Evidence Based Research
Evidence Based Research
This article was written by one of our team of experienced writers, and fact-checked by our experts or our editors. The numbers in parentheses (e.g., 1, 2, 3, etc.) throughout the article are reference links to peer-reviewed studies.
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12 Best Pre-Workouts For Beginners in 2023

Pre-workouts are a training essential but some are extremely potent or too advanced for some users. Check out our top energy-boosting formulas for beginners.
Matthew Magnante, ACE
We provide honest reviews based on a thorough, multi-point testing methodology. We do earn a commission if you purchase through our links, supporting our independent product assessments. View our disclosure for more details.

These best pre-workouts for beginners are what we’d recommend to those just starting out on their fitness journeys or who want a performance boost minus the potential for undesirable side effects. That means they contain a reasonable dose of stimulants (unless stim-free) such as caffeine and other performance-aiding ingredients. 

Beginners may not be able to tolerate products that are heavy on the caffeine and stims, and the long list of potent compounds often found in these ergogenic aids. 

Let’s take a look at what pre-workouts we’d recommend in this case plus we’ve included a buying guide and a lot of other helpful info for beginners.

Top Pre-Workouts For Beginners Reviewed:

Let’s dive into our top pre-workout picks for beginners in 2023!

Best Overall – Transparent Labs BULK

Transparent Labs Bulk
Transparent Labs Bulk

Transparent Labs BULK is one of the best pre-workouts we’ve tried and many who’ve used it would agree.

Each serving of BULK contains 180mg of caffeine per serving. To many hardcore caffeine users, this may not seem like much but it’s sufficient in combination with the high dose of other ingredients such as citrulline and beta-alanine. Plus, there’s a testosterone support complex including vitamin D, zinc, and boron.

This is one of the best pre-workouts for supporting recovery which is important because the faster you can recover, the sooner you can train again and the faster you’ll make those gains!

It’s also a natural formula so there’s no artificial anything!

Bulk discloses all of the supplement ingredients and amounts on the label (hence the name transparent), and the brand is known for very high-quality products that are dosed just right.

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See our full review of Bulk here.

Best for Getting Lean – Transparent Labs LEAN

Transparent Labs Lean
Transparent Labs Lean

Transparent labs Lean is from the same brand as our editor’s choice pick, and it’s definitely right up there as a natural pre-workout option. Of course, it still offers the same 180 mg of caffeine per serving. And you still get a massive 6,000mg or 6g citrulline plus 2,500mg of Beta Pure betaine for muscle gains and performance. 

360 mg L-theanine keeps you calm and works synergistically with caffeine. The formula contains thyroid support and fat loss support. Guggulsterones (sounds weird I know) may have appetite-suppressing effects and synephrine (found in bitter orange) may target fat cells. 

Another ingredient in L-norvaline could prolong the blood flow enhancing effects of citrulline so this formula has a lot going for it, especially for cutting.

LEAN pre workout supplement comes in Green AppleSour GrapeStrawberry Lemonade, and Blue Raspberry.

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Here’s my full review of Lean.

Best For Women’s Performance – Powher

Powher Preworkout
Powher Pre-workout

Do you got the Powher? You could with a full dose of this women’s-focused pre-workout supplement that looks the part with its pink labeling and powder color. Aside from being visually appealing, Powher is formulated to be light on the stimulants with just 100mg of caffeine per serving size

A unique ingredient in EnXtra has shown to extend the effects of caffeine so you can train longer and harder. It also has B vitamins that support good health and fat oxidation. 

Of course, you still have citrulline malate for pumps and performance along with beta-alanine and other common ingredients. RedNite is a potent version of beetroot that has antioxidants and may improve muscle performance. Coconut water is added to the formula to help you stay hydrated during whatever activities you’re up against. 

It does contain artificial sweetener if that matters to you.

But Powher is a great option for women and one of the best in our opinion.

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Read more about Powher here.

