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15 Best Pre-Workouts in 2024 and Should You Be Using Them?

If feelings of sluggishness and fatigue haunt you during your workouts, the right pre-workout supplement can be a game-changer in maximizing your sessions. But, with a market flooded with options, it's necessary to navigate through the noise and choose wisely because the composition of these products varies greatly between formulations.

That's why we've put together a list of what we think are the 15 best pre-workouts today. Whether you seek an increase in energy, sharpened focus, or improved endurance, our guide features products that might just be what you’re looking for to fill those voids. But first, let’s explore the science behind them — their impact, effectiveness, and whether they truly deliver on their promises.

What are pre-workout supplements?

Pre-workout supplements are products intended to be taken before exercise to increase your energy levels and optimize performance during exercise. They can be categorized as either single-ingredient supplements or those known as multi-ingredient pre-workout supplements (MIPS).

  • Single-ingredient pre-workouts. These contain just one active ingredient, like caffeine or creatine. Caffeine can give you a quick burst of energy and focus, while creatine may help maintain high energy levels throughout your workout and support muscle growth.
  • MIPS. These are more complex formulations designed for broader benefits. They typically blend ingredients, such as caffeine, creatine, beta-alanine, amino acids, and nitric oxide agents, into one.

While both types aim to enhance workout performance and can be useful depending on your goals, MIPS are considered more comprehensive. The blend of these ingredients in MIPS is believed to have a synergistic effect on acute exercise performance and subsequent training adaptations compared to individual ingredients alone.

What do pre-workout supplements do?

The key purpose of pre-workout supplements is to heighten your physical and mental readiness for exercise, allowing you to perform at a higher intensity and achieve better results from your workouts. What's interesting is that these supplements, each with their distinct formulations, contribute to better workout performance by targeting different areas. Here's what they generally do:

AreaThe way it works
EnergyCaffeine is the primary ingredient of many pre-workout supplements — it’s a stimulant that can boost energy levels in an instant.
StrengthCreatine, either by itself or when included in MIPS, is shown to support strength and power output during high-intensity exercises.
FocusCaffeine isn't the sole ingredient used to sharpen your focus. Amino acids like tyrosine and taurine are also frequently included in MIPS blends. These compounds may support cognitive function and improve focus, especially under conditions of stress or fatigue — both of which are commonly experienced during physical activity.
FatigueSeveral studies have shown that pre-training supplements can potentially delay fatigue. A combination of ingredients, including citrulline malate, nitric oxide precursors, and beta-alanine, may contribute to this effect.

What ingredients to look for in pre-workout supplements

As we mentioned earlier, not all pre-workout supplements are created equal. They can vary, ranging from single-ingredient products to extensive blends designed for a possible synergistic effect. For this reason, it's of the essence to prioritize above all ingredients that are safe, scientifically supported, and aligned with your fitness objectives. Below, we highlight some prominent ingredients commonly found in pre-workouts that have demonstrated potential benefits for physical performance in scientific research.

IngredientBenefit
CaffeineCaffeine is a stimulant often included to boost energy levels, improve focus, and reduce perceived exertion during workouts. The FDA has stated that consuming up to 400 milligrams per day is considered safe.
CreatineCreatine supports energy production in muscles, especially during intense workouts. This can lead to better strength and overall performance during short, high-intensity exercises.
Beta-alanineBeta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid that aids in the production of carnosine, a compound that can potentially delay fatigue during high-intensity exercise.
CitrullineBy acting as a precursor to nitric oxide, citrulline supports increased blood flow which impacts nutrient delivery to muscles, potentially enhancing athletic performance.
TyrosineAn amino acid that is a precursor to epinephrine and dopamine — neurotransmitters that may promote alertness, increase energy, and improve mental focus.
TaurineAnother amino acid, which, with its antioxidant properties, may enhance endurance, reduce fatigue, and improve muscle contraction.

What pre-workout ingredients should you avoid

Although many of the ingredients found in pre-workout supplements can add to improving your physical performance, there are also those that should be avoided due to potential side effects or safety concerns. Here are a few ingredients often found in pre-workout supplements that you might want to steer clear of or, at the very least, use with caution:

Excessive caffeine

While caffeine can boost energy and focus, consuming excessive amounts — over 400 mg per serving — can result in jitteriness, increased heart rate, anxiety, and sleep disturbances, the latter largely due to caffeine's long half-life. Given the high doses found in pre-workouts, it’s important to keep track of the overall caffeine intake from other sources, whether it's a cup of coffee or tea or other supplements, to avoid exceeding safe limits.

