Pre-workout can go bad. In most cases, pre-workout is safe to use up until the expiration date, but sometimes environmental conditions or poor storage can cause mold, a foul smell, or poorly mixed pre-workout shakes. Never use pre-workout that is past its expiration date, has become moldy, or smells bad. While clumpy pre-workout can be a sign of spoilage, this isn’t always the case. Take a closer look and see if you can salvage that hardened pre-workout.
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Can Old Pre-Workout Make You Sick?
Consuming expired or spoiled pre-workout can cause upset stomach, gas, nausea, and even vomiting. Even worse, if there are mold spores present in your pre-workout, consuming the supplement could trigger an allergic reaction. This may manifest as irritation of the throat and eyes, chest tightness, and difficulty breathing.
- Using pre-workout that has expired or gone bad can make you sick.
- The most common side effects are upset stomach and gas.
- Mold present in pre-workout may cause an allergic reaction in some individuals.
Rather than risk stomach pain and discomfort—or worse—check the expiration date on your pre-workout. If it’s past the date, throw it out. You’re better off safe than sorry.
5 Signs Your Pre-Workout Has Gone Bad
What are the warning signs that your pre-workout supplement is no longer safe to consume? It’s a good idea to take a moment to check the status of your pre-workout periodically, especially if you’ve had it on the shelf for more than a couple of months. Here’s what to look for when determining if your pre-workout has spoiled:
It’s Passed its Expiration Date
There’s no question: if your pre-workout is past the “use by” date on the canister, it’s no longer good. Rather than take the risk, toss it out. When buying pre-workout in the future, opt for a size that you will use within 2–3 months. This is the effective window for most pre-workouts after they’ve been opened.
There’s Visible Mold
Take a close look into the canister in an area with good lighting. Is there a speckling of green, blue, or black spots forming in your pre-workout? This is evidence of mold. Rather than risk sickness by mixing a moldy supplement into your shake, get rid of it.
It Smells Bad
A spoiled or “rotten” smell is a key indicator that your pre-workout is no longer safe to use. Even if there are no visible signs, a shift in smell indicates the presence of mold. If you use bad-smelling pre-workout, you’re nearly guaranteed to face some very unpleasant stomach and gas symptoms, at the very least.
Your Shakes Don’t Mix Well
A pre-workout shake that maintains a gritty or slurry consistency when blended may be an indicator that your pre-workout has gone bad. If your shake turns out differently than usual, check for the previous signs on this list. While a change in consistency doesn’t always mean your pre-workout has spoiled, it’s definitely a sign that you need to take a closer look.
There are Clumps
Clumpy pre-workout is caused by the powder absorbing moisture. This is potentially bad because moisture-plus-pre-workout in a sealed container creates the ideal conditions for mold to form. Clumpy pre-workout isn’t always spoiled, but it’s definitely worth inspection if your pre-workout begins to form clumps. Check the expiration date and inspect for the signs and scent of mold before you proceed. If it’s moldy and clumped, throw it out.
Is Pre-Workout Still Good if it Clumps?
Clumpy pre-workout may still be safe to use. If you begin to notice rock-like clumps in your pre-workout supplements, inspect it thoroughly. Is it past its expiration date? Do you see mold forming on the powder? Does it smell spoiled? If any of the above apply, throw it away. If not, you can use it.
- Clumpy pre-workout may still be safe or it may have spoiled.
- If it’s past the expiration date, has mold growing on it, or smells sour/spoiled, your pre-workout has gone bad and should be discarded.
- If it is not past the expiration date and shows no other signs of going bad, clumpy pre-workout is still good.
If your clumpy pre-workout doesn’t exhibit any other signs of spoilage, odds are it’s still safe to use. You can even return it to its un-clumped state to make mixing your shakes easy again.
How Do You Fix Clumped Pre-Workout?
Clumpy pre-workout that hasn’t gone bad can still result in gritty, lumpy pre-workout drinks. Don’t worry, you can return your supplements to powder form and get back on track. Just try these methods:
If you have a blender or food processor, pour your clumpy pre-workout into the blender and run it through a cycle. The blender blades will make quick work of any clumps. Then, you can return your pre-workout to its original bottle and continue to use it as normal.
Do blender bottles really work to break up clumpy pre-workout? They sure do. The wire blender ball inside your cup will work like a whisk, breaking clumps down into powder form. Then, the blender ball will mix your pre-workout with your liquid of choice as you shake. Just make sure to add the liquid first, followed by the powder, to prevent powder buildup in the corners of the cup.
If your pre-workout has formed small clumps, you can break it down with just a spoon and cup. First, measure out the desired amount of powder. Then, pour the powder into a cup, along with a small amount of water. Use the back of a spoon to crush the powder clumps and make a paste with the pre-workout. After this, you can add more liquid and mix your shake as usual.
Leave or Add a Silica Packet
Some pre-workout products are prone to clumping. To prevent this, some manufacturers include a packet of silica gel in the bottle with the powder. If this is present, leave it in the bottle to absorb moisture and keep your powder clump-free. If your pre-workout powder doesn’t have one of these packets, consider saving any silica packets included in the packaging of other products you buy. Toss them into your pre-workout bottle to stop clumps from forming.
The best cure for clumps is prevention. To keep your pre-workout from becoming riddled with clumps, close the lid tightly immediately after you scoop out what you need. Keep the open canister away from sources of moisture, such as the sink, and do not mix liquids and powder near an open pre-workout canister. Finally, store your pre-workout in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight.
How Long Does Pre-Workout Stay Good For?
Most pre-workout powders remain safe for use until their expiration date, or about 8–12 weeks after the canister’s seal has been broken. Here’s a quick cheat sheet:
- Sealed pre-workout: Good until expiration date.
- Open pre-workout: Good for 8–12 weeks or until expiration date (whichever comes first).
- Mixed Pre-Workout: 12–24 hours.
If you’ve mixed a pre-workout shake, keep it refrigerated and plan to drink it soon after mixing. Adding water to pre-workout accelerates the rate at which it can go bad.