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February 08, 2023
This is the best pre-workout supplement round-up based on quantifiable metrics.
If you're looking for laser-sharp focus, limitless energy, and Hulk-like pumps, then read on for the no-nonsense 15 best pre-workout powders available today.
Just a quick recap before we jump into it...
Pre-workout celebrated its 40th birthday in 2022; the first pre-workout was created by Dan Duchaine in Venice, California back in 1982. His product Ultimate Orange was popular amongst bodybuilders in the 1980s as people saw some great results. This product went away years later as it was rumored to contain ephedra, which can led to heart attacks, strokes and sometimes death.
Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, supplement manufacturers started introducing new ingredients such as citrulline and arginine, besides stimulants to help achieve the pump. Since then, hundreds of pre-workouts have come and gone, with some of them being banned by the FDA.
These days you can expect that quality pre-workout formulas contain substances that boost blood flow, improve focus, increase power and strength, boost energy levels, enhance performance, delay muscle fatigue and pump-up muscles. We’ll cover the most commonly used pre-workout ingredients, benefits, and recommended doses later in this post.
Let’s get into why you’re here…
To start, we will just quickly list the 15 best pre-workout supplements by categories. Then, we will go over each of the best pre-workouts that we chose one-by-one to provide info such as what makes it special, ingredients, pros & cons, and so on. After, we will provide a price chart so you can compare prices and we will also explain our process for choosing the best pre-workouts in 2023, based on the respective categories. To end, we will answer questions that are frequently asked when buying pre-workout supplements.
Note: We were not paid by any of these brands. We are simply just trying to provide our readers with the best choices for pre-workouts this year. That said, we did provide links to Amazon where we will receive a small commission if you purchase, at no additional cost to you. This played no role in our decision for choosing the best options.
SFS Always Ready is a fully dosed pre-workout that will provide you with next-level training sessions.
With a full serving size (2 scoops) of just over 25 grams of active ingredients, you can expect to have some insane pumps, smooth extended energy, laser focus, and enhanced power output.
This is the first supplement we've released so we made sure to come with a formula that won't disappoint.
You'll notice that this formulation doesn't include any saturation ingredients, we only used performance-enhancing substances that will provide immediate benefits so you won't find beta-alanine or creatine in it.
This pre-workout formula was created to boost performance, increase blood flow, reduce muscle fatigue, boost power output, raise energy levels, cut body fat, and lead to improved cognitive function.
Beginning with the pump nitric oxide pump ingredients, you'll find nearly maxed out doses of L-citrulline with 9 grams, 3 grams of GlycerPump and 1 gram of Agmatine sulfate. You're sure to experience some truly impressive muscle pumps with this lineup.
As for energy, we included 300 mg of caffeine anhydrous, 150 mg of theanine and 20 mg of N-Isopropoylsynephrine. This combo will give you a long-lasting energized feeling with some improved chances of burning fat thanks to the latter ingredient.
To round off this pre-workout we have some serious doses of focus ingredients including 600 mg of Alpha-GPC, 40 mg of Huperzine A, and 1 gram of Tyrosine. This matrix ensures you stay on task during your workout while getting the most out of each rep.
Last but not least, you will experience a heightened sense of strength and endurance thanks to 150 mg of ElevATP, 1 gram of Taurine and a hearty dose of 2.5 grams Betaine Anhydrous.
Overall we may be biased with choosing our pre-workout for the best overall but we can promise you will understand why we did so after trying it.
NutraBio Pre has a large serving size of almost 30 grams and without all the fluffer ingredients this product is a beast!
NutraBio isn't one of the bigger names on this list, but it should be. The clinically dosed ingredients offer a complete pre-workout that covers you from hydration to energy to pump and focus. Clocking in at over 29 grams per serving, this is one of the most packed pre-workout supplements we've seen.
Starting with 350 mg of caffeine with 100 mg coming from Inifinergy, you should experience a sustained high energy level. This product breaks down the formulation into different matrixes but lists clear-cut dosing. They've added 3.5 grams of leucine, 3.5 grams of creatine, 3.2 grams of beta-alanine, and 2.5 grams of betaine for strength and power.
