Thermogenic pre-workout supplements are formulated to not only increase energy, and boost mental and physical performance, but also increase calories burned.
To lose fat, the body must expend or use more calories than it consumes (when you eat). While physical activity and good eating habits are the best ways to drop fat lbs, some food ingredients can enhance the fat-burning process. Many of them are included in the best thermogenic pre-workouts you’ll find on this list.
Some compounds shown to boost the metabolism and enhance thermogenesis include caffeine, cayenne pepper, green tea, l-carnitine, garcinia cambogia, bitter orange, yohimbine, and creatine.
But we’re excited to dive into our top picks and talk about what makes them unique.
Top Thermogenic Pre workouts Ranked:
- Transparent Labs LEAN – Buy here Editor’s Choice
- EVLUTION Nutrition ENGN Shred – Buy here
- Jacked Factory Nitro Surge – Buy here
- RSP AminoLean – Buy here
- Blackmarket Labs Cuts – Buy here
- Untamed Labs Ape Sh*t Cutz – Buy her
1. Transparent Labs LEAN (Editor’s Choice)
Transparent Labs Lean is our top pick for many reasons.
Lean is an all-natural cutting formula that isn’t extremely high in caffeine and it doesn’t need to be because it’s high-quality and contains L-theanine; an amino acid that enhances cognitive function and works synergistically with caffeine to extend its effects.
You’ll still get plenty of sustainable energy and there are several other ingredients that contribute to the effectiveness of this product. For example, it contains a whopping 6g of citrulline and other performance-supporting ingredients.
To aid in fat loss, Lean includes synephrine, found in bitter orange, guggulsterone, and hordenine. The formula also supports thyroid function and is very focused on health support.
Check out our full review of Transparent Labs Lean here.
2. EVLUTION Nutrition ENGN Shred
ENGN Shred seems to have all the right stuff that makes it one of the best thermogenic pre-workouts. Here’s our breakdown of this potent formula.
ENGN Shred is loaded with certain nutrients such as B6, B12, niacin, and folic acid that are good for maintaining overall good health.
Regarding the main ingredients, the formula has a Mind-To-Muscle Matrix blend that includes betaine, a muscle, and strength-building ingredient. Then you have choline, taurine, tyrosine, agmatine, and few others that contribute to good health and improved performance.
The ENGN Shred Matrix consists of CLA, carnitine, red pepper, and Yohimbe, and the formula contains 260mg of natural caffeine for energy.
- Supplies a nice dose of health-aiding nutrients
- Effective profile of performance-supporting ingredients
- Contains artificial flavors and sweeteners
- Uses red dye
- Nutrients: Niacin, B6, folic acid, B12
- ENGN Mind-To-Muscle Matrix: Betaine anhydrous, choline bitartrate, L-tyrosine, agmatine sulfate, alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine, huperzia extract,
- ENGN Shred matrix: CLA powder, l-carnitine tartrate, coleus extract, red pepper, Yohimbe
- ENGN energizers: Natural caffeine from coffee bean, green tea extract std. for EGCG
- Other ingredients: Citric acid, natural and artificial flavor, silica, malic acid, sucralose, acesulfame potassium, FD&C red 40
Who makes it
“Our mission is to be your most trusted nutrition partner to achieve your fitness goals.”
EVL Nutrition was formed to support all performance and health needs.
3. Jacked Factory Nitro Surge
From the packaging to the name and everything else, Nitro Surge Shred was an option we had to include in our list of best pre-workouts for weight loss.
It’s a “thermogenic pre-workout” that was formulated based on scientific evidence and it’s one of the simpler products in this review containing just a little over a handful of ingredients.
These include a smaller dose of l-citrulline, beta-alanine, acetyl l-carnitine, 180mg of caffeine, l-theanine, theobromine, and Bioperine black pepper extract (enhances bioavailability and absorption of certain nutrients).
Theobromine is a compound and stimulant found in cacao beans but compared to caffeine, its effects on boosting energy levels and mental alertness are mild and may be longer-lasting.
And according to research, it shows some promise as a safe alternative for the treatment of certain diseases (1).
Theobromine seems to be a key ingredient in this formula having similar but milder effects when compared to caffeine.
