Your pre-workout supplement should make you feel energized, alert and ready for action. If you’re getting tingles or jitters or just feeling a little off, your body may be telling you to switch up your formula. Here are a couple of common pre-workout side effects and how to fix them.
1. YOU HAVE THE LATE-NIGHT JITTERS
Part of the power behind pre-workout supplements is the energy kick they provide just before you hit the gym. Often, that zap comes from caffeine. Caffeine helps sharpen your focus, accelerate your reaction time and boost your metabolism, but it is also a stimulant, and people metabolize it differently. There are people who are able to chug coffee all afternoon and fall right to sleep at night, while others will have just one cup in the morning and feel wired and anxious all day. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, you may find that your pre-workout dose is leaving you jittery, irritable or unable to drift easily into sleep at night.
When you start your pre-workout regimen, begin with half the recommended amount to gauge your tolerance. If you find yourself lying awake at night, work out in the morning or midday. The main issue is to avoid taking it within three to five hours of hitting the hay. Caffeine has a half-life of around three to five hours, so you’ll want to give it at least that much time to work its way through your system. If you can only get to the gym in the evening, look for a pre-workout supplement that doesn’t contain caffeine or other stimulants, or try taking a lower dose.
2. YOUR SKIN IS TINGLING
Beta-alanine and niacin are commonly found in pre-workout blends—and both may cause some unfamiliar skin sensations. Beta-alanine is a lactic acid buffer that helps you pump through more sets before the burn builds up and forces you to take a break. It’s also been known to cause tingling in the hands and feet, especially if you’re sensitive to it. Though it may catch you off guard, this feeling is a harmless nervous system reaction. Niacin, a form of vitamin B3, works to boost blood flow as you rip through those brutal sets. It, too, can have a noticeable effect on skin when taken in doses of 50 milligrams or more. This so-called “niacin flush” is a warm tingling sensation that is sometimes accompanied by red or flushed skin.
Staying highly hydrated can help minimize these harmless side effects. When you’re taking pre-workout supplements, make sure you’re drinking at least 100 ounces of water every day. If you find you’re particularly sensitive to these ingredients and the sensations are distracting you from your training, ease into your pre-workout supplementation by starting out with small doses and gradually building up to the full recommended amount.