Pre-workouts are one of the most common supplements. They’re used by bodybuilders, athletes, and those looking to maximize their workout because they can give a much-needed boost during a workout.
Pre-workouts come in different forms, including drinks, powders, and tablets. The most common type is a powder that’s usually in a big tub.
With this form of pre-workout, a lot of people find that the powder starts to clump together over time. This is because pre-workout contains ingredients that attract and retain water, also known as being ‘hygroscopic’.
Hygroscopic ingredients include glycerol, l-carnitine, and citrulline, all of which are popular in pre-workout.
So if your pre-workout contains ingredients that cause it to become clumpy, what can you do to fix it? And is it still ok to use clumpy pre-workout? In the next sections, I’ve answered these questions.
Is Clumpy Pre-workout Bad?
Clumpy pre-workout doesn’t mean it has gone bad. Clumping happens because ingredients in the product attract and retain water. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the ingredients have gone off or that your pre-workout is unsafe or ineffective to use.
Clumpy pre-workout doesn’t look good. It can also be hard to work with.
If you don’t break your pre-workout back into a powder form before trying to mix it then you can end up struggling to measure out the right serving size and it can have a bad texture when you try to drink it.
Getting the right serving size is important as you don’t want to go over the recommended amount, which can have serious health consequences, but you also don’t want to underserve it as you won’t feel the full effects.
The good news though is that just because clumpy pre-workout doesn’t look good, it doesn’t mean that it has gone bad.
As I mentioned before, clumping simply happens because ingredients within the pre-workout are hygroscopic.
This means that they take in water from the air around them and retain these water molecules. So clumping occurs when the powder has absorbed moisture from the air as this changes the structure of the powder.
Fortunately, this process doesn’t negatively affect the quality of the pre-workout and doesn’t mean that it will be any less effective as a pre-workout.
Some people also worry that clumpy pre-workout isn’t safe to use. However, clumping alone doesn’t indicate that pre-workout has gone bad and clumpy pre-workout should still be safe to consume.
So the bottom line is that clumping doesn’t mean your pre-workout has gone bad. If your pre-workout is clumpy it should still be safe and effective for you to use.
Does Pre-workout Work if It’s Clumpy?
Pre-workout should still work even if it’s clumpy. Clumping doesn’t necessarily mean it’s gone off so it should be safe and effective to use. However, you should try to get rid of the clumps before using it, so that you can weigh it out accurately.
How Do You Unclump a Pre-workout?
There are different ways to unclump a pre-workout. For bigger pieces, you should try to break them apart using a spoon or a fork. Once the bigger pieces are a more manageable size you can get them back into a powder form by blending them. This will make your pre-workout easier to use and weigh out.
To expand on this some more, the best way of unclumping your pre-workout will depend on the size of the clumps.
If they’re big then I’d recommend first trying to break them into smaller pieces using a spoon or a fork. Once they’re a more manageable size then put all of the pre-workout you want to use into a blender and blend it.
The reason I suggest breaking up bigger pieces first is so that it’s easier on your blender.
Blending your pre-workout clumps should get it back into its original powder form. So this is a quick and effective way of unclumping your pre-workout.
However, if you don’t have a blender you can use a whisk or a fork to break up the clumps. The only downside with this is that it will probably take longer than using a blender and requires more effort.
You should also check out this video on how to fix clumpy pre-workout for some tips:
There are also plenty of things you can do to prevent pre-workout from getting clumpy in the future, which I’ve explained in the next section.
How to Prevent Pre-workout From Clumping
To prevent pre-workout from becoming clumpy there are different things that you can do. For example, keeping the silica gel packet in your pre-workout tub, regularly mixing and stirring your pre-workout powder, and ensuring your pre-workout is stored properly should prevent it from clumping.
Silica Gel Packets
To keep your pre-workout from clumping I’d recommend keeping the silica gel packets in the tub of pre-workout.
Silica gel packets are small packets that come inside most pre-workout powder tubs. They’ll be clearly labeled as silica gel, usually with big capital letters telling you not to eat them.
People often throw these packets away. However these packets are great because they stop ingredients from the pre-workout from attracting moisture from the air.
These packets do this by taking in moisture that’s in the air when there is too much present. This stops this moisture from being absorbed by the powder which helps to stop it from clumping.
So don’t dispose of this silica gel packet when you get your tub of pre-workout. Instead, keep it inside the tub of pre-workout to stop it from going clumpy.
If you have already gotten rid of your silica gel packet then these can easily be replaced. You can also purchase extra packets if one isn’t working.
Shake Your Pre-workout
If you leave your pre-workout sitting in the same place for a long time then the powder settles. If it has absorbed moisture then as it settles it will also harden and form into those annoying clumps.
To prevent this from happening you should shake up your pre-workout mix regularly or even stir it with a fork or spoon. This will help to redistribute the powder, bringing powder from the bottom to the top and vice versa.
Doing this regularly will help to prevent your pre-workout from settling and forming into clumps.
I’d left a tub of powder for a few months (untouched) and when I came to use it there was a significant portion of the powder that was rock solid and you can see where moisture has formed to the right.
Store It Properly
Pre-workout should be kept in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. However, people often leave it in their cars or on countertops.
These places aren’t ideal for storing pre-workout because they can lead to the mix becoming overheated. When it’s warm there is an excess of moisture in the air. This excess moisture can then get into the mix and will cause clumps to form.
So don’t leave your pre-workout in your car or on the countertop. Instead, make sure it is kept in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
You should also make sure the tub is properly sealed. It might sound obvious but if you leave even a slight gap when resealing your pre-workout then this allows for additional moisture to get in, which is going to lead to clumpy pre-workout.
When you first see pre-workout powder clumping and going hard, the natural reaction is that it must have gone bad. When this happens in food, you instinctively realize it might not be good to consume.
Pre-workout isn’t cheap so when you notice it goes clumpy, the fear is that you’ve wasted your money and need to buy more. Fortunately, clumping can be common in pre-workout and isn’t a sign that it’s gone bad, it’s just an inconvenience instead!
To prevent this, follow the correct steps for storing your pre-workout and ensure that you keep moisture out of the tub – silica gel packs help with this. If you follow these steps you shouldn’t have an issue with your pre-workout going hard and clumping.
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