Does Pre-Workout Break a Fast? Pre Workout Guide While Fasting

Does Pre-Workout Break a Fast? Pre Workout Guide While Fasting

Feb 21, 2024

does pre workout break a fast? ripl fitness

Does Pre-Workout Break a Fast? What You Can and Can't Take

Intermittent fasting has become an increasingly popular way to lose weight, gain muscle, and improve health. But many fitness buffs who follow fasting protocols also rely on pre-workout supplements to maximize their gym performance. So does taking a pre-workout break your fast?

The short answer is it depends. Many pre-workout drinks and powders contain ingredients that could trigger an insulin response or break ketosis. However, some formulas won’t affect your fasted state.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how pre-workout supplements may impact fasting, which ingredients to avoid, and the best pre-workout alternatives you can safely take without breaking your fast.

How Could Pre-Workout Break Your Fast?

First, let’s understand why pre-workout has the potential to break a fast in the first place.

[[When following an intermittent fasting routine]], the goal is to prolong periods of low insulin levels. This allows your body to more efficiently tap into fat stores for energy. It also triggers various health benefits associated with fasting.

However, many pre-workout supplements — especially those high in carbohydrates or artificial sweeteners — can cause an insulin response which signals your body to start using food for energy rather than burning fat.

Additionally, some pre-workouts contain calories or ingredients that could technically break ketosis if you are following a ketogenic diet.

So while you may rely on that pre-gym drink to increase energy, taking it could easily stop your body from accessing the fat burning perks you’re fasting for!

workout ingredients ripl fitness

Pre-Workout Ingredients That Won’t Break Your Fast

While some supplements definitely don’t pair well with fasting, others provide workout-boosting benefits without breaking your fasted state.

Here are some pre-workout ingredients that won’t break your fast:

  • Caffeine: One of the most common stimulants added to pre-workouts to provide a surge in energy. Contains 0 calories and won’t spike insulin.
  • Amino acids: Help stimulate muscle protein production and slow muscle breakdown during exercise. BCAAs and EAAs won’t break your fast.
  • Beta-alanine: This amino acid reduces lactic acid buildup leading to increased muscular endurance. It’s fast-friendly.
  • Citrulline: An amino acid that widens blood vessels, improving blood flow and oxygen to working muscles. Doesn’t affect insulin.
  • Creatine: Supports cellular energy production and muscle growth. Despite myths, creatine is fine to take while fasting.

As long as your chosen pre-workout checks the box on being calorie-free and not spiking blood sugar or insulin, it makes an ideal companion to intermittent fasting for priming your workouts.

Scoop whey protein ripl fitness

What to Avoid in a Pre-Workout Supplement

On the other hand, these ingredients commonly found in pre-workout formulas could break your fast:

  • Carbohydrates: Pre-workouts containing carbs from sugars, grains, etc. will raise insulin levels.
  • Artificial sweeteners: While zero-calorie, some sweeteners may still produce an insulin response.
  • Whey protein: Fast-digesting protein designed to quickly rebuild muscle. Will break a fast.
  • Fatty acids: Ingredients like MCT oil provide rapid energy but contain calories.

Of course, the specific pre-workout supplement you take determines if it’s fast-friendly or not.

Always carefully inspect the ingredient label before taking any pre-workout before, during or after fasting periods to guarantee it won’t sabotage your goals!

Green tea cup ripl fitness

Best Pre-Workout Alternatives While Fasting

If your current pre-gym powder is packed with fasting-unfriendly fillers, don’t ditch it just yet. You have options.

Here are smart pre-workout alternatives to turn to for fasting-friendly fuel:

  • Black coffee: Provides a solid dose of caffeine without carbs, calories or funny business. A classic choice.
  • Unsweetened green tea: The combo of caffeine and antioxidants makes green tea an excellent calorie-free energizer.
  • Nutritional yeast: Just a spoonful gives you natural energy via B-vitamins. Tastes cheesy too!
  • BCAA supplement: Get those vital branched-chain amino acids to preserve muscle without worry.
  • MCT oil: Contains calories but this unique fat provides near instant energy and won’t spike insulin.

As you can see, you have alternatives to traditional pre-workout supplements if you want to avoid ingredients that could break your fast.

Stick to zero or very low-calorie sources of natural energy and muscle-saving amino acids only while fasting.

After your eating window opens, feel free to down that pink lemonade-flavored pre-workout before hitting the gym! Just not during the fast itself.

preworkout options ripl fitness

Pre-Workout Ingredients That Can Enhance Fasting Benefits

Rather than just avoiding fast-breaking supplements, certain compounds found in pre-workouts may actually boost the rewards gained from intermittent fasting.

