Pre Workout is a common supplement used by tons of people who hurry into the gym every day.
But, as I covered in my Coffee vs Pre Workout post, some of us don’t always use pre workout every single day. So, what happens if you leave it out for a few days- or even a few months?
Does pre workout go bad? Here’s the truth:
Yes, pre workout can go bad, but it’s very rare that your pre workout will ACTUALLY go bad. Pre workout doesn’t contain fat or other ingredients that are known for rotting. I’ve personally eaten from pre workout that is 8 months old with no problems. As long as you don’t see any mold, clumping from moisture, and it isn’t past the expiration date- it isn’t bad.
There’s a lot of other bloggers in the community that says pre workout can go bad in just weeks. This is simply wrong. Just seal the pre workout tub, don’t put water in the tub, and store it in a cold place, it can really last for years honestly. That’s why most pre workouts list their expiration date as years later.
But, let’s cover this more in-depth.
The Truth Is, Pre Workout RARELY Goes Bad
Pre workout powder isn’t like protein powder- it actually can last a really long time.
Protein powder is definitely something I would not be eating if it got left out for 8 months straight. This is mainly because protein powder is literal dairy, animal products, and other ingredients that are notorious for going bad in the wrong conditions.
Pre workout on the other hand isn’t like this. It’s more comparable to a powdered drink mix. It’s just a mix of ingredients and chemicals that generally don’t go bad.
For instance, we all have grandparents that have a 5-year-old tub of Lipton Iced Tea powdered mix sitting in their cupboards- but that doesn’t really go bad either.
The reality is, pre workout rarely goes bad.
But, there are too many bloggers that try and peddle that pre workout will go bad in two weeks. It really doesn’t.
In fact, I’d be more concerned about the ingredients losing their effectiveness over time before I’d worry about it making me sick.
The Ingredients CAN Lose Potency Over Time, in a way making it ‘bad’.
I will say that if you do store the pre workout for a long time- even if you store it perfectly- you can still lose the potency and strength of the ingredients in the pre workout.
This can essentially make it ‘bad’ as it just won’t help you as much as if you had a newer tub.
This is just how our universe works, things break down over time, no matter how perfectly you store it.
Yet, you wouldn’t really get ‘sick’ from this, it’d just be a weaker version of the pre workout.
But, ultimately- sometimes it can go bad. Like, bad bad- the type that makes you sick. So, let’s cover the most obvious signs.
How To Tell If You’re Pre Workout is Going Bad
So, sometimes the pre workout CAN go bad. Although, it’s really rare, as aforementioned.
Honestly, though, it’s really easy to see the signs. Here’s what you need to look for:
Check for mold!
- This is the most obvious sign. If you see mold in your pre workout, just throw it out. Honestly, if you see mold in anything- a good rule of thumb is just to throw it out.
Check for clumping!
- Clumping is an early sign of moisture in a pre workout. If your pre workout is starting to clump massively, it’s time to throw it out. Now, in most pre workout tubs there will be some tiny clumping, and it is easily dissolved- that’s nothing to worry about. I’m talking about those massive, unbreakable clumps that form after a few uses.
Check for a bad smell!
- Usually your pre workout will smell like the flavor of the pre workout you purchased. If it suddenly smells rancid, awful, or anything off- chances are, your pre workout has gone bad.
Does it mix well?
- If you put your powder in and add water- but suddenly it’s not mixing all of it- your pre workout may be bad. Now, I’m not saying that if you have to shaek it or mix it a little bit, to toss it. But sometimes there are clumps that just do not mix no matter what, and that’s a good indicator it’s time for a new tub. Although, this isn’t always a sign the pre workout is nessecarily bad- it can just be bad mixing- but if you notice this and the other signs on this list, reconsider your tub.
- Discoloration is a big sign that your pre workout has been exposed to moisture. Usually, the powder will be white + slightly colored like the flavor (red/blue/yellow). If the poweder is turning to only that flavor color, that likely means water has entered the tub, and this can be a bad sign, as mold may follow.
Past expiration date:
- While most people don’t pay attention to expiration dates (myself included), it is useful to follow it for other reasons. Earlier we discussed how the ingredients can lose their strength over time, and generally that expiration date is a good indicator that the pre workout won’t be giving you that boost anymore.
Sometimes, Clumping is Normal
Generally speaking, clumping within pre workout is a sign that there is moisture in the tub.
But, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, clumping is normal.
Some pre workouts have ingredients that just naturally clump together with the tiniest amount of moisture such as water from your breath.
