Sick of paying through the nose to get sub par pre-workouts that are overloaded with stimulants, under-dosed with active ingredients and way overpriced?
In this article, I’m gonna’ show you how to create your own pre-workout formula that contains all of the ingredients you need at just the right doses to perform at your best on the gym floor.
- Why Make Your Own Pre-Workout?
- Sourcing Ingredients
- The Ingredients
- Ingredient Summary
- Pre-workout Ingredient Costs & Dosages For Homemade Recipes
- Bringing it All Together
- Homemade Pre-workout Recipes
- Wrap Up
Why Make Your Own Pre-Workout?
The fitness supplement market is overloaded with pre-workouts. So, why would you bother making your own? For one thing, it’s going to save you a lot of money. Making your own pre-workout is way cheaper than buying one off-the-shelf. Beyond the cost factor, when you create your own pre-workout you have total control of what is in it. Many of the products being sold out there are under-dosed and loaded with additives, fillers and preservatives.
When you’re the person who chooses the ingredients, selects the doses and does the mixing, you have absolute confidence that what you’re putting into your body is going to do the job that you need it to do.
The first thing you need to think about when it comes to making your own pre-workout is where you are going to get the ingredients from. One option is to simply go down to your local supplement store and purchase them. More often than, however, you have difficulty finding the specific ingredients that you need.
If you do find them, they’re likely to be overpriced. On top of that, it’s quite likely that you will be approached by a salesperson who stops at your idea of making your own pre-work and tries to put the hard sell on you to buy one of theirs. You can avoid all of that hassle by ordering your pre-workout ingredients from Bulk Supplements. Not only will you find all of the ingredients that you need but you’ll get them at a lower price than anywhere else.
As one of the most thoroughly researched supplements in the fitness industry, creatine has established itself as a must have performance enhancer. Creatine is stored in our muscle cells. It assists in the transportation of phosphate, which creates muscle contraction. When you work out, creatine helps to replenish the energy that your muscles need to contract. If your body runs out of school creatine, you won’t be able to continue contracting that muscle.
When you supplement with creatine, you increase the amount that is stored within the muscle.
You should add 5 g of creatine monohydrate to your pre-workout.
Beta Alanine is an amino acid which is absorbed through the bloodstream and transported into our muscle cells. Once there, it transforms into a compound which buffers hydrogen and lactic acid, both of which cause fatigue. So supplementing with beta-alanine will reduce neuromuscular fatigue and lessen muscle soreness, both during and after the workout.
There is also some research that beta-alanine supplementation may increase strength gains on a resistance training program. In a study that was reported on in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, a resistance training group who supplemented with beta-alanine showed significantly greater strength gains in the squat than those in a placebo group.
You should take 3 to 5 g of beta alanine as part of your pre-workout. This ingredient can produce a tingly sensation on the lips so you’ll want to experiment with your dosage. If you do not get this reaction or it doesn’t bother you, dose at 5 g. If it does, cut it back to 3 g. The tingling sensation will not cause you any harm; it may just take a little getting used to.
Related: Top 9 Supplements for Bulking Up
Caffeine is a base ingredient in virtually all pre-workouts. Many studies have confirmed that caffeine is able to improve energy levels, endurance, aerobic capacity and power. Getting the right dose is important. Most studies suggest that you should have around 3 mg per kg of bodyweight to derive maximum workout benefit. So, if you weigh around a hundred kilograms, or 220 pounds, you are going to want around 300 mg of caffeine in your pre-workout.
Some people do not react well to caffeine doses in this range. This can lead to such reactions as the jitters, and a natural wired feeling and a post workout energy slump. Again, you will have to experiment to see how your body reacts. Cutting back by 50 mg on your ideal dose for bodyweight in order to avoid negative side effects is not going to drastically lessen the effect of your pre-workout. You will still get the cognitive and alertness benefits from caffeine supplementation, though the performance enhancing effects will be slightly less.
