Pre-workout is loved by many people, including me, of course. There’s no denying how it could boost your energy level and give you that rush of power to finish a challenging session. There are also pre-workouts designed to boost your metabolism, enhancing fat loss naturally.
Yet despite their challenging benefits, many pre-workout powders have notoriously bad taste. Don’t worry, though, as we’re here to help you.
In this article, I’ll cover why pre-workouts taste bad and how to make them taste better. These tips can also improve the taste of a pre-workout whenever it tastes sour, bitter, or has no taste. Ready? Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
What is a Pre Workout?
Based on core ingredients like cognitive enhancers, natural nutrients, and caffeine, a pre-workout supplement boosts your workouts to another level. It provides you with the following benefits:
- Dialed in focus – a never give up attitude and relentless motivation
- More energy – to grind more reps and even go for heavier weights
- Smash tiredness in the face – boost your endurance, lessen post-workout energy crashes, and extend the time to fatigue
- Better muscle pumps – increase nitric oxide production in the body, dilating blood vessels and increasing blood flow to your working muscles. This translates to improved exercise performance.
Why Pre-Workout Tastes Bad
The caffeine, creatine, BCAAs, and amino acids are why pre-workout tastes bad. Each of these ingredients in the pre-workout gives the supplement an unpleasant taste.
More so if the pre-workout contains artificial flavors, which also leave a chemical taste.
Additionally, caffeine has a very bitter taste. Creatine tastes unpleasant, and the Branched-Chain Amino Acids taste highly bitter. Mix them with artificial flavors, resulting in a weird taste that makes you want to gag.
Meanwhile, amino acids cause pre-workouts to taste sour. These amino acids include aspartic acid, glutamate, and citrulline malate.
Sometimes, pre-workouts have overly sweet flavors that gross you out while drinking. These feelings are inconvenient. Then, some pre-workouts don’t taste because of the beta-alanine content. It’s an unflavored powder that doesn’t taste when mixed with water.
Will Preworkout Make Me Crash?
Before we provide you the tips on how to make pre-workout taste better, let’s address this question I’m often asked.
Will pre-workout make me crash? If so, is there a way to stop it?
Well, the short answer is yes. Pre-workout can make you crash, but it doesn’t happen to many people, and not all pre-workouts make you crash.
The reason is the high amounts of stimulants in the pre-workout supplement, such as caffeine. When the supplement wears off, you’ll likely experience a crash that makes you feel sluggish and tired.
Another reason is that pre-workout suppresses your appetite. When it happens, you will likely consume fewer calories within the day. It results to lower energy intake, making you feel tired.
Lastly, pre-workouts contain ingredients that improve the intensity of your workouts but also delay the burning sensation in your muscles. And as you do more reps, your muscles can become more fatigued. As a result, it leads to tiredness.
Plus, your body needs more energy (i.e., food) to stay in a calorie surplus while you burn more calories during workouts. If you’re not consuming enough food, you may feel drained.
To avoid a pre-workout crash, opt for a stimulant-free pre-workout or simply use less pre-workout. Other options are to eat plenty of calories, cycle your pre-workout, or avoid consuming additional caffeine.
10 Easy Ways to Make Pre-Workout Taste Better
1. Add flavored water
Adding flavored water can make a big taste difference in pre-workout. Try spices, herbs, fruit juice, or sugar packets. Experiment with any of these and see what taste works best for you.
Flavored waters taste great; you may even get a bubblegum ice cream flavor.
Nevertheless, ensure that you drink plenty of fluids before working out. Doing so helps avoid muscle cramps and fatigue. Stay hydrated and keep electrolytes available with salty snacks or sports drinks during the training.
2. Add fruit juice
Adding fruit juice can liven up your pre-workout too. Juices, energy drinks, and shakes have unique flavor profiles that can elevate your training experience. Try different flavors to see which you like and stick with the ones you enjoy.
Fruit juices don’t break the bank and come in easy single-serve packs or small containers that can last longer or several workouts.
However, don’t overdo it. Add fruit juice with just enough flavoring to improve the taste of your pre-workout.
3. Try herbs and spices
Try herbs and spices if you’re looking for organic and natural ways to be healthy and make your pre-workout taste better. Not only are they great energy boosters and painkillers, but they also help you stay healthy.
4. Mix in ice cream or cold snacks
Don’t write off ice cream just yet. It turns out it is good to eat before or after a workout.
A scoop of your favorite ice cream makes your pre-workout more satisfying and enjoyable and creates an insulin surge. A study found that it slows the process of protein breakdown after workouts.
5. Sprinkle cocoa powder or vanilla extracts
Drink pre-workout less bitter by sprinkling cocoa powder or vanilla extracts in it. Doing this allows you to balance and personalize the flavor of your drink. Several pre-workouts even already added cocoa powder to their chocolate-flavored pre-workouts.
Related: Pre-Workout Instead of Coffee
6. Add a fresh squeeze of lemon
Adding freshly squeezed lemon juice or lime juice improves the taste of a pre-workout, especially if it tastes too sweet or has no taste.
