How Long Does Pre-Workout Stay In Your System For?

Medically reviewed by Dr Dimitar Marinov
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Imagine you’re halfway through your workout, and all of a sudden, you feel your energy start to dip. What a bummer of a feeling, but at least we know this can easily be prevented by using a good pre-workout supplement. But how long does pre-workout last in your system?  

Let’s explore pre-workouts and learn about how long they last according to their ingredients and how you should be taking them.

What is a pre-workout?

Before we get into the science of pre-workout, let’s discuss what pre-workout is. Pre-workouts have become a huge part of sports nutrition, and these supplements are generally used to enhance your physical and mental performance.

Pre-workout products can do this by helping improve focus and endurance and boost energy levels with ingredients like beta-alanine, caffeine, and creatine. They should be taken 30 to 45 minutes before a workout for the best results. 

How long does a pre-workout last & stay in your system for?

When taking pre-workout, it can stay in your system for 4 to 6 hours usually. However, several factors, including the ingredients used, contribute to how long pre-workouts remain in your system. For example, caffeine is absorbed much faster than most other ingredients, peaking at about 30 to 60 minutes.

Here’s a breakdown of how long pre-workout formulas should last in your system according to their ingredients.


Beta-alanine is an amino acid that is responsible for regulating the acid in our muscles. It helps prevent muscle fatigue and improve blood flow, enhancing your athletic performance. Its effects should last 45 to 60 minutes and could stay in your system for up to two hours, depending on your activity levels. 


L-carnitine helps your body convert fat into energy. Our bodies produce L-carnitine naturally, which makes pinpointing its effects difficult. However, the effects of L-carnitine should kick in roughly 30 minutes after taking a pre-workout. While it helps the body turn fat into energy, most of its other benefits will only come into play after taking it regularly over a duration.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid

CLA is supposed to reduce body fat deposits and improve immune system function. It makes it easier for your body to use fat as an energy source, thus boosting your energy levels. You can expect CLA to last between 60 and 90 minutes in a pre-workout. 


Caffeine is one of the most common ingredients in pre-workout supplements. It’s efficient and fast-acting. It’ll kick in within 30 minutes of taking it and reach its peak at 1 hour. Caffeine can stay in your system for as long as 10 hours before it’s entirely out, and it will remain at its peak level for roughly 5 to 6 hours as your body filters it out. 

Green Tea Extract

Green tea extract is another common ingredient in pre-workouts because of its caffeine content and catechins, which have many health benefits. Compared to caffeine isolate or coffee, green tea extract has less caffeine. Still, the same rules apply as above, so you can expect green tea extract to kick in fast and stay in your system for a few hours. 

Nitric oxide

Nitric oxide pre-workout powders play a huge role in helping you achieve an explosive performance and enhanced results. Nitric oxide increases blood flow, and this ensures your muscles receive more oxygen and nutrients during high-intensity exercise performance. A nitric acid boost from your pre-workout supplements will usually last you between an hour and 90 minutes.

How Long Does It Take For Pre-Workout To Kick In?

To generalise, most pre-workouts will kick in fast. You can expect to feel the effects of a pre-workout roughly 30 to 45 minutes after taking them. This depends on a few things, though. For one, your metabolism may work faster or slower than others. Likewise, take the pre-workout on an empty stomach. It’ll activate faster because it’s the only thing your body has to process. 

Your caffeine tolerance also dramatically affects how long it takes to kick in. If you drink coffee or ingest caffeine regularly, you likely have a high tolerance and need more to get the same effect. 

What other factors influence how long a pre-workout lasts?

Other factors influencing how long a pre-workout lasts include age, body size, sex, physical activity, pre-workout ingredients, and diet. 

Benefits of Pre-workout Supplements

Pre-workout is a fan-favourite not just because of the mad pump it provides, but these supplements have a few other benefits that keep people coming back. Pre-workout supplements:

  • Can give you a powerful energy boost
  • Can delay muscle fatigue
  • Can aid in muscle recovery after your exercise session
  • Can give you razor-sharp focus
  • Can improve your muscular endurance

Possible Side Effects of Pre-Workout Supplements

For most people, pre-workouts are beneficial and enhance athletic performance. But being realistic, some people could experience side effects purely because different people react differently to the ingredients used in pre-workouts. Some potential side effects are:

  • It may cause feelings of anxiety
  • It may cause jitters
  • It may cause digestive issues and cramps
  • It may cause headaches
  • It may cause skin irritation 

Final Thoughts

It’s understandable to want a pre-workout that will get the job done. We want something that will enhance our performance the entire time we work out right. The good news is that most ore-workouts will last 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on their ingredients. So you can rest assured that you’ll have the energy you need to go beast mode the next time you train and use pre-workouts.

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