Moving on, the pump matrix offers 6 grams of citrulline, plus agmatine and arginine. We'd be here for a while if we listed each ingredient that makes up the entire 28 grams of active ingredients, but just so you know, they added Huperzine A, taurine, and Tyrosine for focus, plus a few substances to aid with hydration.
We only personally tried the blue raspberry, which tastes good. Needless to say, you should give this pre-workout a go if you want a product with a superior formulation profile.
Choosing the best pre-workout for muscle gain came down to finding a product with adequate science-backed muscle-building ingredients, including pump enhancers and energy boosters.
Dr. Jim Stoppani has been a popular name in the fitness world for a long time now, so it's no wonder that he offers an excellent pre-workout supplement with Pre Jym. Within this product, you'll get 6 grams of the much-needed muscle-growing BCAAs, 2 grams of creatine, plus 6 grams of Citrulline malate.
A few other notable ingredients are 600mg of N-Acetyl L-Cysteine, 150 mg of Alpha-GPC, plus 50 mcg of Huperzine-A. To top it off, there's 5mg of BioPerine to help with absorption and 300 mg of caffeine for energy.
This is a larger serving size, so you might need to use more water than you'd usually use with pre-workouts. We tried a few flavors of this one, but Grape Candy was our favorite.
Although you don't have to be a woman to use this pre-workout supplement, the formulation, and marketing target them. After pouring over a few pre-workouts specifically marketed towards women, we think this Alani Nu is the best one.
Unfortunately, we found many pre-workouts targeting women to be a complete joke regarding their formulations and ingredients used. This product, however, has a well-rounded formulation including 6 grams of citrulline malate for increased blood flow and bigger pumps, beta-alanine to improve endurance at 1.6 grams; it shouldn't make you overly itchy.
They also included a 1 to 1 of 200 mg caffeine from coffee bean extract and 200 mg of Theanine, which creates the "Smart caffeine" benefit of a smooth but alert energy without anxiety. 500mg of Tyrosine is also added to their formula to improve performance.
No BS blends here, just a simple, straightforward product with ingredients that work. We didn’t taste this but the reviews we found online were overly favorable.
Once again, pre-workout supplements aren't necessarily meant for specific genders, but we tried to find the best pre-workout for men that puts strength gain, massive pumps at the forefront. There are also some ingredients to help with supporting testosterone levels in this particular product.
We found Transparent Labs Bulk to be one of the better overall and superiorly dosed pre-workouts after hours and hours of search plus dozens and dozens of drinks. This product includes ingredients that help support healthy testosterone levels, such as zinc, vitamin D3, and boron. And that's just the beginning; this pre-workout has 6 grams of citrulline, 4 grams of BCAAs 2:1:1, and 2.5 grams of betaine anhydrous.
Bulk Pre-workout also delivers a super high dose of beta-alanine at 4 grams, so if you like the tingle, this may be your favorite yet. A few other well-dosed ingredients include 1 gram of Tyrosine, 300mg of Alpha-GPC for focus, and an excellent balanced energy boost of taurine, caffeine, and Theobromine.
Believe it or not, this product also only uses natural flavors and stevia as a sweetener, no sucralose! Unfortunately, we only tried the fruit punch, and it wasn't the best tasting pre-workout we tried but it wasn’t terrible either. You could also try Transparent labs Lean pre-workout if you were looking for a top notch option to assist with cutting.
Not for the fainthearted; the strongest pre-workout isn't for everyone. We looked for a product with a high stimulant dosage plus full dosing of citrulline for the skin stretching pumps.
We selected Edge of Insanity as the strongest pre-workout supplement due to its unique formulation. We think the name "Edge of Insanity" was chosen for a good reason; there is 350 mg of caffeine anhydrous in each serving plus Theobromine, Yohimbine, and Rauwolscine (an altered form of Yohimbine for fat burning).
What's more, is the 8 grams of citrulline malate for some insane pumps, add to that 3.2 grams of beta-alanine. Last but not least is this product's focus blend of 1 gram of GABA plus an added 70mg Infinergy to give a longer-lasting stimulant upper.
This product isn't for beginners and should be dosed accordingly; you might want to start with a half dose before taking a full-blown dosage. We tried the jungle juice flavor, which was tasty.
