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The 10 Best Pre-Workout Supplements

Most of us want to workout with intensity to achieve the fit body of our dreams. But a lack of energy and stamina is often a major hindrance.

Pre-workout supplements help to improve our workout performance in the gym by boosting energy, focus, and endurance.

Here the top ten pre-workout supplements available in the market. Some of these companies use artificial substances along with naturally sourced ingredients while a few others utilize proprietary blends in their manufacturing processes. 

These dietary foods can be consumed as a meal, snack or a drink. Some brands include energy bars as well.

Top 10 Pre-Workout Supplements of 2020

Transparent Labs PreSeries Pre-Workouts

Transparent Labs PreSeries Pre-Workouts

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Transparent Labs is known for not including proprietary blends into its supplementary production. So the user is well aware of the ingredients and its quantities in each serving of this brand of supplemental diet. 

The company provides certificates of analysis and composition for its products. All are third-party tested. They have two pre-workout supplements, namely Lean and Bulk. The l ingredients are vitamin D3, zinc, and boron. 180 milligrams of caffeine are also included. 

The other ingredients that are added are citrulline, beta-alanine, betaine, taurine, tyrosine, theanine, mucuna pruriens, l-norvaline, synephrine HCl, hordenine. It also contains a black pepper extract known as Bioperine for enhancing absorption.

It also contains a small amount of stevia, anti-caking agents and natural flavors. No artificial sweeteners, colors, preservatives or flavors are included. They use some of the best and proven ingredients in their pre-workout. The products are gluten-free and do not contain GMOs. The company sells its products from its own stores and site. 

The pre-workout supplements have some natural flavors of which the strawberry lemonade flavor is appealing. One scoop can be added to two cups of water. The black-pepper addition to the dietary supplement helps in the absorption of the ingredients. The pricing of the product is reasonable. 

Pros:

  • No artificial substances are added
  • Includes black-pepper extract
  • No use of proprietary blends in the formulations
  • Two pre-workout supplements are available

Performance Lab

Performance Lab

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Performance Lab capsules are plant-based safe and well-tolerated dietary supplements. It has an infusion of prebiotics obtained from fermented tapioca (pullulan). It is free from caffeine, gluten, soy, and synthetic additives. There are no GMO substances included in its manufacture. 

The supplement is vegan-friendly. 99.5% pure creatine is obtained from Creapure pH10 that uses a creatine monohydrate which has superior standards of quality and safety. L-Citrulline is provided by a global supplier. It undergoes rigorous testing in the company’s lab to verify its potency, purity, and quality.

The amino-acids contained in the supplement are supplied by Ajinomoto. It is the world’s largest manufacturer of amino acids. It uses a patented and eco-friendly technology that converts carbohydrates derived from non-GMO and gluten-free vegetables, into bioavailable amino acids and l-glutamine.

The Himalayan pink salt added to the supplement is natural and unprocessed. It has traces of potassium, magnesium, calcium, and sodium chloride. The company claims it has the highest potency pink bark extract. 

Nutrigels and Nutricaps of Performance Lab are the first soft gels made, using caramel, tapioca, glycerine, and water only. It allows quick absorption of nutrients and protects it from oxidation and moisture. The bottles used are BPA-free and are 100% recyclable. The shipping boxes are also recyclable. The company has a 30-day refund policy if the supplement does not show results. 

Pros:

  • Contains prebiotics obtained from fermented tapioca
  • Minimum of 95.5% pure creatine added 
  • No caffeine 
  • Quick absorption technology used in the soft gels

Vintage Blast

Vintage Blast Pre workout

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Vintage Blast Pre-workout is in two stages.  The supplement provides a slow and steady delivery of ingredients, which have been third-party tested. It does not have any banned substances. No carbs or sugars are part of the list of ingredients. Stevia leaf extract makes up for the sweet taste of the product. 

The product does not use any artificial flavors or colors. The company’s team of experts is always available through social media platforms to guide users on the best ways to use the product. If the product is not delivering expected results the team will help sort out the problem or will offer a full refund.

 No proprietary blends are used in the manufacturing process. All ingredients are clearly listed on the label. The formulations are made in California and the product is manufactured in the USA. Only non-GMO ingredients are used in the making of this supplement. It is free from gluten. It is a 100% vegetarian and keto-friendly product. 

The supplement contains caffeine, D-aspartic acid, N-acetyl tyrosine, L-citrulline malate, and arginine. It also includes vitamins, magnesium, sodium, and potassium. The best time for consuming this supplement is 15 to 30 minutes before the workout session.  

The two-stage approach of this product helps in the elimination of jitters and crashes found in most pre-workout supplements. Half a scoop or 15.3 grams can be added to 14 to 16 oz of water. It then can be gradually increased to one scoop which is the recommended dose. Each container has 20 servings. 

