Why Is My Pre-Workout Clumpy? And How To Fix It
So the pre-workout you’ve been eagerly awaiting has just arrived, you’ve unscrewed the lid, the seal is in-tact and it’s well in date but the powder inside looks like it has all clumped together. What's going on?
The first three questions that spring to mind are normally: Is it still safe? What’s caused it to clump up? And, will the clumping reduce the effectiveness of the product's formulation? We’ll answer these burning questions and give you some quick top tips on how to fix a clumpy pre-workout in this complete guide.
The fact is, most regular gym-goers or athletes who’ve been supplementing with a pre-workout in their routine have probably come across a clumpy tub of pre-workout at some point. It can be a little alarming but nine times out of ten, you have nothing to worry about.
WHAT CAUSES PRE-WORKOUTS TO CLUMP?
Some powdered form supplements can have a tendency to clump and those with natural ingredients are generally more prone than those made with artificial sweeteners and additives. The main reason pre-workouts clump more than whey protein for example is because they contain active ingredients which attract water molecules at room temperature, these are referred to as hygroscopic ingredients.
Some common ingredients found in pre-workouts that are extremely hygroscopic include:
- Citrulline Malate
- Creatine Nitrate
Talking broadly, all pre-workout formulas and powdered supplements will eventually turn clumpy or hard if left unused for extended periods, so how can we avoid it?
WHEN SHOULD I BE CONCERNED?
As a general rule of thumb, these are some of the most common reasons you might want to get in touch with the brand you purchased from to avoid consuming an unsafe product:
- The product is well past the expiry date (best before will be fine)
- The lid and seal of the product was broken during transit
- There appears to be mould in the powder
If one of these three points applies to you, you’re best off not wasting your time here and getting in touch with the supplier you’ve recently purchased from to fix this.
If none of the above is applicable but you’ve received a clumpy pre-workout, it’s most likely to be completely fine to consume. But how can we avoid it from happening and how can I fix one that arrived clumpy?
HOW TO PREVENT PRE-WORKOUTS FROM CLUMPING?
When you purchase foods they often have little silica packets in them which normally have big red warnings saying ‘DO NOT EAT’. This is actually there to help absorb any excess moisture in the product. When most people spot the packet buried in the powder, they immediately reach for it and throw it away. Stop right there! Don't do this, keep the silica pack buried in your pre-workout to absorb any moisture that might get into the tub during usage. Short of living in the desert, there’s moisture everywhere (especially in the UK) so don’t throw it away.
Simply leaving a powder in the same position for extensive periods can lead to clumping so avoid letting the powder settle for too long by giving it a good shake (with the lid on) or give it a good stir each time you go to take a scoop.
The last bit of preventative advice we'd offer would be to always ensure you keep the lid fully screwed on, it’s easy to screw it halfway when you’re in a rush but, trust us, take the time to ensure it’s completely secured tightly. It goes without saying but keep any opened tubs away from liquids.
IS IT SAFE TO USE CLUMPY PRE-WORKOUT?
The answer is, yes. As covered earlier in the post, the reason for the powder going clumpy is simply because it’s absorbed too much moisture from the air or has been sitting in the same position for a long time with no movement. This won’t affect the safety or effectiveness of a pre-workout supplement so, don’t worry, you’re good to go with our fix below.
HOW DO YOU UNCLUMP PRE-WORKOUT? THE BIG BLENDER FIX
If you're into healthy eating and keeping fit then you most likely have a blender like a NutriBullet lying around that you use to make protein shakes and smoothies.
The quickest, safest and most effective way to deal with a clumpy pre-workout is to empty your clumpy pre-workout into a blender, and blitz until it's turned back into a fine powder. Some blenders now even come with special attachments that are specifically for making powders so if you have one of those, whack it on, if not, the normal attachment should do the job. Remember, always remove the silica packet before doing this.
After you’ve got a fine powder, simply empty the contents back into the tub, drop the silica packet you removed earlier back in and screw the lid back on.
The key takeaway from this complete guide is that most of the time (excluding the three points mentioned previously) clumpy pre-workout doesn't mean that there is anything wrong with your powder and it can be easily fixed with a quick blitz in the blender without impacting its effectiveness.
One way to avoid ever getting a clumpy powder is to try a ready-made energy drink or pre-workout that's already mixed with water.