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Fact checked by Robert Iafelice, MS, RD, LDNFACT CHECKED
August 12, 2023
Hey ladies, are you tired of navigating the confusing world of pre-workout supplements only to find that the bulk of them seem to be created for men?
You're not alone.
Many women experience confusion and underrepresentation in a market that far too frequently disregards their unique demands. That's why we've put together this ultimate guide to the best pre-workouts for women.
We've done exhaustive research to provide you with the best pre-workout for women separated by category. We even included a buyer's guide and an explanation of why you should take a pre-workout, so you can confidently make your purchasing decision.
Transparent Labs BULK is designed to be used during the bulking phase of your muscular development. The company also has a companion pre-workout, LEAN, to pair with a cutting phase (reviewed further down the page).
What makes the two different from one another?
The BULK formula is created to increase focus, endurance, and power while enhancing digestion and stimulating natural testosterone production. Yes, women need balanced testosterone, too, as it can assist post-workout protein synthesis to grow lean muscle mass. The LEAN pre-workout, on the other hand, has a thyroid support complex to encourage fat reduction.
Transparent Labs updated the ingredient composition for BULK Pre-Workout around the end of 2020. The following was taken out:
Bioperine from Mucuna pruriens
They were replaced with:
BULK pre-workout's ingredient list and doses are outstanding. Theanine, taurine, and tyrosine are the compounds intended to improve your training focus. They are all properly dosed, assuring they will accomplish their goals of aiding recovery and raising focus.
Beta-alanine is an essential component when it comes to enhancing your workout endurance and performance. You get 4 grams in every BULK serving, which aligns with clinical studies.
A pre-workout can be difficult for some people to stomach, and the last thing you want is to feel queasy throughout the upcoming workout. Adding Bioperine to the formula, as this product does, significantly improves the absorption of the other components, reducing the likelihood of stomach discomfort.
Thanks to its fundamental principle of complete transparency, Transparent Labs has made a name for itself in an industry replete with deceptive advertising, underdosed drugs, and proprietary labeling. This means they fully disclose all ingredient dosage information on the label.
Third-party testers are used by Transparent Labs for all of their products, in addition to entirely transparent product labeling. On their website, you can also read certificates of authentication and analysis.
Powher is a pre-workout made especially for women and produced by Ultimate Life, the same people who put out the extremely popular Lean Bean female-focused fat burner.
One of the things you will often notice with pre-workouts for women is that they're not as heavily dosed as those for the guys. That's because women generally have smaller frames and weigh less than guys, so they're unable to tolerate the same dosages. It's one of the things that makes Powher the best pre workout for women beginners.
Powher provides energy through caffeine, Vitamins B6 and B12, and Taurine. The caffeine content is 100 mg per dose, making this very mild as far as stimulants go. The energy supply with this pre-workout is smooth and natural, so you don't have to worry about energy crashes.
Although it would be nice to be able to get Powher in more than just one flavor, it only comes in one: 'Pink Lemonade'. That said, the taste is pretty damn good, and it mixes well in water.
You can only get this product from the manufacturer's website, which means you will have to wait - and pay shipping unless you buy the four-pack. It should also be noted that an artificial sweetener is used to produce the pink lemonade taste.
Transparent Labs LEAN is marketed as a cutting pre-workout. It provides weight loss support through the ingredients acetyl-L-carnitine, chromium picolinate, and zinc.
Six grams of citrulline malate gives you an awesome pump effect during intense training. Betaine anhydrous, dosed at 2.5 grams, effectively boosts performance and strength, while 2 grams of BCAAs enhance muscle energy.
Transparent Labs Lean also includes a well-dosed cognitive enhancement blend that improves focus and allows you to enhance your mind-muscle connection. This product has 180 mg of caffeine, which seems to be right about the sweet spot to boost energy without making you too wired.
Transparent Labs Lean is a little on the expensive side. Some of the ingredients also have questionable research validity. But overall, there's not much not to like about this cutting pre-workout, making it our best pre workout for women's weight loss.
Cira Pre-Game Pre-Workout is specifically created for women. Each serving contains the following ingredients:
You get 200 mg of caffeine anhydrous in every serving of Cira. That's about the ideal amount for female trainers, hitting the sweet spot between not having enough and being so much that you suffer from a wired, jittery reaction.
