If you’re searching this question you’ve probably got some old pre-workout tubs sitting in your cupboard don’t you?
No worries, it happens to all of us, we get things that we forget about or can’t consume in a short period of time and before you know it, they’ve been in there for a year and now you’re not sure if your pre-workout has gone bad or if it will still get the job done.
To answer the immediate question of if pre-workout powders can go bad the answer depends on how you define “bad”.
Your pre-workout can clump up a bit because of humidity but that doesn’t necessarily mean it has expired, it just means it’ll require a little extra mixing to break up the clumps.
Is your pre-workout gone from powdered form to a solid mass? Has it changed color or worse yet, smell? If the answer to any of these is “yes” then perhaps it’s time drop some coin on a fresh tub.
The fact of the matter is, pre-workout companies put expiration dates on their products for a reason and it’s best to head the manufacturers suggested use dates.
With that said, since pre-workouts are made of different ingredients, it’s worth breaking them down one-by-one because they all expire or go bad at different paces and depending on what’s inside your pre-workout you may be able to use it longer or shorter than others.
For example, in my cupboard I have a tub of 4-Gauge, GAT Nitraflex, Performance Lab Sport, Naked Energy & Naked Recovery, Testo-Fuel, and Optimum Nutrition’s micronized creatine.
|Product Name||Is it expired?||By how much?||Do I still take it?||Does it appear intact?||Is it still effective??|
|O.N Creatine||Yes||2 years||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Performance Lab Sport||Yes||2 years||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Testo Fuel||Yes||1 Year||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Naked Energy||No||N/A||Yes||Yes (but clumps)||Yes|
|GAT Nitraflex||No||N/A||Yes (sparingly)||Yes||Yes|
As you can see, almost half of my supplements are technically expired. This is due to multiple reasons, some of them I’ve just had forever and take sparingly (like Nitraflex) and others are recent additions (like the Naked Energy/Recovery products).
The thing is every single supplement had an expiration date printed on it, except for the 4 Gauge, which could have had it on the box which I no longer have.
I’ve been ignoring these expiration dates and taking these supplements on a regular basis and haven’t experienced any obvious setbacks. Granted, I am NOT a trained medical professional nor can I see inside my guts but based off my feeling and my workout quality I can confidently say consuming some pre-workouts within 1-2 years of the expiration date has worked just fine for me.
Below we break down your pre-workout ingredients one-by-one and let you know if they go bad and if so, approximately how long it takes.
After that we’ll give you some advice on how to maximize the longevity of your pre-workout and how to prevent it from spoiling in the first place.
Pre-workout and Active Ingredient Expiration Guide
Does Beta-alanine expire?
Being a completely dried water soluble amino acid beta alanine can be kept for years if it’s kept in a cool dry space, however every year past the expiration date the aminos will very slowly degrade, so the older it is the less impact it will likely have.
How long can BCAA’s last?
The lifespan of BCAAs will depend on their form. Dried powder capsules will last the longest because of the extra protection the capsule provides. Dried loose powder will last 2+ years past its expiration date if stored in a cool dry place.
Liquid BCAA’s like drinks however have significantly shorter lifespans because of the moisture content and should be consumed within manufacturer suggested time periods.
Does creatine expire?
If stored in a cool dry place and if it’s the dried powder form creatine monohydrate and other dried variants can last up to 3 years past their printed expiration date.
Does caffeine go bad?
If the caffeine is in liquid or partially-moist form then it will expire faster than if it is in a dried soluble powder or tablet/capsule form which can last 5+ years easily if stored properly
Can L-Citrulline spoil?
You can use l-citrulline for upwards of 2+ years after expiration but beyond that the degradation will start to render it less effective. Citrulline is quite moisture sensitive so it’s likely it will clump into an unusable chunk before it loses it’s chemical effectiveness as an amino acid.
How long does pre-workout last if unopened?
Pre-workouts can last upwards of 4 years past their expiration date if they are kept completely sealed off from light, air, and extremely high or low temperatures.
How long does pre-workout last if already opened?
It will likely last a year or so past the printed expiration although once opened the dry powders will slowly absorb moisture from the air which will lead to clumping and degradation of the active components, rendering it ineffective.
How to store pre-workout so it doesn’t go bad?
If you have ordered multiple tubs then only open them when you know you can consume the entire tub in the manufacturers stated freshness range. Keep lids on all the time and make sure they are tightly sealed.
Ensure the pre-workout is in a dark place away from sunlight and is kept at a cool temperature, ideally between 50-65 degrees, to maximize the longevity and stability of the mixture.
How do you know if pre-workout has gone bad?
First look at the printed expiration date on the bottom or lid of the jar. Officially this is the “bad” date, although most dry pre-workouts can be consumed 1-2 years beyond the printed expiration dates.
Like all foods, you can judge your pre-workout “bad” if it changes color, smell, or consistency significantly over when you first purchased it.
Is clumpy pre-workout bad?
Potentially, however if it hasn’t changed color or smell and it’s within a few years of the manufacturers stated expiration date then it’s probably fine. The clumping is a result of the super-dry powders contained within slowly absorbing moisture out of the air.
Why is my pre-workout brown?
If it is not expired it may be due to the lack of artificial colors or flavors as many all natural organic pre-workouts have slightly colored powders. If your pre-workout started one color and then became brown it’s definitely gone bad and should be disposed of.
Why is my pre-workout sticky?
Your pre-workout is sticky because some of the once dry ingredients, like L-citrulline or other amino acids have been exposed to moisture and have re-hydrated.
Since your pre-workout ingredients are all water solable any exposure to moist air will slowly degrade their consistency and make them more sticky and harder over time.
Skinny Yoked Bottom Line
At the end of the day the surefire most fool-proof way to consume sports supplements like pre-workouts is to consume them within the manufacturers suggested time range printed either on the top cap or the bottom of the bottle.
CAN you get away with consuming pre-workouts after their expiration date? Yeah probably. The only thing is it’s hard to know if ALL of the key ingredients are still active and if they’re working at 100% designed capacity.
So, if you’ve got some tubs in your cupboard and they have been stored in a cool dry place the whole time and haven’t changed colors or smell, then they’re probably fine.
That said, if you see expired products at the supplement store we’d recommend avoiding them because you don’t know how they were stored and the storage conditions can have a massive impact on the final integrity of the key compounds contained within.