Best Pre-Workout Powder Supplements to Buy for Real Results

Via Peters

Whether you’re hitting the gym to lift weights, crushing a Peloton workout in your living room, a jog around your neighborhood, or you’re doing laps in the swimming pool; no matter what your workout routine entails, there’s no doubt that you want to make sure that you want to get as much out of it as you possibly can.

There’s an easy way to maximize your workouts. How? By taking pre-workout supplements!

Pre-workout products are specially formulated to fuel your exercise routine. Fueling up with healthful, nutrient-dense food is a strategy that has been used for ages as a way to improve energy levels and boost performance, but in recent years, the use of supplements to achieve this goal has gained serious traction.

In fact, if you have a favorite fitness influencer, you thumb through exercise magazines, or you chat with buddies at the gym, you’ve probably heard about pre-workout supplements. While the specific ingredients can vary from formula to formula, the vast majority are stimulants, such as coffee or green tea, as well as ingredients that support muscle growth and repair, such as creatine and amino acids. Various vitamins and minerals can also be added to the mix.

From pro-athletes to regular Joe’s like us, countless people use and swear by pre-workout supplements. Because they have become so popular, if you’re thinking about using a pre-workout supplement yourself, you’re going to find that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of options to choose from. While choice is always a good thing, trying to weed through all the different formulas and determine which one will best suit your needs can seem almost impossible.

In order to help you on your quest to find the best pre-workout supplements, we’ve taken the liberty of doing the research for you. Our editorial staff has devoted hours of their time scouring the internet examining and comparing and contrasting tons of pre-workout supplements. We checked out the ingredients, read through customer reviews, and even contacted the manufacturers. Based on the information we compiled, we’ve narrowed down what we consider to be 22 of the very best pre-workout supplements for 2021.

The 22 Best Pre-Workout Supplements for 2021

The following is a list of our picks for the top-rated pre-workout supplements that are currently on the market.

  • Ignite by XWERKS
  • Pre Lab Pro Next-Gen Pre-Workout Formula
  • Crazy Bulk Intensive Pre-Train Ultimate Pre-Training Intensifier
  • Testo Prime Food Supplement
  • C4 Sport Pre-Workout Supplement Powder by Cellucor
  • C4 Extreme Pre-Workout Supplement Powder by Cellucor
  • Bulk Pre-Workout Supplement by Transparent Labs
  • Black Wolf Pre-Workout Supplement by ActivLab
  • Ladder Vegan Pre-Workout Supplement
  • 4 Gauge Pre-Workout Supplement
  • Onnit Total Strength + Performance
  • Pulse Pre-Workout Drink by Legion Athletics
  • Powher Pre-Workout Supplement for Women
  • NSP Nutrition’s Energize
  • Ideal Lean Pre-Workout for Women by IdealFit
  • Battle Ready Fuel Pre-Workout Energy Booster by Bauer Nutrition
  • Legion Pulse Pre-Workout Supplement
  • Best Mode Black by Beast Sports
  • Alani Nu Pre-Workout Rainbow Candy
  • Wrecked Pre-Workout by Huge Supplements
  • Wrecked Extreme by Huge Supplements
  • Wrecked Stim-Free by Huge Supplements

Now that you’ve had a quick look at our top picks for the best pre-workout supplements for 2021, let’s dive in and take a closer look at each one. Below, you’ll find a more detailed overview of each of these products.

Ignite by XWerks

First up, we have the GOAT of pre workouts, XWERKS by Ignite. It’s truly a unique formula, as it’s comprised of clinically-recognized ingredients that have been proven to increase energy levels and improve stamina, while also incorporating a smooth nootropic effect.

While some pre workouts just hop you up on tons of caffeine, Ignite actually helps you perform better.

Rather than overwhelming the body with stimulants that boost energy levels for a short period of time, Ignite by XWERKS is designed to offer a reliable, refreshing, and long-lasting energy without the crash. Examples of some of the ingredients that are used in this formula include:

  • Caffeine
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B12
  • L-tyrosine
  • Rhodiola Rosea
  • DMAE
  • CarnoSyn Beta-Alanine

It’s also available in a variety of tasty flavors, including watermelon, apple, blue raspberry, and orange. According to the manufacturer, Ignite boosts energy levels without causing jitters, increases focus, boosts motivation, and even boosts endurance levels and supports muscle growth and repair, without causing any adverse effects.