Best For Sports Performance – Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged Sport

Kaged Muscle Pre Kaged
Kaged Muscle Pre Kaged

Pre-Kaged is another excellent pre-workout that contains 274mg caffeine per serving, which is about three times what you’d get in a cup of coffee. In addition, there’s a nice dose of creatine for muscle and strength-building effects, plus citrullinebetainebeta-alanine, vitamin B6vitamin B12, magnesium, and sodium (for hydration).

This pre-workout also contains powdered vegetables containing antioxidants, thus reducing the risk of post-workout cellular stress. Coconut water powder is added to help keep you hydrated during physical activity which has a significant impact on performance.

One potential drawback is that the formula uses the artificial sweetener sucralose. Some don’t like the taste, and others experience stomach discomfort from artificial sweeteners. You’ll need to know how your body reacts to it as it’s an individual thing. 


  • Good for hydration 
  • Muscle and strength-building ingredients
  • Has disease-preventing antioxidants


  • A little high in caffeine but a good option for beginners looking to use something stronger
  • Has artificial sweetener sucralose
  • Some users may not like the idea of a product containing creatine

About the brand 

Kaged supplements is one of the industry’s premiere brands. Their products are “health-focused” and while they realize diet, exercise, sleep, sunlight, and hydration are all more important, a quality supplement can “amplify your natural potential“.

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Best For Brain Performance – XWerks Ignite

Xwerks Ignite Pre Workout
Xwerks Ignite Pre Workout

Ignite claims to “break the mould on typical pre-workout formulas that have flooded the marketplace“. 

What makes it different?

Well, we noticed that they really place a focus on nootropics for this product. Nootropics, also known as “smart drugs,” are a class of substances studied and used for their potential brain-enhancing properties. Studies are mixed depending on the ingredient but there are some that clearly work. Consequently, this should improve things like memory, focus, attention, motivation, and creativity. 

These mind-boosting compounds include caffeine, l-theanine, creatine, and rhodiola rosea to name a few of the most common and studied. 

Ignite combines caffeine with rhodiola rosea and DMAE bitartrate. 

Rhodiola rosea is an adaptogen – compounds that are believed to help people manage stress better. In one study, 118 patients who reportedly suffered from burnout symptoms were given 400mg Rhodiola rosea per day for 12 weeks. After the trial, it was found that the participants saw clear improvements in symptoms such as stress and depression (1).

DMAE is a compound produced by the body and found in fatty fish. It supposedly works by inhibiting substances that contribute to age-related cognitive decline and increasing production of acetylcholine – an essential brain chemical. 

As a result, it may enhance brain function. 

There’s some research to support the supposed benefits. Although, we’d like to see more studies. 

One piece of scientific literature from 1977 found that DMAE helped to promote positive behavioral changes in senile patients. It apparently improved symptoms such as anxiety, depression and irritability (2). 

Ignite also has l-tyrosine, B vitamins, l-tyrosine, and CarnoSyn® Beta-Alanine, l-citrulline. 

But no one would be expecting calcium and magnesium lactate to steal the spotlight here. That’s right… these ingredients are added to help produce lactic acid – the stuff we all know to cause burning during exercise. But lactic acid has been shown to be a fuel source for the muscles.

During exercise, muscles use up more of it than the body can produce which supposedly throws off PH in the muscles and causes acidosis… release the burn.

Calcium and magnesium should produce lactate and fuel the muscles during training, thereby reducing the burning sensation by balancing PH levels (3). 

Xwerks ignite seems to be everything you’d want in an effective pre-workout supplement. 


  • Should be excellent for brain performance and motivation
  • Formulated to extend physical performance
  • 150mg of natural caffeine 
  • Sugar-free


  • Artificially sweetened and flavored
  • A little pricey 

About the brand 

XWERKS is a US supplement brand featured by top publications for their innovative products. 

