12 Best Pre-Workouts Without Creatine For 2021

Need a big energy and performance boost minus the water retention? Check out these top-notch, specially-picked options.

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We’re going to be straightforward with you, creatine is an amazing ingredient with lots of research behind it showing performance, muscle-building, and brain-boosting benefits.

However, it’s not for everyone and we don’t just mean women. Many people, in general, shy away from creatine for many reasons and that’s why we’d like to share what we believe to be the best pre-workouts without creatine.

Whether you don’t like the idea of taking creatine, or it doesn’t work well with your body, no sweat, you’ll still get an amazing workout with our top picks. 

[Related: 11 Strongest Pre-Workout Supplements in 2021]

Editor’s Choice – Transparent Labs PreSeries BULK

PreSeries Bulk
PreSeries BULK

It’s one of the best pre-workouts you can get your hands on right now from one of the best brands out there. It’s all in the name… Transparent Labs fully discloses everything in their product and in the exact amounts. 

It contains 180mg of caffeine per serving which is great because it gives enough energy without being too excessive. Not everyone needs 400mg of caffeine per serving

It contains a big dose of citrulline; one of the best pump ingredients that has a wide range of benefits. Not to mention, it contains a large serving of performance, cognitive, health, recovery, and natural testosterone-supporting ingredients as well. 

Bulk was formulated to help you put on size through recovery and improved performance!

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BULK Pre-Workout Coupon

The Transparent Labs BULK Pre-Workout is designed to help you recover better with a nice dose of BCAAs and many other suitable ingredients. This all comes from a company that focuses on creating products that are fully transparent.

Watch our review of Bulk pre-workout.


Powher Women’s Pre-workout

Powher Pre Workout For Women
Powher Pre-workout for Women

A women’s-only pre-workout (although men can use it too if they want), Powher is a very low-stimulant formula that contains a few intriguing ingredients.

One ingredient, EnXtra, has shown to enhance and prolong the effects of caffeine and prevent the potentially undesirable effects associated with higher caffeine doses. 

This is good because not everyone needs or wants that much caffeine. Plus, it should not cause any side effects, crash, or jitters. With only 100mg of caffeine, you’ll be able to power through your training sessions and feel great in the process!

Powher also has common, proven pre-workout ingredients such as L-citrulline, beta-alanine, and taurine. You’ll also get a nice profile of key vitamins and a few ingredients like Oxyjun, and RedNite that can benefit heart health and many other factors of health too. 

SAVE NOW

Powher Pre Workout

Powher is a clinically-dosed, easy-on-the-caffeine pre-workout supplement for women that has become quite the buzz. Powher support intense workouts, increased motivation with zero side effects.

Check out our full review of Powher pre-workout here.


Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged Sport

Kaged Muscle Pre Kaged
Kaged Muscle Pre Kaged

A very popular brand for pre-workouts, Kaged Muscle products work; plain and simple.

Their “Sport” version of the pre-workout is a clean formula product with full disclosure of ingredients (no proprietary blends/hidden stuff). 

With each serving, you get an acceptable dose of L-citrulline to help pump blood to the muscles during training. There’s a good amount of B12 which is good for cell energy/health, making red blood cells, and DNA creation. 

Beta-alanine enhances performance (and gives the tingles) and the hydration support helps you to train longer and feel energized 188mg of caffeine ensures you can push through to the end and 500mg taurine enhances focus so you can make every rep count!

Product highlights

  • 188mg caffeine 
  • High dose of B12
  • 3.5g citrulline per serving
  • 1.6g beta-alanine
  • 500mg coconut water supports hydration 
  • 500mg tyrosine 

Pros

  • Third-party tested
  • Big serving of B12
  • Transparent label 
  • Great for athletes
  • Supports hydration

Cons

  • Contains sucralose

Buy at Amazon


Transparent Labs PreSeries Lean

LEAN Pre-Workout
LEAN Pre-Workout

Our top pick was Bulk from Transparent Labs but we also really like Lean from the same company. As the name suggests, it’s designed as a “cutting formula” to help exercisers lean out by burning a little body fat. 

It too contains 180mg of caffeine and contains many of the same ingredients as Bulk with a few that are different, of course.

One of those ingredients is called guggulsterone; a plant sterol. Studies have shown that it may help to reduce food intake and body weight and reduce levels of the hunger hormone “ghrelin”, glucose, and triglycerides in rats. 

It’s certainly promising.

Other notable ingredients that may help with fat loss include synephrine HCI (found in bitter orange) and hordenine (acts as a mild stimulant and can help to increase energy expenditure). 

