Side Effects of Pre Workout Supplements

If you’ve taken a pre workout supplement before, then there’s a chance that you’ve suffered side effects. Itchy skin? Jittery feelings or energy crashes? Breath and sweat that smells like fish? 

These are all side effects associated with pre workout supplements. But you’ll be glad to know that there are ways that you can avoid them (after all, smelling like fish won’t get you closer to the hot squat girl in the gym, bro).

For this reason, we’ll be answering your important questions. By the end of this article, you’ll know exactly which ingredients to avoid, and how to look for the best pre workout supplement and stay safe from side effects.

What Are Pre Workout Supplements?

It might be quite obvious, but this is for those completely new to making gains. Simply put, pre workout supplements are most frequently found in powder form, and are usually consumed 20-30 minutes as drink before your gym session.

They’re designed to deliver certain benefits that will help you achieve your dream physique:

  • Improved strength & endurance
  • Elevated endurance
  • Increased focus
  • Enhanced muscle pumps

However, it’s important to know that not all pre workouts offer these benefits. Why? Because every pre workout is formulated differently, containing different ingredients.

In fact, we guarantee you won’t see 2 pre workouts containing the exact same ingredients and dosages. And considering the crazy amount of products swarming the market, this is pretty impressive.

We’ll explain how to look for the best pre workouts later in this article. But first, we’ll provide details on which ingredients to avoid – in order to avoid side effects.

man itching skin

Most Common Side Effects & How To Avoid Them

Pre workouts haven’t always had a good reputation. They’ve been associated with unwanted side effects due to companies adding harmful ingredients or overloading them with stimulants.

But as we mentioned before, there are ways that you can avoid these side effects; allowing you to enjoy the benefits of these supplements, helping you sculpt your ideal body without any distractions.

Jitters & Energy Crashes

These are probably the most common side effects from taking pre workout supplements.

In fact, most of the products we’ve tried caused this; after looking at their nutrient profiles, it was easy to see why.

Simply put, many companies often overload their pre workouts with caffeine (and other stimulants).


To make their products seem ‘stronger’.

It’s a shame, because caffeine can be a very beneficial stimulant when it’s not abused; everyone knows it can keep you energized, improve your strength, boost endurance and increase focus in the gym too.

How to avoid jitters & energy crashes 

We mentioned that an overload of caffeine and other stimulants is the cause of these side effects.

Well, it should seem obvious that by staying away from pre workouts packed with stimulants that’ll blow your head off – you’ll avoid jitters and energy crashes.

But what’s a reasonable amount of caffeine to consume? Good question.

Basically, the RDA (recommended daily allowance) for caffeine is set at 400mg. As a result, by consuming under 200mg caffeine per serving with pre workouts, most people will be safe from side effects [1].

Ultimately, consuming under 200mg caffeine will ensure you benefit from enhanced strength, endurance, energy and focus. While staying safe from jitters and energy crashes.

A 200mg dose of caffeine in pre workout also means it can be safely double scooped without any concerns.

Tingly & Itchy Skin

Another common question is “why do pre workouts cause tingly and itchy skin?“. If it’s any consolation, it’s not because you have headlice or fleas…

Basically, tingly and itchy skin is a result of a side effect called paresthesia. It’s caused by consuming Beta-Alanine in high dosages, which are commonly found in pre workout supplements [2].

How to avoid tingly & itchy skin 

Again, the answer to this might be quite obvious; by avoiding pre workouts containing beta-alanine, you’ll stay safe from paresthesia.

However, this might be more difficult than it seems, as it’s a very common addition to these supplements. For this reason, it’s important to check the ingredient list of pre workouts you’re interested in trying out.

Fishy Body Odor

Suffering from fishy body odor isn’t as common as the other 2 on this list so far. But you might be worried that it’s still reported.

Some ingredients found in pre workout supplements have shown to cause your breath and sweat to smell fishy.

How to avoid fishy body odor 

Like with any side effect, it’s caused by certain ingredients; in this case, Betaine [3] & Choline [4].