Proprietary blends

Be cautious of pre-workout supplements that use proprietary blends, which lump multiple ingredients together into undisclosed formulations. The main issue with proprietary blends lies in the lack of transparency regarding ingredient dosages. Without knowing the exact amounts of each ingredient, it is impossible to assess the supplement's safety accurately. This practice also undermines trust in the brand, as it becomes difficult to rely on without reassurance.

Excessive intake of vitamins and minerals

Many pre-workout supplements contain relatively high doses of certain minerals and vitamins. While these compounds are essential for overall health and energy metabolism, consuming excessive amounts can pose health risks, especially for people who are already taking separate vitamin and mineral supplements or obtaining sufficient nutrients through their diet. Excessive overconsumption, especially in the long term, can lead to vitamin toxicity and have negative effects on human health.

Is pre-workout dangerous or safe to consume

Cutting to the chase, the straightforward answer is yes, pre-workout is safe to consume. But there's more to consider. The safety of pre-workout supplements relies on factors like the ingredients used, individual tolerance, and proper administration.

As of today, limited studies have been conducted regarding the safety of various formulations. Some, like creatine monohydrate or creatine, are considered safe. However, formulations containing multiple ingredients are often not tested, and therefore, there is insufficient information about their safety. While the majority of their ingredients have been proposed to be relatively safe in various studies, many lack safety approval from regulatory bodies.

All things considered, pre-workout supplements can be safe when used appropriately and with awareness of individual tolerance and health considerations. However, misuse or overconsumption of certain ingredients can pose health risks. We recommend always prioritizing overall health, balanced nutrition, and regular exercise as the foundation of fitness and using supplements judiciously to complement — not replace — a healthy lifestyle.

Do pre-workouts work? The scientific perspective

For some time now, people have been using nutritional supplements, including pre-workouts, to enhance performance and augment training adaptations. This trend has only intensified within today's fitness communities. However, despite the appeal and suggested benefits often promoted on social media, brand websites, or product labels, it's crucial to weigh these claims against scientific evidence to discern what actually holds true.

From a scientific perspective, whether pre-workout supplements work as advertised is not yet definitively established. This uncertainty largely stems from the fact that the formulation of pre-workouts is not universal — rather, it varies significantly depending on the brand and the specific ingredients included in each product.

However, when considering individual ingredients rather than the entire formulation — mainly because many formulations are not rigorously tested — certain ingredients commonly found in pre-workouts, like caffeine and creatine, have strong scientific evidence supporting their ability to enhance exercise performance.

Caffeine, for instance, is known to improve alertness, endurance, and strength. Creatine, on the other hand, has been consistently linked to improvements in strength, power, and lean body mass. Other ingredients like beta-alanine and citrulline may also offer benefits for delaying fatigue and improving blood flow, respectively, although individual responses can vary.

So, to put it in a few words, the majority of pre-workout supplements have the makeup to enhance physical performance, especially when they are formulated to only include ingredients that have scientific backing. But again, remember that the amounts and quality of ingredients in these supplements can vary widely between products. With this in mind, it is wise to approach these supplements mindfully and consider individual factors when including them in your routine, as responses can differ for each person.

What are the side effects of pre-workout?

Pre-workout supplements can have side effects, particularly when used in excessive amounts or by individuals who are sensitive to certain ingredients. The specific side effects can vary depending on the ingredients present in the supplement. Here are some common side effects associated with pre-workout supplements:

Side effectReason
Increased heart rate and blood pressure — especially problematic for those with pre-existing cardiovascular conditionsCaffeine and other stimulants found in pre-workout supplements work by stimulating the central nervous system, which can lead to increased heart rate. The temporary increase in heart rate can pose a risk of exacerbating cardiovascular conditions or triggering adverse reactions for those who may be prone to it.
Jitters and anxiety — particularly in individuals who are sensitive to caffeine or prone to anxiety disordersHigher caffeine or stimulant-heavy formulation can lead to stimulation of CNS, which can trigger feelings of jitteriness and heightened alertness.
Sleep disturbancesCaffeine may affect your sleeping patterns due to its long half-life and stimulant effects.
Digestive issuesSome ingredients like creatine can cause digestive discomfort, including bloating and upset stomach.
DependencyRegular use of pre-workout supplements containing stimulants can lead to tolerance, requiring higher doses to achieve the same effects, or dependency on these supplements for energy.

We want to stress it once more — it's imperative to use pre-workout supplements responsibly and be mindful of how your body reacts to specific ingredients. To assess your tolerance, particularly with highly caffeinated products, consider starting with smaller doses. Also, avoid combining pre-workout supplements with other sources of stimulants or caffeinated drinks.

