Can You Take Pre-Workout While Breastfeeding?

Most women know they shouldn’t be drinking gobs of caffeine while pregnant. However, can you take pre workout while breastfeeding? Yes, you can take pre workout supplement while breastfeeding—BUT not all are safe and the popular ingredients are not well-tested in nursing women. woman breastfeeding baby in flannel robe

Nursing women need to be picky about their pre workout supplements!

A preworkout drink or supplement can give you more energy for your run—something many new moms need since they are most likely sleep deprived. However, many pre-workouts or energy drinks have ingredients that we don’t know are safe if you are breastfeeding.

I spoke with registered sports dietitian Megan Robinson (and a mother runner!) about what you can or can’t have in a preworkout drink if you are breastfeeding.

Let’s get to it!

Related: 8 Clever Tips for Breastfeeding Mother Runners

Can You Workout While Breastfeeding? 

First thing’s first, can you workout while breastfeeding? Heck yes! There are many misconceptions about how working out can decrease your milk supply. As long as you are eating enough–about 500 calories more plus whatever you burn exercising– your milk supply with not be reduced. Check out this breastfeeding calorie calculator to ensure you’re getting enough.

Furthermore, there is evidence that breastfeeding can put you at an increased risk for bone injuries. But again, as long as you are nourishing your body with nutrients including calcium, most women are not at risk of breaking a bone if they are working out and breastfeeding. This is especially true since high-impact activities such as running increase bone density.

There is also worry about the lactic acid byproduct from working out getting into breastmilk. Studies show that high-intensity exercise (above 80 percent of your heart rate max) can increase lactic acid amounts in the blood supply. Moderate and easy running intensities do not affect lactic acid amounts. If you have increased lactic acid, studies show babies are less likely to nurse (probably because they don’t like the taste).

However, the nutrition including immunity-boosters are still present in breastmilk even if you exercise.

There are so many benefits of working out postpartum for both your health and your baby’s, that they outweigh any potential health risks.

Related: Is 6 Weeks Too Soon to Start Running Postpartum?​​

breastfeeding and pre workout pin 1
Pin these tips on the best pre workout supplements for breastfeeding runners.

What is Pre-Workout?

Okay, so what is a pre-workout supplement anyway? A pre-workout supplement is typically a drink you take before workout to enhance your performance. Pre-workout drinks typically have proven performance-enhancing ingredients such as:

While pre-workouts are popular and widely used among runners, they do have potential risks and short-term and long-term side effects including:

  • GI upset and/or water retention
  • Headaches
  • Jitteriness, anxiety, and trouble sleeping
  • Heart palpitations
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Liver injury
  • Whole-body inflammation
  • Insulin sensitivity

Related: Should I Drink Coffee Before Running?

 Pre-Workout Ingredients to Avoid While Breastfeeding

That’s a lot of unwanted side effects, right? The good news is that many of these side effects are individual, can be avoided with proper dosage, and can also be sidestepped by choosing your pre-workout drink wisely.

Here are pre-workout ingredients to avoid while breastfeeding:

As with any supplements, you want to do your homework. Look for a supplement that is NSF-certified and/or has individual laboratory testing documentation. Read more about how to tell if a supplement is good quality here.

Related: Can Beet Juice Make You Run Faster?

Other Precautions and Recommendations

If you decide you want to use a pre workout while nursing, consider these recommendations:

1. Take a preworkout right after nursing.

You want to avoid taking a preworkout with caffeine within a couple hours of nursing as it can take more than 9 hours for it to fully metabolize—and caffeine can transfer to breastmilk.

2. Pay attention to how your body and baby respond.

Start with half a dosage of your preworkout right after your feed. Then pay attention to how you and your baby feel—and sleep! An increase in fussiness could mean it’s negatively impacting your baby.

3. Ditch other caffeinated drinks.

If the preworkout drink you’re using has caffeine, it may be wise to ditch or scale back the other caffeinated drinks you are taking in such as your morning coffee. The upper limit of caffeine for breastfeeding women is 300 mg a day. That’s about three cups of coffee.

4. Practice using a preworkout.

Don’t use a preworkout in a big race before practicing it—otherwise you could risk messing up your stomach on race day.

5. Choose the right preworkout supplement.

As noted, choose a preworkout brand you trust and is transparent. Don’t drink a preworkout with lots of caffeine and stimulants and artificial sweeteners.

6. Don’t use a pre workout on a daily basis.

Just as you wouldn’t run in your super shoes everyday, save your preworkout as an added boost for important workouts or races.

7. Always consult your healthcare provider.

Any time you take a supplement—but especially postpartum and when you are nursing!—talk to your doctor and get their insights!

Related: 3 Things I Wish I Knew as a New Mom

breastfeeding and pre workout pin 2
Pin these tips for using a pre workout while breastfeeding for later!

What pre workout can you take while breastfeeding

Below is a list of the best pre workout for nursing moms. These pre workouts come from reputable brands, doesn’t include caffeine, lists what’s in the formula, and includes NSF certification or shares certifications that what they say is in their pre workout actually is. These preworkouts taste pretty good too.

Always do your own homework and always check with your doctor before taking any supplement!

Whitney with Celsius can
I love the taste of Celsius but it made my jittery, have heart palpitations, and have a tough time sleeping.

Is it Safe to Drink Celsius While Breastfeeding?

While we are on the topic, Celsius is an incredibly popular energy drink among moms as it is tasty, gives you energy, and has fat-burning claims.

Celsius is not recommended by sports nutritionists as a pre-workout because of its high caffeine content (200mg) plus other stimulants in which the amount is not publicly shared. For this reason, it is not recommended by sports nutritionists like Robinson for breastfeeding moms to drink Celsius.

In addition, Celsius itself does not recommend drink Celsius while breastfeeding:

“CELSIUS is not recommended for people sensitive to caffeine, children under the age of 18, or women who are pregnant or nursing.”

Related: Should Runners Drink Celsius?

nursing and pre workout instagram post with tips for use
You can use a clean pre workout supplement if you are nursing and cautious.

The Bottom Line

Drinking a pre-workout while breastfeeding is possible, but you will want to do it soon after nursing your baby. Avoid pre-workouts that have lots of caffeine and other stimulants, artificial sweeteners, certain amino acids, and lack transparency of what is in their formulas. Drinking or eating caffeine in coffee, tea or a bar is a less risky way to get a boost.

I know needing extra help to get that pep in your step as a new mom is strong. However, if your body is telling you that it is exhausted it may be wise to listen to it—succumb to rest, and hit it hard when it’s ready (and you are sleeping more than a few hours a night!).

Remind yourself this season is temporary, and running isn’t go anywhere. It’ll be there when your body is rested and ready!

Get More Advice for Exercising Postpartum »

If you’d like assistance with your postpartum running journey, check out my run coaching services and my other free training plans:


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