Lean is another option we highly recommend. 

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Transparent Labs LEAN Pre-Workout Coupon

Transparent Labs LEAN Pre-Workout - A potent energy-boosting "cutting" formula? Check out our breakdown and final opinion on this super hot product.

Read the full review of Lean pre-workout.


Legion Pulse Pre-workout

Legion Pulse Pre Workout
Legion Pulse Pre Workout

You may know this product by its previous packaging, but they’ve changed their look. The product is still the same though.

We’re getting up into higher caffeine with 350mg per serving and if you can’t get the energy with this then we don’t know what to tell ya. But there’s also 350mg of L-theanine, a cognitive enhancer that’s shown to reduce stress and promote calm. It’scommonly contained in green teas and can also reduce the potentially harsh effects of taking lots of caffeine. 

Legion Pulse delivers a gnarly 8g or 8,000 mg of citrulline so if you get skin-splitting pumps don’t be surprised. Alpha-GPC is supposed to increase power performance and, of course, you get a few other ingredients such as beta-alanine and betaine. 

Product highlights

  • 350mg caffeine 
  • High dose of key ingredients
  • USA-made

Pros

  • High caffeine gives big energy boost
  • L-theanine works with caffeine to enhances mental performance
  • High dose of citrulline and beta-alanine improves performance
  • Naturally sweetened and flavored
  • Labdoor certified 
  • Third-party tested

Cons

  • Few complaints about taste 

Buy at Amazon


Jacked Factory Nitrosurge Pre-Workout

Nitrosurge Pre Workout
Nitrosurge Pre Workout

Nitrosurge is a pre-workout we always recommend because it has an ingredient profile that you can’t go wrong with. 

There’s the citrulline, beta-alanine, betaine, caffeine, l-theanine, theobromine, and AstraGin… all research-backed ingredients.

Theobromine may have similar effects on mood and vigilance as does caffeine according to research (1).

AstraGin may help to enhance protein synthesis and nitric oxide-increasing ingredients and it can improve the absorption of certain nutrients to enhance the effects. But it’s shown to also have other positive effects. 

Product highlights 

  • 180mg caffeine 
  • 3g citrulline 
  • 1.6g beta-alanine
  • 90mg L-theanine 
  • Contains trademark ingredient AstraGin 
  • Manufactured in USA 

Pros

  • Contains plenty of research-backed ingredients 
  • AstraGin helps with ingredient absorption
  • Theobromine and AstaGin potentially offer unique benefits
  • Ideal for mid-level exercises
  • best-selling product

Cons

  • Contains artificial sweeteners (sucralose and acesulfame potassium)
  • Few complaints about taste 

Buy at Amazon


Rivalus Powder Burn 2.0

Rivalus Powder Burn 2 0
Rivalus Powder Burn 2 0

A very underrated product, we think our addition of Rivalus 2.0 in this list of best pre-workouts without creatine is justified. 

It’s an athlete-trusted brand/product that contains 1.6g beta-alanine, and 1g citrulline which may be a little lower compared to other products. However, the 2.5g of arginine enhances nitric oxide production, acting as a vasodilator to improve pumps and performance. 

250mg of agmatine sulfate may have therapeutic properties (1, 1).

A serving gives you a potent 200mg of caffeine and there’s also a nice combination of B vitamins and vitamin C that support good health. 

Product highlights

  • 200mg caffeine per serving 
  • High dose of vitamin C, B6, and B12
  • 1.6 Carnosyn beta-alanine enhances exercise performance 
  • Informed-Sport Trusted by athletes’

Pros

  • Contains a high dose of B vitamins/vitamin C 
  • Several performance-focused ingredients 
  • Supports big pumps 
  • Awesome tasting

Cons

  • A little low in citrulline and arginine 

Buy at Amazon


Cellucor C4 Ripped Sport

C4 Ripped Sport Pre Workout
C4 Ripped Sport Pre Workout

One of the most popular and effective pre-workouts on planet Earth, Cellucor C4 is a favorite choice of many workout enthusiasts. 

But there are few different versions and we like the Ripped Sport. It doesn’t contain creatine like the other options but still gives that much-needed energy serving up a respectable 235mg of caffeine per dose. 

It’s also formulated to help you shed some fat mass (hence the name Ripped Sport). A few ingredients that we haven’t seen in others and should enhance exercise capacity and increased calorie-burning include conjugated linoleic acid (LCA), carnitine, and Dyglofit.

C4 is one pre-workout that you can never go wrong with. 

