Pre-Workout Before Football Game – Is it a Good Idea?

Taking a pre-workout may delay time to fatigue, increase alertness, improve cognitive performance, and increase overall training volume.

Sounds promising, right? Well, don’t decide to just take a pre-workout before a football game or any athletic activity just yet. Responses to pre-workouts vary hugely between individuals.

In this guide, I’ll share the pros and cons of taking a pre-workout before a football game.

So, Can a Pre-Workout Supplement Help Before a Football Game?

Yes, a pre-workout can help before a football game and is even legal, but it’s not quite simple.

While pre-workout supplements increase focus and boost energy, which is beneficial when playing a football game, there are other factors you need to consider before taking it before your matchup.

In short, it comes with its set of benefits and drawbacks. To help you make an informed decision, we highlighted these pros and cons to you:

Pros of Taking a Pre-Workout Before a Football Game

Higher Energy Levels

Pre-workout increases your energy levels, making you feel happier and better to push further in your sport.

Boosted Strength

It also boosts your strength, allowing you to make the most of your workout or activity and push harder. This boost can add a few pounds to a bicep curl or bench press, giving you an edge in sport.

Related: How Much Should I Bench For My Weight

Reduced Muscle Soreness

Some pre-workouts contain ingredients, such as BCAAs (​​branched-chain amino acids), known to decrease muscle soreness while increasing muscle mass. The benefit of such is you won’t feel nearly exhausted or sore once you have enough time to rest.

Increased Stamina

Pre-workouts have increased physical stamina, allowing one to stay in the field longer and with fewer rest times. Stamina is vital as every second is essential in a soccer game.

Being able to jump back in quicker and stay longer makes all the difference between winning and losing a matchup.

Mental Focus

One of the significant ways the supplement can directly improve your football game and exercise performance before the game is by improving your motivation and overall focus.

Competitive games can be stressful. Yet, the ingredients in a pre-workout, such as citrulline, reduce muscle fatigue and feelings of mental stress. [1] 

Cons of Taking a Pre-Workout Before a Football Game

Digestive Issues

On the flip side, pre-workouts can cause to release of more stomach acid. As a result, one will have digestion issues and so on. 

Other significant topics include artificial sweeteners, alcohol, and sugar in some pre-workouts. These ingredients can cause bloating, gas, and even diarrhea. All of these are not good to experience before a game.

Water Retention

Some pre-workouts contain creatine. Although it improves strength and enhances your ability to exercise longer and harder, it may cause water retention (excess fluid builds up in the body). [2] 

Such happens because creatine may prevent you from sweating and keep you hydrated. It may also be a relative side effect. However, it’s not ideal, especially if you’re heading to a sport where you need your body to perform at optimum levels for hydration and sweating.

Meanwhile, a separate study concluded that no evidence supports that creatine supplementation hinders the body’s ability to dissipate heat or negatively impacts body fluid balance. [3]  

Increased Blood Pressure

Pre-workouts containing stimulants, like caffeine, increase blood pressure if you take in too much of it. When it happens, your heart pumps more intensively.

Additionally, it becomes considerably worse if you factor in that you’ll be playing in a high-stakes game, where you’ll push your body to its limit. It quickly leads to health risks if you aren’t careful.

Energy Crash

As you boost your sports performance with a pre-workout supplement, your endurance, mental stage, energy, and strength go into overdrive. 

As these effects wear off, you may experience an energy crash, where your energy level suddenly drops, and you feel more fatigued. This incident is sometimes referred to as a “caffeine crash.” A good solution is to opt for a stim-free pre-workout.


Habitual caffeine intake may lead to insomnia, anxiety, and other health complications. As such, athletes should have their caffeine intake carefully monitored.


Your body can get used to the pre-workout, especially if you take it regularly. More so that many of these supplements contain caffeine. Or should I say, it’s dependent on the ingredients. You could also become jittery during the game if you drink too much caffeine.

Caffeine in Sports Performance

Caffeine is a stimulant that gets you in the mood for athletic activity. The most popular and studied effect of caffeine is its ability to temporarily block the adenosine molecule, which promotes the sleep drive in a person and plays a role in the immune system. 

The more the adenosine builds up in the brain (occurs as we think, exercise, and just go about our daily lives), the more exhausted we feel. Interestingly, it also makes you more susceptible to pain. So, caffeine only temporarily blocks that molecule. [4]

With less adenosine level in the brain because of caffeine, you feel less mental fatigue and less pain.

Another benefit of caffeine in competitive sports or athletic performance is within the muscles. Therefore, we need calcium to move around in the muscle fiber and make a muscle contraction. Caffeine also makes that movement happen faster.

