Hitting doubles in the gym can be exhausting. Whether it’s cardio in the morning and a lift in the afternoon, a lift and sports training, or double practices as a professional athlete, excessive training can take its toll on the body, both mentally and physically.
And because you’re missing any sort of lengthy recovery period, you need to be fueling up properly between sessions so you can go into your second bout with just as much hype as you did your first.
There’s no question that having a good supplement stack can help you do that and grind through your next training session with better energy, a clearer mind, and more focus, but what happens when you’re lacking the pump and desperately need something to kick your body into gear?
Double-scooping pre-workout is nothing new for a single lift, but there’s one question we hear frequently, and we’re clearing it up now: Can you take pre-workout twice on the same day?
Let’s dive in.
What’s In My Pre-Workout?
As you know, pre-workout formulas aren’t standard across the board. The ingredients differ, the dosages range, some are proprietary blends, and others are patented formulas; there’s nothing standard about a pre-workout besides some of the heavy-hitting staples. And when you’re contemplating doing a double with your pre, you first want to know what’s in it.
- Beta-alanine: A precursor amino acid to carnosine, beta-alanine improves performance during high-intensity exercise by functioning as an intramuscular buffer to prevent lactic acid accumulation that impairs muscle contraction 1. Large amounts of beta-alanine may give you some serious tingles, but studies show 2-4g daily is safe for consumption 2.
- Creatine: If you want to work harder for longer, creatine is your guy. Due to its ability to rapidly replenish ATP stores, creatine helps to improve energy turnover rate, increase training volume, extend work capacity, and enhance recovery 3.
- Amino acids: Leucine, isoleucine, and valine—the BCAAs—are a staple in a lot of pre-workouts for their ability to boost rates of muscle protein synthesis, prevent muscle protein breakdown, and reduce exercise-induced muscle damage 4.
- Nitric oxide precursors: Nitric oxide (NO) gives the ultimate in pump and is used to dilate blood vessels for better blood flow to active muscles and increase delivery of oxygen and nutrients to enhance exercise performance 5. It comes in the form of L-arginine and L-citrulline usually, but beetroot is an up-and-comer that’s making its way to the top.
- Caffeine: Caffeine is what you want to watch out for. Although it offers potent stimulatory effects for improved endurance, power, cognitive function, and reduced fatigue, its impact on the CNS and organ systems in excessive amounts can be problematic 5, 6.
Is It Safe To Take Daily?
With all of that said, we want you to remember that what’s in your pre-workout and the amount of each ingredient will give you an indication of whether taking it daily, never mind twice a day, is a good idea.
If you’re knocking back a pill or powder with 500mg+ of caffeine per serving in addition to other sources of caffeine you consume daily, you may want to reconsider taking it every day and definitely don’t bump up to twice a day.
Because caffeine increases cortisol and chronically high levels of cortisol may have some serious implications for long-term health, taking in hundreds of milligrams of caffeine daily can be harmful for your body and your performance.
Chronically elevated cortisol has been associated with depression, altered CNS responsiveness, sensitization of the limbic system, memory impairment, and alterations in frontal lobe function 7. Not to mention, cortisol is a fat-storage hormone, so the more cortisol you have floating around, the more likely you are to gain weight.
You also want to be mindful of the effect of caffeine on neurotransmitter levels. Caffeine consumption actually suppresses the activity of the main inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA and impairs the dopamine pathway in the hypothalamus 8, 9.
Excessive caffeine intake also interferes with the absorption of key vitamins and minerals needed for the production of these neurotransmitters, so you not only block their activity, but you don’t have what’s needed to make them in the first place.
Long story short, the ingredients and amounts in your pre-workout will indicate whether taking it daily is a good idea or not.
With something that’s high-stim, it’s probably best to cycle on and off to avoid reliance and interference with performance, whereas with something like Pre Lab Pro®, you’re getting full-spectrum support with moderate-dose caffeine for enhanced performance without the side effects.
Can You Take Pre-Workout Twice A Day?
For most pre-workout supplements, taking it twice a day will depend on what’s in your supplement. If you’re taking two scoops of a high-stim pre-workout, chances are you’re not going to feel that great.
The reason is because of caffeine metabolism. The clearance rate, or half-life, of caffeine ranges anywhere from 1.5-9.5 hours, so if you’re taking a pre in the mid-morning, it’s still likely to be in your system later in the afternoon, meaning you’re doubling up on your caffeine dose 10.
So while you may feel a bit more awake than you normally would in the late afternoon, when bedtime rolls around, you’re probably going to regret the decision to go in for a second scoop.
However, you also have to keep in mind that there are individual differences in caffeine metabolism and how long it stays in your system. It depends on things like age, sex, body composition, genetics, diet, medication use, and other factors that all contribute to how our body metabolizes caffeine 11.
But before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s be clear that not all pre-workouts are packed full of stimulants and artificial ingredients that require you to cycle.
Pre Lab Pro® is a smarter pre-workout that dodges the nasty effects you’ll get with most conventional formulas. It supplies moderate-dose natural caffeine 80mg complexed with boosters and balancers to restore depleted brain chemicals most affected by caffeine and support a fast and optimal recovery.
No stress on the nervous system, no stress on the adrenals, and absolutely no stress about taking it twice a day—but max out at no more than two scoops in 24 hours.
Taking a pre-workout twice in one day may not seem like such a big thing, but when you zoom in on the ingredients and recognize what they’re doing to your body long-term and in high doses, it can be a bit frightening.
Rather than taking your chances on dodgy double doses, play it smart and play it safe with Pre Lab Pro®—it’s a next-gen pre-workout designed for long-term performance and optimal function.
- JJ Outlaw, CD Wilborn, AE Smith-Ryan, et al. Acute effects of a commercially-available pre-workout supplement on markers of training: a double-blind study.J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2014;11:40.
- ET Trexler, AE Smith-Ryan, JR Stout, et al. International society of sports nutrition position stand: Beta-Alanine.J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015;12:30.
- J Antonio, JR Stout, D Kalman. Essentials of Creatine in Sports and Health.Humana Press, Inc, Totowa, NJ; 2008.
- RR Branched-chain amino acids and muscle protein synthesis in humans: myth or reality?J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2017;14:30.
- PS Harty, HA Zabriskie HA, Erickson JL, Molling PE, Kerksick CM, Jagim AR. Multi-ingredient pre-workout supplements, safety implications, and performance outcomes: a brief review. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2018;15(1):41.
- RB Kreider, CD Wilborn, L Taylor, et al. ISSN exercise & sport nutrition review: research & recommendations.J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2010;7:7.
- WR Lovallo, TL Whitsett, M al'Absi, BH Sung, AS Vincent, MF Wilson. Caffeine stimulation of cortisol secretion across the waking hours in relation to caffeine intake levels. Psychosom Med. 2005;67(5):734-739.
- F Caffeine induces neurobehavioral effects through modulating neurotransmitters. Saudi Pharm J. 2020;28(4):445-451.
- Z Zhang, Q Peng, D Huo, et al. Melatonin Regulates the Neurotransmitter Secretion Disorder Induced by Caffeine Through the Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis in Zebrafish (Danio rerio).Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021;9:678190.
- Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Military Nutrition Research. Caffeine for the Sustainment of Mental Task Performance: Formulations for Military Operations. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2001. 2, Pharmacology of Caffeine. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK223808/
- A Interindividual Differences in Caffeine Metabolism and Factors Driving Caffeine Consumption. Pharmacol Rev. 2018;70(2):384-411.