Pros:

  • Non-GMO ingredients used
  • Gluten-free
  • Contains no carbs or sugars
  • No banned substances added

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout

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Optimum Nutrition has been in the supplemental industry for more than 3 decades and is present in over 90 countries across the world. Careful attention is given to the selection of suppliers. The ingredients of the supplemental diet are meticulously tested for purity, potency, and composition. 

The company has acquired ‘The Informed-Choice’ certification. The recommended dosage is 10 grams or one scoop per day. It contains 175 mg of caffeine, 3 grams of creatine, 1.5 grams of citrulline malate, 375 mg of acetyl-l-carnitine HCl and 250 mg of N-acetyl-l-tyrosine.

The supplementary diet is available in 6 flavors which are, fruit punch, green apple, pineapple, strawberry, lime, watermelon, lemonade, and blueberry. 

The container has 30 servings in total. Each dose should be taken with at least 6 to 8 oz of cold water. It should be mixed well for a minimum of 30 seconds so that the powder gets dissolved completely.  It should be taken 15 to 30 minutes before a workout session. The product is keto-friendly. 

The other ingredients present are citric acid, calcium silicate, silicon dioxide, caffeine (obtained from tea and/or coffee bean), acesulfame potassium, gum blend (made up of cellulose gum, xanthan gum, and carrageenan) sucralose, tartaric acid, malic acid, and Red 40 (a certified color derived from petroleum distillates or coal tars) It does not contain soy. 

Pros:

  • Has ‘The Informed-Choice’ certification
  • No banned substances added
  • Meticulous testing for purity and potency 
  • Company is well-known in over 90 countries

Cellucor C4 Original

Cellucor C4 Original

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Cellucor C4 Original is free from sugar and is available in many flavors. It contains many vital ingredients such as beta-alanine, creatine nitrate, arginine AKG, l-tyrosine, and caffeine. Beta-alanine gives a tingling sensation when it becomes active in the body. 

The recommended serving size is 6.5 grams each day. Each serving contains 1 gram of arginine AKG, 1.6 grams of carnoSyn beta-alanine and also 1 gram of creatine nitrate. The container has 60 servings in total. 150 milligrams of caffeine is available in each serving. The product can be consumed with ice. It does not interfere with the potency and integrity of the supplement.

This brand of supplements is not for vegans. It is intended for healthy adults who do not have a pre-existing health condition. The supplementary diet has no calories added. It has less than 1 gram of carbs in each serving. The other ingredients are citric acid, silicon dioxide, natural and artificial flavors, polydextrose, calcium silicate, sucralose, acesulfame potassium and FD&C Red 40.

One scoop of the product should be mixed with 4 to 6 fl.oz of water and consumed 20 to 30 minutes before a workout. If you have reached a tolerance level and you need some more energy you can take an additional serving. Do not exceed more than 2 servings in one day or 24 hours. You should drink a lot of water while using the pre-workout supplement. 

Pros: 

  • Does not contain sugar or calories
  • Less than one gram of carbs
  • Product available in many flavors
  • Non-gender specific

Genius Pre

Genius Pre

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Genius Pre has claimed to be the first pre-workout supplement that is clinically dosed and nootropic based. The formulation is based on a mind-to-muscle connect to produce a holistic pre-workout dietary supplement. The product can be used by both sexes. It does not add caffeine as an ingredient.  

Natural ingredients like huperzine, a-taurine, l-tyrosine are included. This brand of the pre-workout supplement has 100% natural flavors and organic sweeteners like the vegan-friendly stevia. 

The supplement has been third-party tested for purity and potency. The serving size is 15.7 grams and the container has 20 servings. Each serving contains 6 grams of l-citrulline malate, 2 grams of beta-alanine, 2 grams of betaine anhydrous, one gram of l-arginine, one gram of l-tyrosine, one gram taurine. 

It also has 600 mg of Alpha GPC, HICA 500 mg, 150 grams of ancient peat and apple fruit extract, 100 grams of Rhodiola Rosea root, 30 mg of theobromine, 25 grams of Panax ginseng root extract, and 1% Huperzine-A derived from the whole plant of Huperzia Serrata. 

The supplement has been tested and verified for 100 WADA banned substances and has obtained the Sport certification. The company offers a money-back guarantee if the product is found unsatisfactory. 

 The product does not use proprietary blends and artificial sweeteners. No animal product is used in its making. The ingredients are procured from branded trademarked suppliers. 