Most people consider the value and overall cost when purchasing products, including pre-workout supplements. While there are cheaper options on the market than our pick for the best budget-friendly pre-workout, none come close to the quality.
Nutricost Pre is an extremely affordable pre-workout. Even though you don't have to break the bank to buy a tub of this, you'll still get a healthy dosing of active ingredients. Included in one serving of NutriCost pre-workout is 6 grams of citrulline malate, 3 grams of beta-alanine, 2 grams of taurine, plus a decent amount of agmatine sulfate, Tyrosine, and Huperzine.
Not to mention, they added 1:1 300 mg of caffeine and Theanine plus 200 mg of Theobromine. It's sufficed to say that even though this is one of the cheaper pre-workouts per serving you can find, they didn't skimp out of ingredients that are proven to work.
We tried the Blue Raspberry flavor which was ok but a bit chalky and gritty.
The best pre-workout for beginners should avoid using beta-alanine or too much caffeine as the itchy skin, and intense stimulants might freak them out a bit. Instead, we looked for a product that would help to bolster those muscle pumps while giving a sustained energy boost and a sharp mind.
Pump Surge has all the aspects as mentioned earlier. They thoughtfully chose ingredients that shouldn't overwhelm people new to pre-workouts yet will still give good results in the gym. For nitric oxide boosters that will help you achieve more pumps, they included 5 grams of citrulline (slightly under-dosed), a full dose of betaine anhydrous of 2.5 grams, plus 150mg of Alpha-GPC.
In addition, they included taurine, Huperzine A, and Astragin (Astragalus & Ginseng) for enhanced mental clarity, focus, and cognition.
The favorite in online reviews seems to be the watermelon flavor.
When looking for a pre-workout for strength, we thought it essential to include the best-proven strength supplement, creatine monohydrate. ON did an excellent job with this advanced formulation with their Gold Standard pre-workout to help elevate your strength to new heights!
Optimum Nutrition is synonymous with sports supplements for a good reason; they consistently put out quality products. They did it again with ON pre-workout supplement. This formulation is a step up from their typical pre-workout, which you can see reflected in the price.
The price increase also comes with the extra dosing of strength, energy, and pump-inducing ingredients. Starting with 300 mg of caffeine from natural sources, you're off to the races while the 6 grams of L-Citrulline will get those muscles pumped.
With each serving, you'll also receive 5 grams of creatine monohydrate, which should cover you for the day. Last but not least, you'll get a hefty serving of vitamin C at 222% of daily recommendation plus 650 mg of their electrolyte blend to help you stay hydrated while you crush your workout.
The Berry Blast flavor was on point!
A vital component of a pre-workout is one that gives your muscles the full, pumped-up look so you can take those gym selfies and change your Tinder profile. You're sure to achieve that goal with this product we chose as the best pre-workout for the pump.
Brought to you by Legion Athletics (a trusted name in the fitness space), Legion Pulse has a heavy hand of caffeine 350 mg with an equal 350 mg of Theanine; you will feel calm yet alert. For the pump, they include a hefty 8 grams of Citrulline malate and a tingling dose of beta-alanine with 3.6 grams.
The other notable ingredients in this clean formula is 2.5 grams of betaine to increase power while reducing fatigue. Finally, there is also 300mg of Alpha-GPC, 2 grams of taurine and 2.2 grams of ornithine to improve performance and focus.
We tried this one and were thoroughly impressed with the results. It tastes ok, Strawberry Kiwi in our case, and we're happy to report that there are ZERO artificial flavors or sweeteners.
If you think about it, pre-workout should help with fat loss as they are generally used to improve output during exercise, therefore helping you to burn more calories, then lose fat. In this case, however, we tried to find the best pre-workout for fat loss which uses a specific formulation to aid in this pursuit.
Alpha Lion might not be a brand you're familiar with, but this product is one you should get to know if you want to lose fat while getting an energy boost and increasing muscular endurance. They dub this a 2 in 1 fat burner and pre-workout; that's precisely what it is. They give you the breakdown of ingredients by one or two scoops; for this review, we based it on the 2-scoop serving size.
Elements such as the scientifically backed Mitoburn to help boost fat loss are included in their fat-burning matrix and other substances that can help burn calories, enhance metabolism, and improve insulin sensitivity.
