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Recommend a Supplement

Studies have suggested that it can be beneficial to take a pre-workout supplement before a workout to help boost athletic performance and endurance.

However, not all pre-workouts are created equal, nor is there any standard as to what each one should include. With that in mind, ingredients can and do vary considerably between them.

That leads to the question:

“What are the best pre-workout supplements to help support athletic performance and endurance?”

We’ve researched the most popular pre-workout supplements extensively to see if they really do live up to the hype.

In this thorough pre-workout supplement review, we’re going to explore some of the highlights and possible drawbacks of each supplement in terms of the overall goal and the value it offers as part of your nutritional workout strategy.

To help you find a good product, we’ve researched & compared the best pre-workout supplements on the market right now.

Top 10 Pre-Workouts Compared

These are the 10 best pre-workout supplements as picked by our editorial team!

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1. Transparent Labs PreSeries BULK

Transparent Labs Preseries Bulk Pre Workout

PreSeries BULK is a powerful pre-workout supplement developed specifically with bulking in mind. It 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 additives. It contains many powerful and effective ingredients, masterfully blended to produce results.

Highlights

  • Specifically marketed 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
  • Gluten-free
  • GMO-free
  • Vegan-friendly
  • Available in five fruit flavors

Drawbacks

  • At $49 for 30 servings, it’s on the pricier end of the supplements we compared.

What’s in It

Each serving (1 scoop – 22 grams) contains the following ingredients:

  • 6,000 mg of Citrulline Malate
  • 4,000 mg of Beta-Alanine
  • 4,000 mg of BCAA 2:1:1
  • 2,500 mg of Betapure(™) Betaine
  • 1,300 mg of Taurine
  • 600 mg of N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine
  • 500 mg of Choline Bitartrate
  • 360 mg of L-Theanine
  • 180 mg of Caffeine Anhydrous
  • Mucuna Pruriens (98% L-Dopa)
  • 60 mg of L-Norvaline
  • 50 mg of Synephrine
  • 25 mg of Hordenine

Recommended Usage

According to the manufacturer, you should take PreSeries BULK 20-30 minutes before your workout. You should drink 8-12 fl. Oz. of water with ½ of a scoop (to determine tolerance) and mixing 1 full scope with 16-24 oz. of water.

Bottom Line

Although it’s pricey, Transparent Labs has put together one of the best combinations of herbs, amino acids, and other ingredients that work together harmoniously to provide for a solid and reliable pre-workout supplementation protocol.

Full Breakdown: PreSeries Bulk Review

Where to Get It
transparent-labs-vendor-logo

2. 4 Gauge Pre-Workout

4 Gauge Pre Workout Supplement

4 Gauge is a unique formulation containing ingredients selected 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 provided by 100% natural ingredients, low caffeine, and no artificial sweeteners.

Highlights 

  • Boosts energy levels
  • No artificial flavors or sweeteners
  • Made in the USA, in cGMP and FDA approved facilities
  • Only 5 calories per serving
  • Fast worldwide shipping – From their depots in the USA and UK
  • Bundles available to help you save money

Drawbacks

  • Pricey for the number of servings ($45 for 20)
  • Only one flavor available

What’s in It

  • 6000 mg L-Citrulline DL-Malate
  • 150 mg caffeine
  • 200 mg L-Theanine
  • 100 mg Rhodiola Rosea
  • 300 mg Red Beet
  • 1000 mg Creatine Monohydrate
  • 500 mg Acetyl-L-Carnitine
  • 300 mg Coconut Water

Recommended Usage

The manufacturer recommends taking 4 Gauge either 15 minutes before your workout or 30-40 minutes after you start your workout. This is simply a matter of preference. One serving of 4 Gauge is equivalent to two scoops.

Bottom Line

4 Gauge is a powerful pre-workout supplement that’s packed with scientifically-backed ingredients to help boost your workout regimen. With ingredients like creatine, caffeine, and coconut water, it won’t leave you feeling dehydrated and weak but will instead provide the potential for greater endurance and stamina.

Full Breakdown: 4 Gauge Pre-Workout Review

Where to Get It
4-gauge-logo

3. Legion Athletics Pulse

Legion Athletics Pulse Pre Workout

If you want a pre-workout supplement with a variety of flavors and none of the filler, Legion Pulse is a great option. It was created by Mike Matthews, the international best-selling fitness author and co-founder of the Muscle for Life project.

Although the ingredients in Legion Pulse are not as numerous as other pre-workout supplements featured here, those that are included have been scientifically studied for their efficacy, so you can feel confident that you’re getting all of the good stuff, without the junk.

Highlights

  • A variety of flavors including Blue Raspberry, Blueberry Lemonade, Cherry Limeade, Fruit Punch, Grape, Green Apple, Pink Lemonade, Sour Candy, Strawberry Kiwi, Tropical Punch, and Watermelon
  • Caffeine-free varieties include: Blue Raspberry, Fruit Punch, Green Apple, and Tropical Punch
  • No artificial flavors or colors
  • The easy-seal lid helps keep the product fresh
  • Created by an international fitness author and co-founder of the Muscle for Life project
  • Available as part of a bundle with other Legion products

Drawbacks

  • Expensive for the number of servings that you get
  • Some users report feeling jittery from the caffeine

What’s in It

  • 148 mg of Calcium
  • 230 mg of Sodium
  • 345 mg of Potassium
  • 8 g L-Citrulline DL-Malate 2:1
  • 4.6g CarnoSyn Beta-Alanine
  • 350 mg Caffeine
  • 350 mg of L-Theanine
  • 300 mg AlphaSize(r) Alpha-Glyceryl Phosphoryl Choline (GPC) 50%
  • Natural Sweeteners (Erythritol and Oligosaccha, Stevia)
  • Sea Salt
  • Silica
  • Red Beet (for color)
  • Calcium Silicate
  • Calcium Carbonate

Recommended Usage

The manufacturer recommends taking one scoop as part of a pre-workout supplementation routine.

Bottom Line

Legion Pulse is a great pre-workout supplement for those who like a bit of flavor. With several key ingredients like Alpha-GPC, L-Theanine, and Citrulline, it’s a solid contender that’s frequently ranked among the best by serious weightlifters, trainers, and bodybuilders.

Full Breakdown: Legion Athletics Pulse Review

Where to Get It

4. MusclePharm Assault

Musclepharm Assault

One of the more affordable pre-workout supplements in our list, MusclePharm Assault is a pre-workout blend that combines several notable ingredients to help you achieve your desired goals.

From Beta-Alanine to Taurine and Creatine, all the heavy-hitters are here. Assault may be in the name, but this is a power-packed supplement that won’t crush your wallet.

