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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.
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20 Best Pre-Workout Supplements of 2022 Review & Ranked (Nov Update)

These are our picks for the best pre-workout supplements tested by our team of experts for various needs and fitness goals.
Tom Miller, CSCS

Written by Tom Miller, CSCS

Updated by Matthew Magnante

Last Updated onNovember 21st, 2022

We select products we think are useful for our readers. We may earn money when you click on links on this page. View our disclosure for more details.

With such an abundance of pre-workout products on the market, it can be a little overwhelming when deciding on which to get. But don’t fret, that’s why we’re here, to help guide you through the process. This article will help to understand how these top supplements work and which are the best pre-workout supplements for individual needs.

Some of these pre-workouts are formulated with men’s performance in mind, while some may be better suited for women. Regardless, the choices on our list will help you achieve new personal records, whether in the gym, box, field, or wherever you choose to perform. Additionally, there are options for those looking to add muscle mass and/or drop some fat pounds!

Here is the list of the absolute best pre-workout supplements we tested for Strength, Weight Loss, Muscle Mass, Weight Gain, Cardio, and more…

Top 20 Pre-Workout Supplements Ranked (Updated)

  1. Best Pre-Workout Overall: Transparent Labs BULK
  2. Best Pre-Workout for Muscle Gain: 4 Gauge Pre-Workout
  3. Best Strongest Pre-Workout: Wrecked
  4. Best Pre-Workout For Fat Loss: Transparent Labs Lean
  5. Best Non-Stimulant Pre-Workout: Pump Serum Huge Supplements
  6. Best Pre-Workout for Boosting Focus: Redcon1 Total War
  7. Best High-Caffeine Pre-Workout: Assassin
  8. Best Pre-Workout with Creatine: Gorilla Mode Pre-Workout
  9. Best Pre-Workout For Women (Low Caffeine): Powher
  10. Best Pre-Workout For Women: Cira Pre-Game
  11. Best Pre-Workout for Nutrition: Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged
  12. Best Pre-Workout For Strength: Legion Pulse Pre-workout
  13. Best Caffeine-Free Pre-Workout: Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged Stim-Free
  14. Best Pre Workout For Men: Old School Labs Vintage Blast
  15. Best Low-Cost Pre-Workout: Gold Standard Pre-Workout
  16. Best Pre-Workout For Energy: Cellucor C4 Extreme
  17. Best Pre-Workout For Simplicity: Swolverine PRE Pre-Workout
  18. Best Natural Pre-Workout: Promix Pre-Workout
  19. Best Pre-Workout For Cardio: Jacked Factory NitroSurge
  20. Best Tasting Pre-Workout: Ghost Legend Pre-Workout

 

Review of the top pre-workout supplements on the market:

Best Pre-Workout Overall

This is the category we’d suggest for those who want a versatile pre-workout option that will work for most people. Our best overall pre-workout pick has a quality formula with a transparent label that includes ingredients proven to increase energy, enhance performance, and boost your mental game!

Transparent Labs BULK

Transparent Labs BULK
Transparent Labs BULK

Transparent Labs BULK won’t win an award for most caffeine per serving but make no mistake, it’s the bomb! 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.

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

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

Who Should Buy Transparent Labs BULK?

  • Folks who only trust a transparent label. 
  • People who like choosing from a variety of flavors—BULK offers ten!
  • Vegans who want animal product-free supplements.

Who Should Not Buy Transparent Labs BULK?

  • People on a shoestring budget. 
  • Lifters on a mass-building program who want creatine in their pre-workout.
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BULK Pre-Workout

BULK Pre-Workout

BULK Pre-Workout

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.

Check video review of BULK pre-workout. 

Transparent Labs BULK Pre-Workout Review


Best Pre-Workout for Muscle Gain

Not all pre-workouts are created equal, which is why if you’re looking to pack on muscle mass, you should choose the right one for the job. Ingredients such as creatine and betaine have been scientifically proven to aid in muscle growth.

4 Gauge Pre-Workout

4 Gauge pre Workout
4 Gauge pre Workout

4 Gauge may be one of the coolest-looking pre-workouts, but it does not lack effectiveness. It looks like a shotgun shell, but that’s just part of the appeal. 

According to Roar Ambition, 4 Gauge is the “safest and strongest pre-workout on the market”. While we can’t make a claim that bold, we did try it, and it certainly has the firepower to help you set new PRs. 

It’s hard to believe a supp this potent has only 150mg of caffeine per serving. However, there’s more to it than that. 200mg of L-theanine world with caffeine for sustained effects, 1,000mg creatine is sufficient for increased strength and power, and 100mg rhodiola rosea can reduce stress while training. 

Coconut water keeps your cells full with water, and Acetyl L-carnitine is important for energy production and may have some benefits for the heart, blood sugar, and performance.

With more than 6,000 customer reviews 4 Gauge scores over a 9 out of 10.

We also like the addition of beetroot which enhances the nitric oxide-releasing effects of L-citrulline. 

Who Should Buy 4 Gauge Pre-Workout?

  • Folks who want to build muscle mass. 
  • People who want an endurance-boosting supp. 

Who Should Not Buy 4 Gauge Pre-Workout?

  • People who want a stronger dose of caffeine.
  • Folks who want a stim-free pre-workout.
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4 Gauge Pre-Workout Review

4 Gauge Pre-Workout Review

4 Gauge Pre-Workout Review

4 Gauge is safest and one of the strongest pre-workout on the market. Each serving contains 150mg caffeine plus 200mg L-theanine combined as "Smart caffeine," 6g citrulline for pumps, carnitine for fighting fatigue and Rhodiola Rosea for all-around performance.

4 Gauge is a beast of a pre-workout. Check out our video review below:

4 Gauge Pre-Workout Full Review


Strongest Pre-Workout

If you’re an adrenaline junkie, then you’re probably going to want something with an insane dose of caffeine and stimulants that’ll have you energized for hours to ensure peak performance all session long.

Wrecked Pre-Workout

Wrecked Pre Workout
Wrecked Pre Workout

If you want to wreck the weights, this is one of those pre-workouts where you’ll be feeling all sorts of effects from the long list of performance-aiding compounds. 

They’ve included an absolutely massive dose of l-citrulline at 9,000mg per serving. Most products include an upper end of 6,000mg dose of l-citrulline. That should make for some huge pumps!

