Glycerol as a pre-workout improving performance and hydration

Glycerol as a pre-workout: improving performance and hydration

It’s no secret that athletes and fitness enthusiasts are continually seeking innovative ways to optimize their performance and enhance their training outcomes. When it comes to supplements, one particular substance that has been around in the fitness world for a long time but has gained popularity in recent years is glycerol. Sought out mainly for its potential to boost hydration and improve exercise performance, glycerol has gained attention as a pre-workout aid. In this article, we’ll take a quick look into the science behind glycerol as a pre-workout supplement and why it works, as well as explore its potential benefit.

Glycerol, also known as glycerin or glycerine, is a simple sugar alcohol that is naturally found in fats and oils. As an alcohol, it has the ability to retain water wherever it’s present and, because of that, is widely used in various industries, including food and pharmaceuticals, due to its humectant properties, being completely safe for humans. Glycerol can also be used as a sweetener, having about 60% to 75% of the sweetening power of saccharose, and slightly more calories per gram. For bodybuilding and sports in general, glycerol can be used as a powerful agent for enhancing cellular hydration and performance, particularly during intense exercise. In fact, Glycerol’s effects are so impactful that it was banned by WADA up until 2018.

 Here’s how each of Glycerol’s main benefits work


As said before, one of the primary mechanisms through which glycerol is able to exert its effects is by promoting hydration. When ingested, glycerol is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and draws water from extracellular spaces into the intracellular compartment, effectively increasing total body water content. This hydration-promoting effect is especially beneficial for athletes engaging in prolonged or high-intensity exercise, as adequate hydration is essential for optimal performance and recovery;

 Exercise performance

In addition to its hydrating properties, glycerol has been shown to enhance exercise performance through many other mechanisms. By increasing total body water content, glycerol can help maintain plasma volume and prevent dehydration, thereby reducing the risk of heat-related issues and enhancing body thermoregulation during exercise. Additionally, glycerol supplementation has been associated with improved endurance, power output, and exercise capacity, allowing athletes to train at higher intensities for longer periods of time;

 Enhanced muscle pump

Another main benefit of taking glycerol as a pre-workout is its ability to enhance muscle pump, or the temporary increase in muscle size and vascularity during resistance training. Glycerol increases blood volume and promotes vasodilation, leading to improved nutrient delivery to working muscles and a greater sensation of fullness and tightness in the muscles. This higher level of muscle pump not only enhances the aesthetic appeal of a workout but also makes nutrient uptake and muscle repair easier, which in turn enhances muscle growth and recovery.

However, if you take too much Glycerol, it will accumulate in your intestines along with a bunch of water, signaling your body it’s time to evacuate, and potentially causing all sorts of gastrointestinal issues and discomfort.

 How to use Glycerol

When incorporating glycerol into your pre-workout routine, it’s essential to consider dosage and timing. Studies have shown that doses ranging from 1 to 1.2 grams per kilogram of body weight, taken 60 to 90 minutes before exercise, are effective for maximizing hydration and performance benefits and should probably not be exceeded. Personally, what I’d recommend for new users is mixing 10 to 20g of Glycerol per liter of water and drinking it before your workouts (maximum 2 liters). Always combining glycerol with adequate fluid intake is crucial to optimize its hydrating effects and minimize the risk of gastrointestinal discomfort.

In conclusion, Glycerol is a possible choice for athletes looking to enhance their pre-workout supplementation and maximize their performance. By promoting hydration, improving exercise performance, and enhancing muscle pump, glycerol offers 3 benefits that work very well together in a pre-workout. As with any supplement, it’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare or nutrition professional before incorporating glycerol into your routine, especially if you have any underlying medical conditions or concerns, and be especially careful with the gastrointestinal effects. All in all, with proper dosage and timing, glycerol can be a very powerful and accessible tool in the hands of most athletes and fitness enthusiasts.


Glenn Koslowski

Glenn Koslowski is a well known coach that has worked with many world class athletes and celebrities when they need to peak for a sports event, movie or photo shoot. With over 15 years of experience in nutrition and training, he always brings his clients to their best shapes and highest athletic abilities in the shortest possible time.