What Does Pre-Workout Feel Like: What To Expect

Suppose you’ve never taken a pre-workout before and don’t know what to expect. You might be feeling a little anxious about taking your first scoop and wondering how you should feel.

When taking pre-workout, you will feel a sense of energy, alertness, and focus mentally. In the gym, you may feel a tingly, itchy, and burning sensation that will go away. You may notice more endurance during your workout and have an increase in blood flow to your muscles.

Each pre-workout formula is different. But this is commonly what you will feel with most pre-workouts that contain stimulants.

Below, I’ll talk about some of the ingredients in pre-workouts, how much you should be taking, and tips to avoid a few mistakes tons of beginners make when taking pre-workouts for the first time.

Fit Male Drinking From Green Shaker Bottle

Are You Supposed To Feel Pre-Workout

There is a feeling you get when you take a pre-workout before you hit the gym. Sometimes, people get so used to this feeling that they tend to hype pre-workouts and overuse them. It’s even an occasional meme on social media from time to time.

Pre-workout will have you feeling awake, focused, and energized due to the caffeine and other stimulants. Depending on the ingredients added, you can expect a boost in endurance and pumps in the gym. Some pre-workouts also have ingredients that can make you feel itchy and tingly.

Once you start taking pre-workout and know what to expect and how you should feel. You can start to play around with different types of pre-workouts since not all pre-workouts are created equally.

The two types of pre-workouts can be categorized:

High Stimulant Pre Workouts

No Stim or Stim Free Pre Workouts

Stim-free pre-workouts are great if you need to work out later in the evening or close to nighttime and still be able to fall asleep at night.

If you want caffeine and stimulants, then go for the regular pre-workouts that contain stimulants.

How Much In Wooden Blocks

How Much Pre-Workout Should You Take

Have you ever heard of the story about the tortoise and the hare? Or the saying slow and steady wins the race.

Well, they were really talking about pre-workout in those stories. (Sorry, I have a lame sense of humor… I know)

Anyways you are better off taking half the recommended dosage on your first go around just to see your tolerance. Then you can take the recommended scoop once you’ve understood your tolerance.

Everyone is different, and everyone’s bodies react to stimulants and these ingredients differently. Some might take half a scoop of pre-workout and feel nothing.

While at the same time, someone can take half a scoop and feel nauseous and feel like they need to vomit. (more about this later)

So do yourself a favor and take it easy, especially if it’s your first go-around. Pre-workout is a great tool to use in the gym to get better lifts in, but make sure you are not doing more harm than good

Guy In Tank Top doing Dumbell Curls

What To Expect In The Gym

Look at you all grown up and taking your very first scoop of pre-workout. You’ve made me proud! Now let’s talk about what you may be feeling in the gym.

Also, make sure you take your pre-workout 20-30 minutes before the start of your workout to give time for all the ingredients to take effect.

Focus And Energy

This can be attributed usually to the caffeine and L-Theanine that are commonly found in pre-workouts. If you’ve ever had a cup of coffee from Starbucks, you already know the boost of energy and alertness caffeine can give you.

But when combined with L-Theanine. They work together to curb the over-jittery feeling you would get from just caffeine giving you a sense of focus.

This combination is a true powerhouse when it comes to pre-workouts. Some brands might use different stimulants, achieving similar effects as well.

Woman With Tingles


You might feel like ants are crawling all over your body while being set on fire. Don’t panic; this feeling is usually the result of an ingredient called Beta-alanine. Beta-alanine is used to help you with your physical performance in the gym.

Some preworkouts have this ingredient, and some do not. So ensure you keep this in mind when you are in the market for a pre-workout supplement.


Another thing you might notice is the fact that you can get a few extra reps out of your workout. There are ingredients in pre-workout to help give you a boost in endurance. Some brands even have creatine in their formulas to help you out, which is something I look for in my pre-workouts

Guy In Tank Top doing Dumbell Curls


If you look in the mirror and your arms are bursting out of your sleeves, or you feel your muscles full and plump with blood. Then that might be thanks to the pre-workout you just took.

Those are what you can expect to feel when taking a pre-workout for the first time. Now, let’s talk about the dark side of things and how to avoid them.

A Few Tips To Have A Better Experience

Below are a few tips you can use if your first-time experience is not the best. Sometimes if you are sensitive to pre-workout or took a little too much, things didn’t go as well as you hoped.

Reduce Your Dosage

Stimulants can feel very overwhelming. Try half the recommended serving size if taking a full serving was just too much for you. And once your tolerance has built up. Then try taking a full serving again.

Use Stimulant Free Pre Workout

You took it a little too close to bedtime. It’s 3 am. You can’t sleep.

I get it. I’ve done this a few times. Sometimes, you take it around 4-5 in the afternoon, thinking it’s not going to affect your sleep, but it does.

My tip is to take your pre-workout early if you can. And if that is not an option, then try switching to a stimulant-free pre-workout formula.

Skip The Beta-Alanine

Don’t like the itchy ants crawling over your body feeling? Try skipping out on the beta-alanine. Not all pre-workouts have made you feel itchy, so I’m sure you’ll be able to find one that is a great fit for you.

If you want to know my recommended pre-workout you can check it out here (I’ll add the article once I’ve written about it)

Guy Blue Shirt With Watch

How Long Does It Last

Typically, the feeling of pre-workout can last for around 1 to 3 hours. Basically, it is perfect for a gym session.

Just keep in mind the feeling lasts for 1-3 hours. But how your body processes those stimulants can take a longer time. This is also why some people have trouble sleeping after taking it later on in the day.

Final Thoughts On What Pre-Workout Feels Like

By now, you should know what pre-workout feels like and what to expect when you take it. Again workout is a great supplement to use in the gym to boost performance, stay alert and focused, and help with endurance.

Just be sure to take a break from it once in a while. I personally like to take a 1-week break once I’ve finished a tub of pre-workout. After that week, I’ll go ahead and buy another one.

I do this just to give my body a chance to rest and recover from all the stimulants.

And once again, thank you for being here on my blog, and I hope this post was able to answer everything you wanted to know in a fun, entertaining, and educational way!

Jordan Arenas

My name is Jordan Arenas and I am the owner and author of RFKN Fit. I created RFKN Fit to help others achieve their fitness goals. My mission is to share helpful workouts, nutrition tips, delicious recipes, tips on mindset, some motivation, and some good ol' gym humor with this blog of mine. Hope you enjoy!

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