Highlights

  • Affordably priced
  • Blue Raspberry and Fruit Punch flavors
  • No artificial colors
  • Additive-free
  • 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Informed Choice certified to be free of banned substances

Drawbacks

  • A recent formula change has had mixed results with some users

What’s in It:

Each serving contains (one scoop):

  • 300 mg of Vitamin C (as Ascorbic Acid)
  • 40 IU of Vitamin D (as di-Alpha Tocopheryl Acetate)
  • 20 mg of Vitamin B6 (as Pyridoxine HCI)
  • 50 mg of Vitamin B12 (as Methylcobalamin)
  • 1.6 g CarnoSyn® Beta-Alanine
  • 1.5 g Creatine Monohydrate
  • 500 mg Betaine Anhydrous
  • 500 mg Taurine
  • 500 mg L-Glycine
  • 200 mg Caffeine Anhydrous
  • 150 mg Acetyl-L Carnitine

Recommended Usage

The manufacturer recommends adding one scoop to water and drinking up to 15 minutes before your workout begins. Drink plenty of water when taking this supplement.

Bottom Line

MusclePharm Assault is a good “middle of the road” choice for anyone who’s looking to try out a reputable supplement without breaking the bank. Many users report that the flavors have improved greatly, so if you want something that’s easy to mix with water, MusclePharm Assault is a flavorful choice. It’s also one of the few supplements on our list that contains creatine to help with post-workout recovery.

Full Breakdown: MusclePharm Assault Review

Where to Get It

5. Cellucor C4 Original

Cellucor C4 Original

One of the original pre-workout supplement mixes, Cellucor C4 is more like a multivitamin mix with some pre-workout ingredients added in.

Because of its longstanding use among athletes and weightlifting enthusiasts, Cellucor is a well-known and recognized brand name with a track history for delivering quality.

Like many companies that manufacture pre-workout supplements, however, they’ve recently undergone some formula changes that have been rather hit-or-miss with users.

Highlights

  • Available in a variety of serving sizes
  • Multiple flavors available, including unique flavors like strawberry margarita and tart candy explosion
  • Contains zero sugar, zero carbs and zero calories per serving

Drawbacks

  • Contains artificial sweetener (sucralose) and acesulfame-K which may affect users sensitive to those ingredients
  • Expensive for the number of servings that you get
  • Many users complain about extreme clumping

What’s in It

Each serving size (1 scoop – 6.5 g) contains:

  • 250 mg of Vitamin C (as Ascorbic Acid)
  • 30 mg of Niacin (as Niacinamide)
  • 500 mcg of Vitamin B6 (as Pyridoxal-5 Phosphate
  • 250 mg of Folic Acid
  • 35 mg of Vitamin B 12 (as Methylcobalamin)
  • 24 mg of Calcium (Silicate)
  • 1.6 g of CarnoSyn® Beta-Alanine
  • 1 g of Creatine Nitrate (NOS-T®)
  • 425 mg of Ëxplosive Energy Blend

Recommended Usage

The manufacturer recommends taking one level scoop with 8-12 oz. of water before a workout.

Bottom Line

Although C4 has a long and illustrious history in weightlifting and athletic circles, sudden formula changes can upset even the most devoted of customers. Among pre-workout supplements, it leans more toward the “multivitamin drink” side.

Although it’s missing many of the more common ingredients found in pre-workout supplements, it is nevertheless a good choice if you want to break up the flavor monotony of other pre-workout drinks and still help nourish your body with necessary vitamins and minerals.

Where to Get It

6. Performance Lab Sport Pre-Workout

Performance Lab Sport Pre Workout

A host of unique ingredients is what sets Performance Labs’ Sport Pre-Workout from its competition. Fortified with ingredients like pre-biotics, Creapure® creatine, and cordyceps, this synergistic blend has a lot to love about it. It’s particularly well-suited to long-term training and endurance programs.

Highlights

  • Vegan-friendly
  • Caffeine-Free
  • Non-GMO
  • Gluten-free
  • Soy-free
  • Allergen-friendly
  • Made with 100% natural Plantcaps® (pullulan which is fermented tapioca)
  • Made in a facility that follows current Good Manufacturing Processes

Drawbacks

  • One container will last a little over a week if taken as directed.

What’s in It

Four Plantcaps® (one serving) contains the following ingredients:

  • 140 mg sodium (from Himalayan pink salt)
  • 1000 mg of Creapure® pH10 creatine (14)
  • 750 mg of Cordyceps Sinensis
  • 500 mg of L-citrulline
  • 250 mg of L-Glutamine (from Ajinomoto®)
  • 300 mg of L-Carnosine (N-beta-alanyl-histidine)
  • 350 mg of Himalayan pink salt
  • 100 mg of Maritime Pine Bark Extract

Recommended Usage

The manufacturer recommends taking 4 Plantcaps® per day with plenty of water before a workout.

Bottom Line

Many of the ingredients in Performance Labs’ Sport Pre-Workout are designed to work synergistically with each other, boosting the effects of the ingredients better than if they were used separately.

With additional ingredients like antioxidants that help support immunity and improved recovery, this is an all-around solid supplement that you can rely on for regular use.

Unfortunately, with a serving size of 4 caps and 30 servings per container, the price per serving is rather high. Still, if you want a well-rounded pre-workout supplement that goes beyond the workout focus, it’s hard to beat Performance Labs.

Full Breakdown: Performance Lab Sport Pre-Workout Review

Where to Get It
performance-lab-logo

7. Old School Labs VINTAGE BLAST

Old School Labs Vintage Blast Pre Workout

Do you ever feel nostalgic for the “good old days”? Old School Labs understands and brings you this true blast from the past.

Highlights

  • Non-GMO
  • Keto-friendly
  • No artificial flavors
  • No artificial colors
  • Made in a facility that follows Good Manufacturing Processes
  • 100% vegetarian
  • Sweetened with Stevia
  • Blueberry lemonade flavor
  • Money-back guarantee
  • Made in the USA

Drawbacks

  • With only 20 servings, you’ll run out fast.
  • The tart flavor may be off-putting to some users
  • Requires blending with a lot of water to fully dissolve

What’s in It

Each scoop (15.3 g) contains:

  • 250 mg of Vitamin C (as Ascorbic Acid)
  • 30 mg of Niacin (as Inositol Hexanicotinate)
  • 10 mg of Vitamin B6 (as Pyridoxine HCl)
  • 50 mcg of Vitamin B12 (as Methylcobalamin)
  • 10 mg of Pantothenic Acid (as Calcium D-Pantothenate)
  • 50 mg of Magnesium (as Magnesium Oxide)
  • 50 mg of Sodium (as Sodium Chloride)
  • 99 mg of Potassium (as Potassium Citrate)
  • 5000 mg of L-Citrulline Malate
  • 1000 mg of Beta-Alanine
  • 1000 mg of Alpha-Ketoglutarate
  • 250 mg of L-Carnitine Tartrate
  • 150 mg of Caffeine Anhydrous
  • 2000 mg of D-Aspartic Acid
  • 250 mg of N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine
  • 100 mg of Microencapsulated Caffeine
  • Stevia leaf extract
  • Pineapple fruit powder
  • Natural flavors, fruit and vegetable juice

Recommended Usage

The manufacturer recommends taking ½ to 1 scoop between 15 and 30 minutes before a workout. Mix thoroughly with 12 ounces of water.

