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12 Signs of Pre Workout Withdrawal [& How To Avoid It]

I recently wrote a post about my experience with pre workout addiction. If you’ve been using pre-workout for any extended period of time, there’s a good chance that you have dealt with this dependence as well.

Can You Go Through Withdrawal From Pre Workout?

Caffeine is a tricky compound that can create dependence at relatively low dosages. This study found that even 100mg of caffeine was able to create symptoms of dependence and a resulting withdrawal. Since many pre-workouts have far more than 100mg of caffeine, they certainly can create some level of caffeine dependence.

If you suddenly stop taking pre-workout, it is possible that you may experience some withdrawal symptoms. This comes from the sudden reduction in your caffeine intake. If, however, you make up for your caffeine consumption with coffee, tea, or other caffeinated drinks, you may not experience withdrawal at all.

Video: Caffeine Withdrawal Timeline

12 Signs of Pre-Workout Withdrawal

  1. Headache
  2. Fatigue
  3. Difficulty Concentrating
  4. Muscle and Joint Pain
  5. Irritability
  6. Impaired Behavioral and Cognitive Performance
  7. Blood Pressure Changes
  8. Decreased Motor Activity
  9. Skin Flushing
  10. Constipation
  11. Abdominal Pain
  12. Depressed Mood

How To Taper Your Caffeine Intake

According to Cleveland Clinic, the average American adult consumes around 200 mg of caffeine per day. If you’re a pre workout junkie, like me, that’s the amount of caffeine you’ve had before 8am. If you’re starting to notice some of the side effects of long-term caffeine use, it’s probably a good time for you to slowly taper your caffeine intake to a reasonable level. Stopping caffeine suddenly can increase the caffeine withdrawal symptoms you go through, so here are some strategies for tapering your caffeine consumption.

  • Substitute Decaf Coffee: If coffee accounts for the majority of your caffeine consumption, one of the best ways to reduce your caffeine intake is to substitute decaf coffee for your normal cup of joe. At first you can drink one cup of half-decaf, and slowly substitute more of your caffeinated coffee for decaf. A hot cup of decaf coffee can still provide a warm, perk-up in the morning without the jolt of caffeine.
  • Substitute Caffeinated Drinks with Water: If you’re drinking cold caffeinated drinks, like iced tea or energy drinks, you could substitute a glass of ice water. Most people don’t drink enough water, so this can provide you with a natural energy boost without the need for caffeine. If you enjoy the carbonation of energy drinks, you can always use sparkling water to fulfill that craving.
  • Set a Cutoff Time For Caffeinated Drinks: If you drink caffeinated drinks, like pre-workout, throughout your day it could be negatively impacting your sleep. One way to combat this issue is to have a time when you stop drinking caffeine. For example, if you go to sleep at 10pm, you could cut out caffeine after 1pm to allow caffeine to make its way out of your system.
  • Substitute Lower Caffeine Drinks: If you drink certain energy drinks or coffee beverages, another way to decrease your caffeine intake is to choose similar drinks with less caffeine. If your choice of energy drink has 250mg of caffeine, you could simply find another energy drink with 180mg of caffeine. Or if you drink coffee, rather than drinking a large drip coffee, you could substitute an americano, which has less caffeine.

Read More: Can You Drink Coffee as a Pre Workout?

How and Why To Cycle Off Pre-Workout

The simplest way to cycle off pre-workout is to simply set a period of time that you will consume pre-workout, and then after that period take the same time off from pre-workout. You could take pre-workout for a month, and then stop for a month. Your break from pre-workout should be at least a few weeks to allow your tolerance to caffeine to actually decrease. If you don’t cycle off for long enough, you will just continue to build your tolerance and dependence on caffeine.

Read More: Do You Need To Be Consistent with Pre Workout?