There are over 18 ingredients in the product, many that you’ll commonly find in other pre-workouts and some that aren’t as common.

A serving has 250mg of caffeine, and the energy boost will be noticeable. It also has the ingredients that create the full experience most people want when they take a pre-workout supplement. 

Plus, it contains health-supporting compounds, such as lion’s mane mushroom, which has anti-inflammatory properties. Other similar ingredients include turmeric, which is very anti-inflammatory, and tart cherry, while it helps with inflammation, may also have positive effects on muscle strength, according to research (1). 

Anti-inflammatory substances may help to enhance recovery from hard workouts and stressful activities (1).

In addition, the product contains several more ingredients that can aid performance in some form. 

It’s naturally and artificially flavored and artificially sweetened with a few unique flavors to choose from. 

The lengthy profile of ingredients and high doses make this one of the strongest pre-workouts on the market currently!

It’s also made in the USA.

Who Should Buy Wrecked Pre-Workout?

  • People who want to begin and end a workout with a muscle-ripping pump. 
  • Those who have a hard time establishing a mind-muscle connection.
  • Lifters who want a high dose of caffeine. 

Who Should Not Buy Wrecked Pre-Workout?

  • Folks on a mass building program who want creatine in their supp.
  • Those who cannot handle a high-stim pre-workout supp.
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Wrecked Pre-Workout

Wrecked Pre-Workout

Wrecked Pre-Workout

Each serving of the Huge Supplements Wrecked Pre-Workout contains 30.3 grams of scientifically-backed 17 different high-quality ingredients. The transparent formula delivers intense and long-lasting energy, skin-tearing muscle pumps, laser focus, and explosive power. 

Read the full review of Wrecked Pre-Workout.


Best Pre-Workout For Fat Loss

A top-notch fat-shredding formula will work by focusing on one or more of the various mechanisms that cause fat loss, such as appetite suppression, direct fat metabolization, and increased calorie burning.

Transparent Labs LEAN

Transparent Labs Lean
Transparent Labs Lean

Lean, from the same company as Bulk, is formulated to help with fat loss. Of course, it still offers the same 180mg of caffeine per serving. And you still get a massive 6,000mg of 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.

The LEAN pre-workout comes in Green Apple, Sour Grape, Strawberry Lemonade, and Blue Raspberry

Who Should Buy Transparent Labs LEAN?

  • Those who want a low-calorie pre-workout supp. 
  • People who want a thermogenic pre-workout.

Who Should Not Buy Transparent Labs LEAN?

  • Lifters on a muscle mass building program.
  • Folks who want a caffeine-loaded pre-workout.
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Transparent Labs LEAN Pre-Workout Coupon

Transparent Labs LEAN Pre-Workout Coupon

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.

Full Transparent Labs review 


Best Non-Stimulant Pre-Workout

Stims are no joke and for those who are sensitive to their effects, it’s just not an option. For this reason, we’ve located the best stim-free pre-workouts that work via other potent compounds that don’t mess with your nervous system.

Huge Supplements Pump Serum

Huge Supplements Pump Serum
Huge Supplements Pump Serum

For a product with ‘pump’ in its name and eight grams of l-citrulline in its formula, Pump Serum delivers on its promises. This supplement from Huge Supplements will flood your target muscles with blood and lactic acid during your workout. 

The Pump Serum follows in the footsteps of its super-successful sibling—Wrecked, but minus the stimulants that might make you feel jittery. 

A tub of Pump Serum V2 contains 25 servings. Besides the giant dose of citrulline, each 31-gram scoop of the supplement contains 3,000mg of GlycerPump™, 3,000mg betaine anhydrous, 2,000mg beetroot extract, 1,500mg nitrosigine, 1,500mg l-tyrosine, 1,250 agmatine sulfate, 1,000mg pomegranate extract, 980mg choline, 254mg VasoDrive-AP, 197mg pink Himalayan sea salt, 20mg huperzine A 1%, and 5mg BioPerine. 

 Who Should Buy Pump Serum Huge Supplements?

  • Lifters who cannot call it a day until they have a muscle-ripping pump. 
  • Folks who want a stim-free pre-workout. 

Who Should Not Buy Pump Serum Huge Supplements?

  • Those who don’t want a 31g pre-workout serving.
  • Due to its long and potent ingredient list, people suffering from any heart ailment should consult a physician before using this supp.  
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Pump Serum

Pump Serum

Pump Serum

Huge Supplements Pump Serum is a stim-free supp loaded with pump-inducing ingredients — 31 grams of them. Its scientifically-back formula is optimally dosed and will leave you with muscle-ripping pumps.


Best Pre-Workout for Boosting Focus

If you want a pre-workout supp that makes you feel like you’re wearing blinders in the gym, you cannot go wrong with our pick for this category. 

Redcon1 Total War

Redcon1 Total War
Redcon1 Total War

Redcon1 is one of the most popular sports nutrition brands. Its pre-workout supplement, Total War, is a hit in every sense of the word. It can help increase endurance, enhance focus, and boost energy.

Each 14.7g scoop of Redcon1 Total War constitutes 11.86g of active ingredients. Its 350g of caffeine dose makes it one of the hardest-hitting pre-training supps on the market. Plus, it is one of the few potent DMAA-free pre-workout supps on the market. 

Total War comes in 21 different flavors, meaning it doesn’t matter how picky you are, you’ll definitely find a flavor that fits your taste buds.

Redcon1 is verified to be free of banned substances through third-party testing and comes with a money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with the product.

Who Should Buy Redcon1 Total War?

  • People who only trust a proprietary blend-free formula. 
  • Those who want a high-caffeine pre-workout supp.

Who Should Not Buy Redcon1 Total War?

  • Folks who cannot handle a 3.2g beta-alanine dose. 
  • Those who want a strong pump formula. 
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Redcon1 Total War

Redcon1 Total War

Redcon1 Total War

Redcon1 Total War is one of the most potent pre-workout supplements. Its transparent formula is optimally dosed and will help you make the most of your workout. 

 Full Redcon1 Total War review


Best High-Caffeine Pre-Workout

633. This is not any random number. Our pick for this category has a monster 633g of caffeine. Interestingly, that is just 33 short of the devil’s number. Maybe the devil’s pre-workout has 666mg of caffeine. We might never know. But what we do know is that Assassin pre-workout will give you the kick in the rear you need to crush a workout.