How and when should you use pre-workout

When it comes to taking pre-workout supplements, the timing, dose, and the actual way you consume them are the factors to remember. Below is our guide on how and when to use them properly.

Timing

Take your pre-workout supplement about half an hour to an hour before beginning your workout so that the ingredients have ample time to absorb and take effect. The exact timing may differ depending on the supplement and how your body responds.

Dosage

Always use the recommended amount listed on the supplement label. Avoid going over the serving size to minimize the risk of any unwanted side effects. If it's a product with high caffeine content, begin with lower amounts to see how your body reacts.

Method

If you're using powdered pre-workout supplements, mix them with water or a drink of your choice, following the provided instructions. Be sure to stir or shake it well to fully dissolve the powder. Dry scooping them is not recommended.

Considerations

Given the stimulating nature of pre-workout supplements and the extended half-life of caffeine — a common ingredient in these supplements — it's best to avoid taking them late in the evening or close to bedtime to prevent disruptions to sleep.

The pros and cons of taking pre-workout

Pre-workout supplements come with both benefits and potential drawbacks, just like any other dietary supplement. Here are the pros and cons to consider before incorporating pre-workouts into your routine:

How to choose the right pre-workout for you

Selecting the first pre-workout you come across won't suffice if you want to leave happy and satisfied with your choice. What you should do instead is first consider your goals, health, and preferences — making these your priorities. We've put together a step-by-step guide to help you choose the right one.

  • Start with identifying your goals. First, determine what your goal is. Do you wish to increase your energy or sharpen your focus? Perhaps you want to improve your strength and power? Or maybe you seek combined benefits for overall performance? These are the questions you should be asking yourself.
  • Take a closer look at the formulation. Look for transparent ingredient lists that clearly disclose the types and amounts of active ingredients. Avoid proprietary blends that obscure doses. Opt instead for pre-workout supplements that contain scientifically backed ingredients like caffeine, creatine, beta-alanine, citrulline, tyrosine, and taurine.
  • Think about how well you tolerate stimulants. Consider your tolerance to stimulants like caffeine. If you're sensitive to caffeine, go for a pre-workout supplement with lower caffeine content, or choose a stimulant-free alternative.
  • Choose a reputable brand. Pre-workout supplements from reputable brands are more likely to contain scientifically supported ingredients and come in safe doses. Third-party testing, certifications for GMPs, and transparency are a few good indicators of a reputable brand.
  • Consider flavor and taste. The flavor of your pre-workout supplement matters because it can affect not only how likely you are to use it regularly but also your overall satisfaction with the product. So, find the one that you enjoy.

Best pre-workout supplements

  1. Transparent Labs — best pre-workout for gym-goers
  2. Momentous — best pre-workout for muscle-building
  3. Onnit — best pre-workout for special workouts
  4. Jacked Factory — best pre-workout for both men and women
  5. Cellucor C4 Energy Ripped Sport — best pre-workout for fat-loss efforts
  6. Naked Nutrition — cleanest pre-workout supplement
  7. Swolverine — best pre-workout supplement without caffeine
  8. Kaged — best pre-workout for beginners
  9. Cellucor C4 Energy Original — best pre-workout supplement for sustained energy
  10. BulkSupplements.com — budget-friendly pre-workout supplement
  11. Myprotein — most well-rounded pre-workout supplement
  12. Legion — strongest pre-workout supplement
  13. Optimum Nutrition — widely admired pre-workout supplement
  14. GHOST — best pre-workout supplement with authentic flavoring
  15. Nutricost — multi-serve pre-workout supplement

1. Transparent Labs — best pre-workout for gym-goers

Transparent Labs Bulk

Created for gym-goers and athletes who prioritize muscle building, Bulk Pre-Workout from Transparent Labs is intended to improve physical performance.

According to its makers, Transparent Labs differentiates itself from the competition by using evidence-based ingredients, providing fully transparent labeling, and excluding artificial colors, food dyes, sweeteners, and flavorings. Instead, their pre-workout uses natural flavors and stevia, avoiding the unnecessary additives often found in other pre-workout mixes.

The caffeine content per serving in this dietary supplement is 200 mg.

Key ingredients

  • Citrulline
  • Beta-alanine
  • Betaine anhydrous
  • Taurine
  • Tyrosine

What users liked most about the product

  • Just the right amount of caffeine
  • No stomach discomfort compared to similar products
  • The large variety of flavors
  • Only clean ingredients — nothing artificial

What users disliked about the product

  • Slow response from customer support
  • Flavors might not be for everyone
  • Relatively high price point

With every batch going through third-party testing to guarantee that you're getting exactly what's promised on the label — nothing more, nothing less, we like this product for anyone serious about muscle-building. It is available on the Transparent Labs website for $49.99.