Shop Now Price: $49

Pre Lab Pro Next-Gen Pre-Workout Formula


An ergogenic formula, with Pre Lab Pro, a Next Gen Pre-Workout supplement, you’ll boost your workout in a variety of ways. According to the manufacturer, this supplement is specially formulated to increase strength, enhance stamina, increase speed, boost endurance, and even improve cardio, recovery, and anabolism. It contains some of the same ingredients that are used in other supplements; however, it also comprises ingredients that are unique to this formula, such as nootropics and ingredients that support homeostasis. Examples of some of the ingredients that are used in this formula include:

  • Beetroot powder, a source of nitric oxide
  • Setria performance blend
  • Natural caffeine to boost performance
  • L-theanine, which enhances mental clarity

Our editorial team included Pre Lab Pro on our list of the best pre-workout supplements because it’s made with ingredients that are proven to be beneficial, and because it uses effective dosages of those ingredients.

Shop Now Price: $59

CrazyBulk Intensive Pre-Train Ultimate Pre-Training Intensifier


CrazyBulk is famous in the workout world for their alternative legal steroid supplements and max-power supplements. Their Intensive Pre-Train Ultimate Pre-Training Intensifier is designed to do exactly what the name says; long-lasting energy enhancement, increased strength, and reduced fatigue.

This formula is made with a unique ingredient, known as EnXtra, which acts as a caffeine booster, which increases energy levels and boosts stamina. It also features KSM-66 ashwagandha extra, which is completely unique to this pre-workout supplement. According to the manufacturer and users, by using CrazyBulk Intensive Pre-Train, you’ll see a marked increase in your energy levels, your mental clarity and focus will improve, and you’ll minimize the onset of fatigue so you can power through and crush your workouts.

Another feature that we liked about CrazyBulk Intensive Pre-Train is the fact that the manufacturer offers three tubs of their supplement for the price of two, and they ship worldwide. If you’re looking for a premium-quality pre-workout supplement that has a proven track record of success, then this may be the right option for you.

Shop Now Price: $57.99



One of the most popular pre-workout supplements sold online, TestoPrime boosts testosterone levels naturally and increases protein synthesis. As per the manufacturer, the combination of ingredients that are used in TestoPrime effectively increases physical and mental energy levels, improves protein synthesis, boosts motivation, and even burns fat.

Unlike a lot of the other pre-workout supplements on our list, TestoPrime is unique in that it boosts testosterone levels. The formula advertises that it can put a halt to low testosterone levels in men, which will not only be beneficial in the gym, but outside of it, too.

Shop Now Price: $59.99

Cellucor C4 Sport Pre-Workout Powder


One of the most widely used pre-workout supplements ever introduced, Cellucor Pre-Workout Powder offers outstanding results. In fact, Cellucor is one of the first pre-workout supplements that athletes, fitness experts, and anyone else who enjoys working out think of. In fact, it’s so well made and offers such great results that it’s been one of the most popular pre-workout supplements for more than 10 years.

With every serving of Cellucor C4 Sport Pre-Workout Powder, you’ll get 1.6 grams of CarnoSyn beta-alanine, 1 gram of creatine, 1 gram of arginine, and 150 mg of caffeine. These ingredients and dosages have been proven to maximize workouts from a multitude of angels. Made with top-quality ingredients and proven to yield great results, yet also affordably priced, Cellucor C4 Sport Pre-Workout Supplement Power is definitely one of the best options on our list.

Shop Now Price: $30

Cellucor C4 Extreme Explosive Pre-Workout Performance


If you’re looking to maximize your endurance levels and boost your energy, Cellucor C4 Extreme might be the right choice for you. It offers all of the benefits of Cellucor’s C4 Sport formula, but the intensity level is even higher. It’s also completely free of sugar and has no calories, so it won’t disturb your natural balance of macronutrients or disrupt your weight loss efforts.

Some of the ingredients that are used in Cellucor’s C4 Extreme pre-workout formula include:

  • Beta-alanine
  • Creatine
  • Arginine
  • Caffeine

All of these ingredients are found in their Sport formula, but the dosages are higher, and it’s been on the market for more than 20 years, making it one of the oldest and best-rated pre-workout supplements available.

