July 13, 2022
Has a buddy ever given you some leftover supplements and you've wondered if they're still good? Or, maybe you found some laying around the gym and considered not letting it go to waste. For starters, throw whatever trash you found laying around in the gym away. That's disgusting, man.
For the former peeps who got some extra from their buddy, if you look and see a "use by date" but are strapped for cash, you can be in a bit of a conundrum. Do you save some change, or risk whatever health concerns may come from using old supplements?
Let's talk about it.
This article will tell you all you need to know about when to throw away your old, dried-up pre workout supplement and when you can avoid waste and salvage it for use. We'll cover:
Let's get right into it. Can pre workout go bad? The short answer is yes. Even though the best pre workouts are awesome supplements that can be used to reach an array of fitness goals and support healthy living, they're not immune to contamination or exposure.
This isn't unique to pre workout, though, as any type of supplement can go bad if it sits out in the open environment for too long. Have you ever taken a sip of water that's been sitting outside for a prolonged period of time? It's not good.
That said, the rate at which your pre workout supplement will go bad can vary dramatically depending on several variables.
Let's start with the first and least troublesome scenario. Generally speaking, the best timing for taking pre workout is 30 to 60 minutes before a gym session. Ideally, lifters will mix it and drink it right away.
However, there are times when you may get caught up and have to postpone your drink. Or, maybe you just need to mix it prior. In these cases, how long do you have? Is your pre workout good?
The general rule is you want to drink it within 12 hours, which is similar to other types of drink mixes. This should be pretty obtainable unless you forget about it until your next gym session the following day.
In that case, you may want to dump it out, because there are three issues that your day-old, already-mixed pre workout can cause.
To us, this is one of the major reasons not to wait to drink pre workout. Once it sits for a while, it can taste awful. No thanks.
This is the other major issue. Due to the breakdown of its integrity and taste, drinking old pre workout that's been mixed for a while has been known to cause gastric issues. Again, hard pass on that. There's already a risk that pre workouts make you poop - let's not make things worse.
As a note, when discussing the pros and cons of pre workout, stomach issues, in general, can be a problem for some. If you are sensitive to pre workout, do not exacerbate the issue by taking old stuff. It's just not worth it.
Water has the ability to break down and degrade various compounds, which could possibly cause it to lose potency. This can vary depending on your pre workout ingredients, but it is a possibility.
Still, this can vary depending on where your mix is stored. Is it in a refrigerator, or is it baking in your car? You can probably guess which one is worse as direct sunlight is basically horrible for anything, including pre workout.
The bottom line: You don't want to drink expired pre workout that has already been mixed and sitting out too long.
Your pre workout should either be consumed shortly after mixing or just make another drink. A scoop of pre workout is not that expensive. And if it's lost some of its potency, taking the old stuff isn't going to get you very far anyway.
The next possibility exists when you have an open tub of pre workout that still contains powder. How long can it last?
Once you open a sealed package or pre workout powder, you expose it to the environment which means the process of going bad will start to occur faster. This is due to things like exposure to light, water, or bacteria.
To preserve your powder for as long as possible, store pre workout supplements properly after opening. Place your pre workout powder in a cool location out of the sun with the lid on tight.
If you do this, most supplement companies estimate it'll last for 6 to 9 months after opening. This means it's important to consider how often to take pre workout before purchasing it. Buy based on your needs, so you don't waste money on products going bad.
The last possibility is if you find a tub of pre workout that is still sealed. The supplement industry will usually give a shelf life of around 2 years for pre workout if it has been stored properly.
This number can vary greatly so check for an expiration date on your pre workout. They can sometimes be hard to find, meaning you may have to look around and check well. A common placement for the expiration date is on the bottom of the tub.
Having said that, the same instructions exist for keeping your pre workout stored properly: a cool dry place out of direct sunlight.
One of the most common issues with a pre workout is when you dig in to take a scoop of nice fine powder and hit hard rock. Everyone has been there, and it's not cool.
This is an obvious sign that your pre workout is expired, right? Not exactly. The primary reason this occurs is that your pre workout powder can attract water molecules, causing it to turn hard.
If this occurs, there's a good chance you took out the silica packet. The silica packet is that white packet that feels as if it holds kitty litter and is the first thing you throw away. Bad move.
A silica packet's sole purpose is to attract water molecules and absorb them thus leaving your fine powder nice and dry. It's basically a lightning rod for water. Therefore, keep that in.
That said, clumping does not necessarily mean it has gone bad. But it does increase the chance for mold to grow and that can make you sick.
If you do see clumping, spend a little extra time to check for other signs that your pre workout powder has gone bad. Keep in mind this can occur before the expiration date.
Note: Pre-workouts can also get a little clumpy simply because of certain ingredients. For example, glycerol (or Glycerpump) can cause clumping. In this case, there is nothing wrong with the pre-workout, but rather the company decided the benefits of adding Glycerpump outweighed the occurrence of clumping. It should be noted that you will easily tell the difference between clumping due to water/moisture and clumping that occurs due to ingredients like Glycerpump. If you get a little clumping from Gylcerpump, the powder just won't be as fine, whereas if it's caused by water, the powder will be almost chunky and the color will be a little darker.