Bottom Line

The slow, steady release of ingredients into the bloodstream by this particular brand of pre-workout supplement makes it a great option for long term use.  It’s also packed with muscle-loving vitamins and minerals too, making it a great choice for first-timers looking for a reliable pre-workout supplement, as well as veterans who want to shake up their pre-workout routines.

Where to Get It

8. JYM Pre-JYM

Jym Pre Jym

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

A popular choice among beginners and professionals alike, Pre JYM contains all the heavy-hitters like citrulline malate, betaine, and creatine.

Created by a PhD graduate from The University of Connecticut who’s also a weightlifter (Jim Stoppani), the JYM brand has won numerous awards, including best tasting protein powder, multivitamin of the year, and pre-workout of the year, from Bodybuilding.com awards.

Highlights

  • No proprietary blends – all individual ingredients and dosages are fully disclosed
  • Uses 13 powerful and effective ingredients
  • Formulated by Jim Stoppani, PhD
  • Available in 10 unique flavors
  • Award-winning pre-workout powder
  • Available in 20 and 30 serving sizes
  • Good all-around workout supplement

What’s in It

One scoop (26 g) contains:

  • 10 mg of Sodium
  • 30 mg of Calcium
  • 77 mg of Potassium
  • 2 g of Creatine HCL (as CON-CRET®)
  • 2 g of Beta-Alanine (as CarnoSyn®)
  • 1.5 g of Betaine (Trimethylglycine)
  • 1 g of Taurine
  • 600 mg of N-Acetyl L-Cysteine
  • 150 mg of Alpha-Glyceryl Phosphoryl Choline (AlphaSize®)
  • 6 g of Citrulline Malate
  • 500 mg of Beet Root Extract
  • 3 g of L-Leucine
  • 1.5 g of L-Isoleucine
  • 1.5 g of L-Valine
  • 1.5 g of L-Tyrosine
  • 300 mg of Caffeine Anhydrous
  • 50 mcg of Huperzine A
  • 5 mg of Black Pepper fruit extract (as BioPerine®)

Recommended Usage

The manufacturer recommends that you take 1 scoop of Pre JYM in 12-32 oz. of water and drink 30-45 minutes before a workout. It’s best to let the product dissolve for up to 15 minutes before drinking.

Bottom Line

As far as efficacy goes, Pre JYM has a lot of the common ingredients that you’ll find in other supplements, plus some extras that its competitors lack — notably BioPerines and AlphaSize for improved bioavailability and cognition.

With a variety of flavors to choose from, it may be worth trying if you’re looking to break the monotony of your ordinary pre-workout supplement.

Full Breakdown: Jym Pre Jym Review

Where to Get It

9. Evlution Nutrition ENGN

Engn Pre Workout By Evlution Nutrition

Evlution Nutrition’s ENGN Pre-Workout is similar to other pre-workout supplements, but what makes it stand apart from the competition is its ENGN® Mind-to-Muscle Matrix, a proprietary blend of ingredients that are designed to help improve focus and muscle recovery. If you’re looking for a supplement where “less is more, ENGN is a good place to start.

Highlights

  • Available in 7 different flavors
  • Pikatropin free (meaning it’s free of ingredients which do not follow the standard as being dietary supplements)
  • Available in 30 and 60 serving sizes
  • Ideal for beginners just starting with pre-workout supplements
  • From a reputable and trusted brand with a long history of great products

Drawbacks

  • Contains artificial sweeteners and colors
  • Some users report a gummy/clumpy consistency

What’s in It

  • 35 mg of Niacin
  • 2 mg of Vitamin B6
  • 800 mcg of Folic Acid
  • 25 mcg of Vitamin B12
  • 1,600 of Beta-Alanine (as Carnosyn®)
  • 2,000 mg of Creatine Complex (Creatine Monohydrate, Magnesium Creatine Chelate – Creatine MagnaPower®)
  • 2,213 mg of ENGN® Mind-to-Muscle Matrix Proprietary Blend – Contains Choline Bitartrate, L-Tyrosine, Agmatine Sulfate, Caffeine, Alpha Glycerylphosphorylcholine, Huperzia Serrata extract)

Recommended Usage

The manufacturer recommends mixing 1 scoop in 8-12 oz. of water and drinking 30 minutes before a workout.

Bottom Line

With a whopping 60 serving size available, ENGN is a great value for the money. It also comes in seven different flavors, so if you’re having an off day, chug some Furious Grape and power through it.

It doesn’t have the same range of ingredients as other supplements, however, so if you’re looking for something that has a good bit of everything to supplement your workout, this isn’t it.

What it does have, however, are reliable, clean ingredients. It’s worth noting that there are artificial sweeteners, colors, and flavors, which could be a drawback to an otherwise reputable product.

Full Breakdown: EVL Nutrition ENGN Review

Where to Get It

10. GAT Sport NITRAFLEX

Gat Sport Nitraflex

NITRAFLEX by GAT Sport is a high-intensity pre-workout cocktail that is designed to boost energy, strength, and alertness during workouts. NITRAFLEX contains a vasoactive complex, to induce hyperemia, increasing blood flow to your muscles.

The testosterone-boosting complex is designed to help you lift more and protect your muscles from catabolism.

With eight different flavors, GAT Sport Nitraflex is a clean, easy-to-take pre-workout supplement that combines its ingredients into a complete “Proprieceutical blend”.

Although the ingredients are not as varied in other supplements, GAT Sport Nitraflex does contain several key ingredients that work together synergistically to help add more energy to your workout routine.

Highlights

  • Vasoactive compounds to encourage hyperemia
  • Testosterone-Enhancing Complex
  • Several flavors to choose from. Overall good ratings from users.
  • A unique combination of ingredients centered around strength and focus

What’s in It

7365 mg of Nitraflex Proprieceutical Blend which includes:

  • Amino acids
  • L-Arginine Alpha-ketoglutarate
  • Micro-encapsulated Beta-Phenylethylamine
  • Rauwolscine* (another form of yohimbine)
  • Calcium fructopyranose borate

Recommended Usage

The manufacturer recommends the following:

Training days: Day 1: Assess your tolerance with half a serving mixed with 6oz of water. Day 2+: Depending on tolerance, mix 1 serving (1 scoop) with 10oz of water and consume within 30 minutes of working out. Off-days: Take 1 serving after waking up.

