If you’ve been taking a pre-workout supplement to help you power through tough training sessions, you might be loving the extra energy and curious to know if you can take pre-workout twice a day.
Yes, you can take pre-workout twice in one day, but you need to be mindful of your total caffeine intake to stay below 400 mg daily. I recommend taking pre-workout twice in one day only if you have two particularly long and/or intense training sessions scheduled on that day.
To help you make smart choices about pre-workout supplements to safely optimize your results and avoid negative side effects, here is what you need to know:
- You can safely take the most common pre-workout ingredients twice in one day (caffeine), but exceeding the recommended dose could cause negative side effects like irritability, headaches, and depression.
- Don’t take a pre-workout twice in one day to help you manage life stressors like work, school, or parenting.
- If you decide to take a pre-workout twice a day, there are 4 must-have rules to follow.
Why You Would Want To Take Pre-Workout Twice In One Day
The main reason to take pre-workout twice in one day is that you actually have two workouts on that day. Taking a pre-workout supplement before each one allows you to push your hardest in both sessions and maximize your results.
There may be several other reasons you might consider taking pre-workout twice a day, such as a demanding schedule or because you want a full dose of one or more of the pre-workout ingredients.
For example, you might want to take one serving before a workout and another serving to get through an afternoon slump at work or for a late-night study session.
Or your pre-workout might have 2.5g of creatine per serving, and you want a full 5g of creatine.
But it’s called “pre-workout” for a reason, and I don’t recommend taking pre-workout at a time other than before a workout or physically demanding event like moving furniture. It’s important to provide your body with the correct nutrients at the correct time.
Providing your body with stimulants (like caffeine) and other substances designed to enhance physical performance when you only need mental stamina (such as for studying) does not help with your natural rhythms and can disrupt sleep and recovery.
Common Ingredients In Pre-Workout: Is It Safe To Take Them Twice In One Day?
The below table shows common pre-workout ingredients and the amount of each found in a typical pre-workout supplement compared to recommended doses.
|Ingredient||What It Does||Typical Amount in One Serving of Pre-Workout||Amount in Two Servings of Pre-Workout||Recommended Daily Serving||Safe To Take Twice a Day?|
|Beta-alanine||Helps delay fatigue and allows you to push harder and get more work done||1.5g-2g||3g-4g||4-6g||Yes|
|Branched-chain amino acids||Reduce fatigue and decrease muscle protein breakdown during exercise||0-5g||0-10g||5-10g||Yes (some pre-workouts contain BCAAs and some don’t)|
|Caffeine||Improves focus and reduces perception of effort||175mg-300mg||350mg-600mg||<400mg||Depends (total intake must be <400mg)|
|Citrulline malate||Increases blood flow to working muscles||750mg||1500mg (1.5g)||8-12g||Yes|
|Creatine monohydrate||Helps you to push harder and for longer, especially in high-intensity training||2-5g||4-10g||3-5g||Yes (there is no risk but also no added benefit for exceeding 5g of creatine in a day)|
|L-glutamine||Helps with recovery and reduces the risk of getting sick||0-5g||0-10g||5-10g||Yes|
Keep in mind that there are a lot of different pre-workout supplement products. Some contain additional ingredients beyond the ones listed above, and not all products contain the same ingredients. The amounts of each ingredient in a serving also vary widely.
Also, it can be hard to know the true amount of each ingredient that is actually in a serving of pre-workout. Supplement companies will often only describe a “proprietary blend” without saying how much of each ingredient is included.
The companies say this is to protect their formulation so competitors can’t copy it. It’s also a way to cut costs by putting only very small amounts (much less than the clinically effective dose that has been studied to produce results) in the product.
This is important to pay attention to when you’re considering taking pre-workout twice a day to ensure you don’t accidentally get an unsafe amount of one or more ingredients.
- Related Article: Why Is Pre-Workout So Expensive? We investigate.
Are There Benefits of Taking Pre-Workout Twice in One Day?
There are definitely benefits to taking pre-workout twice in one day when you have two training sessions.
When you have two workouts in one day, taking pre-workout before each of them means:
- You can push hard in both workouts to ensure you get as much effort and as many sets and reps as possible to maximize your results.