If you've determined that your clumpy pre workout is mold free and not bad, we suggest tossing it in a completely dry blender as a way to break up the clumps. And please remember: Returning your supplement back to powder form does not mean you should then dry scoop pre workout to get pumped for the gym. Mix it with water, drink, and you'll be good to go.
While these supplements are awesome for boosting energy at the gym, including using them for everything from pre workout for cardio sessions to increasing strength for an ultimate leg workout, no one wants to drink expired pre workout supplements.
The problem is that it can be difficult to tell when a pre workout expires or if it's good to go. Here are several factors to consider before you drink your next pre workout.
We shouldn't need to say this but if your pre workout has a strange odor, don't drink it. Pre workouts are notorious for having crazy fruity flavors so if yours smells like musk, let it be.
We don't care if you're using pre workout for weight loss or muscle gain; we're not sipping funky chunky pre workout.
As mentioned your pre workout supplement likely has an expiration date somewhere on it. You could possibly take some after the date (we all have ignored the date on something before) but honestly, what has a tub been doing sitting around for 3 years?
If it's past the date, we'll just assume we're dealing with expired supplements.
That said, realize that expiration dates are just for reference. In other words, your pre workout can go bad before or after so always pay attention to other signs. Our suggestion? Put your supplement to good use before it gets close to the expiration date, as pre workout can help you gain weight and add some serious muscle.
We're not going to explain why. Just don't. Anytime you consume anything with mold, there are health risks, including causing an allergic reaction and respiratory issues.
Many pre workouts will come with a vacuum seal to keep your fine powder fresh and dry. That's great but it doesn't always work out that way.
For whatever reason, supplements seem to have broken seals more often than other food products. And if you find that your seal is broken, this doesn't necessarily mean your pre workout is bad. It just means you need to be a little extra cautious when taking it.
Pre workout is supposed to be a dry powder that can mix easily. If you open up your bottle and it doesn't meet this criterion, something is off.
Small clumps are fine, but if it's a paste or visibly wet, throw it out.
This goes with the color too. If it looks weird throw it out. In our opinion, if you have to think about it it's probably past its date.
A little clumpy pre workout probably won't hurt you. But what about expired pre workout? The quick answer is it likely won't cause anything too serious, unless you're seeing visible mold.
As seen above, pre workout generally goes bad from some sort of contamination. If this happens, you could definitely experience some sort of gastric distress of some sort along with nausea. These symptoms may be even worse if you take your expired pre workout on an empty stomach.
These obviously aren't ideal but there's a very small chance you'll have any serious side effects.
If you don't want your pre workout to expire faster than needed, follow these helpful tips.
Most supplements, including pre workout, only provide enough product for a short period of time relative to the expiration date.
For example, the average pre workout only provides 30 to 45 servings per tub with an expiration date set for 2 years later.
With this in mind, you have plenty of time to get the most of your pre workout if you don't buy in crazy bulk. This leads us to...
This is not a product that you need to buy in bulk from Costco. You are only going to take pre workout on your gym days, and there may even be deloading weeks where you don't take it at all.
Buy one reasonably sized container that will last a few months (2 to 3), and then just buy more when it runs out. No one wants to shell out extra cash for pre workout supplements that went bad and smells bad.
While this seems like a convenient idea, gym bags are notorious for getting nasty. Water often spills, and let's not talk about the fact you have nasty sweaty clothes stuffed inside.
In addition, it's easier for things like knocking the lid loose to occur, which can open the container and let moisture in. Moisture from your aforementioned nasty sweat.
Keep your pre workout in a cool, dry place and only bring a desired amount to the gym. Or, you could buy another container and do a week's worth at a time.
We have all been in a hurry and used a wet spoon to scoop some pre workout before. Congratulations as you have just introduced excessive moisture to your pre workout powder.
We know we just said this doesn't necessarily make your pre workout go bad, but it definitely doesn't help.
Finding a dark and cool place for you to keep your pre workout plays a key role in preserving it. What better place to keep it than your fridge, which has one sole purpose of keeping items chilled and fresh.
Unfortunately, just like other dietary supplements (and many good things in life), nothing lasts forever. Fish oil, protein powder, fat burners, and even pre workout powders have a shelf life.
Drinking expired pre workouts isn't pleasant due to the possibility of a bad smell, horrible taste, and even possible stomach issues. We're all for pre workouts' many benefits, ranging from more muscle to supporting weight loss, but not at the expense of terrible taste and foul odors. Sticking with non-expired pre workout is far more enjoyable.
There's also the possible chance you'll make your pre workout lose potency if you let it expire.
The good thing is that with just a little care, you can easily keep your workout supplements fresh long enough to consume them all before it goes bad. To recap:
Follow these easy steps and there's a very small chance your supplement is going to reach the expiry date. And if it does? Maybe just get a new tub.
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