Apollon Nutrition Assassin

Assassin Pre Workout
Assassin Pre Workout

Apollon Nutrition offers a very potent product and one of the strongest pre-workouts on the market that will no doubt give you the energy and performance boost you need to assassinate your workouts!

It’s loaded with an absurd insane 600+mg of total caffeine including 500mg from caffeine anhydrous and 133mg from di-caffeine malate. So you get the super-fast absorption from anhydrous plus the dicaffeine malate helps with digestive comfort in addition to providing the benefits you’d expect from caffeine. 

The product also includes 300mg of Eria Jarensis, an interesting ingredient that we’ve not talked much about in other pre-workout reviews. 

You’ll also get 1500mg L-tyrosine, 300mg Theacrine, and 3.5g beta-alanine for focus, energy, and performance. 

While you’ll get a full spectrum of performance benefits with high doses of each ingredient, the caffeine content is no doubt the highlight of this product. It will provide an energy and focus boost even for the most caffeine-tolerant people. 

Who Should Buy Assassin Pre-Workout?

  • People who are always short on energy. 
  • Those who don’t want an 18.7-gram pre-workout scoop. 

Who Should Buy Assassin Pre-Workout?

  • Those who cannot handle a high caffeine dose.
  • Folks who want a range of flavors to choose from. Assassin comes in four flavors.
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Assassin Pre-Workout

Assassin Pre-Workout

Assassin Pre-Workout

People who train early in the morning or after a long office shift, Assassin's 633g caffeine dose will give you the kick you need to push through the hardest of workouts. 


Best Pre-Workout with Creatine

Creatine is one of the most researched and safe sports nutrition supplements. It can help boost muscle gain, endurance, and stamina. A pre-workout supp that contains creatine allows you to do away with a standalone creatine supplement. 

Gorilla Mode Pre-Workout

Gorilla Mode
Gorilla Mode

Gorilla Mode delivers a gorilla five grams of creatine monohydrate per serving. This is big as most creatine products on the market have reduced their creatine content post-pandemic to three grams per scoop. 

The Gorilla brand is promoted and run by Derek from the YouTube channel More Plates, More Dates. He is one of the most reliable and trusted fitness influencers in the space. 

A 15.42g of Gorilla Mode contains 12 ingredients, including l-citrulline, creatine, GlycerPump, betaine, agmatine, caffeine, N-Phenethyl dimethylamine citrate, l-tyrosine, Kanna, huperzine A, l-tyrosine, and Bioperine. The ingredients help boost your pump, performance, energy and focus. 

Who Should Buy Gorilla Mode Pre-Workout?

  • Athletes who want a five-gram creatine dose in their pre-workout.
  • Those who prefer a non-proprietary blend product.
  • Folks who want a pre-workout supp without beta-alanine.

Who Should Not Buy Gorilla Mode Pre-Workout?

  • Folks who cannot handle a high-caffeine dose.
  • Someone who is looking for a small scoop-sized product.  
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Gorilla Mode

Gorilla Mode

Gorilla Mode

Gorilla Mode by Gorilla Mind is formulated to enhance focus, improve strength and energy, and boost muscle pumps. It is effectively dosed and does not hide its ingredients behind a propriety label, making it easier to compare the supp with other products on the market. 

 Full Gorilla Mode review


Best Low-Caffeine Pre-Workout For Women

It’s no secret that men and women are built differently. While an average girl could use a pre-workout supplement with 633g of caffeine, it’s better suited for men. This category is for women who want a strong, but not overly strong, pre-workout.

Powher

Powher Pre Workout For Women
Powher Pre-Workout For Women

Do you got the Powher? You could with a full dose of this women-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 been 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 physically intensive tasks. 

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. 

Who Should Buy Powher?

  • Women who do not want a hard-hitting pre-workout supp. 
  • Those who want a delicious supp. 

Who Should Not Buy Powher?

  • Men!
  • Women who might want creatine in their pre-training supp. 
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Powher Pre Workout

Powher Pre Workout

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.

See full Powher review


Best Overall Pre-Workout For Women

For this category, we uncover the best pre-workout supp designed specifically for women. This product includes the right amount of the right ingredients, such as lower caffeine doses but ample pump-boosting compounds.

Cira Pre-Game

Pre-Game Pre-Workout
Pre-Game Pre-Workout

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

We’ll start with the 200mg of caffeine which is nothing to scoff at. This is the same dose compared to several options geared towards 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 6,000mg 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.

Who Should Buy Cira Pre-Game?

  • Women who want a potent pump-stimulating pre-workout.
  • Those who prefer a no-nonsense product. This product contains eight straightforward ingredients.

Who Should Not Buy Cira Pre-Game?

  • Women who might want creatine in their supp. 
  • Athletes who might want a stronger stim pre-workout.
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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 Pre-Workout for Nutrition

Many of us can really benefit from a pre-workout that not only boosts performance all-around, but also supplies a healthy profile of vitamins, minerals, and hydration support.

Kaged Muscle Pre Kaged 

Kaged Muscle Pre Kaged
Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged

Pre-Kaged is another excellent pre-workout that contains 274mg of 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 citrulline, betaine, beta-alanine, vitamin B6, vitamin 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 can have 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. 

Who Should Buy Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged?

  • Those who want a holistic pre-workout supp. 
  • Athletes who want a supp loaded with BCAAs.
  • Folks who want a pre-workout supp with creatine. 
  • Those who only purchase a non-proprietary blend product. 

Who Should Buy Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged?

  • People who don’t want a 32g pre-workout scoop.
  • Folks who want a budget-friendly pre-workout.
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Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged

Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged

Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged

Pre Kaged  Pre Workout Powder is the perfect pre-workout energy supplement for explosive energy throughout your workout. Its quality ingredients like: 6.5g of Pure L-Citrulline + Creatine HCl and alot more.

Read Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged full review


Best Pre-Workout For Strength

Achieving PRs can come down to our supplement choices, such as opting for a pre-workout formula that focuses on the strength component of performance. If you want that little extra power to give you an edge in the squat or bench press, look for ingredients such as creatine, betaine, Alpha-GPC, citrulline, and beta-alanine that have been shown in studies to have positive effects on strength performance. This is our pick for when you want to keep increasing the poundages!

