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Does Pre-Workout Go Bad? A Comprehensive Guide to Its Shelf Life

 Written by 

Julien Raby

 Last updated on 

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We’ve all been there; you open your pre-workout tub only to find a large, hard clump of powder. But in a rush to hit the gym, you use it despite the warning signs. 

Maybe you get an upset stomach or don’t feel the caffeine as much, but one question remains—does pre-workout go bad? Can these supplements expire or cause harm? 

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There’s much to consider when adding supplements to your training regimen, including the shelf life and optimal storage conditions. Let’s look at everything you need to know about pre-workout shelf life to get the most out of your product. 

Does Pre-Workout Go Bad? Quick Summary

Yes, pre-workout can go bad. Like any other consumable product, pre-workout supplements have a limited shelf life. Many pre-workout powders will have an expiration date listed on the container—if it’s beyond this time, your product has expired.

  • Several factors, like storage, moisture, sunlight, and time, can contribute to pre-workout supplements going bad.
  • It’s not safe to consume pre-workout after its expiration date.
  • It’s best to store pre-workout in the fridge after mixing it and drink it within 12 hours.
  • Foul odors, clumping, mold, and discoloration can be signs your pre-workout has gone bad. 

The shelf-life of a product will depend on the pre-workout brand. Some products last between 8–12 months, while others will last up to two years. Always inspect the package label for the most accurate information.

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Does Pre-Workout Go Bad After Mixing?

So, you mix your supplement into a shaker cup and are ready to hit the gym—but something comes up, and you have to postpone your session. Will mixed pre-workout go bad?

The ideal time to consume pre-workout is roughly 30–60 minutes before training. In some cases, you may need to postpone your workout or want to mix your drink ahead of time.

Like other beverages, it’s best to store your mixed pre-workout in the fridge and consume it within 12 hours

After 12 hours, it’s best to toss your drink and make a new batch. Waiting too long to consume it or storing it improperly can lead to loss of effectiveness, a foul taste, and bacteria growth. 

Signs of Expired Pre-Workout

Consuming expired supplements is not recommended, but how can you determine if your pre-workout has gone bad? What if your pre-workout tub doesn’t have an expiration date or you switched the container?

Here are a few warning signs your pre-workout has gone bad and isn’t safe to consume. 

Foul Smell

One of the most common signs your dietary supplement is past its use-by-date is a bad smell. Fresh pre-workout typically has a distinct aroma due to its ingredients, like amino acids, caffeine, or fruit flavors.

It may start as a stale smell and slowly progress into something much worse. Be sure to inspect the expiration date and look for other warning signs.

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Another straightforward warning sign of expired pre-workout or protein powder is clumping.

Most products are in powder form, and if the powder is exposed to moisture or humidity, you might notice clumps.

Clumps can form when the active ingredients absorb moisture from the air. This is typically due to a broken seal or faulty container. 

Minor clumping isn’t typically a big deal and can be broken apart. That said, large, hard clumps can indicate the product has absorbed excess moisture and isn’t safe to consume. The extra moisture content can be a breeding ground for bacteria, further compromising the safety of the product.


Visible mold is an obvious indication your pre-workout has turned bad and isn’t safe to consume.

Mold can develop on a pre-workout powder if exposed to excessive moisture or stored in a damp environment. Mold growth is not only a sign of spoilage but also poses health risks. 

Consuming moldy pre-workout powder can lead to gastric issues, allergic reactions, or severe infections. If you notice any signs of mold, like fuzzy or discolored patches on the powder or inside the container, it’s crucial to discard the product immediately.


Changes in the color of pre-workout powder can be an indication of spoilage. Products can have a vibrant and consistent color, depending on the ingredients, flavorings, and pre-workout brand. 

But if you notice a faded appearance, dark spots, and discoloration, your product may be ready for the trash bin.

Discoloration can occur from exposure to light, heat, or air. It’s an indication of chemical reactions or ingredient degradation, and it’s best to cut your losses.

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Potential Risks of Consuming Expired Pre-Workout

Expired pre-workout supplements aren’t safe to consume and come with potential health issues. Unless your product has mold or severe bacteria growth, you may only experience an upset stomach or a few trips to the bathroom.

That said, it’s critical to be aware of the risks to avoid serious health complications, like infections, allergic reactions, and gastric issues. 

Decreased Effectiveness

Pre-workout ingredients are designed to provide energy, focus, and performance-enhancing benefits. Unfortunately, as a product approaches or exceeds its shelf life, the effectiveness of the components can decline.

This will result in less energy, endurance, focus, or strength during training sessions. You may not feel the effects as you once did, rendering the product useless. 

Risk of Contamination and Bacteria Growth

Expired supplements are a hotspot for bacteria and other microorganisms. Moisture, air exposure, and improper storage conditions can facilitate the growth of harmful bacteria.

The presence of bacteria, mold, and yeast can pose serious health risks. Gastric distress, infections, and allergic reactions can occur if you consume these products.

If the pre-workout has been stored in a damp environment or if you notice signs of bacterial growth, it’s crucial to avoid consuming it to minimize the risk of health complications.

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Upset Stomach

Stomach issues, nausea, and diarrhea are one of the most significant risks of consuming old pre-workout supplements. 

