Why Do Pre-Workouts Make You Itch?

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Why some Pre-workouts can make you feel itchy and twitchy which can disrupt your workouts and leave you with an uncomfortable jittery feeling.

Pre-workout supplements are widely popular products used to provide a solid boost of energy for all of your pre-workout needs. Designed to get you primed and ready for big lifts, a solid pre-workout supplement can increase muscle pumps, enhance motivation and focus, and provide for a serious boost of energy as you enter the gym. While there is debate around pre-workout supplements, for some believe you can simply get this energy from a cup of coffee or just sheer will to train, they are still widely hailed as effective and useful products to add into one’s supplementation routine.

But unfortunately some, if not most, pre-workout supplements contain ingredients that are not helpful and that you just don’t need in your body. These added ingredients and artificial additives and sweeteners may not be directly harming you, but are simply ingredients that have no business being in your supplements. A common side effect of pre-workouts is a jittery, itchy, and twitchy feeling, making you feel uneasy and way to hyper to be lifting big weights. While this feeling my be solely uncomfortable, why go through this and have your mind elsewhere other than your lift?

Let’s look into pre-workout supplements and what makes them itchy. That obnoxious, jittery feeling doesn’t have to be there and you should know there are alternatives to avoid this. Make the most out of your lifts without sacrificing your health.

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What Causes This Itchy Feeling?

One of the main culprits is Beta-Alanine, a common ingredient in many pre-workouts. Even in small doses, Beta-Alanine is known to cause tingling and that itchy feeling that just sucks all around (1). But Beta-Alanine isn’t the only thing that can cause this feeling. Niacin, another active ingredient, offers the same affect but is cheaper to add than Beta-Alanine.

A common reason why companies put such high amounts in their pre-workouts is that you can feel when the product is working. By coming down with that itchy and twitchy feeling it will mentally let you know that your body is now primed for whatever activity comes next. But do you really need to know that your pre-workout is working if it’s high quality?

What Is Paresthesia?

Paresthesia is the name for this tingling and itchy feeling that you often feel in your face, neck, and hands without really being able to nail down the exact spot (2). This typically feels like a tingling feeling across your whole body, flushing of your skin, slight numbness, and that all too familiar pins and needles feeling. This uncomfortable feeling is again how companies alert you that your pre-workout is working. But that feeling can sometimes be too strong to actually get a good workout in.

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Is The Twitchy Feeling Harmful?

There is no real evidence that this feeling is harmful to you, but the fact that is uncomfortable should be cause to stop and rethink if you really need a pre-workout, or at least make you question if you have the right one. Just because it isn’t harmful to you, this doesn’t mean that you have to settle. There are strong pre-workouts around that will give you the same benefit without totally ruining a potentially great workout.

Does Beta-Alanine Actually Work?

Some would ask why Beta-Alanine is still used if it just causes an uncomfortable itchy and twitchy feeling. The answer is because it has proven benefits to aid in exercise performance (3). Beta-Alanine can elevate carnosine levels which can reduce acidity in the muscles and lead to a more productive workout without fatigue settling in. Beta-Alanine itself can work to prolong your time to exhaustion and increase muscle endurance, especially during resistance training where you’re at an increased volume with less fatigue.

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Can You Prevent This Itch?

There is really no way to prevent his itch unless you change your dose to a smaller amount. With pre-workout, this unfortunately doesn’t make sense because you need the full dose for it to affect your workout. This is where you should consider changing your pre-workout product or looking for alternative ways to get that desired boost.

Featured Pre-Workout For No Itch Or Twitch

National Bodybuilding Co. Stage Ready Pre-Workout

National Bodybuilding Co. Stage Ready is a great pre-workout to enhance quality muscle pumps, improved stamina, weight loss, and a real boost of energy to elevate performance. With an advanced blend and high-quality ingredients, this pre-workout is perfect for any workout.

Price: $48.00

National Bodybuilding Co. Stage Ready Pre-Workout won for Best Pre-Workout GI Supplement Award. Check it out here!

Wrap Up

Pre-workout supplements can really work to provide a great boost to your training by improving focus, enhancing muscle pumps, and boosting your energy levels to new heights. These popular and widely sought after supplements can be very beneficial when you find the right one for you. Unfortunately, too many cause an itchy and twitchy feeling in you that can just be uncomfortable and take your mind off the valuable workout before you. Look into other pre-workout supplements that can really help you and eliminate that jittery feeling today.

Let us know what you think in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

*Images courtesy of National Bodybuilding Co. and Envato


  1. Ahmed, I.; Maimaiti, Ailijiang; Mori, Nobuhiro; Yamanaka, Norikazu; Taniguchi, Takeshi (2014). “Simultaneous determination of B-alanine betaine and trimethylamine in bacterial culture and plant samples by capillary electrophoresis”. (source)
  2. Sharif-Alhoseini, Mahdi; Rahimi-Movaghar, Vafa; Vaccaro, Alexadner R. (2012). “Underlying Causes of Paresthesia”. (source)
  3. Bellinger, Phllip A. (2014). “B-Alanine Supplementation for Athletic Performance: An Update”. (source)
Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.