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Is pre workout bad for PCOS?

Before exercising, aim to consume a carbohydrate-rich meal or snack 1-4 hours prior. Opt for options lower in fat or fibre to avoid potential gastrointestinal issues. Given the insulin resistance common in PCOS, consider pairing carbohydrates with protein to effectively fuel your workout without spiking blood sugar levels excessively. Examples of suitable pre-workout snacks include […]

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Posted on February 17, 2024 ·

Before exercising, aim to consume a carbohydrate-rich meal or snack 1-4 hours prior. Opt for options lower in fat or fibre to avoid potential gastrointestinal issues. Given the insulin resistance common in PCOS, consider pairing carbohydrates with protein to effectively fuel your workout without spiking blood sugar levels excessively. Examples of suitable pre-workout snacks include a nut-dense cereal bar, toast with nut butter, or a jacket potato with beans. While the use of pre-workout supplements is a common query, limited evidence is available regarding PCOS and pre-workouts. These supplements often contain caffeine, creatine, beta-alanine, and BCAAs. Considering the potential impact of caffeine on sleep, fertility, and stress levels in individuals with PCOS, caution is advised. Occasional use may not significantly affect PCOS symptoms, but relying on pre-workout supplements should be approached with care.

Understanding Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

PCOS, affecting nearly 1 in 5 women, stems from hormonal imbalance and presents symptoms impacting menstruation, fertility, skin, hair, weight, and mental well-being. In severe cases, it may pose cardiovascular risks.  Though no definitive cure exists, effective management involves lifestyle changes and medical intervention.

A Brief Overview of Pre-Workout Supplements

Designed to boost energy during exercise, pre-workout supplements, commonly known as “pre-workouts,” primarily feature caffeine as their main ingredient. Available in pill or powder form, some components in specific pre-workouts can positively impact your health and exercise performance. However, it’s crucial to be mindful of potential side effects associated with these supplements.

Before incorporating a pre-workout supplement into your routine, consult your doctor, particularly if you have health conditions or are on medications. They will assess the safety of trying these supplements. If approved, consume the pre-workout 20 minutes before your exercise session to allow the supplements sufficient time to take effect.

The Connection Between PCOS and Energy

The PCOS Awareness Association (PCOSAA) highlights fatigue as a prevalent symptom among individuals with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Likewise, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists acknowledges that PCOS can lead to fatigue, daytime sleepiness, and snoring. Physical causes of fatigue in PCOS encompass factors such as obesity, hormonal imbalances, and heavy menstrual periods. Experts link weight gain to PCOS development and symptom exacerbation, with over 70% of individuals with PCOS estimated to have obesity. Research suggests a significant connection between obesity and fatigue, including increased sleep disturbances and daytime sleepiness. Hormonal imbalances in PCOS contribute to lethargy and sluggishness, while heavy menstrual bleeding negatively impacts fatigue and overall quality of life.

Psychological factors also play a role in PCOS-related fatigue, with notable links between PCOS and depression and anxiety. A 2019 study reports that 61.8% of participants with PCOS experienced depression. Symptoms of PCOS, such as acne, excess hair growth, and infertility, may contribute to severe depression. People with PCOS and a body mass index (BMI) over 30 exhibit higher rates of depression. Additionally, a 2018 study found elevated rates of depression, anxiety, and stress among those with PCOS. This suggests that individuals with PCOS may be more susceptible to depression and anxiety, increasing the likelihood of experiencing fatigue associated with these conditions.

Sleep disturbances further compound fatigue in PCOS, with research indicating increased sleep disturbances, lower sleep quality, and heightened sleepiness in individuals with PCOS. Difficulty falling asleep and maintaining sleep are twice as common in people with PCOS, and over 10 years, they are 50% more likely to develop a sleep disorder. A 2020 meta-analysis revealed that 35% of individuals with PCOS had obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), impacting sleep quality and potentially contributing to insulin resistance.

