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April 26, 2022

Can you pre workout twice a day ?

If you’re a hardcore fitness enthusiast, working out twice a day is probably the norm. You might be wondering whether you can amp up these sessions by taking your pre-workout supplements twice a day as well? This article will look at whether you can take your pre-workout supplement twice a day, if it’s good for your health, and how you can increase your performance and results in the gym safely and healthily.

 

You can take a pre-workout twice a day. However, it is not a good practice for your body’s overall health. Most pre-workout supplements contain 150mg-300mg of caffeine. A caffeine limit of 400 mg daily is defined for adults, and anything above this can be harmful. You will have to be extremely cautious of your caffeine intake, including the consumption of tea, coffee, and energy drinks. It is also necessary to get the right amount of rest for recovery to gain muscle which can be disrupted by excessive use of caffeine.

 

Pre-workouts come with many benefits, like an instant boost in your energy and performance. So, it would be great to take it twice a day and reap twice the benefits, right? Not really. The reason behind this is the overload of caffeine from taking a pre-workout supplement more than once a day and the harmful effects on your body.

 

There are many factors like what’s actually inside the pre-workout that will determine whether you can take it twice a day or not. Let’s look at the composition of a regular pre-workout supplement to explain how it can be harmful to over consume it.

 

5 Risks of Taking a Pre-Workout Supplement Twice a Day

Overuse of any substance can harm your body. Pre-workout supplements contain tested nutrients and formulas to boost your endurance and performance in the gym. The over consumption of these ingredients, especially caffeine, can lead to certain side effects. Taking a pre-workout supplement twice a day increases the risk of you experiencing these side effects.

 

Let’s look at some common side effects of taking too much pre-workout and what you can do to reduce them:

 

1.   Increased Water Retention

Creatine is a significant part of most pre-workout formulas. It replenishes the body’s energy stores and ensures better endurance and stamina during workouts. A lot of people like to take creatine separately before workouts as well. However, creatine is also associated with bloating, water retention, weight gain, and digestive issues.

 

.When you take your pre-workout twice a day, you will exceed the recommended dosage. This is more likely to cause digestive issues and water retention in the body.  Make sure you don’t overload on creatine by taking it separately and as part of your pre-workout supplement.

 

2.   Headaches

Many pre-workout templates contain Citrulline. This substance is known to increase and improve blood flow to your vessels and enhance oxygen distribution to the muscles. Most pre-workout supplements contain about 6-8 grams in small amounts.

 

Boosted blood flow to regions of the brain and muscles can cause frequent headaches due to blood pressure changes in your brain vessels. This is definitely going to happen if you are taking twice the recommended dosage in a day.

 

If headaches and migraines are constant with taking your pre-workout supplement, you may want to search for an option without this ingredient.

 

3.   Digestive Issues

 

Ingredients such as sodium bicarbonate, caffeine, and magnesium in pre-workout supplements can upset your digestive system.

 

Sodium bicarbonate can cause issues if it is consumed 91-227 mg per pound (200-500mg per kg) of body weight.

 

Magnesium can cause frequent diarrhea as it has a laxative effect. You also have to keep in mind that if you use too little water with a pre-workout supplement, it can cause diarrhea.

 

Make sure that you mix your pre-workout with at least 8 to 12 ounces of water to avoid most digestive issues.

 

4.   Jittering

Caffeine is often the main ingredient in pre-workout supplements. It reduces fatigue and, at the same time, works as a stimulant to enhance muscle endurance and your overall performance during a workout session.

 

In short, it allows you to get more out of a workout session. Caffeine is associated with several side effects, mainly if you consume too much.

 

 

These side effects include:

 

  • Insomnia
  • Drowsiness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Restlessness
  • Jitteriness
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety

 

If you take two servings of pre-workout on the same day, chances are, you will exceed the recommended amount and experience the above listed side effects.

What’s In Your Pre-Workout Supplement?

No two pre-workout supplements are alike. Apart from a few staple ingredients, each brand and label has its formula, differing based on the ingredients and the dosages. Some are high-end formulas, while others are the standard pre-workout supplements. If you’re thinking about taking your supplement twice a day, you will have to consider the actual composition of the supplement and the dosage before doing so.

 

Let’s look at some of the essential ingredients of a pre-workout and their recommended dosages:

Creatine

Creatine is your best bet if you want to increase the duration of your workouts. It’s excellent at replenishing your ATP stores, which are the primary energy source in your body. It can also enhance your ability to recover and increase your training volume.

 

Beta-alanine

Beta-alanine is an amino acid that works to improve your performance during high-intensity training. It acts as an intramuscular cushion to stop lactic acid from accumulating and negatively impacting your muscle contraction. Studies indicate that about 2-4g of Beta-alanine is safe for consumption daily.

