Let’s be honest: pre-workout supplements are everywhere. They turned into a go-to drink for many workout devotees before they hit the gym.
So, what all the fuss? Are they really safe and effective or more dangerous than we know?
Let’s get one thing straight: not everyone who works out needs pre-workouts. And not everyone will benefit from the same supplement the same way.
In fact, pre-workouts are far more complex than you think! It’s not just a powder you drink to lose weight. The best of these restore muscles, help you shed fat, and gain body mass.
If your workout isn’t bringing you results, maybe it’s time to change. Let’s have a look at the pre-workouts and see what they can do to restore energy and fire your passion!
What Are Pre-Workout Supplements?
Pre-workout supplements or pre-workouts are powder drink mixes designed to boost your physical performance and energy during your workouts. They also help you stay focused and enable you to work harder for longer.
They are available in a few different forms. Some are tablets or capsules, others come in powdered form, and you have to mix them with water and drink them before your workout session.
There are dozens of different formulas and ingredients vary from brand to brand. Let’s have a look at the best-rated pre-workouts today.
What Are The Best Pre Workout Supplements?
Common ingredients used in popular pre-workout supplements are the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs): leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
Also, you’ll notice that many pre-workouts have in common is the caffeine! Caffeine is known as a stimulant that can improve your mental focus and acuity, energy level, and can help tackle tough tasks longer. It mat boosts your metabolism, which can help with burning fat!
A good pre-workout will do two things: get you pumped and keep you that way. Generally, caffeine and amino acides are your friends!
Let’s find out what is the top rated pre-workout?
1. 4 Gauge Pre Workout – Best Natural Pre-Workout
I was reluctant to take pre-workout supplements at first. I thought they were nasty powders of harmful ingredients that will cause severe diseases.
But a buddy of mine kept bringing 4 Gauge Pre Workout to our gym sessions all the time. Once, he convinced me to try it. And I knew I found the supplement for me!
4Gauge is a pre-workout that blew me away: shortly after taking it, I noticed bursts of energy and clear focus.
With time, my endurance increased and gave me that extra fuel I never knew I needed. 4Gauge combines effectiveness with transparency and smart ingredients that fully support your cardio and getting lean goals. It is natural and clean pre-workout with no proprietary ingredients.
2. Powher – #1 Best Pre-Workout for Women
We tried hard to find an effective supplement for the ladies. But then, I discovered Powher (thanks to my colleagues) and my female clients love it. It is my go to pre-workout for women!
Powher is a blend of carefully chosen ingredients and electrolytes, designed especially for women. Forget about the male-focused stimulants and testosterone-boosting ingredients.
Powher helps you stay focused and boost endurance with fewer stimulants, and effective results. It tasted good and gives you the push without any jitters.
3. Transparent Labs PreSeries BULK Pre-Workout – Best Vegan Pre-Workout
Bulk is considered one of the best on the market. I have tried it along with many others and few can compare.
Firstly, it’s formulated without any artificial sweeteners, coloring, or preservatives. It’s gluten-free and loaded with active ingredients that primarily target the male population.
I don’t recommend it for women as it primarily meant to support bodybuilders and serous athletes who want to gain muscle mass.
Transparent Labs Stim-Free – Without Caffeine
I discovered this one back in the day when my clients wanted something that’s caffeine-free. I love caffeine but I completely understand if you don’t.
And Transparent Labs thought of you! Just because it’s caffeine free, it doesn’t make it less effective. In fact, we’ve seen some incredible results with this supplement!
I noticed it boosts workouts just as any other on the list since it packs beta alanine, creatine, and L-norvaline. Expect high-intensity workouts without any crash from stimulants and caffeine.
Nitro Surge Pre-Workout
Top ingrediencts are: Betaine Anhydrous, L-Citrulline, Beta Alanine, Theanine, Caffeine
I tried Nitrosurge as an alternative to 4 Gauge which has been my go-to pre-workout. Honestly, I believed everything else was simply inferior. I bought it, I took it, and I headed to the gym.
And I was blown away! My energy and strength levels were through the roof! While this one is creatine free, it’s also free of any artificial ingredients.
Support your NO2 levels and improve performance. Workouts will get explosive without any crashes with long-lasting endurance.
Jym Pre-Jym Pre Workout Powder for Bodybuilding
PreJym is packed with BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) and creatine that support muscle growth. Citrulline malate and caffeine promote endurance and boost energy levels.
What’s more, a combo of beta alanine and other quality-ingredients improve endurance, give you strength, and help build muscles as this is one of the best supplements for bodybuilders.
With its unique formula I always recommend it to my clients and numerous online reviews can confirm its effectiveness as well!
Legion Pulse Pre Workout – Best For Early Morning
Whenever I need an effective early bird morning supplement, Legion Pulse has got me covered. I love the pulse and the energy it gives me.
