So, you’re looking to boost your gains in the gym, yet when it comes to the decision pre workout pills vs powder, you aren’t sure which route to take.
I’ve hit the nail right on the head, yes?
It’s no secret, these kinds of supplements provide amazing benefits toward your training—they’re a phenomenal aid that will boost your workouts to the next level —fast, providing you find one that works.
Pre workout capsules, pills or powder all have their good and bad points, but is there an outright winner?
This article has the answer.
To find out, I’ve played off pre workout pills vs powder, in an extreme comparison. I’ve argued the fors and againsts, to give you the deal on both sides of the fence.
Plus—who has the edge.
Pre Workout Pills
First up in the pre workout pills vs powder face off, it’s the pills.
Before we get started, here’s a quick roundup:
- Heavy emphasis on stimulants.
- Can’t tailor your dosage to your requirements.
- Pills contain lower dosages.
- The timing could prove tricky to gauge.
- Can be super difficult to swallow.
Now, let’s go into a little more detail:
Are you the type who likes to cram in their training sessions directly from the office?
This is where pre workout pills vs powder are no contest—pills win.
You see, the thing is pills are just so easy to carry around with you. There’s no fussing around with shakers and powders to premix at work. You just pop the tub of pills in your kit bag, and take one on your way to the gym!
Due to the nature of pre workout pills, it can be difficult to squeeze in the adequate quantities of some favorite performance-boosting ingredients—like citrulline and creatine; these guys need generous levels to be effective.
What do they do instead?
Well, stimulants—like caffeine—are efficacious in smaller doses than the aforementioned ingredients. This means that, to compensate, these pills are packed high with these kinds of compounds instead.
Space Is a Premium
As we’ve seen, many of our top pre workout ingredients, are more effective in greater quantities. For example, you need a minimum of 5 grams for creatine to be in the window of opportunity.
The issue is.
Pills just don’t have the capacity—if they were any bigger, they’d be impossible to get down. Now you could argue, why not just double the number of pills per serving?
In theory, this all sounds simple. But in practice, some pre workout pills already suggest taking four capsules per serving, with a total of just under 4 grams—that’s for all compounds. Do you really want to be taking more?
I didn’t think so.
Tough to Swallow
Can I ask you a personal question?
Have you ever had any experience with suppositories? Well, these uber-large capsules get shoved up your butt to treat issues like constipation or hemorrhoids.
Here’s the thing.
These super-sized capsules are what I would compare the scale of pre workout pills to—they’re big. Taking these pills requires a technique—there’s nothing worse than getting them stuck in your throat on the way down.
Now, for some people, this won’t pose any issues. However, if you just can’t stand taking pills—this could be enough to dissuade you. 1
Can’t Tailor Your Dosage
Pre workout powders are great, as you can actually mix-and-match different powders to suit your needs. With pills, this just isn’t the case.
Want to know something else?
If you want to create a stack with a pill, you’ll most likely have to take a powder supplement alongside it anyway—which kind of defeats the object.
Timing Can Be Tricky
Due to the uncertainty in absorbability of pre workout pills vs powder, it can be tricky to know when exactly to take them.
Why? Well, they absorb slower into the bloodstream than powders. 2
Which brings me nicely onto my next question.
When Should I Take My Pre Workout Pills?
You might be thinking, it’s an obvious question. After all, the name is a dead giveaway—pre workout pills should be taken before your workout.
So, in this regard, you are correct.
In all honesty, though, due to the way pre workout pills vs powder are built, it can be difficult to tell how long beforehand you should take them.
Pre workout capsules are usually coated, which means they won’t start to break down until they hit the stomach—leading to a slight delay on entering the bloodstream. Now, depending on what or whether you have just eaten, this could also have an impact—even your digestive juices can play a part. 3
Because of this, the optimum time to take them is obscure, and you may be left without the energy and other pre workout benefits needed to begin your workout.
So what’s the solution?
Well, most pills claim to dissolve within 30 minutes of taking them, but we would suggest taking them 45 minutes to an hour before your workout. In doing so, you can ensure the effects kick in just when you need them. 4
Pre Workout Powder
If pills aren’t the one for you, there is always the other option of taking a pre workout powder.
Want to hear more?
A pre workout powder is, you guessed it, a powdered supplement which you mix with water, or other liquids, to create a pre workout shake. Every manufacturer has their own signature formulation, some work and others are not so effective.
You get the idea, right?
When comparing pre workout pills vs powder what elements of a pre workout powder are far superior or inferior?
- You can create your own.
- Absorbs faster into your bloodstream.
- Larger, more effective dosages.
- Offers flexibility.
- Wide choice of flavors.
- Easy to swallow.
- More expensive than pills.
Make Your Own Pre Workout
As we’ve already seen, powdered supplements are super easy to tailor to your own needs.
Let me elaborate:
A pre workout powder is a pre-dosed and pre-prepared mix. However, there are many powders out there offered as a standalone supplement, like BCAAs, caffeine, creatine, citrulline, and beta-alanine, among others. This gives you the advantage of creating a stack to make your own formula with said compounds.
If you feel you need a bigger pump—add in some more citrulline, or if the burn is getting to your performance—top up with some beta-alanine.
Pills are often too small to pack in all the best compounds.
So, what sets pre workout pills vs powder apart?
Well, with powders, it’s not all packed into a tiny capsule, so the ingredients are dosed better—they will also be stronger. What’s more, you’re not just receiving a large helping of stimulants into the system—you’re getting a decent balance of pre workout ingredients to keep your body on an all-out charge.
It’s All About the Taste
Now there was a time when pre workouts—or any kind of “shake” supplement—used to taste more like cough medicine and taking it resembled chugging down sand.
Well, those days have long since vanished and, thankfully, things have changed for the better. Now you can find more than just “Orange Burst” and “Tropical Punch” to choose from. Obviously there are a few which require a cast iron palate, but, on the whole, the taste mirrors the flavor.
Absorbs Faster Into Bloodstream
Without the hindrance of a capsule that pills are encased in, powders can just get down to business—meaning they are fast-acting. This way, it’s much easier to judge when to take a powder formula than pop a pill.
When Should I Take My Pre Workout Powder?
This question is more straightforward than it was for pre workout pills.
As we’ve just discussed—a pre workout powder absorbs into the bloodstream a lot faster. This means taking it around 30 minutes prior to your workout should be optimal timing.
Pre Workout Pills vs powder: Who’s the Winner?
So, what’s the final verdict between pre workout pills vs powder?
We have to give pre workout pills credit where it’s due. They’re super easy to pop in a bag, or even your pocket, making them great to take to the gym with you.
That said, pre workout pills might be practical, but they aren’t as versatile as powders.
Powdered supplements can easily be mixed and matched to create all sorts of effective stacks. What’s more, each dose is also higher in quantity than pills—of which size can restrict optimal dosages.
Although powders can be a little more expensive than pills—they’re usually more effective anyway, which means better value.
So I guess we have a clear winner in the battle of pre workout pills vs powder.
Pre workout powder takes the prize.
Supplements That Are Usually Not Effective in Pill Form
Supplements That Are Usually More Effective in Pill Form
Pre Workout Pills vs Powder Summary
As we’ve seen, in the above comparison, there is no contest in the pre workout capsules vs powder debate—pre workout powder is an unequivocal leader.
And it’s not difficult to see why.
They’re effective, fast-acting, versatile, and you will get more of what you need, scoop for scoop, to power through those sessions.
In comparison, pre workout pills just don’t hold up.
Granted, pills have their place with certain supplements, yet it’s clear a pre workout is not one of them.