You also get six grams of l-citrulline, a compound shown to boost nitric oxide production, increase muscle fatigue and offset training fatigue. That is more than double the amount you find in many competing products.
Atragin is a combination of Astragalus membranaceus Extract (root) and Panax Notoginseng Extract (root). It's mainly added here to improve digestion and nutrient absorption.
Circa Pre-Game comes in three pretty unique flavors:
All three of these flavors contain the sweetener sucralose. The peach bellini flavor also adds sodium bicarbonate and vitamin A. A couple of missing ingredients that would have been good to include are creatine and all or some of the B vitamins, which are known to enhance training energy.
XWERKS Ignite promises to deliver greater energy, focus, and endurance. Endurance seems to be a big focus with the inclusion of such ingredients as vitamins b6 and b12, citrulline, beta-alanine, and caffeine. It's also got magnesium lactate, which can boost endurance and offset that familiar muscle burn that can bring your training to a halt.
The ingredients in Ignite are generally well-dosed and separated on the label into three blends for energy, focus, and endurance. Unlike some competitors, the XWERKSs company does not hide the blend ingredients behind proprietary blends, which is really good to see. On the other hand, you only get 150 mg of caffeine, which some people may find to be a bit on the low side. They could have gone up to 200 mg without risking side effects for most female users.
Ignite is available in four flavors. Reviews on them are generally positive, and the powder seems to mix well in water. It includes the artificial sweetener sucralose and some natural flavorings.
XWERKS Ignite is one of the more expensive pre-workouts we investigated for women. At $49.00 for a 30-serving container, it breaks down to about $1.63 per serving, putting it in the premium price bracket for a pre-workout.
Many people prefer pre-workouts that are free of stimulants. While they may not hype you up as much as their stim-loaded counterparts, stimulant-free pre-workouts provide a natural energy, focus, and strength boost without risking jittery side effects or a post-workout energy crash. Swolverine PRE is a popular non-stim pre-workout that is ideal for women.
Here's what you get in every serving of Swolverine PRE:
Coconut water powder
Pomegranate fruit powder
Most of the ingredients in Swolverine PRE are dosed according to clinical studies, so they'll have the desired effect. Only one flavor - mango lemonade - mixes well with water or any other liquid. This formula has no creatine, which would have been a worthy addition.
Swolverine PRE is an expensive pre-workout supplement, with a 25-serving container costing $54.99. That comes to more than $2 per serving, which is right up there with other premium supplements.
Kaged Pre-Kaged came out several years ago but was revamped for the better in 2018. You'll first notice that it tastes incredible, with a range of flavors to satisfy your taste buds. After the initial flavor blast, you'll get a seriously improved pump in the gym, and your strength will also improve when you take this product.
You get an impressive 6.5 grams of L-Citrulline in this product. There are also 3.5 grams of a BCAA muscle fuel matrix to increase endurance and boost focus. Beta-alanine is dosed at 1.6 grams, which is a little low to produce a solid pump effect. There is also, however, 1.5 grams of Creatine HCL to boost strength levels while working out.
The Stimulant and Focus blend in Pre-Kaged is effective, containing taurine, tyrosine, and caffeine.
Pre-Kaged is underdosed in beta-alanine. It is also sweetened with sucralose.
Naked Energy by Naked Nutrition is a natural, organically sourced pre-workout focusing on ten clinically proven ingredients.
The ingredients' organic origins heighten the bioavailability so that more of them actually get into your muscle cells. This product has no artificial sweeteners, added flavors, or colorings. That's great news for your body but not so good for your taste buds. True, the taste is nothing to write home about, but if you buy a pre-workout because it tastes good, you're missing the point!
Regardless, as pre workout powders go, Naked Energy mixes well and produces a clump-free end drink.
In the ingredient profile of Naked Energy, you get a number of the ideal compounds we outlined above. These include:
In addition, you get calcium and Vitamin C to boost the energy-producing effect of this supplement. Each ingredient is clinically dosed to allow them to work to their maximum effect.
Naked Energy combines a clinical dosage of the five best ingredients for power, pump, energy, and central nervous system stimulation to produce a powerful workout without any jittery side effects. It's completely natural and organic. If you want a sweet taste, go for one of the many flavor-filled alternatives, but if you want real results, go get yourself some Naked Energy.
