NOTE: For how long a bottle lasts, storage, and pro tips scroll down to bottom of FAQ.
WHAT ARE SMELLING SALTS?
Smelling salts are chemically stuffed compounds (usually stuffed with ammonia) used to regain an alert state of mind and/or enhance performance.
ARE SMELLING SALTS LEGAL?!
Yes. They always have been.
WHAT DO I USE SMELLING SALTS FOR?
Use it before preparing for a heavy lift PR or before you want to nail an athletic feat that you’re very close to accomplishing. Also good for AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible) sets. It’s also useful to help you stay awake an extra moment (minute or two) when you’re severely sleep-deprived.
HOW DO I USE SMELLING SALTS?
Whatever you do, don’t “smell” smelling salts. Instead, open the bottle and “waft” it underneath your nose gently until you feel it. You may sniff closer to the bottle opening if you want the sensation of a snake biting your brain. (Note: AHHH!!! smelling salts are too strong to be used this way. The bottle must be held at least 1 foot from the nose (30 cm) and the user must wait for the vapors to come to them.)
SO THIS IS WHAT YOU’RE SNIFFING IN VIDEOS ALL THE TIME?
Yes. We call them ammonia inhalants. They come in two forms.
- Ammonia inhalant ampules: These contain a tiny glass bead with the active ingredient inside. You crush them and then sniff. That’s what I’m always using in my videos.
- Bottles: These contain smelling salts, crystallized compounds stuffed with the same active ingredient. That’s what’s in these bottles available here.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AMPULES AND BOTTLES?
The ampules are more convenient and ritualistic, but the bottle form is way stronger and approximately 3-6x more cost effective (depending on care of preservation, see below).
HOW DO SMELLING SALTS WORK?
They activate the inhalation reflex by irritating the mucous membranes in your respiratory tract. This causes muscles that control the breathing process to perform faster. It’s a negative sensory sensation, enhancing activities of the heart and brain by activating the sympathetic nervous system. It reproduces an acute pain response, like the kind you get when you accidentally hit your finger with a hammer. This type of moment gives you a tiny, but significant boost of adrenaline. Besides the physical pain, if you recollect these types of moments, you’ll know that there is a full body response to it: an increase in alertness and an inattentiveness to most everything else except the acute pain. That’s exactly what inhaling ammonia does to your body globally: it causes a tiny, yet significant, boost of adrenaline that lasts up to a minute. However, unlike a bodily injury, you don’t have to get a band-aid, and it doesn’t swell, bruise, or hurt for hours or days afterward. There is no damage.
CAN YOU HURT YOURSELF USING IT BY PUSHING THE BODY TOO FAR?
Yes. Smelling salts will make you say “time’s up, let’s do this, LEEROYYYYYY JENNNNNNKINNNSSSS!!!”. It can kill doubt, fear, and worry for a short moment. Your brain stops thinking and just reacts. In which case, you have a chance to act without your brain getting in the way. So, if you’re using it before a skill you’re not competent at, or before lifting heavy with a new exercise, you could very well get hurt. You might, indeed, snap a shoulder, blow out a knee, or roll an ankle, all due to the strength boost accompanying your terrible technique. So…
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO USE SMELLING SALTS FOR TRAINING?
ONLY USE THIS FOR THINGS YOU HAVE TECHNICALLY MASTERED
Personally, I only use it for hard things I’m good at that I want to do fucking great, or lifts I’m good at that I want to PR again in. Not a single injury of mine, zero, none of them, have ever come after using smelling salts before something. Why? Because I follow the advice I just gave you.
An exception is a skill you’ve been trying for a long time that you are very close to. In that situation you’ve patterned the movement and you might just need a little boost to get your feet underneath you.
WILL I BUILD A TOLERANCE TO SMELLING SALTS?
No. Every whiff is like the first time all over again if you just wait 10 minutes or so between uses.
IT DOESN’T SEEM TO BE WORKING ANYMORE!
Your bottle needs recharged. Cap it tightly and wait. The crystals are aromatic and the amount of vapor in the bottle needs time to build back up. If you’re like me, you’ll keep a couple bottles around and switch between the two. So while one is recharging the other is ready to go again.
IT DOESN’T WORK AT ALL?
Improper storage can cause this: don’t keep it in the glove compartment of a very hot car. If improper storage isn’t the issue, then you’ve probably just expended the entire bottle’s worth of potency.