Pros:

  • Product has the Labdoor sport certification
  • Ingredients from trademarked suppliers
  • No proprietary blends or artificial sweeteners used
  • Third-party tested for quality and potency

N.O. Xplode Legendary Pre-Workout

N.O. Xplode Legendary Pre-Workout

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N.O. Xplode Legendary Pre-Workout supplement comes in two packages. One with 30 servings and the other with 60 servings. Five flavors are available for this supplement. They are fruit punch, blue rax, grape, watermelon, green apple. It includes natural and artificial flavors. One scoop holds 18.5 grams. Each serving has 275mg of caffeine and 1.8 grams of beta-alanine. 

One scoop should be mixed with 4 to 6 oz of water and taken 20 to 30 minutes prior to a training session. Not more than two scoops should be taken in one day. 

Each serving of this supplement also contains vitamins B6, B12, and vitamin D along with sodium, magnesium, calcium, and potassium. It also contains pantothenic acid, folate, thiamin, and niacin. The manufacturing facility follows cGMP procedures. The product has obtained the NSF certification for sports.

You should restrict caffeine from other diets while using this product as too much caffeine can cause sleeplessness, nervousness and may also cause rapid heartbeats. A tingling sensation is due to the presence of beta-alanine and niacin and is no cause of concern. 

Bio-Engineered Supplements and Nutrition (BSN) that manufactures this supplement provides the most unique products that involve scientific engineering. The company was founded in 2001. The products are distributed to over 100 countries across the world and have more than 40 consumer awards to its credit.

Pros:

  • Contains minerals and vitamins
  • Acquired NSF sports certification
  • The facility follows cGMP procedures
  • More than 40 consumer awards

Six Star Explosion

Six Star Pre-Workout Explosion

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Six Star Pre-Workout Explosion contains 3 grams beta-alanine, 3 grams creatine and 2.2 grams arginine AKG. It also contains choline bitartrate l-tyrosine. The recommended dose is 7 grams taken twice in a day depending on the level of tolerance. Each container has 30 servings. It also contains l citrulline malate, l arginine.

 The formulation of this product has been scientifically engineered. Powerful ingredients like ultra-premium carnosyn beta-alanine and ultra-clean caffeine anhydrous are important components of this dietary supplement. 

The supplement can be stacked with other products of the company. The dietary supplement has no sugar, carbs or aspartame added. Women too can consume this product. The container includes a scoop. The three flavors available are fruit punch, ice rocket freeze and pink lemonade. 

There are some natural and artificial flavors, colors and sweeteners added to the supplement. It also contains anti-caking agents. The product has sucralose and acesulfame potassium. The product is for adults only.

Assess your tolerance level with one scoop of the product added to 6 oz of cold water to be consumed 30 minutes before the training session. You can increase the dosage to 2 servings/scoops mixed well with 12 oz of cold water. Not more than 2 servings should be taken in a 24-hour period. At least 8 to 10 glasses of water should be taken each day while using the product. 

Pros:

  • Scientifically studied ingredients
  • No sugar or carbs contained in the product
  • Ultra-clean caffeine anhydrous used
  • Anti-caking agents added 

Rari Nutrition Infinity

Rari Nutrition Infinity

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Rari Nutrition Infinity has been formulated with 100% natural ingredients. The products are vegan-friendly. The clinically dosed ingredients are made in labs that have the GMP certifications. All components of the supplement are tested for purity. 

The diet food contains folic acid, caffeine anhydrous, l-tyrosine, agmatine sulfate, l-citrulline malate, beta-alanine, black pepper, citric acid, silicon dioxide, calcium silicate, stevia extract, and beet powder. It has B vitamins such as B12, B6, B1, B2, and B5. 

The company does not include any artificial substances to the supplement. The colors and sweeteners are naturally sourced. Instead of sucralose, stevia is used. For coloring beet powder or spirulina extract is added. While it can be taken with food, the best result as a pre-workout supplement is to have it as a drink 30 minutes after a meal. There are no carbs in the product

The company offers a 100% money-back guarantee if the user finds the product unsatisfactory. The supplementary diet can be used by both men and women. The product is keto-friendly and is free from gluten. The container has 30 servings in total. Each scoop serves 7.8 grams. 

A scoop is included in the package. According to your tolerance level, you can begin with one scoop and then move to take 2 scoops per day. Abstain from increasing the dosage beyond 2 scoops in a 24-hour period. You should consult a doctor prior to the use of this supplement. This diet is intended only for adults.

Pros:

  • Vegan-friendly
  • No artificial sweeteners or colors
  • 100% money-back guarantee
  • Keto-friendly supplement

Legion Pulse Pre-Workout Supplement

Legion Pulse Pre-workout

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Legion Pulse Pre-workout supplement gives no jitters. It contains ingredients that are scientifically proven to be beneficial. They are of the finest variety and 100% pure. It includes l-citrulline, anhydrous caffeine, ornithine, and beta-alanine. The company was founded by Mike Mathews who is an international best selling fitness author. 