Meanwhile, for athletes who may have issues with caffeine tolerance, it is safer to be mindful of their caffeine dosage other than those found in pre-workouts. Some examples of foods and drinks containing caffeine include coffee, cocoa beans, chocolate, kola nuts, and green tea.

Best Pre-Workout Supplement

1. Pre-Kaged Pre Workout Kaged – Best for Energy

Kaged muscle pre-workout comes from a brand that delivers time and time again to market needs. It supplies an athlete with energy, focus, and pump without shady or banned ingredients. This supplement is ideal for individuals who care about what they put into their bodies. 

We recommend you try the Cherry Bomb flavor, although others taste good too. It contains creatine HCL, caffeine, BCAA, and L-citrulline.

2. Precium Nutrition Stim Free Pre Workout – Best Non-Stim Pre-Workout

If you’re looking for a non-caffeine pre-workout that still provides you that pump, power, endurance, focus, and energy you get from other pre-workouts with caffeine or other stimulants, go for Precium Nutrition Stim Free Pre Workout.

This supplement boosts focus and energy without unwanted jitters, energy crashes, or upset stomachs. It also contains beta-alanine, L-citrulline, and ElevATP to maximize performance.

3. Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer – Best Vegan

Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energizer is a plant-based supplement that’s third-party tested and NSF-Certified for Sport. It’s one of the best vegan pre-workouts because it contains a combination of carbohydrates and caffeine, which improves performance. [5] 

Moreover, this pre-workout serves 16 grams of carbohydrates (derived from brown rice syrup and coconut palm sugar) and 100mg of caffeine. Although it doesn’t contain common pre-workout ingredients like beta-alanine and creatine, it is gluten-free, vegetarian-friendly, and contains vitamin B12.

A single serving of this best pre-workout supplement likewise contains potassium, chloride, calcium, and magnesium, which play an essential role in hydration.

4. PhenQ – Best Overall

Our top pick is PhenQ, an effective pre-workout supplement that improves exercise results. It even helps your body burn fat if you want to lose weight. 

Besides the fact that it comes from a reliable brand, this product contains L-Carnitine fumarate. Such an ingredient increases your energy levels and drives you to complete your regular workouts. 

Other powerful components include caffeine, niacin, capsicum, and piperine, which all interact to lower body fat levels. Additionally, the caffeine content makes you active. It has numerous product reviews and recommendations from experts and professionals in the industry.

Pre-workout ingredients that improve sports performance

At a minimum, the best pre-workout supplements for athletes should include the following:

  • Beta-alanine – buffers muscle acidity, 
  • Creatine monohydrate – increases power, endurance, strength, and speed by replenishing ATP rapidly
  • Betaine (3 grams) – an osmolyte that protects proteins, enzymes, and cells from dehydration, heat, and other physiological stresses
  • BCAAs – stimulate muscle protein synthesis in the body, which builds muscle
  • Caffeine (at least 20 mg)delays fatigue, provides energy and may promote prolonged and more efficient muscular contraction

Related: ​​Best Pre-Workout Fat Burner for Weight Loss

People Also Ask: FAQs About Pre-Workout Supplements Before A Game

Do NFL players take pre-workout before games?

About 54.3% of football players reported using nutritional supplements before games; 42.3% were pre-workout supplements, 51.3% were creatine, and 82.8% were protein powders. [6] 

What should I take before a football game?

To make your lifestyle easier, some safe and great foods to consume before a sport include cereals, bananas, baked beans, whole grain toast, fish, eggs, rice, pasta, and yogurt.

Is it illegal to take a pre-workout supplement before athletic events?

No, it isn’t. As long as the pre-workout doesn’t contain banned substances, it won’t cause any legal issues.

Does pre-workout help in sports?

Yes, pre-workout can enhance athletic performance and increase energy output. Many pre-workout supplements contain amino acids, caffeine, creatine, and beta-alanine. All these have various effects on the body, designed to push you to the next level.

Final Verdict: Should You Take Pre-Workout Before Your Game?

Knowing the pros and cons of pre-workouts before a game helps you decide what’s best for you.

Each individual has a different view of the supplement. But if you ask me, my answer is simple. It may be best not to take it if you’re at peak performance. On the other hand, if you feel like you want an extra boost or feel fatigued, then a pre-workout supplement is a valid option.

A pre-workout drink is a good tool, but something other than something to rely on, especially as an athlete. If you’ve been training intensely for a few weeks and are coming to the end of your training cycle, a pre-workout can help you too.

Find the dosage that works best for you. And for additional guidance, consult your doctor.

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Nathan Lloyd, MSc

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.