Home Nutrition Why Pre Workout Makes You Poop (The REAL Reasons)

Why Pre Workout Makes You Poop (The REAL Reasons)

Written by Jenoye Campbell, LPN

It’s gym day and you get prepared for the intense workout session ahead by taking a pre-work supplement.

But at some point, maybe before, during, or after your exercise session, you begin to have a familiar urge associated with your bowel movements.

This happens to almost everyone who uses pre-workout supplements and may be considered somewhat a natural phenomenon of most pre-workout supplements.

However, with every occurrence, we’re sure you can’t help but wonder why a pre-workout makes you want to poop.

Does it just go right through your system?

If so, then how does it help with increasing physical performance and energy levels for your workouts?

In this article, we’ll answer those questions, as we explore the reason pre-workout supplements stimulate bowel movements.

Does Anybody Get Pre-Workout Poops?

What is a Pre-workout Supplement?

Before we go any further, let’s take a quick look back at what a pre-workout actually is.

People who are part of the fitness community must know what a pre-workout supplement is.

But for those who don’t, a pre-workout is a dietary supplement or energy drink that enhances your energy (gives you an energy boost), focus, exercise performance, and work capacity so that you can ace at the gym.

Pre-workout supplements are formulated with ingredients that dilate your blood vessels.

This dilation will then cause your muscles to have efficient blood flow throughout your workout or enhance athletic performance.

Pre-workouts also help to reduce or delay muscle fatigue and build muscle mass.

A pre-workout supplement ingredients list typically includes caffeine and other stimulants.

Caffeine stimulates energy and can aid in boosting your strength levels and achieving your fitness goals.

A Healthy Bowel Movement & What Affects It

Some persons believe that having a bowel movement due to consuming a pre-workout supplement is unhealthy.

However, though it may not be a timely bowel movement, that does not determine that it is harmful.

Additionally, there is nothing set in stone or science to dictate how many times per day is an acceptable number of times for a person to poop.

The closest piece of information to that rule is that anywhere from three times a day to three times a week is normal, as it depends on the individual.

Several determinants can impact how frequently and how you poop.

These may include:

1) Diet

Consuming foods, such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and supplements add bulk to your stool and will encourage bowel movements.

Both the soluble and insoluble fiber in these foods help you to poop regularly.

Also, drinking an adequate amount of fluids each day can also help soften your stool for easier excretion.

People who are lactose intolerant will also have almost an immediate bowel reaction after eating.

2) Activity Level

Being inactive will slow your bowel movements and even cause constipation, whereas being physically active promotes healthy and regular stool passage.

3) Age

As we age, constipation is more likely to occur for a number of reasons like slowed gut motility and medication side effects.

4) Health Status

Certain illnesses, especially those affecting the digestive system, can significantly impact your ability to pass stool.

5) Bacteria

If you consume unclean food, then you can become sick and have diarrhea, which causes you to have a loose or watery stool.

This causes a change in your stool pattern.

Does Pre-Workout Make you Poop?

After having your pre-workout shake or pill, the urge you get to have a bowel movement is said to be linked primarily to specific ingredients in the pre-workout.

These components act on certain areas within the gut to stimulate the need to pass stool.

The intense workouts of your abdominal muscles during workouts boost your metabolism and contribute to your need to poop.

Some of these ingredients include caffeine, artificial sweeteners, lactose, and magnesium. Most pre-workouts contain laxative bases, which is one reason for unexpected bathroom breaks during an exercise session.

Some laxatives you may find in your pre-workouts are magnesium salts, magnesium nitrate, magnesium citrate, etc.

We will look a bit closer at each of these to see how exactly that can interact with your colon walls and proper bowel movement.

1) Caffeine

Caffeine is commonly used in pre-workout supplements because of its many performance-enhancing benefits, such as interacting with the nervous system to promote improved focus and alertness.

It can also enhance energy levels.

The caffeine content in some pre-workouts may be similar to that of caffeinated coffee or energy drinks and can increase the blood pressure or cause heart palpitations if too much is ingested.

When you consume pre-work supplements that contain caffeine, not only does it cause your stomach to release excess but it also stimulates gut motility.

This means it can significantly increase the contractions of the muscles that are responsible for propelling the contents within your stomach, small intestines, and colon.