Perfect Keto Pre-Workout is a product specifically designed for people following the ketogenic diet. It includes 7.7 grams of the exogenous ketone Beta-Hydroxybutyrate (BHB) to provide energy for your brain or muscles while working out. BHB can also help you get and stay in a state of ketosis as well as reduce the symptoms of keto flu.
The lipids found in the 5g of MCT oil are immediately converted to ketones in the liver. From there, your muscles and brain can use them for energy during your workout, which is important on a low-carbohydrate diet.
The other ingredients in Keto Pre-Workout are BCAAs, creatine monohydrate, beta-alanine, l-citrulline, and natural caffeine. No added sugars or artificial flavors exist, and this product is gluten-free. Stevia is used as a sweetener. It is also important to note that taking Keto Pre-Workout will break your fast, containing about 50 calories.
Cellucor C4 has been the flagship product of Texas-based company Cellucor for a number of years. Its popularity is largely due to bigger dosages of common ingredients than most of the competition. For example, you get 2500% of the RDA for Vitamin B12 and more than 200% for B6 and vitamin C. The caffeine dose is more conservative at 150 mg, which is about perfect for most women.
Here's what else you get in Cellucor C4:
Beta-Alanine to buffer acidosis and offset muscle fatigue.
Creatine Nitrate to boost strength and power.
Arginine Alpha-Ketoglutarate (AAKG) is thought to increase blood flow to facilitate faster oxygen and nutrient delivery to the working muscles.
N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine to supports brain function and focus.
Velvet Bean (Mucuna pruriens) Seed Extract, a source of L-Dopa, may improve mood and motivation.
Creatine, which replenishes ATP energy levels to allow you to work harder for longer.
Cellucor C4 comes in nine flavors, so you've got plenty of taste options. The mixability is questionable, so don't be surprised if there is a small amount of gritty residue in the bottom of your cup.
Most of the ingredients are well-dosed, but the single gram of creatine is disappointingly low. Another negative is that some ingredients are grouped on the label as a proprietary blend. That means that we don't know what their individual dosages are.
Cellucor C4 is well priced at around $30 for a one-month supply. If you subscribe to the official company website, that price is reduced by ten bucks a month. That brings your per-serving cost to around 66 cents, representing excellent value.
The specific benefits of a pre-workout will depend on their ingredient profile. Most pre-workout formulas will be designed to provide most of the following benefits:
Many pre-workout ingredients are designed to improve training energy levels. For example, caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant that can help boost alertness and lessen the impression of exhaustion. The B vitamins, which are vital for energy metabolism, beta-alanine, tyrosine, and l-citrulline are other popular pre-workout ingredients for this purpose.
Endurance-enhancing ingredients such as beta-alanine and citrulline malate help to combat training fatigue so you can train harder for longer. This is achieved by raising carnosine levels, reducing muscle soreness, and increasing blood flow so oxygen and nutrients reach the working muscles faster.
A 'pump' happens when you experience an increased blood flow to the working muscle, causing the muscle to become engorged with blood. Such pre-workout ingredients as citrulline malate and arginine promote vasodilation and a big pump.
Pre-workouts can increase strength performance when exercising. Many pre-workouts contain creatine, which has been shown in many clinical studies to boost strength, power, and recovery. Other strength-promoting ingredients are beta-alanine, citrulline malate, betaine, and Beta-Hydroxy Beta-Methylbutyrate (HMB).
Ingredients such as branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) promote post-exercise workout recovery. They promote muscle repair and recovery by reducing muscle protein breakdown.
Here are the seven most well-recognized ingredients you should look for when buying a pre-workout.
Beta-Alanine is widely known for its capacity to raise intramuscular carnosine levels, which can lead to delayed muscle fatigue . Carnosine functions as a buffer, assisting in the neutralization of hydrogen ions (H+) that build up in the muscles during intense exercise. These hydrogen ions increase the acidity of the muscles, which causes fatigue and poor exercise performance. By reducing acidity in the muscle cell, beta-alanine can postpone muscle fatigue, allowing you to perform more reps.
Beta-alanine's ability to increase carnosine levels may also enhance muscle growth. During exercise, carnosine's antioxidant qualities help shield muscle cells from oxidative stress, potentially promoting muscle repair and recovery.
Beta-alanine's effects are cumulative, which means that as time passes and use is continued, the benefits become more pronounced.
