual ingredients in a pre-workout stay in your system at different rates.

For example, the half-life, or the amount of time it takes for a quantity of a substance to be reduced to half its original amount, of caffeine is between 3-7 hours, while the half-life of creatine is only three hours.

But this doesn’t mean that you will necessarily feel the effects of pre-workout this long after you take it. We’ll get into those specifics in the next section. In general, your body should process all ingredients fully within 24 hours max. Anything your body can’t use fully will be passed through because most ingredients in pre-workout supplements are water soluble, meaning that they will be dissolved and eventually excreted.

Key takeaways:

  • Pre workout is a mixture of a variety of ingredients, including but not limited to caffeine, BCAAs, creatine, and beta-alanine.
  • Pre workout supplements should be consumed at least an hour before your workout in order to maximize your results.
  • Pre workout will stay in your system for 3-7 hours, and will completely pass through the body in 24 hours.

How Long Does Pre-Workout Last?

We can say that generally that pre-workout usually lasts from one and a half hours to two and a half hours, with some residual effects for up to six hours, but there are a ton of factors at play when it comes to how long pre-workout lasts. We know that there are at least six variables that influence how long pre-workout lasts.

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The lengths of the effects of pre-workout depend on different factors such as:

  • Personal stats
  • Quality and type of ingredients
  • Quantity
  • Diet
  • Fatigue level
  • Tolerance to caffeine

Personal Stats

Your personal stats affect how long pre-workout lasts. Personal stats include your age, weight, and muscle mass. For example, the more you weigh, the less effect a serving of pre-workout will have on you. And as you age, your receptiveness to certain ingredients in a pre-workout supplement may change. The amount of muscle mass you have can also play a part in how long pre workout will last in your system. If you’ve been working out for years and have a strict workout routine, chances are you have a greater amount of muscle than someone just starting down their fitness path. Thus, the more muscle mass you have the more pre workout you might need (always consult your healthcare practitioner if you’re interested in exceeding recommended amounts).

Quality and Type of Ingredients

The quality and type of ingredients in a pre-workout also affect how long a pre-workout lasts.

A pre-workout with low quality ingredients will probably not last as long as pre-workout with high quality ingredients. Likewise, a pre-workout with a low amount of caffeine will not last as long as a pre-workout with a high amount of caffeine. It pays to do your research and see what kind of ingredients are going into any pre workout supplement you might want to try. Dr. Emil recently added a new and improved pre workout supplement to their lineup of powerful wellness-supporting products, made with high quality ingredients, no additives, and no crash in energy.


The amount of the pre-workout you take affects how long the pre-workout lasts. For example, if you take less than the recommended amount, you may not see all the effects of the pre-workout. But remember, do NOT take more than the advised amount. This is to prevent possible side effects. Make sure to follow the amount listed on your capsule or powder bottle and follow those accordingly. If you have other questions regarding how much pre workout you should take, speak with your healthcare provider.


Three bowls of oatmeal with toppings lay diagonally across a white background.

If you don’t already nourish yourself with the proper foods and hydration, your pre-workout will probably not last long if it even works at all. If you don’t give your body energy naturally through food and hydration, trying to give your body extra energy from a pre-workout supplement just won’t work. It’s important to maintain a diverse, healthy diet that will help your body reach its full potential in a workout. You can’t expect to go far in a car with no gasoline, and don’t expect your body to get far without proper nutrition and hydration!

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Fatigue Level

Your fatigue level, or how tired you are, also affects how long your pre-workout lasts.

If you’re already run down before hitting the gym, your energy boost from a pre-workout supplement may not last as long as it would if you were going to the gym well-rested. A good sleep routine is just as important as a healthy diet and exercise routine. You can’t expect to be at your best without a good night’s sleep.

Tolerance to Caffeine

Last but not least, your tolerance to caffeine also affects how long your pre-workout lasts.

If you drink caffeine regularly, your pre-workout energy boost probably won’t last that long as compared with someone who doesn’t drink caffeine on the regular. Remember, if you do consume caffeine regularly, you can start to build up a tolerance to it. This may have an impact on how well your pre workout supplement works with your body.

If you’re not seeing any boost in energy at all from a caffeinated pre-workout supplement, you may want to consider cutting back on caffeine.

The Takeaway

The answer to the question of how long pre-workout lasts is not clear cut because there are a lot of determining factors for how long pre-workout lasts.

These factors that determine how long your pre-workout lasts are:

  • Personal stats
  • Quality and type of ingredients
  • Quantity
  • Diet
  • Fatigue level
  • Tolerance to caffeine

To answer the question more broadly, pre-workout usually lasts one and a half hours to two and a half hours with some residual effects for up to six hours. Make sure to take your pre workout at least an hour before in order to take advantage of the energy and endurance it can bring.

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