Bottom Line

A good “middle of the road” supplement. Not too pricey, not too outlandish in flavors and palatable as far as pre-workout supplements go. It’s worth noting that this particular blend does not contain creatine, so if you’re looking for a pre-workout supplement with creatine, it’s worth trying one of the alternatives above.

GAT Nitriflex also doesn’t have all of the heavy-hitters that competing supplements do, but if you just want something simple that does the job, it’s hard to beat this blend for the money.

Where to Get It

How to Pick a Good Pre-Workout Product

Pre-workout supplements can be different from one another. This can be a good thing since every single individual out there is unique and certain ingredients in particular dosages may work well for one person, but not for the next.

Unfortunately, this can also be a bad thing. Many people get confused with all of the products they have at their disposal.

These products (at least the best ones) can be pricey, so you’d be pretty disappointed to find out that the pre-workout supplement that you just bought is complete garbage. But no worries, we’re here to help you sift through all of the junk so that you can get to the good stuff!

When it comes to buying a pre-workout supplement, there are certain questions you should ask yourself in order to better gauge the quality and efficacy of the supplement you’re considering.

What is the Overall Quality of the Product?

Check the ingredients label. What’s in it and how does it work?

Some pre-workout supplements are made with synergistic blends of ingredients that support each other and improve each other’s function better than if they were separate.

Read the label carefully. Some lower quality pre-workout supplements contain fillers like maltodextrin which is a cheap carbohydrate filler.

In addition, artificial colors and sweeteners may be included to give a supplement more sweetness and make it look more attractive, but there are better options out there that are safer without affecting the taste.

What is the Brand’s Reputation and Quality?

There are hundreds of pre-workout supplements out there in every shape, form, and color. But it’s important to know what you’re actually putting into your body.

What about the brand behind the supplement? Is it well-known and trusted? Or did it seem to crop up overnight and gain a sudden influx of five-star reviews?

If you’re not sure, ask around. People in weight-lifting and bodybuilding circles will give you the unabashed truth.

Some people feel more comfortable with a more well-known brand like Optimum Nutrition or BSN compared to some lesser-known brands. But just because a brand is not as famous, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily bad.

What Do Users Say About Its Effectiveness?

Everyone has their preferred pre-workout supplement routine. Some like an unflavored capsule that they just take with water. Others prefer a flavored mix that they can take with water on the way to the gym.

More importantly, how do people feel after they take it? Do they feel like the supplement is helping add to their workout routine and helping them improve?

Have you heard anything personally about the product from friends or fellow gym-goers? Don’t forget to check online reviews as well, but it’s very important to remember to not only check the manufacturer’s website, but also third-party websites like Amazon, Bodybuilding.com, and TrustPilot.

These can be valuable, objective resources for you to consider when buying your pre-workout supplement

What Taste or Flavor Options are Available?

In order to stick to a routine, many people find that the best pre-workout supplement is one that’s flavored, and that tastes good. Having lots of options to choose from helps break up the monotony of choosing the same flavor each and every day.

How Dissolvable Is It?

If you choose a powdered mix, it’s important that it dissolves completely so that it’s more efficiently used by your body. No one wants to drink bitter sludge in the bottom of a glass or worse, drink clumps of powder.

If you opt for a mix, choose one that’s designed to dissolve fully and quickly so that it acts fast and doesn’t leave a weird aftertaste.

What Type of Ingredients Does it Contain?

Are the actual ingredients themselves that are included in the supplement effective? Have they been shown to work in many scientific studies and trials, such as creatine (30), caffeine (31), and citrulline malate (32)?

Sometimes, a company will place emphasis on one particular ingredient, especially if it happens to be new and trendy. This may be because it has shown particular promise in one or two small studies (such as having 10 subjects or less) taking place over a very short period of time, say 4 weeks or less.

While evidence like this can be exciting and promising, it’s not really considered “proven”.

How is the dosage of each ingredient?

The dosage of ingredients in pre-workouts has always been one of the largest concerns regarding this specific class of sports supplements.

Although much less prevalent over the past few years, some supplement companies choose to use what are called proprietary blends, which allows the company to list ingredients out into particular subcategories of their choosing, such as “anabolic matrix”, which may be a blend of testosterone-boosting ingredients such as Vitamin D (33) and Zinc (34).

However, the manufacturer only has to disclose the total weight of the sum of all ingredients in the subcategory, not each ingredient individually.

Because of this, companies can mask how much of an individual ingredient is actually in the product. This was originally used as a method to deter other companies from stealing their “recipe”, but after a while, it became a method for some manufacturers to hide the fact that sometimes, they were skimping out on expensive ingredients in order to save themselves money, yet charge people an exorbitantly high price tag.

Unless you’re absolutely sure of the quality of the companies brand reputation and user feedback, try to avoid products with these proprietary blends as best you can. In this way, you’ll be able to have confidence that the dosages that they’re giving you are top-notch and high quality.

Does it Include Stimulants?

Some pre-workout supplements include caffeine to help promote alertness and focus. But caffeine is by no means the only stimulant in pre-workout formulas.

How Much Value Do You Get From It? What is the Price Per Serving?

Small serving sizes encourage you to buy more, especially if you use a pre-workout supplement every day.

Consider the price per serving and the results you’re getting from it. Everyone’s body reacts differently, so you’ll want to judge for yourself if the price is worth it.

How many servings does the supplement contain? Usually, pre-workout supplements are either 20 servings or 30 servings.

More often than not, the more high-quality pre-workouts are now being sold in 20-serving tubs due to the fact that they have larger dosages of the ingredients in them, so the serving size is larger.

How does the price of the product stack up against other pre-workouts on the market? If you happen to be looking at one that is considered to be pricey relative to other pre-workout supplements, does it have a large majority of proven ingredients in it? Are the dosages optimal?

Once pre-workout supplements start crossing over into the $50+ range, it’s very important that you strongly consider as to whether or not it’s really worth your money.

Has Any Trusted Third-Party Testing Been Conducted On It? Does it Adhere to FDA Standards?

You want to be confident that whatever you’re putting into your body is made up of quality ingredients.

Look for supplements that are made in facilities that adhere to cGMPs or Current Good Manufacturing Processes. This means that they’ve been certified by the FDA to follow or exceed the correct procedures to ensure safety and quality.

There are many other third-party seals and certifications to consider, including certifying that a mix is free from banned substances, that it’s gluten-free or vegan-friendly, and more.

How Easy Is It to Buy and Take?

Making a pre-workout supplement part of your routine revolves around how easy it is to buy and take.

If you dread the taste or the effects you feel when you take it, it’s a sure bet that more of it will end up in the trash than in your body.

Consider choosing a supplement that you enjoy taking, works well for you, and is affordable and gives you the results you’re looking for. It can seem like a tall order to fill, but what’s best differs for everyone.

That being said, it’s a good idea to try several top-rated brands to see which works best for your unique needs.