While Nitro Surge may not be the most potent pre-workout, the ingredients seem to be strategically dosed to create a longer-lasting effect.
- Simple formula
- L-theanine enhanced effects of caffeine
- Not too potent
- Lower dosed than others
- Contains artificial flavors and sweeteners
- L-citrulline, beta-alanine, acetyl l-carnitine, 180mg of caffeine, l-theanine, theobromine, and Bioperine black pepper extract
- Other ingredients: Citric acid, pineapple fruit powder, silicon dioxide, natural and artificial flavor, calcium silicate, acesulfame potassium, sucralose, and beetroot powder
Who makes it
“Formulated with science, tested in the trenches”, Jacked Factory makes premium products without artificial dyes and fillers and direct to consumer pricing.
4. RSP AminoLean
Amino Lean is an interesting product that was designed for “anytime energy, weight management, and mental focus”.
The product label doesn’t say pre-workout however, that’s essentially what it is containing 125mg caffeine per serving and other cognitive-enhancing ingredients.
A serving supplies a nice dose of vitamin C for immune health and more, but the three performance blends are the focal point of this formula.
Note: There are too many ingredients to list so we mentioned the most notable ones.
Amino acid blend
There are lots of goodies in the amino acid blend like taurine, beta-alanine, and L-citrulline. Plus, you get bcaas and eaa’s.
Weight management blend
The weight management blend features l-carnitine, conjugated linoleic acid, green tea std. to 95% EGCG, and green coffee std. to 50% chlorogenic acids, polyphenol compounds that may have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and anti-obesity properties (2).
Energy and focus blend
The energy and focus blend contains InnovaTea natural caffeine from tea and theobromine.
- Three performance blends
- Not super high in caffeine
- Natural caffeine source
- Contains green tea and EGCG
- No sugar, calories, or carbs
- Third-party tested formula
- Uses proprietary blends
- Contains maltodextrin, artificial flavors, sweeteners, and red coloring
- Gums can cause stomach discomfort for some
About the brand
RSP was started in 2008 by former collegiate athlete Victor Davanzo. He saw the need for safe and healthy nutritional supplements after being dissatisfied with many offerings that he felt were not healthy or safe.
Out of that, RSP was born, and its mission has been to provide the highest quality products to anyone.
5. Blackmarket Labs Cuts
Don’t worry, the only thing black market about this product is the name.
“Cuts” seems to be a useful thermogenic aid that uniquely includes a 411% serving of the essential mineral chromium.
Chromium seems to play a beneficial part in insulin health. Insulin is a hormone that allows us to metabolize protein, carbs, and fats. (3).
According to studies, people with Type 2 diabetes have been shown to have lower levels of chromium. Chromium picolinate seems to be the preferred form of which you’ll find in Cuts.
Additionally, 200-1000 mcg has been shown to elicit positive effects on blood glucose. Cuts has 144 mcg per serving which may be a little low, although, you should look to an all-around healthy nutrition regime to ensure you are meeting your daily nutritional needs.
There’s also 300 mg of caffeine and that’ll give you a nice jolt of energy to rampage through your workout sessions.
Cuts contains a fat-burning matrix or proprietary blend of ingredients that support mental and physical performance, and potentially fat loss.
Beta-alanine, l-carnitine tartrate, agmatine sulfate, acetyl l carnitine HCL, caffeine, n acetyl l tyrosine, choline bitartrate, theobromine, raspberry ketone, l-theanine, evodiamine, and chromium picolinate.
- Contains a multi-ingredient fat-burning matrix
- GMP certified
- Third-party tested
- Uses a proprietary blend
- Artificially flavored and sweetened
About the brand
BlackMarket Labs offers performance supplements and gear for men and women, Their products are manufactured in a GMP-certified facility in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.
6. Untamed Labs Ape Sh*t Cutz
Untamed Labs sounds like something you’d want to stay away from but this thermogenic fat-burning pre-workouts will make you go ape sh*t… but in a good way, of course.
One scoop will give you 150 mg of caffeine but you can certainly double that to unleash your beast!
The formula also combines the basic, necessary stuff you need to get through your sessions. But for fat loss support, there’s garcinia cambogia, gamma-butryobetaine which converts into carnitine and may help with fat loss, and lastly, yohimbe.