I’m not tired after taking this supplement, and it helps me kickstart my day effectively no matter how tired I am when I wake up.
Legion Pulse is very effective as it doesn’t cause any crashes, increases focus and alertness, boosts endurance, and it does it all with one single scoop and carefully chosen ingredients.
Evlution ENGN Shred – Best Pre-WorkoutFor Weight Loss
If you are after out shading somee weight, I Evlution Nutrition fully supports those who want to shed fat. Evlution delivers what it promises.
We noticed amazing results with my clients as this supplement boosts endurance and prevents you from giving up on your fat loss mission.
We’ve trained longer and harder and this powder, and the great news is that it’s made with high-quality ingredients in the USA. It supports intense workout sessions with the weight loss goal in mind.
Cellucor C4 Original – Best For Running
When you feel you need to enhance focus, get high on energy, and boost endurance, Cellucor packs it all.
When I started jogging, I started taking this supplement because I just needed that kick to help me go the extra mile.
It provided me me a decent pumps and it comes with a bearable taste. This is by far the best supplement on the list for runners. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned athlete, C4 pre workout will help you take your goals to a whole new level.
Scivation Xtend – Pre-Workout Without Creatine
Yes,Scivation Xten is a BCAA. Combined with great taste, this supplement will keep you hydrated and provide you with enough energy to run a race or train like a beast.
I normally prefer creatine-based products but if you don’t – this is the preworkout for you. It’ll give you a the energy will last longer for an effective workout and recovery.
Psycho Pharma Edge of Insanity – Strongest Pre Workout
I felt the kick. Seriously, this is the strongest workout on the list. That means it’s been tested on some of the most hardcore and demanding users in the industry (myself included).
Very quickly after taking it, I was able to notice razor-sharp focus, bursts of energy, and an unstoppable rush for a killer training session time and time again. If you’re a little insane and can’t get enough, give it a try!
Wild Thing Pre-Workout – Best For Pump
Amino acids, creatine, nootropics, and other ingredients will give you tons of energy and transform you into an animal in the gym.
It’s hard to believe that it increases the energy the way it does, but Wild Thing is really good pre-workout supplement for a pump.
A fellow trainer gave me a sample and I can promise you that it literally needed max 30 minutes for all those energy bursts and sharp focus to kick in.
Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged Pre-Workout With Creatine for Muscle Gain
Kaged will turn on the intensity of your workouts and help you gain muscle in the long run. I tested a while back on request of a few clients and I must say I was able to notice my mind well-balanced and tuned with my strength, energy, and focus.
The product is consistent even though the flavor can be a bit underwhelming.
NLA Uplift – Good For Women
Designed specifically for females, NLA for Her fully supports your fitness goals and help you make the most of your workouts, especially bodybuilders.
Most of my clients that used it confirm the energy increase and great focus. There aren’t any jitters either, which is great. But, it is a proprietary blend and the taste is very overwhelming (I tried it, it’s not pleasant).
Garden of Life Organic Pre-Workout – All Natural For Energy & Focus
This is a (kind of) natural product that’ll boost your energy and focus throughout the workout. It’s not as powerful as some of its competitors, but it won’t make you experience jitters and anxiety either, which I really loved.
It’ll give you a kick of boost so that you can push yourself further with a steady increase of energy.
MAN Sports PepTest BULK- Best Pre-Workout For Bulking – Not For Beginners
Once you’re experienced and know your body inside out, not all pre-workouts will be enough. When I wanted more, I had to dig deep to discover that new supplement that would get me going.
I was reluctant to try PepTest at first, but I must say it delivered and lit my workouts on fire.
I trained like a beast; I was loaded on energy, my workouts were more intense, and I was able to build muscles effectively. But be warned! This is not beginner material.
Some products that are not included in this review are: Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy (Green coffee and green tea extracts,aminos), protein powders including whey protein, Old School Labs Vintage Blast, Genius Pre, BSN N.O.-Xplode (Creatine, taurine, citruline malate, beta-alanine)
What Pre-Workout Ingredients Should I Look Out For?
The following are the most important ingredients to look for in effective supplements:
Taurine helps to improve workouts by reducing fatigue and protecting the muscle cells during exercise. It may slow the absorption of glucose into the blood, which should prevent sugar crashes.
What’s more, it has many health benefits as it helps to reduce blood pressure, influence fat loss, and reduce stress.
BCAAs or branched-chain amino acid are valine, leucine, and isoleucine. These have been shown to help reduce muscle damage when taken before a workout session.
Vitamin B complex consists of 8 vitamins. They all play an important role in the body’s capability to produce energy. Workouts can be much more efficient when the body has enough B vitamins since they also help to convert food to fuel, maintain a healthy cardiovascular system and mental function.
Vitamins help to improve the overall workout, especially if your body lacks these nutrients. Vitamin E and C are particularly important (apart from the B-complex) since they act as antioxidants in the body, protecting it from free radical damage and cell damage during exercise.