2. Momentous — best pre-workout for muscle-building

Momentous Creatine new

Momentous Creatine powder is one of those single-ingredient products on our list. It is formulated with creatine monohydrate — the gold standard when it comes to creatine supplementation. The Momentous offering is NSF and Informed Sports-certified — meaning it has gone through tests for herbicides, pesticides, heavy metals, microbial contaminants, and even banned substances.

Key ingredients

  • Creatine Monohydrate

What users liked most about the product

  • Immediate results
  • Transparent sourcing and testing practices
  • Easily dissolving powder
  • Did not cause any bloating commonly linked with creatine

What users disliked about the product

  • The original bag had messy packaging — wouldn’t zip properly
  • Creatine particles clumped together in the packaging — didn't dissolve easily

For us, Momentous Creatine stands out as the best muscle-building product for several reasons. It's backed by a growing body of scientific research supporting the impact of creatine on physical performance, lean muscle development, strength, and even cognitive function. And it also prioritizes safety and quality through third-party testing.

Sure, the price point of $36.95 might not be the lowest out there, but when you consider the quality of the product and the assurance of third-party testing, we think it's a worthwhile investment.

3. Onnit — best pre-workout for special workouts

Onnit Alpha BRAIN® Pre-Workout

Not your typical pre-workout supplement, Alpha BRAIN is designed to charge up the mind as well as the body, according to its makers.

The ingredient profile of Alpha Brain, covered just below, has been specifically chosen to deliver a range of benefits — from promoting muscle endurance and supporting energy production to helping reduce the perception of effort.

The caffeine content per serving in this dietary supplement is 200 mg.

Key ingredients

  • Ashwagandha extract
  • Citrulline
  • Alpha-GPC
  • Beta alanine

What users liked most about the product

  • Noticeable benefits in physical performance
  • Immediate effects
  • Sweetened naturally
  • Good solubility

What users disliked about the product

  • Price tag
  • Lack of flavor options
  • Taste

The price tag of $59.99 for a single tub containing 20 servings — equating to just under $3 per serving — is a bit on the higher side compared to some other brands. However, the performance and noticeable benefits that customers experience seem to justify this cost. So, if you're serious about your workouts, Alpha BRAIN appears to be a game-changer for those intense sessions when you really need to be firing on all cylinders.

4. Jacked Factory — best pre-workout for both men and women

Jacked Factory Nitrosurge Pre-Workout Powder

Nitrosurge pre-workout powder by Jacked Factory is marketed as an energy-inducing supplement for both men and women. This formula is developed with ingredients that have research-backed benefits for strength and performance. Plus, it's free from artificial dyes and fillers, which is a big win for anyone conscious about what they're putting into their bodies.

Another feature of Nitrosurge is that it is creatine-free, which gives you the flexibility to either stack it with creatine if you prefer or skip it altogether.

The caffeine content per serving in this dietary supplement is 180 mg.

Key ingredients

  • Citrulline
  • Betaine Anhydrous
  • Beta-alanine
  • L-Theanine

What users liked most about the product

  • Sustained energy throughout workouts
  • No jitters associated with high amounts of caffeine
  • Great taste profile
  • Good value
  • Good solubility

What users disliked about the product

  • Too sweet — may depend on the flavor
  • Relatively medium caffeine content

If you're searching for a pre-workout that caters to both men and women, Nitrosurge is a great option at just $29.99 for a 30-serving tub. It is quite affordable and definitely worth considering in our opinion. You'd be receiving a formulation of quality ingredients backed by research, all at a reasonable price point.

5. Cellucor C4 Energy Ripped Sport — best pre-workout for fat-loss efforts

Cellucor C4 Ripped® Sport Pre Workout Powder

C4 Ripped Sport isn't just another pre-workout on our list that’s about just increasing energy — it may also come with benefits for fat-loss. What sets it apart is the inclusion of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a compound believed to play a role in increasing energy expenditure and preserving lean muscle mass.

As for quality, C4 Ripped Sport is NSF-certified for athletes. This certification means that the product is free from banned substances and meets strict quality standards, making it a safe and trusted choice for athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike.

The caffeine content per serving in this dietary supplement is 135 mg.

