You ever catch that Michael Douglas movie ‘Falling Down’? If you didn’t, in one scene Michael’s character goes berserk in a popular hamburger franchise – firstly because they won’t serve him breakfast at one minute past eleven, and secondly because the burger he eventually receives looks nothing like the ‘plump, juicy’ patty that’s pictured on the counter-top menu.
Although most of us, we would hope, wouldn’t pull a semi automatic at this juncture of customer service breakdown, to some extent we’ve all been there, and we feel Michael’s pain.
That’s because it really is irritating when a product just doesn’t look like it does in the commercial.
It’s true that most pre workout manufacturers don’t want to talk about ‘clumping’ – when the product is congealed and hardened, often even on opening.
The sad fact is though, that it CAN happen to almost any pre workout that comes in powder form from time to time.
Here we look at the reasons for, and some of the possible solutions to, a tough issue…
Why do Pre Workouts Turn Clumpy?
By their nature, powdered pre workout products are supposed to react with water, dissolving in it so that it can easily be consumed. You wouldn’t want to chew on the stuff, right?
Pre workouts are therefore usually full of ingredients that are what’s known as hygroscopic – that is, they readily absorb water. Which can be part of the problem …
The powder turns hard and clumpy when it has absorbed trace water vapor molecules that are present in the air of the tub and has subsequently congealed, despite the manufacturer’s best efforts to avoid this.
Are Clumpy Pre Workouts Still Effective?
The good news is that clumping doesn’t alter the actual potency of the product in any way.
The only safety issue might be that powder with large lumps in it could make it difficult to measure out the directed amount. This in turn could lead to overdosing, which could leave you with unpleasant side effects.
How Do I Fix Clumpy Powder?
As mentioned above, pre workouts are sometimes clumpy even when freshly cracked open. How to solve this depends on how badly set your product is.
If the formula contains lumps, but is basically still a powder, a good going through with a fork or even a whisk (having first emptied the container into a larger bowl) can often be enough to remedy the problem.
If your pre workout has congealed to a solid, you may need to go nuclear. Scoop the clumpy formula into a food blender (yes, seriously,) and give it a good whirl or two to break it up.
How do I prevent clumpy powder?
Of course even if your pre workout is as fine as Saharan sand, atmospheric moisture can set in at any time.
The best course of all is prevention, and here are our top tips for doing just that:
Store in a Cool, Dry Place
They don’t just put it on the label for the good of their health you know!
With many ingredients in your pre workout likely to be hygroscopic, it makes sense to keep it in as dry a place as possible.
Atmospheric heat, of course, can affect humidity, also a factor to consider. Try not to leave your product in a car overnight, for example, as locked vehicles can easily become very warm under certain conditions.
Keep the Silica Gel sachet buried in the formula
Silica gel is what’s called a dessicant. This is a highly hygroscopic substance, designed to keep whatever it’s been placed near to dry by absorbing any atmospheric moisture itself.
For this reason, it’s important to keep silica gel packages deep within the formula at all times to avoid clumping.
Shake or Stir as often as possible
Because pre workouts might not be taken as often as other supplements like protein powders, they are more likely to be left sitting for longer periods. This allows the powder to become more solid over time.
A quick shake or even a stir with a fork should prevent any congealment, leaving you more than ready to kick start your workout whenever you see fit!
Hell, even Michael Douglas couldn’t complain in that scenario.
[Editor: OK, no way can we end on ‘Shaken or Stirred’ without including this classic].