Here’s a breakdown:

  • EAAs: These essential amino acids not only help maintain muscle mass when training fasted but may enhance muscle growth from fasting itself.
  • Caffeine: Everyone’s favorite stimulant ramps up fat burning when combined with fasting according to research. More bang for your buck!
  • Cayenne/Green tea: Containing compounds like capsaicin and EGCG, these popular pre-workout ingredients boost weight loss effects of intermittent fasting regimens.

By picking pre-workouts with science-backed ingredients like these or taking them solo, you build upon intermittent fasting's already impressive benefits.

The Best Pre-Workout Supplements to Take While Fasting

Okay, so NOW we get to the big question on every fitness faster’s mind:

What is the best pre-workout to take without breaking my fast? 🤔

While no pre-made formula fits everyone’s individual needs, here are 5 excellent intermittent fasting-friendly options:

  • 1st Phorm Frigate - No carbs or fat. Just proven muscle & energy boosters like citrulline, beta-alanine + caffeine.
  • Transparent Labs Bulk - Packed with BCAAs, beta-alanine, citrulline + stimulants. Zero sweeteners.
  • Legion Pulse - Powerful pre-training energy via caffeine, citrulline, theanine + more. No “junk” inside.
  • RAW Synergies Pre - Vegan-friendly pre-workout with caffeine from green tea alongside vitamin B12 for natural energy.
  • Kion Aminos - Not technically a pre-workout but provides EAAs to offset muscle breakdown during fasting workouts.

Be sure to verify the latest formulation still aligns with your intermittent fasting approach. And assess how each supplement works for YOUR body.

But those choices make excellent jumping-off points in your hunt for a properly fasted pre-workout companion.

fitness woman drink ripl fitness

The Takeaway: Select Pre-Workouts Won’t Break Your Fast

Can you take pre-workout while fasting? Yes...selectively.

Many pre-workout supplements — especially those spiked with carbs, calories and artificial sweeteners — can trigger an insulin response which technically breaks your fast. Not ideal.

However, clean pre-workout formulas containing ingredients like caffeine, amino acids, creatine or citrulline make perfect companions for intermittent fasting routines by providing energy and performance benefits without disrupting your fasted state.

As with any supplement, read labels carefully and determine how YOU respond physiologically. As long as your chosen pre-workout leaves insulin levels unaffected, your muscles will still reap all the rewards fasting has to offer.

So don’t be afraid to mix pre-workout supplements with intermittent fasting protocols. Just be choosy about ingredients to avoid breaking your progress!

Keeping her energy levels up ripl fitness

FAQ: Pre-Workout and Intermittent Fasting

Will a pre-workout break my fast?

A pre-workout may break your fast depending on the specific ingredients. Many pre-workout supplements contain calories, carbs or sweeteners that could trigger an insulin response.

However, some fast-friendly formulas provide workout energy without breaking your fasting state.

What are alternatives I can use instead of pre-workout while fasting?

Good pre-workout alternatives to use instead while fasting include black coffee, green tea, nutritional yeast, BCAA supplements, and MCT oil.

These provide energy and workout performance benefits without disrupting your intermittent fasting protocol.

What ingredients should I look for in a fasting-friendly pre-workout?

When searching for a pre-workout to take while fasting, look for ingredients like caffeine, amino acids (BCAAs, EAAs), beta-alanine, citrulline and creatine.

These compounds provide performance-enhancing benefits without spiking insulin or containing calories that could break your fasted state.

Can I consume anything while fasting or will it break my fast?

What you can consume while fasting depends on your fast as well as personal preferences. Water, black coffee and other zero-calorie beverages are generally considered safe for fasts.

However, most foods or high-calorie drinks will break your fast, stopping fat burning and other benefits of intermittent fasting.

Is it okay to take pre-workout supplements while fasting?

Most standard pre-workouts contain carbs and sweeteners that should be avoided while fasting.

But clean, stimulant-based supplements containing fast-friendly amino acids can be taken before training without breaking your fast, according to leading health organizations.

What are performance benefits of taking pre-workout while fasting?

Research shows that certain pre-workout ingredients like caffeine and essential amino acids may provide performance-enhancing effects and offset muscle loss during fasted workouts.

When combined properly, pre-workout supplements can boost the benefits of intermittent fasting.

Will taking pre-workout make me break my fast if I’m fasting for weight loss?

If your main goal with fasting is fat loss, be very cautious about taking traditional pre-workout supplements.

Many contain calories, carbs and sweeteners that could spike insulin, halt fat burning and cause you to break your fast, sabotaging your weight loss efforts.

What pre-workout ingredients won’t break my intermittent fasting diet?

You can safely take Branched-chain/essential amino acids, citrulline, beta-alanine, creatine and natural no-calorie caffeine sources like black coffee before fasting workouts without worry of decreasing fasting benefits or accidentally breaking your fasted state.