- You can stay alert and focused so your form is better, which keeps you safe and targets the right muscles.
- You get ingredients that also improve recovery so that you can stay healthy with a lower risk of illness and injury during high training loads.
What Are the Risks of Taking Pre-Workout Twice in One Day?
The biggest risk of taking pre-workout twice a day is getting an unsafe amount of one or more ingredients in the product. This is most likely to happen with caffeine, especially if there are other stimulants in the product and/or if you consume other sources of caffeine in your day, such as tea or coffee.
Too much caffeine can result in anxiety, jitteriness, insomnia, and heart palpitations. These effects are even worse if you rely on energy drinks like Bang, Monster, or Red Bull for your pre-workout.
Individuals who are sensitive to caffeine can experience these side effects even at lower intakes (100-200mg). It’s a good idea to look for stimulant-free pre-workout options in this case.
Beyond the side effects of excessive caffeine listed above, caffeine is also a drug that can result in caffeine dependence.
Continuing to take high doses of caffeine can lead to caffeine tolerance, meaning you need to take more and more to feel the effects.
Both caffeine dependence and caffeine tolerance leave you open to worse side effects such as headache, fatigue, irritability, and depression when you do stop taking caffeine.
Tips for Taking Pre-Workout Twice in One Day
Here are my top tips for taking pre-workout twice in one day:
1. Only Take Pre-Workout Before Workouts
Do not use pre-workout as a quick source of energy or a pick-me-up for times other than just before a workout.
This means you would only take pre-workout twice in one day if you have two workouts on that day.
If you need more energy for your day, focus on getting a good night’s sleep and eating a healthy diet instead.
- Related Article: Is It Bad To Take Pre-Workout Before Running? We look at the science.
2. Use Pre-Workout Products That Clearly State the Amounts of Each Ingredient
To know whether you are getting safe amounts of each ingredient, you need to know how much of each ingredient your pre-workout contains. Focus on products that list the actual amounts of each ingredient on their labels and avoid ones with proprietary blends.
Here’s an example of what I mean about a label that shows the actual amounts of all ingredients and a label that doesn’t give the details for the ingredients in its “complex” or “blend”:
Also, look for brands that are third-party certified to ensure the product is tested and proven to contain the amounts listed on the label.
3. Manage Your Total Daily Caffeine Intake
As mentioned, you should aim to keep your total daily caffeine intake at or below 400mg. Here are some ways to accomplish this:
- Track your caffeine intake: even if you don’t otherwise track your calories or macros, keep track of the caffeine content of your food and beverages. Chocolate, coffee, and black and green teas are all sources of caffeine.
If you need to, do not consume other sources of caffeine on days you take pre-workout twice.
- Split your pre-workout into two doses: take only half a serving before each workout.
- Use a non-stim pre-workout: use a pre-workout that does not contain stimulants before one or both workouts. Save the caffeinated pre-workout for before the harder workout or the one that happens when your energy levels are lower. (Also here are 9 pre-workout alternatives that won’t make you crash).
4. Do Not Take Double Doses of Pre-Workout Just To Get a Full Recommended Serving of One or More of Its Ingredients
If you want a full recommended dose of a particular ingredient, you can either buy a pre-workout product that already contains a full dose or a dedicated supplement for that ingredient.
I personally buy my own separate containers of creatine, beta-alanine, and BCAAs so I can get the doses I want rather than relying on pre-workout supplements. This way, I know I am getting exactly the products I want in exactly the amounts that I want.
What To Read Next
- Caffeine Pills vs. Pre-Workout: Pros, Cons, & Which Is Best?
- Is It Bad To Take Pre-Workout Every Day? (3 Drawbacks)
- Pre Workout Sickness: How Common Is It, Causes, & How To Fix
- What To Do If You Can’t Fall Asleep After Taking Pre-Workout (9 Tips)
About The Author
Lauren Graham is a Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified nutrition coach. She focuses on helping busy professionals balance healthy eating and purposeful movement. Lauren has a background in competitive swimming and is currently competing as a CrossFit athlete. She has a passion for training, teaching, and writing.