There are no harsh stimulants in the supplement. No fillers are added and the product is naturally sweetened and flavored. A minimal amount of maltodextrin is added to balance the bitter taste of amino acids in the product. All ingredients are listed on the label as the company does not use any proprietary blends.

Each bottle delivers 21 servings. 20 grams of active ingredients are available in each serving. The recommended dosage is 2 scoops (23.76 grams). The product is free from gluten. It has been inspected by the FDA. 

Made in the USA the manufacturing facility follows the norms of cGMP and is NSF certified. The brand provides a 90-day money-back guarantee if the product is found unsatisfactory. No sugar is included in the product. 

Pros:

  • No sugar added
  • 90-day money-back offer
  • Gluten-free product
  • No proprietary blends used

The Dosage of Pre-Workout Supplements

Manufacturers use different formulations and doses of ingredients for pre-workout supplements, so it’s best to follow the dosage recommendations on the product label.

A study was conducted in 2019 to look for a common ingredient profile among pre-workout supplements to compare their dosages and establish its effectiveness.(1) It was found that beta-alanine and citrulline were the most common compounds found in multi-ingredients pre-workout supplements. 

Since some companies use proprietary blends, the researchers recommended that consumers choose products where all the ingredients are listed. You should make sure to check if certain ingredients are under-dosed, such as beta-alanine (2) and creatine (3). 

They further advised lowering the consumption of ingredients like caffeine or niacin to prevent any adverse effects of excess ingestion of these compounds. So cut down your coffee intake and other multivitamins or B-complex capsules, if any. The guidance of a health professional will be helpful in determining the right dosage in conjunction with the product label that gives clear instructions for use.

As nutrient requirements vary between individuals, the dosage of a pre-workout supplement depends upon the body type, its nutrient requirement and the health goal of the person. 

Possible Side Effects of PreWorkout Supplements

Pre-workout supplements contain multiple ingredients. Their manufacturing processes usually ensure only the best and pure ingredients are used in the formulations of these products. Yet, an ingredient or it’s quantity present in these dietary foods can trigger undesirable effects. Here are some of the common side-effects and ways to avoid them. 

Caffeine: Caffeine is one of the chief components in pre-workout supplements. (4) While it enhances strength and performance there is a downside to its high consumption. Too much caffeine can lead to headaches, jitteriness, drowsiness, and anxiety. One cup of coffee delivers only 95 mg of caffeine. Some supplements deliver more than 450mg of caffeine in every serving. 

Studies suggest that 400mg of caffeine per day (6) which is equivalent to 6mg per kg (for a 65 kg person) of body weight for an adult will not result in serious side effects of toxicity, changes in behavior, cardiovascular effects, and male fertility effects. 

Women at their reproductive age should moderate their caffeine intake to less than or equal to 300mg per day and children should consume less than or equal to 2.5 mg per kg body weight.

Creatine: Creatine is a well-known ingredient in supplements that decreases acidity in muscles while exercising. (7). 

It has a loading phase of 20 grams a day for 3 days and then 3 to 5 grams per day. This method can cause digestive problems like bloating. If you can wait up to 3 to 4 weeks to notice results then a single daily dose of 3 to 6 grams will be without side effects. 

Beta-alanine: Beta-alanine in doses of 4 to 6 grams increases performance in high-intensity exercises that lasts between 1 to 4 minutes. (8

It reduces fatigue. However, there is a mild side effect of a tingling sensation to the hands and feet. The best way to avoid this sensation is to further divide the 4 to 6 grams dose to separate two doses of 2-3 grams each. 

Niacin: Niacin in pre-workout supplements can cause skin-flushing that results in red patches, especially when doses of this ingredient are 500mg or more. 

A review published in 2010 advises a slow increase of niacin dosage from 0.5 to 1.0 grams a day during the first 8 weeks and then from 1.0 to 2.0 through a single titration method (9). 

The Final Note

Pre-workout supplements may support you in achieving your health goals. Checking the list of ingredients and assessing your tolerance level to the dosage will help in gaining the health benefits of these dietary foods. 

Ensure you are free from any underlying medical condition and you are not pregnant or nursing if you plan to use these supplements. They are meant as an addition to a healthy diet with natural sources of food and not as a substitute. 

It’s best to take pre-workout supplements about half an hour before your workout rather than right before you start exercising or during your workout. Most of these supplements come in the form of a powder that can be mixed into shakes, making it easy to transport and use when needed. 

Depending on our fitness goals, choose a suitable pre-workout supplement from our top 10 and get to the next level of your fitness journey.