How To Fix Hard & Clumpy Pre-Workout (Can You Still Use It?)

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You’ve probably had the displeasure of opening a pre-workout container only to see clumps. But does that mean it’s gone bad, and can you fix it? 

Key Takeaways

  • The primary reason pre-workout powder clumps is that certain ingredients, such as creatine monohydrate, glutamine, branched-chain amino acids, and beta-alanine, attract water molecules.
  • Minor to moderate clumping is generally not a problem if there aren’t other issues, such as discoloration, a foul smell, or a change in taste. You can break it up with a fork or knife or put it in a blender to remove all the clumps.
  • The best ways to reduce clumping are to close the lid tightly, keep the silica package inside, store the product in a cool and dry place (like the fridge), use the product regularly, and avoid using a wet scoop with the powder.

Reasons Why Pre-Workout Clumps

Take a look at this photo. Does it look familiar?

 pre-workout clumps

Or how about this:

clumpy pre-workout

Though it’s hard to tell, this is what a pre-workout supplement can look like when it clumps together. 

Clumping can range from having small masses in your powder to everything coming together and sticking to the bottom and walls of the container, even when you turn it upside down.

But why does it happen? 

The primary reason for pre-workout clumps is that supplements typically contain hygroscopic ingredients.

These compounds attract water molecules, forming clumps in the powder.

Hygroscopic ingredients include creatine monohydrate, glutamine, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), and beta-alanine. 

That said, the mere presence of these ingredients doesn’t necessarily mean your pre-workout will inevitably clump.

Improper storage and use are the main reasons your pre-workout clumps together.

Common mistakes people make with their pre-workout powder include:

  • Not closing the container tightly between uses
  • Dipping a wet scoop in the powder
  • Taking the silica package out (this is a small package designed to attract moisture and keep the powder dry)

Lack of usage is another reason a pre-workout supplement clumps, often into a single solid piece like the one in the photo above.

No matter how well you take care of your pre-workout, it will inevitably clump together if you don’t use it for a long time.

How To Get Rid of Clumps In Pre-Workout Right Now

The most practical option that requires the least cleaning up afterward is to take a small knife or a fork and break it up, stirring the powder well.

In most cases, this will be enough to eliminate all the clumps.

Another option is to dump your entire pre-workout in a blender and mix it for a few seconds. Just remember to put the lid on because the powder will fly everywhere. 

This option is generally more effective but may not be necessary for minor clumping that can easily break up with a fork or knife.

How To Prevent It From Happening In The First Place

how to prevent pre-workout from clumping in the first place

My top tips for reducing the likelihood of clumping are to:

1. Close the Lid Tightly

The best thing you can do is close the lid tightly between uses to reduce the risk of clumps in your pre-workout.

Ensure that the lid aligns with the thread on the container (it can sometimes misalign) and tighten it.

Properly sealing your product prevents air (and moisture) from contacting the powder and turning it into clumps.

2. Keep the Silica Package Inside the Container

The small silica package in the container absorbs moisture and keeps the powder dry.

So, don’t throw it away.

3. Store the Product Correctly

Keep your pre-workout in a cool and dry place, away from direct sunlight.

I recommend keeping it in a cabinet away from kitchen appliances emitting heat, such as an oven.

4. Don’t Mix a Wet Scoop or Spoon With the Powder

While keeping your product away from water is rather obvious, it’s still something to consider because getting the scoop wet happens easily when you scoop some powder and add it to water.

So, ensure the scoop is dry when putting it back into the container.

5. Use the Product Regularly

Most pre-workout products will clump up when unused for extended periods.

So, even if you follow the best practices for storage and use, the powder is likely to get clumpy after weeks or months of not using it.

If you stop using it for a while, open the container occasionally and use a knife or fork to break it up.

6. Store It In the Fridge

Although this may seem strange, here’s a bit of insight from my colleague Jennifer Vibert, who is a supplement store manager and has over a decade of experience with supplements, especially pre-workouts:

“This clumping, often seen in pre-workouts with ingredients like citrulline and glycerol, can be mitigated by storing in a fridge or freezer. If your product has already hardened, keep it in the freezer overnight, and it should be easier to break up the following day.”

Is It Still Safe To Drink Clumpy Pre-Workout?

You need to look at a few things to ensure that your clumpy pre-workout is safe to consume, especially if it’s been sitting in a cupboard for months. 

First, look at the expiration date to see if the product is still within its use-by date.

