A pre workout crash refers to the sudden drop in energy levels that can occur after taking pre workout.
It’s typically caused by the high amounts of stimulants, like caffeine. When these wear off, you may feel tired, drained, and irritable.
In this article, we cover the causes of a pre workout crash, how to stop feeling tired after taking pre workout, whether all pre workouts make you crash, and much more!
Why Does Pre Workout Make You Crash?
The crash experienced after consuming pre workout supplements can be attributed to several factors:
A Lower Energy Intake
Pre workout can suppress your appetite due to the high amount of stimulants, like caffeine.
When you have less appetite, you’re likely to consume less calories over the course of the day.
The outcome of this is a lower energy intake, which can make you feel tired.
More Intense Workouts
Pre workout includes many ingredients which help improve the intensity of your workouts.
For example, creatine helps increase ATP, which is what your cells use to make energy.
So the more ATP your muscles have, the more reps you can squeeze out.
Another example is beta alanine, which helps reduce lactic acid build up.
Since lactic acid is responsible for the ‘burn’ you feel when working out, pre workout can help you milk out more reps by delaying that burning sensation.
By doing more reps, your muscles will be more fatigued which can lead to tiredness.
Another thing to consider is that you’ll burn more calories by doing more reps.
The more calories you burn, the more energy (food) you’ll need to consume to stay in a calorie surplus.
So if you’re not eating enough food, you may feel drained throughout the day.
Many pre workouts contain a whopping 400mg of caffeine per serving.
(To give you some perspective, a cup of coffee contains “only” 100mg.)
While this super dose of caffeine will energize you to begin with, unfortunately what goes up must come down.
So once the caffeine has worn off, your energy levels can crash and you may feel the common side effects of pre workout like tiredness and irritability.
Pre workout can make you sick too from the high amount of caffeine.
If you do feel tired and nauseous after taking pre workout, it’s probably a sign that you’re taking too much caffeine.
This means your caffeine tolerance is too high.
(A great way to reset your caffeine tolerance is to cycle your pre workout.)
Stimulants in pre workout supplements can trigger the release of adrenaline, a hormone that enhances energy and alertness.
After the workout or physical activity, the body’s adrenaline levels may decrease, contributing to the crash sensation.
Blood Sugar Levels
Some pre workout supplements contain ingredients that can affect blood sugar levels. For example, certain formulations may include fast-acting carbohydrates to provide an immediate energy boost.
However, the rapid rise and subsequent drop in blood sugar levels can contribute to feelings of fatigue or a crash once the effects wear off.
Pre workout supplements, particularly those in powdered form, are often concentrated and require mixing with water.
However, if you consume a pre workout without adequate hydration or fail to maintain proper hydration during exercise, it can contribute to fatigue, muscle weakness, and a crash-like feeling.
If pre workout supplements are consumed close to bedtime, the stimulant content, particularly caffeine, can interfere with sleep quality and duration.
Lack of adequate sleep can lead to increased fatigue and tiredness.
What Does A Pre Workout Crash Feel Like?
This ultimately depends on the ingredients of your pre workout and how much you’ve taken.
But generally speaking, the below symptoms are common during a pre workout crash:
One of the most common symptoms is feeling suddenly tired or fatigued during your workout.
This can make it hard to continue your exercises at the same intensity or even complete your workout.
Nausea or vomiting can also be a sign that you’re experiencing a pre workout energy crash.
This can occur due to the sudden drop in energy levels or because of the ingredients in your pre workout supplement.
Headaches or migraines can happen when your body is under stress or when blood sugar levels drop too quickly.
Taking a pre workout that’s high in stimulants can trigger these symptoms.
Pre-workout crashes can also lead to muscle weakness, which can reduce your motivation in the gym.
Along with fatigue, a pre workout crash can lead to a sense of lethargy or a lack of motivation to engage in physical activity or even regular daily tasks. You may feel a sudden decrease in mental and physical alertness.
Some individuals may experience mental fogginess or difficulty concentrating during a pre workout crash. Thoughts may feel scattered or slower, impacting cognitive performance.
A crash after pre workout supplements may be associated with changes in mood. You may experience feelings of irritability, low mood, or a general sense of unease.
Hunger or Cravings
Pre workout crashes can sometimes lead to increased hunger or strong cravings for food, particularly for quick sources of energy such as carbohydrates or sweets. This can be a result of the rapid drop in blood sugar levels.
How To Avoid A Pre Workout Crash
Now that you know why pre workout can cause tiredness, here are some top tips to reduce this annoying side effect.
Take A Stimulant-Free Pre Workout
Most of the tiredness felt after pre workout can be blamed on the stimulants, as these are responsible for suppressing your appetite and crashing your energy.
So to combat this, it makes sense to take a stimulant-free pre workout.
Take Less Pre Workout
You may be thinking: Well, I’ve already bought some pre workout, and it isn’t stimulant-free, so what can I do?
