Why Does a Pre-Workout Make Me Want to Poop?

If you have taken pre-workouts, chances are that you have had moments when you have wanted to poop immediately before or during your workout. This is primarily due to certain ingredients in the pre-workout which tend to activate the colon that is responsible for bowels. Read on to know more.

A scoop of pre workout supplement

Pre-workouts & Coffee

Caffeine is the main active ingredient of any pre-workout, which is primarily a psychoactive stimulant. It gives us the necessary mental energy boost before the workout.

Coffee however is a socially acceptable addiction, one or two cups daily won’t do much harm. Research shows that caffeine makes the colon more active, causing a feeling of wanting to poop.

Depending on your serving and the product that you are using, even a scoop of most pre-workout supplements available in the market more often than not contains much more than 100 mg of caffeine.

Most companies suggest 2 scoops which sometimes amounts to over 400 mg of caffeine per recommended serving.

It’s wise to check out the labels on your pre-workout and understand how much caffeine you’re taking as per the recommendation of your trainer.

Pre-workouts & Bowel Movements

Bowel movements are managed by the colon, in the presence of many useful bacteria and water. In a healthy adult, bowels depend on the diet i.e. the food, supplement, and water intake of the individual.

pre workout and bowel movement

Food and exercise are very important for a healthy lifestyle. A proper lifestyle includes proper diet, sleep, and exercise. This three help maintain homeostasis in the body which in turn helps regulate a proper and timely bowel movement. This is quite a blessing.

But homeostasis can get disturbed due to an improper diet, including an excess of any stimulant or supplement, junk food, sugary drinks, caffeine, alcohol, or smoking. Prolonged constipation or diarrhea can be very unhealthy for the system.

It is great to aim to push your limits and challenge yourself with intense workouts, it shouldn’t be overdone, else one may land up having health complications instead.

The supplements or stimulants should be taken only on the expert recommendation of a qualified health trainer. Most of the time when people consume pre-workouts they tend to want to go for a poop. Here are a few reasons:

  • This is due to the caffeine and the multiple chemicals that the pre-workout mixtures contain. Consuming these can cause an unpredictable bowel movement. Caffeine tends to relax the inner abdomen muscles, which in turn control the colon.
  • Also, Magnesium, in micro quantities, is another micronutrient necessary for strengthening and energizing the body. Lactulose too is good for the same purpose but in small amounts. It helps cause an osmotic effect in the colon, which helps retain water inside the colon walls. Both magnesium and lactulose are present in pre-workouts. This makes them cause bowel movements sometimes.
  • Moreover, the stretching of abdominal muscles during the workout further activates the metabolism. All this collectively leads to a need to poop, if one’s tummy is not empty that is.

How Long Does Pre-Workout Last?

Downside & Alternatives to Pre-workouts

Pre-workouts are expensive. Moreover, they can give jitters, heart palpitations, a need to take a dump, and a feeling of sleeplessness.

A lot of times older people tend to rely on pre-workouts to give them that energy boost that they miss from their younger days, or extremely ambitious younger fitness freaks who want to surpass their capacities and build muscle beyond what their body is ready for.

Whatever the reason, quick gains always have a downside.

Pre-workout exercise

Instead of depending heavily on pre-workouts, it is best to train your system to produce its energy to endure intense physical activity. Here’s how:

  • If you have trouble doing your workouts without having a pre-workout, it simply means your body isn’t ready for that intensity of training yet. Instead of depending on pre-workouts to bridge that gap, it is better to start slow and let your body develop its capacity to raise the workout intensity levels over time.
  • It is safer to get a boost by simply grabbing half a cup of black coffee, a couple of nuts, or a soda if you may. But overall, it works fine if you avoid eating just before the workout. Sipping plain water works just fine too.
  • Having a balanced & nourishing meal 2 hours before the training is a sure-shot way of keeping your energy levels in check and in the right amount that’s needed for a workout.
  • A nice warm-up also gets your body in rhythm to take on a more intense workout.
  • Get enough sleep
  • Do regular strength and cardiovascular exercises
  • Try Stretching daily or do some yoga asanas
  • Get enough sunlight
  • Drink enough water
  • Avoid junk food, processed foods, refined sugar, excess saturated oils, and soda
  • Eat lots of vegetables

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About Gaurav Dhir

Gaurav Dhir, B. Tech, PGDCM is an engineer and MBA by training. A fitness aficionado, Gaurav follows a strict diet and exercise regimen to keep himself vigorously active. He loves playing sports and being outdoors. Gaurav is responsible for the health and wellness of 4 generations including his son, elderly parents and very elderly grandparents.