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Best for Pumps – Bucked Up

Bucked Up Pre Workout
Bucked Up Pre Workout

If we’re talking taste, Bucked Up definitely has to be in the conversation. It’s a product known for its superior flavor, and it also happens to be popular because it works! 

A serving provides a large dose of B12, which is vital for cell energy and health. You also get 6,000mg citrulline to ramp up blood flow, plus 2,000mg beta-alanine, and several ingredients that support optimal performance, along with Alphasize for sharper focus during your physical endeavors. 

So, in other words, it’s more than just a tasty pre-workout as you’ll get the performance benefits too. 

The product comes in red raz, blue raz, pink lemonade, grape, strawberry kiwi, and watermelon. You probably can’t go wrong with any of these. The product contains natural and artificial flavors and sucralose, a natural sweetener. 


  • Great for pumps and endurance 
  • Himalayan salt hydrates during workouts 
  • Good flavors
  • Alphasize boosts brain performance 
  • No creatine 


  • Many won’t appreciate the blue coloring 

About the brand 

The Bucked Up brand was founded by current CEO Ryan Gardner in 2013. In 2001, Ryan and his twin brother Jeff built several successful online businesses including a marketing agency selling other people’s products. They figured why not try and sell their own… and this is where things got interesting

Ryan bought the domain name deerantlerspray.com in 2013 and NFL star Ray Lewis was accused of taking the spray before a game which made big headlines. 

From that point on, Ryan sold the spray to GNC stores and they sold like hot cakes! 

After great success, Ryan got the idea from GNC franchise owner Jose Reyes to make a pre-workout and so he bought the domain buckedup.com and the rest was history.

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Best Bang For The Buck – Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-workout

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre Workout
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre Workout

It’s hard to go wrong with Optimum Nutrition anything. They’ve continually proven that their products offer lots of value. 

Their Gold Standard pre-workout isn’t the most flashy but it gets the job done and is a great option for someone who is looking to pick up a quality pre-workout without needing to do much research. It’ll give you energy, contribute to performance, and even has 3g of creatine monohydrate for strength and mass gains.

With 175mg of caffeine per serving, this is not for the hardcore pre-workout enthusiasts, but for a beginner who can handle a decent amount of caffeine, this is a top choice of ours. 

It’s a little more basic though with ingredients that help with building muscle tissue and enhancing mental performance. 

We would recommend this product for beginners who want to experience the potency of a quality pre-workout but that cannot handle various compounds in high doses like other options made for advanced supplement users. 


  • Good bang for the buck 
  • Good for muscle and strength gains
  • Great for overall performance


  • Artificially flavored and sweetened
  • Gums may cause some stomach discomfort

About the brand 

Having been around for over 30 years and supplying 90+ countries with workout nutrition, Optimum Nutrition is one of the most trusted brands there is.

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Best For Testosterone Support – Old School Labs Vintage Blast

Old School Vintage Blast
Old School Vintage Blast

Vintage Blast is a 2-stage pre-workout formula for men and women that strategically delivers performance-supporting ingredients. 

This product includes 1g of l arginine, an amino that increases nitric oxide levels in the body for better blood flow. D-Aspartic acid makes for a vital part of Vintage Blast. This compound may help to increase the body’s natural testosterone production.

Vintage Blast also contains a respectable profile of vitamins (C, B6, B12) and minerals or electrolytes such as magnesium, potassium, and sodium. 

A serving provides 150mg of caffeine and contains natural flavor options and stevia for sweetness.

Vintage Blast is a well-dosed product to boost serious exercise capacity.


  • Good for testosterone support 
  • Strength-building formula 
  • No artificial ingredients


  • Some complaints about lack of potency 

About the brand 

Old School Labs was built on the Golden-Era foundations and was inspired by the likes of history’s greatest bodybuilders. But they’ve made it very clear that you do not have to be a bodybuilder or athlete to use their high-quality supplements. 

Old School Labs was built upon the ideology that everyone is capable of making history and standing for something. It’s about drawing a line in the sand and never compromising or wavering.”