Usually, tiny clumping isn’t a big deal. If the clump easily splits, then it’s fine.
The alarming clumping is when you get BIG clumps that are super hard to break- this is likely a bigger sign of a ton of water starting to mold inside of your tub.
Is It Safe To Drink Bad Pre Workout?
The answer is: no. It is NOT safe to drink bad pre workout. You have the chance of getting bad food poisoning and may even be hospitalized.
I know what you may be thinking, Tommy- there’s a litttttleee mold in my pre workout, is it safe to drink?
But, as lucrative as it is to save $20 on a pre workout tub. I promise you, it’s not worth it.
Follow These Steps To Prevent Your Pre Workout From Going Bad
Look, none of us want our pre workout to go bad. Who would want to just waste $20?
And truthfully, it’s really hard to even make your pre workout go bad, which is a good thing.
Follow these steps to prevent your pre workout from going bad.
Don’t get any water in the tub.
- Lots of people make this mistake. It’s easy to get a few drops of water in the tub after you just filled up a water bottle and you’re trying to scoop your pre workout. This is NOT what you want to happen! Since it’s a powder in an enclosed space, it’s going to start activating and molding most of that powder.
Keep the anti-moisture packet in the tub, if safe.
- I know most of us get rid of that anti moisture packet so we don’t accidently ingest it. I get it- and if you want to keep doing that, that’s fine. But, if you’re comfortable with keeping it in the tub, it can go a long way in keeping your pre workout dry and mold free. The plus side is that you have to scoop pre workout into a differnet cup, so you should notice a big anit moisture bag floating around your water before you ingest it.
Keep the lid sealed shut when you’re not using it.
- Don’t leave your pre workout without the lid on it, and please don’t just lightly seal it. Any moisture that gets in there can really pose a problem. Again, since this is a drink powder- you want to be extra careful so you don’t lose $20 overnight.
Store it in a cool place.
- I know, we all love to keep it in our gym bag or our car. But, if possible, try to store itin your house in a cool place. Storing it in the swletering hot trunk of your car inside another layer of backpack and clothes can cause serious problems- including ones that can make you get sick from the pre workout.
I Personally Use Old Pre Workout and Don’t Get Sick From It
Look, I’m so cheap. I am not rich by any means. A tub of pre workout for me costs $20, and I’m not going to waste $20 because I haven’t used the thing in a month.
Everything on this website I preach, I also do.
Look, I wouldn’t tell all of you fine folk to use pre workout even if it’s been out for a while, and not do it myself.
So, maybe I bought pre workout a year ago. The lockdowns happened, and it was left in the trunk of my car. Perhaps, I drove over 10k miles with it in the trunk, and pulled it out a month ago, and have been using it daily ever since.
And really, I haven’t been stomach sick or anything. There has definitely been some questionable clumping and mixing, but the product didn’t get moldy and it still gave me that much needed energy boost before a workout.
Look, if I can save $20 there, I’ll do it. And you’re looking at a guy that is eating year old pre workout that was in the smoldering hot sun for months on end in the trunk of his car.
Honestly, if anything, it built my immune system LOL. But seriously, I was completely fine. The lid was sealed tight, so no moisture or anything got in, so thankfully there was no mold growing.
So, my opinion? If there’s no mold and it smells normal, you’re good. But, if you see mold and it seems off- toss it out.
Is clumpy pre workout bad?
Yes and no. Some pre workouts are naturally prone to clumping. But if you have seriously big clumps that won’t break, it is a sign your pre workout is bad.
Can you still use pre workout if its clumpy?
It depends! If it has small clumps that are easily broken, it’s usually fine. But if you have big clumps that are discolored and hard to break, it has probably gone bad.
How do you unclump pre workout?
Personally, I just stab it with the spoon that’s included with the tub until it splits. If the clump refuses to split, that’s probably a bad sign your pre workout is going bad.
After You Mix Pre Workout, How Long Can You Use It?
After you mix pre workout, the best time to use it is within 1-3 hours. But, I’ve gone a whole day without using it. (Long story, had a bad night)
I wouldn’t recommend this though. Unless you’re able to leave it in the refrigerator for 2+ hours, just don’t mix it until you’re ready to drink it.
Conclusion of Does Pre Workout Go Bad?
While pre workout CAN go bad, chances are- yours probably isn’t. If you see mold, massive, unbreakable clumps, or moisture in the tub- it’s time to throw to out.
But, for the most part, it can last a super long time as long as you keep the lid shut and keep the water out of it! I used a pre workout tub that had been sitting in the trunk of my car for almost a year, and it worked just fine!