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.
Here’s whether pre workout shows up on a drugs 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.)
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)
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.
Thanks for sticking with me to the end of this article.
I hope I’ve answered all your queries, but if not, please share them in the comments below.