Dandelion root is a natural diuretic and can, therefore help you to shed extra water weight, and look leaner as a result.
Ape Sh*t Cutz is a top-notch fat-burner pre-workout.
- No proprietary blends
- Third-party tested
- Uses the artificial sweetener sucralose
- Contains red food dye
Choline, beta alanine, caffeine from green tea, garcinia cambogia, dandelion extract, game butyrobetaine, and yohimbe bark.
About the brand
Primeval Labs is a name synonymous with high-performance supplements.
This is their story:
“Primeval Labs was started and designed to do two things extremely well, make top tier formulas that deliver our customer the best options for sports supplements and deliver the best tasting line of supplements on the market.
With our line of innovative products, we believe we have achieved just that, leading the way in sports nutrition and supplementation. Not only is it important for us to support your goals, but we want you to truly enjoy each and every one of our products each time you use them.”
What is Thermogenesis?
Thermogenesis can be defined as a metabolic process in which your body burns calories to produce heat.
The most basic rule of weight loss is that you have to expend or use up more calories than you intake (eat).
Some ingredients may help to boost the metabolism and burn calories through thermogenesis. Common ones include green tea, caffeine, bitter orange, cayenne, yohimbe, creatine, l-carnitine, and garcinia cambogia to name a few.
All of these ingredients can be found in the best thermogenic pre-workouts we reviewed. However, not all are added to every product.
Some may have garcinia cambogia as the primary fat-loss-promoting compound, while bitter orange (synephrine) could be that main ingredient in another. Or maybe a supplement has both.
It just depends on the formula.
It’s also important to mention that while certain ingredients may have a thermogenic effect, they could also help the fat loss process by suppressing appetite or keeping you fuller longer. Cayenne is a good example of this.
But that’s not a bad thing. As long as you don’t overdo it, take advantage of the potentially beneficial effects certain ingredients offer.
Difference Between Thermogenic and Other Pre-Workouts?
Thermogenic pre-workouts are formulated with a focus on increasing weight/fat loss by enhancing thermogenesis.
Most of the time, thermogenic pre-workouts have the word “thermogenic” on the label. But that doesn’t mean other pre-workouts don’t include ingredients that can increase thermogenesis.
However, a lot of regular pre-workouts focus more on physical and mental performance-enhancing ingredients such as caffeine, l-citrulline, beta-alanine, taurine, tyrosine, and creatine.
How Much Weight Can Thermogenic Pre-Workouts Help You To Lose?
While thermogenic pre-workouts may help to burn extra calories, ultimately, you have to train and diet properly to lose body fat.
If you want to maintain or even build muscle in the process, you’ll need to be even more precise.
In other words, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question.
There are so many different variables involved in determining how much weight/fat someone can lose. Nutrition, physical activity, stress levels, sleep, hormones, health status, and consistency all play a role.
However, pre-workouts containing several thermogenic ingredients can give you an edge.
One study found that taking a multi-ingredient thermogenic supplement increases resting metabolic rate (RMR) (4).
RMR is the total number of calories that your body burns when it’s resting and not exercising.
More calories burned doing no activities means more potential for weight/fat loss.
Find your RMR here.
The same study also mentioned that while caffeine, a potent nervous system stimulant, has been shown to burn fat through lipolysis and fat oxidation, adding other herbs can enhance this effect.
Green tea, garcinia cambogia, and chromium were specifically mentioned in the literature.
When you learn what works best for you, then you can lose the desired amount of weight safely and effectively.
Find an ideal calorie intake for weight loss with the calorie deficit calculator.
Is There Potential For Side Effects
We advise that anyone with a medical history consult with a professional prior to using any nutritional supplements.
However, users should be extra cautious when considering pre-workout formulas and especially ones that contain stimulants.
A previously mentioned study found that these multi-ingredient thermogenic formulas can elevate systolic blood pressure, mainly because of the caffeine content. Therefore, those with a history of heart health issues may want to avoid (5).
Then there’s consuming too much caffeine without having built up a tolerance to the dose taken. If you have too much caffeine and are not used to it, the side effects can be very unpleasant. Nausea, heart palpitations, nervousness, anxiety, dizziness, restlessness, and dehydration are all common side effects.