Legion Pulse Pre-workout

Legion Pulse is a top-ranked caffeine-free pre-workout supplement and a top choice among workout enthusiasts for a reason. Three key ingredients in Legion Pulse are citrulline, beta-alanine, and ornithine. Ornithine assists in the lipid oxidation process that burns fat for energy instead of carbohydrates or glycogen.

The caffeine content is relatively high at 350mg per serving which is ideal for exercisers that are tolerant to larger doses of this potent ingredient. 

There are no artificial flavors or sweeteners.

Who Should Buy Legion Pulse Pre-Workout?

  • Those who want a strength-boosting matrix.
  • Folks who want a supp with no added artificial flavors. 

Who Should Not Buy Legion Pulse Pre-Workout?

  • People who cannot handle a high-stim pre-workout. 
  • Athletes that want a zero-carb formula.
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Legion Pulse Pre workout

Legion Pulse Pre workout

Legion Pulse Pre workout

Legion Pulse Pre Workout is all natural Nitric Oxide pre-workout, the drink to Boost Energy & Endurance. It is creatine free, naturally sweetened & flavored. Safe & Healthy. 

Read Legion Pulse full review


Best Caffeine Free Pre-Workout

Some people either can’t tolerate caffeine or prefer to do without it for whatever reason. While nothing is quite as strong compared to the nervous-system boosting effects of caffeine, with the many great stim-free pre-workout options on the market currently, there are formulas that come close minus the jitters and potentially undesirable side effects of stims.

Pre-Kaged Stimulant-Free Pre Workout

Kaged Muscle Pre Kaged Stim Free
Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged Stim-Free

Supercharge your workout performance with great energy without the caffeine jitters.

Remember when you had to choose between an intense workout and a good night’s sleep? Well, you don’t need to anymore. The Pre-Kaged Stimulant Free pre-workout supplement is designed to help you obliterate your evening and even late-night training sessions without turning you into a night owl.

The Pre-Kaged stimulant-free version packs all of the same features of Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged for improved pumps, focus, and performance. Use it to lift heavier, push longer, and crush workouts day or night. 

The Pre-Kaged Stimulant Free features the following premium, patented, scientifically tested ingredients:

  • 6.5g Fermented BCAAs
  • 6.5g Fermented L-Citrulline
  • 1.5g Patented Creatine HCl
  • 1.6g CarnoSyn® Beta Alanine
  • 2g BetaPower® Betaine Extract
  • 500mg Coconut Water Powder
  • 100mg Spectra™ Antioxidants

Who Should Buy Pre-Kaged Stimulant-Free Pre-Workout?

  • Those who wanted the OG Pre-Kaged but without the stims.
  • Athletes who want amino acids and creatine in their pre-training supp.

Who Should Not Buy Pre-Kaged Stimulant-Free Pre-Workout?

  • Those who don’t want a hefty 31.1g pre-workout scoop.
  • People looking for a budget-friendly supp.
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Pre-Kaged Stimulant (Caffeine) Free

Pre-Kaged Stimulant (Caffeine) Free

Pre-Kaged Stimulant (Caffeine) Free

Supercharge your workout performance energy without the Caffeine Jitters for evening and late-night training sessions. Suitable for both Men & Women this pre workout delivers increased strength, endurance & long lasting pumps.

 


Best Pre-Workout For Men

A good male-focused pre-workout will often include creatine and testosterone-supporting ingredients.

Old School Labs Vintage Blast

Vintage Blast is a two-stage pre-workout formula 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 increase the body’s natural testosterone production.

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

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

Vintage Blast is a well-dosed product and can boost exercise capacity.

Who Should Buy Old School Labs Vintage Blast?

  • Athletes that want endurance and strength-boosting formula. 
  • Those who only trust third-party tested products.

Who Should Not Buy Old School Labs Vintage Blast?

  • Folks who want a hard-hitting pre-workout.
  • People who want creatine in their pre-workout.
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Old School Labs Vintage Blast

Old School Labs Vintage Blast

Old School Labs Vintage Blast

Vintage Blast Pre workout is two-stage natural pre workout energy drink for men and women; steady delivery of ingredients to power you through workouts and competitive events.

Read Old School Labs Vintage Blast full review


Best Low-Cost Pre-Workout

While you won’t get all the bells, whistles, and fancy schmancy ingredients that you’ll find with other options, who doesn’t love a good value product that’ll still deliver when it comes to better performance?

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout

Optimum Nutrition is a name synonymous with the best pre-workout supplements on the market. 

Their pre-workout formula offers many powerful nutrients while having just 175mg of caffeine in each serving. It also contains 1.5g of beta-alanine and 3g of creatine to support extended performance, strength, and power.

Who Should Buy Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout?

  • Folks who want a budget-friendly pre-workout.
  • Athletes who want creatine in their supp. 

Who Should Not Buy Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout?

  • Those who want a high-stim pre-workout formula.
  • Someone who wants a high beta-alanine dosage for better endurance.
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Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout

Gold Standard Pre-Workout comes loaded with Creatine, Beta-Alanine, and Caffeine for Energy, Keto Friendly, Fruit Punch, 30 Servings.

Read Gold Standard pre-workout full review


Best Pre-Workout For Energy

This category represents a product that has the best concoction of ingredients to deliver an incredible energy boost that will last the duration of a workout and then some more.  

Cellucor C4 Extreme

Cellucor C4 Extreme
Cellucor C4 Extreme

Cellucor is one of the most popular pre-workout manufacturers in the industry. Their original C4 formula is such a hit that they have a new line of pre-workout supps with the same name catering to people with different needs. 

Cellucor C4 Extreme is an energy-boosting formula designed for explosive workout performance. Although the supplement has a modest 200mg of caffeine, the 2g of the clinically studied CarnoSyn beta-alanine, and optimally dosed creatine nitrate (NO3-T) and NitraMax (NO3-C) will help take your performance to the next level by enhancing your endurance and fighting fatigue. 

The NO3-C dual pathway nitric oxide (NO) amplifier is formulated with patented nitrates to support better pumps, and the NO3-T is a performance and pump amplifier. CarnoSyn beta-alanine is the bedrock of this supp and has been proven to fight fatigue and improve muscular endurance.

C4 is one of the most iconic pre-workout supplements and a true favorite!

Who Should Buy Cellucor C4 Extreme?

  • Folks who engage in long workouts. 
  • Athletes who want a product that supports mental and cognitive health.

Who Should Not Buy Cellucor C4 Extreme?