Their products are formulated in house at their Southern California headquarters and they never use artificial ingredients and have teamed up with many old school legends to bring their top-notch supplement line to consumers. 

They also give back to their local communities.

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Best Flavors – Alani Nu Pre-Workout

Alani Nu Pre Workout Supplement
Alani Nu Pre Workout Supplement

Another really good beginner option is Alani Nu pre-workout. It’s a very basic formula that contains l-citrulline, l-tyrosine, 200 mg caffeine, and 200 mg of l-theanine. 

To dip your toes into the water, this is really all you need. All of the ingredients have positive clinical outcomes for their supposed use and we also like the vibes of the packaging. 

Not to mention, they offer several interesting flavors such as Hawaiian shaved ice, galaxy lemonade, and mimosa to name some of their tempting options.  

The combination of caffeine and l-theanine is commonly because studies have shown them to work synergistically to extend their effects. So if you like to do lengthy sessions this is a really good choice. 


  • Caffeine and l-theanine is a great combination for extended performance
  • Several unique flavor options 


  • Artificially flavored and sweetened 

About the brand 

Alani Nu has one mission and one mission only… “To help you succeed“. Not only have they partnered with the right people to produce supplements without bad ingredients and fillers but the brand has emphasized that they made the commitment to produce their products in the US. 

We like that they even mention the focus on making good-tasting flavors as we all know how important this is.  

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Strongest For Women – Cira Pre-Game Pre-Workout

Cira Pre-Game
Cira Pre-Game

Another pre-workout that caught our interest was Cira Pre-Game that seems to step it with the doses compared to a lot of women’s pre-workouts.

We’ll start with the 200 mg of caffeine which is nothing to scoff at. This is the same dose compared to a lot of options geared toward men. But there are a lot of women who aren’t as sensitive and can handle a bigger jolt of nervous system stimulation.

We were also impressed with the 6,000 mg or 6g l-citrulline which is the higher end of what you typically see in pre-workouts.

Other ingredients that you can expect to benefit from are beta-alanine, betaine, l-tyrosine, and l-theanine. Two other ingredients to note are theobromine, a stimulant similar to caffeine but milder, and AstraGin™, a compound that aids in the absorption of vital nutrients and helps to maintain a healthy gut environment.

The product does have natural flavors but also artificial flavors and sweeteners. It’s a completely plant-based, vegetarian-friendly formula.


  • Great pump-inducing formula with 6g l-citrulline 
  • 1600mg of beta-alanine enhances overall physical performance 


  • Contains artificial flavors and sweeteners 

About the brand 

Circa cleverly named themselves after the sun (yes, Cira apparently means sun). Like the sun, their supplements were formulated to help energize, inspire, and support growth. It’s a women-focused brand for the glow-getters!


Cira Pre-Game

Cira Pre-Game

Cira Pre-Game

This pre-workout is strong! Pre-Game pre-workout helps increase energy, endurance, focus, and strength.  Get 10% off your order use code FV10. This coupon is exclusive to our readers.

Best For Muscle Repair – Ascent Pre-Workout

Ascent Pre Workout
Ascent Pre Workout

What stands out about Ascent pre-workout is that you’ll also get 5g of whey protein isolate per serving. While it’s not much, beginners can benefit from the few additional grams of protein. Whey isolate is a purer form of protein that goes through an additional filtration process that rids fats, carbs and lactose. This leaves you with 90% protein and oftentimes, a better experience for the stomach compared to whey concentrate. 

But it only has 150 mg of caffeine so not too potent but strong enough for those who cannot handle high doses of stims. 

Another thing we like about Ascent pre is the 250mg of electrolytes for hydration support. Being just a little dehydrated can have a significant impact on strength performance and energy which also affects motivation.

There are no other ingredients in Ascent pre-workout so it’s super simple and the fact that there are no fake ingredients is a big bonus. 


