Pre-workout Or Energy Drinks: Choose The Right One

energy drink

Our body needs quick energy revival and rehydration while on continuous workout sessions. Recharging the body and replenishing energy stores require much more than just plain water, especially if you are into heavy strenuous workouts.

Pre-workout drinks and energy drinks are two kinds of drinks that help gain the energy stores back and replenish the lost fluid and electrolytes quickly.

However, these two are used interchangeably very often. Both these beverages provide an energy boost and enhance performance and thus, they are considered quite similar.

Pre-workout drinks vs energy drinks- What to choose and why? This article will be your guide to resolve this dilemma.

Pre-workout drinks

Pre-workouts are basically dietary formulas that contain a mix of ingredients that boosts energy and improves athletic performance.

They are mostly available in powdered form and once can mix it with water and gulp down before the workout session.

Pre-workout drinks contain important ingredients that aid in boosting energy and fueling the body. The major and compulsory ingredients present in a pre-workout drink are-

  1. Amino acids
  2. Caffeine
  3. Creatine
  4. B complex vitamins
  5. Artificial sweeteners

Pre-workout drinks are quite beneficial in increasing energy and strength. They are claimed to improve focus and concentration and also enhance endurance.

Energy drinks

Energy drinks are beverages that provide you with energy, mostly as a result of caffeine, an ingredient with the highest concentration in every energy drink. It is a kind of stimulant that delays fatigue and enhances mental function and alertness.

Energy drinks also contain high amounts of sugars, many vitamins, and amino acid derivatives, and certain herbal extracts. The caffeine, after gulping down the energy drink , takes about 45 minutes to absorb in the body and then starts showing its effects.

Energy drinks are the major energy-fueling drinks. They also help in enhancing brain function and make you feel refreshed by maintaining your hydration levels.

Pre-workout vs energy drinks: What’s the difference?

  1. Energy drinks provide you a quick energy boost during or after your workout whereas pre-workout drinks mainly make yours during workout sessions more effective.
  2. Pre-workout supplements often have specific ingredients designed to help you get through the pain, and build more muscle like L-Citrulline which increases blood flow.
  3. In energy drinks, the high caffeine content is what makes the difference. If the amount is too high, there are high chances of you crashing down way too soon.
  4. Pre-workouts have ingredients in grams level doses unlike energy drinks which contain milligram doses.

What to choose between the two?

If we talk about energy drinks, one can contain around 27 grams of sugar per serving which is already beyond the limits for women and just on the threshold for men.

Thus, they can prove harmful by causing sudden insulin spikes resulting in early exhaustion just after an hour of your workout.

Safe caffeine intake limit is taken as 400 mg for healthy adults, according to the FDA. Unfortunately, many commercially sold energy drinks contain caffeine content much higher than this limit.

Since energy drinks are solely dependent on the sugar and caffeine content to show effects, the nutritional value in them is comparatively less.

Pre-workouts, on the other hand, can be modified by adding or eliminating different ingredients depending upon different body requirements.

Pre-workouts contain water, sodium, sugars, and sometimes potassium in proportions that help the body absorb fluids and electrolytes lost in sweat and breath while exercising. Thus, they are naturally a good substitute for balancing body hydration as well.

However, pre-workouts can also cause harmful effects on the body if consumed in excess so moderation is the key here, especially being cautious with the sugar and caffeine amount.

Well, energy drinks can be consumed before, during, or after your workout session, keeping in mind the amount you are gulping down.

It is best advised to not consume large amounts of energy drinks in one go. Instead, go slow and start with less amounts and then keep on increasing as your body gets habitual to the caffeine.

Also, prefer sugar-free and less-caffeine-oriented energy drinks if you wish to sustain your energy for a longer time.

Different energy drinks have varying proportions of ingredients in them so choose wisely in terms of the ingredient choices.

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Observe your body type and capacity to hold on to these drinks and then choose the right one for you. In case you are not into commercial drinks, you can also make your own homemade natural energy drinks.


Both energy drinks and pre-workouts are beneficial when consumed in moderation. Excess of either can be detrimental for the body.

Overall, pre-workouts vs energy drink results with a win-win and the choice depends on many factors being taken into consideration before you make the choice.

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