  • Those who want a higher dose of beta-alanine.
  • People who want a stim-free pre-workout.
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Cellucor C4 Extreme Coupon

Cellucor C4 Extreme Coupon

Cellucor C4 Extreme Coupon

Cellucor C4 Extreme is a potent, tried, and tested endurance and focus-boosting pre-workout supplement. It will get you through the most grueling workouts with energy to spare. 

Read Cellucor C4 Ripped pre-workout full review


Best Pre-Workout For Simplicity

While you probably noticed the options on this list offer a specific advantage over the other, this is our pick if you want to keep things super simple and just go with something that you don’t need to read too much about before buying.

Swolverine PRE Pre-Workout

Swolverine Pre-workout
Swolverine Pre-Workout

The Swolverine pre-workout is made using all-natural ingredients and is a hit amongst users. Plus, it does not have caffeine or other such stimulants to psyche you up. Now, this could be a good or bad thing, but we’ll leave the decision up to you. 

The supp has a generous 5g dose of citrulline malate and 3.2g of beta-alanine, which help in boosting muscle pumps and endurance, respectively. Additionally, the 2.5g of betaine anhydrous (derived from beetroot) enhances vasodilation for better pumps. 

Who Should Buy Swolverine PRE Pre-Workout?

  • Those who want an all-natural pre-workout supp. 
  • Lifters who want a decent beta-alanine dose for endurance.
  • Athletes who want stimulants in their pre-workout.

Who Should Not Buy Swolverine PRE Pre-Workout?

  • Folks on a tight budget. 
  • People who don’t like the mango flavor. This product only comes in a single flavor. 
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Swolverine Pre-Workout Coupon

Swolverine Pre-Workout Coupon

Swolverine Pre-Workout Coupon

If you want a non-stimulated pre-workout that delivers solid pumps and can get you through the roughest workouts, the Swolvering pre-workout is for you.


Best Natural Pre-Workout

In a quest for hardest-hitting pre-workouts, most people steer towards artificial supps. While there is nothing wrong with artificial ingredients containing supps, all-natural supps are kinder on your body. Our pick for this category is a potent product that does not cut corners on any parameter. 

Promix Pre-Workout

Promix Pre-Workout
Promix Pre-Workout

The Promix pre-workout contains 200mg of coffee bean extract for energy, 3.2g of beta-alanine for endurance, 3g of the nootropic l-tyrosine, and a gram of taurine for better performance and overall health. 

Furthermore, it contains enough vitamin C and B-12 to meet your daily needs. Although the supp only has six ingredients, they are dosed effectively for optimal performance. 

The Promix pre-workout comes in eight flavors—lemon, mixed berry, strawberry lemon, tingle-free lemon, cherry lime, raspberry lemon, and stim-free raspberry lemon.

Who Should Buy Promix Pre-Workout?

  • Folks who want a budget-friendly supp.
  • People who cherish delicious supplement flavors.
  • Those who want an all-natural effective pre-workout supp.

Who Should Not Buy Promix Pre-Workout?

  • Those who want a pump-inducing formula.
  • Lifters who want creatine in their supp.
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Promix Pre-Workout Coupon

Promix Pre-Workout Coupon

Promix Pre-Workout Coupon

Promix Pre-Workout is a budget-friendly supplement that effectively boosts energy, improves focus, and enhances overall performance.


Best Pre-Workout For Cardio

Whether you’re attacking a WOD, long run, or regular cardio session, certain ingredients in higher doses can help you last a lot longer and hence, make more progress!

Jacked Factory NitroSurge Pre-Workout

Jacked Factory Nitrosurge
Jacked Factory Nitrosurge

Jacked Factory Nitrosurge pre-workout uses a potent combination of ingredients to exert its effects. These include BCAA, l-citrulline, beta-alanine, betaine, l-tyrosine, agmatine sulfate, and coconut water powder. 

Aside from 125mg of caffeine per serving size, Nitrosurge has an ingredient called theobromine that has been shown to help boost energy levels and cardio benefits. 

This product is rather straightforward, containing effective, science-backed ingredients and not too many things that most people have never heard of. So you definitely cannot go wrong with it!

Who Should Buy Jacked Factory NitroSurge?

  • Those into high-endurance sports like CrossFit or people who primarily engage in cardio.
  • People who want a pump-inducing formula. 
  • Folks on a tight budget.

Who Should Not Buy Jacked Factory NitroSurge?

  • Folks who want a higher dose of caffeine in their pre-workout.
  • People who want creatine in their supp.
5% Off

Jacked Factory NitroSurge PreWorkout

Jacked Factory NitroSurge PreWorkout

Jacked Factory NitroSurge PreWorkout

NitroSurge Pre Workout can be used intra, pre, or post workout with hard-hitting doses of proven 2:1:1 branched chain amino acids, l-citrulline, all-natural caffeine, and l-tyrosine for energy, endurance, strength, and performance.

Read NitroSurge pre-workout full review


Best Tasting Pre-Workout

You’ll love our pick for this category if you consider yourself a pre-workout connoisseur and want to treat your pre-training drink like a cocktail. 

Ghost Legend Pre-Workout

Ghost Legend pre-workout
Ghost Legend Pre-Workout

Ghost has established itself as a lifestyle brand and has the likes of bodybuilders, gamers, and commercial pilots as its ambassadors. 

Ghost Legend is primarily an endurance, stamina, and muscle pump boosting blend and contains ingredients like l-citrulline, beta-alanine, Nitrosigine, and Senactiv. Furthermore, it has l-tyrosine, taurine, Alpha-GPC, caffeine, theobromine, AstraGin, and Rauwolfia Root extract. In brief, not only is this supplement delicious, but it has something for everyone. 

Ghost Legend comes in eight delicious flavors, including peach, blue raspberry, Welsch’s® grape, Sour Patch Kids®, Swedish Fish®, Bubblicious® strawberry splash, Bubblicious® lightning lemonade, Warheads® sour watermelon, and Sonic® cherry limeade. 

Who Should Buy Ghost Legend?

  • Folks who want an effective pre-workout supp that doesn’t use a proprietary blend.
  • Those who want a lip-smacking supplement.

Who Should Not Buy Ghost Legend?

  • Those who want creatine in their supplement.
  • Athletes who don’t want carbs in their pre-training supp.
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Ghost Legend

Ghost Legend

Ghost Legend

Ghost Legend pre-workout is gaining popularity amongst lifters for its transparent ingredient label and energy, focus, and pump boosting formula. The delicious flavors and effectiveness of this supp will make you fall in love with it. 

