Best Pre-Workout Supplements Ranked for 2018 (Top 10 Brands)

If you’re someone who enjoys staying fit and exercising, you already know the importance of being properly energized for your workouts. Eating a healthy, protein-rich diet is vitally important, as is staying hydrated and eating a full meal a few hours before exercising.

For many fitness enthusiasts, a solid diet will provide adequate energy for working out. However, for those who like to maximize the efficiency of their efforts, supplements can help increase energy, strength, and drive to help you achieve your fitness goals faster.

There are tons of different fitness supplements out there. The two most common are protein powders and pre-workout supplements. Today, we’re here to talk about the world of pre-workout supplementation. Further down the page, we will go over the top 10 pre-workout supplements on the market, but before we get into that, let’s learn more about what these products do, and how they can help you reach your goals.

This is our official list of the best pre-workout supplements on the market. These 10 brands have the best feedback from users and the highest reviews online.

Top 10 Pre-Workout Supplements Compared

Heads up, there are affiliate links in this article, so if you buy something, we get a cut of the sale.


1. Transparent Labs PreSeries BULK

Transparent Labs PreSeries BULK

PreSeries BULK is a powerful pre-workout supplement developed specifically with bulking in mind. BULK is designed to help give you a boost of energy during your workouts. Like all Transparent Labs products, PreSeries Bulk contains NO colored dyes, unnecessary fillers, or harmful additives.

Highlights:

  • Specifically formulated for bulking
  • Contains 20 active ingredients
  • Contains ZERO colored dyes, unnecessary fillers, artificial sweeteners, or harmful additives
  • Comes with citrulline malate, beta-alanine, BCAAs, taurine, and more
  • Contains a blend of vitamin d3, boron and zinc

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 6g citrulline malate
  • 4g beta-alanine
  • 4g BCAA (2:1:1 ratio)
  • 4g betaine anhydrous
  • 3g taurine
  • 600mg tyrosine
  • 180mg caffeine anhydrous

Who makes it: PreSeries BULK is manufactured by Transparent Labs, one of the most honest and straightforward companies in the industry. Instead of using pseudoscience, marketing gimmicks and outrageous claims to sell their products, Transparent Labs relies on proven science and word-of-mouth advertising. All their products are designed with one goal in mind: to deliver the best results possible, without the use of any harmful additives, artificial sweeteners, or unnecessary fillers. And, as the name suggests, Transparent Labs is completely transparent with their formulas, listing the specific dosages of ALL ingredients used, alongside an explanation of how each ingredient can help you reach your goals.

In short, Transparent Labs uses scientifically proven ingredients to create innovative, effective, and powerful fitness supplements – and they add one ingredient that is not often found in this industry: honesty.

Bottom line: Overall, PreSeries BULK is among the best pre-workout supplements of this year in our opinion. It contains many powerful and effective ingredients, masterfully blended to produce results. It’s also completely free of all unnecessary fillers, artificial sweeteners, and other junk that is commonly found in competing products. PreSeries BULK is one of the most effective products on the market, making it a great choice for anyone looking for an extra boost at the gym.

Full Breakdown: PreSeries Bulk Review

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Where to Buy PreSeries Bulk Pre-Workout
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2. 4 Gauge Pre-Workout

4 Gauge Pre Workout Supplement

4 Gauge is a unique formulation containing all natural ingredients to deliver a boost of clean energy during your workout, without the unwanted side effects – no jitters, no crashes, no itchy skin. Just clean and smooth power.