Pre-Workout Supplements FAQ

What are pre-workout supplements?

What are pre-workout supplements?

The purpose of a pre-workout supplement is to:

  • Boost motivation to hit the gym hard
  • Increase muscle pumps
  • Increase energy/delay the onset of fatigue

There are several other reasons why people use pre-workouts, but these are the primary reasons why somebody may choose to use them.

A pre-workout supplement uses various ingredients in its formulation in order to accomplish its desired effects. These may include things such as stimulants for energy (i.e. caffeine, yohimbine) and nitric oxide boosters (i.e. arginine, citrulline malate) for enhanced blood flow.

What types of pre-workout supplements are there?

What types of pre-workout supplements are there?

Pre-workout supplements usually come in a powdered form. More often than not, they are usually flavored with a combination of sucralose and acesulfame potassium, which are both artificial sweeteners.

This artificial sweetener blend has become very popular in the sports supplement industry as it removes the unpleasant aftertaste associated with artificial sweeteners. This gives it more of a taste that resembles sucrose (table sugar), making it more palatable.

The serving size of a pre-workout is dependent on the total amount of ingredients in it. You can tell what the serving size is by checking the back of the label, often being measured in grams.

As you start to move past 15 grams or so, that’s when it is usually considered a “higher-quality” supplement since there is more likely to be optimal dosages of effective ingredients. Of course, there are always exceptions to this rule, but this generally applies to most pre-workout supplements.

An even easier way to examine the serving size is to look at the size of the scoop that’s included inside the tub of the product. If you have ever purchased pre-workout supplements in the past, you can compare them and often times realize that the sizes of the scoops can be dramatically different from one another.

The term “pre-workout” is not a regulated term; meaning that this class of supplements does not require that they contain specific ingredients in any particular amount. This is solely up to the discretion of the manufacturer.

What are the most common pre-workout ingredients to look for?

What are the most common pre-workout ingredients to look for?

You’ll often see a bunch of ingredients included in a pre-workout supplement. But oftentimes, you don’t know which ones do what and which ones are the best.

Well, look no further, because that’s what our guide is for!

The following list that is about to be included in this guide is intended to serve as just that; a guide.

There is always new and upcoming research in the field of sports supplements. This may mean that some ingredients may be shown to be superior to others later on down the line. But for now, these are the best ingredients based on the current data that we have on sports supplementation.

Caffeine

Ahh yes: caffeine. The most commonly used psychoactive drug in the world (39). And for good reason; it works. And it works well.

This could probably be considered, not only the most common stimulant found in a pre-workout but, the most common pre-workout ingredient overall.

There’s a good reason for this, as caffeine has so many benefits when it comes to exercise. These include things such as increasing power (40), sprinting capacity (41), and the ability at which fat is oxidized (42) (meaning that fat is released in the bloodstream in order to be used as energy by the body).

However, something important to remember here is that the dosage is very important. It’s helpful to know how much caffeine you can personally tolerate before it starts to derail your performance; because more isn’t always better.

Some people have such a high tolerance to caffeine that it takes over 300mg of caffeine for them to feel any stimulatory effect from it (43).

On the other hand, those who are mild caffeine consumers may feel the common side effects of caffeine, such as anxiety and nausea, after a moderate 200mg dose. So it’s always best to assess tolerance before consuming a higher dose than you’re accustomed to.

Related: Top 10 Caffeine Supplements

L-Theanine

You’ll rarely find L-Theanine without it being paired with caffeine in a pre-workout supplement. The reason that pre-workout supplement manufacturers often do this is that L-Theanine is known to encourage relaxation without sedation.

It has the ability to take away the jittery feeling that is often associated with caffeine and helps people to focus better (44).

Because of this unique ability to work with caffeine and not just simply inhibit its effects, it is constantly being tested in pre-workouts to be used as a cognitive booster (45), oftentimes called a nootropic.

Related: Top 10 L-Theanine Supplements

Synephrine

Synephrine is a stimulant that is often known as ephedrine’s “little brother”, which was banned for use in dietary supplements in 2004 due to its very potent stimulant properties along with unpleasant gastrointestinal and psychiatric side effects (46)

Synephrine, fortunately, is safer than ephedrine, but still quite effective. In fact, it has been shown to increase metabolic rate by approximately 65 calories per day (47).

That may not sound like much, but over time, that adds up to some pretty significant calorie burn as a result of the simple addition of a supplement.

Yohimbine

This is quite a potent stimulant, as it has been shown to cause anxiety (48) in a significant portion of the population when taking it, more so than caffeine does. This is usually seen in those who aren’t habitual consumers of stimulants.

However, for those who can tolerate this stimulant, yohimbine has illustrated some impressive fat-loss figures; helping elite male soccer players drop an average of 2.2% body fat in only three weeks (49).

On an unrelated note, it has also been known to help those with erectile dysfunction and aid in libido (50). Take that with it what you will.

Related: Top 10 Yohimbe Supplements

Citrulline Malate

It used to be considered fact that L-Arginine, not L-Citrulline, was the most potent nitric oxide booster (meaning that it increases blood flow to the muscles). But now, research suggests that L-Citrulline is more effective at raising blood levels of L-Arginine than ingesting L-Arginine is (51)! Quite strange, don’t you think?

This increase in nitric oxide has some great effects on your training, such as allowing you to do more work overall (52). This means that you can potentially complete more reps, sets, and maybe even add another exercise into your routine without feeling as fatigued!

Along with this, citrulline malate often makes it less likely that you’ll feel as sore as you normally would the following days after your workout (53). Therefore, you’ll be able to recover faster and possibly even train more frequently.

Now that’s what we like to call progression!

Related: Top 10 L-Citrulline Supplements

Beta-Alanine

Beta-alanine is one of the two amino acids that make up a protein called carnosine, which has a high concentration in our muscles. It is needed to make the muscles contract forcefully.

Beta-alanine itself, despite what many believe, is primarily effective for the activity that exceeds one minute in duration. These include things such as low or moderate-intensity cardio and very high repetition sets of a particular exercise. When activity dips below 60 seconds, the results seen are very insignificant (54).

The primary highlight of beta-alanine is its ability to increase a variable called “time to exhaustion” (55). This variable is key in endurance activities such as cycling and long-distance running.

This translates to a very important training parameter for endurance athletes called VO2 Max, which is a measure of how efficiently the athlete uses oxygen while exercising at their maximal aerobic capacity, This often involves them performing their activity at the highest possible sustainable speed that they physically can.

Interestingly enough, it also has the ability to reduce feelings of fatigue subjectively (56), meaning that the person simply has the conscious thought of being less tired. This is key to when you’re losing motivation towards the tail-end of an exhausting workout.

Related: Top 10 Beta-Alanine Supplements

L-Carnitine

This ingredient is often marketed as a fat burner. However, this purpose has not been well-supported (57).

