Should I Take Pre Workout Before Rugby?

It is 6pm you have wrapped up work or school and you have footy training. You are feeling tired but know you have to get to rugby practice. You know pre workout supplements can give you a quick energy fix but should you take it before rugby? Let’s find out.

Should I take pre workout before rugby? No, you should not take pre workout before rugby. Pre workout supplements are just sugar + overboard dose of caffeine + a strange concoction of chemicals. They are unhealthy. You will build a tolerance, forever chasing the effects from that first dose. People have also died from pre workout supplements. They are expensive, $30-$40 per tub.

Does Pre Workout Work For Rugby?

Pre-workout does not work for rugby. The high caffeine content and other chemicals in pre workout will cause your heart to beat rapidly and you will feel jittery. This will have a negative effect on your rugby performance as you will get tired more quickly and you are more likely to make errors as you are too agitated.

What Is In Rugby Pre Workout Supplements?

Pre workout supplements contain caffeine, sugar and chemicals you have never heard of. A standard pre workout may include: creatine, beta alanine, caffeine, yohimbe and L-Citruline.

Caffeine and creatine are the only common pre workout ingredients which have undergone extensive scientific study. Creatine and caffeine are both safe and have shown to moderately increase athletic performance. The other ingredients have undergone little to no testing. Their effects on the body and athletic performance are yet to be determined. You should not ingest chemicals which have not been extensively tested especially because the performance improvements are not going to be anything to write home about.

Food for thought,  it took the medical industry over 50 years to establish a connection between cigarettes and cancer. In an opaque system with a high amount of uncertainty it is best to proceed with extreme caution. You don’t want to end up getting cancer in 10 years because of your L-Citruline habit.

You are better off creating your own pre workout supplement. 1 scoop of creatine combined with 1 cup of coffee and you will be ready to tackle anyone, even Jonah Lomu.

What Are The Effects Of High Caffeine On Rugby Performance?

Pre workout supplements usually have a lot of caffeine, anywhere from 200-400mg per serving. 400mg is an extreme dose of caffeine, maxing out an adults daily recommended intake. A high dose of caffeine can have some nasty side effects such as: 

  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Frequent urination 
  • Headache
  • Nervousness
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Muscle tremors

We aren’t all the same and  people react differently to caffeine. A 400mg dose of caffeine could cause a person serious side effects such as splitting headaches and lying in bed staring at the ceiling all night.


Pre workouts usually taste pretty good with flavors like wild berry and sour watermelon and also give you a mild high combined with a surge of energy. These feelings are pleasant leaving you wanting more and more. Unfortunately you will quickly develop a tolerance and that first high you experienced will be more and more out of reach. You probably will start off with half a dose and a few months later you will need 4 doses just to feel anything.

I personally have developed a tolerance to pre workout supplements. I remember taking the original Jack3d pre workout and getting a pretty good buzz. I would be so focused and absolutely crush workouts. Unfortunately this feeling was short lived and within a short time the high was becoming severely muted.

Deaths And Health Problems Caused By Pre Workout

Pre workout powders combine high caffeine with powerful chemicals. This has led to a number of deaths and people suffering serious health conditions. Below are some examples of deaths and serious health incidents caused by people overdosing on pre workout powders.

In 2012 Private Sparling had recently graduated from army basic training and was a young man in top physical condition. Before his training session, Sparling consumed the recommended dose of Jack3d and after running for 15 mins with his platoon he fell to the ground and died of a heart attack.

In 2017 a fit and healthy 25 year old male suffered a bilateral cerebellar hemorrhagic stroke occurring shortly after taking a pre workout called Animal Rage XL. Hemorrhagic stroke occurring in a healthy 25-year-old male is very uncommon. Several of the ingredients in this pre workout supplement have been linked to hypertension, tachycardia, and vasospasm. All of these have positive relationships with strokes.

In 2012 A 26-year-old male arrived at hospital shortly after taking a pre workout called Jack3d. The man had a severe headache which turned out to be a hemorrhagic stroke.  A literature review of the ingredients in Jack3d showed that a number of the ingredients are positively associated with hemorrhage and stroke.

Pre Workout Is Expensive

The average tub of 30 servings of pre workout can easily cost you $30-$40. This works out to more than $1 a serving. If you are on the rugby field 5 days a week you could be looking at paying $20-$25 a month in just appeasing your pre workout addiction. Instead of spending $300 a year on pre workout you could use that money to get some new boots. Even though new boots won’t help your rugby performance much either at least they won’t cause you a heart attack.

What Should I Take Pre Workout For Rugby?

What should I take pre workout for rugby? 2-3 hours before rugby you should have a small meal with fast acting carbs (fruit, yoghurt). If you need a bigger energy boost then 30-60mins before training have 1 cup of coffee to give you increased focus but without the jitters.

Should I Drink Coffee Before Rugby?

Yes, coffee can increase your strength, speed and endurance which are all critical in dominating on the rugby field. Research results have revealed that drinking 2 cups of coffee 30-60 mins before training can result in a 4-16% improvement in athletic performance depending on your reaction to caffeine.  

If you are sensitive to caffeine or don’t usually drink coffee you should start off with a small dose (1/2-1 cup) to see how your body responds. If your body reacts well to that initial dose you can increase your coffee intake to 2 cups. Scientists have developed the following formula to guide your caffeine intake if your goal is improved athletic: You should ingest between 3-6 mg of caffeine per kg of body weight. If you weigh 90kg you should ingest somewhere around 270-540mg of caffeine which equates to around 1.5-2.5 cups of coffee.

Why Does Coffee Improve Rugby Performance?

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – SEPTEMBER 07: Michael Hooper of the Wallabies tackles Bryan Habana of the Springboks during The Rugby Championship match between the Australian Wallabies and the South African Springboks at Suncorp Stadium on September 7, 2013 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

Coffee has a chemical structure similar to adenosine which your body produces when you are exhausted. Coffee connects to adenosine receptors and instead of getting tired the opposite effect is produced and you feel amped up. By binding to brain receptors coffee reduces fatigue allowing you to go harder for longer on the rugby pitch.

When you are awake adenosine reduces and slows down brain activity. This causes you to feel sleepy and tired. However when you drink coffee the caffeine attaches itself to the adenosine receptors and produces a counter effect. Instead of feeling tired you are hit with an uplifting boost to your energy supply. You no longer feel fatigue and instead you are ready to rock n roll and push for harder and longer. 

Caffeine not only reduces exhaustion but it also reduces your body’s perception of effort, caffeine will not only supply you with more energy to dominate your tough workout but your workout will also feel easier.

Recent scientific publications have highlighted that the benefits of caffeine on athletic performance are found in both regular caffeine consumers and those who don’t consume any caffeine. In the past scientists believed that caffeine tolerance would reduce the effects caffeine had on athletic performance but this is not true.


Pre workouts are garbage and belong there. They are just a heap of sugar combined with a toxic amount of caffeine and a random concoction of unstudied chemicals. These supplements are not good for you and should not be consumed. If you do need an uplifting effect just have a piece of fruit and a shot of coffee it is not only healthier and cheaper but will pretty much have the same effect as pre workout but without the nasty side effects.

Recent Posts