Does Pre Workout Make You Poop? The Awkward Answer

Have you ever downed pre workout and then had to run to the bathroom before starting? You’re not alone! 

Many gym goers have questioned, does pre workout make you poop? 
I mean, it does seem like I need to release after I drink it. 

As a certified personal trainer, we’ll explore this curious happening and look at the reasons behind it. 

Here’s what’s coming up. 

Does Pre Workout Make You Poop?
6 Tips To Avoid Pre Workout Poops
What Is Pre Workout?
Main Ingredients That Make You Go 
Anything Else Make You Go? 
Other Things To Consider
Bottom Line 

Does Pre Workout Make You Poop? 

6 Tips To Avoid Pre Workout Poops 

Getting the urge to poop after taking pre workout may not be completely unavoidable. But there are things you can to do to try and prevent it. 

Here’s 6 tips to avoid pre workout poops. 

  • Choose Pre Workouts With Less Caffeine (Or None)

    This can be a smart strategy to help avoid the pre workout poops. High doses of pre workout can lead to activation of the colon because of caffeine.

    By choosing a product with a more moderate caffeine content or exploring caffeine-free options, you can still enjoy the benefits of a pre workout boost without the risk of overstimulation or potential digestive issues.
  • Take Less Of A Dose 

    Some pre workout products recommend 2 scoops, which can be up to 400 mg of caffeine! 

    Unless you are dead tired or are trying to hit a personal record, that much caffeine is not appropriate for the average gym goer.

    Instead, take a lower dose than recommended to help minimize the risk of side effects, including the need to poop. 

    You can also gradually increase the dosage as your body gets used to it. Experimenting with smaller doses allows you to find the right balance that suits your individual tolerance and preferences.
  • Add Enough Water To The Mix 

    Adding enough water (8-12 oz) to your pre workout  ensures that the ingredients are well dissolved and can be absorbed more gradually, contributing to a smoother and more comfortable digestive experience.

    Using too little water in pre workout may upset your stomach, because, surprisingly, too concentrated a liquid can lead to diarrhea. 

    Related Article: Can You Mix Pre Workout The Night Before?
  • Avoid Pre Workouts With Vitamin C, Magnesium,
    Or Sodium Bicarbonate 

    As mentioned above, these ingredients can lead to using the bathroom, but only when taken in high doses. 

    Check the ingredient list and go for a formula of pre workout that has minimal amounts of these or none at all. That way you can minimize the risk of needing to poop after taking pre workout. 
  • Use Natural Ingredient Pre Workouts 

    There are some pre workouts on the market that boast more ingredients compared to others.

    Natural sources of energy, like plant-based extracts and amino acids, may be gentler on the digestive system compared to synthetic compounds.

    These may reduce the likelihood of the need to poop while still providing an energy boost for your workout.

    Try out different brands and see what works best for you, because each body reacts differently to ingredients in pre workout. 
  • Have Food In Your Stomach 

    Having a meal 2 hours before, or a small snack 1 hour before, can acts a a buffer then taking pre workout. 

    Food in your stomach can slow down the digestion process and reduce the need to poop. Try this approach and see if it makes a difference in your workout routine. 

What Is Pre Workout? 

Pre workout is a powdered supplement that is used by people to improve athletic performance at the gym or in sports. 

There are hundreds of pre workout supplements available on the market, and its popularity is continuing to grow each year.  

There is a slew of ingredients that manufactures choose from and add to their own special blend of pre workout. 

According to Set for Set, there are three categories of ingredients in pre workouts: 

  • Acute ingredients that immediately kick in after drinking it, like caffeine. 
  • Saturation ingredients that need to be stored up over time before you feel it, like creatine. 
  • Absorption ingredients that are unique to each brands, like deer antler velvet in Bucked Up.

No two pre workouts are the same, but there are main ingredients that all pre workouts use. Today we’ll cover the ones that can make you poop. 

But if you want a more in depth look at pre workout, check out my pre workout breakdown.

Main Ingredients That Make You Go

When it comes to pre workout supplements, if you don’t want to run to the bathroom, then you should scrutinize the ingredients that make up these potent blends. 

Let’s take a closer look at the main ingredients that make you go, and why they seem to have a direct line to your digestive system. The two ingredients are caffeine and artificial sweeteners. 