However, a place where L-carnitine does show notable effects is in its ability to reduce muscle damage. This reduction in muscle damage would have a similar effect to Citrulline Malate; helping you to recover faster!

Recovery is a key component to any training plan and L-Carnitine can help you do just that.

It also has the potential to help those who have just entered into a caloric deficit from a bulking/mass-gain phase. No, not for its ability to burn fat, but for its ability to increase insulin sensitivity (58).

During a typical mass-gain phase, a persons’ insulin sensitivity will tend to drop, making them more insulin resistant (59). This causes a person to lose the efficiency at which they can absorb nutrients from food. When this occurs, then you don’t recover as well due to the limited amount of calories (most importantly protein) they’re absorbing. If you can’t recover, you can’t train well.

Related: Top 10 L-Carnitine Supplements

Creatine Monohydrate

Creatine is the most well-studied sports supplement to date. It has thousands of studies backing up its effectiveness (60). But what’s its purpose in a pre-workout supplement?

Creatine is most famous for its effects on strength (61) and power (62). You’ll find that most athletes who use it are powerlifters, strongmen, and bodybuilders, among other activities where strength and power are a necessity.

However, creatine has been taken out of pre-workout supplements in recent years due to its notorious water weight gain side effect (63).

Some pre-workouts on the market nowadays even offer two of the same versions of pre-workouts, one with creatine and one without.

Related: Top 10 Creatine Supplements

Betaine

Also known as trimethylglycine, betaine really shines when you’re in a fasted state.

When you’re in a fasted state, most often during morning waking hours, cortisol is at its highest (64). Cortisol is more infamously known as the “stress hormone”.

This hormone is catabolic, meaning that it breaks down tissue for energy. This isn’t a selective process though, so that means it could break down that hard-earned muscle during a fasted state, more so especially if you’re currently in a caloric deficit.

Fortunately, taking betaine has been shown to reduce cortisol by a modest 6% (65). This may not sound like much, but over time, the cumulative drops in cortisol can add up and really save you big time from cortisol trying to sabotage those gains!

Related: Top 10 Betaine Supplements

BCAAs

The problem with BCAA’s is that they’re often more hyped than what they’re actually worth. But hold on, this doesn’t mean that they’re completely worthless!

What BCAA’s can do for you is to help you to reduce fatigue during your workouts; mental fatigue that is!

Do you ever feel that sort of “brain fog” that encompasses your brain after several hard sets of a bunch of different exercises and now all you want to do is curl up in your bed and sleep? Well BCAA’s can help you combat that a bit.

Although it can’t necessarily provide a significant improvement to your performance physically, it has often been shown to reduce mental perceptions of fatigue and preserve a person’s cognition (66), or mental thinking abilities.

Related: Top 10 BCAA Supplements

Recommended Dosages of these pre-workout ingredients

  • Caffeine: Most commonly, you’ll see researchers use anywhere from 4-6mg of caffeine for every kg of body weight (67), or approximately 9-13mg of caffeine for every lb of bodyweight.
  • L-Theanine: Somewhere between 100-200mg alongside 200mg caffeine (68) appears to be the most common.
  • Synephrine: Either 10-20mg three times per day or 50mg taken at once (69).
  • Yohimbine: 2mg/kg of bodyweight (70), which is equivalent to 0.4mg/lb of bodyweight.
  • Citrulline Malate: 6,000-8,000mg daily (71), or 6-8 grams daily.
  • Beta-Alanine: Anywhere between 2-5 grams (72) per day. Although it is included in many pre-workout supplements, the effects that help to enhance sports performance are not timing-dependent. This means that it doesn’t have to be taken right before a workout in order to benefit from its fatigue-fighting effects.
  • L-Carnitine: Anywhere between 500-2,000mg (73) should suffice.
  • Creatine Monohydrate: 5 grams (74) either pre-workout or post-workout.
  • Betaine: Anywhere between 2,500mg-6,000mg (75), preferable split into two separate doses if at all possible.
  • BCAA: 48-72mg/kg of bodyweight (76), which is approximately 106-158mg/lb of bodyweight.
Stim vs. Stim-Free Pre-Workouts?

Stim vs. Stim-Free Pre-Workouts?

It’s becoming more and more popular nowadays to see the phrase “Stim-Free” written on the canister of a pre-workout supplement. What does that mean exactly?

The word “Stim” is simply short for “Stimulant”. A “stimulant” refers specifically to Central Nervous System Stimulants, or CNS Stimulants. This means that they increase your body’s production of “fight-or-flight” hormones such as epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (noradrenaline).

Most forms of stimulants found in pre-workout supplements work on what’s called the body’s monoamine system. Simply put, this system involves hormones that increase motivation and reward-seeking behavior such as dopamine and serotonin.

Some of the most common stimulants you’ll find in pre-workouts include caffeine (which is by far the most popular stimulant in the world (77)), synephrine, yohimbine, and theacrine. Sometimes, these stimulants are combined together in order to create a synergy between the ingredients that offsets the side effects of the other.

For example, caffeine and theacrine can often be found together in pre-workout supplements, as theacrine has the ability to offset the side effects of caffeine like jitteriness and anxiety (78).

Now back to “Stim-Free”.

Supplement companies have realized that there are various reasons as to why people want all the benefits of a pre-workout, such as boosting nitric oxide but without the intense stimulation.

This may be due to the fact that the person works until later in the evening and they can’t get their workout in until it’s almost time for the gym to close. It also may be due to the fact that they simply can’t tolerate stimulants as well as other people.

Whatever the reason, a stim-free version of a pre-workout is a viable option for people who may be sensitive to stimulants, while also receiving all the other benefits of taking a pre-workout supplement.

What are the benefits of pre-workout supplements?

What are the benefits of pre-workout supplements?

Pre-workout supplements are often thought of like some magic potion that gets you all super hyped up and makes you foam at the mouth once you touch the weights.

While some can be like that (with an insane amount of stimulants that can be quite dangerous), the true purpose of a pre-workout supplement should be the following (but of course, this list is not exhaustive):

  • Increased blood flow to the working muscles (therefore you get better pumps)
  • More energy (usually via stimulant ingredients such as caffeine)
  • Increase motivation (usually indirectly as a byproduct of having more energy and containing certain ingredients such as caffeine which increase “feel-good” hormones such as dopamine and serotonin (79)
  • Increase focus such as through the use of L-Theanine (80)
Do pre-workout supplements work?

Do pre-workout supplements work?

The reason why many people have difficulty choosing a pre-workout supplement is because of the incredible amount of options that are on the market today. So if your pre-workout includes the effective ingredients in the effective dosages as described earlier in this guide, then you’re solid.

Also, whether or not pre-workouts will actually work for you personally depends on your life circumstances, among other variables.

These include things such as your sensitivity/tolerance to stimulants, the energy demands of your job, the time of day that you workout, and the list goes on and on.