Well if that’s the case, then you can reduce tiredness by simply using less pre workout.
By doing so, you’ll experience a smaller stimulant-crash, as well as having more appetite.
Eat Plenty of Calories
The other cause of tiredness after taking pre workout is a low energy intake.
So to alleviate this, you just need to eat more food, as simple as it sounds!
While you may not have the appetite for it, the discomfort will be worth it when you have more energy during the day.
(Just be careful not to eat too much too soon, otherwise you may crash even more thanks to the insulin spike! This is exactly why mass gainer makes you sleepy.)
Avoid Consuming Additional Caffeine
Who loves a strong coffee first thing in the morning?
I certainly do.
But if you drink a strong coffee followed by taking pre workout, your caffeine levels will be even higher.
Unfortunately, this means you’ll suffer an even bigger energy crash!
So if you are planning on taking pre workout, you should replace your morning coffee with a caffeine-free herbal tea.
Cycle Your Pre Workout
When thinking about crashing, we usually think of the effects you feel when the pre workout wears off.
However, there’s another type of crash that’s more long term.
If you take pre workout often, you might begin to build up a tolerance.
As a result, you end up taking 3 scoops instead of 1 to feel the buzz.
This can make you crash even harder as you’re consuming a lot more caffeine.
A great way to avoid this is to cycle your pre workout.
This means that after taking your pre workout consistently for a few weeks, you take a week off to reset your tolerance.
Not only will this save you money, but will do wonders in preventing you from crashing.
Take your pre workout supplement approximately 30-60 minutes before your workout, allowing enough time for the effects to kick in before you begin exercising.
This can help ensure that the energy boost aligns with your workout and reduces the chances of crashing afterward.
Proper hydration is essential for energy levels and overall performance. Drink water before, during, and after your workout to maintain adequate hydration.
Dehydration can contribute to fatigue and a crash-like feeling.
Get Sufficient Rest
Prioritize getting enough quality sleep to ensure your body is well-rested and energized for your workouts.
Proper sleep helps reduce the reliance on pre workout supplements and minimizes the chances of crashing.
How Long Does A Pre Workout Crash Last?
The duration of a pre workout crash can vary from person to person and depends on various factors such as individual sensitivity, the specific pre-workout supplement consumed, dosage, and overall health.
Generally, a pre workout crash can last anywhere from a couple of hours to several hours.
The intensity and duration of the crash can also be influenced by other factors, including your metabolism, hydration status, and overall fitness level.
- A pre workout crash is usually caused by the high caffeine content which can make you feel fatigued once the caffeine wears off.
- To avoid a pre workout crash, you can take a stimulant-free pre workout supplement or reduce your dose of pre workout.
Why does pre workout make me sleepy?
Pre workout supplements containing stimulants like caffeine can block adenosine receptors, temporarily increasing alertness. However, once the effects wear off, adenosine rebounds, leading to sleepiness. Also, blood sugar fluctuations, dehydration, and individual sensitivity can contribute to sleepiness.
Does C4 pre workout make you crash?
The C4 pre workout supplement contains caffeine and other stimulating ingredients, which can potentially lead to a crash or a sudden drop in energy levels once the effects wear off. However, the experience of crashing can vary among individuals based on factors such as sensitivity, dosage, and overall health.
Does ryse pre workout make you crash?
The potential for a crash after consuming Ryse pre workout can vary among individuals. It contains stimulants like caffeine, which can lead to a crash once the effects wear off. The likelihood and intensity of a crash depend on individual sensitivity, dosage, and other factors.
Does ghost pre workout make you crash?
Ghost pre workout contains stimulants like caffeine, which can lead to a crash for some individuals once the effects wear off. However, the experience of crashing can depends on numerous factors such as sensitivity, dosage, and overall health.
Does total war pre workout make you crash?
The potential for crashing after taking Total War pre workout can vary between people. It contains stimulants like caffeine, which can lead to a crash once the effects wear off. The likelihood and intensity of a crash depend on various factors, such as individual sensitivity.
How to recover from a pre workout crash?
To recover from a pre workout crash, prioritize rest and hydration. Allow your body time to recover and restore energy levels. Focus on consuming a balanced meal or snack containing protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Adequate sleep and avoiding excessive caffeine intake can also aid in recovery.
Is it normal to crash after pre workout?
Experiencing a crash after consuming pre workout supplements is relatively common due to factors like stimulants, blood sugar fluctuations, and individual sensitivity. However, the severity and duration of the crash can vary among individuals. Adjusting dosage, timing, and overall lifestyle factors may help mitigate crashes.
What ingredient in pre workout makes you crash?
The crash associated with pre workout supplements is often attributed to the stimulant ingredient, such as caffeine, in the formula. Stimulants can provide a temporary energy boost, but once their effects wear off, it can lead to a drop in energy levels and a crash sensation.
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.