How to Take Pre-Workout Powder for Optimal Efficacy — TL Edition

Beginner's Guide: How to Take Pre-Workout Powders for Best Results

Whether you're a seasoned bodybuilder, gym newbie, or athlete, odds are you've heard all about pre-workout powders and how they can help improve your performance. But not all pre-workouts are created equal, and how you use these supplements can make or break your results.

This guide will show you how to take pre-workout supplements like Transparent Labs BULK and LEAN for optimal efficacy. Even if you've been using one of our pre-workout powders for some time, you might still find the guidelines in this article useful in the long run. We'll also answer common questions our customers have about using pre-workouts.

How to Use Pre-Workout Powder

Thankfully, using pre-workout powder is relatively straightforward. Here's a general guide on how to take pre-workout, specifically those in the Transparent Labs PreSeries lineup, before you hit the gym:

  1. Read the label instructions

    • Each pre-workout supplement may have specific instructions and dosage recommendations, so it's important to read the label and follow the suggested use guidelines. (We'll dive more into specifics for TL pre-workouts below.)

  2. Start with a half-serving to assess tolerance

    • If you've never used a pre-workout supplement, it's recommended to start with a smaller dosage (e.g. half of a standard serving) to assess your tolerance, especially if the formula contains stimulants like caffeine. The vast majority of pre-workout supplements come with a scoop to help you measure the correct amount; in general, one heaping scoop equates to one full serving.

      Note: Pre-workout serving sizes are measured by mass, not volume. For maximum dosing precision, it's best to weigh the amount of powder in a full scoop and adjust accordingly. For example, if you're using LEAN pre-workout, a full serving is 13.9 grams, which is roughly one heaping scoop. However, due to variations in powder volume and moisture content, the exact amount in a full scoop might be slightly less or more than 13.9 grams.

  3. Add water/liquid to a shaker bottle or glass

    • Pre-workout powder is best mixed with cold/chilled water or fruit juice in a shaker bottle, but you can use a glass cup if you don't have a shaker. Fill the shaker bottle, or glass, with the recommended amount of liquid—8-12 ounces for a full serving of Transparent Labs BULK, LEAN, and STIM-FREE (use 4-6 ounces for a half serving).

  4. Measure and add the pre-workout powder to your shaker/cup

    • Measure the suggested serving size of pre-workout powder using the provided scoop or spoon. If you're a precision snob, use a milligram or gram scale to weigh out the serving. Now, add the powder to the liquid in your shaker bottle or glass.

  5. Shake or stir well

    • Once the pre-workout powder has been added to your shaker bottle, ensure the whisk mixing ball is inside and secure the lid tightly. Shake vigorously for 5-10 seconds to assure the powder is thoroughly mixed with the water. If you're old school and prefer using a glass, stir the mixture with a fork or spoon until the powder is fully dissolved.

  6. Consume 20-30 minutes before exercise

    • Pre-workout supplements are designed to be taken before your workout session, typically around 20-30 minutes beforehand. This allows enough time for the ingredients to be absorbed by your body.

  7. Assess your tolerance and adjust the dosage (if necessary)

    • Pay attention to how your body responds to the pre-workout supplement. If you experience any adverse effects or feel excessively stimulated, you may need to adjust the dosage or switch to a different product. In general, a stimulant-free pre-workout formula is the best option if you are sensitive to caffeine.

Taking Pre-Workout: FAQs

how to use pre-workout

Q: "Is it necessary to cycle off pre-workouts periodically?"

A: If you take a pre-workout that contains stimulants (e.g. caffeine, synephrine, and theobromine), it's generally wise to take 1 to 2 weeks off every 3 to 6 months to reduce/reset your tolerance. (This also means cutting out other sources of stimulants, such as coffee and energy drinks.) However, there is no need to cycle off a stimulant-free pre-workout.

Q: "Why do I feel dehydrated after taking pre-workout supplements?"

A: Pre-workout powders often contain stimulants, particularly caffeine, which increases heart rate, urination, and body temperature. As such, it's important to drink additional water—and some electrolytes—during your workout to stay properly hydrated.

Q: "My pre-workout supplement doesn't give me the same energy boost as it used to; what gives?"

A: You have likely developed a high tolerance to caffeine, the primary stimulant in most pre-workout supplements. In some cases, increasing the dosage of pre-workout will restore the "jolt" of energy you expect, but this will also produce a commensurate increase in tolerance (and possibly side effects).

For most gym-goers and athletes, the better option is simply taking 1 to 2 weeks off stimulant-containing pre-workouts and cutting out other sources of caffeine, notably coffee and energy drinks.

Q: "Can I take pre-workout every day, even on rest days?"

A: Yes, but be mindful of your total caffeine consumption; tolerance can increase rapidly if you are ingesting large doses of caffeine every day, ultimately reducing the efficacy of a stim-based pre-workout on the days you train.

Q: "My skin tingles after taking pre-workout powder; what causes this?"

A: This is a benign side effect of beta-alanine called "paresthesia." Beta-alanine is a common pre-workout formula ingredient that increases muscle carnosine levels. You can learn more about why this causes a tingling/itching sensation by reading: Why Does Beta-Alanine Make You Tingle?

Shop Transparent Labs Pre-Workout Supplements

Now that you're up to speed on how to use pre-workout supplements head over to the Transparent Labs store and snag a bottle or two of your favorite PreSeries formula! The formulas for BULK, LEAN, and STIM-FREE have been upgraded recently, so keep an eye out for an upcoming blog that details the improvements!

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