Let me guess. You’ve taken a scoop of pre workout and feel pumped up to crush your workout. But just a couple minutes later, you’re experiencing the overwhelming urge to scratch your skin. Well, you’ve just come across one of the side effects of pre workout – The Pre Workout Itch! And you’re probably asking: ” how to get rid of the pre workout itch”.
Don’t worry, it’s completely normal. Most pre workout supplements contain a popular ingredient called beta alanine that helps enhance your performance by delaying muscle fatigue.
However, despite its performance benefits, beta-alanine is responsible for the annoying itchy and tingly feeling.
In this article, we will provide effective strategies to get rid of the pre workout itch so you can focus on your workout without any distractions.
But first, lets understand what beta-alanine is and what it’s actually doing in our body.
What is beta-alanine?
Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid that helps produce carnosine to buffer against pH decline for your muscles to maintain proper functioning.
What does this mean?
Well, when we exercise intensely, our body needs oxygen to break down glucose for energy. However, there may not be enough oxygen in the muscles to metabolize the glucose.
Hence lactate is made, which produces hydrogen ions (H+), to meet energy demands in the body.
The build of hydrogen ions is also the reason why you experience that “burn” feeling during high-intensity training.
These hydrogen ions are responsible in decreasing the pH levels in your muscles. This means making your muscles more acidic. As a result, your muscles can’t contract efficiently which leads to muscle fatigue.
That’s where beta-alanine comes in and acts as a buffer against the acid build up. This reduces muscle acidity during high-intensity training. In return, you are able to train harder for a longer period of time.
The cause for the pre workout itch – beta-alanine
Pre workout is a multi-ingredient formula that intends to boost energy and focus to maximize your performance during your workout. However, with beta-alanine as one of the more popular ingredients, it can cause the pre workout itch.
Beta-alanine is a beneficial ingredient that helps:
- Increase exercise capacity
- Increase muscle endurance
- Decrease muscle fatigue
- Improve performance in high intensity training (lasting one minute or more)
However, the side-effect of taking beta-alanine is that itchy or tingly feeling around the neck, face, and hands. This is called paresthesia.
More research needs to be done to understand why beta-alanine causes the itch. However, a recent 2017 study demonstrates that beta-alanine activates G-protein-coupled receptors are implicated in mechanosensation. The receptors transmit signals to the central nervous system which causes that itchy feeling.
Additionally, another study conducted in 2019 shows that “women and lighter individuals (< 75kg)” reported a stronger experience of paresthesia after taking beta-alanine.
Yes, the itchy feeling can be annoying for some but according to research, most people can tolerate it.
The research article states that the recommended dose of beta-alanine is 1.6 to 6.4 grams per day. To prevent the itchy feeling, you also might want to consider splitting the dose of beta – alanine if you are supplementing it.
Most of the pre workout supplements have 1.5 – 4 grams beta-alanine per serving. So, it’s not surprising that it causes the tingly feeling after finishing every set.
Another recent study states that it is safe to take 6.4 grams of beta-alanine per day for 4 weeks as a loading phase which is followed by a maintenance amount of 1.2 – 1.6 grams per day.
Hence, it is likely that you experience that itch but it is simply a harmless side-effect that is tolerable for most people.
However, is there a way to get rid of the ore workout itch?
4 effective ways to get rid of the pre workout itch
Now that we know the cause of the pre workout itch, how do we get rid of it? Here are 4 effective strategies to get rid of the pre workout itch so you can focus on your workout.
1. Reduce your beta-alanine dose
The simplest way to get rid of the pre workout itch is to reduce your pre workout dose. So, instead of having one serving, try half a serving.
Start by taking smaller doses of pre workout and observe if it’s making your feel itchy. Gradually work your way up until you find the right amount that gives you the focus and energy without making your skin burn.
2. Switch your pre workout
As we mentioned previously, beta-alanine is the cause of the pre workout itch. Unfortunately, most pre workout brands contain beta-alanine. So, if you’re sensitive to side-effects of paresthesia, you might want to consider switching your pre workout brand.
Choose one the has smaller beta-alanine content. Remember, most pre workouts contain 1.5- 5 grams of beta alanine, hence choose one on the lower spectrum.
Other key ingredients in pre workout that you need to look out for are:
- Nitric oxide boosters
Read our latest article on The 5 Best Pre Workout Supplements With Creatine (2023).
3. Apply Moisturizer
Pre workout itch can be extremely frustrating. You would have hoped that pre workout helps you train harder but it’s causing that irritating itchy and tingle feeling.
Well, to avoid it, try applying moisturizer to help sooth the skin and reduce inflammation. These skin creams help cool the skin which reduces the itchiness sensation.
Apply the cream 30-45 minutes before your workout and avoid scratching your skin during your workout.
4. Be patient!
The effect of the pre workout itch is not forever.
You’ll experience the itchy feeling 15 minutes after ingesting your pre workout. This pre workout itch can last anywhere between 30-60 minutes.
Sometime even more!
However, just be patient and focus on your workout. Overtime, you will get use to this feeling, and it won’t bother you as much.
Most pre workout supplements contain beta-alanine which is responsible for the pre workout itch. It’s a common harmless side-effect. However, by following the 4 simple strategies, you will be able to get rid of that pre workout itch and focus on your workout.
We hope this article helped you find a way to enjoy your pre workout by reducing the itchy and tingly feeling.
As always, stay Fit & Healthy and I will see you guys’ next week!