Key ingredients

  • Citrulline
  • Beta-alanine
  • L-Carnitine
  • Conjugated Linoleic Acid

What users liked most about the product

  • Acts quickly and produces results
  • Easy to take
  • Excellent flavor profile
  • Fast shipping

What users disliked about the product

  • Wouldn't mix that well
  • Not enough of caffeine content for some

At just $25.99 for a one-time purchase, we think C4 Ripped Sports offers excellent value for a pre-workout that is supposed to bring benefits beyond physical performance. If fat loss is one of your goals and you're on the lookout for a pre-workout that can help, the C4 Ripped Sport is worth considering.

6. Naked Nutrition — cleanest pre-workout supplement

Naked Nutrition Pre Workout Supplement

Naked Energy, with what the brand is all about embedded in its name, gets our nod as the cleanest pre-workout based on our research. While the product is formulated with only non-GMO ingredients, its key selling point is simplicity.

What really caught our eye is what this supplement doesn't contain — no artificial sweeteners, flavors, or colors. It's also soy-free, dairy-free, keto-friendly, and vegan-friendly, meaning it will fit right into most diets.

This pre-workout is also third-party tested for heavy metals, according to the brand. This is done to make sure what you're putting into your body is once again clean and safe.

The caffeine content per serving in this dietary supplement is 200 mg.

Key ingredients

  • Beta-alanine
  • Creatine Monohydrate
  • L-arginine

What users liked most about the product

  • Clean formula without unnecessary additives
  • That there are both flavored and unflavored options
  • Provides sustained energy
  • Causes no jitters

What users disliked about the product

  • Has trouble dissolving
  • A little bland in taste, given the absence of artificial additives

Naked Energy pre-workout is priced at $44.99. While it's not exactly the cheapest option, the price looks to be well-justified, considering its profile. The simplicity of the ingredients is refreshing and would, in our books, align perfectly with someone with the desire for a clean and artificially unaltered supplement.

7. Swolverine — best pre-workout supplement without caffeine

Swolverine Pre

Swolverine’s PRE is a non-stimulant pre-workout powder that prioritizes transparency and high-quality ingredients. With no proprietary blends, every ingredient and dose are clearly listed on the label, allowing you to know exactly what you'll be putting into your body.

The formula contains citrulline, beta-alanine, L-carnitine, and nutrient-dense foods such as pomegranate, coconut water, and Ginseng. But what really differentiates this product from the rest is that it is, again, stimulant-free, meaning it contains no caffeine.

We also noticed the potent dosing, which far surpasses most products on the market in that regard. This means that with every scoop, you’ll be getting your money's worth. The brand makes it clear on its website that its product is dosed according to science.

Key ingredients

  • Citrulline
  • Beta-alanine
  • Betaine anhydrous
  • L-Carnitine
  • Taurine

What users liked most about the product

  • Caffeine-free — and thus free from all side-effects that come with it
  • Sustained energy throughout the workout
  • The flavors are just right
  • Great customer service

What users disliked about the product

  • Price tag
  • Some lacked that boost the caffeinated option would provide

At $54.99 per tub, Swolverine's PRE is relatively on the higher end when it comes to price tag, but if you're seeking a pre-workout that delivers without the caffeine buzz, it appears a solid choice. Its transparent labeling, formula built on science, and focus on quality make it a deal worth cashing in on for anyone looking for a caffeine and stimulant-free option that doesn't compromise on performance.

8. Kaged — best pre-workout for beginners

KAGED Pre-Kaged® Sport

Pre-Kaged Sport is marketed as a moderate-intensity pre-workout designed to support strength, stamina, and overall workout performance. What makes it ideal for beginners is its balanced formula, as each scoop provides a moderate dose of organic caffeine along with electrolytes and key ingredients like beta-alanine, Betaine Anhydrous, and citrulline.

And when it comes to quality and the brand's commitment to it, Pre-Kaged Sport is banned substance-free, meaning you can use it with confidence, knowing that it meets strict standards for safety.

The caffeine content per serving in this dietary supplement is 188 mg.

Key Ingredients

  • Citrulline
  • Beta-alanine
  • Betaine anhydrous
  • Taurine
  • L-tyrosine

What users liked most about the product

  • Just the right amount of caffeine
  • Tastes great
  • No post pre-workout crash
  • Sustained energy throughout the day

What users disliked about the product

  • Not as ‘strong’ as other pre-workouts
  • Lack of customer support

As a final point, if you're new to pre-workout supplements and want to try a product that may help you boost your workout performance, we recommend Pre-Kaged Sport. At just $24.99 for a one-time purchase, it's an affordable and accessible option for anyone looking to dip their toes into the world of pre-workout supplementation.

