Pre-workout insomnia is no joke bro. It leaves you, wired, exhausted and can steal your gains too.
You’re laid there, exhausted. It’s late and the whole world is asleep… but you’re wired and awake. Your heart rate beats with the ferocity of a double kick drum on crack and your body temperature could melt steel beams.
There’s no sleeping going on tonight!
Even the fifth fap of the night hasn’t chilled you out. Bad times dude…
It’s time to put down the porn and give this guide a read instead.
Pre workout supplements are often taken to supercharge energy and focus in the gym. They prepare your body for war against the iron and help you forge an indestructible tool in your aesthetic arsenal.
With great power comes great responsibility. Having such a kick-ass supplement in your hand can backfire if you don’t use it safely. It can lead to side effects such as pre workout insomnia.
In this article we’ll tell you everything you need to know about this all-too-real issue… and how to avoid it for pure gains and no side effects.
The brodown – article preview
- What is pre workout?
- The Ingredients
- Why you can’t sleep after taking pre workouts
What is Pre Workout?
Pre workout supplements provide the power you need to smash your workouts, crush your PRs and crank out laser-like focus.
It doesn’t matter how motivated you think you are, there’ll always be those days where you just can’t be assed to hit the gym.
You need a ‘kick me up’ and you need one fast.
Pre workouts are sports supplements designed to enhance performance in the gym or on the field. They contain specially-selected nutrients that hijack your physiology and give you superhuman strength.
Pre workouts offer these benefits:
- Increase energy levels, stamina and endurance
- Punch fatigue in the face and kick exhaustion’s ass
- Enhance mental clarity
- Carve out unrelenting motivation and drive
- Insane muscle pumps that leave you swole
A pre workout gives you the energy of those battery-powered bunnies in the TV commercials. Only the bunnies have had a nose full of coke and then downed a triple espresso too, bro.[infobox]
Bro Point: Pre workout supplements are designed for bodybuilders and athletes that want to supercharge their efforts in the gym and make maximum gains.[/infobox]
When it comes to a high-quality supplement, it all boils down to the ingredients. Hit up a product with top notch nutrients and you’ll notice the brute force effect. They transform you from bulk to The Hulk in as little as 20-30 minutes.
Go for the wrong formula though and you’ll feel flat, wired and out of pocket. They’re either full of poor quality ingredients or packed with banned, and unsafe rubbish.
Here’s a run through some of the more popular ingredients in pre workout supplements and why they’re effective….
Caffeine: Boost performance and enhance cognition
This stimulant is the bad ass of pre workout and provides the base for any stimulant PW supplement.
The research is pretty conclusive… caffeine boosts athletic performance. Here’s a breakdown of the most relevant research:
- Study 1: An average of 150-200 mg of caffeine was shown to improve 1-rep max in a group of weightlifters during squat and bench press lifts.
- Study 2: A group of 9 athletes were able to train harder, for longer until fatigue. Granted, it was a large amount at 5 mg of caffeine per kg of body weight, but results have been replicated in studies using lower doses too.
L-theanine: Super cool focus and laser-like precision
Have you ever gone full HAM on the caffeine only to feel wired, irritable and less-than-productive?
If you have, L-theanine is your cure.
Found in tea leaves and some species of mushroom, L-theanine is an amino acid known to promote calm, relaxation and stimulate release of relaxation chemical GABA.
The main aim of L-theanine is to channel the energy of caffeine where you need it most. It’s like a GPS for caffeine, showing it the route to your cells to cause max gains.
Creatine: Strength, power, mass – the big three
When it comes to developing bar-crushing power and strength, creatine is your number one pre workout ingredient.
Creatine boosts ATP synthesis – the molecule your body needs to make energy. More creatine means more high-power energy.
Creatine benefits include:
- Reduced hydrogen, pyruvic acid and lactic acid build-up
- More maximal energy
- More muscle mass, strength and force production
- Reduced myostatin levels (the compound that inhibits muscle growth).
Citrulline malate: Muscle-bursting pumps that swell up your gains
You know you’ve crushed your workout when your veins are bulging and the pump is ready to pop through your skin.
Citrulline malate is an amino acid that triggers nitric oxide production. Why’s this important?
Higher NO levels in your blood means more oxygen and nutrients delivered to your muscles. It’s a pre workout hit that’ll supercharge everything from endurance to power production – as well as increasing protein synthesis leading to more jacked muscle mass.
As NO levels increase your blood vessels dilate… and that’s where the sick pumps come from. So not only do you perform better, you look swole too.
Citrulline has a much higher absorption rate than other nutrients such as L-arginine. And that means great results in lower doses.[infobox]
Bro Point: A pre workout is only as good as the ingredients that support it. Aim for all-natural nutrients for the best results.[/infobox]
Why Can’t I Sleep After Taking Pre Workouts?
Pre workout insomnia ain’t no laughing matter bro (unless you’re delirious with sleep deprivation then you’ll be laughing like the Joker).
Most pre workouts contain caffeine and other stimulants. It’s how they hijack your nervous system and get such great results. Within 20 minutes or so of glugging one of those bad boys you’ll be set to go, with the dial cranked up to maximum.
Avoid super-high caffeine pre workouts
There’s one main culprit that’s ruining your shut-eye.
Caffeine is the main factor when it comes to pre workout insomnia. It takes around 20-30 minutes to peak in your bloodstream.
Caffeine ‘half life’ is how long it takes for 50% of the caffeine in your blood to be metabolized by your liver.
Here’s the interesting bit.
It can take as long as 4-6 hours to get out of your system. If you take a pre workout at say 8 pm for your late night trip to the gym, that caffeine will be circulating around your body as late as 2 am!
Do you have to use a stim-free pre workout?
It’s all about dose and timing bro. Here’s why…
The problem with stim-free (basically caffeine free) pre workout supplements is that they lack the bang that caffeine provides. It’s like a trying to set a damp firework off or hitting your girl in the face with a disappointingly weak cum shot.
It just doesn’t have that wow factor you deserve.
If you use a pre workout, take it a few hours before sleep time.
In one study, research nerds analyzed the effects of 400 mg given to a group of dudes either at bedtime, 3 hours or 6 hours beforehand. As you can imagine, the nearer bedtime the participants ingested the stimulant, the more sleep was disrupted.
But here’s the thing… sleep was even disrupted a full 6 hours prior to popping on the sleeping cap and getting some slumber.
Bear in mind though bro – 400 mg is a high quantity of caffeine. More than twice as much as a high-quality double-scooped pre workout. This amount is usually reserved for those dumb ass crazy pre workout supplements with skulls on the front of the bottle – they’re usually called something hyper-aggressive like ‘napalm’, ‘atom bomb’ or ‘finger blast’ or something.
- Limit your pre workout caffeine content to around 300 mg for a faster half life. That way you get the bang you need to hit those PRs and teach the barbell who’s boss. But it’ll wear off within an hour or so, leaving you free to chill and get on with your day.
- Take a pre workout as early in the day as you can, but still within 30 minutes of your gym session for best results.
Check out our article on best pre workout supplements for the very best 150-300 mg pre workouts.
The reason you’re suffering pre workout insomnia is you’re taking too much or chugging it too late at night. You don’t need to ditch the stims though; you just need to manage how and when you use it.
Aim to take your supplement as early in the day as you can and make sure you aren’t triple scooping when you’ve got weak-ass tolerance. You can always build it up as time goes by bro.