Highlights: 

  • Boosts energy levels – Feel like a beast when you train
  • Laser focus & mental strength – Keeps your head in the game
  • No unwanted side effects – Low caffeine content.
  • No artificial flavors or sweeteners – No sucralose. 100% natural
  • Made in the USA, in cGMP and FDA approved facilities – manufactured under strict regulations, to ensure you receive the highest quality product.
  • Only 5 calories per serving – Won’t add bodyfat
  • Fast worldwide shipping – From their depots in the USA and UK

Drawbacks:

  • Only available to buy from their website
  • Premium price
  • Only comes in one flavor

One serving contains:

  • 6,000mg Citrulline Malate
  • 1,000mg Creatine Monohydrate
  • 500mg Acetyl L-Carnitine
  • 300mg Red Beetroot Extract
  • 300mg Coconut Water Powder
  • 200mg L-Theanine
  • 150mg Caffeine
  • 100mg Rhodiola Rosea

Who makes it: 4 Gauge comes from Roar Ambition, a premium sports supplements company based in the UK. They a select few high-end supplements, aimed at people who are looking for the latest formulations and the best quality available.

Unlike some supplement brands, Roar Ambition are open about their ingredients, there’s no proprietary blends or hidden ingredients. They list every ingredient and the amount and tell you how it works. All completely safe to use, in the correct amounts and backed by studies.

The downside about them is that they only sell direct online through their websites, so you can’t get them from Amazon or your local supplement shop. The company says that they do this to provide the best price and to provide direct customer support.

Bottom line: With the 100% natural ingredients, low caffeine and no artificial sweeteners, you can be sure you won’t experience any unwanted side-effects from 4 Gauge. Just a smooth and clean delivery of energy. The natural sweetener and low caffeine and l-theanine stack is unique. It’s a product worth trying for every pre-workout fan.

Full Breakdown: 4 Gauge Pre-Workout Review

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Where to Buy 4 Gauge Pre-Workout
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3. Betancourt Bullnox Androrush

B Nox Androrush

B-NOX Androrush is a unique and innovative product from Betancourt Nutrition. Using an advanced blend of traditional pre-workout ingredients such as beta-alanine and creatine, mixed with testosterone-boosting ingredients like tribulus and ZMA, B-NOX Androrush provides a balanced and complete pre-workout boost. It’s a very different type of product compared to most on this list, and will provide you with a whole new type of energy and drive at the gym.

Highlights:

  • Unique and innovative blend
  • The first product of its type
  • Aggressive energy complex
  • More active ingredients than most products on this list
  • Considered by many to be the go-to pre-workout supplement for men
  • Great value for money
  • 6 great flavors
  • Mixes easily

Drawbacks:

  • Because of its testosterone boosting qualities, this is not a good choice for women

What’s in it: One serving contains 18.1g BullNox Pre-Workout Formula, consisting of:

  • Strength and Endurance blend, consisting of creatine (3 forms), beta-alanine, taurine, and more.
  • Nitric Oxide blend, consisting of tyrosine, arginine, creatine AKG, beetroot, and more.
  • Endocrine Ignition blend, consisting of zinc oxide, tribulus terrestris extract, horny goat weed extract, maca extract, and more.
  • Neural Energy blend, consisting of caffeine anhydrous, tyrosine, and more.
  • Anabolic Solidification blend, consisting of glutamine, valine, isoleucine and more.

Who makes it: Andorush is made by Betancourt Nutrition, a relative newcomer to the sports nutrition industry. Founded by Jorge Betancourt, this company aims to create innovative products to help meet the growing demands of the fitness world. By combining traditional and proven ingredients with new and unique additions, Betancourt has introduced a whole new type of supplement to the industry.

Bottom line: B-NOX Androrush is a great product. It uses a wide array of effective ingredient which can have many positive effects in and out of the gym. Because of the powerful ingredients used, it’s not the best choice for beginners, or for women concerned about the potential testosterone boost. For any experienced weightlifter looking for a powerful and effective pre-workout product, B-NOX Androrush is a great choice.

Full Breakdown: B-NOX Androrush Review

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Where to Buy Betancourt Bullnox
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4. Cellucor C4 Extreme Energy

Cellucor C4 Extreme Energy

C4 Extreme Energy by Cellucor is the latest version of the popular C4 line of pre-workout products. It contains the same effective ingredients as the original C4.