Product highlights

  • 135mg caffeine serving 
  • Cutting formula 
  • Contains performance and energy blend 
  • CLA and Dyglofit included for fat loss/metabolism support
  • NSF certified for sport

Pros

  • Very trusted brand 
  • High in B12
  • 0g sugar
  • Contains more fat loss-focused ingredients 
  • Third-party tested

Cons

  • Contains artificial sweeteners
  • Few complaints about taste 

Buy at Amazon


Honey Badger Pre-Workout

Honey Badger Pre Workout
Honey Badger Pre Workout

You’ve most likely never heard of this brand and neither have we. But it does look very promising and users seem to have a good experience with this keto and paleo-friendly, vegan option. 

And how could you not like a supplement with the name Honey Badger

This pre-workout is super-simple which certainly has its appeal. There are absolutely no calories, and the performance energy blend contains just citrulline, beta-alanine, and 150mg of caffeine. 

Honey Badger is also naturally-flavored and sweetened. 

Learn how to maximize keto dieting for next-level fat loss in this in-depth guide here

Product highlights

  • 150mg caffeine
  • 2500mg citrulline 
  • 1600mg beta-alanine
  • 350mg tyrosine 
  • Keto and paleo-friendly
  • Vegan 
  • Gluten-free
  • Third-party tested
  • Made in USA

Pros

  • Naturally flavored and sweetened
  • Helps to keep you ketotic
  • No calories or sugar 
  • Simple, 3-ingredient formula 
  • Promotes improved brain function 
  • Helps to stay hydrated 

Cons

  • Few complaints of clumping and taste 

Buy at Amazon


PEScience Prolific

Pescience Prolific Pre Workout
Pescience Prolific Pre Workout

A fan favorite (and there’s no creatine), PEScience Prolific has a focus on increasing nitric oxide to enhance factors of performance. There’s also no beta-alanine and they’ve noted that you won’t get those sometimes uncomfortable tingles (although there’s nothing wrong with it).

So if you’re someone who prefers to not feel tingling throughout your body before and during your training sessions, then look no further. 

A nice 3g of citrulline keeps your blood flowing when pumping iron, betaine supports strength improvement and 160mg caffeine stimulates the nervous system to help you keep moving and maintain focus. 

Citicoline aka the trademark Cognizin, Neurofactor, and L-theanine, are brain enhancing ingredients. 

Another unique ingredient is Rhodiola Rosea that has shown to decrease stress, improve physical and mental performance, have positive effects on health, fight off fatigue, and more.  

Product highlights

  • 160mg of two caffeine forms
  • 3g citrulline 
  • 1.25g betaine
  • 750mg taurine 
  • 100mg L-theanine 
  • Enhances cognitive function 
  • Contains trademark ingredient Cognizin

Pros

  • Nootropics enhance brain performance 
  • Nice dose of citrulline 
  • No calories 

Cons

  • Contains artificial flavors and sweeteners
  • Few complaints about taste

Buy at Amazon


Bucked Up Pre-Workout

Bucked Up Pre Workout
Bucked Up Pre Workout

You probably won’t turn into a wild buck in the gym using this pre-workout, but you’ll definitely see a nice boost in energy and performance. 

First off, each dose delivers a significant 1,667% B12 and 6g citrulline. 2,000mg of beta-alanine and 200mg of caffeine should give you endurance for hours and AlphaSize Alpha GPC contributes to workout effectiveness. 

Taurine can also work to give caffeine-like effects and Himalayan rock salts help to keep your cells hydrated to prolong your sessions. 

AstraGin improves ingredients absorption and Actigin is known to help improve VOS max which means you’ll be able to keep pushing through those typical exhaustion points. 

Bucked Up seems to have a formula that would especially benefit athletes who rely on stamina.  

Product highlights

  • 200mg caffeine 
  • 200mg AlphaSize Alpha GPC helps with strength
  • 1,667%  B12 per serving 
  • AstraGin helps to absorb citrulline
  • ActiGin may increase Vo2 max and endurance

Pros

  • 6g citrulline gives big pumps 
  • Naturally flavored and sweetened
  • Awesome choice for athletes
  • Great tasting 
  • Himalayan salt helps with hydration 
  • No fillers or proprietary blends 

Cons

  • Contains artificial sweetener sucralose 
  • Few complaints of powder clumping 

Buy at Amazon


Staunch Zero-Stim Pre-Workout

Staunch Pre Zero Stim Pre Workout
Staunch Pre Zero Stim Pre Workout

From the same Australian-based brand that makes Koala Freak pre-workout, Staunch has become increasingly more popular with fitness lovers. 

If you prefer a pre-workout with no stimulants or caffeine, then we suggest you have a look at this one. 

