Pre-workout supplements are one of the most popular supplements in the fitness industry, and there’s a wide variety to choose from. Some pre-workouts are loaded with stimulants, whereas others don’t contain any stimulants whatsoever.
The type of pre-workout you have determines when you should take it, how often, and what benefits or adverse effects you may experience.
In this article, we will provide an answer to a commonly asked question, “can you take a pre-workout twice in one day?”
Can you take pre-workout twice a day?
It’s fine to take most pre-workout supplements twice in one day.
However, some pre-workout supplements containing a high amount of stimulants should not be used more than once a day.
Pre-Workout Ingredients to Avoid Taking Twice a Day
Listed below are common ingredients that are most likely to cause unwanted side effects if taken twice in one day. The likelihood and severity of the unwanted side effects depend on many factors, including the ingredient, the dosage, and your tolerance levels.
Common side effects from taking too much of these ingredients include jitters, rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure, anxiety, nausea, sleeplessness, headaches, and shortness of breath. Exercise caution if consuming these supplements twice in one day and look up recommended daily consumption levels to decide for yourself.
Whether or not the scenarios listed above apply to you, here are some common pre-workout supplement ingredients that should not be taken twice in one day:
- Alpha Yohimbe
- Yohimbe HCL
- English Ivy Leaf Extract
- DMAA (1,3-dimethylamylamine)
- DMHA (Dimethylhexylamine)
Here are some other ingredients that you may be able to take twice a day, depending on dosing and the time of day. You should stay within a reasonable daily intake and not take these ingredients within 5-6 hours prior to sleep.
- Caffeine (Caffeine anhydrous, natural caffeine, etc.)
- Caffeine Citrate
- Yerba Santa (Sant Energy™ NU)
- Dicaffeine Malate (Infinergy™)
- Methlylliberine (Dynamine®)
- Theacrine (TeaCrine®)
- Alpina Galanga Extract (EnXtra®)
- Huperzine A
The FDA (Food & Drug Administration) recommends a caffeine intake of no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine per day. To put that into perspective, the average cup of coffee contains approximately 95 milligrams of caffeine.
Remember that several beverages, powders, and foods contain caffeine, such as coffee, soda, energy drinks, pre-workouts, etc. So it’s important to be cognizant of how much caffeine-containing foods, drinks, and powders you’re consuming daily- not just pre-workout.
Similar to caffeine, all of the other ingredients listed above are classified as stimulants; the FDA even bans some. Be wary of taking a pre-workout that includes banned or grey-area ingredients. Oftentimes, dietary supplements with banned ingredients are not made at a good manufacturing facility.
Pre-workout ingredients that can be taken twice in one day
Now that we’ve covered which ingredients to look out for, here are some common pre-workout supplement ingredients that are safe for most people to take twice in one day:
- Citrulline (L-citrulline & citrulline malate)
- Betaine anhydrous
- Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs)
- Essential amino acids (EAAs)
- Choline Bitartrate
- B Vitamins
- Electrolytes (sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, phosphorus)
- elevATP® (ancient peat and apple polyphenols)
- Beetroot powder
- Nitrosigine® (inositol-stabilized arginine)
- Glycerol (HydroMax®, GlycerSize™, HydroPrime®)
- Peak-O2® (Lion’s mane, reishi, cordyceps, turkey tail, shiitake, maitake mushrooms)
As you can see, there are several ingredients that are reasonable to take twice in one day. Consult with a health care physician before taking any dietary supplements and purchase your supplements from a reputable company.
What’s the best way to take pre-workout twice in a day?
The answer to this question depends on when you train, the type of training you are doing, and what kind of pre-workout supplement(s) you have access to. Below, we will cover a few common scenarios and if you should take pre-workout twice in the same day.
Scenario #1 – Morning cardio and afternoon/evening resistance training
It’s pretty common to do some form of cardio in the morning and resistance training later in the day, especially if your goal is to lose fat.
Suppose you prefer to break up your training into morning and afternoon or evening sessions. In this scenario, use regular caffeine before your first workout in the morning, which can be obtained from coffee, energy drinks, fat burners, or even caffeine pills.
Before the second workout, it’s a good idea to use a well-dosed non-stimulant pre-workout for better pump, performance, and focus.
Scenario #2 – You only have a stimulant-based pre-workout
If you only have a pre-workout that contains stimulants, it’s a good idea to only take it once a day since you quickly build up a tolerance, especially to caffeine. In other words, you have to keep taking more to keep “feeling” it.
Not to mention, too much caffeine at once can lead to anxiety, jitters, rapid heart rate, and other adverse effects. So if you’re new to stimulant-based pre-workout supplements, start with half a serving.
In this scenario, taking the pre-workout before your first session is ideal. Then you can sip on something flavorful that doesn’t contain caffeine for the second workout, such as amino acids or electrolytes. With that said, you may be able to take a stimulant-based pre-workout twice a day if you take half the dose in the morning and the other half in the early afternoon.
Just be conscious of your total daily caffeine intake and keep it at a reasonable level (i.e., less than 400 milligrams per day for most people).
Scenario #3 – You have a stimulant-based pre-workout and non-stim pre-workout
Having a stimulant-based and non-stimulant pre-workout is arguably the optimal duo for training twice a day. In this case, you can take the stimulant-based pre-workout before your first training session and the non-caffeine pre-workout before the second training session.
If the two pre-workout supplements overlap in terms of ingredients, you can always take ½ a serving at a time. This approach allows you to consume the recommended dosages of ingredients for the day without going overboard or wasting your money.
How to take a pre-workout twice a day safely
Before taking any dietary supplement, consult with a qualified healthcare professional to ensure that you have no contraindications to taking the pre-workout supplement. Generally, it’s best to take stimulant-based pre-workouts in the morning or early afternoon.
Avoid taking pre-workouts that contain stimulants prior to sleep because they can negatively impact sleep quality. If you have a non-stimulant pre-workout, you can take it any time of the day.
Regardless of the type of pre-workout you have, consume the pre-workout with at least 8 ounces of water 20-30 minutes prior to training to let the ingredients enter your system. Every once in a while, cycle off pre-workout and train without it to avoid relying on it.
Are pre-workouts necessary?
Although some supplement companies’ marketing tactics will have you believe that pre-workout supplements are a must for getting results, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Pre-workout supplements have their time and place and boast several benefits; however, that doesn’t mean you need them in order to lose fat, build muscle, increase endurance, or gain strength.
A well-formulated pre-workout may give you an extra edge, but the actual results come from a proper diet, hydration, training, and sleep protocol. It’s a good idea to nail down the big picture components first before stressing about the minor details of supplementation.
There is a wide range of pre-workout supplements to choose from that offer various benefits. Some of the most popular pre-workouts contain a high amount of stimulants, which can cause negative effects if taken too frequently. Also, avoid taking pre-workout that contains caffeine twice a day. However, it’s fine to take pre-workout twice a day if one is stim free.
Caffeine isn’t the only stimulant to watch out for; several other ingredients stimulate your nervous system, so keep that in mind. Minimizing your overall caffeine intake is beneficial for overall health and longevity.
Depending on the pre-workout and situation, it’s usually fine to take a pre-workout supplement twice a day. For the best results, we recommend using a stimulant-based pre-workout early in the day and a non-stim pre-workout later in the day. Although pre-workouts are beneficial, they are unnecessary for fat loss, muscle growth, strength, or endurance.