For this reason, along with the fact that you are physically active, you may experience its stimulating effect, and the pre-workout supplement makes you want to have a bowel movement.

If you consume a large quantity, it can cause you to become dehydrated due to diarrhea or watery stools.

Caffeine may also increase urine production and output.

Some of the best pre-workout supplements use caffeine.

2) Artificial Sweeteners

An artificial sweetener is a synthetic sugar substitute.

But they may be derived from natural substances, including herbs or sugar itself.

Many, but not all pre-workout supplements contain artificial sweeteners, which typically may not negatively affect your bowel movements.

However, its impact is dependent on the amount in each serving and the number of servings you had.

Artificial sweeteners may not be best for a healthy lifestyle since they are typically much sweeter than real sugar.

Such supplements with artificial sweeteners can contribute to increased body weight like sodas and other sugary drinks do. The bacteria within the gut struggle to break down artificial sweeteners, as such, they take a long time to digest.

In turn, this results in the production of methane and carbon dioxide, causing digestive discomfort.

The undigested sweetener absorbs water and causes water retention in an osmotic effect.

When this occurs, the ill effects on the body may include bloating and an urge to have a bowel movement.

It is essential that you only the recommended dose, especially if you have underlying health conditions or digestive issues.

This will help you avoid an emergency trip to the bathroom and more bowel movements.

3) Lactose

Some pre-workout supplements contain lactose, which many people are unable to properly digest.

If you are lactose intolerant but consume a pre-workout supplement with lactose, then it’s likely that you will experience loose tools and irregular bowel sounds and movement.

With lactose intolerance, you are unable to completely digest the sugar (lactose) in milk.

Therefore, you experience bloating, diarrhea, and gas shortly after eating or drinking dairy products, such as milk and cheese.

Even if you need more energy, never take high doses, in fact, in this case, you should avoid having even a small dose of any pre-workout supplement with lactose content.

4) Magnesium

Small amounts of magnesium in your pre-workout supplements aid with strengthening and stimulating the body.

Magnesium uses an osmotic effect to draw water into the intestines and It is also instrumental in interacting with nitric oxide in muscle function, heart rhythm, blood pressure, and immune system functioning.

As an osmotic laxative, magnesium causes water to increase within the bowel, resulting in the arousal of gut motility.

The excess water entering the intestines also doubles the stool size and softens it.

When this occurs, you will develop the urge for bowel movements.

Also Check Out: Transparent Labs Pre-Workout Review – PreSeries BULK

Alternatives to Pre-workouts

If you want to avoid the pooping effects associated with pre-workouts, these natural alternatives can be very helpful:

  • warm-up to get your body in the frame to take on a more intense workout
  • mentally prepare for your sessions
  • regularly practice strength and cardiovascular exercises
  • drink adequate water and get quality rest
  • maintain a healthy diet, so that means no junk food, refined sugar, excess saturated oils, and processed foods. Also, eat lots of vegetables and protein to boost your muscle strength

Here are some pre-workout supplements that may not make you poop:

Final Thoughts

For many, having a pre-workout supplement is essential, as it helps them to move through their workout session, especially for high-intensity exercises without being easily fatigued.

Pre-workouts can also aid mental focus by interacting with the brain and nervous system and defer weight gain.

However, pre-workout supplements must be used responsibly and as recommended.

We encourage you to work with a qualified health trainer even if you are a healthy adult.

Each person’s body reacts differently and research shows that while some persons who consume caffeine may experience headaches, increased blood pressure, and unexpected bowel movements, others may not.

Since you are interested in pre-workout supplements it shows an interest in health and wellness, therefore, to ensure you take care of your overall health, watch your diet by choosing a supplement with low sugar and find caffeine-free alternatives if necessary.

Remember, with proper food intake and practicing a regular exercise routine, you can maintain homeostasis so don’t ruin it with unhealthy pre-workout practices.

If you are using pre-workout supplements to boost your energy and get through gym, pay keen attention to their content.

It is best to select the ones that are caffeine-free and naturally sweetened.

If those are outside of your price range, opt for those with low caffeine and artificial sweetener content.

Also Read: How Long Do Pre-Workout Supplements Last?

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