A common side effect of beta-alanine use is a tingling sensation in the hands and lips. This adverse reaction is brief and harmless, typically fading 15 to 30 minutes after consumption. While some people might not feel anything at all, others could find this sensation uncomfortable. Use a time-release or sustained-release version of beta-alanine if you'd want to prevent the tingling sensation.
Betaine, or trimethylglycine, has been researched for its potential to enhance exercise and athletic performance, particularly in high-intensity activities like weightlifting, running, and leaping. According to research, using betaine supplements may improve overall sports performance by boosting muscle strength and power .
One of the main ways betaine can enhance workout performance is by raising intramuscular creatine levels. A well-known substance for fostering increases in strength and power is creatine. Betaine can support the body's creation of creatine to boost power output during quick movements.
Betaine has been demonstrated to support muscle protein synthesis, which is how muscles recover and expand following exercise. This increase in protein synthesis could support muscle healing and adaptation, resulting in a general increase in strength.
According to some research, taking betaine supplements may help lessen the damage and soreness that exercise-induced muscle damage causes . People who engage in strenuous exercise may benefit from this effect since it may promote faster recovery between workouts.
As an osmolyte, betaine also assists in controlling cellular hydration and fluid balance.
Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system by triggering the release of epinephrine from the adrenal glands and by indirectly blocking a chemical in the body called adenosine, which has a calming effect on the central nervous system. Remember, there is an optimal level of central nervous system stimulation, so taking too much stimulant can worsen performance. Finding the correct dose and ingesting it with proper timing can aid significantly in helping you achieve the optimal state for the most intense and focused training sessions.
What's the most effective dose and timing? Research on caffeine shows effective doses in the range of 1.8mg to 4mg per pound of body weight, taken about 30 minutes before exercise.
Several recent studies have explicitly focused on the benefits of caffeine for women. A 2010 study out of Japan showed that supplementation with caffeine could reduce cognitive decline, lower the risk of breast cancer and lower the incidence of depression in women .
Citrulline is a non-essential amino acid that improves workout performance and increases training endurance . The body metabolizes it into the amino acid arginine. Nitric oxide (NO), a substance that dilates blood vessels, is formed from arginine. Vasodilation, or when blood vessels enlarge, increases blood flow and nutrition delivery to exercising muscles. Citrulline encourages better blood circulation by increasing NO production, which can enhance the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to working muscles.
During resistance exercise, improved muscle pumps may result from increased blood supply to the muscles. Blood rushes into the muscular tissues, causing momentary swelling and a sense of fullness, also known as a muscle pump. Although muscle pumps aren't directly related to muscular growth, many athletes appreciate the sensation and link it to better workout motivation and performance.
Citrulline's capacity to improve blood flow and oxygen delivery to muscles may help reduce waste product buildup, such as ammonia and lactate, contributing to muscular tiredness.
Creatine is a naturally occurring compound that replenishes adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the body's primary energy source. Increasing the body's phosphocreatine reserves using creatine means ATP resynthesis can happen more quickly.
Creatine has been demonstrated to enhance strength and power performance during resistance training activities like squats, bench presses, and deadlifts by offering a quickly available energy source for explosive movements. Increased muscle growth and general improvements in sports performance can result from this improved strength.
Creatine has the unusual ability to draw water into the muscle cells, increasing cellular hydration. This heightened capacity to retain water might result in a transient increase in muscle size known as "water weight" or "water pump." While not directly linked to muscle growth, this impact may improve muscular fullness and the tightness experienced during workouts.
According to some research, taking creatine supplements may positively affect how muscles grow and repair themselves after exercise . This increased muscle protein synthesis can result in better muscle recovery and adaptation, which can eventually help you build overall strength and muscular mass.
Creatine's capacity to boost ATP synthesis and postpone the onset of exhaustion can also help athletes perform better in endurance-demanding exercises like high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
For excellent standalone creatine products, check out our list of the Best Creatine Supplements.
The amino acid L-tyrosine is a precursor for the key neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine . It may help improve mental clarity, alertness, and concentration while exercising by raising dopamine levels. L-tyrosine's role in producing stress-related hormones norepinephrine and epinephrine may also help regulate stress levels and produce a positive mood during training.
Taurine is one of your conditionally essential amino acids amino acids, meaning you need more of it during high stress or sickness. That's why taking it can boost muscular endurance during high-intensity exercise. This amino acid can enhance healthy cell function and hydration during exercise by boosting water uptake in muscle cells. Optimum cellular hydration is needed for optimum muscle contractions, which lower the risk of cramping and tiredness.