Shop Now Price: $34.99

Transparent Labs Bulk Pre-Workout Supplement


Like Cellucor, Transparent Labs is one of the best-known manufacturers in the workout supplement industry. The manufacturer offers a variety of supplements for bodybuilding that are designed to target specific fitness and health goals.

Currently, Transparent Labs provides six supplements that they have classified as pre-workout supplements. Some of them are formulated to improve bulk, while other are intended to boost energy levels, and still others are intended to support weight loss. Some of their supplements contain stimulants, while others are completely stimulant-free.

The six pre-workout supplements that Transparent Labs offers include:

  • Preseries Bulk
  • Preseries How to Beast (H2B)
  • Proseries Jesse James West Bulk
  • Preseries Lean Pre-Workout
  • Preseries Stim-Booster
  • PreSeries Stim-Free Pre-Workout

Rather than providing an all-in-one pre-workout supplement like so many of the formulas that are featured on our list, with Transparent Labs, you can create your own pre-workout formula, designed to support your own objectives. All six formulas are made with ingredients that have been proven to be highly effective and powerful dosages. These factors combined make the lineup of formulas from Transparent Labs one of the best pre-workout supplements on the market and our list.

Shop Now Price: $49

Black Wolf Pre-Workout Supplement by ActivLab


While Black Wolf may not be as well-known as other supplements on our list, it is definitely an up-and-coming manufacturer of pre-workout supplements. Made with high-quality ingredients that are proven to work, and available in a variety of yummy flavors, it’s definitely gaining traction.

A subsidiary of MuscleLab Limited, a popular UK supplement manufacturer, Black Wolf is a pretty new product, though it’s purported to be backed by decades of experience in the supplement industry. You can opt for either a caffeine or caffeine-free supplement, and whichever formula you choose, you’ll receive the following with each dose:

  • 1,000 mg of L-arginine
  • 2,000 mg of betaine
  • 3,000 mg of creatine
  • 3,200 mg of beta-alanine
  • 1,000 mg of taurine
  • 6,000 mg of L-citrulline
  • 600 mg of L-tyrosine

There are some tasty flavor options to choose from, too, including blue raspberry, green apple, and fruit punch. Black Wolf is one of the most powerful pre-workout supplements featured on our list, and according to users, it offers excellent benefits.

Shop Now Price: $45

Ladder Pre Workout Supplement


Co-founded by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lebron James, Ladder was designed by the two influential personalities because they claim that they weren’t thrilled with any of the pre-workout formulas that were on the market. With each serving of this supplement, you’ll receive 100 mg of caffeine, 250 mg of theanine, 500 mg of citicoline, and 3 g of beta-alanine. It’s also one of the only NSF Certified for Sport supplements on our list. NSF Certified for Sport status is extremely important for pro athletes, as it confirms that the supplements are tested to confirm the quality and purity of the formula, and that the label has been checked for accuracy.

Not only is Ladder Pre-Workout made with high-quality ingredients that have been proven to yield powerful benefits, and it’s NSF Certified for Sports, but it’s also available in two great flavors: tropical fruit and strawberry lemonade.

Shop Now Price: $56

4 Gauge Pre-Workout Supplement


According to 4 Gauge, when you take this supplement, you will “load up your guns”. The makers of 4 Gauge claim that their supplement substantially increased performance without causing any jitters. It’s also packed in a container that resembles a shotgun shell, which is just fun. By taking 4 Gauge, you’ll purportedly look bigger, feel better, and will increase your focus and mental clarity, but won’t have to worry about crashing.

Each serving of 4 Gauge Pre-Workout Supplement contains the following ingredients and dosages:

  • 6,000 mg of L-citrulline
  • 150 mg of caffeine
  • 200 mg of L-theanine
  • 100 mg of Rhodiola Rosea

And those are just some of the ingredients that are used in this formula, all of which have been proven to provide excellent results. There’s a hefty dose of beet, too, which helps to widen the blood vessels.

Shop Now Price: $45

Onnit Total Strength + Performance


Onnit is one of the most trusted supplement companies, and their Total Strength + Performance is a testament to their reputation. It’s one of the top-rated and most effective pre-workout supplements on the market and on our list.

