Do you feel like you want to go back into shape after having a baby but can’t find the time?
Some breastfeeding mothers feel the same way and look for ways to speed up their metabolism and help them lose weight. For instance, one of the most common questions is, “Can you take pre-workout while breastfeeding?”
This question is a bit complicated to answer since it depends on the ingredients of your pre-workout and your baby’s age. Likewise, safety is always the number one priority when working out and taking supplements while breastfeeding.
If you are considering taking a pre-workout, keep reading to learn more about the risks and rewards.
Is It Safe to Take Pre-Workout Supplements While Breastfeeding?
Before beginning your search for the perfect pre-workout, you must consider whether it is safe to take pre-workouts while breastfeeding.
Generally, you should always consult your doctor before starting any new supplement, especially for breastfeeding moms. Otherwise, some supplements can pass into your breast milk and potentially harm your baby.
Therefore, you must consider a few things first before taking a pre-workout drink or supplement while breastfeeding. First, you need to check the list of ingredients. Some of the most common include:
Common Pre-Workout Ingredients You Should Consider
Most pre-workouts have caffeine in them. However, taking this stimulant might affect you and your baby. Too much caffeine intake can cause jitters, trouble sleeping, and irritability.
However, scientifically, there is no evidence that caffeine in moderate amounts (200mg to 300mg) will adversely affect your baby. So, make sure to limit caffeine consumption to avoid any issues.
Creatine is common in pre-workouts. It’s an amino acid that can improve your performance. Therefore, limiting your intake while breastfeeding is always best.
You can also find this non-essential amino acid in pre-workouts. It improves exercise and reduces muscle fatigue. There is no research on the effects of beta-alanine on breastfed babies. So, it is best to avoid this ingredient while breastfeeding.
On the other hand, you need at least 3.6 grams for the benefits to be significant while working out, which is more than you can find in most pre-workout supplements. Therefore, taking small amounts of beta-alanine is unlikely to have any effect.
- Branched Chain Amino Acids
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) are essential amino acids that help with muscle growth and recovery. There is no research on the effects of BCAA on breastfed babies, yet there is a study that BCAA may help enhance milk supply by the lactating mammary gland, which could be beneficial for both mother and child.
- Protein powders
Protein is another common ingredient in pre-workouts, helping muscle growth and recovery. Plus, an intake of a protein supplement such as whey protein helps the body during lactation, where breastfeeding moms can benefit.
- Green Tea
Green tea offers some benefits for breastfeeding moms, making it a good source of antioxidants and boosting metabolism.
Generally, it is added to pre-workout supplementation to aid in weight loss. Although caffeine, drinking no more than two cups of tea daily will not adversely affect you or your baby. So, it’s best to check the caffeine content on the package.
How Do Pre-workouts Affect Breastfeeding?
Taking a pre-workout while breastfeeding can affect your baby in a few ways.
First, consuming too much caffeine can cause your baby to be irritable and suffer from insomnia. Second, if you take pre-workouts that contain beta-alanine, there is a chance that it can transfer into your breastmilk. As a result, your baby might experience side effects such as rashes, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Speaking with your doctor before taking pre-workout while breastfeeding is always best because some supplements can pass into your breastmilk and potentially harm your baby.
If you are taking pre-workout while breastfeeding, limit your intake and avoid taking supplements containing beta-alanine. Drinking plenty of water and staying hydrated while working out is also essential to reduce side effects.
How to Avoid the Side Effects of Pre-Workout Supplements
There is no secret to avoiding the side effects of pre-workouts. Simply listen to your body. However, you might also be thinking, is your pre-workout safe?
The only way you can be sure is to check with your doctor before taking any supplements, which goes for pre-workout and post-workout supplements.
Additionally, make sure to stay hydrated while working out to reduce the chance of any side effects.
To make sure that you are getting the most out of your pre-workouts, here are some tips you can follow:
Start with a lower dose and gradually increase it over time
If you’re considering pre-workouts, it’s best to start with a lower dose and gradually increase it over time. Therefore, your body gets used to the supplement and reduces the chance of any side effects.
Plus, if you experience any side effects, it’ll be easier to identify which ingredient is causing the problem. So, whether you’re looking for a pre-workout to help with energy levels, focus, or muscle growth, do your research and start with a lower dose.
Check the label for any banned substances
When buying pre-workouts, always check the label for any banned substances. Athletic organizations restrict some substances. So, it’s essential to ensure that your pre-workouts are legal.
Additionally, some dietary supplements might not list all their ingredients on the label. So, if you’re unsure about an element, it’s best to research it before taking the supplement.
Be aware of your caffeine
As mentioned, we recommend you only consume 200 to 300mg of caffeinated beverages daily while breastfeeding. So, if you’re taking pre-workouts that contain caffeine, make sure to limit your intake.
Additionally, try to avoid pre-workouts close to bedtime since caffeine can stay in your system for up to six hours and cause sleeplessness.
Choose a supplement that uses natural ingredients
As with any supplement, it’s essential to be aware of caffeine intake. Caffeine is a stimulant and can cause side effects such as insomnia and anxiety.
So, if you’re sensitive to caffeine, choose a pre-workout that uses natural ingredients. Many options are available that use ingredients such as green tea extract and guarana.
Additionally, limiting your caffeine intake from other sources such as coffee, tea, and energy drinks is essential to reduce the chance of any side effects.
Follow the recommended dosage
Make sure to follow the recommended dosage on the label. Taking too much of a supplement can lead to side effects. So, it’s essential to stick to the recommended dosage.