 Read Ghost Legend full review


How Much Do Pre-Workouts Cost?

This highly varies based on the product, but you can expect to pay an average of $1-$2 per serving. Factors such as brand, ingredients/number of ingredients, and dosages affect the price. There are also higher quality products that will obviously cost more.

For example, Transparent Labs Bulk is a top-notch product that prioritizes transparency, potency, and purity, not to mention, it contains high-quality ingredients. Compared to a product like Six Star pre-workout, for example, it’s much better quality. Therefore, it will cost a little more per serving. 

We recommend checking out all our pre-workout recommendations to learn the difference between these products. As with anything, whichever you pick depends on your goals and also your budget. There’s something for everyone.

Pre-WorkoutsProductWhy We Love ItPrice
Transparent Labs BULKDMAA Pre-WorkoutTransparent formula with clean ingredients.$49 — $1.63 Per Serving
4 Gauge Pre-Workout4 Gauge Pre Workout150mg caffeine 200mg with L-theanine combined as Smart caffeine.$45 — $2.25 Per Serving
WreckedWrecked Pre-WorkoutStrongest pre-workout with 17 research-backed ingredients.$49.95 — $2.49 Per Serving
Transparent Labs LeanTransparent Labs LeanTransparent formula, top ingredients for weight loss.$49 — $1.63 Per Serving
Pump Serum Huge SupplementsHuge Supplements Pump SerumAn incredibly effective product for people who have difficulty achieving muscle pumps.$54.95 — $2.19 Per Serving
Redcon1 Total WarRedcon1 Total WarA clinically dosed fast-acting formula that hits you hard every time.$34.99 — $1.16 Per Serving
Apollon Nutrition AssassinAssassin Pre-WorkoutAnother potent pre-workout with 600+ mg of caffeine.$55 — $1.37 Per Serving
Gorilla Mode Pre-WorkoutGorilla ModeOne of the most ingredient-rich supplements on the market.$49.99 — $1.24 Per Serving
PowherPowher Pre Workout For Women 300x300 1Well-dosed low-caffeine pre-workout supplement for women.$45 — $1.8 Per Serving
Cira Pre-GamePre Game Pre Workout 1Contains ingredients to improve gut health and even slow the aging process.$34.99 — $1.16 Per Serving
Kaged Muscle Pre-KagedKaged Muscle Pre KagedNatural flavors, good taste with smart ingredients.$40 — $2 Per Serving
Legion Pulse Pre-workoutLegionpulseNatural nitric oxide to boost energy, endurance & muscle growth.$35 — $1.42 Per Serving
Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged Stim-FreeKaged Muscle Pre Kaged Stim FreeCaffeine-free to crush workouts day or night.$28 — $1.33 Per Serving
Old School Labs Vintage BlastOld School Labs Vintage BlastBest delivery system with a two-stage pre-workout formula.$30 — $1.5 Per Serving
Gold Standard Pre-WorkoutOptimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre Workout Full ReviewGood Budget option with great ingredients.$29 — $0.96 Per Serving
Cellucor C4 ExtremeCellucor C4 ExtremeA solid product from one of the most trusted pre-workout makers. $27 — $0.90 Per Serving
Swolverine PRE Pre-WorkoutSwolverine Pre-workoutGreat for supporting muscle growth.$52.99 — $2.11 Per Serving
Promix Pre-WorkoutPromix Pre-WorkoutAdded whole foods take its nutrition profile to the next level.$29 — $0.96 Per Serving
Jacked Factory NitroSurgeJacked Factory NitrosurgeFor great Cardio hard-hitting doses of amino acids.$26 — $0.85 Per Serving
Ghost Legend Pre-WorkoutGhost Legend pre-workoutComes in eight lip-smacking flavors.$42.74 — $1.70 Per Serving

What are the Top Pre-workout Ingredients:

Pre-workout supplements contain many performance-specific ingredients. We included a brief description of the most common ones below.

Caffeine

Caffeine is such a prominent ingredient that the decision to use a specific pre-workout can be based solely on this single substance. 

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, you sure won’t feel the same energy levels boost without a dose of it as it is a potent nervous system stimulant. Sure there are other stimulants that do work such as yohimbine and theacrine, but hardcore pre-workout users know it’s not quite the same without caffeine. 

Pre-workout formulas often contain anywhere from 75-400mg of caffeine per serving. 

This widely-used substance is found in various plants such as cacao plants and tea 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 who want to fight fatigue and stay awake for a long work shift.

It is fast-absorbing, and its most profound effects are on the brain. Caffeine blocks the neurotransmitter adenosine that makes us feel tired and may also boost key brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine while increasing blood adrenaline levels (1, 1). This means it could also be good for mood, which further contributes to the beneficial exercise-aiding benefits of caffeine.

Caffeine has so many benefits that we couldn’t possibly talk about them all. However, better performance, enhanced cognitive function, longevity, and health 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 variations in the forms 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 you need it in lesser quantities than conventional caffeine 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 than other variations like anhydrous.

Natural caffeine is also sometimes used in pre-workouts. However, it’s not quite as efficient as anhydrous.  

Potential for side effects and dosing recommendations

With the good also comes some of the potential negatives. 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 people experience. However, there is no such 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 to 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.

See our caffeine pill picks!

Beta-alanine

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. Plus, it 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 (2).

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 and slows the muscles’ ability to contract efficiently, meaning interfering with this process can be a great way to improve progress (3, 4).

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

Citrulline

Everyone loves the “pump”. It’s not just for show though, a good pump is caused by the widening of blood vessels, which could help flood nutrients into the muscles.

Studies have found that it can also increase muscle size and strength, and increase growth hormone after training and recovery. Plus,  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.

Check out our top citrulline product picks here.

Creatine

Creatine is just one of those ingredients that work and has been highly recommended after thousands of studies have proven its efficacy. An amino acid found in red meats and some seafood, 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) seem to be just as effective, and no loading is needed. 

The dosages vary but anywhere from 2-10 grams/day has been shown to be safe and effective for creatine monohydrate, which is probably the most commonly used in pre-workouts. If you want the full benefits of creatine, 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. 

However, not all pre-workouts contain creatine so check the label if you prefer to have it included. 

Find your ideal creatine intake with our creatine dosing calculator.