You might be wondering where you’ll get the energy to train if there are no stimulants. 

Well, Staunch zero-stim does have an Energy Focus complex that consists of several ingredients including l-carnitine tartrate, Acetyl L-carnitine HCI, N acetyl L-tyrosine, Gamma butyrobetaine ethyl ester HCI and ThermoDiamine (evodiamine (98%).

But a pre-workout doesn’t just mean energy, the formula has a pump complex consisting of citrulline, arginine AKG, agmatine sulfate, and norvaline. Then the strength and performance complex includes Betapure betaine, beta-alanine, and taurine. 

And it never hurts to have a proper serving of B vitamins either.

As you can see, caffeine isn’t always necessary. A pre-workout can include any ingredients that contribute to improved performance and more. 

Plus, you won’t get the crash or jitters!

Product highlights

  • Zero-stim formula 
  • Large 6g of citrulline
  • 2g Betapure  
  • Contains lots of B vitamins 
  • Contains pump, strength, and energy complexes
  • Australian-based brand 

Pros

  • Loaded with B vitamins 
  • High citrulline content 
  • Betapure improve performance

Cons

  • Contains artificial flavors and sweeteners 
  • Few issues with hard/clumped powder 

Buy at Amazon


Does Creatine Make A Big Difference? 

Creatine is a phenomenal ingredient/supplement with decades of research behind its use. In fact, it’s undeniably the most effective ergogenic ingredient, and it’s natural and generally safe to use for long periods and in higher doses. 

Make sure to check out our top creatine picks for 2021 and learn more about its benefits to decide if it’s right for you

Research is conclusive on its effects for helping to build muscle, increasing strength performance and power, enhancing brain health, and more. 

Studies are actually getting more interesting, especially since it’s been shown to possibly enhance muscle-building through various pathways. 

However

Creatine is not necessary by any means and not everyone uses it, including athletes, bodybuilders, etc. 

Some people find that it doesn’t do much or it doesn’t work well for their bodies, or they may not be interested in ever taking creatine, and that’s totally fine. 

But for the record, it won’t make you fat and it’s not a steroid!

It does, however, retain some water that helps to boost strength and size; one of the ways it works. This can sound unappealing but it’s not a bad thing. Anyhow, it can be very beneficial whether you’re looking to bulk up, lean out, improve sports or athletic performance, or include it in your daily health regime.

But you want a creatine-free option and we like these picks!

What Ingredients Are In a Pre-workout Without creatine?

There are many and we certainly would not be recommending pre-workouts if they didn’t work without creatine.

In other words, these pre-workouts offer a quality combination of effective ingredients. Of course, no two are exactly alike but you’ll see many of the most common pre-workout supplements ingredients/formulas across products. 

Ingredients in best pre-workouts without creatine 

Below we’ve briefly mentioned some of the common or not so common ingredients found in the products listed above. 

Caffeine

This one is obvious, but it is going to be the ingredient that gives you the biggest energy jolt. Caffeine is a nervous system stimulant and aside from drastically increasing energy, it enhances focus, alertness, and other factors that help to maximize physical and mental performance.

The products listed above vary in caffeine content but this is really a personal preference type of thing. For example, not everyone needs or wants 3-400 grams of caffeine per serving. 

Not everyone can handle this much caffeine and it can have undesirable effects for some people too. Then again, there are some people who are caffeine freaks and that’s fine too. 

But for those who want a lower dose, around 200mg and under can be just enough. 

You always want to make sure to read the label though to know how much caffeine is in a product, and you never want to take a lot of it or more than you’re used to without building up a tolerance. 

A “safe” depends on the person to an extent and typically, a dose of 400-600mg is recommended as the upper limit.  

L-citrulline

You will find this ingredient at the top of most pre-workout supplement labels, creatine or no-creatine. That’s because it may just be the most potent vasodilator on the market, which means it expands blood vessels to allow for better blood flow during training. 

Citrulline is used in many sexual health products and it can also be beneficial for heart health as well. 

It appeals to those chasing the “pump” in the gym but research has shown that citrulline can have performance benefits too. Not to mention, a study found it to increase growth hormone following exercise. 

See our top citrulline-only products and learn more about this promising ingredient.

An effective dose of citrulline can range from 1-6+ grams per day and up to 10 grams have been used safely with no side effects. 

Beta-alanine

Another common ingredient in pre-workouts is beta-alanine. This is the culprit for causing the common tingling sensation after chugging down and pre-workout and waiting to smash the iron, trails, or whatever form of exercise you engage in. 

No worries though, this feeling is completely normal and nothing to worry about in most cases. 