Pros and Cons of Taking Pre-Workout and Energy Boosters

What Pre-Workout Supplements Achieve

Administered before your exercise regimen, the primary goal of these supplements is to facilitate recovery and alleviate post-intense workout fatigue. Noteworthy ingredients in pre-workouts encompass:

  • Caffeine: Often touted by manufacturers for enhancing focus, energy, and overall performance, pre-workout supplements typically feature high caffeine levels, ranging from 150 mg to 300 mg per serving – equivalent to about three cups of coffee. If sensitive to caffeine, consider smaller doses or explore natural energy-boosting alternatives.
  • Beta-alanine: Geared towards supporting high-intensity exercises, beta-alanine aids in buffering muscles during intense workouts, showcasing its efficacy in reducing fatigue and enhancing recovery, particularly in sprinters.
  • Creatine: Paired with exercise, creatine contributes to strength gains by replenishing ATP stores, providing the necessary energy for muscle contractions. Additionally, creatine aids in increasing lean body mass.
  • Amino acids: Branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) found in pre-workout supplements play a pivotal role in elevating lean body mass, fostering muscle growth, and mitigating muscle damage post-intense workouts.

Avoid excessive intake of pre-workout supplements, as they may lead to adverse effects such as digestive symptoms, irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure, and fluctuations in blood sugar levels. If you experience any concerning symptoms during your workout, cease exercise immediately and consult your doctor promptly. It is crucial to communicate with your healthcare provider before incorporating pre-workout supplements into your routine, particularly if you have pre-existing health conditions, ensuring a safe and informed approach.

Tips for Combating Fatigue Naturally

  1. Rule out underlying health issues: Fatigue can be a symptom of various illnesses, including diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, anaemia, thyroid disorders, and sleep apnea. Consult your doctor if you experience unusual tiredness. Certain medications, such as some blood pressure drugs and antihistamines, may contribute to fatigue, so inform your doctor if fatigue arises after starting a new medication.
  2. Incorporate physical activity: Despite feeling tired, engaging in regular exercise has been consistently linked to improved energy levels and overall quality of life. Physical activity enhances the efficiency of your heart, lungs, and muscles, providing more energy for various activities.
  3. Explore yoga for energy boost: Yoga, known for its positive effects on clarity of mind, energy, and confidence, can be especially effective in combating fatigue. Participants in a British study reported improvements in these aspects after six weeks of once-a-week yoga classes.
  4. Stay hydrated: Dehydration can lead to fatigue and impaired physical performance. Research suggests that even mild dehydration can make tasks, including daily chores, more challenging. Ensure proper hydration by monitoring the colour of your urine; it should be pale yellow or straw-coloured.
  5. Prioritize sufficient sleep: Lack of sleep is a leading cause of daytime fatigue and increased accident risk. Aim for a full night’s sleep by getting to bed early. Adequate sleep has been linked to increased vigour and reduced fatigue. Short afternoon naps of 10 minutes can also boost energy without disrupting nighttime sleep.
  6. Consider omega-3 oils: Omega-3 oils, beneficial for heart health, may also enhance alertness. A study from Italy’s University of Siena found that volunteers taking fish oil capsules for 21 days demonstrated faster mental reaction times and reported feeling more vigorous.
  7. Align with your body clock: Recognize your body cycle, whether you’re a morning lark or a night owl, and schedule demanding activities during peak energy times. These patterns are influenced by brain structure and genetics, making them challenging to change. Awareness of your circadian rhythms can help optimize energy levels throughout the day.

Consult Veera’s Doctors

Seek guidance from Veera’s experienced PCOS doctors for personalized and effective solutions. Our dedicated healthcare professionals are here to support you on your journey to better health and well-being.

Learn More With Veera

Prior to commencing these exercises, it is recommended to consult with your personal trainer or fitness specialist for a thorough understanding of their intricacies. Sustaining regularity in your workout regimen is crucial for achieving lasting relief from symptoms, so contemplate having a workout partner to offer motivation. The entire experience can be enjoyable, fostering mutual accountability as you progress towards your fitness objectives.

Verified by Dr. Mansi Verma


MS, DNB (OB/GYN), BJMC, Pune (2017) & Diploma In Laparoscopy, Kiel Institute 2019

BY Team Veera

Medically Reviewed


PCOS Fitness


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