9. Cellucor C4 Energy Original — best pre-workout supplement for sustained energy

Cellucor C4 Original Pre Workout Powder

This is the second pre-workout supplement from C4 Energy on our list, featuring their Original formula. This formula includes key active ingredients such as beta-alanine, creatine, L-arginine, citrulline, and B-group vitamins.

The makers argue that the combination of caffeine and their patented form of beta-alanine called CarnoSyn® may provide sustained energy and endurance to help you power through even the toughest workout sets.

The supplement is available in flavors of watermelon, 'Icy Blue Razz', and 'Rainbow Blast', adding a refreshing twist to what are typically more standard flavors when it comes to pre-workouts.

The caffeine content per serving in this dietary supplement is 200 mg.

Key ingredients

  • Beta-alanine
  • Citrulline
  • L-arginine
  • Creatine nitrate

What users liked most about the product

  • Consistent energy flow
  • Different yet palatable flavors
  • Good value given the price

What users disliked about the product

  • Powder clumps up
  • Tingly feeling on the skin

Priced at $34.99, C4 Energy Original seems like a good value pre-workout that promises lasting energy and endurance. Those wanting to improve their workout performance without worrying about energy slumps may want to have a look at this product right here.

10. BulkSupplements.com — budget-friendly pre-workout supplement

BulkSupplements.com Creatine Monohydrate Powder

If you're someone who's conscious of your budget and is looking for a pre-workout supplement that's affordable, here's why we think Creatine Monohydrate Powder from BulkSupplements.com deserves your attention.

This supplement is another one on our list that keeps it simple with its single-ingredient formulation — unflavored premium-grade creatine monohydrate. As we now know, creatine is well-researched for its ability to enhance muscle strength, endurance, and lean muscle mass development.

What stands out about this product in the quality assurance department is that it's produced in an NSF-certified and FDA-registered cGMP manufacturing facility. On top of that, the supplement goes through third-party laboratory testing before distribution.

What we also appreciated is the fact that this supplement is free of added sugar, soy, dairy, yeast, gluten, and unnecessary additives. It's a clean and straightforward formulation without any unnecessary fillers or allergens.

Key ingredients

  • Creatine Monohydrate

What users liked most about the product

  • Cannot be beaten on the price-to-quality ratio
  • Great for both before and after workouts
  • Fast delivery
  • No synthetic ingredients

What users disliked about the product

  • Did not dissolve that well
  • The resealable seal isn't the best

Considering the price tag of just $23, this supplement is incredibly affordable compared to many pre-workout options on the market. You're getting a high-quality product without breaking the bank, which is great news for anyone looking to optimize their workouts on a budget.

11. Myprotein — most well-rounded pre-workout supplement

Myprotein THE Pre-Workout

Myprotein's The Pre-Workout is a dietary supplement that appears to fulfill all the criteria one looks for in a pre-workout product. Now, let's explain why it earns our backing as the most well-rounded option on our list.

This pre-workout from Myprotein is formulated with a combination of research-backed ingredients to help you fire on all cylinders by increasing energy, focus, and physical performance. Within the supplement, you’ll find citrulline, creatine, beta-alanine, betaine anhydrous, and notably, Bioperine — also known as black pepper fruit extract — deliberately included to enhance the absorption of active ingredients.

It is also worth mentioning that the brand goes to great lengths to ensure that its customers always receive exactly what is stated on the ingredient list. To achieve this, they employ quality control measures, including ultra-modern filtration systems, x-ray-based analysis, and near-infrared testing.

The caffeine content per serving in this dietary supplement is 150 mg.

Key ingredients

  • Citrulline
  • Creatine
  • Beta-alanine
  • Betaine anhydrous
  • Black pepper fruit extract

What users liked most about the product

  • Noticeable physical performance benefits
  • Great mixability
  • Very fair price
  • Caused no jitters

What users disliked about the product

  • The powder may clump up
  • Taste is not for everyone

Available in six flavors — peach ring, green apple, grape, orange paradise, blueberry pomegranate, and lemonade — this pre-workout from Myprotein is a refreshing pick-me-up for a variety of taste preferences. And at $26.99, it's hard to pass up.

12. Legion — strongest pre-workout supplement

LEGION Pulse Pre Workout

The Pulse from Legion is another pre-workout that, at first glance, doesn't seem much different from the others. But it does. Let us tell you why we believe it deserves the title of the strongest pre-workout on our list.

What sets this pre from others is its high caffeine content. With a whopping 350 mg of caffeine per serving — just below the recommended daily allowance — this supplement delivers a serious kick. If you're looking to push your limits and elevate your workouts to the next level, this is the supplement for you.

