How Long Does Preworkout Last?
Asking how long pre-workouts lasts is really asking how long the ingredients in the pre-workouts have an effect on the consumer. Each pre-workouts have different ingredients, but some of the most common ingredients in pre-workouts are caffeine, beta-alanine, citrulline, and taurine (1). We will take a dive into these ingredients individually.
Caffeine is a very common ingredient in pre-workouts. It is important to note that there are many different kinds of caffeine. For example, Jackal Energy has two types of caffeine: caffeine anhydrous and di-caffeine malate. Caffeine anhydrous is more of an immediate release into the body while di-caffeine malate is held to be a longer, extended release. Caffeine anhydrous gives the body more of an immediate boost while di-caffeine malate is supposed to help with energy throughout the workout and can lead to the pre-workout having no crash.
For the sake of giving an answer of how long caffeine can have an effect on the body, we will group all caffeine types together. All caffeine generally comes from similar places and has the same ideas behind them. Caffeine has been shown to have a half-life of 1.5-9.5 hours (2). That means if you take 100mg of caffeine, 50mg is left 1.5-9.5 hours after its administration. Obviously, 1.5 – 9.5 hours is a large range, meaning different people take on caffeine differently. Also, this does not exactly show how long the caffeine will be effective for the consumer. Caffeine tolerance is a big factor for how long caffeine has an effect on you. The more caffeine your body is used to, the more caffeine it will take to have a lasting effect.
In conclusion, the effect of caffeine on an individual is highly dependent on that individual’s caffeine tolerance, but you can expect caffeine to have an effect from 1.5-9.5 hours, depending on the dosage.
Taurine has been suggested to increase force exerted and endurance ( 3, 4, 5). It has a half life of 0.7-1.3 hours (42 minutes to 78 minutes). So, you can expect taurine to half a significant effect on you for around 42 minutes, depending on the dosage.
Citrulline is taken to increase the levels of arginine in the body and has been shown to do this better than taking arginine (6). Citrulline (L-citrulline) has been shown to have a half life of 0.65-1.14 hours (about 39 minutes to 68 minutes) depending on the dose amount. For example, at 2g dosages, citrulline was shown to have a half life of .65 hours while at 15 gram doses, the half-life was shown to be 1.14 hours (7). This gives a good general guideline to go off of. Jackal Energy has 6g of L-citrulline malate, which is about 75% citrulline an 25% malic acid. From this dose, you can expect a half-life of about 52 minutes after consumption.
The effect a pre-workout has on you depends on the ingredients, dosage of each ingredient, and your tolerance to the ingredients. Based off the research referenced above, a rough estimate of how long pre-workout can last is about 40 – 120 min.