A lot of us use pre-workout supplements to feel more energetic, push ourselves further, and see better results from a workout session. Unfortunately, some pre-workout formulas can leave you feeling a little too energetic or “jittery.” The jitters make it hard to focus on your workout and leave you with a crash afterwards when the effects wear off. It would probably be a lot nicer to have a smoother transition into and out of a workout, getting the benefits of a pre-workout without the regrets afterwards. So what can you do to avoid the jitters?
1) Limit caffeine. In small doses, caffeine can make you feel more energetic and awake (that’s why a lot of people use it in pre-workouts, after all!). But if you take a supplement with excessive amounts of caffeine or other stimulants, or if you take more servings of a supplement than recommended, or take it with additional caffeinated drinks, the feeling of energy that you get might be more than your body is used to (depending on your caffeine tolerance and other factors). With too much caffeine all at once, you’ll also have to deal with the loss of energy once the excessive caffeine wears off. 1
Find a pre-workout supplement that doesn’t overload you with the caffeine, and then avoid taking extra caffeine in other drinks at the same time. That will help you get some of the benefits of feeling that extra energy without getting too jittery or feeling the crash afterwards. Also, if you still feel unwanted symptoms even while using supplements with lower amounts of caffeine, make sure you’re not taking it on an empty stomach—caffeine is less overwhelming when you’ve eaten something beforehand, even something light! 2
2) Limit niacin. Niacin, or vitamin B3, is another ingredient that will actually be likely to help your pre-workout—as long as it’s in smaller amounts. The problem is that some pre-workout supplements include something like 500 mg of niacin; this much of the vitamin can make you feel flushed or tingly, especially when combined with caffeine. 3
The daily recommended value of B3 is somewhere between 14–35 mg daily for adults (depending on the person), so try to find a pre-workout supplement that falls into that range instead of one that blasts it clear out of the water with something ten times that intense. 4
3) Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. While it’s true that too much caffeine or niacin in a supplement can make you feel jittery, so can the anticipation of a workout by itself. This is especially true if we’re feeling pressure to make it perfect!5 If you haven’t taken anything that might cause the jitters, but still feel something like them, it’s possible that your body is just getting itself ready for what it knows is coming—trying to get you moving in anticipation of the workout.
If you want to try to lessen that effect, some suggestions from professionals include having a routine and mantra for your workout: know why you’re doing what you’re doing, and follow a plan, but try not to make every workout an all-or-nothing experience. Even though it’s important to you, let your mind calm down so that your body can relax away some of that jittery tension. You’ll do much better in your session if you’re approaching it with all your focus than you would if you were actively stressing about results the whole time! 6
So remember, if you want to avoid the pre-workout jitters, remember these three tips! Try to find a supplement that uses lower, more helpful amounts of caffeine and niacin. One supplement you might want to try is Torched, which is designed with carefully measured, lower amounts of these ingredients to help you have a pre-workout without jitters, giving you a smoother release of energy while also improving muscular endurance.
Finally, no matter what you’re doing as a pre-workout, try to keep focused on your goals without making today “all or nothing” 7 —keep your mind and body calm as you’re going into the workout, and you’ll be much more likely to avoid these side effects.