The formal name for the disorder caused by these ingredients is trimethylaminuria. It’s caused by a reduction of Choline or Betaine in your gut [5], which then causes you to smell like a wet fish.

Let’s be honest here, if you want to look good and attract female attention in the gym, then you’ll want to stay away from these 2 ingredients.

Best Pre-Workout That Doesn’t Cause Side Effects

There are literally dozens of different pre-workouts on the market, so it can be pretty damn hard to choose the right product – especially if you’re not very knowledgeable about nutrition.

As a result, companies can often fool customers into thinking their products are better than they are. But as we mentioned, by checking the nutrient profile of each supplement; you’ll give yourself a much better chance of finding a safe and effective pre-workout…

Or, you could continue reading as Christmas has come early for you brah. We’ve searched hard and deep to find the best pre-workout that doesn’t cause side effects.

You better appreciate it, as we had to smell like salmon in order to find the right one. You can thank us in the comments section, or take a look:

4 Gauge

After trying out numerous pre-workouts, we were relieved to find a product that contained a calculated dosage of caffeine that didn’t cause jitters.

As it was pictured in a shotgun shell, we were interested in taking a closer look – and we’re glad we did.

We’ll give you a quick review of why we recommend 4 Gauge below.

Key Benefits

  • Stable energy boosts – never feel too tired and feel more motivated to make gains, without the jitters, crashes or itchy skin.
  • Explosive muscle pumps – Feel your biceps bulge and your skin tighten, boosting your self confidence in the gym.
  • Shred fat or pack-on muscle faster – Key benefits will blast you towards your fitness goals at bullet speed.
  • Blast through records or plateaus – Burst through previous limitations to make the changes you want to see on your body.


  • You can only buy from its website:
  • Premium price – It’s worth paying a bit more to avoid side effects
  • Only 1 flavor available – Fruit Blast

Why You’ll Like It

Containing only 100% natural ingredients that are scientifically proven to work, a big positive was that 4 Gauge didn’t cause any unwanted side effects.

With an optimal 6,000mg dosage Citrulline Malate, you’ll be sure to feel the blood rushing to your muscles while you lift weights. The calculated dosage of 4 Gauge ensures that you’ll stay energized & motivated throughout your workout – without the jittery feeling or crashes.

We can’t finish this short review without mentioning the premium $45 price tag. However, after being disappointed by many cheaper alternatives, we decided that it’s worth paying slightly extra.

To summarise, it’s a great tasting pre-workout that delivers the right benefits – to help you achieve your dream physique and help you reach your goals.

To Buy, Visit 


Read Our Full
– 4 Gauge Review Here –


It’s easy to see why pre workout supplements gained a bad reputation. But it’s important to know that not all are packed with potentially harmful levels of caffeine or other ingredients detailed in this article.

Even we were put-off pre-workouts after trying so many that caused itchy skin and jitters.

However, once you know that side effects are only caused by certain ingredients, it’s easy to avoid them; simply choose pre-workouts that don’t contain Beta-Alanine, Choline, Betaine and over 200mg servings of Caffeine.

By choosing the right product, you’ll give yourself a better chance of making serious changes to your body, faster.


  1. Crystal F. H. Cognitive and mood improvements of caffeine in habitual consumers and habitual non-consumers of caffeine. Psychopharmacology, June 2005, Volume 179, Issue 4, pp 813–825.
  2. Jacques. D. Effect of slow-release β-alanine tablets on absorption kinetics and paresthesia. Amino Acids: July 2012, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 67–76.
  3. Manning N. J. Riboflavin-responsive trimethylaminuria in a patient with homocystinuria on betaine therapy. JIMD Rep. 2012;5:71-5.
  4. Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes and its Panel on Folate, Other B Vitamins, and Choline. National Academies Press (US); 1998. 12. 
  5. Jaffrey M. A Review of Trimethylaminuria: (Fish Odor Syndrome). J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2013 Nov; 6(11): 45–48.

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