Taurine has been investigated for its possible advantages to cardiovascular health. When exercising, when the heart works harder to provide working muscles with oxygen, it helps maintain good blood pressure and circulation. Taurine may also help with mental focus and stress reduction during exercise. According to some research, taurine may have soothing effects on the brain via interacting with GABA receptors, which may help people maintain their composure and concentrate during strenuous exercise .
It's easy to be swayed by product marketing when shopping for workout supplements. Here are six criteria to check to go beyond the hype and find the ideal pre-workout to meet your needs:
Check the ingredient label for such proven compounds as caffeine, creatine, beta-alanine, citrulline, and B vitamins that have been proven to improve workout performance. Avoid dietary supplements that contain extraneous additions, fillers, or possibly dangerous ingredients.
Examine the dosages of each compound in addition to the ingredients list. A pre-workout supplement's success depends on using clinically proven dosages of its active components. Verify if the product has enough of the active substances in it to provide the desired effects. Finally, avoid proprietary blends where dosages are lumped together rather than individually listed.
Select a pre-workout product from a trusted company with independent research or quality certifications. To assure purity, potency, and safety, look for goods that are GMP (Good Manufacturing Practise) approved or that have undergone testing by unbiased organizations. Faith in the product's quality is made possible through transparent labeling and ingredient sourcing.
The pre-workout supplement's flavor and taste can significantly impact your overall feelings. Many supplements are available in a range of flavors to suit various palates. Choose a flavor you will enjoy to make taking the supplement consistently easier.
When buying any supplement, cost must be taken into account. While sticking to your budget is essential, you should be wary of incredibly cheap products because they can skimp on quality or component amounts. To balance budget and quality, compare prices across recognized brands.
Analyzing customer opinions and reviews might give you important information about the efficacy and usability of a pre-workout supplement you're thinking about. Look for testimonials on credible websites or forums from people with the same exercise goals as you.
Now let's dig in to some of your more common pre workout questions.
Yes, females should take a pre-workout. Pre-workouts can help women increase their focus, have more energy and generate more power during a workout.
Although the ingredients in some pre-workouts may be more appropriate for male-specific fitness objectives, such as increasing testosterone levels, all pre-workouts geared toward boosting energy, endurance, and mental clarity. Those without those substances (such as those reviewed on this page) may be preferred by women.
Consume your first pre-workout meal about two hours before a workout. In this meal, plan to take in approximately half the amount of calories you'll be burning, with about 60% of those calories coming from a complex carb, such as oatmeal. These carbs will release energy slowly over the next couple of hours to provide the power base for your workout energy.
About 30 minutes before your workout, you should take a pre-workout drink that contains several key components to fuel your workout.
The best pre-workout for a 40-year-old woman will depend on her personal fitness objectives, health concerns, and sensitivity to various compounds. It's crucial to pick a pre-workout that complements her individual requirements and tastes.
Choose a pre-workout that has appropriate ingredients for your objectives. Look for caffeine for energy, beta-alanine for endurance, citrulline for better blood flow, and creatine for strength. Women who are sensitive to stimulants will need to check the caffeine content carefully. A dosage of around 150 mg should be ok for most people.
When it comes to dosages, we recommend that women in their 40s begin with a smaller amount and observe how their body reacts to the pre-workout.
C4 Sport Pre-workout is usually considered safe for women, much like many other pre-workout supplements. This supplement contains such common pre-workout ingredients as beta-alanine, creatine nitrate, arginine alpha-ketoglutarate (AAKG), and caffeine. Their purpose is to increase workout intensity, attention, and energy. There are no ingredients in it that are inappropriate for women or ones that are specifically marketed to men.
A quality pre-workout supplement can help women to improve their training focus, offset workout fatigue and produce more strength and power when lifting. In this article, we've sorted the best pre-workout supplement out from the rest to bring you the top performers in today's market.
The best pre-workout for women overall is Transparent Labs Bulk, which provides clinically dosed ingredients to boost concentration, stamina, and power while promoting the natural synthesis of testosterone and digestion. Transparent Labs also produce a Lean pre-workout designed for people who want to lose body fat. Both of these products are subjected to third-party testing to ensure potency and purity, so you can rest assured you're getting the cream of the crop.
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