Caffeine   

Caffeine is the most common ingredient found across all pre workouts. It’s proven to provide energy and mental clarity.

That’s why it’s excellent for the gym, and frankly why millions can’t function without their morning cup of joe before work. 

An 8oz cup of coffee has from 70 to 140 mg of caffeine, or about 95 mg on average. 

That’s small in comparison to most pre workouts, which contains 100 to 400 mg of caffeine in one serving! 

While that much caffeine is not needed for everyone, it definitely comes with a huge boost of energy and possibly digestive issues. 

This survey of 99 healthy young volunteers found that at least 29 percent claimed that coffee induced a desire to poop.

Based on those results, researchers concluded that drinking coffee can stimulate a motor response of the colon in some normal people.

In other words, the caffeine in coffee triggered a digestive response that created the urge to go poop. That same effect can be felt by some who drink pre workout. 

So does pre workout make you poop? It can because of the caffeine content in the supplement. 

Artificial Sweeteners   

Artificial sweeteners are used to flavor pre workout supplements and make them taste better.  But these can impact on your digestive system and  possibly lead to an urgent call from nature.

Common artificial sweeteners include: 

  • Sucralose 
  • Aspartame
  • Acesulfame Potassium (Ace-K)
  • Saccharin
  • Stevia

Many artificial sweeteners, like sorbitol and mannitol, draw water into the intestines. This can lead to the need to poop and potentially cause diarrhea.

Some artificial sweeteners, like maltitol and xylitol, undergo fermentation in the colon by gut bacteria. This fermentation process produces gas and may lead to bloating and abdominal discomfort. 

The response to artificial sweeteners varies among individuals, and some may be more sensitive than others.

So if you’re experiencing the need to poop after pre workout, you could be more sensitive to artificial sweeteners. 

Anything Else Make You Go?

does pre workout make you poop

Besides caffeine and artificial sweeteners, there are other less common ingredients that could trigger the need to go: vitamin C, magnesium, and sodium bicarbonate. 

Vitamin C   

This isn’t a very common ingredient in pre workout, but is used when there’s nitric oxide in the supplement. Nitric oxide helps increase blood flow and oxygen to your muscles, and vitamin C works together with it. 

Vitamin C only causes bowel movements in high doses of 2,000-4,000 mg. If a pre workout contains vitamin C, it will be around 1,000 mg or less.

Magnesium   

Magnesium only has a laxative effect when taken in high doses.

Magnesium citrate is used in pre workout because it’s been to shown to buffer lactic acid build up, which further improves performance and strength. 

High doses between 200-500 mg can increase the need to poop. 

Sodium Bicarbonate  

Sodium bicarbonate can also cause you to poop, but only in high doses. It’s used in some pre workouts because it reduces acidosis, meaning it can delay fatigue and increase exercise performance. 

Consuming sodium bicarbonate at doses higher than 0.3 g per kilogram of body weight can lead to diarrhea and other digestive issues. But most pre workouts contain less than this amount.

Other Things To Consider

Being mindful of the timing of your pre workout intake, carefully manage the dosage, and consider if you’ve eaten beforehand. 

These can contribute to a more comfortable and effective workout experience that is free from unexpected digestive issues. 

Timing of when you take pre workout plays a part in how it interacts with your digestion. 

When you take in the morning, typically in a fasted state, the ingredients absorb quicker and you may experience the need to poop faster. 

The contents of your stomach when you take pre workout can significantly impact the digestive system.

If you take pre workout in the afternoon or evening, the food you ate through the day slows down the absorption process.

This means a more  more gradual release of energy during your workout and hopefully no need to poop. 

Dosage of pre workout also plays a role in the need to poop. The amount you consume directly influences the likelihood of experiencing side effects. 

Higher doses can intensify issues like jitteriness, digestive discomfort, or an increased urgency to poop.

Bottom Line

So does pre workout make you poop? Yes, it can! Ingredients like caffeine and artificial sweeteners play a role in stimulating the digestive system. 

But the impact can vary from person to person. Try taking less of a dose, eating before taking it, or even trying a stim-free option. 

Next time you reach for that pre workout, consider your body’s cues and try different ones that work best for you.

AUTHOR

Shalom is a content creator, musician, and a teacher at heart. As a certified personal trainer, his goal is to encourage others to lead healthier lives and to get buff in the process!

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