They also include a healthy dosage of caffeine and Theanine to give you that smooth energy burst. A few other helpful ingredients are the added Tyrosine, beta-alanine, and BioPerine.
The Sour Gummy Bear flavor may be a bit bitter for some; in that case, go with the Blue Gummy Bear. Finally, we almost forgot to mention this is one of the few products that offer a 365-day money-back guarantee!
Most pre-workouts will use artificial ingredients for sweetening, stabilizing, and mixing purposes. Vintage Blast is the best all-natural pre-workout that we tried that gave us a nice energy boost without any crash while we also experienced a decent pump.
The formulation of this pre-workout supplement is interesting as they broke it down into two stages. First, they included ingredients for starting strong then a different set for finishing strong.
Next, they included a decent dose of L-Citrulline, carnitine, and arginine plus caffeine anhydrous to start you off start can get the blood flowing. Followed by a slightly under-dosed tyrosine and an ingredient we don't see used often in pre-workout, D-Aspartic acid, which may help boost blood testosterone levels.
All in all, this is far from the strongest pre-workout on this list, but if you're looking for an option with all-natural ingredients that is third-party tested and vegan friendly, this might be a good choice for you. Blueberry lemonade
We wanted to select a pre-workout that had sufficient hydration ingredients for the best option for cardio or endurance. Pre-Kaged passes that test, plus many others.
This all-around Kaged pre-workout is appropriately dosed and lives up to the expected hype. With 6 grams of leucine plus the other BCAAs, this pre-workout will help with muscle growth and retention.
You have a full dose of citrulline at 6.5 grams plus adequate amounts of beta-alanine, creatine HCL, and betaine at 1.6, 1.5, and 2.5 grams, respectively. In addition, there's a decent mix of caffeine at 274 mg, taurine, and Tyrosine for extra focus and energy.
As you can see, this is a loaded pre-workout with large servings of almost 24 grams of active ingredients. But what sold us on being the best pre-workout for cardio is the addition of the dehydrated coconut water and SPECTRA blend made of fruit and vegetable extracts. We usually avoid proprietary blends, but this only makes up 100 mg of the total.
We had the Kaged Pre-workout fruit punch, one of the tastier we've tried.
Some people don't do well with caffeine, but they still want that energy boost and focus. This is why we've selected the best caffeine-free pre-workout that delivers everything a pre-workout should minus the caffeine.
Genius pre-workout is almost just that. This product contains a powerhouse ingredient lineup and also manages to only use natural substances while providing sick pumps and crystal-clear focus. This product only uses a small amount of stimulant with 30 mg of Theobromine. Instead, it offers nootropics such as Huperzine, Taurine, Alpha-GPC, and Rhodiola Rosea that should help boost focus and cognition.
For big pumps and increased strength output, you can expect to get it from the 6 grams of citrulline malate, 2 grams of betaine, Tyrosine at 1 gram, and more. They also include HICA (hydroxyisocaproic acid), which may promote mass muscle gain, and ElevATP, which increases ATP levels.
All in all, this is a great pre-workout if you want something very limited stimulants and all-natural ingredients. We were also surprised that the Grape Limeade tastes good, although it's is more on the grape side and less on the lime.
Many people might believe that stim-free pre-workouts might fall flat on their faces, but this is different. With ZERO caffeine or any other stimulants, this product is sure to give you a great pump.
Brought to you by a newer face in the fitness industry, but one we think will be around for a while is Derek from MorePlatesMoreDates, a famous Youtuber.
Gorilla Mode stimulant free pre-workout uses a formulation that's sure to give you a pump due to the nitric oxide boosters. If you use a 2-scoop dosage, citrulline, agmatine, creatine, and Nitrosigine will be super high at 10, 5, 1.5, 1.5 grams, respectively.
The formulation used in this pre-workout maximizes nitric oxide pathways and intracellular hydration to get extreme pumps. If you stick with the 1 scoop serving size, you'll get 40 servings, and the dosages will still be acceptable.
A common pre-workout ingredient that's left off this formulation besides stimulants is beta-alanine, the reason being it's not time-dependent and that your body needs to accumulate enough before you see the results.
We tried the Lemonade, which tastes ok.