  • 5g protein per serving supports muscle repair 
  • Whey isolate protein should be easier on the stomach 
  • Hydration support 
  • Very simple compared to other pre-workouts 


  • Not potent enough for hardcore pre-workout users 
  • Pricier than most pre-workouts 

About the brand 

Ascent is a Colorado based family-owned supplement company with a long 30-year history of making quality protein products. 

They use all-natural ingredients, and are informed-choice which means their supplements are third-party tested to ensure purity and potency. 

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Best Caffeine-Free Pre-Workout UCAN

UCAN Sugar Free Pre-Workout
UCAN Sugar Free Pre-Workout

This is one you’ve probably never heard of before. UCAN pre-workout seems like a unique product and especially compared to the other picks on this list of best pre-workouts for beginners. It’s not a conventional pre-workout choice but may have advantages. 

The big selling point is their patented SuperStarch made from non-GMO corn that is supposed to increase energy levels without the use of sugar or stimulants. That means no spikes or crashes common with a lot of products on the market. It may also increase focus, curb hunger, and support fat loss too. 

UCAN pre-workout is supposedly used by over 400 pro and college athletes and is recommended by top trainers and dieticians too. 

This is an unsweetened product with no artificial ingredients. 


  • No artificial ingredients
  • No sugar
  • Caffeine-free
  • Good for pre- and post-workout


  • Won’t be as potent compared to other pre-workouts
  • Quite pricey 

About the brand 

UCAN was first formulated for an infant named Jonah who suffered from a rare metabolic disease that put him at a high risk for hypoglycemia. They found that the SuperStarch helped better than any other type of carbohydrate. 

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What are The Top Pre-Workout Ingredients?

In this section, we’ve included details for the most common ingredients you’ll find in these pre-workouts. Many have extensive research to back their efficacy and others may not work the same for everyone. However, a good quality pre-workout supplement should contribute to improved performance.


Caffeine is going to be the most effective energy-boosting ingredient in any pre-workout. 

There are caffeine-containing pre-workouts and then there are non-caffeine/stim versions. While you don’t need caffeine to experience beneficial effects from these ergogenic aids, stimulants are a type of drug that will stimulate the nervous system. There are also other stimulants that do work such as yohimbine and theacrine but they’re not as potent.

This widely-used substance is found in various plants such as cocao plants and teas and is used in many different beverages and products – a cup (or two) of coffee is quite possibly the most common. Coffee is the go-to for people needing to fight fatigue and stay awake for a long work shift.

It’s fast-absorbing and affects the brain but in a good way, of course. Caffeine blocks the neurotransmitter adenosine that makes us feel tired and it may also boost key brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine while increasing blood adrenaline levels. This means it could also be good for mood too which further contributes to the beneficial exercise-aiding benefits of caffeine.

Caffeine may have so many benefits that we couldn’t possibly talk about them all, however, better performance, enhanced cognitive function, longevity, and health all seem to be the good side effects of this long-used food.

Different forms of caffeine in pre-workouts

Depending on the pre-workout, you may find variation in the form/s of caffeine used. Anhydrous and dicaffeine malate are the most common.

Anhydrous means “with all water removed” and is less than .5% water by weight. It’s a super concentrated form of caffeine and less is needed for extreme potency. It’s also cheaper to produce.

Dicaffeine malate also known as Infinergy is two caffeine molecules bonded to malic acid. While it still has many of the same effects we know and love from caffeine, it’s believed to have a much more desirable effect on the digestive system compared to other variations like anhydrous for example.

Natural caffeine is also sometimes used in pre-workouts however it’s not quite as efficient compared to anhydrous for example. 

Side effects and optimal dosing 

Caffeine can and does cause undesirable side effects in some instances. Although, when consumed the right way, the chance of experiencing side effects is greatly reduced. Because caffeine is considered a psychoactive drug due to its effects on the central nervous system, taking too much or not building up a tolerance can result in serious side effects. 

