With the growing demand for at-home fitness equipment (like stationary bikes and treadmills) and fitness trackers, the number of calories you burn each workout has been in the spotlight.
It’s no surprise, as calories are among the essential indicators of a workout’s effectiveness. Simply put, this measure of energy refers to the energy you get from food and drinks that you later use in physical activity.
However, your body will store your calories as fats and will stay that way unless you use them. Therefore, you lose weight by burning more calories than you eat.
The issue is if you take a pre-workout supplement before training to get a great workout and fat loss. Such a supplement could break the rules of your diet and exercise if they contain calories. But do they?
Read on to find the answer.
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So, Does Pre Workout Have Calories?
Yes, pre-workout can contain calories. However, the type and amount of calories depend on your pre-workout kind and brand.
Some pre-workouts contain ingredients, such as dextrose and maltodextrin, which are sugars that serve as a quick energy source during training. These supplements also contain calories.
One gram of dextrose has about 3.4 calories, while one gram of maltodextrin contains about four calories. [1-2] For instance, if your pre-workout contains 10 grams of maltodextrin, that equals 40 calories from a single ingredient. You may also be getting additional calories from other components.
Most pre-workouts are manufactured with healthy fats, protein, carbohydrates, and electrolytes. Although some may contain added sugars and artificial sweeteners, most supplements have lower calories than traditional sports or energy drinks.
Ingredients, such as minerals and vitamins, don’t contain calories. So, there’s no need to worry about them.
Why the Calorie Count Matters in a Pre-Workout
If you’re losing weight, you may be concerned about a pre-workout’s calorie content. This helps you determine the eating patterns you need to change to keep track of your health and fitness goals.
How Many Calories Are In A Scoop of Pre-Workout Supplement?
We recommend people taking a pre-workout aim for one that contains between 100 and 200 calories per serving. Some products, like the Optimum Nutrition Pre-Workout, contain just ten calories per serving.
Ultimately, you should also consider the type and amount of calories and the intensity and type of your training. For instance, if you want to build muscle, it is recommended that you consume a pre-workout that contains additional carbohydrates and protein.
Is It Okay To Take a Pre-Workout While Fasting?
Yes, it is okay to take a pre-workout while fasting. You should take it if you’re working out, whether fasting or not.
However, be mindful of the ingredients of the pre-workout. Many supplement manufacturers use different ingredients to trick consumers into thinking it will work well if they list so many elements.
While these ingredients produce benefits that boost your workout, they may be underdosed to increase profit margins and cut costs. Consuming the artificial crap from these pre-workout supplements may also interfere with your intermittent fasting metabolism and other aspects of your health. 
Otherwise, an effective pre-workout – one that uses all-natural ergogenics without artificial additives, is worth the investment while fasting for these reasons:
- They have nitric oxide (N.O.) boosting effects that may further improve physical performance by increasing circulation. Thus, it enhances the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to muscle tissue.
- Acid-buffering and antioxidant contents in a pre-workout help lessen the harmful effects of training while fasting.
- They replenish muscle adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to boost endurance, stamina, and muscle strength.
4 Best Pre-Workouts with Zero (or Low) Calories
Here are some of the best pre-workouts with zero or low calories, which are ideal for watching your weight during training.:
1. Honey Badger Pre-Workout Powder – Keto Vegan Pre Workout
This pre-workout contains zero calories and zero sugar, so zero crash and non-habit forming. It also allows you to keep your momentum going.
The Honey Badger Pre Workout Powder, Keto Vegan Preworkout, is made with noncaloric ingredients and natural stevia. It may be the best, but it is made with clean flavors. So you can be confident you’re not putting junk into your body.
Furthermore, its ingredients promote muscle growth, help you crush your workout goals, and boost your endurance and strength. The active ingredients are N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine, L-Citrulline Malate 3:1, Beta-Alanine, Caffeine Anhydrous (From Natural Plants), Pterostilbene, and Vitamin C.
It also contains caffeine from natural plants, improving your performance and energy. Caffeine enters the body and increases energy for consistent and balanced vitality.
- Zero calories
- Increases energy, pump, focus, intensity, and endurance
- Non-habit forming
- No crashes and jitters
- Supports the immune system
- Good value for money
- Few experience tingles that last for a few minutes, others an upset tummy, especially for first-time users of pre-workout supplements
2. BEYOND RAW LIT
If you’re worried about pre-workout breaking your fast, worry not about this supplement. This pre-workout contains only ten calories per serving, which can prime your body before moderate to intense exercise.
In addition, it contains 3g of L-Citrulline, 1.5g of Nitrosigine, 250mg of caffeine, and 3g of CarnoSyn Beta-Alanine per serving. Together, they boost your energy and focus and support nitric oxide production.
When nitric oxide is released into the body, it signals blood vessels to relax and allows them to expand. Such an effect enables oxygen, nutrients, and blood to flow freely to other parts of your body. 
- Available in different flavors
- Sugar and gluten-free formula
- Improves your focus
- Keeps you amped up for several hours
- Better energy
- No jittery feeling
- Makes a few people a little tingly
- Does not easily dissolve
3. Bucked Up – Woke
Bucked Up – Woke is an ideal choice for anyone looking for a high-stimulant pre-workout. Its formula is suitable for people used with stimulants in pre-workout as it contains synephrine HCl (40 mg), taurine (100 mg), and caffeine anhydrous (333 mg).
