Many bodybuilders take pre workout for its ability to increase the intensity of your gym sessions.
But does pre workout affect hunger levels?
Here’s why pre workout can decrease your appetite:
Pre workout decreases your appetite due to the BCAAs, Caffeine and Green Tea Extract content. BCAAs help your brain regulate food intake, Caffeine has been shown to lower food intake and Green Tea Extract increases the production of GLP-1 which curbs your appetite.
In this article, we’ll cover why pre workout decreases appetite, whether all pre workouts decrease appetite, how long pre workout decreases appetite for, and much more!
Which Ingredients In Pre Workout Decrease Appetite?
Caffeine is the most widely consumed drug in the world.
It’s the ingredient in coffee that makes you feel ready to tackle the day.
Most pre workouts include a large serving of caffeine to help you feel alert, focused and energized.
(To give you some perspective, the average cup of coffee contains around 100mg of caffeine, whereas most pre workouts contain between 150mg – 300mg of caffeine per serving!)
Well according to research, caffeine may help curb your appetite.
In one study, 10 men and 10 women consumed either 300mg of caffeine or a placebo 30 minutes before access to food.
The results showed that the men who took caffeine consumed 22% less calories than the placebo takers.
But interestingly, caffeine had pretty much no effect on the women.
(This outcome is in line with the idea that women tend to preserve fat more than men when exposed to stimulants.)
BCAAs (Branched-Chain Amino Acids) are the 3 essential amino acids Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine.
They’re classed as essential as they can’t be produced by the body, so you must consume them via food or supplements.
BCAAs are often included in pre workouts to help provide your muscles with the building blocks of protein when working out. They can help reduce fatigue too, which can improve the intensity of your workouts.
But another benefit of BCAAs that’s rarely talked about is their ability to curb your appetite.
Some research suggests that Leucine – one of the 3 amino acids in BCAAs – acts in the brain to reduce food intake.
Green Tea Extract
Green Tea Extract is a powdered extract from the Camelia Sinensis plant.
It’s sometimes added to pre workouts to help you burn more fat.
(There’s some evidence to suggest that the antioxidants in Green Tea Extract can help with recovery too.)
Now, one of the ways your body regulates appetite is via the production of GLP-1. (Source)
This peptide is released in the intestines after eating food, and it tells the brain that the body has received enough food.
And so, the production of GLP-1 reduces your appetite.
Well according to research, green tea extract significantly increases the production of GLP-1.
Creatine is a natural substance that’s broken down into ATP in our body, which is what our cells for energy.
It’s added to many pre workouts as it’s safe, cheap and effective.
Now, if you look around the internet, you’ll find many anecdotal cases of people losing their appetite after taking creatine.
(For example, in this reddit thread.)
To be clear, this is purely anecdotal and there’s no studies to back this up, but it’s still worth taking note of.
Do All Pre Workout Supplements Decrease Appetite?
In short, no.
The reason being every pre workout supplement is different.
Some include a ton of caffeine, some include none.
Some contain BCAAs, some don’t.
(You get the picture.)
So if you take a pre workout that has none of the ingredients we’ve covered that suppress your appetite, then chances are it won’t affect your appetite.
Also, since we’re all biologically different, we may react differently to different pre workouts.
For example, pre workout X may reduce your appetite, but have no effect on mine.
Whereas pre workout Y may reduce my appetite, but have no effect on yours.
How Long Does Pre Workout Decrease Your Appetite For?
Now this one’s tricky to answer, as there’s many things to consider.
For example, the more caffeine, BCAAs and Green Tea Extract your pre workout has, the longer your appetite will be suppressed for.
And similarly, the less caffeine, BCAAs and Green Tea Extract there is, the shorter your appetite will be suppressed for.
Another thing to consider is when you last had food.
If it’s just before you take pre workout, then your appetite will be suppressed for longer.
Whereas if you take pre workout a few hours after your last meal, you’ll most likely feel hungry again much sooner.
And the final thing we need to think about is whether you worked out straight after taking pre workout.
If you did? Then you’ve just burned a heck of a lot of calories, so you’ll feel hungry again much sooner.
If not? Then your body will have plenty of calories spare so your appetite will be suppressed for longer.
Should You Take Pre Workout As An Appetite Suppressant?
If you’re wanting to lose weight, then pre workout can be an excellent tool.
Not only will it help suppress your appetite, but it will improve the intensity of your workouts, resulting in more calories burned.
But the caveat is that most pre workouts are expensive…
If you can afford it? Great.
If not? Then your best bet is to drink a few cups of coffee a day.
Not only will it help suppress your appetite, but it’s much, much cheaper.
(And tastier in my opinion!)
Can Pre Workout Increase Appetite?
I mean, it’s definitely possible.
Look, I know that this article has focused on pre workout decreasing your appetite so hear me out…
If your pre workout includes none of the ingredients we’ve touched upon in this article, and it makes your workout more intense, then you’ll burn a lot more calories.
As a result, you may feel hungrier after your workout since there’s nothing to decrease your appetite and you’ve burned more calories.
Should You Eat Before Taking Pre Workout?
This ultimately depends on your goal.
If you want to maximize fat loss, then it’s best taking pre workout on an empty stomach.
Whereas if you want to minimize the side effects of pre workout, you should probably have some food beforehand.
Wrapping things up, it’s clear that some (but not all) pre workouts can lower your appetite.
This depends on the ingredients of the pre workout and how your body reacts to it.
Also, it’s hard to quantify how long the appetite suppression will last, as this relies on many different factors.
If you can afford to take pre workout as an appetite suppressant – great! It should definitely help.
But if not, your best bet is to drink coffee instead.
It’s cheaper, (arguably) healthier and tastes much nicer.
As always, thanks for sticking with me to the end, and I look forward to seeing you in the next one.