832-661-6324 travis@fitfor18.com

I get many teenage athletes that ask me about taking pre-workouts [supplements]. The thought alone just makes me cringe. I hate to think that teenage athletes think that pre workouts and other supplements like creatine are the end all be all. Don’t get me wrong, there are benefits to pre workouts, but I believe teenagers should refrain from pre-workouts until they are older and their bodies are fully developed.

Again, this is totally my opinion and I base it on years of experience as a fitness and nutrition consultant. In my teen years, I once stood at a sleek 6’2 and 150 pounds!  I was skinny!  Thereafter, I started eating to gain. At the time, I was eating around 5,000 calories a day and working out once or twice a day. From my own personal experience, nothing beats proper nutrition and hard work!

Why People Take Pre-workouts

If you don’t eat properly and fuel yourself for your workouts, you will fatigue quicker, and might be a little weaker. This is what a pre workout fights against. During your workout, a pre-workout will help you go a little harder and last a little longer.

Now don’t go overboard with that previous statement. A pre-workout taken right before your workout won’t help you go from bench pressing 225 lbs to 315 lbs. It might help you go doing 6 reps with 225 to maybe 8 to 10 reps with 225. In contrast, a pre workout isn’t going to give you this dramatic increase in strength and size that you think. Pre-workouts are designed to boost energy and increase focus.

More Boys Than Girls Ask Me About Pre-workouts 

All the teens that have asked me about pre workouts have been boys. The fact of the matter is that boys have enough energy and don’t need pre-workouts. In addition to having energy, boys also have high levels of testosterone; which allow them to workout harder, recover faster, and build muscle quicker.

This is why in my professional opinion, pre-workouts and teens don’t mix. Teenage athletes don’t need pre-workouts because their bodies are still developing.

It’s also quite possible that this is why us old guys take pre-workouts. We don’t have the benefits of being a young Thundercat that can go all day, every day in the gym.  And if you don’t know what a Thundercat is, you definitely don’t need to be taking a pre-workout.

Again, there is no substitute for eating right and hitting the weights hard.

Pre-workout Substitutes for Teen

If you are a teen or a parent raising a teenager, there are substitutes for teens who want to take a pre-workout. Here are a few that I recommend.

Coffee / Espresso 

Caffeine, the main ingredient in coffee, has been shown to improve physical and mental performance.

Green Tea

Green tea has been shown to reduce body fat and increase blood flow. It also has shown to reduce muscle soreness and increase oxygen uptake which give the body the ability to use oxygen during your workout.


Fruit is a simple carb which means it will provide fuel to muscles faster than complex carbs. Carbs are a major source of fuel for muscles. So fruit is a great pre workout snack.


Kombucha is loaded with probiotics and antioxidants.  It has also been used as an energy booster.


Honey is high in sugar and if taken before a workout, it could give you the boost you need!

Teenagers Shouldn’t Use Pre-Works

It can be difficult not to want to use pre-workouts as a teenager. In today’s age, more and more teenagers see their friends taking pre-workouts and other supplements.  They see their friends getting bigger and lifting more, and it probably makes them feel inferior to their peers.

What teenagers fail to realize is that everyone is different and has different genes.  Some teens are naturally built stronger, born to be bigger, and are just faster than others. A lot of who we are has to do with our genetics.

For those teens who are trying to get bigger, stronger, or faster, a pre-workout is not the answer. The best thing to help you improve is proper nutrition and hard work in the direction of your goals!

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