Related: 13 Best Caffeine Pills Reviewed
Citrulline is an amino acid. When the body absorbs it, it helps to increase the levels of arginine in the body. This, in turn, boosts the level of nitric oxide, leading to enhanced blood flow around the body. Combine this with resistance training and you will get a much greater pump effect from your workout. A more efficient blood supply also brings vital nutrients to the muscle cells more quickly. This offsets fatigue and allows you to train harder for longer.
Not all citrullines are the same. There are essentially two types on the market:
The one you should go for is citrulline-malate. The citrulline has been combined with a compound called malate which improves the absorption and utilization of the citrulline. Look for a product that provides a 2:1 ratio of citrulline to malate, as this seems to give you the best results.
You should include 6 to 8 g of citrulline malate in your pre-workout.
Related: Best Citrulline Supplements Reviewed
Betaine is a compound that is found in beetroot juice. It has been shown to have strength and performance enhancing benefits as well as helping to increase lean mass and decrease fat mass. You will notice the effects of this ingredient more if your everyday diet doesn’t include many beets.
You should add 2.5 g of betaine to your pre-work.
This final ingredient may cause you to raise your eyebrows. Yet, it can definitely improve your workout performance.
Salt is comprised of two electrolytes:
Sodium will help with muscle contraction. It also facilitates the movement of amino acids into the muscle cell, therefore promoting protein synthesis. In addition, salt will help you to better absorb all of the other ingredients in your pre-workout.
You don’t have to worry about any type of salt to add to your pre-workout. Ordinary table salt will do the job nicely. You only need to take a very small amount – just 50 mg.
- Creatine – 5 g
- Beta Alanine – 3-5 g
- Caffeine – 3mg per kg of bodyweight
- Citrulline Malate – 6-8 g
- Betaine – 2.5 g
- Salt – 50 mg
Pre-workout Ingredient Costs & Dosages For Homemade Recipes
The below table provides the list of the common pre-workout ingredients, including the estimated cost per serving and recommended dosage as per experts.
|Ingredient||Dosage||Cost Per Serving||Cost||Bulk Size|
|Arginine||3-6 grams||$0.04/gram||$19.96||500 grams (1.1lbs)|
|Agmatine Sulfate||1-3 grams||$0.10/gram||$25.96||250 grams (.55lbs)|
|BCAA (2:1:1)||20 grams||$0.24/ 6 grams||$21.95||540 grams (1.2lbs)|
|Betaine (Trimethylglycine)||1.25 gram 2x/day||$0.04/gram||$20.96||500 grams (1.1 pounds)|
|Beet Root Extract||1-2 grams||$0.06/capsule||$14.99||250 Capsules (1.5gram)|
|Black Pepper Extract||5-30mg||$0.01/20mg||$59.96||100 grams (.22lbs)|
|Beta-Alanine||2-5 grams/day||$0.06/gram||$15.96||250 grams (.55 lbs)|
|Caffeine||100-300mg||$0.035/capsule (200mg)||$17.95||500 pills|
|Citrulline Malate (Citrulline & Malic Acid 2:1)||10-14 grams||$0.07/gram||$34.96||500 grams (1.1 pounds)|
|Creatine Monohydrate||5-10 grams||$0.06/gram||$28.95||500 grams (1.1 lbs)|
|Eria Jarensis||75-125mg*||$0.23/75mg||$29.99||10 grams|
|L-Carnitine Tartrate||1-4 grams||$0.10/gram||$23.95||250 grams (.55 lbs)|
|L-Tyrosine||.5-2 grams||$0.08/gram||$18.95||250 grams (.55 lbs)|
|L-Citrulline||6-8 grams||$0.07/gram||$34.96||500 grams (1.1 pounds)|
|Sodium Bicarbonate||136mg/lb of bodyweight||$0.0002||$.92||454 grams (1 lb)|
|Taurine||.5-2 grams(+)||$0.04/gram||$20.96||500 grams (1.1 lbs)|
|Theanine||100-200mg||$0.09/capsule||$10.99||120 capsules (200mg)|
Bringing it All Together
Combine all of your ingredients in a glass of cold water and mix them up thoroughly with a spoon. Take your pre-workout 30 minutes before your workout to provide just enough time for the ingredients to kick in and do their job.
