You put your pre-workout powder in a glass or shaker, add water, mix it up, and gulp it.
We know the benefits of this combo will aid you in the gym and afterward, yet you can’t help making that face right now and thinking, “This is the most revolting thing that you’ve tasted ever.”
You may dislike the pre-workout because of its harsh, sweet, metallic flavors, or your pre-workout may be hot. Perhaps you made a mistake and purchased that horrible lemon-lime taste.
Whatever your preferences are, I am here to help you get through this challenging time and make your pre-workout taste better.
This article analyzes why pre-workouts taste so horrible and the secret tips and tricks that can enhance the flavor of your pre-workout powder so you don’t have to gulp it down every day.
What Is A Pre-Workout?
Pre-workouts are a specially formulated mix of various ingredients that help enhance your energy before a workout. These supplements are commonly found in powder or pill forms and are consumed 30 minutes before the training session for maximum impact.
These pre-workout supplements contain caffeine, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and sometimes herbal extracts. While the flavors and form of the pre-workout vary from company to company, a few ingredients are constant.
Caffeine is one of the constant ingredients that increase alertness and energy levels. Amino acids, such as beta-alanine and citrulline, are included to support muscle endurance and reduce fatigue.
Additionally, pre-workout supplements often contain vitamins and minerals crucial to energy metabolism and muscle function.
Some formulations also incorporate herbal extracts like ginseng or beetroot, which are believed to improve blood flow and overall exercise performance.
Why Does Pre-Workout Taste So Bad?
It’s no secret that many chemical compounds have distinct flavors. Some have a sweet, sour, bitter, salty, or umami flavor.
Because of the chemicals in the powder, the pre-workout can taste awful.
Valine, leucine, and isoleucine, for example, have no flavor and a bitter taste, as do creatine, caffeine, and AAKG.
Whereas nitric oxide has a slightly metallic taste, and citrulline malate and taurine can taste sour and acidic.
Here’s some in-depth information on the chemicals to help you understand the flavor notes of pre-workout supplements:
Creatine is a naturally occurring chemical present in red meat and fish.
It’s included in many pre-workout supplements because it helps muscles squeeze out a few extra reps during each set.
If you’ve ever tried drinking unflavored creatine, you know how harsh and awful it can be. So, if your pre-workout tastes bitter, you can partly blame it on the creatine.
Many pre-workout supplements come in unusual flavors, such as sour watermelon. To generate these distinct flavors, pre-workout makers use many artificial flavors.
However, even these added flavors can have an odd chemical taste that can make you gag!
Caffeine is a widely used stimulant found in many drinks. It’s a popular ingredient in pre-workout supplements because it helps you stay focused, gives you energy, and can help with losing fat.
One form of caffeine often used in these supplements is called caffeine anhydrous. It’s just dried caffeine with a strong, bitter taste.
BCAAs, Branched-Chain Amino Acids, are three important amino acids: valine, leucine, and isoleucine.
Sometimes, people put them in pre-workout blends because they can help you feel less tired. But the problem is that BCAAs taste bitter.
So, to make pre-workout taste better, the companies that make these supplements use different combinations of these ingredients. This helps them work the best and makes their product different. Because of this, the flavors can be different, too.
Best Ways to Make Pre-Workout Taste Better
If your pre-workout drink doesn’t taste good, add some extra stuff to make it more enjoyable.
One way to do this is by mixing your pre-workout powder with tasty drinks like flavored water with fruits like berries, citrus, or melons.
To cover up the bitter taste, you can also put in things like chocolate, vanilla, or extracts from essential oils.
But knowing which ingredients will work best for your desired flavor is important before changing your pre-workout. This way, you can be sure to get the taste just right.
- Fresh Lemon, Lime, and Orange Juice
Add fresh citrus fruits like lemons or limes to a plain or not-tasty pre-workout. Oranges work well if your pre-workout has a spicy flavor.
Citrus fruits have good stuff called antioxidants and phytonutrients that help protect your body from damage.
Squeezing fresh lemon juice into your pre-workout makes it taste better and helps your muscles recover faster after exercise.
A study by Dr. Sybille Buchwald, published in a journal called the International Society of Sports Nutrition, looked at how having 400 mg of lemon extract before exercise compared to a placebo.
The study found that the lemon extract group had less muscle strength loss and fewer muscle injuries and recovered better after a tough exercise.
So, putting concentrated lemon juice in your pre-workout makes it taste better and helps you bounce back faster from muscle tiredness and soreness.
But if your pre-workout tastes tangy, you don’t need to add these things.
- Frozen Fruits or Natural Sweeteners
Blend frozen fruits like cherries, berries, bananas, and watermelons with your bland, bitter, or spicy pre-workout powder.
Incorporating berries and cherries into your supplement will improve its taste and sweetness and increase your antioxidant levels, which will help you stay healthy.
Furthermore, watermelon includes citrulline, an amino acid that aids in muscle recovery and athletic performance, making your pre-workout taste and perform better.
Furthermore, due to their high fiber content, bananas used to sweeten pre-workout drinks may even help reduce appetite.
Natural fruit ingredients are readily available in most stores and are unquestionably preferable to sports drinks with artificial tastes and additional sugar.
- Coconut Water
Coconut water tastes substantially sweeter than ordinary water and can help improve the taste of your bitter or sour pre-workout drink.
