When you think of pre workout, you need to think of it as a group of different supplements rather than a supplement.
So when considering whether a pre workout supplement appears on drug tests, you need to look at the individual ingredients of that pre workout.
In this article, we’ll look at the most common ingredients in pre workout to see whether they flag up on drug tests, and other things you need to be aware of.
But first, let’s answer the big question you’re dying to know the answer to.
Does Pre Workout Show On A Drug Test?
Most pre workout supplements don’t show up on a drugs test as they contain natural ingredients like BCAAs, creatine and caffeine. But some pre workout supplements contain DMAA, which may cause a false positive and show up on a drugs test as amphetamine.
Does Caffeine Show Up On A Drugs Test?
Caffeine is the most widely consumed drug in the world.
Most pre workouts contain caffeine as it helps improve focus, energy and fat loss.
Since caffeine is a drug, it may appear on a drugs test but it won’t cause you to fail a drugs test as it’s legal and permitted by the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency).
Does Creatine Show Up On A Drugs Test?
Creatine is a natural substance that’s found in foods like red meat and fish.
It helps your body produce ATP which is the energy currency of cells.
Creatine is featured in many pre workouts as it helps you squeeze out more reps, which can lead to greater size and strength.
It’s unlikely to show up on drug tests as it’s not a drug and our bodies produce it naturally.
But even if it did, there’s nothing to worry about as it’s also approved by the WADA.
Does Beta Alanine Show Up On A Drugs Test?
Beta Alanine is an amino acid that helps make carnosine – a substance that reduces lactic acid accumulation in your muscles.
Lactic acid causes your muscles to burn and fatigue, so Beta Alanine is often added to pre workout to help you milk out a few more reps.
Since Beta Alanine is an amino acid and not a drug, it won’t show up on a drugs test.
Do BCAAs Show Up On A Drugs Test?
BCAAs (Branch Chained Amino Acids) are the essential amino acids Valine, Leucine and Isoleucine.
They’re essential as our bodies can’t make them, so they must be obtained through diet or supplementation.
A lot of pre workouts include BCAAs as they’ve been shown to help reduce fatigue.
Since BCAAs are amino acids and not drugs, they won’t appear on a drugs test.
Does DMAA Show Up On A Drugs Test?
DMAA (Dimethylamylamine) is a controversial ingredient that was added to some pre workouts for its fat burning effects.
It was recently banned by the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) after many health problems and some deaths were reported after its use.
(In one example, a healthy 22-year-old man suffered a heart attack after taking Jack3d – a pre workout supplement with DMAA.)
According to Ajeya Govind, a Pharmacology Consultant:
Despite lacking the phenyl ring that amphetamine has, DMAA still has the Amine and the alpha and beta carbons on the carbon chain, and more importantly, that alpha-methyl just after the NH2. So yup, DMAA will and has caused many false positives…
In other words, DMAA may flag up as amphetamine on a drugs test.
(Interestingly, the Department of Defence analyzed 134 false-positive amphetamine drug samples and discovered that 92.3% of them contained DMAA!)
Can You Fail A Drugs Test From Taking Pre Workout?
Most pre workout supplements are free from DMAA and other prohibited substances, so it’s very unlikely that you’ll fail a drugs test from pre workout.
That said, as you’ve just seen, it’s possible that you may get flagged for amphetamine use if your pre workout contains DMAA.
In another case, a popular pre workout supplement – Craze – was banned by the US military after some soldiers failed drug tests when taking it.
It turned out the pre workout was tainted with methylphenethylamine – another amphetamine-like compound.
(Funnily enough, this supplement was voted Bodybuilding.com’s 2012 New Supplement of the Year winner.)
How Long Does Pre Workout Stay In Your System For Drug Test?
This depends on what ingredients are in your pre workout and what your drug test will identify.
Caffeine has a half life of around 5 hours. In other words, your body will have metabolized 50% of ingested caffeine after around 5 hours.
(So you could argue that caffeine is fully metabolized after 10 hours loosely speaking.)
DMAA, on the other hand, has a half life of around 10 hours.
So if you’re taking a pre workout which contains DMAA (ahem, you shouldn’t…), then you should stop taking the pre workout at least a day before doing your drugs test.
How Long Does C4 Stay In Your System For Drug Test?
C4 is a popular pre workout supplement that contains a fair amount of caffeine.
It doesn’t contain DMAA, however, so you should be able to safely take C4 before a drugs test.
If you’re concerned though, the ingredients in C4 will stay in your system for around 12 hours.
Should You Stop Taking Pre Workout Before A Drugs Test?
You should only stop taking pre workout before a drugs test if you know it contains DMAA or other banned substances.
If not? Then there’s absolutely no reason to stop.
DMAA can have many different names on product labels, so stay clear from any pre workouts with the below ingredients listed:
- 2-Hexanamine, 4-methyl- (9CI)
Does Woke AF Pre Workout Show Up On A Drugs Test?
Woke AF is a super strong pre workout, so you may be wondering whether or not it can cause to fail a drugs test.
A quick skim through the ingredients shows that Woke AF pre workout contains mainly caffeine a blend of nootropics.
None of these are currently banned by the WADA, so you should be fine taking this pre workout before a drugs test.
Is Pre Workout A Drug?
Pre workout itself isn’t a drug.
However, pre workout may contain ingredients which are drugs.
For example, most pre workouts contain caffeine, which is a drug in itself.
Think of pre workout as a blend of ingredients – some of which may be drugs.
Is Pre Workout Natty?
‘Natty’ is slang for ‘natural’ in gym-bro language.
But depending on who you speak to, natty can have different meanings.
For example, some people believe that that you can only be classed as natty if you consume no supplements at all.
In my opinion, this argument is flawed.
Well, a ton of supplements out there like creatine and BCAAs are naturally found in the food we eat.
So it’s illogical to call it out as unnatural if it’s part of what we eat.
On the other hand, most bodybuilders would agree that natty means you don’t take any banned PEDs (Performance-Enhancing Drugs).
I.e., your physique is achieved by diet, training, and approved supplements by WADA.
Since the ingredients in pre workout are approved by WADA, I believe that pre workout is natty.
To summarize, it’s clear that most pre workouts won’t affect drug tests at all.
This is because they contain natural ingredients that are approved by WADA.
When buying pre workout, it’s always best to check that it doesn’t contain DMAA as this can often cause a false-positive on a drug test.
It’s also very dangerous.
That’s all for pre workout and drug tests, but why does pre workout make you poop? Or find out why pre workout makes you nauseous.
I’ve been in the fitness and strength training industry for nearly a decade. In that time, I’ve gained 30 pounds of muscle, written hundreds of articles, and reviewed dozens of fitness supplements. As for my educational background, I’m a currently studying for my Active IQ Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training.
Wednesday 26th of January 2022
Is there a list somewhere of pre-workout Supplements that are okay to take that are known to not cause you to fail a drug test? I can find one or is it more or less just up to us to look at the labels to see if it’s okay to take and also are there more things that you didn’t talk about that could cause a failed drug test?
Friday 11th of March 2022
Not that I'm aware of - the difficulty with maintaining such a list is that the criteria of what's allowed for drug tests is constantly evolving. As is the ingredients in pre workouts!
So you just need to use some common sense and check the ingredient list.