Cost: Brand Name Pre-workout vs. Homemade Pre-Workout
The average price of a pre-workout is between $1.30-$1.50.. However, when you make your own pre-workout supplement, you can cut that down by well over one dollar per serving.
Let’s break it down . . .
- Caffeine will cost 0.035 cents per serving
- Creatine will cost 0.06 cents per serving
- Beta Alanine will cost 0.06 cents per serving
- Citrulline malate will cost 0.07 cents per serving
- Betaine will cost 0.04 cents per serving
The salt cost is so infinitesimally low that we won’t even factor it in.
That gives us a total cost per serving of ~26 cents. That is a massive saving over buying a brand name product off the shelf or online.
Homemade Pre-workout Recipes
Here are a few homemade sample pre-workout recipes you can try to enhance your workout experience:
Basic/Beginner Friendly Pre-Workout
This is a pretty basic pre-workout recipe based on 5 main ingredients with balanced doses that are sure to boost your workout performance.
Combine 5g of creatine monohydrate, 2-5g of beta-alanine, 3-5g of citrulline malate, 150-200mg of caffeine, and 6g of branched chain amino acids. Mix with water and enjoy before your workout.
|Creatine Monohydrate||5 grams||$0.30|
|Citrulline Malate||8 grams||$0.56|
Strength, Focus & Endurance Pre-workout Recipe
Fuel your workout with this recipe, designed to sharpen your focus, amplify your endurance, and enhance your strength.
|Creatine Monohydrate||5 grams||$0.30|
|Caffeine||200-300mg (1-3 capsules)||$0.03|
|Citrulline Malate||8 grams||$0.56|
|Sodium Bicarbonate||136 mg per pound of bodyweight||$0.002|
|Beet Root Extract||1 capsule||$0.06|
|Water Flavoring||1 Squeeze||$0.14|
Note: Consult your doctor before taking any supplement or ingredient, and ensure to check and follow the dosage instructions.
How much does it cost to create your own pre-workout?
If you use the ingredients that have been outlined in this article (and these are the only ingredients that you need), you will pay just 23 cents for every serving of pre-workout that you make. That will save you well over a dollar per serving on most retail pre-workouts.
Is it safe to make your own pre-workout?
Yes, it is completely safe to make your own pre-workout. All of the ingredients needed to make your own pre-workout are readily available as stand alone ingredients. All you need to do is to mix them all together.
Should men and women take the same pre-workout ingredients?
Men and women should generally take the same pre-workout ingredients, with a few minor provisos. The first is that men generally have larger frames than women. That should affect the amount of caffeine that men and women take. Women should not take the same amount of caffeine that much heavier men should take. So, if you are a woman you should take about two thirds the amount of caffeine that a man is taking.
If men and women are performing the same type of strength training workout, the other pre-workout ingredients should be the same. However, if women are going to be doing other types of exercise, such as CrossFit, Zumba or running, then they should add the following to their home-made pre-workout:
These ingredients will provide an enhanced energy boost and help speed up the metabolism.
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
- Best Pre-Workouts for Weight Loss
- Best Pre-Workouts Without Creatine
- Best Tasting Pre-Workout Supplements
- Strongest Pre Workout Supplements
- Best Caffeine-Free Pre-Workout Supplements
Making your own pre-workout does not belong in the too hard basket. All you need to do is source the 6 key individual ingredients and dose them as recommended in this article. You have probably already got salt and caffeine in the house and chances are you’re already taking creatine.
So it’s just a matter of ordering some citrulline malate, betaine and beta alanine. The money you save and the control you will derive will make the effort well worth it!