Note: These recommendations are based on our opinions and aren't medical advice; always consult your doctor before starting any new supplementation. Also, some return policies may differ from Amazon sellers or the brand's website, be sure to check both.
There's quite a price range for pre-workout, but the average cost per serving is $1-$2.00. You might think that a high cost per serving is always related to the high quality or amount of ingredients being used, but that's not always the case. Some supplement brands use their names, marketing tricks, or proprietary blends to charge more money than their product is worth.
Don't worry; we have you covered with our brief breakdowns of each of the best pre-workouts we chose. The cost of your pre-workout will primarily be based on why you're using the product, to begin with.
You can always make a homemade pre-workout that usually clocks in at a lower cost than most comparable options.
Here's a comparison of the best pre-workouts listed above:
Price Per Serving
|Always Ready Pre-Workout||Best Pre-Workout||$54.95 - $2.75 (20) $1.37 (40)|
Runner-Up Best Pre-Workout
$40 - $2 (20)
Best for Muscle Gain
$50 - $1.67 (30)
Best for Women
$40 - $1.33 (30)
Best for Men
$52 - $1.73 (30)
$40 - $1.6 (25)
Most Budget Friendly
$38 - $.64 (60)
Best for Beginners
$30 - $1.5 (30)
Best for Strength
$33 - $1.65 (20)
Best for Pump
$40 - $1.9 (21)
Best for Fat Loss
$65 - $1.3 (50)
$40 - $2 (20)
Best for Cardio
$40 - $2 (20)
Best No Caffeine
$38 - $1.9 (20)
$44 - $1.1 (40)
Look at any option on the market, and you're sure to see that every brand's pre-workout supplement claims are one in the same. For example, this is the best in delivering enhanced endurance, big pumps, improved energy, and unmatched stamina. However, the truth is that many pre-workout supplements fail to live up to their self-proclaimed hype.
Therefore, we tried to distinguish the pre-workouts that have merit and are worth your hard-earned dollars by looking at the following factors:
First and foremost, we looked closely at each pre-workout we chose, starting with what ingredients and how much of each was used in a single serving. Numerous ingredients can and should be used in creating an effective pre-workout. The vital point is to see which ingredients were being used and how much, as many pre-workout supplements might use the proper ingredients but have wildly under-dosed amounts.
Besides underdosing ingredients that work, manufacturers will often hide behind proprietary blends where they don't expressly state how much of each ingredient is being used. In general, manufacturers will skimp on active and effective ingredients to cut costs, thus bolstering their wallets.
A hidden danger in the supplement industry is the lack of stringent testing or standardizations, allowing nefarious players to add substances in their products that could lead to potential dangers regarding your health. A reasonable way of ruling out these untrustworthy companies is to look for products that go through a third-party testing process. For example, the NSF certification for sport is a good sign that the product has gone through rigorous testing and is completely safe and pure. Another way of separating these reputable manufacturers is to look for a long-standing positive name in the fitness supplement space.
To help us narrow down the pack, we looked at what the manufacturers were claiming about their products. Anything that seemed way above and beyond the standard marketing jargon was disqualified from making our best pre-workout list. A promising sign for supplement companies is if they are reasonable with their claims. For example, if a supplement company claims you will gain X amount of muscle or lose X amount of fat, you should run the other way as each person will have different responses to various products.
We looked at countless reviews from verified buyers as well as tasting a bunch on our own. Pre-workouts are almost always taken with water, so we judged them based on the mixability and flavor.
To follow up on the previous point, some supplement companies will load up their formulas with additives, flavorings, and sweeteners to make their products taste better. We considered if the products were using natural or artificial flavorings, factoring that into our rankings.
While some people have unlimited funds and don't have to worry about how much money they spend, the majority of the rest of us consider cost and value important factors when buying products. We looked at the cost per serving as the baseline for each product as some manufacturers have smaller/larger serving sizes and the total number of servings per container. Another factor regarding value is that some brands have 2 scoop servings sizes which can be misleading to consumers; we were aware of this during our judging.
Supplement brands that base their formulations on science tend to offer better overall products. Therefore, we looked for brands that had doctors, dieticians, and other nutritional experts involved in creating the formulation, dosage, and ingredients.