Anxiety, palpitations, nausea, dehydration, high blood pressure and dizziness are the most common issues that many experience although there is such a thing as fatal doses. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and many other sources recommend a daily intake of no more than 400mg, or two-four cups of coffee. While it’s not uncommon for people to consume more than this it’s not recommended. Also be sure not to have too many caffeine-containing food items in a 24-hour period as well.


If you get the itches after downing a serving of pre-workout, you can thank the beta-alanine, an amino acid often added to these supplements. No worries though, it’s harmless and it actually supports your gym and home workouts too. Beta-alanine converts to carnosine in the body which acts as a buffer against lactic acid – the burning sensation in the muscles from physical activity (4).  

That means it reduces the severity of this sometimes very uncomfortable sensation and in return, you should be able to train longer and get more results faster. This acid causes fatigue in the muscles and slows the muscles’ ability to contract as efficiently so interfering with this process can be a great way to make better progress (56).

The common dosing for beta-alanine is 2-5 grams/day (5). Beta-alanine also improves blood flow, and fights muscle fatigue.


L-citrulline is one of the most common ingredients but there’s also some great research on it.

Studies have found that it can also increase muscle size and muscle strength, increase growth hormone after training and recovery and because it’s a vasodilator, it could be beneficial for sexual performance and maintaining healthy blood pressure.

The sweet spot for l-citrulline seems to be 4-6g/day. Although, higher doses have been used safely and effectively. 

Check out our top citrulline product picks here.


Creatine is just one of those ingredients that work and it had better if it’s still highly recommended after thousands of studies have proven its efficacy. An amino acid found in red meats and some seafoods, it’s also naturally produced in small amounts by the body. However, the body doesn’t produce enough of it to be beneficial.

Creatine has been shown to have many intriguing effects especially for performance and muscle gains.

It’s also safe to use and there are many different forms that have come out. Creatine Monohydrate is the most used and proven however other forms such as hydrochloride (HCL) seems to be just as effective and no loading is needed. 

The dosages vary but with creatine monohydrate which is probably the most commonly used in pre-workouts, but anywhere from 2-10 grams/day has been shown to be safe and effective. If you want the full benefits of creatine though, it may be better to use a separate creatine product to load and/or take on the days you don’t train as it’s recommended to take a serving daily for best results. 

Not all pre-workouts contain creatine though so make sure to check the label if you prefer to have it included. 

Find your ideal creatine intake with our creatine dosing calculator


Found in green tea, research has found that this amino acid can have favorable effects on certain factors of mental health such as stress and anxiety and may promote calmness without drowsiness but enhance mental alertness (7). Combined with caffeine, it’s been said to prolong the positive cognitive effects and help to prevent unwanted effects like jitters and the common post-caffeine crash (89).

100-300mg/day is a typical therapeutic amount although it’s unclear whether there’s a perfect dose.


Tyrosine is considered a catecholamine precursor which apparently has cognitive-enhancing properties (10).

Where it may really shine though is during high-demand situations. In other words, it could help you to maintain focus, memory, and other cognitive abilities when challenged. 


Taurine is an amino acid that could help with performance and health. It naturally occurs in the body and in some foods and is considered a conditionally essential nutrient that may need to be supplemented in those with certain illnesses that cause it to be used up at a faster rate (11). 

Aside from possibly being beneficial for cancer and diabetes, taurine has been shown to reduce fatigue and protect against muscle damage, while also potentially increasing fat burn (1213).

Some research even found a reduction in post-exercise soreness in combination with BCAAs which may be good for recovery and faster gains (14).

A good safe and effective dosage range is 500-2000mg/day. However, up to and maybe higher than 3000mg/day has shown to be safe (15). 

How We Decided Our Picks

In creating this list of pre-workout supplements, the one question we asked ourselves was, are these good options for beginners? We considered several criteria to ensure our picks were appropriate for this category. 