We were also impressed by the quality of this supplement. It contains no artificial sweeteners, flavors, food dyes, or unnecessary chemical additives. Plus, it's manufactured in the USA using globally sourced ingredients in NSF-certified, FDA-inspected, and cGMP-compliant facilities. The additional certification from Labdoor for containing no banned substances adds another layer of assurance.

The caffeine content per serving in this dietary supplement is 350 mg.

Key ingredients

  • Citrulline
  • Beta-alanine
  • Betaine anhydrous
  • L-theanine
  • Alpha GPC

What users liked most about the product

  • Provides endurance and focus for most demanding of workouts
  • Immediate increase in energy
  • Transparent ingredient label
  • Good value considering the strength

What users disliked about the product

  • The fruit punch flavor needs work
  • Post pre-workout crash
  • Tingly sensation

Amazon has this product in stock for $39.97. Considering its strength when it comes to caffeine content, anyone looking to push their limits and achieve peak focus during their workouts may want to have a closer look at Legion and its offering.

Disclaimer
This product contains high amounts of caffeine. For generally healthy adults, the FDA recommends not exceeding the daily limit of 400 mg of caffeine. Consuming this product in conjunction with other dietary sources of caffeine or supplements containing caffeine may result in exceeding these recommended levels. Individuals should exercise caution and be mindful of their total daily caffeine intake to minimize the risk of potential adverse effects. Prior to using this product, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions or are sensitive to caffeine, we strongly recommend consulting with a healthcare professional.

13. Optimum Nutrition — widely admired pre-workout supplement

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout

Gold Standard Pre-Workout from Optimum Nutrition, or ON, is a dietary supplement designed to support physical performance, energy levels, and focus — key factors for achieving optimal results in your workouts. Trust us, it won’t be hard to see why we have this supplement tagged as the ‘widely admired’ pre.

We must say this — if you're new to the world of pre-workouts, Optimum Nutrition is a brand you can trust. Their commitment to quality and track record of delivering gold-standard products make them a standout choice among fitness lovers.

ON is a brand with a stellar reputation, having earned it over its impressive 35-year history. The name itself reflects its commitment to excellence, and its Gold Standard Pre-Workout seems to live up to that reputation by delivering on its promises.

Optimum Nutrition's dedication to quality is unlike any other. Its global production facilities hold certifications from respected organizations like LGC Informed Choice, NSF, ISO, and BRCGS.

The caffeine content per serving in this dietary supplement is 175 mg.

Key ingredients

  • Creatine Monohydrate
  • Beta-alanine
  • Citrulline
  • L-tyrosine

What users liked most about the product

  • Matches the expectations
  • No post pre-workout crash
  • Provides sustained energy
  • Excellent value

What users disliked about the product

  • Doesn’t fit every taste preference
  • Intense flavor

Available on Amazon for just $24.99, Gold Standard Pre-Workout offers excellent value for the quality you receive. It's affordable and backed by a brand that's synonymous with excellence in the fitness industry.

14. GHOST — best pre-workout supplement with authentic flavoring

GHOST Legend V3 Pre-Workout

Legend by GHOST is not your average pre-workout. It's formulated with ingredients like citrulline, beta-alanine, and patented compounds such as NeuroFactor, Nitrosigine, and VitaCholine — all included to optimize your physical performance and focus during workouts.

What really sets Legend apart is its flavor profile. Available in a WARHEADS sour watermelon candy flavor, this pre-workout delivers an authentic and even mouth-watering taste experience without any added sugars. It's a refreshing choice from the typical fruity or generic flavors found in many pre-workouts.

The caffeine content per serving in this dietary supplement is 250 mg.

Key ingredients

  • Citrulline
  • Beta-alanine
  • NeuroFactor
  • Nitrosigine
  • VitaCholine

What users liked most about the product

  • Tastes like no other supplement
  • Good powder solubility
  • No post pre-workout crash

What users disliked about the product

  • Effects wore out relatively quickly for some
  • May cause tingles

At $44.99 on Amazon, Legend is competitively priced considering its unique flavoring and formulation that includes patented ingredients. While it may be a bit higher priced compared to some, the authentic flavor makes it a well worth the investment — at least for those with a sweet tooth.

15. Nutricost — multi-serve pre-workout supplement

Nutricost Creapure® Creatine Monohydrate Powder 1KG

Lastly, we have Nutricost’s Creatine Monohydrate — a single-ingredient pre-workout supplement made solely with unflavored Creapure creatine, recognized as the purest form of creatine monohydrate on the market.

