A fairly common question we get at Cardiff Sports Nutrition is that certain powdered pre-workout supplements ‘clump’ together particularly the highly dosed ones. Ultimately, this leads people to question the safety and effectiveness of the product.
For this reason, CSN has put together a short article explaining why it clumps, advising how to prevent your pre-workout from turning clumpy and then how to fix it.
- Why Pre-Workouts Turn Clumpy
- How To Prevent It
- Quick Fixes
- Are Pre-Workouts Safe & Effective After Turning Clumpy?
Why pre-workouts turn clumpy in the first place?
As most pre-workout supplements come in powder form, they contain hygroscopic ingredients, meaning they attract and hold water molecules at normal/room temperature. Some pump pre-workout ingredients by their nature come from its ability to increase the total volume of water in the body meaning they are very susceptible to water.
Ingredients which are are very hygroscopic are
- Citrulline malate
- Creatine nitrate
However, with all pre-workouts; if left unused for periods, it’s quite normal for them to turn clumpy or hard. Therefore, CSN will provide you with some tips to prevent this from happening below.
How to prevent it
Silica Gel Packet
Firstly always keep the silica gel packet buried in your pre-workout container. This is the most common reason why pre-workouts turn clumpy or hard. As the powdered ingredients are hygroscopic, they naturally begin to attract moisture from the air and container at room temperature. Silica gel packets prevent the powder from attracting moisture.
This means it’s important that you don’t throw the silica gel packet away but rather and keep it buried in the pre-workout powder at all times.
Stir/shake the pre-workout
Another reason why pre-workouts can go clumpy or hard is that they’re not used as frequently as protein powders or other supplements.
As a result, pre-workouts can often be left sitting there for a while – whereas protein powders are usually consumed multiple times per day.
Ultimately, when left sitting for longer periods, the powder in pre-workout supplements are more likely to absorb moisture and turn clumpy or hard.
For this reason, it’s important to regularly stir or shake your pre-workout containers.
Both Calcium Silicate and Silicon Dioxide are anti-caking agents that absorb moisture and allow powder to flow freely. You could look for supplements containing these if clumping is a major issue for you. However, these can affect the product in certain ways so be wary.
Right, so we’ve given you some tips on how to prevent your pre-workout from turning clumpy. However, It's time to look at fixing this problem if it has already happened to you. The good news... it's not rocket science.
Put the pre-workout powder into a blender
We admit this might sound strange at first. However, this is a very effective fix that only takes seconds to do.
It’s pretty self-explanatory, but simply stick your clumpy or hard supplement in a blender and blend it until it’s back to powder form.
Then you can return the powder to its container.
Use a utensil
This is the only time CSN will advise you to stab something with a knife or fork…
If your pre-workout isn’t rock solid, it can be broken up with a knife (if you don’t have a blender). Although it won’t be completely back to powder form, it’ll allow you to scoop enough to be able to consume servings.
Is pre-workout safe & effective after turning clumpy?
As we mentioned at the start, the powder has simply absorbed moisture from the air (due to being hygroscopic). But this doesn’t affect the safety or effectiveness of these supplements at all.
The only problem would be if you can’t determine the right serving sizes; this could result in your taking a higher serving amount, which could lead to overstimulation.
As a result, if your pre-workout turns clumpy or hard, it’s important that you still judge your serving sizes correctly (weighing it is the best method). But as you can safely take a ‘double serving’ of most pre-workouts, you shouldn't face any issues.
CSN hope this has cleared up a few questions you have around the clumping issue. It is something that is completely normal and can happen to almost any highly dosed pre-workout no matter how old it is.