Just make sure, with the help of this guide, that you fit in your newfound knowledge and your personal circumstances in order to find the best fit for you.

Are pre-workout supplements legal?

Are pre-workout supplements legal?

As long as they don’t contain any sort of prohibited substances as declared by the FDA (Food & Drug Administration) (81), they are perfectly legal.

If they weren’t, they wouldn’t be allowed to be sold either in stores or online.

Are pre-workout supplements a steroid?

Are pre-workout supplements a steroid?

No, that would make them illegal. If they were to contain any sort of steroids, they would immediately be taken off of the market by the FDA (Food & Drug Administration).

Although pre-workout supplements are regarded as generally safe to take, there are some bad ones that slip through the cracks and cause issues, giving sports supplements a bad name.

One such example was found in 2018 during an FDA investigation (82), where illicit substances were found in pre-workout supplements; including unlabeled anabolic steroids and sildenafil (known as the trade name Viagra™).

Fortunately, this is very rare. As these supplements have raised in popularity, this sort of issue has gone way down, making it even rarer.

Are pre-workout supplements banned in sports?

Are pre-workout supplements banned in sports?

There are cases every once in a great while about pre-workout ingredients that raise some concerns; usually regarding the ingredients that are classified as stimulants.

For example, the World Anti-Doping Agency regards Higenamine (a stimulant that is occasionally used in pre-workout supplements) as a banned substance in their list of Prohibited Substances (83).

Most other types of ingredients that are included in pre-workout supplements are considered to be safe and acceptable for use as determined by WADA, such as nitric oxide boosters like arginine and beetroot, as well as common stimulants like caffeine.

Should I take a pre-workout supplement?

Should I take a pre-workout supplement?

This is solely dependent on the type of person that you are. If you’re asking if pre-workout supplements are necessary in order to perform well, then the answer would be no.

However, some people find it to be extremely helpful, especially when it pertains to increasing their energy.

For example, the combination of caffeine and theanine (84)  can be very helpful for those who need energy after their workday but don’t want to have trouble going to sleep. This is because theanine counteracts some of the negative side effects of caffeine, such as restlessness and anxiety.

This is just one example, but there’s a lot to get out of a pre-workout, such as:

  • More energy
  • Better performance (more strength, power, etc.)
  • Enhanced blood flow (which means better recovery)

And more!

So if you can fit it into your budget and fell like you need a pre-workout energy boost, then give it a shot!

Who can benefit from taking a pre-workout supplement?

Who can benefit from taking a pre-workout supplement?

A wide variety of people can benefit from taking a pre-workout supplement. Most notably, those who need a good, strong pick-me-up to get motivated to workout are very drawn to this supplement due to its powerful abilities to give you the focus, energy, and drive that you need to give your workout the best that you’ve got.

It’s also great for those who may be considered intermediate or advanced trainees and they feel as if they’re hitting a plateau of sorts. This could potentially give them the extra push they need to make their training fun and exciting again!

The point here is that there’s no one single group of people that this supplement is good for. What matters most here is whether the specific pre-workout product from that specific manufacturer is a good fit for the person, which is what this guide is all about.

Is there a difference between men and women’s pre-workouts?

Is there a difference between men and women’s pre-workouts?

To be perfectly honest with you; not really. Sorry to disappoint you.

It’s mostly just a marketing tactic to bring more women into the pre-workout supplement market. There may be trivial differences, such as less caffeine and a pretty pink label. But other than that, stick to the science, not the marketing campaign.

Related: Top 10 Pre-Workout Supplements for Women

Should I take a pre-workout supplement if I don’t work out?

Should I take a pre-workout supplement if I don’t work out?

You can but it’s not really advised. Some people actually use it as a replacement for a morning cup of coffee. They’re also usually more effective at increasing energy compared to energy drinks due to the higher amount of stimulants contained in them.

More than likely, though, you’ll just be spending a lot of money on something that you’re not reaping the full benefits from. If you don’t work out, I wouldn’t recommend taking it.

Will a pre-workout supplement increase my libido?

Will a pre-workout supplement increase my libido?

There’s nothing really notable in a pre-workout supplement to necessitate an increase in libido, so most likely not. But there are exceptions to this, as there are some companies out there that include some sort of “anabolic matrix”, or whatever name they prefer, to name a proprietary blend of ingredients that increase testosterone to an extent, such as tribulus Terrestris (85), which has also been shown to increase libido.

However, these types of libido and/or testosterone-boosting ingredients aren’t usually included in high enough doses for a noticeable difference in your libido.

Can a pre-workout supplement make me stronger?

Can a pre-workout supplement make me stronger?

It certainly can, as long as it has ingredients in it that have been shown to help increase strength, such as caffeine (86) and creatine (87), and in the correct amounts too.

Can I just take individual pre-workout ingredients instead of a pre-workout supplement?

Can I just take individual pre-workout ingredients instead of a pre-workout supplement?

If you feel that you don’t need many of the ingredients that are often included in pre-workout formulations, then, by all means, go for it! The purpose of supplementation is to do what is best for you.

Some people are just fine using a caffeine tablet right before their workout instead of a whole pre-workout supplement.

But fortunately, as the number of high-quality pre-workouts begins to rise, you’re bound to find something that fits your needs, goals, and budget. And it’s a lot more convenient too, instead of having to individually mix every ingredient individually every time you’re about to head to the gym.

Can I make my own pre-workout supplement?

Can I make my own pre-workout supplement?

Of course! As addressed in the previous question, if you buy the individual ingredients that you feel are best for your goals, then you can simply mix them all up together before you head out to the gym.

Sometimes, it can even be more cost-effective this way.

But just remember, some things don’t mix very well together, such as raw BCAA’s and citrulline malate. Both of these ingredients (citrulline malate in particular), has a tendency to leave a pungent aftertaste, and you don’t have the technology necessary to do things such as seamless flavoring and uniformity of the mixture over all.

It’s not that it’s impossible to make your own pre-workout, it’s just that you should keep these factors in mind when considering what your best option is.

Also, be careful about the dosages you use and your sensitivity to any of the ingredients you choose. I’d highly recommend speaking to a doctor before you try to make your own pre-workout supplement.

How long before a workout should I take a pre-workout supplement?

How long before a workout should I take a pre-workout supplement?

This can be different depending on the manufacturer of the supplement, but most of them recommend somewhere between 15-45 minutes before your workout.

This is usually stated on the label of the product; most often due to the fact that this is the amount of time that caffeine and other stimulants begin to “kick in” for most people (88).

As you keep taking a pre-workout supplement, you’ll know what works best for you after some trial and error.

Should I eat food with my pre-workout supplement?

Should I eat food with my pre-workout supplement?