Lemons contain phytonutrients and potent antioxidants too. So, they’re plus points as it helps prevent cell damage caused by oxidation.
7. Use coconut water
Using coconut water as your pre-workout base makes the drink taste better. I suggest this if your pre-workout has a sour or bitter taste. Mind you; this is my favorite base of all on this list.
Coconut water is sweet and doesn’t cause fullness, stomach upset, or nausea. Moreover, it’s easier to consume than mixing pre-workout with plain water.
It is also naturally rich in carbohydrates, chloride, sodium, and potassium. All this helps you stay hydrated pre-and post-workout.
Of course, you can opt for Lucozade or Gatorade if rehydration is your priority. But many of these sports drinks contain artificial flavors, added electrolytes, and sweeteners.
8. Use milk as a base
Milk neutralizes the bitterness of pre-workout drinks. It also improves your recovery after endurance or resistance exercises.
It also has the fluid, energy, and electrolytes you need. Milk can be good to consume before training when your body needs extra carbohydrates to fuel your muscles.
9. Make a smoothie
Adding more water and mixing frozen fruits, like cherries or berries, can improve your pre-workout taste. Making a smoothie, especially with bananas, apples, oranges, apricots, or sweet potatoes, will make your homemade pre-workout more delicious.
You can opt for plant-based, gluten-free, and dairy-free to prime your body for muscle growth, endurance, and strength in a healthy way.
10. Try yogurt
If your pre-workout tastes spicy, it may contain capsicum. It is a compound in chilies that boosts your metabolism.
So, if you want to sweeten up a spicy or dull pre-workout, a scoop of flat-free Greek yogurt or a low-fat vanilla ice cream will do the trick. It may also make you happier while strengthening your bones and giving you more energy during your workout.
Moreover, plain Greek yogurt contains protein, so some people consider it a satisfying snack. Try a low-fat granola or slice fruit to give yourself additional energy for your exercise.
Other Solutions When Your Pre-Workout Tastes Bad
If you currently don’t have any ingredients or none of the flavor additions I shared are viable to you, you can try this solution in the meantime:
Hold your nose while drinking it
This method is effective because our scent sense is the most powerful of the five senses. The scent travels through the nose and at the back of your throat when you drink or eat. Such is the time when flavors and tastes are enhanced.
So, if you want to stop the additional flavor enhancement, plug your nose while drinking your pre-workout supplement. It doesn’t remove the flavor altogether but helps get it down quickly. Or you can try our next alternative.
Dilute your pre-workout
Using less mixer or diluting your pre-workout in a larger glass can diminish the taste. It likewise makes the powder thinner, allowing you to drink it faster.
Try a different flavor or brand
Of course, a simpler solution is opting for a different flavor or changing brands. Some pre-workouts use more flavorings, which may make a difference on your tongue.
Mix two different pre-workouts
Okay, not everyone would like this, but it works for some. Mixing a blend pre-workout with a flavored one can work wonders too.
Opt for a pill-based pre-workout
Lastly, you can try a pill-based pre-workout. It contains similar or exact ingredients to pre-workout powders, just not in the same quantities.
Pills are harder to judge, though, as to how many you should take. Nevertheless, they’re easier to transport and consume. They don’t require mixing, but they kick in normally within 30 minutes after taking them.
Which Pre-Workout Is My Winner?
To rip the lid off your training, I suggest you go for a pre-workout powder with the right mix of caffeine, chromium picolinate, L-carnitine, and Capsimax powder as its ingredients. It’s none other than the PhenQ pre-workout.
I love how it targets different areas of health, from helping remove excess fat to balancing your mood and energy levels. But don’t just take my word for it. Read reviews from its site or online to see what others say about this product.
Other pre-workouts are pretty awful, especially in taste. With PhenQ, you’ll have a pleasant tasting experience and the flexibility to add flavors.
It doesn’t taste the most natural out of other pre-workouts in the market. Still, it comes in three great flavors – chocolate, strawberries, and vanilla. Moreover, it controls your cravings for sugary foods. It’s easy to adjust your dose, too and blends without issues.
The Healthiest Pre-Workout
Of course, the healthiest pre-workout always comes from good. Getting the energy and nutrients your body needs from food sources is the best.
Similarly, the healthiest pre-workout powder on the market has minimal ingredients. Caffeine should be at the forefront of these ingredients (if you prefer a caffeinated product) and doesn’t contain artificial colors and sweeteners.
Level Up Your Pre-Workout Routine Today
Now that you know why pre-workout taste bad, how to avoid a crash, and the easy ways to make pre-workout taste better, it’s time to level up your pre-workout routine.
Choose the best pre-workout flavor of your preference and stick to it. Keep those tips above in mind to use your pre-workout supplements wisely. Remember, investing in a high-quality pre-workout drink makes all the difference in earning the results you want.
So, grab a scoop of pre-workout powder and raise your glass to build leaner and stronger muscles and improve cardiovascular endurance.
For more fitness guidance, check out our other reviews at ExpertFitness.org.
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.