Let’s face it, not everyone arrives at the gym, ready to push themselves to the max.
Maybe that’s just me. Either way, a workout is made so much better when I have all the right fuel in my body from the start. Pre workouts have come a long way, and now it is easy to pick the right formula to suit your needs.
Having tried a lot of what is on the market, I have been able to create my top ten list. There are pre workouts that can be double scooped, reduce fatigue, increase endurance and even promote muscle growth.
They are so universal in what they can do but are made different. The ingredients are key, some go for a more natural approach. Brand reputation is also important.
More than just caffeine in fancy packaging, the following pre workouts really work.
My Picks for The 10 Best Pre Workout Supplements
#10 Cellucor C4 Ripped
A pre workout that actually helps to shift fat, leaving you with the body you went into the gym for.
It is their ripped blend that includes green coffee bean extract which has been proven to aid fat loss and Cayenne Pepper which warms the body on the inside, causing it to burn fat to cool itself down.
I liked the clever combination of ingredients that helps you to get two jobs done at the same time. This means you don’t need to spend money on two different supplements. In terms of pre workout, Beta-Alanine and Caffeine Anhydrous are the staple ingredients.
With no sugar and lots of great flavours to choose from, Cellucor have created a monster. It tastes great, and with a generous amount of creatine, it will really do its job.
Money back guarantee
#9 Pre Jym
Everyone wants quality ingredients and that’s what I like about Pre Jym.
One look at the labels and it is easy to see why this is a popular pre workout supplement. Citrulline Malate will really increase endurance which stops you from flagging when times get tough. They have included BCAA’s for muscle growth which is something that you don’t see enough of. It is good to see they haven’t left out Creatine as well.
There are no proprietary blends so you get to see all the dosages. I liked that it includes Huperzine A which is a natural focus enhancer. To get the most out of your time in the gym, these are the sort of ingredients you need to get into your system before a workout.
Great for men and women alike, it will complement any type of fitness program.
No proprietary blends
#8 Sheer Nitro
A caffeine-free pre workout might be a bit of a novelty to some, but I am all for it.
Sure, a hit before the gym works for me, and it does for many people, but not everyone can handle it. If this is you, then you don’t have to miss out on a quality supplement. Sheer Nitro have gone for some proven nitric oxide boosting ingredients that includes Citrulline. Betane Anhydrous, and L-Taurine.
Since nitric oxide gets that all important blood to your muscles, it is great to see a product that includes so many. There are no proprietary blends, so what you see is what you get. It’s a natural energy booster that includes black pepper extract – an ingredient that enhances the capabilities of the other nutrients.
A clever formula, and no gimmick.
Lots of nitric oxide boosters
#7 BSN N.O-XPLODE
A big brand trusted by top athletes since 2004.
The 1.8 g of Beta Alanine is a sensible dosage that will have you fighting fatigue, helping out when the workout gets tough. They say the energy you will get is explosive, and it’s hard to argue with the 275 mg of Caffeine. This sits in the middle of what a lot of pre workout supplements include which is a good sign.
With 5 delicious sounding flavours that include Cherry Limeade, Green Apple and Fruit Punch, I can vouch for the fact that they are known for being some of the better tasting products in this niche.
One of the brands that people look to in the supplement world, but not enough to get higher in my list. Still, worth taking a look at.
Lots of flavours
#6 Pro Supps Mr. Hyde NitroX
Here is another great pre workout that is also naturally sweetened.
The simple formula packs a big punch that will get your muscles pumped in the gym. It has some of the high quality ingredients most gym enthusiasts hope to see in their pre workout supplements. With the likes of Beta-Alanine there to help with endurance, and a Caffeine blend that will get you focused with a bundle of energy it has something for everyone. It has a few surprises such as Nitrosigine which helps you sustain those pumps.
Pro Supps Mr. Hyde NitroX also comes in a variety of flavours that sound so good I want to try them all.
Proudly made in the USA, it is gluten free and what stood out to me was that it contains no carbs or sugars.