Highlights:

  • Provides explosive energy
  • Available in four tasty flavors – cherry limade, icy blue razz, strawberry kiwi and lemon drop
  • Contains vitamin C, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12, folic acid and niacin
  • Comes with effective doses of creatine, beta-alanine, arginine, tyrosine and more
  • Contains creatine nitrate

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 3.2g beta-alanine
  • 1g creatine nitrate
  • 1g arginine
  • 831mg C4 Extreme Energy Blend® (300 mg Caffeine, TeaCrine®, Creatine Nitrate (NO3-T®), CarnoSyn® Beta-Alanine)

Who makes it: C4 is manufactured by Cellucor, a large-scale maker of exercise and nutrition supplements. Since 2002, Cellucor has been using proven effective ingredients, blended by industry professionals, to create some of the most powerful and effective products on the market. They are best known for their C4 line of pre-workout products.

Bottom line: Overall, Cellucor C4 Extreme Energy is one of the most popular pre-workout supplements available. Its use of creatine nitrate instead of creatine monohydrate (which can cause bloating) may make it an even more impressive product.

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Where to Buy Cellucor C4
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5. Pro Supps Mr. Hyde

Pro-Supps-Mr-Hyde

Mr. Hyde is a powerful and effective supplement designed to deliver extreme energy, pump and focus for your workout. Loaded with creatine, agmatine sulfate, powerful stimulants, and more, Mr. Hyde covers all the bases to provide a balance, effective boost.

Highlights:

  • Uses a powerful complex of thermogenic compounds
  • Contains creatine hydrochloride (1g) in every dose
  • Potent caffeine blend for maximum focus and energy
  • Uses agmatine sulfate
  • Uses Yohimbe and Pikatropin
  • Available in 6 tasty flavors

Drawbacks:

  • Strong effects, may not be the best choice for beginners
  • High dose of caffeine, so you shouldn’t take this product at night or you may have difficulty sleeping.

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 5,000mg Strength Matrix, consisting of beta alanine (2.5g), creatine hydrochloride (1g), L-leucine (500mg), agmatine sulfate (500mg), and L-citrulline malate (500mg).
  • 419mg Caffeine Matrix, consisting of caffeine anhydrous (300mg), dicaffeine malate (69mg), and caffeine citrate (50mg).
  • 154mg Intensity Matrix, consisting of Pikatropin (50mg), tyramine (50mg), hordenine (50mg) and yohimbe bark extract (2mg).

Who makes it: Mr. Hyde is made by Pro Supps, a popular and rapidly growing exercise supplement company. Pro Supps develops all types of supplements, but their focus is on pre-workouts, with Mr. Hyde being their most popular product. Pro Supps uses scientifically proven ingredients and creative techniques to develop effective, affordable, and innovative products.

Bottom line: Overall, Pro Supps Mr. Hyde is a balanced and effective product for anyone looking for a boost at the gym. The high dose of caffeine means this product is not the best option for those who are sensitive to stimulants, or those who like to exercise at night.

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Where to Buy Pro Supps Mr. Hyde
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6. ENGN Pre-Workout by Evlution Nutrition

Engn Pre Workout From Evlution Nutrition

ENGN Pre-Workout is an effective and unique fitness supplement made by Evlution Nutrition. It aims to provide its users with endurance, and delayed muscle fatigue – for longer, harder, more effective workouts.

Highlights:

  • Contains creatine, beta-alanine, caffeine, and more
  • Contains vitamin complex with niacin, B12 and B6
  • Named the Breakout Brand of the Year by Bodybuilding.com
  • Great value
  • Tasty flavors

Drawbacks:

  • Uses a proprietary blend

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 1,600mg Carnosyn brand beta-alanine
  • 2,000mg Creatine Complex, consisting of creatine monohydrate and magnesium creatine chelate.
  • 2,213mg ENGN Mind-to-Muscle Matrix Proprietary Blend, consisting of betaine anhydrous, choline bitartrate, tyrosine, caffeine anhydrous, and more.