Certain compounds commonly found in pre-workouts, such as creatine monohydrate, are stable and known to remain potent and safe even after their listed expiry date

For instance, here’s what Kreider et al. wrote in their paper:

“Creatine monohydrate is very stable in powder form, showing no signs of degradation to creatinine over years, even at elevated temperatures.”

However, that is not the case for all pre-workout ingredients. Determining the long-term stability of five or more ingredients can be challenging, especially given the limited research on some compounds added to pre-workouts.

So, if the pre-workout is past its expiration date, throwing it out is best, especially if it shows any of the following:

  • Discoloration (e.g., spots in the powder that have a different color)
  • A strange smell or odor
  • Mold particles
  • A sour taste

If the product appears fine on all fronts, consider the last potential issue:

When the powder clumps, the ingredients may distribute unevenly, causing some servings to have more or less of the active compounds, such as caffeine.

So, break up the clumps with a knife or fork before consumption, or add the whole thing to a blender for a thorough mix.

Does Clumpy Pre-Workout Lose Its Effectiveness

A clumpy pre-workout is not inherently bad or ineffective. But, as discussed above, clumps in the powder can prevent the ingredients from distributing as evenly. 

When you use clumpy pre-workout, certain doses may provide more of some ingredients, whereas other doses provide less.

For example, if your pre-workout has 150mg of caffeine per serving but you get a particularly large clump, you could end up with closer to 200mg in that particular serving.

How big of a difference that would make in the real world is nearly impossible to say. But, to be safe, break up your pre-workout powder if you notice clumps forming.

Brands Known To Clump

To better understand different pre-workout products, I dove into all the pre-workout product reviews from my colleague Jennifer Vibert

In her experience, only four products were likely to clump or arrive clumpy. These were the following brands:

  • Wrecked Pre-Workout (“For reference, the powder is not as finely ground as some other pre-workout, and I could see how this could be perceived as clumpy.” – Jenn)
  • Kaged Elite Pre-Workout (“There were a few chalky/clumpy pieces left undissolved at the very bottom of the cup, but not enough to deter me from taking this pre-workout.” – Jenn)
  • Woke AF Pre-Workout (“A few reviewers didn’t like the flavors they purchased, and others had issues with their product clumping up.” – Jenn)

Brands Better for NOT Clumping

Jenn stated in her review on Bucked Up Pre-Workout that:

“Customers were also happy with how easily the product mixed and the fact that it didn’t have large clumps or a significant amount of residue, which matches my personal experience with trying it. ”

After that, I looked through hundreds of reviews of various pre-workout products on the market, monitoring for keywords like ‘clump’ to see if any customers (particularly those leaving low ratings) mentioned that. 

Here’s what I found about some of the more popular pre-workouts:

  • Transparent Labs Lean: People gave poor ratings that it caused skin tingling (which is standard with formulas with beta-alanine), but not a single person mentioned clumping.
  • 4 Gauge: There is some negative feedback about the taste but no mention of clumping.
  • Ryse Loaded Pre: Surprisingly, there are just a handful of negative reviews, none related to clumping. The remaining 900+ good reviews also don’t mention clumping.
  • CBUM Thavage: There are some low ratings regarding the taste, but not a single mention of a clumping problem, even in the 5-star reviews. 

It seems that these manufacturers have solved the clumping issue, meaning that so long as you store and use your product correctly, you shouldn’t have significant problems.


Kreider RB, Jäger R, Purpura M. Bioavailability, Efficacy, Safety, and Regulatory Status of Creatine and Related Compounds: A Critical Review. Nutrients. 2022 Feb 28;14(5):1035. doi: 10.3390/nu14051035. PMID: 35268011; PMCID: PMC8912867.

Liu Q, Sikand P, Ma C, Tang Z, Han L, Li Z, Sun S, LaMotte RH, Dong X. Mechanisms of itch evoked by β-alanine. J Neurosci. 2012 Oct 17;32(42):14532-7. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3509-12.2012. PMID: 23077038; PMCID: PMC3491570.

About The Author

Philip Stefanov

Philip Stefanov is a certified conditioning coach, personal trainer, and fitness instructor. With more than nine years of experience in the industry, he’s helped hundreds of clients improve their nutritional habits, become more consistent with exercise, lose weight in a sustainable way, and build muscle through strength training. He is passionate about writing and has published more than 500 articles on various topics related to healthy nutrition, dieting, calorie and macronutrient tracking, meal planning, fitness and health supplementation, best training practices, and muscle recovery.

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  • Proven Doses: Ingredients Dosed To Clinical Standards
  • Great Value: 17% Cheaper Than Other Simliar Formulas
  • Well-Rounded: Excellent for Pump, Energy, & Strength

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