Generous energy blend
Good all round formula
#5 Six Star Explosion
A top seller from the people at reputable brand MuscleTech.
They have included an array of ingredients that anyone would be grateful to see in their pre workout. the likes of Creatine Monohydrate will increase strength. Then ingredients like Taurine and L-Citrulline help with those all important muscle pumps.
They haven’t forgotten about energy either. I actually found the 135 mg of Caffeine perfect for me, although I can tolerate a bit more. It’s part of their explosion blend that helps put to fuel in the furnace.
It’s a formula made for any athlete which is evident in its well-rounded formula, but is endorsed by some top professionals in different sports.
Six Star Explosion is available in a few tempting flavours including Pink Lemonade, Fruit Punch, and Icy Rocket Freeze.
Trusted by top athletes
#4 Red Leaf Pre Workout
One of the best all round ore workouts I have seen and one I trust.
It helps to support a healthy boost of energy and includes antioxidants such as Cranberry and Green Tea. The latter helps to burn fat so it is easy to see why they have included it here.
There is the fatigue fighting Beta-Alanine which almost seems a standard ingredient in pre workouts. Then you have all the muscle support from the likes of BCAA’s and L-Glutamine. The 40 mg of Caffeine will be favourable to anyone with a low tolerance, so if you are worried about how the stimulants in a pre workout might impact your session, Red Leaf Pre Workout is worth looking into.
Proudly made in the USA, it is easy to see why this supplement has become a must have.
#3 Do Vitamins PurePump
This is a product that I really vouch for.
High on the list of things I like about Do Vitamins PurePump is the natural formula. I liked that there is no junk or filler here and they have included quality versions of every ingredient.
The dosages are good and they have included both Creatine Monohydrate and L-Citrulline which is a bonus for a serious workout.
With 200 mg of Caffeine, there is a sensible amount that will still get you ready to go as it is the fast-acting Anhydrous version.
They have managed to keep it Vegan and Paleo-friendly which is rare. For some good, clean stamina, this is a great product. It is unflavoured, with no artificial sweeteners, filler, or junk. The ingredients they have managed to keep out of this pre workout are also as impressive as the ones still included.
Good Caffeine content
#2 Legion Pulse
A big brand in the supplements world, and their pre workout does not disappoint.
Designed with the latest research to ensure there are no side effects or jitters, it boosts energy and really helps you to get through the tougher parts of your session with added strength.
A big 8 g of L-Citrulline will help with those muscle pumps, leaving a satisfying look when your body recovers. I like the fact that Legion Pulse have included no artificial flavours, and only natural ingredients.
Including Alpha GPC is a wise move as it is a powerful cognitive enhancer which will help to increase concentration. With so many distractions in the gym, it’s a clever illusion.
A big brand that offers a generous money-back guarantee so trying it is risk free.
Generous amount of L-Citrulline
Money back guarantee
#1 Vintage Blast Pre Workout
Ok, striking looks might be the name of the game, but it’s not the most important part of finding a pre workout supplement that rocks. If it was, Vintage Blast would win every time.
Under the lid, this has an impressive menu of ingredients that is non habit forming but ensures you get boost of nitric oxide, as well as a real shot of energy that lasts. It is the best all-round pre workout and works via two stage application that keeps you going.
I like that it contains a big 5,000 mg of L-Citrulline which really increases blood flow. It has an energy boosting 150 mg of Caffeine Anhydrous which is a powdered form that increases your focus. Not forgetting a great dosage of D-Aspartic Acid that willed recovery when you really need it.
In short, a brilliant pre workout.
More products also worth checking out:
Pre Workout Supplements Buyer’s Guide
One of the easiest ways to get yourself pumped before you start pumping iron in the gym is with a pre-workout. The mix of ingredients can be all you need to grip tight and push out some new personal bests, but it isn’t always easy finding a quality product. Because there are plenty of filler ingredients in sub-par products, it is important to know what to look for.
With this in mind, we have created the following buyer’s guide. By the end of it, you’ll know exactly what the better products should and should not contain.