Who makes it: ENGN pre-workout is manufactured by Evlution Nutrition, a new and rapidly growing exercise supplement company. Founded in 2013 by former BMX pro Mike Spinner, Evlution Nutrition’s stated goal is to help enhance the lives of their customers by giving them the tools they need to reach their fitness goals.

Bottom line: Overall, ENGN Pre-Workout is a great product for anyone looking for a helpful boost at the gym at a great price from a good company.

Full Breakdown: EVL Nutrition ENGN Review

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Where to Buy ENGN Pre-Workout
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7. BPI Sports 1.M.R. Vortex

Bpi Sports 1mr Vortex

1.M.R. Vortex is a unique and effective pre-workout supplement formulated to enhance and intensify your workouts. It uses a blend of unique ingredients not found in most similar products.

Highlights:

  • Unique blend of 5 powerful ingredients
  • Uses 3 unique exclusive new compounds to boost workouts
  • Very affordable
  • Very tasty flavors

Drawbacks:

  • Contains fewer proven ingredients than many products on this list
  • Can clump when mixing
  • Mostly stimulant based

What’s in it: One serving contains a 1,705mg proprietary blend, consisting of:

  • Securinega suffruticosa
  • Caffeine anhydrous
  • Yohimbe
  • Indigofera pulchra

Who makes it: 1.M.R. Vortex is made by BPI Sports, a small but quickly growing sports nutrition company founded in 2010. In their short time in the industry, BPI has quickly developed a following of loyal fans, who enjoy their unique and effective products.

Bottom line: Overall, 1.M.R. Vortex is a good product that is primarily stimulant based, so if you have issues with stimulants, it’s one to avoid.

Full Breakdown: BPI Sports 1.M.R Review

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Where to Buy BPI Sports 1.M.R.
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8. Rich Piana’s 5% Nutrition Kill It

Rich Pianas 5 Nutrition Kill It

5% Nutrition Kill It is a powerful and unique pre-workout supplement designed to help you KILL your workout with extra energy. Using both a creatine blend and an endurance blend, this product delivers a balanced pre-workout boost to help you reach your full potential at the gym.

Highlights:

  • Uses creatine, citrulline malate, beta-alanine, and other ingredients
  • Includes coconut water concentrate to help refuel your body with electrolytes
  • Available in 4 tasty flavors

Drawbacks:

  • A bit on the expensive side
  • Uses a proprietary blend – does not disclose individual dosage amounts of ingredients

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 1,500mg creatine blend, consisting of magnesium creatine chelate, tri-creatine malate, and creatine pyruvate.
  • 7,450mg nitric oxide/endurance blend, consisting of citrulline malate, beta-alanine, tyrosine, and caffeine (250mg).

Who makes it: This product is manufactured by 5% Nutrition, an exercise supplement company owned by fitness legend Rich Piana. 5% Nutrition develops effective and creative supplements for a variety of fitness applications. The company’s stated goal is to help their customers join the 5% lifestyle – or the lifestyle of the 5% of the population that strives to be the best they can be, in all walks of life.

Bottom line: Overall, 5% Nutrition Kill It is a great product. It delivers extreme energy, making it a good pre-workout for men wanting an intense boost at the gym. Its use of many different proven effective ingredients, alongside several unique additions, make it a good choice for anyone looking to boost their athletic performance.

Full Breakdown: 5% Nutrition Kill It Review

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Where to Buy Rich Piana’s 5% Nutrition Kill It
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9. JYM Pre-JYM

Jym Pre Jym Preworkout

JYM Pre-JYM is an advanced pre-workout formula designed to optimize your workout efforts. It uses an advanced all-in-one formula that can help you improve your workouts and experience better results.

Highlights:

  • No proprietary blends – all individual ingredients and dosages are fully disclosed
  • Uses 13 powerful and effective ingredients
  • Formulated by Jim Stoppani, PhD

Drawbacks:

  •  A bit expensive at almost $2/serving

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • Full doses of 13 science-backed ingredients
  • 6g citrulline malate
  • 6g BCAAs (2:1:1 ratio)
  • 2g creatine HCL
  • 2g CarnoSyn brand beta-alanine
  • 5g betaine
  • 300mg caffeine

Who makes it: Pre-JYM is manufactured by JYM Supplement Science, a new and rapidly growing sports nutrition company. JYM is one of the few large supplement companies that is owned by a licensed PhD, Jim Stoppani. They use clinically proven ingredients at proven effective doses to make some of the most balanced and effective products on the market.