We recommend you ask your doctor or a registered dietitian to ensure you take the proper dosage. They can help you to determine the best dosage for your needs.
Do not take pre-workouts on an empty stomach
Have you ever felt nauseous or lightheaded after taking a pre-workout product on an empty stomach? If so, you’re not alone. That’s why it’s important to eat before taking a pre-workout.
Eating a small snack or meal will reduce the chance of any side effects. Some known side effects of pre-workouts on an empty stomach include upset stomach, indigestion, stomach inflammation, or ulcers, which can lead to bleeding.
Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water
Water is essential for our bodies, and it’s necessary to stay hydrated when working out. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day and during your training sessions.
Additionally, some pre-workouts can cause dehydration. So, it’s important to drink even more water if you’re taking a supplement. If you’re ever feeling thirsty, reach for a glass of water instead of a sugary beverage.
Benefits of Taking a Pre-workout Supplement While Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding moms need to be extra careful when taking supplements because some substances can pass into breast milk and potentially harm their baby.
With that said, here are some benefits of taking a pre-workout while breastfeeding:
1. Increased energy levels
Pre-workouts can increase your energy levels and is especially beneficial if you struggle to keep up with your baby’s demands. The pre-workout includes energy-boosting ingredients, such as caffeine and B-vitamins, to improve your alertness and focus.
2. Improved milk production
Some studies have shown that certain ingredients in pre-workouts can improve milk production. For example, one study found that taking a supplement containing L-tyrosine increased milk production in breastfeeding women.
3. Better workout performance
Are you feeling weary and sluggish during your workouts? If so, a pre-workout supplement can help.
Pre-workouts improve exercise performance by reducing fatigue and increasing stamina. This supplement is beneficial if you want to return to shape after having a baby. These supplements can help to improve your strength and endurance.
They can also reduce fatigue and are especially beneficial if you struggle to keep up with your usual workout routine.
4. Aids in weight loss
After having a baby, many breastfeeding moms are eager to lose the extra weight. And while breastfeeding can help with weight loss, taking a pre-workout can give you an extra boost.
If you’re trying to lose weight, taking a pre-workout can help. These supplements can help to boost your metabolism and burn more calories. Additionally, they can also help to reduce your appetite.
Make sure to pair a pre-workout supplement with a healthy diet and exercise routine. As a result, it will give you the best chance of losing weight healthily.
5. Increased focus and concentration
If you’re struggling to focus on your exercise, a pre-workout supplement can help. These supplements contain ingredients that can help to improve your focus and concentration.
For example, many pre-workout supplements contain caffeine. Caffeine is a known stimulant that can help improve your alertness and focus.
6. Enhanced recovery
If you’re looking to improve your recovery time, taking a pre-workout can help. These supplements often contain ingredients that can help to reduce inflammation and soreness.
It also helps improve blood flow and circulation, which aids recovery by delivering nutrients and oxygen to your muscles.
Who Are Not Ideal Candidates for Taking Pre-workout Supplements?
Here are the people that are not ideal candidates for pre-workout supplements. These people include:
1. People with heart conditions
If you have a heart condition, it’s best to avoid pre-workouts because many of them contain ingredients that increase your heart rate. And this can be dangerous for people with heart conditions.
2. If you’ve had a C-section
Women who’ve had a cesarean section or C-section are greatly not recommended to take pre-workout supplements. Especially after giving birth, these supplements can cause further tearing in the stitches, leading to severe complications.
If you’re planning to take a pre-workout supplement, it’s best to wait until your scar heals entirely and has your doctor’s approval.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long after pre-workout can I breastfeed?
After taking your pre-workout, waiting at least two hours before breastfeeding is besting. Doing this will give your body time to metabolize the caffeine and other ingredients in the pre-workout supplement.
How long does pre-workout stay in your system?
Your pre-workout supplement usually lasts four to six hours, depending on the ingredients. If you’re taking a supplement that contains caffeine, it remains in your system for more than six hours.
Can I take a pre-workout on an empty stomach?
Taking your pre-workout supplement on an empty stomach is not ideal because many of these supplements contain ingredients that can upset your stomach. If you must take your supplement on an empty stomach, eating a small snack beforehand is best.
Does pre-workout affect the baby?
For your pre-workout supplement to affect your baby while breastfeeding, you must consume excess amounts of pre-workout in general. It is best to wait at least two hours after taking your supplement before breastfeeding.
Doing this will give your body time to metabolize the caffeine and other ingredients in the supplement.
Does pre-workout make you gain weight?
The pre-workout supplement has green tea extract as one of its ingredients. Green tea extract is known to promote weight loss. So, if you’re consuming a pre-workout supplement containing green tea extract, you’re unlikely to gain weight.
Although other ingredients in pre-workout supplements can cause weight gain, make sure to look at the label of your supplement to see if any of these ingredients are present.
Overall, doing your research when taking pre-workout supplements is essential. Be sure to talk to your doctor before taking these supplements. Also, be sure to follow the directions on the label.
Taking too much of a pre-workout supplement can be dangerous. So, consult your doctor or a fitness professional to see if these supplements are right for you.
If you found this article helpful, check other fitness-related articles on ExpertFitness.org.
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Nathan Lloyd, MSc
LICENSED PERSONAL TRAINER
I’m a personal trainer, based in Boulder, Colorado.
I service clients physically in the Boulder area, mainly in the ONE Boulder Fitness Gym, but am also available for online consulting and coaching.
If you’re interested in my personal coaching programs, please contact me via the contact page.