What To Look For In A Pre Workout Supplement
Sensible Caffeine Content
Too many pre-workout supplements overload on the stimulants in place of other quality ingredients. If it was that easy to give yourself a pick me up we’d all kneck a couple of coffees in the car before hitting the gym. It is also important to note that everyone has different tolerance levels when it comes to caffeine.
The typical caffeine content in a pre-workout tends to be around 150 – 300 mg. We advise working your way up to a full dose and be mindful of your current caffeine intake.
Of course, no pre-workout supplement would be worth considering without the right ingredients. We like to see plenty of L-Citrulline which is great for those big muscle pumps and to reduce fatigue. That way, when you are halfway through a set, you have plenty more to give. Also, look for BCAA’s, and creatine among some of the important muscle-building ingredients.
Every brand can boast about their quality ingredients, but they are nothing if underdosed. Equally important, is that they have not included too much to put the user at risk of side effects. The right balance is important, and the best brands get this right.
This is important for any supplement as you never know how your body is going to react to the blend of ingredients. We’re not necessarily talking about side effects, but the formula might also be ineffective in some. When you don’t want to risk consuming too much in one go, a money-back guarantee can come in handy.
No Proprietary Blends
For us, this is a big no-no when it comes to pre-workout supplements. A proprietary blend is a way for a company to include a bunch of ingredients in a blend and only provide the combined dosage. This doesn’t tell you a lot about each one so it can be difficult to tell if each ingredient is safe or optimally dosed.
Too many sub-par supplements bulk out their products with filler ingredients. These are the sort that no one would usually knowingly consume if they looked a little closer so be sure to look for E numbers and artificial dyes and other things you just want to stay clear of.
What Are The Best Ingredients For A Pre Workout?
We’ve already touched on a few, but here are some to look out for:
Derived from watermelon, this ingredient is excellent for keeping your muscles going when they may start to feel the burn normally. They also help to get blood flow going, so those big muscle pumps can really benefit. Also,l it will help your body make the most of the BCAA’s in the formula (if it includes them).
An ingredient that benefits from regular consumption and enhances the ATP production in the muscles that keeps you going for longer. This is one of the main points of using a pre-workout supplement so it is always a good ingredient to consume. Creatine is also liked with enhanced strength, something anyone could do with when lifting bigger weights.
An ingredient derived from beets, it is an amino acid that helps to utilize oxygen better and helps with strength and energy levels. Betaine Anhydrous also promotes lean muscle mass and anything about 1.25 grams per serving is going to help.
This can come in a variety of forms but Caffeine Anhydrous is one of the most effective. Some products might include green coffee beans but just as important as the quality is the quantity. Anything over 300 mg should be treated with caution and it is always a sensible idea to build up to higher doses. Also, try not to use pre-workout supplements with caffeine later in the day or you may find it difficult to sleep.
An ingredient you will find in a variety of supplements, mainly because it enhances the capabilities of the other ingredients. Derived from black pepper, it helps the body to make the most of what it is consuming.
Are Pre Workouts Safe?
We can’t say that very pre-workout is safe because there are so many and each one uses a unique formula and doses. However, we can say that there are plenty of safe products on the market. Keep an eye on the caffeine content and if you see Beta-Alanine on the label (a common ingredient), make sure it is dosed correctly. Anything over 5 grams can result in a mild itching sensation called parathesis. This is inconvenient but it passes.
What Is The Best Pre Workout?
With so many available, we had to consider so many products, but the one that stood out the most was Vintage Blast Pre Workout. It has a classy formula that contains a big 5,000 mg of L-Citrulline, and sensible dosages of the other ingredients. This includes 150 mg of Caffeine Anhydrous. A sensible amount meaning the stimulant content should be well tolerated by most.
When Should I Take A Pre Workout?
It is important to read the instructions on the product you are considering as each formula can have slightly different requirements for it to work its magic but generally, 20 – 30 minutes before a workout. This gives the ingredients enough time to get into your system and will make sure they are still there when you might usually feel like giving up or taking it easy.
Because most products contain stimulants, it is not a good idea to consume within 6 hours of going to bed.