Pre-Workout Killing Your Gains?

Hey guys I wanted to know what your outlook on stimulant use to a bodybuilder would be. I listen to a fair share of Dave Palumbo, and he is a big believer in minimal stims if any. I do think to a degree we abuse the stimulants on the market in the forms of caffeine mostly, and I would imagine this takes a toll on the CNS. Also creating a catabolic environment is not conductive to muscle growth. I have heard over 400 mg of caffeine can cause said environment. My question would ultimately be, do you guys have any anecdotal evidence for your pre workout/stimulants negatively impacting your growth?

I’m not a bodybuilder, but I have been taking caffeine pills before training for several years and also drink several cups of coffee per day. Have gained all the way up from 150 to 240 and still gaining no problem.


Alot of people are against stim use. Like in bodybuilding you get your anti steroid users and in this case you have your anti stim users.
I have been taking pre workout for almost 4 years and iv taken ones with abit more that caffine if you catch my drift, but those pre workouts are no good for you in my opion. In the past two years i have been using pre workouts that only contain purely caffine and beta a.
As a early bird who trains at 6AM four times a week. I think pre workout is a must have if you want that extra kick!!


I’m not a bodybuilder either, but I started using a stim-free pre workout and like it. The only caffeine I am getting now is from a cup of coffee in the morning, so pretty minimal.

The reason I stopped using a PWO with stimulants is because I have a hell of a time relaxing at night-- otherwise I would still be using them. My personal experience has been that I can get that extra rep or two with stimulants on a set. So, it isn’t a huge difference when we are talking about training, but for competition, I would most definitely use caffeine for an increased performance edge. So, for me, it is a precedent placed on sleep, rather than getting an extra rep in the gym.

Pre workout completely burned out my adrenal glands (actually have the tests to prove it), and fucked up my digestive system. All I drink is coffee now which is enough for me. To much caffeine is also bad for the immune system and feeds parasites and yeast

What were you using for PWO? Cocaine?


I was drinking a spike plus about 24-32oz of coffee a day…

I’ve cut down to a spike and a 12oz cup of coffee and I feel much better.

me and a mate of mine had a race once full of MDMA. Bloody good fun and I swear I’ve never ran as fast in my life but I did feel a tiny bit like I was going to have a heart attack afterwards.


Lol never tried the stuff, especially before training. But the old school powerlifting chronicles are teeming with stories of potent “pre-workouts” at meets.

And by that I mean big lines of coke before deadlifts. Some guys even experimented with epinephrine shots. Can’t say I’ve seen this with my own eyes but the stories live on among some of the old-timers I’ve spoken to.

Do/did you ever run ephedra + caffeine? Hello results.

About 10 years ago I cut from 230 to 200 in one months time with EC plus interval sprints on a treadmill. The results absolutely blew my mind.

No never have. Had a bodybuilder friend in college who would swear by ephedrine though. 230 to 200 is quite a drop for one month

I use C4 compound pre workout mix. It has Niacin, Beta A, and Caffeine but not a whole lot. About equal to a small cup of coffee, the niacin really gets me going though. I don’t have any issues with it though only that niacin makes my skin flush but I’ve become used to it. As others have said I find it difficult to go to bed if I’ve worked out late at night and used the C4. Other than that I don’t use anything else nor am I a coffee drinker

Guess what else creates a catobolic environment. Excersize. People today are overly concerned with catabolism.

Ohhh dear…sounds a bit dodgy.

Call it what you want. Everyone seems to have an opinion like that on here. Fact of the matter is, my digestive issues (bloating and diarrhea), anxiety, and extreme fatigue all went away when I stopped artificially pumping myself up with stumilants. Caffeine dehydrates you, ages your cells faster, and isn’t very good for the heart either. Not to mention half of the artificial garbage they put in that stuff will prob kill you faster than the caffeine will. Last time I checked my water wasn’t supposed to glow in the dark. I figured this would be common knowledge to most. Nothing wrong with taking a pre workout for the occasional tough session, but I wouldn’t recommend using it daily.

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I honestly believe that most people have some form of adrenal fatigue or whatever you wish to call it from living lives chronically elevated in stress. Adding anything other than maybe a cup of coffee would just be adding to that stress in my opinion. Then again, everyone’s different

when i first started lifting i was using various pre workouts, creatine, abunch of shit really, I was always after next big thing, they did add a decent strength boost but your body becomes used to the power fast then you find your self using higher doses or spending more money on more potent shit, i decided to drop all of it and havent used any supps except for your absolute ones like fish oils, vitamins, etc.

Going back to OP’s original thought, Dave Palumbo works with top-level bodybuilders. For guys that have pushed the absolute limit of physical growth and conditioning I would have to assume that yes, use of stimulant-based pre-workout supplements could hinder further growth. For the average trainee, in my opinion, they shouldn’t.

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My 2 cents

I’ve trained in the morning for years, lots of caffeine and less progress, fast forward to same training style Peri nutrition minus the stims, beside coffee and gained appreciable mass. I think it’s individual, also I’m very stim tolerant