 

Caffeine

Sure, caffeine offers more endurance, improved focus and cognitive function, and much better performance in the gym. However, overdosing on caffeine can have adverse effects on your CNS and organ systems. This is one ingredient you should be particularly careful about overconsuming.

 

Nitric Oxide Precursors

Nitric Oxide boosts the dilation in your blood vessels and aids in better blood flow to the muscles. This increases the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to crucial areas to help increase your overall performance. It’s usually used in the form of L-citrulline and L-arginine. However, beetroot is picking up quite the popularity in this category.

 

Amino Acids

The BCAAs – Leucine, isoleucine and valine are standard in any composition of a pre-workout. These boost muscle synthesis rates and reduce the overall chances of muscle damage by preventing muscle breakdown.

 

Now that we’ve covered the essential ingredients included in a pre-workout supplement. Let’s look at what side effects can occur if you overuse these.

 

A related article of interest is Coffee vs Pre-Workout – What to Take Before Workout?

Buying VS Making Your Own Supplement

So, should you invest in a pre-workout supplement or should you make one yourself? Let’s look at both approaches in detail:

Buying a Supplement

If you want to buy a supplement, there are plenty of options available on online stores like Amazon. There is a wide variety of these supplements available with different dosages and compositions of ingredients.

 

You’ll have to be extra careful in reviewing the list and dosages of ingredients. Remember that these dosages and combinations aren’t based on any calculations or backed by science. However, this shouldn’t scare you from buying a pre-made supplement all together.

 

The best practice is to avoid buying supplements that say they have a “proprietary blend” and don’t mention any dosages and ingredients. You want to be fully aware of what you are going to consume.

 

Also, look for supplements that have been tested by third-party organizations like NSF International, Banned Substances Control Group, and Informed-Choice.org.

 

Making Your Own Blend

Ok, hear us out before you get overwhelmed by the idea. You can mix your ingredients to create a pre-workout supplement. The most significant advantage of this is knowing what you’re consuming and in what quantity. This also means that you will be able to adjust ingredients according to your energy and workout requirements.

 

All the staple ingredients discussed above in this article are readily available. If you buy these in bulk, you’ll get a better price and save some money.

 

Here are recommended dosages of the basic ingredients included in a pre-workout supplement:

 

 

Ingredient Recommended (safe) dosage
Caffeine 1.4-2.7 mg / pound of body weight
Beta-alanine 4-6 grams daily
L-Citrulline 6 grams daily
Sodium Bicarbonate 136 mg / pound of body weight
BCAAs 5 – 20 grams daily
Nitrate 2.7-5.9 / pound of body weight

 

You maybe also interested in 12 Safest Pre Workout Supplements Ingredients.

Risks of Working Out Twice a Day

 

Most people take a pre-workout supplement twice a day because they’re working out twice a day. While doing so may be appealing, you should know that it comes with its risk. Especially if you are new to working out, you need to start slow and give proper recovery time to your body.

 

Let’s explore what can happen if you train twice a day and overwork your body:

 

1.   Excessive weight loss

Weight loss may be one of your goals with working out twice a day. However, rapid weight loss can lead to muscle loss as well. It may also lead to malnutrition and weakness. While you may want to lose excess fat, muscle loss can counter your overall fitness goals.

 

2.   Burnout

Your body isn’t a machine, and neither is your brain. If overworked, both can experience exhaustion. Exercise has great mood boosting effects? However, overexercising is linked with mental turmoil and should be avoided to maintain mental health.

 

3.   Insomnia

Your body needs rest to recover and prepare for the next working out session. Working out twice a day barely gives you any recovery time, interrupting your rest time. When the body is under stress, it overproduces the stress hormone i.e., cortisol. Cortisol can disrupt your regular sleep cycles and cause insomnia.

 

4.   Aches and Pains

Sure, aches and pains are common side effects of working out. However, if the muscles are overworked and not given enough time to recover, aches and pains can become more common.

5.   Reduced immunity

You’ll likely notice that people who overtrain in the gym or at home quickly get sick. This is because overtraining can lead to a compromised immune system. The most common reason for this is the loss of essential macronutrients frequently.

10 Healthy Ways to Improve Your Performance in the Gym

Now that we understand the risks associated with taking a pre-workout twice daily and how you can control the side effects by creating your formula. It is worth exploring some other changes you can make in your lifestyle and fitness routine to speed up the process of muscle and strength gain.

 

1.   Say no to high fat meals before a workout session

 

Research suggests that if you eat a high-fat meal for up to four hours before your workout session, you prevent Nitric oxide from doing its job and supplying blood to your blood vessels and muscles.