Brand reputation/quality of product

First and foremost, we do not recommend products that we ourselves would not use. We hate spending hard-earned cash on iffy products with little user experience and feedback but also subpar formulas. 

So you’ll find options from well-known brands and/or those that have really made a name for themselves with quality products over the last few years. 

We also place safety and transparency high up on the list which is another reason to choose a pre-workout from one of these companies. 

Caffeine content 

Whether you’re new to working out or are considering taking your first pre-workout supplement, we recommend checking the caffeine content of the product you’re considering. That’s because caffeine is a potent nervous system stimulant or type of drug if you really want to get technical. Although, there are many potential benefits of caffeine and it’s usually very safe for healthy individuals when taken in recommended dosages. 

A big mistake that many beginners make is taking a full serving size of a high dosed caffeine product without having built up a solid tolerance to a comparable amount. It’s better to start with a 1/4 of the dose for a few days, then work up to a 1/2 dose before using a full serving. 

For beginners though, we recommend using a product that is not crazy high in caffeine or stims. We did not include high caffeine pre-workouts on our list. 

Was price a factor? 

Not necessarily. You’ve probably heard the saying “you get what you pay for” many times and this is often true even with pre-workouts. That doesn’t mean there aren’t affordable, quality options because there are many on this list. It all comes down to what you are looking for. 

What Is A Pre-Workout? 

Pre-workouts are one of the most commonly used and popular performance-aiding nutritional supplements. They serve a special purpose and there are studies that have proven the effectiveness of these multi-ingredient products. 

A good pre should increase energy (caffeinated versions), and contribute to enhanced physical and mental performance. 

Common ingredients in pre-workout supplements include caffeine, beta-alanine, l-citrulline, l-theanine, creatine, and BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) to name a few. However, there are so many different formulas that have a variety of ingredients. 

What Are The Benefits Of Pre-Workouts For Beginners?

Many beginners may not fully understand the advantages of using pre-workouts. So we’re here to explain the benefits you can expect from using these performance aids!

More energy, focus, and motivation

Pre-workouts are most commonly used because they do give you more energy. Whether you work long shifts, aren’t very motivated, or a poor diet is making you sluggish, a good pre-workout with caffeine/stims can change this!

Of course, some may require more caffeine than others but that’s the beauty of having options (and we have many).

Caffeine and other ingredients that are in the products on this list also contribute to enhanced focus and drive to get those extra reps or hit that pr. 

Strength boost

Ingredients like creatine and betaine can and do increase strength performance as shown from studies and real world feedback. These are not the only strength-boosting compounds though as there are a few others that have been backed by research for their supposed benefits. 

It’s also important to note that pre-workouts with hydration support can make a difference in strength performance too. You should always drink plenty of fluids and especially with electrolytes to maximize your capabilities. 

Muscle gains

Creatine, betaine and l-citrulline have all shown to have muscle-building properties. Out of the three, however, creatine seems to be the most impressive, causing muscle gains via multiple pathways. 

Improved endurance 

If you plan to last and more during your physical sessions then aside from good habits, a pre-workout can do wonders for your progress. 

Ingredients like beta-alanine, creatine, citrulline and BCAAs could make a significant difference in how far you can run or how many reps you can churn out on the leg extension.

How To Choose The Best Pre-Workout As a Beginner

Before making your purchase, it’s normal and recommended to find the best option for you. There are so many different pre-workouts and all do not contain the same ingredients in the same amounts. 

Make sure to look through our list of best pre-workouts for beginners and read the descriptions to find one that you think would best help you achieve the results you desire. 

If we could give one piece of very important advice, it would be to check how much caffeine is in a product. We’ve talked about caffeine already, however, it cannot be talked about enough. It’s a potent ingredient that can cause harmful side effects if proper caution is not taken. 

Aside from this, what are YOU looking for in a pre-workout? Is it strength and muscle gains? How about losing body fat? Maybe you’re a woman who wants something even tamer… in that case, there’s something for everyone in this category.