- Creatine Monohydrate
Creatine is an amino acid naturally found in our bodies. It helps with energy and build muscle strength. It’s a popular ingredient for bodybuilders and weightlifters because it improves muscle recovery time, strength, and overall performance.
Nitric oxide is naturally present in our bodies. It helps to promote blood flow to the muscles. Studies confirmed that supplementing certain compounds that help your body produce nitric oxide is beneficial in terms of boosting athletic performance by providing muscles with oxygen and nutrients. There are numerous Nitric oxide products available.
These compounds are L-arginine, L-citrulline, and dietary nitrates (beetroot juice).
- Beta alanine
This is an amino acid that helps to enhance muscle endurance and minimize the buildup of lactic acid in muscles while you exercise. It’s effective for short and high-intensity workouts. What’s more, it also reduces muscle fatigue.
Keep in mind that there is such a thing as illegal pre-workout ingredients. Some are banned because they were a risk to public health.
We have double-checked all the products on this list (I’ve tried all myself as well), so you don’t have to worry about such things. In case you’re interested, here’s the list of those banned and unapproved ingredients.
Benefits And Potential Downsides of Pre-Workout Supplements
Let’s get one thing straight: you won’t burn fat with these supplements without any physical exercise.
They aren’t designed to make you stronger and leaner without any additional work.
If you include them in your workout sessions, they’ll help you train longer and harder while boosting your focus, endurance, and energy levels at the same time.
The more energy and endurance you have, the longer you can keep exercising efficiently. That means these supplements will enable you to:
- Improve focus
- Reduce muscle damage while you exercise
- Minimize fatigue
- Andvance the workout performance
- Improve stamina and muscle performance
- Increase metabolism
- Improve your overall mood and motivation
What’s more, choose the supplement that’s the best fit for what you’re trying to achieve. They have different ingredients that target different goals: do you want to build muscle or focus more on lean muscle mass?
Unfortunately, there are also some potential downsides, but you can avoid them if choosing the supplement carefully.
Some of them are filled with artificial ingredients that may not be the best for your healthy lifestyle. Choose supplements that use natural and harmless ingredients.
What’s more, pre-workouts can be overstimulating; getting jitters is a common side-effect, especially for those who have never used such supplements before.
Let your body get used to them and introduce them step-by-step. That way, you should be able to avoid the jitters.
Apart from that, some of the other downsides also include:
Dehydration (which you can avoid by drinking enough water and don’t forget about electrolytes)
Best Way to Take Pre Workout Supplements
To get the most of your supplement, it’s best that you take it 20-30 minutes before the workout session. That time depends on each supplement though, since some become effective a bit faster, others need more time to start working.
In any case, check the notes on your supplement to see when it’s best to take it. Some chemicals need a bit longer to absorb into the body than others.
Making Homemade Top Pre Workout Drink Mixes
Some people refuse to buy pre-packed supplements. The good news is that there’s a natural alternative to these boosters and you can make them at home, too. That way, you avoid artificial ingredients and poor taste of your drinks.
Here are three recipes that are not only cheap but will also kickstart your workout session with ingredients you may already have in your pantry:
This drink combines electrolytes you need to keep your body healthy while getting that caffeine fix with an espresso shot.
1 shot of espresso
1 banana, peeled
1 TBSP honey
A dash of cinnamon
Add all the ingredients into your blender and mix them well. Drink before a workout to improve performance and increase energy.
Beetroot Energy Boost
If you need support for a highly intense workout, think beetroot! This is a popular natural ingredient for many athletes around the world since it helps to enhance exercise, enabling you to train longer and harder.
1 beetroot, peeled
2 pieces of dark chocolate
Combine all the ingredients in your blender and mix them thoroughly. Drink before your workout session and you’ll be able to train like a beast.
For the ultimate shake on the list, combine caffeine and beta-alanine that will charge your energy and minimize fatigue. Mind you; this one is meant to improve the most demanding workout sessions.
1 TBSP honey
Combine all ingredients in a blender and drink before that hardcore training session.
Good Natural Pre-Workouts
Let’s have a look at some of the best natural pre-workout foods you can add to your meal or snack to get the most of each workout session:
Fruit and Greek yogurt
Hard boiled eggs
Final Conclusion. Are Pre-Workout Supplements Good or Bad for You?
Pre-workout supplements are designed to boost your workout performance. But they’re not all created equal, as they support different training goals and demands.
As a personal trainer, I’ve tried all on the list and more. Since I want to provide my clients with only the best and most effective supplements that complement their workouts, I do my research thoroughly.
I’ve seen people try different supplements and fail because they completely ignored the target public of these pre-workouts.
It’s extremely important to choose the correct supplement for your lifestyle, style of workout, and your goals. Ask yourself, what are you trying to achieve?