HOW OFTEN DO YOU USE SMELLING SALTS?
I would usually only use one good whiff for any maximal training session. Not everyday is maximal, so I don’t use them everyday.
I JUST GOOGLED IT AND SMELLING SALTS ARE AMMONIA DERIVED AND AMMONIA CAN BE FATAL.
It’s diluted, not pure. And you’re not eating it, you’re whiffing it. Stop freaking out you wimp. It’s the difference between getting electrocuted by lightning and getting electrocuted by an electric bug zapper. One could kill you or cause long term damage, the other one will make you say “OUCH FUCK” and then pull away and laugh about it afterward. You take a whiff of this diluted ammonia product, you say “OUCH FUCK”, and then you pull it away and enter beast mode.
ARE SMELLING SALTS UNHEALTHY LONG TERM?
No human on the planet would sit and huff this stuff enough to start causing damage to the point where this would cause long-term health problems. You’d have to sit on a couch and just breath this shit in for hours, everyday, before it would cause any potential problem.
I’ve been using it since I was 18, just a few moments per week or month, on average. I’m in my 30s now. I am healthy, not unhealthy. To use the electric bug zapper example again, it is about as unhealthy long-term as occasionally touching an electric bug zapper for a moment. And about as addictive…
ARE SMELLING SALTS ADDICTIVE OR RECREATIONAL?
No! It fucking hurts! It does NOT feel good. It is not cocaine. You are whiffing vapors that stimulate via a short-lived acute pain response, not snorting caustic powders that stimulate via tricking out your dopamine feedback loop. One whiff hurts for 5 seconds and alerts you for up to a minute. There is no comedown or crash. In fact, it opens up the airways and helps you breathe better. It makes you feel better for several minutes afterwards (much like a cold shower makes you feel rejuvenated). That’s the opposite of a strong upper (like cocaine or meth) which makes you feel good for an hour or so, but then makes you feel like a fucking piece of shit for one or two days afterwards. It is NOT a recreational drug and it is not addictive. There’s no comedown, crash, down-regulation, or anything else associated with recreational drug use. And again, it is not unhealthy unless you’re a screwy person who just sits there for hours everyday and sniffs this stuff. That person will never exist because this stuff hurts your nose!
OK! SMELLING SALTS ARE AWESOME! ANY OTHER SUGGESTIONS?
Yes! Finally you’ve stopped being a shy wuss and have embraced the smelling salts! Here are my suggestions:
To get your money’s worth, store these bottles appropriately. For maximum longevity, you should put the top back on these smelling salts right after using them and make sure it is on as tight as you can get it. Also, store them between 8 and 20 degrees Celsius (46 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit), which might mean in the fridge, if possible. If you can’t store it in the fridge, don’t worry, just don’t keep it in the glove compartment of a hot car during a hot day.
HOW LONG WILL A BOTTLE LAST?
A bottle of any of our smelling salts products will last approximately 3 weeks with multiple daily uses if you comply with the STORAGE INFORMATION above. That is the MAXIMUM use and I do not recommend it! Read above earlier in this FAQ for use frequency guidelines. If stored properly, and used a few times a week, (or even just once per workout) a bottle can last several months. Our WOKE product has a longer shelf life than our other smelling salts product because of the bottle design.
In general, the more often you open the bottle, the more vapor escapes, and when vapor escapes you’re expending the product’s potency.
HOW TO GET MAXIMUM BOTTLE POTENCY
The most important thing is resealing your bottle immediately after use. Don’t use it and leave it uncapped while you do a set of deadlifts or something. Really: every single second the cap is off the bottle’s potency is being expended. If you leave the top off for 24 hours on accident your bottle will die.
HOW TO RECHARGE A BOTTLE
During a workout you may use a bottle of smelling salts multiple times. Each time you open it, ammonia vapor escapes. When the lid is closed, ammonia vapor builds up inside the bottle. Thus, your bottle of smelling salts needs a rest set! The first use of any given day is going to be the strongest, so save it for that! Otherwise, be cognizant of how long you are leaving the lid off during use. No bottle lasts forever, but all bottles last longer the more they’re sealed.
SHAKE THE BOTTLE AFTER MULTIPLE USES
When using multiple times during a workout, shake the bottle between uses, it helps release ammonia vapor from the compounds.
No really, get yourself a bottle, you’ll love this stuff! CLICK HERE TO GET SOME!