L-theanine

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 and enhance mental alertness (6). Combined with caffeine, it’s been said to prolong the positive cognitive effects and help prevent unwanted effects like jitters and post-caffeine crashes (7, 8).

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

L-tyrosine

Tyrosine is considered a catecholamine precursor which apparently has cognitive-enhancing properties (9).

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

Taurine

Taurine is an amino acid that could help with performance and health. It naturally occurs in the body and in some foods. It is considered a conditionally essential nutrient that may be recommended to those with certain illnesses that cause it to be used up at a faster rate (10). 

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 (11, 12).

Some research even found a reduction in post-exercise soreness in combination with BCAAs, which may be good for recovery and faster gains (13).

A good, safe, and effective dosage range is 500-2000mg per day. However, up to and may be higher than 3000mg per day has shown to be safe (14).

Ingredients may and often vary between different products. However, most do contain most of the above-mentioned ingredients.

How Do We Pick the Best Pre-Workouts?

Before we included these products on our list of best pre-workout supplements, we had to consider several criteria. including

Value

Value can be defined by comparing the ingredients/doses, servings per container, and price.

While some products are more expensive than others, keep in mind that they may have more ingredients, high amounts per serving, and quality can and does vary between products. 

We believe all pre-workouts on this list are fairly priced for what they offer. 

Brand/Reputability 

Choosing pre-workout products from proven brands that have good reputations is preferred. That’s because they’ve been around for a while, and many people have had a chance to test out and provide feedback on the products. 

There’s peace of mind knowing that the products are lab-tested and the companies have good manufacturing practices. 

However, we don’t think you have to rule out all newer and less heard of options if the brand looks promising and can prove good manufacturing practices along with having mostly positive feedback and are growing in popularity.

Ingredients

You’ll notice that while most pre-workout supplements contain common ingredients such as caffeine, citrulline, beta-alanine, tyrosine, etc., several products include ingredients with fancy names and supposed unique benefits. 

It’s fine to consider these options even if there’s not as much research behind some of the ingredients, but it’s best to choose the ones with few studies to support the claimed potential benefits.

Dosage

As for doses and efficacy of formulas, this really depends on how each user responds to a pre-workout. For example, one person may do just fine and even prefer less caffeine, while others won’t feel much with 150mg of caffeine and will need 300+mg per serving.

But also keep in mind that many products lower in caffeine typically contain higher doses of other performance-aiding ingredients. Sometimes trial and error is the only option!

Be sure to check out the full reviews on the above products to learn more about the ingredients and dosages.

Honesty/transparency

Typically, we prefer products that disclose all ingredients and exact doses for each one. While proprietary blends aren’t always necessarily a bad thing, there’s really no way to know if you’re getting the most optimal doses.

What are the Benefits of Pre-Workouts?

Pre-workout supplements are formulated to do what the name implies—enhance your workout experience.

Energy boost

This is no doubt that this is the primary reason why most people take a pre-workout. For whatever reason, many just don’t have the energy or enthusiasm they need to blast through their training sessions. A sedentary lifestyle, crappy diet, and lack of sleep can all contribute to low energy levels, and while these things should be addressed, sometimes it’s life.

But you still have to get in your workouts, so caffeine and other energy-boosting ingredients are typically safe and effective. 

Although, it’s important to know that not all pre-workout supplements contain stimulants, and many focus more on enhancing physical activity through other mechanisms.

Better focus

Ingredients such as caffeine, l-tyrosine, theanine, alpha-GPC, Huperzine-A, taurine, acetyl, and L-carnitine have all been shown to enhance focus. 

There are lots of promising studies on these ingredients.

Enhanced physical performance

Most pre-workouts contain ingredients that have been researched for their ability to help enhance one or more factors of performance. 

We could go down the list, but we recommend you take the time to read through the information on each product to learn about how each compound exerts its effects.

Strength and size

Two ingredients in particular—creatine and betaine—have actually been shown to enhance muscle gains and strength.

Many would be surprised to know that creatine doesn’t just fill your muscles with water but this super ingredient can increase muscle growth via multiple pathways. It can also help produce strength and power (15). 

Betaine is another surprising substance. In a study of twenty-three subjects who followed a six-week resistance training regime, the volunteers who took 2.5g of beatine per day experienced an improvement in muscle-to-fat ratio, increased muscle size, work capacity, and power (16).

Does Pre-Workout go Bad?

A pre-workout supplement, in fact, can go bad. The reasons for this could be due to a bad batch, expired product, type of ingredients used, or how it’s stored. If it smells bad, looks discolored, clumps up, or lacks potency, then you know, it’s probably gone bad. In this case, it’s time to pick up a fresh tub!

Now, it’s important to understand that there’s a difference between a “best by” date and unusable. The best by date simply means it’s most potent when used before this date. You could still use it after.

Pay attention to things like smell, color, taste, and most importantly, do you feel it working?

Read more on why pre-workout go bad?

When Should I Take Pre-Workout?

While we recommend adhering to the label instructions for optimal results, most products say to take a serving mixed with water 30 minutes prior to the workout. This is enough time for it to kick in. 

It may take a little longer to get the full effects, which is why you probably get more energized as the session progresses. 

The ingredients, potency (amount of caffeine), and how your workouts are structured may all play a role in the “best” time to take a pre-workout though. For example, some people do a longer pre-training warmup so having a scoop 20 minutes before may be optimal. If you get straight into hitting the weights or pounding the pavement then 30-45 minutes could give you the best experience. 

Caffeine in pre-workouts is usually absorbed in the body pretty quickly and within about 45 minutes of ingestion. Anhydrous is ideal for fast absorption, which is why it’s used in pre-workouts (17).

Why Does Pre-Workout Make You Itch?

You can thank the beta-alanine for the itchy, tingly feeling associated with taking a pre-workout product. This is also known as paresthesia. It’s not harmful, but for many, it’s very uncomfortable. It’s usually very noticeable in doses higher than 500mg. 

Niacin, also known as B3 can also cause this tingling sensation often called ‘niacin flush,’ and especially as it’s usually included in pre-workouts in large amounts. However, it doesn’t seem to have the same beneficial effects on performance as beta-alanine. 

Learn why does pre-workout make you Itch?

How Long Does Pre-Workout Last?