Bottom line: Overall, JYM Pre-JYM is one of the top pre-workouts on the market. It contains a balanced blend of proven ingredients to help boost your athletic performance. It is rather expensive, which is the only reason it’s not higher on this list. If you’re willing to pay the price, Pre-JYM is a great choice.

Full Breakdown: Jym Pre Jym Review

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Where to Buy JYM Pre-JYM
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10. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre Workout

Gold Standard Pre-Workout is a simple and effective pre-workout supplement from Optimum Nutrition. It uses pure, proven ingredients to provide a boost in energy to help maximize your workout potential.

Highlights:

  • Banned-substance free
  • Uses high-quality ingredients
  • Contains creatine, beta-alanine, caffeine and other effective ingredients
  • Uses Creapure brand creatine – the best creatine monohydrate available
  • Includes detailed dosages of all key ingredients
  • Comes from Optimum Nutrition, a very well-respected and reputable brand in the sports nutrition industry.

Drawbacks:

  • Some users reported experiencing less of an energy boost from this product when compared to other pre-workout drinks.

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 175mg caffeine
  • 5g Carnosyn brand beta-alanine
  • 3g Creapure brand creatine monohydrate
  • 5g L-citrulline malate
  • 375mg carnitine HCI – helps reduce the effects of stress to increase endurance and mental focus

Who makes it: Gold Standard Pre-Workout is manufactured by Optimum Nutrition, one of the biggest companies in the sports nutrition industry. For years, ON has been committed to developing powerful and effective products to improve the fitness levels of their customers. ON is best known for the Gold Standard 100% Whey, the best-selling protein powder on the market.

Bottom line: Overall, Gold Standard Pre-Workout is a great pre-workout drink because it provides adequate doses of a large variety of helpful ingredients. It’s likely the top pre-workout choice for beginners because it provides an even, manageable energy boost without excessive stimulant ingredients.

Full Breakdown: Gold Standard Pre-workout Review

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Where to Buy Gold Standard Pre-Workout
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Pre-Workout Supplements Guide

What is a Pre-Workout Supplement?

To put things simply, a pre-workout supplement is a product you take shortly before exercising, that helps maximize your workout. These products aim to provide extra energy, power, strength and endurance for a short period after consumption.

The goal of these products is simple: to provide the tools needed to help your body reach its potential. Whether you’re lifting at the gym, sparring in the ring, running at the park, or swimming in the pool, pre-workout products will help give you the edge you need to push yourself harder and achieve better results.

Most of the time, pre-workout supplements are in powder form, and must be mixed with water, milk, or another liquid. You can also find pre-made drinks, bars, and even pills that contain the same active ingredients found in the popular powders. There are pros and cons to each form of supplement, but in general the more effective pre-workouts come in powder form. Powdered products tend to absorb and digest faster, giving you a quick boost of energy and strength.

Common Ingredients Used in Pre-Workout Products

There are a large number of different types of supplements designed to boost your workout performance. Some individual supplements, such as creatine, can provide real benefits on their own, while most individual ingredients perform better when blended. Generally the top rated pre-workout supplements contain a mix of ingredients to provide optimized results.

Here are some of the more common ingredients used:

Creatine

Creatine is one of the most widely used supplements available. An organic acid found naturally in the body, creatine has been the subject of countless academic studies, and when it comes to increasing strength and building more muscle, the evidence is clear: creatine works!

Creatine can help increase strength, power and endurance by replenishing your body’s natural supply of ATP, the main energy your body uses for muscle contractions. The more creatine you have in your system, the more energy your muscles will have, meaning more reps, more sets, and more weight. Creatine is often taken on its own, or as part of a pre-workout shake.

