Nutrient timing is important for many supplements, and this is probably most true for pre workouts. Pre workout supplements typically have effects that are short lived, so to make the most of it, you need to ensure you time its consumption with when you intend on working out. The general rule for taking a pre workout is 30 to 45 minutes before a workout.
Pre Workout in the Morning
Perhaps one of the best times to take a pre workout is in the morning. This is obviously ideal for if you are working out soon after waking up. There is often quite a bit of debate regarding whether or not you should eat before training, as such, it is ultimately up to you which you believe in. However, this author would recommend a light meal first thing after rising, just to help you fuel your workout. This can then later be followed by a pre workout, just as you head off to the gym.
Having a pre workout early in the day is a great way to help you wake up, and start your day with a bang. Just make sure that you are actually working out.
Pre Workout at Night
Unless you are extremely stimulant tolerate, it is often not recommended to use most pre workouts at night. The reason is simple, the caffeine and other stimulants may keep you up and interfere with sleep. This would be detrimental to your gains as sleep is an important period for muscle growth and repair. As such, if you wish to use a pre workout at night, you may wish to opt for a stimulant free pre workout. These are far less likely to negatively affect your sleep.
Pre Workout Before Cardio
Pre workouts are often associated with weight training. However, endurance athletes also use pre workouts. Depending on your goals, you may wish to be more selective about your pre workout before cardio. For example, if you are training as an endurance athlete, then you may wish to use a pre workout containing a hefty dose of carbs. Conversely, if you are doing cardio for weight loss, a high carb pre workout may not be your best friend.
Caffeine is well known to increase endurance performance, but you may wish to stay clear from stronger stimulants. So a general rule is, simple is best. A good example is Optimum Nutrition Platinum Pre
Pre Workout During Warm Up
Depending on how long your warm up and training is, taking a pre workout at this time may be a little too late. If however, your workouts take around and 1.5 to 2 hours, taking your pre workout during your warm up would be a suitable option. However, for those who train around 45 minutes to 1 hour, it may be a better option to take your pre workout around 20 minutes before your warm up.
Pre Workout on an Empty Stomach
There are both pros and cons with using pre workouts on an empty stomach. Much like with alcohol, some ingredients in pre workouts, such as caffeine, are more rapidly absorbed on an empty stomach. For this reasons, some manufacturers actually recommend using their products on an empty stomach. One potential problem with using some pre workouts on an empty stomach, is that some ingredients may give some sensitive people an upset stomach. This is more true for those products that contain herbal ingredients.