Poll: Most Readers Say They Don’t Use Pre-Workout Supplements Before the Gym

Still, a large number of voters appreciate a pre-workout “boost” from simpler sources.

Countless gymgoers in need of a jolt of energy typically opt for pre-workout supplements to carry them through their training. These supplements usually include caffeine, combined with other ingredients like taurine, beta-alanine, and even creatine — and for many, they’re as integral to a workout as warming up or finding the right playlist.

If you depend on a pre-workout supplement to get through your training, you are not alone. According to one estimate, the global pre-workout market had a value of $15.59 billion in 2021 and is expected to grow to $26.68 billion by 2028. (1)

A scoop full of pre-workout powder.
Image: Elizabeth A.Cummings on Shutterstock

[Realted: The Best Pre-Workout Supplements]

With that kind of popularity in mind, we decided to run a poll in The BarBend Newsletter on December 21, 2022, asking readers whether or not they take a pre-workout supplement. And of the 206 readers who responded, the majority (56.31%) voted “no.”

While that result might surprise some, it doesn’t mean the majority of voters don’t have a pre-workout ritual of some sort. In fact, many “no” voters said they just get their energy from simpler sources.

“Just an apple or banana and coffee,” one voter commented. Another wrote that their secret weapon was just getting a good night’s sleep.

But how does a cup of coffee stack up to some of the leading pre-workout supplements on the market?

Caffeine Amounts in Coffee vs. Pre-Workout Supplements

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) suggests that the average 8-ounce cup of coffee contains 80-100mg of caffeine. (Some coffee blends can obviously go higher, while others can come in even lower.) Pre-workout supplements, on the other hand, tout a wider range of caffeine. (2)

A cup of black coffee sitting on a table.
Image: Karynav on Shutterstock

[Related: The Strongest Pre-Workouts on the Market]

Cellucor’s C4 pre-workout powder, for example, contains 150mg per scoop, while a 16-ounce can of the company’s premade drink clocks in at 200mg.

Then there are more concentrated examples like Wrecked Pre-Workout from Huge Supplements, which totals 350mg of caffeine per serving. (Many of these supplements also contain ingredients like beta-alanine and citrulline, which have been linked to improved endurance.)

How Much Caffeine Is Too Much?

The FDA states that healthy adults should be able to consume 400mg of caffeine per day without any adverse side effects. That said, tolerances vary from person to person, and some voters wrote that they need the extra caffeine kick for their workouts.

“I work out at 4:45 AM and am 52 years old, so the boost [my pre-workout] gives me to keep working hard is much appreciated,” one voter commented.

Some brands, like Swolverine PRE Pre-Workout, leave out the caffeine completely, instead opting for ingredients like citrulline malate, beta-alanine, carnitine, pomegranate, betaine, and ginseng.

With a constantly evolving raft of pre-workout products on the market, the leading brands are eager to please their individual consumers by tweaking the ingredients to suit everyone’s needs. But if you really want to simplify things, a cup of Joe is hard to beat.

Read More

Want to catch up on the latest stories in the fitness world? Check out these articles from BarBend:


  1. Global Pre-Workout Supplements Market size to Reach USD 28.68 billion by 2028 with growing Fitness Enthusiasts and Gym-Goers – SkyQuest Technology. GlobeNewswire. June 7, 2022
  2. Spilling the Beans: How Much Caffeine is Too Much? FDA.gov. December 12, 2018

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