Go To Our: Best Creatine Supplements

Taurine

Taurine is an amino acid found naturally in the body. It is used for a variety of physiological uses, including controlling muscle contractions and maintaining healthy fluid levels within the body. When you exercise, the body’s natural stores of taurine are depleted. Supplements containing taurine replenish the body’s supply, keeping muscles operating properly. Also, taurine combined with BCAAs has been shown to decrease post-workout muscle soreness.

Go To Our: Best Taurine Supplements

BCAAs

BCAAs, or branched-chain amino acids, help boost strength, provide energy and reduce muscle tissue breakdown during exercise. The 3 BCAAs are leucine, which has been proven to significantly increase strength during workouts, isoleucine, which can help stimulate protein synthesis and aid metabolism during exercise, and valine, which stimulates muscle growth and increases endurance.

Go To Our: Best BCAA Supplements

Beta-alanine

Beta-alanine is an amino acid that helps to increase cellular carnosine levels, which are quickly depleted during intense physical exercise. Carnosine helps to reduce neuromuscular fatigue, leading to increased endurance and increase lean mass. Note: beta-alanine can sometimes cause tingling of the skin.

Go To Our: Best Beta-Alanine Supplements

Citrulline Malate

Citrulline malate is an amino acid which helps to optimize blood flow, increase ATP production, and reduce the effects of fatigue. Citrulline malate has been clinically proven to increase strength, aerobic performance, and muscle endurance. L-arginine is a similarly effective amino acid that is often used in place of citrulline malate.

Go To Our: Best Citrulline Supplements

Tyrosine

Tyrosine is an amino acid that helps to increase mental focus and endurance. Tyrosine may potentially help reduce the effects of stress (both mental and physical stress) to increase mental focus and physical endurance.

Go To Our: Best Tyrosine Supplements

Caffeine

Caffeine is an ingredient we all know well. In supplement form, caffeine anhydrous is the most used type. Caffeine helps provide energy, while reducing the sensation of effort during exercise. Caffeine anhydrous is also known to increase the effects of other stimulants commonly used in pre-workout blends.

Go To Our: Best Caffeine Supplements

Stim-Based vs Stim-Free Pre-Workout

As you know from reading the previous section, pre-workout supplements generally contain a blend of ingredients, ranging from BCAAs to taurine to creatine to caffeine and more. Although all pre-workouts use a blend of ingredients, there are two distinct categories of these products: stimulant-based, and stimulant-free.

  • Stimulant-based, often just called “stim” preworkouts, include stimulants such as caffeine, yohimbe and others. These tend to be the most popular, and often most effective blends. Stimulants give you energy to exercise harder and longer (caffeine is one of the most effective pre-workout boosters out there), and therefore products that include stimulants can be quite effective.
  • Stimulant-free, often called “stim free” pre-workouts, use a blend of ingredients like creatine, BCAAs, etc. but do NOT include anything considered a stimulant. While these products can be slightly less effective due to the lack of an energy boost, they are still quite popular and useful.

So, what’s better – Stim vs Stim-free pre-workouts?

The answer to that question depends on your specific needs and wants. If you’re looking for the most intense boost to your workout, absolutely go with a stimulant based product. If you’re looking to avoid stimulants and caffeine, go with stim-free.

Since stimulants are typically quite effective at increasing energy during workouts, stim-based products often work a bit better than stim-free. That said, if you are sensitive to caffeine or other stimulants, you’ll want to avoid pre-workouts that contain stimulants.

Additionally, think about what time of the day you usually exercise. Caffeine can interfere with sleep patterns, so if you exercise in the late afternoon or evening, avoid stimulant-based pre-workouts.