The caffeine boosts your energy and maximizes your workout, while the deer antler velvet supports accelerated recovery. Another prime ingredient in this pre-workout is beta-alanine, which promotes endurance, muscle growth, and strength.
It also contains nootropic ingredients to help you focus and enhance mental acuity to crush your workouts. The AlphaSize®, for instance, is an advanced choline compound that has been clinically shown to sharpen mental focus.
- Great pump
- Good taste
- Completely water soluble
- Good focus
- High-quality formula
- Not ideal for people not used to high-stim pre-workouts
- Not easy to dissolve; it needs more shaking
- A little more pricey than other pre-workouts
4. Alani Nu Pre-Workout Supplement Powder
This pre-workout powder is part of a range of sports supplements released by fitness influencers Haydn Schneider and Katy Hearn.
Alani Nu Pre Workout Supplement Powder promises mental power and cleaner energy during workouts, thanks to its focus-boosting and pure stimulant ingredients.
Hearn shared that she built the supplement firm based on the fitness needs of the women she worked with. Thus, she ensured that the ingredients were something other women would be comfortable using.
However, this doesn’t mean it’s not meant for men. They can also take this pre-workout, and it doesn’t contain calories. The company is also transparent with its label. What’s more, it’s vegan-friendly and gluten-free.
This supplement combines L-Citrulline, Beta-Alanine, and L-Tyrosine to support your fitness goals. It also increases your body’s NO levels, improving blood flow. With this, you can gain more power and muscular endurance to exercise longer and gain strength.
- Great for a beginner in pre-workout supplements
- Good taste
- Available in multiple delicious flavors
- Helps build your strength
- Banned substance-tested
- Manufactured in a GMP-compliant facility
- It may only be suitable for beginners, energy-wise
Lastly, low-calorie pre-workout snacks can power up your workout without the awkward stomach cramps during a jackknife or squat jump. These low-calorie bites include:
- protein smoothie
- apple slices with protein spread
- egg on toast
- cottage cheese and fruit
- trail mix
- apples and cheese
- egg in an avocado
- banana shake
These also snacks allow you to fuel yourself with a good amount of carbohydrates, protein, and fats. Still, these pre-workouts do not replace a balanced diet, adequate hydration, regular exercise, and quality sleep.
Calories In, Calories Out: Tips on Balancing Calories
Calories count is the bottom line if you want to maintain a healthy weight for a lifetime. It’s all about balancing the calories you consume and those that you burn off or use.
Simply put, you’re gaining weight. You’re gaining weight if your calorie balance status is in caloric excess, you’re gaining weight. If it’s in a caloric deficit, it means you’re losing weight.
It takes about 3,500 calories below your calorie needs to lose a pound of body fat.
Here are the estimated calorie requirements for each gender and age group for three physical activity levels. 
Here are some tips on how to tip the calorie balance in favor of losing weight:
- Pay attention to what you eat (and the size) – Food portions have increased in the last two decades. For example, a cup of spaghetti with sauce and three meatballs contained only 500 calories 20 years ago. Still, two cups of pasta with three large meatballs today already have 1,025 calories.
- Do about 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity every day – Increasing the time or intensity of your training may even have more excellent health benefits. The best way is to reduce the calories you consume and increase the time you are physically active.
- Eat more veggies, fruits, unprocessed foods, and whole grains. These foods contain essential nutrients your body needs, such as vitamin D, fiber, calcium, and potassium.
- Avoid huge portions – Use a smaller bowl, plate, and glass when serving food.
Frequently Asked Questions About Pre-Workout Supplements For Beginners
Is pre-workout calorie-free?
No, most pre-workout supplements are not calorie-free. However, they aid in weight loss, so they are generally low in calories.
Even if you take a pre-workout with a few calories, it won’t significantly affect your metabolism.
Does pre-workout break a fast?
Yes, a pre-workout will likely break your fast if it contains a caloric value, such as the simple carbohydrates that your body quickly metabolizes. Other ingredients that may ruin your fast include amino acids, whey protein, artificial sweeteners, and sugar.
However, there are still pre-workouts designed not to break your daily fast. A good example is Performance Lab, which has a well-tolerated formula and supports long-term training.
What pre-workout ingredients will not break a fast?
Pre-workout ingredients that won’t break a fast include beta-alanine, creatine, citrulline malate, L-arginine, L-theanine, L-tyrosine, and betaine.
If you’re looking for pre-workout supplements that are good for intermittent fasting, go for Cellucor C4 Pre-Workout, PEScience Prolific Pre-Workout, and Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout. These pre-workouts maximize performance in high-intensity exercise by providing you with that burst of energy.
Does zero-calorie pre-workout break a fast?
The performance-enhancing ingredients that don’t contain calories won’t break your fast. However, there’s an exception to this rule: these are pre-workout supplements that contain branched-chain amino acids that contain calories.
Order Your Pre-Workout
Having a general sense of the calorie content in a pre-workout is good. But remember, it shouldn’t be an end-all-be-all when it comes to choosing your supplement.
Instead, focus on the other ingredients, their formula and dietary impact, proof of results, components to avoid, and how they match your health and fitness goals.
Now that you know more about pre-workouts, it’s time to find the right blend. At ExpertFitness, we reviewed a range of pre-workout supplements designed to cover all gym-goers.
Good luck with your fitness journey!
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.