It may also be best to avoid other caffeine-containing products when taking pre-workouts that contain caffeine and other stimulants.
Creatine is another common pre-workout ingredient that can cause stomach upset for some people. However, this is more so the case if taking roughly twice the recommended 3-5 grams (6).
But overall, creatine has been shown to be very safe and even beneficial for several factors of health.
Then, of course, artificial sweeteners, sugar alcohols, and gums can cause digestive discomfort for some people (7).
If you’re one of those people, try to choose products that have natural sweeteners and that don’t contain the other ingredients that could potentially cause discomfort.
Common Pre-Workout Ingredients
Pre-workout supplements include many performance-specific ingredients. We included a brief description of the most common ones below.
- Caffeine is a nervous system stimulant included to boost energy levels and increase both physical and mental performance. No ingredient can compare hence why the potency of a product is typically determined by the caffeine content. You must be cautious though, however, as not building up a tolerance or taking too much can have extremely unpleasant consequences. Green tea and coffee beans are common caffeine sources.
- Beta-alanine causes those tingles after a dose of pre-workout. No worries though, this is normal. This ingredient acts as a buffer against lactic acid; the stuff that causes an agonizing burning sensation in the muscles and makes you want to quit during most forms of exercise. It’s shown to also have other performance-supporting benefits.
- L-theanine is an amino acid found in green teas that have been shown to reduce the sometimes undesirable effects of caffeine. There’s also sufficient research for its calming and stress-reducing properties.
- Taurine speeds up your body’s recovery during a workout, thus reducing fatigue. This amino acid also prevents muscle cramps.
- Citrulline, a vasodilator substance, facilitates enhanced blood flow to give you big pumps, but it can also help to build muscle, increase performance, and it has health benefits.
- Creatine positively influences your ability to generate power during a workout. It’s also been shown through studies to increase muscle mass through various pathways and can have brain-enhancing effects, to name a few of its many benefits.
- Tyrosine may be beneficial for helping to manage stress during physical activity.
- Betaine increases the body’s power output and can have strength and muscle-building effects, although subtle.
- Beet root acts as a vasodilator, similar to l-citrulline, as it naturally increases nitric oxide levels in the body. Therefore, it helps to improve blood flow, enhance pumps, and may also help with nutrient delivery. But beet root also has antioxidant properties and this can be beneficial to overall health.
Ingredients may and often do vary between the different products, however, most do contain most of the above-mentioned ingredients.
More about pre-workout supplements:
If you want to learn more about pre-workout supplements, we have an entire pre-workout section that we recommend you check out!
- Best Pre-Workout Supplements
- Pre-Workouts for Weight Loss
- Pre-Workouts Without Creatine
- Tasting Pre-Workout Supplements
- Strongest Pre Workout Supplements
- Caffeine-Free Pre-Workout Supplements
- Why Does Pre-Workout Make You Itch?
- How to Make Your Own Pre-Workout Drink
How We Chose The Best Thermogenic Pre-workouts
The product selections on our list were based on certain criteria to ensure we recommend only the best quality options currently available on the market.
Here are the main factors we took into consideration…
Ingredients – All joint supplements don’t necessarily need to contain the same exact ingredients but they should have a healthy and effective dose of ingredients that have been scientifically proven to provide some sort of benefit.
Effectiveness – This will depend entirely on the ingredients contained in the product and sometimes, how your body reacts to specific substances.
Manufacturing Standards – Ideally, products are produced and stored in a cGMP facility which ensures quality.
Additionally, it’s good to choose products that are third-party tested for purity and potency.
Side Effects – Side effects are sometimes inevitable when it comes to supplementation which doesn’t always mean there’s something wrong with the product as one person may experience side effects and someone else may not.
However, products should only contain ingredients that are considered safe to use. User feedback is also sometimes a good way to determine the overall quality of a product.
Also, be sure to adhere to allergen warnings to prevent any potential adverse reactions.
These best thermogenic pre-workouts are great for when you need more energy, enhanced mental and physical performance, and a little calorie-burning boost.
If you had time to check out all of the products we included on this list, you probably noticed that each one is unique, and well, so are you. We understand that everyone has different needs and that’s why there are a few different, but quality options to choose from.