Benefits of Pre-Workout Supplements

Pre-workouts are commonly used by weightlifters and athletes hoping to improve their workouts. Keep in mind that pre-workouts always contain a blend of ingredients, so effects may differ from product to product. These are the primary pre-workout uses that have been studied:

  • Energy: Multiple ingredients included in many pre-workouts can boost energy and stamina. Caffeine, which is found in most pre-workouts, can make your heart beat faster, increase adrenaline and other catecholamines, and signal your liver to release sugar into your bloodstream for more energy – all of which can have an effect on energy levels. Caffeine has also been shown to reduce the sensation of effort during hard workouts, which adds to the perceived increase in energy levels.
  • Strength: Some pre-workouts may actually temporarily boost your strength and endurance. This is largely due to creatine. In a study published in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, creatine was found to increase max performance and power by up to 15%. Creatine is particularly effective for “short-burst” energy, such as weightlifting, sprinting and racing. Other ingredients found in pre workout supplements may also help to improve strength, such as leucine and other BCAAs.
  • Endurance: Pre-workouts are designed to help boost your endurance. Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) are a common ingredient in these products. BCAAs have been shown to reduce concentrations of fatigue substances in the body after prolonged exercise, leading to enhanced endurance and performance. This affect is twofold: reducing the fatigue substances such as serotonin helps to reduce muscle damage substances including CK and LDH. Other ingredients, such as beta alanine, can reduce neuromuscular fatigue which may also help to enhance endurance.
  • Recovery: While not the primary purpose of a pre-workout supplement, some ingredients can also help to speed recovery time. BCAAs combined with taurine have been shown to reduce symptoms of delayed-onset muscle soreness and muscle damage, and both of these ingredients are commonly found in pre-workout blends.
  • Exercise performance: The underlying goal of pre-workout supplements is to enhance athletic performance. This goal is achieved by a number of key ingredients, including citrulline malate (which can enhance athletic anaerobic performance), creatine (which can enhance power by up to 15%), tyrosine (which can help to improve mental focus and endurance), and several other ingredients.

Who Can Benefit from Using Pre-Workout?

Just about anyone who has a desire to exercise and stay healthy can benefit from taking pre-workout supplements. Here are the types of people who will benefit the most:

  • Men – Most men have a desire to be strong and physically fit. While diet and exercise are important ingredients in the path to physical health, proper supplementation can greatly speed up the process. The top ranked pre-workout supplements for men will provide the boost in energy, strength and endurance needed to build muscle and smash through fitness goals.
  • Women – Women can also benefit greatly from taking supplements to boost their workouts. These supplements help to increase fat burning potential and endurance, which can lead to longer, more effective workouts.
  • Bodybuilders – Bodybuilders will perhaps see the greatest benefit from taking a pre-workout. The average bodybuilder already has a lot of muscle and strength, and as you get bigger and stronger, it becomes increasingly more difficult to make gains.

When you reach the higher levels of fitness, you can often hit a wall that’s hard to get past. It’s called a training plateau, and anyone who has been bodybuilding for any significant amount of time has likely encountered one.

Are There Any Side Effects?

Like any supplement you take, it’s important to know the potential side effects of using pre-workout supplements. Side effects vary depending on the product and the individual taking said product, although generally side effects are mild as long as the product dosage recommendations are followed.

A few common side effects of a pre-workout supplement might include:

Tingling of the skin

Many first-time users of pre-workout supplements will be surprised by a tingling sensation felt shortly after consuming the product. This is a very common and completely normal side-effect. This tingling, called paresthesia, is caused by large doses of beta-alanine. It is a completely harmless side effect, and most people only notice it the first few times they take these supplements.

Bloating

Some users experience bloating when first using these supplements. This is largely attributed to creatine monohydrate, a powerful and effective ingredient found in most pre-workout products. Creatine causes the muscles to draw in extra water, which helps build and repair muscle faster. The bloating is caused by this extra water weight.

This bloating is only temporary, and you will drop the water weight/bloat shortly after stopping creatine supplementation. For most people, this bloating is not an issue. For some women, the cosmetic downsides of bloating are an annoyance, which is why many products marketed as the pre-workouts for women do not contain creatine.