Can supplements containing calories be consumed while fasting or do they break the fast?

Most supplements containing calories will technically break your fast since they require digestion and interrupt ketosis. MCT oil is one exception. However, even very low-calorie supplements could potentially trigger subtle hormonal changes negatively impacting your fast.

So in summary - yes, pre-workout CAN break your fast depending on the specific ingredients. But some provide workout-boosting benefits without halting fat burning or your fasted state. Read labels carefully and experiment mindfully!

Woman drinking preworkout ripl fitness

A Personal Trainer's Take on Pre-Workout and Fasting

As a certified personal trainer and intermittent faster myself, clients often ask me "will taking pre-workout break my fast?". This concerns people who want to get a workout boost without sabotaging their fasting progress.

So I dug into the latest research on both intermittent fasting as well as pre-workout nutrition:

How Could Pre-Workout Potentially Break Your Fast?

When looking at the science on fasting, restricting calories and food intake activates specific gene changes (1) that trigger both weight loss and other health benefits like improved cardiovascular function (2).

However, studies show that consuming calories from food or supplements during your fast causes metabolic shifts that decrease these rewards (3) essentially stopping the intermittent fasting process in its tracks.

Of course, traditional pre-workout supplements often contain calories, carbohydrates and sweeteners that require digestion. Consuming these ingredients could alter your fasted state.

Pre-Workout Ingredients That Seemingly Don't Break a Fast

Interestingly, research published in The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (4) suggests that pre-workout ingredients like branch chained amino acids (BCAAs), beta-alanine and caffeine provide performance enhancement WITHOUT halting the metabolic benefits of training fasted.

Additionally, ingredients like citrulline malate that boost nitric oxide levels may actually IMPROVE exercise capacity (5) while fasting without negative effects. So not all pre-workout compounds disrupt your fasted state it seems.

My Advice as a Trainer on Taking Pre-Workout While Fasting

Given the science, here is my professional advice on taking pre-workout around planned fasting periods:

I recommend closely checking labels for calories, carbohydrates and unnecessary additives - but pre-workouts featuring research-backed ingredients like amino acids, citrulline or natural caffeine can likely be taken without wanting to break your fast.

Just be conscious about timing!

Taking pre-workout 1-2 hours BEFORE your workout may allow the metabolism-enhancing effects to fully kick in so you finish right as your eating window opens. That way, no period of your intermittent fasting schedule is interrupted.

At the end of the day, pay attention to how supplementing around your workouts makes your mind and body FEEL during the fast itself. Stay tuned in. Some do well fasted without anything while others benefit from certain pre-workout nutrition.

Let your own experience guide you towards the best fasting protocol for your needs and fitness goals rather than just listening to labels!

The science seems to suggest carefully chosen pre-workout supplements and intermittent fasting CAN go hand-in-hand without breaking fasts. But ultimately, finding the ideal approach for your body through mindful trial and error is key here.

young girl drinks a workout cocktail ripl fitness


  1. de Cabo, Rafael, and Mark P. Mattson. “Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Health, Aging, and Disease.” The New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 381, no. 26, 2019, pp. 2541–2551., doi:10.1056/nejmra1905136.
  2. Mattson, Mark P et al. “Meal frequency and timing in health and disease.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America vol. 111,47 (2014): 16647-53. doi:10.1073/pnas.1413965111.
  3. Paoli, Antonio et al. “Ketogenic Diet and Intermittent Fasting: Two Allies Against Hyperinsulinemia and Harmful Processes for Healthy Living.” International journal of environmental research and public health vol. 17,12 5675. 21 Jun. 2020, doi:10.3390/ijerph17125675.
  4. Alan Aragon, Brad Schoenfeld, et al. "Nutrient timing revisited: is there a post-exercise anabolic window?" Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2013.
  5. Figueroa A., et. al. “Influence of L-citrulline and watermelon supplementation on vascular function and exercise performance.” Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care, 2017, 20(6):504-508.

For More Training Advice + Diet and Lifestyle visit us RIPL Fitness

PS: Make sure you check out the rest of our Nutrition Articles:

The Menopause Diet: 5-Day Plan to Lose Weight

Joe Rogan's Supplement List: The Complete Guide to What He Takes and Recommends

The Best Prostate Supplement for Men in 2023

Dr. Gundry MD Reviews: Do These Supplements Really Work in 2023?

The Ultimate Guide to High Protein Meal Prep

Best Creatine Monohydrate Gummies Review: Top 10 Best Creatine Gummies

Does Creatine Break a Fast During Intermittent Fasting?

Is Honey and Salt Pre-Workout Good? Benefits of Honey and Pink Himalayan Salt

Bruce Lee Diet & Body Fat: Unmasking the Legendary Physique