One hallmark sign of a good company is one that will stand behind the products they are selling; this goes for pre-workout as well. We looked for companies that offered a 100% satisfaction guarantee where consumers could either return or replace products they had reasonable issues with.
There are some pre-workout ingredients that you'll constantly see from brand to brand, while others are unique.
Below you'll find a brief description of some of the most commonly used pre-workout ingredients plus the recommended effective dosage.
This comes from the amino acid arginine once it's been decarboxylated (chemical reaction to remove carbon atom). This ingredient is considered a neurotransmitter and neuromodulator that can help create bigger pumps and improve blood flow by slowing down the degradation of nitric acid buildup, therefore regulating the high levels. This can help to make you look more vascular in the gym.
Recommended Dosage: There's not a set standard dosage due to lack of human-based studies, but one such study used 1.3-2.67 grams of agmatine daily to treat neuropathic pain. Estimations for improving brain cognition are 1.6-6.4 mg/kg of bodyweight. So don't exceed 6.4mg/kg of bodyweight. Not as effective with arginine as they use the same transporters.
AKA Alpha-glycerophosphocholine is rich in choline (essential nutrient). It seems to result in cognitive enhancements and might help improve growth hormone production while also increasing strength and power output. However, this supplement needs to be studied more before saying exactly how it can help in a pre-workout.
Recommended Dosage: For performance enhancement, 300-600 mg with 600 mg being used in the studies.
This amino acid finds its way into some pre-workouts, but it has limited evidence supporting the usage to improve performance, perhaps due to poor absorption rates. It does, however, help to heal wounds and aid in healthy kidney and immune function. It's usually used in pre-workouts to improve blood circulation, although citrulline is proven to be more beneficial.
Recommended Dosage: For pre-workouts 3-6 grams, taking more than 10 grams at once can lead to stomach issues and diarrhea.
Branched-chain amino acids are the three amino acids; isoleucine, leucine, and valine. BCAAs help promotes muscle protein synthesis, reduce fatigue and increase muscle size. In addition, BCAAs mitigate serum decline, typically leading to fatigue from exercise.
Recommended dosage: You can get the necessary BCAA intake through diet. However, a combined dosage is 20 grams.
AKA trimethylglycine, is found in beetroots and spinach. This is often found in pre-workouts to enhance performance by improving strength and power while also helping to slightly improve endurance and total volume.
Recommended dosage: 2.5 grams (1.25 grams 2x/day) or up to 6 grams divided into two servings. *(It's important to note that the studies finding the benefits of supplementing with betaine were funded by DuPont Nutrition, a company that produces it).
This is the beta-modified version of the amino acid alanine. This ingredient is used in pre-workout supplements to improve muscular and cardiovascular endurance. Beta-alanine helps fend off lactic acid buildup due to exercise by turning into carnosine once ingested. Beta-alanine is particularly helpful in endurance activities lasting at least 60 seconds and up to a few minutes. This is the substance that gives you the itchy tingling feeling called paresthesia.
Recommended dosage: 2-5 grams, but a loaded dosage is needed to benefit from its full effects. Studies show 4-6 grams daily for 4 weeks had pronounced positive benefits. With this in mind, you can infer that beta alanine in pre-workout isn't that useful, unless you are also supplementing it on off days or you simply like the itch and tingles it causes.
This extract can help to improve the absorption of other supplements.
Recommended dosage: 20 mg of Bioperine
Caffeine is the most common ingredient found in pre-workout supplements without considering non-caffeinated or stim-free options. Caffeine is found in many natural plants such as chocolate, coffee, tea, yerba mate, guarana, and kola nut. Caffeine is a proven performance enhancer as it helps to block the brain's adenosine receptors, resulting in an energy boost or heightened state of alertness. Caffeine also supports the release of neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine while also improving breathing by lowering airway resistance. Other stimulants used in pre-workouts in place of or in addition to are yohimbine, Theacrine, and Theobromine.
You might see an assortment of caffeine forms used in pre-workouts, but the most frequently used are caffeine anhydrous, dicaffeine malate, and natural.
