Tired, jittery, weak, unmotivated… Why isn’t your pre workout working?
It feels like just last month this pre workout was making you absolutely crush it! Intense energy, raging dominance, a never ending thirst for the weights.
What’s happened between now and then? Two things:
- Your body both adapted and got used to the caffeine boost. This means that while you are under the effects of caffeine you are now running at almost ‘average’.
- You’ve worn your nervous system down and possibly even depleted most of your bodily resources that get used by stimulants.
In either case, the pre workout isn’t working and it’s time to make a change.
When it’s Time to Come off Pre Workouts
If you are taking a pre workout with 300 or more milligrams of caffeine, and it really isn’t working for you anymore… Then it is definitely time to take a break from pre workout supplements.
But, if you are taking a pre workout that has 250 mg or less caffeine per serving, and you only take one serving and do not really drink coffee or anything… Then we recommend you read this article we wrote – 7 Reasons Your Pre Workout Isn’t Working.
Why Come off Pre Workouts (if you’re in the 300+ mg group)
Sheer willpower isn’t always the most convenient route for laying down the heavy stim pre workout. So let’s first talk about why you’re coming off pre workouts, and then how to actually do it.
The Goal of Coming off the Stims
- Eventually you can start taking heavy pre workouts again (in moderation this time)
- You will sleep a whole lot better at night and thus build more muscle and burn fat
- Your energy profile will be better throughout the day
- You will be less of a slave to powder in a can
- Get your intense workouts back
All of these reasons on their own are worthwhile. Combine them, and now you know you’ve got to commit. So, what do you do?
Ways to come off pre workouts
The easiest way to break the pre workout habit is to stop cold turkey. The downsides to stopping cold turkey are, a few hard lifts as you get started, and, headaches + tiredness for the first week or two.
Some guys will choose these methods over cold turkey:
- 50/50 each week: Meaning, cut your pre workout use in half for a week, then half again the next week, and then completely off on week 3.
- Coffee switch: Drop the PWO caffeine source for a coffee caffeine source – which is about 100 mg per cup. Then, after the first week or two stop coffee.
Here at BWSB we know a lot of guys who have gone both of these routes successfully. Myself writing this directly on the other hand has always gone the cold turkey approach + a stimulant free pre workout and I highly recommend it.
How Long To Stay Off Pre Workouts
On average, you want at least a month in the no-pre-workout-zone. If taking pre workouts has been a long growing problem, and you’re taking multiple servings or products with 350+ mgs of caffeine… then more like 2 months makes sense.
To keep track of the time to make sure you’re doing it right – make a note on your phone with the date you first went zero pre workout (zero caffeine).
After the first 30 days, you can ‘test the waters’ by drinking a coffee or energy drink and assessing its effect on you. If it works, then things are going in the right direction and you may even be able to come back to stimulants while you lift (in moderation).
What You Learn Taking A Break from Stimulants
Pretty soon after you stop taking pre workouts and stimulants in general, you will find that you’re fine without them. Especially in the gym. After two weeks, your natural strength appears – and, if you’re taking a stimulant free pre workout you may find yourself killing it more than you were previously while burnt out taking a high stim pre workout.
Either way, progress is being made on two fronts – the gym and your nervous system.
Things to Avoid While Stopping Pre Workouts
Don’t stop going to the gym. Period. Once you skip the gym once, it’s way too easy to make it a habit. Don’t stop going unless it’s absolutely critical.
Missing sleep and eating like shit. Part of the recovery process for your nervous system relies on sleep and nutrition. You can bounce back after 30 days if you do it right, or you can take 60 or more if you do it sloppy.
After you’ve Successfully Come off Pre Workouts
Now your fresh start has begun. What will you choose to do?
- Start Heavy Pre Workouts in Moderation (cycling or balanced use)?
- Take a Lower Stim Pre Workout since you’re More Receptive?
- Stick With Stimulant Free Options?
- Quit Entirely?
The choice is yours to make. You’re no longer a slave to powder in a can, and now hopefully you can keep it that way. By the way, ever wonder how much caffeine is in the most popular pre workouts?