Plus, it helps that we’ve categorized each of our picks so that you can now more easily and conveniently pick the one best suited for your goals. 

Can Beginner Pre-Workout Users Experience Side Effects?

Absolutely! However, this is mostly caused by taking too much pre-workout that contains a lot of caffeine. A lot of beginners make the mistake of thinking they will be fine to take full or even half dose, when, in fact, it was too much for them. Well, this can be very unpleasant and even dangerous. 

See the ingredients section for more information on caffeine.

Common side effects due to improper supplementation include nausea, dizziness, vomiting, rapid heart beat, and insomnia. In the worst cases it’s also not uncommon to be hospitalized from caffeine overdose.

Another commonly reported side effect is tingling caused by beta-alanine. However, this is normal and nothing to be concerned about in most instances. 

Always read the product label and if you’re a beginner to pre-workouts, start with a little powder to assess your tolerance. Gradually increase the dosage but never jump into a full serving. 

Pre-Workout Tips For Beginners

Here we’ve included a few pre-workout tips for beginners. 

  • Always check how much caffeine is in a pre-workout. This potent nervous system stimulant has the most potential to cause harmful side effects compared to other common ingredients found in pre-workouts. Although, when taken in safe and recommended dosages, and building up your tolerances, it greatly reduces the possibility of experiencing unpleasant effects. 
  • Depending on how much caffeine is in a pre-workout, take only a portion of a serving. For example, if a pre-workout has 200mg of caffeine, maybe start with half a dose for a few days and gradually increase the dose. This is especially important if you’ve not built up a solid tolerance to caffeine. 
  • Stim-free pre-workouts can work very well, however, do not expect the same rush of energy compared to caffeinated options. 
  • ALWAYS read the product label instructions before using any pre-workout supplement. Manufacturers include recommended dosing and warning labels because these products can be very potent. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

What is the best pre-workout for a beginner?

There is no clear answer here. There are many different formulas and it all depends on goals, tolerance to caffeine and other ingredients, and budget.

Are pre-workouts safe for beginners?

Generally, yes. However, it’s important to assess one’s tolerance to caffeine to minimize the potential for side effects, and/or consult with a doctor to ensure a pre-workout is safe to take.

Do beginners need pre-workout?

Beginners do not need a pre-workout. However, a quality pre-workout like one of the options on this list can make a big difference in your energy, and how you feel and perform.

How does a pre-workout actually work?

It depends on the ingredients. Typically, pre-workouts use caffeine to boost energy but there are so many different compounds that have been shown to enhance key factors of performance such as motivation, focus, endurance, and strength.

Can teenagers take pre-workouts?

It’s not recommended for anyone under the age of 18 to take a pre-workout supplement.

Bottom Line

If we had to put together a list of best pre-workouts for beginners, well, it would be this one. There’s something for everyone, even if you regularly use pre-workouts and would like to try something new. These are not only good options for beginners but effective pre-workouts overall. 

When just starting out, it’s best to go with pre-workouts that are not high in caffeine but rather, contain enough to give you a noticeable boost in performance. But stim-free options are good too. 

The idea is to get yourself used to using these products while greatly reducing any side effects, and then when you get more experience, it may be time to use stronger pre-workouts!

This article was written by Matthew Magnante, a Senior Writer for Fitness Volt. Matthew is passionate about writing fact-based articles and is always happy to answer any questions readers may have.

If you have any questions about this article, please feel free to contact Matthew Magnante by leaving a comment below.

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Matthew Magnante, ACE
Matthew Magnante, ACE
Matthew is an ACE (American Council On Exercise) certified fitness professional who has had a passion for fitness since elementary school and continues to research and learn how to build muscle effectively through training and diet. He also loves to help others to achieve their fitness goals and spread the knowledge where needed. Matthew's other passions include learning about mindfulness, strolling through nature, traveling, and always working to improve overall.
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