Recommended dosage: People have different tolerances for the effects of caffeine, so you'll have to see what works best for you. Many pre-workouts will have anywhere from 50-500mg of caffeine, with the average being 150-300mg. Researchers use dosages of 4-6mg/kg of bodyweight. (* USDA recommends no more than 400mg of caffeine per day). If you don't frequently take caffeine, avoid taking your pre-workout on an empty stomach to ensure you don't feel overly jittery.
This substance produced in the body from amino acids is also found in many pre-workouts. Creatine has been shown to enhance power and strength output, increase lean muscle mass when used with resistance training, improve cognitive functioning, and slightly improve anaerobic exercise. This is a safe supplement that should be taken daily, not just in pre-workouts.
Recommended dosage: Creatine can be supplemented with a loading protocol of .3 grams/kg of body weight daily for 5-7 days, then .03g/kg/day indefinitely. We generally take 5 grams daily, but others go up to 10-20 grams.
Found in meat, beef, in particular, carnitine is produced by the body from methionine and lysine. Carnitine is sometimes used in pre-workouts to reduce muscle damage from resistance training and also to lower fatigue and improve athletic performance, although the evidence is limited.
Recommended dosage: Between 1-4 grams (LCLT /L-Carnitine L-Tartrate)
This amino acid is found in the urea cycle (converts surplus ammonia into urea in the mitochondria of liver cells) along with L-arginine and L-ornithine. Citrulline helps enhance athletic performance and improve cardiovascular health by increasing blood flow so that more oxygen is being sent to the muscles. You'll often see citrulline in pre-workouts in the form of citrulline malate (malic acid), which is thought to aid in absorption.
Recommended dosage: 6 grams of citrulline per day or 6-8 grams of citrulline malate an hour before exercise.
AKA N-Phenethyl Dimethylamine, is an alkaloid from the Orchid Eria Jarensis. This substance is finding its way into pre-workouts these days due to the stimulant-like effects. However, there isn't much in terms of scientific studies on its benefits, and it also might be on banned substance lists. So be forewarned.
Recommended dosage: Not enough information to make a recommendation
This is a form of glycerol powder with a 65% yield. Used in pre-workouts these days, this ingredient helps to hydrate and improve endurance while enhancing the pump you get during resistance training.
Recommended dosage: 1-1.5 grams taken 1 hour before exercise. (This might be banned in some sports competitions).
This substance is extracted from herbs in the Huperzceae family, an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. It is a neurotransmitter found in pre-workout to improve focus and muscle contraction.
Recommended dosage: 50-200 mcg daily
AKA baking soda, can act as an acid buffer, thus helping to enhance performance by regulating and balancing the lactic acid buildup. Some people might have adverse reactions and get upset stomachs at higher doses.
Recommended dosage: Taken 60-90 minutes before anaerobic exercise or 45-60 minutes before endurance exercises with dosages 200-500mg/kg of bodyweight. (Higher levels may cause stomach discomfort)
This amino acid has been popular in energy drinks for a while now as it assists in boosting endurance while lessening muscle soreness.
Recommended dosage: .5-2 grams
Found in tea and some mushrooms, this amino acid aids in relaxation and mood enhancement. It's often combined with coffee where it's called "smart caffeine" as you get the benefits for caffeine without the jitters, crashes, or anxiousness.
Recommended dosage: 100-200 mg alongside caffeine
This amino acid assists in producing noradrenaline and dopamine while also reducing stress in stressful situations, therefore, enhancing performance.
Recommended dosage: .5-2 grams taken 30-60 minutes before exercise
Note: Dosage recommendations found on Examine.com, always make sure to consult your doctor before starting any new supplementation.
They might not be necessary, but a well-formulated pre-workout can offer numerous benefits to get the most out of your workouts.
Here are a few benefits of pre-workouts:
One of the biggest reasons people take pre-workout is to get an energy boost to take advantage of during a workout. We've all been there before where you just don't feel like going to the gym or exercising; that's when a pre-workout can be your best friend. Most pre-workouts will contain stimulants to aid in giving you the extra push you might need to really turn it up a level while you work out. However, stim-free pre-workouts can also help with energy through other mechanisms.
Let's face it, a highlight of gym time is looking in the mirror and seeing your muscles pumped up. Pre-workouts can support this with nitric oxide boosters, making your blood vessels more relaxed and fuller while more blood is pushed around your body.
