Does Pre-Workout Expire or Go Bad? How To Maximize Shelf Life

If you have an old tub of pre-workout you forgot about, you may be wondering: does pre-workout expire or go bad? Can you still consume it after its expiration date?

Yes, pre-workout does go bad like any other dietary supplement. If your pre-workout is beyond the use-by date printed on the package, it has expired! Thankfully, this supplement doesn't contain fat so generally you can still use it after expiration; however it will be less potent.

This is the answer in a nutshell. Keep reading if you want more information on:

  • The basics about pre-workout supplements
  • How to tell if your supplement has gone bad?
  • Is expired pre-workout safe?
  • Telltale signs that you should throw away your pre-workout

And more. Let's get started.

Pre-workout basics

Woman taking a scoop of pre-workout

Pre-workout is one of the three most popular supplements in bodybuilding, alongside protein powder and creatine. Its purpose is to help the athlete increase their performance, energy levels, and focus during workouts.

The above effects are attributed to the ingredients found in pre-workout.

And even though different brands will have different formulas and compounds, here is a list of the most common 5 ingredients you may find in your supplement:

  • Caffeine. Gives you a boost in energy, with effects lasting 1.5 to 9.5 hours. Depending on the supplement, you're looking at the caffeine equivalent of 1-3 coffees (100-300mg caffeine).
  • Beta-alanine. Delays muscle fatigue and gives that tingling sensation in your skin. Effects return to baseline within 3 hours of consumption.
  • L-Citrulline. Has the function of producing nitric oxide, a chemical which helps your blood vessels expand for better blood flow to the muscles. Effects last around 1.5 hours.
  • Creatine monohydrate. This substance is naturally produced and found in the body. However, a boost in creatine is proved to lead to more strength, reduced muscle damage, and muscle growth. Its effects start to wear off within 3 hours, however you can increase your muscle creatine levels with daily supplementation.
  • BCAAs. Branched-chain amino acids are three amino acids - leucine, isoleucine, and valine - which can be found in protein-rich foods. They are usually added to pre-workout formulas to reduce fatigue and better muscle development.

Most pre-workouts will have at least a few of these ingredients.

And since their effect is not immediate, it takes pre-workout about 1 hour to kick in, and around 3 hours before its effects start to wear off. So it's better that you take it about an hour before going to the gym.

Now that we are done with the basics, let's answer the question: does pre-workout expire?

Does pre-workout expire?

does pre-workout expire

Yes, similar to other dietary supplements, pre-workout expires. The best way to tell if your supplement is expired is to check the date listed on the package. If it's past that date, then it is indeed expired.

However, this is not necessarily a reason to worry, so don't throw it away just yet.

Supplements don't expire the way meat and other produce do. With supplements, different rules apply as far as expiration dates are concerned. The fact that the FDA doesn't require supplement manufacturers to list an expiration date is a testament to that.

First, let's understand how to interpret the dates listed on packages:

  • "Best by" date: the date by which the manufacturer guarantees the best quality. It doesn't have to do with safety but with quality only.
  • "Sell by" date: the latest date the product can be displayed for sale by the store. It doesn't have to do with safety but with inventory management.
  • "Use by" date: the last date you should consume the product. It has to do both with safety and quality, and if you're past this date you should consider throwing the product away.

Unless your pre-workout is over its "use by" date, you can consume it even though it has expired.

There is one downside to it, though. If you drink expired pre-workout, there is a fair chance that the formula is no longer as potent, so the effects may be weaker or even unnoticeable.

Does pre-workout go bad?

Yes, pre-workout goes bad, however it is very difficult to reach that state. Most supplements that go bad contain fat (even protein powder) which can get rancid when exposed to heat and light.

Here are the signs to look for if you suspect your pre-workout has gone bad.

How to tell if your pre-workout has gone bad

  • Foul smell. Usually, the smell of pre-workout is very pleasant. If the smell changed to even remotely unpleasant, throw the product away.
  • Change in color. There is only one culprit responsible for a change in color: mold. As soon as you see that, you have to throw the supplement out.
  • Clumping. A bit of clumping is normal with most powdered supplements. However, if you start to notice heavy clumping, like those huge clumps, that is a sign that moisture entered the tub and mold may follow.

So let's imagine your pre-workout has gone bad and you ended up throwing it away.

You then get yourself a new tub of brand-new pre-workout. What do you do to prevent it from going bad this time around? Easy.

How to prevent your pre-workout from going bad

  • Keep in a cool and dry place. Powders should be kept away from sunlight and in a cool and dry place, away from moisture. The kitchen pantry is a good place to store your powdered supplements.
  • Keep the anti-moisture packet in the tub. I know, that little packet can be annoying when you want to just grab a scoop of powder and go. However, keeping it in the tub will go a long way in keeping your pre-workout moisture-free.
  • Close the lid properly. Double check that your screw top is properly closed at all times. Remember that moisture is the biggest threat to your pre-workout, and a lightly sealed tub is a surefire way to get moisture inside.

If you follow these 3 simple guidelines, you will be able to enjoy your supplement for months on end, without having to worry about it going bad.


So, does pre-workout expire? Yes, it does.

However, that is not a reason for concern. As long as you keep your supplement away from moisture and you don't notice anything funky with it, you should be able to consume it past its expiration date.

Proper storage plays an important role in keeping your pre-workout from going bad. If you fail to do so and moisture reaches inside the tub, then you may have to throw your supplement out even before its expiration date.

If you follow the above guidelines though, you should be good.

Over to you.