What Is the Difference Between Stim and Non-Stim Pre-Workout?

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Knowing what a pre-workout does, you probably are aware that these supplements are divided into stimulating and non-stimulating, right? But do you know anything more about these two types, apart from the fact that they have different names? If not, read this article – we explain here what is the difference between stim and non-stim pre-workout.

What Are Stim and Non-Stim Pre–Workouts

Before we delve into what is the difference between stim and non-stim pre-workouts, let us briefly explain what each of these supplements is. This way, it is going to be easier to compare them later on.

Stim Pre-Workouts

Stim pre-workouts are simply supplements that you should take before your workout sessions to enhance the effects of your training. They reduce the feeling of fatigue, increase focus, and boost your energy levels.

The energizing effect is achieved mainly by using one ingredient – caffeine. However, stimulating pre-workouts may also contain other substances, such as green tea extract, that can bring your energy levels up even further.

Non-Stim Pre-Workouts

Non-stim pre-workouts are, on the other hand, designed only to reduce the feeling of fatigue and increase focus. They provide no energizing effect, hence their name.

Non-stim pre-workouts are made of the same ingredients as their stim counterparts, with the only difference being the lack of caffeine and other energizing substances. This makes many people think that they are worse than the stimulating ones, but the truth is that they might be better in certain situations.

What Is the Difference Between Stim and Non-Stim Pre-Workouts

Just from the short definitions above, you can clearly see that the main difference between stim and non-stim pre-workouts is their energizing properties (or the lack of them). But, we cannot end our discussion here – in fact, this one difference leads to many other. Simply taken, non-stim and stim pre-workouts are both good, just not in the same circumstances.

There are several factors that affect which one of these two is better. We’ve listed the most important ones below – let’s take a look and see the particular examples.


Pre-workout timing is crucial, there’s no doubt. But, with the choice between stim and non-stim pre-workouts, it’s not their timing that matters.

In fact, it all depends on your training timing. Stimulating pre-workouts have one major downside – since they contain caffeine, they may make it difficult for you to fall asleep. This problem does not exist with non-stimulating pre-workouts, making them a better choice if you prefer to work out in the evenings.

On the other hand, if you train right after work, it might be better for you to choose stimulating pre-workouts. This way, you’ll get a nice energy boost that will help you go through more intensive training.


Did you know that some people are resistant to caffeine’s energizing effects? They process this substance more slowly than an average person; thus, they cannot feel an energy boost, although it’s still in their system. This is yet another situation in which taking non-stim pre-workouts is a better alternative.

If you’re among the people who can’t feel the effects of coffee or energy drinks due to your natural resistance to caffeine, opt for non-stim pre-workouts – there’s no point in pouring these additional stimulants into your body if you won’t feel their effects anyway.

Your Caffeine Dosage

If you simply love your coffee or can’t imagine surviving a day at work without at least a few cups, you’ll be better off with a non-stim pre-workout. This is because you already take a large daily dose of caffeine.

The substance itself needs a lot of time to be completely removed from your system. Thus, if you drink too much coffee or energy drinks daily, adding more caffeine won’t help and can only cause harm.

This will also be true if you take other supplements, for instance, fat burners, which contain caffeine as well.

Types of Training

Another aspect that will affect whether you should opt for a stim or a non-stim pre-workout is the type of training that you undergo. This can be broken down into how much energy you need.

For intensive strength training, you should opt for the stimulating variation of this supplement. This way, you can operate on heavier weights or do more reps.

If you prefer cardio and less intensive but more lengthy training, non-stim pre-workouts will do the trick. After all, you don’t need a powerful energy boost, but rather higher stamina – an effect achievable with non-stimulating supplements.


Finally, you should choose your type of pre-workout based on the frequency of usage. There’s quite a good reason for that.

When taking stimulating-pre workouts too often, you increase your tolerance. This means that you need to switch to stronger products and larger doses – keeping a safe and healthy dosage in mind. You might even be forced to skip your supplementation every other day to ensure that it still affects you.

Non-stim pre-workouts, on the other hand, will be as effective on day one as on day 30. This means that you won’t have to worry about getting stronger formulas or making unnecessary breaks. So, if you train more than 4 times a week, they might be a better option.

The Takeaway

So, now you should know what the difference between a stim and non-stim pre-workout is – both in terms of effects and use cases. Which one should you choose? Consider all the factors that we enlisted and select the option that suits your situation the most. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – the fact that one of them is better based on the circumstances doesn’t mean that the other one won’t help you.

Did you like this article? If you wish to learn more about stimulating pre-workouts and their ingredients, you should check out our article on three types of caffeine, where we explain the differences between them and which of them is the best – this knowledge might come in handy when choosing your supplements.

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