There’s no definitive answer to this. Caffeine can last from a couple of hours to 8+ hours (although it’s not as potent). However, because pre-workouts include a mixture of other ingredients, this can vary as the other compounds may affect the length of caffeine effectiveness. 

Additionally, pre-workout dosage, ingredient quality, age, weight, body composition, and sensitivity to certain compounds affect the length of effectiveness.

You might expect most pre-workouts to last anywhere from 2-4 hours on average.

Check out this supplement guide to learn more about the lasting effects of pre-workouts.

It’s exactly what the name implies, taking a scoop of dry powder. While it’s not new by any means, and you’ve probably seen Larry Wheels do it, this recent TikTok trend definitely sets a bad example. 

While it does work faster this way, you can: 

  1. Inhale and choke on the powder, which some health experts say can cause aspiration pneumonia.
  2. Cause much faster absorption due to not diluting with water, and while some get away with it, if you are not accustomed to taking such big amounts of caffeine, it can be detrimental to health or maybe worse.,

Not to mention, many who do these dry scoop challenges do not adhere to the safety precautions, especially regarding the dosage. 

Caffeine overdosing is no joke, and one 20-year-old woman apparently suffered a heart attack after dry scooping pre-workout powder. (18) It’s possible it’s caused a few deaths too.

FAQs

What is a pre-workout?

A pre-workout is a dietary supplement formulated to enhance physical and mental performance through various ingredients such as caffeine, l-theanine, beta-alanine, and l-citrulline, to name a few, although this varies based on the product.

What does a pre-workout do?

Pre-workout improves your performance ability, although the mechanisms by which this occurs depend on the product and ingredients used.

What is the best pre-workout?

There is no “best” pre-workout. However, many find that certain products work better for them. This is highly subjective.

When to take a pre-workout?

This depends on many factors such as the product, training structure, and exercise intensity. Typically, anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour before a session is an ideal timeframe.

How long does a pre-workout stay in your system?

This depends on the product, ingredients, dosages, and factors related to each person. The various compounds means different overall lasting effect (19).

How long does a pre-workout take to kick in?

This depends on the product quality, ingredients, dosages, and factors related to each individual. However, it usually takes anywhere between 30-90 minutes for the full effects to take place (20, 21).

Why does a pre-workout make you itchy?

The itchy sensation after taking a pre-workout is due to the ingredient beta-alanine. It’s harmless when used in recommended dosages.

Why does a pre-workout make me poop?

The caffeine combined with the mixture of various chemicals stimulates the bowels and causes the infamous poops!

Final Note

While there are tons of options on the market, we believe these are among the best pre-workouts.

While all are formulated to do the same thing—boost performance, they have different ingredients/formulas. This is important to remember because we all have different goals and needs and even tolerate caffeine differently.

Here is the final recap of the 20 top pre-workouts you can buy in 2022:

  1. Transparent Labs BULK
  2. 4 Gauge Pre-Workout 
  3. Wrecked
  4. Transparent Labs Lean
  5. Huge Supplements Pump Serum
  6. Redcon1 Total War
  7. Assassin
  8. Gorilla Mode Pre-Workout
  9. Powher 
  10. Pre-Game
  11. Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged
  12. Legion Pulse Pre-workout
  13. Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged Stim-Free
  14. Old School Labs Vintage Blast
  15. Gold Standard Pre-Workout
  16. Cellucor C4 Extreme Energy
  17. Swolverine Pre
  18. Promix
  19. Jacked Factory NitroSurge
  20. Ghost Legend

We hope that our breaking each product down will help you choose the best one for you, and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask us! Also, check out our review of the best fat burners for men.

References

  1. Effects of powdered Montmorency tart cherry supplementation on an acute bout of intense lower body strength exercise in resistance trained males – PubMed. (2015, November 16). PubMed.
  2. beta-Alanine supplementation augments muscle carnosine content and attenuates fatigue during repeated isokinetic contraction bouts in trained sprinters – PubMed. (2007, November 1). PubMed.
  3. Trexler, E. T., Smith-Ryan, A. E., Stout, J. R., Hoffman, J. R., Wilborn, C. D., Sale, C., Kreider, R. B., Jäger, R., Earnest, C. P., Bannock, L., Campbell, B., Kalman, D., Ziegenfuss, T. N., & Antonio, J. (2015, July 15). International society of sports nutrition position stand: Beta-Alanine – PMC. PubMed Central (PMC). 
  4. Effects of beta-alanine supplementation and high-intensity interval training on endurance performance and body composition in men; a double-blind trial – PubMed. (2009, February 11). PubMed.
  5. Effect of two β-alanine dosing protocols on muscle carnosine synthesis and washout – PubMed. (2012, June 1). PubMed.
  6. Theanine consumption, stress and anxiety in human clinical trials: A systematic review – ScienceDirect. (2016, April 23). Theanine Consumption, Stress and Anxiety in Human Clinical Trials: A Systematic Review – ScienceDirect.
  7. L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state – PubMed. (2008, January 1). PubMed.
  8. Hidese, S., Ogawa, S., Ota, M., Ishida, I., Yasukawa, Z., Ozeki, M., & Kunugi, H. (2019, October 3). Effects of L-Theanine Administration on Stress-Related Symptoms and Cognitive Functions in Healthy Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial – PMC. PubMed Central (PMC).
  9. Bloemendaal, M., Froböse, M. I., Wegman, J., Zandbelt, B. B., de Rest, O. V., Cools, R., & Aarts, E. (2018, April 30). Neuro-Cognitive Effects of Acute Tyrosine Administration on Reactive and Proactive Response Inhibition in Healthy Older Adults – PMC. PubMed Central (PMC).
  10. Review: taurine: a “very essential” amino acid – PubMed. (2012, January 1). PubMed.
  11. Role of taurine supplementation to prevent exercise-induced oxidative stress in healthy young men – PubMed. (2004, March 1). PubMed.
  12. The effect of acute taurine ingestion on endurance performance and metabolism in well-trained cyclists – PubMed. (2010, August 1). PubMed.
  13. Additional effects of taurine on the benefits of BCAA intake for the delayed-onset muscle soreness and muscle damage induced by high-intensity eccentric exercise – PubMed. (2013, January 1). PubMed. 
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Tom Miller, CSCS
Tom Miller, CSCS
Tom is a professional content strategist who loves to write about health and fitness, he is a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) additionally an expert crap shooter, qualified bro scientist, unmatched at being the best lifter in my local gym.

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