Because of the essential minerals and electrolytes, drinking coconut water before exercise has been demonstrated to assist people in maintaining their health and hydration.
Staying hydrated and healthy can help you perform better during high-intensity activities.
This is a superior alternative to artificially flavored beverages and commercialized sports drinks.
- Cocoa Powders and Vanilla Extracts
Pre-workout vitamins can be made less bitter by combining them with cocoa powder and vanilla essence.
Several pre-workout supplement makers already use cocoa powder in their chocolate-flavored pre-workout. They are, however, frequently considerably too sweet.
While a flavorless pre-workout may be an excellent approach to avoiding too many sweets, you may flavor it with cocoa powder and vanilla essence.
This allows you to personalize and balance the flavor of your drink.
- Regular, Soy, and Coconut Milk
Using coconut or soy milk as a pre-workout foundation can help reduce the product’s bitterness.
Furthermore, adding milk makes your pre-workout taste better and delivers minerals, vitamins, and lipids to energize your body throughout the day.
In addition, milk includes two types of proteins, casein and whey, which can aid in muscle regeneration after aerobic and strength training.
- Flavored Water
You can also sweeten a dull pre-workout by mixing the powder with flavored water or infused water with citrus, berries, melons, fresh ginger, or mint.
Several health benefits of green tea, mint, and lime-infused water include fat-burning and instant relief from headaches and nasal congestion.
“Proper hydration is critical for maintaining health on a cellular level. Every cell in the human body is reliant on water for proper function.” – Dr. Robert Parker, BS, DC, Parker Health Solutions.
Furthermore, strawberry and kiwi-infused water have been shown to promote heart health, immunity, and blood sugar.
- Low-Fat Cream and Yogurt
A scoop of fat-free plain Greek yogurt and a dollop of low-fat vanilla ice cream can be a fun and tasty way to sweeten up your dull or spicy pre-workout.
Because milk accounts for 70% of ice cream, incorporating low-fat ice cream into your workout drink may make you happier, offer you more energy, and help strengthen your bones.
Also, plain Greek yogurt contains a lot of protein, which may explain why many people who work out consider it the best snack.
Try a low-fat version with sliced fruit or granola to give yourself additional energy for your workout.
- Add a Pinch of Salt To Your Pre-Workout
Make your pre-workout drink taste better by adding a pinch of salt, especially if you want to increase the sweetness.
A spoonful of salt in your drink can also assist in postponing the onset of dehydration and improve workout performance.
According to research, “voluntary hyperhydration can be caused by acute sodium consumption and has a good influence on hydration status and performance during subsequent heat exercise” (Morris et al., 2015).
Apart from making your pre-workout cocktail taste wonderful, salt also helps to boost serum electrolyte concentration, which is vital if you enjoy long-distance endurance events such as running, swimming, or cycling.
- Hold Your Nose While Drinking It
You can at least hold your nose while gulping it down if all else fails.
Did you know your sense of smell accounts for 80% of what you taste?
Yes, it’s true.
The good news is that we may leverage this scientific truth to our advantage while consuming unpleasant-tasting beverages such as pre-workout drinks.
What To Never Mix With Your Pre-Workouts
Adding certain items to your pre-workout can adversely affect your performance and may not mix well with the intended benefits of the supplement. Here’s why you should avoid these specific items:
- Alcohol: Alcohol can lead to dehydration and impaired coordination, which are detrimental to a successful workout. It can also interfere with the absorption of nutrients your body needs for exercise.
- Sparkling Water: Carbonated beverages like sparkling water can cause bloating and discomfort during exercise. The bubbles may lead to a feeling of fullness, making it harder to engage in strenuous physical activity.
- Whole Fruits: While fruits are nutritious, consuming them in their whole form right before a workout might lead to digestive discomfort. The fiber in whole fruits can cause bloating or even cramps during exercise.
- Coca-Cola: This soda contains caffeine, which can lead to dehydration. Additionally, the high sugar content in Coca-Cola can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels followed by a crash, which is not conducive to sustained energy during a workout.
Pros and Cons of Making Pre-Workouts Taste Better
Making your pre-workout more appealing will motivate you to take it consistently, resulting in a more productive workout and faster weight reduction.
You may also ensure that it has no harmful effects on your body by using the appropriate amounts of natural sweeteners.
Furthermore, adding personal preferences will improve the taste, increase your energy level, or help you burn fat.
To complement its natural flavor, you’ll need to spend time and effort finding the perfect additives and conducting trial and error testing.
Furthermore, the process may jeopardize the supplement’s effectiveness because you may have yet to have all of the information and must change the ingredients as you go.
What Should Pre-Workouts Taste Like?
Many pre-workouts come in only a few tasty flavors. However, even if the product is beneficial, you may get something too sweet or bitter.
What makes pre-workout taste delicious? Amino acids such as alanine, glutamine, serine, threonine, and proline contribute to the sweet flavor of pre-workout.
Sugars or compounds that resemble sugary tastes, such as saccharin, sucralose, and other natural or artificial flavors, are also included in some pre-workouts (to mask the bitterness of other ingredients).
Related Article: Can You Take Pre-Workout While Pregnant?
It’s difficult to pinpoint why pre-workout taste is so bad. These components are frequently listed on the supplement information label as a “proprietary mix” and are not transparently revealed to consumers.
The most straightforward technique to improve your pre-workout taste is to identify the most prevalent flavor in the product. Then, you can select the appropriate ingredient.