 

Ultimately, that means a lesser muscle pump due to a limited blood flow to the vessels. So, in the four hours before your workouts, avoid eating high-fat meals. This mainly includes fast food and packaged meals.

 

2.   Introduce buckwheat in your diet

Buckwheat is often used as a substitute for grains. It takes its sweet time digesting, which adds to your endurance and fat burning.

 

It contains a flavonoid called chiro inositol, which acts just like insulin in the body. Interestingly, it’s also a natural source of the energy replenishing substance creatine. A cooked bowl of soba noodles right before a workout can give you the energy required to squeeze in some more sets of exercises at the gym.

3.   Focus your thoughts on the target of your training

Research suggests that focusing on the muscle you are training can drastically improve your results than if you are thinking of other things during the session. So, for every session and set, make sure your focus and thoughts are directed towards the muscle you’re aiming to build instead of looking around at what other people might be doing.

4.   Don’t train alone

Training in a group or having a regular gym body can improve your overall performance in the gym. You are likely to train harder and also maintain a regular schedule.

5.   Pump the session up with some music

There is no doubt that music affects our mood. The same stands true for when you’re training. Make sure you add to your muscle pump with some beats the next time you’re working out. Make a playlist of songs that motivate you to go the extra mile.

6.   Give your body time to recover

You may think that the more time you spend working out, the better your results will be. While this may be partially true, recovery is as important as the actual workout. Every time you put your muscles through training, they experience tiny tears.

 

Building muscle is simply the process of tearing the older ones down and building them back stronger. Your muscles need some time to get patched back again before introducing more breakage.

 

You also need time for the body to replenish the lost energy storage in your body.Include rest days in your workout routines to help your body build it’s glycogen supply back up.

 

Make sure you introduce a 1-2 day rest window during your workouts to help the body heal, recover, and come back even stronger.

 

7.   Don’t forget to hydrate

 

We can’t stress this enough; water is a miracle liquid that can cure half your body’s ailments if you consume it enough. It’s very easy to get dehydrated during a workout, so you must keep drinking water or liquids throughout the session.

 

Did you know that you can lose roughly 45 ounces of water during an intense working-out session? Yes, that’s true. When you work out, your body temperature rises, and your body responds by sweating to cool you down.

 

You lose your water stores when you sweat. So, to keep your body at a steady temperature, you need to keep replenishing your hydration levels.

 

8.   Keep a track of your performance

 

You obviously want to know if all the effort and the long hours spent at the gym are worth it. Keeping track of your growth and achievements will motivate you to train harder. You can go traditional by using a measuring tape to measure gains, or you can try the more modern route of using a fitness watch.

 

Another way to keep track of performance and improve on it is to record your working out sessions and then later review them for any bad form or missouts.

9.   Add essential supplements to your diet

 

You can eat a balanced diet but still miss out on important macronutrients required to build muscle and endurance. Adding some supplements like a daily multivitamin can ensure you get adequate nutrients to stay active throughout your workout.

 

There is no shortage of muscle building supplements in the market either. These help with muscle synthesis. Some common examples include

 

  • HMB
  • HICA
  • PA

 

Lastly, since recovery is so crucial to the muscle and strength building process, you can invest in good recovery supplements like arginine and glutamine. These two are great at boosting your immunity and replenishing your energy supplies.

 

10.   Avoid unstable exercise equipment

 

There are multiple studies indicating that doing exercises on stable surfaces rather than unstable and wobbly ones has more impact on the muscles being trained and the overall effectiveness of the workout. So use steady surfaces for exercises like squats and weight lifts for better gains.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.   How many times a day should you take a pre-workout supplement?

Once a day is the usual recommendation when it comes to taking a pre-workout supplement. However, this can depend on the dosages of the ingredients included in the supplement you are taking.

2.   How long do the effects of a pre-workout supplement last?

The effects of a pre-workout last 30 minutes to 2 hours from the time it is consumed. This added energy boost is to supplement your working out session so it’s best to take a pre-workout right before you start your session.

3.   Can you take 2 doses of pre-workout at the same time?

It is generally advised not  to overdose on pre-workout supplements. It is best if you stick to taking the supplement once a day. If you are taking it more than once then make sure you aren’t overdosing on any ingredients.

Final Thoughts

We hope our article helped you discover ways other than taking a pre-workout twice a day to improve your gains in the gym. Pre-workouts are designed to boost your performance, recovery, and endurance while working out; however, taking them twice daily or overdosing can potentially harm your physical and mental health. Instead, you should focus on making healthier life changes to speed up muscle and strength gain.

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Steve


Steve Theunissen is from New Zealand and is a qualified Personal Trainer and Nutritionist with over 30 years experience. Read more about Steve in the 'about us' page.

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