The ingredients in old products can break down, leading to chemical changes that can irritate the digestive system

Using old products increases the chance of experiencing these uncomfortable symptoms. 

How to Unclump Pre-Workout

You’re probably familiar with clumpy pre-workout supplements. Although it can be a sign that your product is going bad, a clumpy pre-workout doesn’t always spell disaster. 

Chances are, a few water molecules slipped into your container and caused hard chunks. This is more likely if you remove the silica packet—the white packet that attracts water molecules, keeping your powder dry.

You can use the following steps to remove clumps if you believe your product is safe to consume.

Step 1: Empty the Tub Into a Blender

The first step is to empty the pre-workout container into a dry blender. You may need to do this in batches, depending on how much powder you have and the size of your blender.

Step 2: Turn the Blender On

Now, turn the blender on the low-medium setting and blitz the powder. Tap the button a few times until the supplement returns to a fine powder.

Step 3: Empty the Blender

Finally, empty the blended powder into the original tub or an airtight container. You can also use a fine mesh strainer to remove any small clumps you might have missed.

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How to Properly Store Pre-Workout

Nobody wants clumpy, moldy, or expired pre-workout. Proper storage is essential to maintain freshness, potency, and effectiveness. Here are some critical practices for storing pre-workout properly:

Store in an Airtight Container

It’s critical to store your pre-workout in an airtight container. Exposure to air can lead to oxidation and degradation of the ingredients, diminishing the product’s quality over time. 

If you’re using the original container, be sure to screw the lid on tightly when not in use. Avoid mindlessly tossing it in your gym bag or car, which can lead to spillage or air exposure. 

You can find similarly sized containers online that ensure a tight seal and prevent moisture, air, and contaminants from entering the product. 

Keep it Cool

Heat and temperature fluctuations can accelerate the breakdown of pre-workout ingredients. To save your product’s effectiveness, store it in a cool environment, away from direct sunlight, heaters, or other excessive heat sources. 

Safe storage temperatures are typically around room temperature, or 59°F and 77°F. Consider storing it in the fridge if you don’t have a good spot. Otherwise, don’t leave it in your car or near heating appliances. 

Avoid Moisture

Moisture causes clumping, degradation, and bacteria growth. Store your product in a dry place with low humidity to prevent these issues. 

Ensure the lid is secured, and avoid placing your product near the kitchen sink. Additionally, handle your supplement with dry hands to avoid introducing moisture into the container. 

Keep the Silica Packet

Most products will include a silica pack inside the container. These packets contain desiccants that help absorb moisture and maintain the powder’s freshness

No, you can’t eat them.

But that doesn’t mean you should throw them out, either. Leaving the sealed silica packet inside the container helps reduce moisture buildup. Less moisture means fewer clumps and bacteria, extending the shelf life of your product.

Only Buy What You Need

Pre-workout, protein powder, and dietary supplements are like your partner’s beauty supplies. Buying a new blend or brand is tempting, but this will quickly lead to excess products. Soon, your pantry will look like your partner’s side of the bathroom.

Instead, only purchase the amount you can consume within a reasonable timeframe. Buying in smaller quantities helps minimize the duration of storage, reducing the likelihood of the product going bad before you finish it. 

Rotate Your Stock

It’s a good practice to rotate your pre-workout stock. Stock rotation can include arranging your products, using them, and routinely mixing them.

For example, arrange your pre-workout containers based on their expiration dates, with the earliest expiration date in front. This way, you’ll consume the oldest product first and reduce waste.  

Otherwise, you can occasionally open the container and stir the powder with a spoon. This will help get rid of any clumps; just be sure the spoon is dry. You can also inspect the manufacturer’s instructions or website for storage guidelines.

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Does Pre-Workout Go Bad?: FAQ

Is It OK to Take Expired Pre-Workout?

No, it is not OK to consume pre-workout that’s past the expiration date, or that’s gone bad. You may experience less effectiveness, stomach issues, or allergic reactions. Instead, toss the product and purchase a new batch.

How Do You Know When Pre-Workout Goes Bad?

Besides the use-by-date, look for a bad smell, mold, bacteria growth, clumping, or discoloration. Little clumps may not be an issue but can be a sign of excessive moisture. Excessive moisture can lead to bacteria, mold, and yeast. 

Are You Supposed to Keep the Packet in Pre-Workout?

Yes! This is the silica packet that helps absorb moisture, preventing clumping and bacteria. Do not remove it, open it, or eat it. Leave it sealed inside the container and throw it away with the empty tub once you finish your product. 

How Long Can Pre-Workout Last After Opening?

The timeframe will vary depending on the brand. Most unopened products have a shelf life of between 6–24 months. Opened products may last 3–6 months. Inspect the content’s expiration date to be sure. Mixed pre-workout diluted with liquid should be stored in the fridge and consumed within 12 hours. 

When Should I Throw Out Pre-Workout?

Throw out pre-workout if you notice large, hard clumps, a foul smell, mold, bacteria growth, or wet spots. Small clusters are fine, but you should toss your product if it has a paste-like consistency or is visibly wet.


Julien Raby is the owner of BoxLife. He owns a bachelor in literature and a certificate in marketing from Concordia. He's Crossfit Level 1 certified and has been involved in Crossfit since 2010. In 2023 he finally made it to Crossfit Open Quarterfinals for the first time. LinkedIn Instagram Facebook

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