Dehydration

Dehydration can be caused by a number of ingredients found commonly in these supplements. Creatine can cause dehydration because it causes muscles to absorb more moisture, while caffeine and other stimulants can increase dehydration because of their diuretic effects. To combat the effects of dehydration, simply make sure you drink enough water.

Sleeplessness

Insomnia or sleeplessness can be caused by stimulants like caffeine, commonly found in these supplements. To combat this, simply allow enough time before consuming the supplement and going to bed (usually 2-3 hours) to allow the effects of caffeine to wear off. In other words, don’t use a pre-workout supplement for a late-night workout, or you might have trouble falling asleep.

Upset stomach

Some people experience stomach upset and/or diarrhea when first starting to take pre-workout supplements. Everyone reacts differently to the various ingredients used in these products, so it’s hard to narrow down a cause for this side effect. If you experience stomach upset after beginning a new supplement of any kind, it’s recommended to stop taking that product right away.

In general, side effects are very mild. However, it’s very important to follow the dosing recommendations for these products to avoid potentially more serious side effects. Which leads to our next section…As always, we recommend you speak with your doctor before taking any supplements featured on this site.

How to Take a Pre-Workout Supplement

Go to: Top 10 Shaker Bottles & Mixers

Since pre-workout supplements are designed to give a short-term boost in energy and athletic performance, they’re best taken shortly before exercising. Generally, supplements should be consumed 20-45 minutes before exercise, although it varies depending on the product.

Each product will have detailed instructions on how and when to take it. It’s very important that you follow dosing instructions. Do NOT take more than the recommended dse. In fact, if you’re new to this type of supplement, you may want to start with a half dose to see how it affects you – especially if you are sensitive to stimulants.

Take a Break Every Few Months

After a month or two of taking a specific product, your body may become adapted to the ingredients used, which can reduce the effectiveness of these supplements. Because of this effect, many people choose to cycle supplements by using them for 6-8 weeks, then taking a 2-3 week break. Other people take a product for 6-8 weeks, then switch to another product for 6-8 weeks, and repeat.

Pre-Workout Supplements are almost always in powder form, which means you will need to mix it with water in a shaker bottle. For the ultimate convenience, we recommend you use a BlenderBottle. (Pictured Above) They’re inexpensive and get the job done!

Read the Label!

Before taking any supplements, make sure you read the instructions that the manufacturer has placed on the label. This is a very important step.

What to Look For in a Good Pre-Workout Product

There are many factors that go into choosing a solid pre-workout for you. Here are some things to look for:

  • Application to your goals – Ask yourself, does the product apply to your goals? If you’re looking to lift heavy and get shredded, you’ll want to find the a pre-workout for pump. If you’re looking to lose weight and get more toned, you should look for a pre-workout product for cutting.
  • Quality of ingredients – Take a close look at the ingredient list of any product you are considering. Look at the type of ingredients they use, and the quality/sources of those ingredients.
  • Brand recognition – Have you heard of the brand? Are they well respected in the industry? Generally, sticking to the well-known, reputable brands will lead you to the best products.
  • Value for money – How much does the product cost per serving? How does that compare to the other products you’re considering? Be sure to compare on a per-serving basis instead of just looking at the package price of different products.
  • Taste/mixability – You’ll want to find a good-tasting product that mixes well, so you’ll actually want to take it on a regular basis! The best way to find out how a product tastes is to read reviews. A lot of pre-workout supplement reviews will contain detailed information about taste and mixability.

Final Thoughts

Now that you know more about pre-workout supplements, and you’ve seen our list of the top pre-workouts on the market, you now have the tools needed to make an educated decision. Every product on this list is a good option – the best choice depends on your individual needs, preferences, and budget. Thanks for reading, and we wish you all the best in your path to fitness and health!

Austin Meadows

Written by Austin Meadows

Austin Meadows is an independent writer and consultant specializing in health and wellness topics. With more than 7 years of experience writing in the natural health industry, Austin strives to deliver accurate, concise and researched based information to his readers. You can find more of Austin's work at Olympic-Creative.com, or connect with him on LinkedIn.