But beta-alanine isn’t just there to make you feel tingly (that’d be weird wouldn’t it). It acts as a buffer against the painful lactic acid that builds up in your muscles during exercise and makes you want to tap out…

Many supplements use a form of beta-alanine called BetaPure that is supposed to be a more potent form of this ingredient. Therefore, lower doses are typically used. 

According to a study from 2015, 4-6g per day for 2-4 weeks has shown to improve exercise performance and reduce neuromuscular fatigue during physical activity (1).

In another more recent study, researchers gave 6.4/g beta-alanine/day or a placebo to thirty strength-trained volunteers over a span of 5 weeks (2).

Greater improvements in power output during maximal lifts and effort were seen in the beta-alanine group. 

Betaine 

Betaine is an ingredient that has been shown to increase muscle size and power. Therefore, it sort of stands in the place of creatine for this purpose. In fact, many of the supplement labels tell you this. 

In one study, subjects were prescribed 2.5g of betaine/day in combination with a 6-week resistance training periodization program (3).

The results were very promising… body composition, arm size, bench press volume, work capacity, and power all increased. It didn’t have much effect on strength though. This was also the case in a study of untrained women (4).

Creatine is a superior product for increasing strength and there really isn’t a natural supplement known to increase this factor of performance to the same degree. 

But betaine may apparently have some worthwhile performance and muscle-building benefits. Not to mention, there may be some limitations in research too.

Taurine 

Commonly used in energy drinks, taurine is a conditionally essential amino acid (needed in higher quantities during illness) found in the heart, muscles, eyes, and brain. 

The body makes it but it’s usually man-made and included in food products. 

It plays a role in nervous system function, hydration, digestion, nutrient regulation, and eye health and it has antioxidant properties. This means it can help to fight off disease-causing free radicals in the body. 

But where performance is concerned, Taurine may help to reduce exercise-induced fatigue and help you train longer. In addition, it could protect against muscle damage and oxidative stress and reduce muscle soreness after resistance training (5). 

In a study of well-trained cyclists, researchers found that 1.66g of taurine supplementation caused around 16% fat-loss (6). 

Doses of taurine up to 3,000mg have shown to be safe. Although, you never want to take too much of any ingredient (7). 

Other ingredients

As you probably noticed, below each one of our picks, we gave mention to some of the other less common ingredients that vary more so between these products.

It’d be a lengthy process to talk about all of them in-depth but we wouldn’t have chosen any of the supplements for our best pre-workouts without creatine; if we didn’t think they were good or didn’t contribute anything. 

Just have an open mind and know that our list consists of products from reputable brands as well. But ultimately, you’ll need to know what ingredients/formulas may be best suited for your goals. 

Hopefully, we were able to provide you with sufficient information to make the appropriate decision. 

[Related: 18 Best Pre-Workout Supplements in 2021]

Who Should Buy Pre-workouts Without Creatine

There are a few common reasons why people prefer to not supplement with creatine. 

For example: 

  • They think it’ll make them bulky
  • They don’t like the water retention
  • They don’t get much out of it
  • They feel sick taking creatine/doesn’t work with their body
  • They have health concerns and don’t want to take it

Again, you don’t need to take creatine to make huge gains but it can certainly help.

But those who prefer to stay away from creatine and who are generally healthy and who have built up a tolerance to caffeine (for the pre-workouts that do contain caffeine) should consider a pre-workout. 

Pre-workouts are great for giving you that much-needed energy burst to help you plow through your workouts and make progress. If you need to smash a personal record, train longer, run farther, and perform better, there are few supplements better than a good Pre!

[Related: 11 Best Tasting Pre-Workout Supplements In 2021]

That’s because they combine several effective and beneficial ingredients that each have a unique quality. 

Wrapping Up

We hope you loved this list of best pre-workout without creatine because it wasn’t easy putting together a list of quality options that offers something for almost everyone. 

So whether you need a high, low, or no-caffeine pre-workout, there are great options right here.  

If you have any questions about anything in this article, leave them below and we’ll try our best to help. Also, be sure to check our top caffeine-free pre-workouts if you prefer no stim!

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Matthew Magnante
Matthew Magnante
Matthew Magnante is the senior writer for Fitness Volt. He 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, and always working to improve overall.

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This article was written by one of our qualified writers, and fact-checked by our experts. The numbers in parentheses (e.g. 1, 2, 3, etc.) throughout the article, are reference links to peer-reviewed studies.

Our team of experts include a board-certified physician, nutritionists, dietitians, certified personal trainers, strength training experts, and exercise specialists.