There are several situations where people seek out things to help them out with training — they just got into training, or they reached a plateau. Pre-workouts are known to make exercising easier, while testosterone is a known factor in the muscle-building aspect of exercise.
Pre-workouts are the most popular fitness enhancements, and we’d like to take a look at their connection to testosterone levels, as having both effects in a pre-workout is a desirable trait.
What exactly is a pre-workout?
The basic role of a pre-workout is to provide the body with carbohydrates and raise blood sugar levels in order to give the body more energy. It is traditionally taken as a part of a drink some half an hour before the workout.
There are a lot of common ingredients that go into these types of products: Beta-alanine, caffeine, branched-chain amino acids, green tea, creatine, etc.
Pre-workouts are generally safe, but we’re obliged to warn you that many of them contain stimulants that you can overload on — especially if you have more than a couple of coffees a day. Furthermore, some pre-workouts contain ingredients that are similar to amphetamines, so keep this in mind and make sure you read the ingredients before you decide to buy a particular brand.
The speed at which these supplements take effect depends on the particular blend of ingredients. Usually, they kick in between an hour and a half an hour after ingestion, and this is indicated on the packaging to help you time your training.
So can it help with testosterone?
Yes, some of them can help raise testosterone levels. Still, this isn’t true across the board since, like most supplements, pre-workouts come with different ingredients, so it’s important to know what does what when searching for a pre-workout supplement.
It’s worth noting that these supplements are not designed to prioritize testosterone boosting, so you’ll have to do some pretty serious research on both brands and ingredients that do impact testosterone. This might end up leading you beyond the “mainstream”, well-known pre-workout brands, and we need to caution you here. Going deep into the supplement rabbit hole comes with its fair share of risks, as supplements are not strictly regulated by the FDA, and you may run into some scammy brands.
Make sure you do some background research on the pre-workout brand you choose, so you avoid getting scammed or ripped off. Also, you need to consider your health — you are not just buying a T-shirt that, at worse, can lose its color or rip too soon. You are going to ingest these things, so poor manufacturing and ingredients really matter here.
Why would you want to boost testosterone?
Well, testosterone deficiency is quite common these days. According to the American Journal of Medicine, around 30% of men that are 40 or above suffer from testosterone deficiency. These are some staggering numbers, and testosterone deficiency really drags down the quality of life for these men and can even cause health conditions or be caused by serious underlying health conditions.
Common downsides of T deficiency are loss of energy, erectile dysfunction, low self-esteem, reduction of and difficulty building lean muscle mass, and in the long term, osteoporosis. These are by no means all the possible symptoms, as this hormone regulates a lot of things in our body.
Let’s look at the upsides of having optimal testosterone levels too. The reason why young men build muscles faster than older guys is just testosterone levels. It has a big role in protein synthesis, which means that even though you are eating proper food to build muscle and exercising properly, you are going to build less muscle if you have a deficiency than a person with optimal T levels.
Furthermore, your energy will be on point, your libido will be working properly, you will have great bone quality, and your mood will be properly regulated — it’s an essential hormone in both men and women, so having optimal levels is simply being healthy.
How to figure out which ones help with T levels?
We’d recommend studying the ingredients list, the accuracy of which is mandatory by law, which you can find on the label of the pre-workout you intend to buy. The list will contain all the ingredients that are in the pre-workout as well as their amounts which is important too.
First, you should google which of them has the potential to boost testosterone. We recommend seeking out studies that confirm these effects just to be sure you are getting what is advertised.
Second, when you’ve figured out which substances boost testosterone, search for the dosages required for those substances to have the desired effect. Many times substance manufacturers can make mistakes in dosing, claiming a specific effect due to an ingredient they included, but the dose they put in is not enough for that effect to be triggered.
Ingredients that can help
We’re going to outline five of the most popular ingredients to look for when searching for a pre-workout that boosts testosterone.
This plant has been the cure-all option of traditional medicine for a long time. While it may not be able to cure everything, it can certainly help with testosterone deficiency, among other things. We like to quote the study by the American Journal of Men's Health from 2019 and the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine from 2012 when it comes to evidence of its effectiveness.
This one is very commonly present in pre-workout supplements. While this is an upside, the jury is still out on caffeine’s ability to boost testosterone levels consistently. There are a few studies that show positive results, while others are either inconclusive or negative. So far, it seems that physical activity triggers caffeine to boost testosterone, and as you’d be getting it from a pre-workout, we’d assume you’re hitting the gym.
Vitamin D and Zinc
Vitamin D and Zinc are both essential for healthy testosterone production. If there is a deficiency of either, your testosterone production isn’t going to be optimal. Keep in mind that these two substances only boost production if you are not getting enough of them — otherwise, they won’t have this effect.
Another plant-based ingredient that has a wide array of effects — lucky for us, one of them is boosting testosterone. Ginseng is generally great for male reproductive function, and we suggest you take a look at a study by Kar Wah Leung et al. from 2013 to see how it works.
What to avoid with pre-workouts
There are several potential downsides to using pre-workouts. None of them are particularly serious, but you should be aware of them, so they don’t surprise you:
What side effects you are going to get will depend on the particular ingredients in your pre-workout and their particular doses. We can’t really list all the potential ingredients because some pre-workouts have pretty original formulas, so make sure you check out all the ingredients in the one you chose for potential side effects.
Pre-workouts are not designed to boost testosterone specifically, but some of them do have that effect. The thing you need to figure out is which ingredients help with testosterone and find brands that have them. Another good thing here is the fact that since you are using pre-workouts, it means that you are definitely working out, meaning you will get a boost in testosterone no matter what, especially if you are into resistance training or HIIT.
No, but some of them do. It’s all about the ingredients, so make sure you check the ingredients list and see if some of them can help before you purchase a brand.
Yes, some of them can be, but the effect is usually tied to exercise, and most of these ingredients only have this effect if combined with exercise.