That all depends on your personal preference for eating before your workout. Eat at whatever time you normally do before your workout. The effect that food has on the absorption of pre-workout supplements is most likely very minimal, but we have no data to really say for sure.

The most likely scenario is that it may delay the onset of stimulants such as caffeine (89), but the caffeine (along with everything else) will get absorbed just fine.

When is the best time to take a pre-workout supplement?

When is the best time to take a pre-workout supplement?

The best time to take a pre-workout supplement is about 15-45 minutes before your workout, as this is often the recommendation of the manufacturer.

However, it’s advised that you either split your dose in half or skip it altogether if you happen to take a stimulant-based pre-workout supplement in the late afternoon to evening hours. This is because taking stimulants that late in the day may cause insomnia.

How often should I take a pre-workout supplement?

How often should I take a pre-workout supplement?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer here. Some people take it every single workout, while others only take it on their most difficult workout of the week (such as leg day). However, none of these are necessarily right or wrong. They’re just preferences.

Some people don’t like the fact that they build up a tolerance to the stimulants in the product, such as caffeine (89). But if this doesn’t bother you, or the stimulants now feel tolerable as opposed to overwhelming then take it before as many workouts as you prefer.

For how long should I take a pre-workout supplement?

For how long should I take a pre-workout supplement?

The answer to this question is dependent on what ingredients are included in the pre-workout supplement. If it contains stimulants, then it is best to cycle the pre-workout. This could be as simple as using the full canister (often 20-30 servings), so maybe a month’s worth or a little over. After that, stop taking any pre-workout supplement for 1-2 weeks, and then you can start taking them again.

Should I take a break from pre-workout supplements?

Should I take a break from pre-workout supplements?

As mentioned in the previous question, if the product contains any sort of stimulant, then it is advised to cycle off and take some sort of break from pre-workout supplements. Again, this doesn’t have to be terribly long either; 1-2 weeks off should be plenty of time.

Are pre-workout supplements safe to take?

Are pre-workout supplements safe to take?

For most of the healthy general population, they are. Barring any sort of extreme or severe physical condition such as kidney disease or liver failure, ingredients such as creatine, caffeine, citrulline malate, and the like are safe for healthy people to take.

The only thing that healthy people should really be concerned about is the stimulant content, as these ingredients have the widest array of effects on people compared to any other ingredient found in a pre-workout.

Assess your tolerance by taking a half scoop, or perhaps even ⅓ of a scoop to start, and then gradually increase as long as you still feel comfortable doing so. If you’re still concerned, you can always contact your physician, as they can factor your medical history into account and tell you whether or not you’re a good fit for pre-workout supplementation.

We recommend you speak with a doctor before taking ANY supplements.

What are the side effects of a pre-workout supplement?

What are the side effects of a pre-workout supplement?

The side effects of a pre-workout are often associated with the stimulants contained within them. These side effects include, but are not limited to:

  • Anxiety
  • Tachycardia (fast heart rate)
  • Restlessness
  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Acute High Blood Pressure
  • Gastrointestinal Issues (i.e. cramping, diarrhea)

This is why it’s very important to assess your tolerance to stimulants before taking a pre-workout supplement. Assess your tolerance by taking a half scoop or less and then gradually increase as long as you still feel comfortable doing so.

Do pre-workout supplements cause damage to the kidneys and liver or any other organ?

Do pre-workout supplements cause damage to the kidneys and liver or any other organ?

With the exception of serious, chronic conditions such as kidney failure or liver disease, pre-workout supplements do not cause damage to the kidneys, liver, or any other organ for that matter when taken responsibly and according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Taking more than recommended may cause stimulant overdose, which can cause negative effects on the heart (90).

ALWAYS follow the manufacturer’s directions on the label.

Do pre-workout supplements cause acne?

Do pre-workout supplements cause acne?

This is very unlikely, as theirs no ingredient present in any common pre-workout formulation that has been shown to cause acne.

Do pre-workout supplements cause hair loss (alopecia)?

Do pre-workout supplements cause hair loss (alopecia)?

No, there are no ingredients in pre-workouts that have been known to cause alopecia.

Will pre-workout supplements cause testicle shrinkage?

Will pre-workout supplements cause testicle shrinkage?

No, that’s complete nonsense. Remember, pre-workout supplements don’t contain anabolic steroids, which do happen to cause testicular shrinkage.

Can I take a pre-workout supplement with other supplements?

Can I take a pre-workout supplement with other supplements?

Yes, you most likely can. As there are a wide variety of ingredients used in pre-workouts along with an even more vast array of supplements that somebody could take, there is a small chance that there could be an interaction between supplements.

Unfortunately, it would be impossible to list every single one (if there even are any).

Your best bet would be to either talk to your doctor or your pharmacist, as they are well-trained regarding interactions between supplements and drugs.

What are the best supplements to take a pre-workout supplement with?

What are the best supplements to take a pre-workout supplement with?

The best supplements to take with a pre-workout supplement are the ones that best pair with your goals, along with what’s already included in the pre-workout supplement that you have.

For example, let’s say you’re looking to build muscle mass and you bought a pre-workout with the best ingredients for you; 6,000mg of citrulline malate for good blood flow and sick pumps (91), 300mg of caffeine for solid energy (92) to get you through your grueling session, and some other really effective ingredients. However, you notice that it doesn’t contain creatine, which you heard is great for packing on muscle and strength. What do you do?

You can simply buy it in isolation (it’s super easy to find as well as extremely affordable) and add it to your pre-workout. The plus side in this example is that creatine often mixes very well with liquids.

The point here is that you’ll really only want to use additional supplements alongside pre-workout supplements in order to fill in the gaps of your current pre-workout supplement. But if your current pre-workout (or the one you’re about to buy right after this guide) has everything that you need, then you simply don’t need anything else.

Should I take a pre-workout supplement when I’m trying to lose weight?

Should I take a pre-workout supplement when I’m trying to lose weight?

Yes, why wouldn’t you? It actually may even be more beneficial to use it during a fat-loss phase due to the stimulants that are often included in it.

Stimulants such as caffeine and yohimbine have been shown to increase metabolic rate. In other words, they help you burn more calories during the day. All of these extra burned calories add up after a while, which leads to faster fat loss!

Will I Lose Weight or Muscle Mass If I stop using a pre-workout supplement?

Will I Lose Weight or Muscle Mass If I stop using a pre-workout supplement?

The only reason it would do this is if you become dependent on the supplement to get motivated to workout and perform at your best. This is what can happen if you don’t cycle your pre-workout supplement properly.

But to answer the question precisely, the answer is no. A pre-workout supplement cannot directly cause you to lose weight or muscle mass.

* = Studies are still ongoing, only animal studies are available, or there is insufficient scientific evidence to support the action of this ingredient.

ⓘ Any specific supplement products & brands featured on this website are not necessarily endorsed by Zachary.

Stock Photos from I T A L O / Shutterstock

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