Besides the caffeine or other stimulants to keep you alert and focused, multiple ingredients are being used in pre-workouts that keep your head clear. Substances such as Huperzine A, Alpha-GPC, and Tyrosine are just a few to name.
Ingredients like creatine and betaine have been shown to enable new strength and muscle gains while also allowing for more overall output. Another favorite in pre-workouts is beta-alanine, which makes it possible to eke out that extra rep or two.
You should take a pre-workout if you've cleared it with your doctor and you want a helping hand to ensure a pedal to the metal workout. You'll hear people say pre-workout isn't needed; while that's true in part, it's also true that they can make you feel like a Superhero.
If you feel like your butt is dragging when you workout or are having some motivational issues to exercise, a pre-workout might be able to give you the little push you need.
Here's a sample of the types of people who can benefit from using pre-workouts:
Overall, pre-workouts are safe if you're purchasing from a reputable company that has all its products tested by 3rd parties. On the other hand, some people may have an aversion to pre-workouts due to the ingredients used.
Note: If you're an athlete who competes, make sure your organization approves all your pre-workout ingredients.
The majority of pre-workouts on the market should be taken within 30 minutes to an hour before your workout. It's important to follow the manufacturer's recommended dosage and suggestions on when to take it for optimal benefits. If you do a longer warmup usually, then you should take that into consideration.
Learn more about why pre-workout timing matters.
Effects from pre-workouts can last for hours after you take them. Several factors are involved, including your body's metabolism, ingredients used, and at which quantity. If your pre-workout contains stimulants, then it's probably best not to take it within 4 hours of bedtime. As a general rule of thumb, a well-dosed pre-workout should have lasting effects for at least 2 hours but could go as high as 6-8. Always check the labels!
Similar to any supplement that's ingested, pre-workouts can also lead to some side effects. Everyone may have a slightly different reaction, but if the pre-workout is dosed correctly, side effects should be minimal.
A few common side effects are:
Also, if you notice your supplement is expired, has an odd smell or color, or is moldy, it's likely your pre workout's gone bad, which can worsen stomach discomfort. In this instance, we'd suggest throwing out the old stuff and using a fresh container. Your intestines will thank you.
Note: Check with your doctor to ensure all the ingredients in your pre-workout are ok for your particular situation. Always try to purchase supplements that 3rd parties have tested.
Pre-workouts containing beta-alanine are responsible for the itchy or tingling feeling on your skin after ingesting it. Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid that, together with histidine, supports the production of carnosine. This carnosine stored in skeletal muscle lowers lactic acid build-up during exercise, leading to improved exercise performance. The itchiness or tingling sensation is called paraesthesia which isn't harmful. Some love this feeling while others hate it, to each their own. In addition to beta-alanine, B3 or niacin can cause a "niacin flush" where you might feel an itchy or tingling sensation.
Learn more about why pre workout makes you itchy and tingle.
Pre-workouts can sometimes have you running to the bathroom to unleash some unpleasant poops. This is primarily due to the caffeine or other stimulants used. Not everyone will experience this but make sure you have a bathroom close by when you try a new pre-workout. Better be safe than sorry!
Learn more about why pre workout makes you poop.
Dry scooping is/was a viral trend where people would throw back pre-workout powder without mixing it with any water; thankfully, it has slowed down recently. This was a stupid idea because you can choke on the powder, plus it can possibly be absorbed faster, which may send a jolt to your body that it can't handle. Don't be stupid, just follow the directions and you should be ok. Learn more about dry scooping pre workout.
We hope that this best pre-workout round-up helps you make an informed decision before buying one. There are many options to choose from that will cater to your needs; just try to look at what's actually inside the pre-workout to align with your end goals.
We may be biased but we truly believe that our Always Ready pre-workout is the best option available.
Happy shopping, and let us know in the comments if you've tried any of these or have some recommendations for the top pre-workout supplements that we may have missed.
Want more pre-workout options? For those who want to avoid stimulants then check out the Best Caffeine Free Pre-Workouts or for people want to make sure they get their creatine intake in then have a look at the Best Pre-Workouts With Creatine.
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September 30, 2023
September 29, 2023
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