If you're someone who likes to plan ahead and avoid frequent restocking, Nutricost’s offering is for you. It towers above others when it comes to serving size — it packs a total of 200 servings in each tub. With this amount, you can rest assured that you won't run out of your pre-workout anytime soon, saving you both time and money in the long run.

Key ingredients

  • Creatine Monohydrate

What users liked most about the product

  • Works well with other supplements — can be stacked
  • Well-priced
  • High-quality of creatine

What users disliked about the product

  • Lacks solubility
  • No COA provided
  • The original packaging was better

At $57.95 on Amazon, this supplement offers exceptional value considering the number of servings you get. While the upfront cost may seem higher, the cost per serving is incredibly budget-friendly compared to smaller tubs.

Comparing the best pre-workouts

BrandPrice per containerPrice per servingServing sizeServings per containerCaffeine content per serving
Transparent Labs$49.99$1.661 scoop (21.2 g)30200 mg
Momentous$36.95$0.411 scoop (5 g)90None
Onnit$59.99$2.991 scoop (10.4 g)20200 mg
Jacked Factory$29.99$0.991 scoop (8 g)30180 mg
Cellucor C4 Energy Ripped Sport$25.99$0.861 scoop (7 g)30135 mg
Naked Nutrition$44.99$0.892 scoops (4.8 g)50200 mg
Swolverine$54.99$2.191 scoop (18.2 g)25None
Kaged$24.99$1.241 scoop (13.6 g)20188 mg
Cellucor C4 Energy Original$34.99$1.161 level scoop (8.9 g)30200 mg
BulkSupplements.com$23.00$0.232 tsp (5 g)100None
Myprotein$26.99$0.891 scoop (15.6 g)30150 mg
Legion$39.97$1.992 scoops (23.5 g)20350 mg
Optimum Nutrition$24.99$0.831 scoop (10 g)30175 mg
GHOST$44.99$1.491 scoop (13.5 g)30250 mg
Nutricost$57.95$0.281 scoop (5 g)200None

How did we pick the best pre-workout supplements

In making our list of the best pre-workout supplements, we considered several key factors to determine what qualifies for inclusion and what does not. We discuss these factors more in-depth below.

  • Research-backed formulations. Our top priority was formulations with research backing. We wanted only to include those pre-workouts that incorporate scientifically supported ingredients known for their benefits in supporting workout performance, energy levels, and focus.
  • Brand reputation. The reputation and credibility of the brand were huge for us. We looked closely at factors such as the brand's time in the industry, certifications held — such as NSF — and overall recognition within the fitness community.
  • Value for money. Our objective was to feature pre-workout supplements at various price points so that our recommendations would cater to different budgets. Whether you were willing to spend a little extra for added benefits or seeking a reliable supplement without overspending, we wanted to help you find exactly what you were looking for.
  • Special features. We also considered unique selling points, such as benefits extending beyond physical performance. For instance, we included pre-workouts containing ingredients to support fat loss and offered those with innovative customization options like multi-serving packaging and authentic flavoring.

Alternatives to pre-workout supplements

If you're uncertain about using pre-workout supplements, there are alternative methods to boost your energy levels before a workout.

  • Balanced diet. To maintain energy levels during your workout, prioritize getting sufficient nutrients from your diet. Focus on consuming complex carbohydrates such as whole grains and fruits, particularly before engaging in high-intensity workouts.
  • Sleep. We cannot stress enough how important it is to get sufficient rest through sleep. Generally, it is recommended to aim for 8 hours of sleep per night. However, if you engage in intense physical activity regularly — the more sleep you can get, the better.
  • Coffee or green tea. If a quick energy kick is what you're after, consider having a cup of coffee or green tea an hour or so before you exercise. This can give you a moderate boost in energy without the need for specialized supplements.

The bottom line about pre-workout supplements

The key point regarding pre-workout supplements is that although they may enhance physical performance by supplying energy, focus, and endurance during workouts, they are not considered essential or a ‘must-have.’

Balanced nutrition and sufficient rest through sleep are the fundamental pillars of fitness that have the greatest impact on your performance level. Of course, pre-workouts can be practical resources for maximizing your fitness sessions, but their effectiveness is ultimately limited by the strength of those two pillars. Also, to work their best, pre-workouts should be used responsibly and combined with a consistent and well-structured exercise program.

At the end of the day, you should prioritize sustainable habits and put your overall health before anything else. The foundation of fitness should be built first around lifestyle choices that support long-term health. Only then would it be a good time to consider using dietary supplements like pre-workouts.

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