Onnit’s Total Strength + Performance is a caffeine-free pre-workout supplement, and it’s made of a combination of ingredients that have been proven to enhance performance in a variety of ways. With every scoop (which measures 10.8 grams), you’ll get a hefty dose of BCAAs and DAAs, as well as plant and herbal extracts, and an assortment of other healthful ingredients that are known to strengthen and improve your workout by boosting your performance and stamina. With so many benefits, it’s no wonder why Onnit Total Strength + Performance is one of the best pre-workout supplements on the market today!

Legion Athletics Pulse Pre-Workout Drink


If you’re looking for a natural pre-workout supplement that can improve endurance, strength, and stamina, while also boosting your mood and focus, then Legion Athletics Pulse Pre-Workout Drink may be the right option for you. In addition to the aforementioned benefits, it’s also purported to minimize fatigue so you can push through and get more out of your workouts.

The flavor is a yummy blueberry lemonade, and there’s caffeine (350 mg in each 15 gram serving), and a caffeine-free formula. If you’re looking for a natural pre-workout supplement that tastes great and that is backed by dozens of positive reviews, then Legion Athletics Pulse Pre-Workout is definitely an option that you should consider. It’s affordably priced, too!

Shop Now Price: $59

Powher Pre-Workout for Women


One of two pre-workout supplements on our list that is specifically formulated for women, Powher is composed of unique ingredients that are proven to support a women’s needs. One of those ingredients is EnXtra, a natural caffeine amplifier that comes from the ginger family and that has been proven to amplify and extend the effects of caffeine. It also contains caffeine (of course), as well as vitamin B6, and even pantothenic acid.

While women can certainly take any pre-workout supplement, knowing that Powher is specially formulated to meet the unique needs of women, with this supplement, you can rest assured that you’ll be getting exactly what you need to support your workout goals.

Shop Now Price: $45

NSP Nutrition Energize Pre-Workout Supplement


The first thing that we noticed about NSP Nutrition Energize Pre-Workout Supplement is the unique flavors, which include tropical sunrise, grape blast, and lemonade fresh. Of course, the flavors aren’t the only reason why we chose it for our list (though it certainly played a hand); we also selected it because the combination of ingredients are known to stimulate muscle size gains, boost muscle pump, enhance workout capacity, reduce brain fog, and increase mental clarity.

Some of the key and proven ingredients that are used in NSP Nutrition’s Energize Pre-Workout include the following:

  • Creatine
  • Citrulline
  • L-tyrosine
  • L-theanine
  • DMAE
  • Choline

And those are just some of the proven ingredients that are used in this formula. In addition to the great flavors, the high-quality ingredients, and the wealth of benefits it provides, NSP Nutrition’s Energize Pre-Workout Supplement is also one of the most affordably priced options currently on the market.

Shop Now Price: $36

Ideal Lean Pre-Workout Supplement by Ideal Fit


Ideal Lean Pre-Workout by Ideal Fit is another pre-workout supplement that is formulated specifically for women. Each serving is backed with healthful ingredients that are known to produce exceptional effects, including:

  • 1,500 mg of beta-alanine
  • 1,500 mg of betaine
  • 3,000 mg of citrulline
  • 150 mg of caffeine
  • 310 mg of a special flat loss blend.

While Powher, the other family-centered pre-workout supplement featured on our list, uses weaker amounts of the most active ingredients; however, the dosage amounts haven’t been compromised. The final product is a highly effective supplement that’s also affordably priced.

Shop Now Price: $25.99

Battle Ready Fuel Pre-Workout Supplement by Bauer Nutrition


Another natural pre-workout supplement, Bauer Nutrition’s Battle Ready Fuel (BRF) is formulated to increase energy levels so you can get more out of your workouts, while also improving your focus, boosting your endurance levels, and just feel better mentally and physically.

Some of the key natural ingredients that are used in this pre-workout supplement include the following:

  • Whey protein isolate
  • Vitamin C
  • Caffeine
  • Clarinol CLA

It also contains Clarinol CLA, a patented ingredient that has been proven to help the body burn more calories, and further enhances the effectiveness of the supplement. According to the manufacturer, when you take Battle Ready Fuel, you’ll be ready to “go to battle”.

Shop Now Price: $26.99

Legion Pulse Pre-Workout Supplement


With more than 10,900 reviews and a 4.3-star rating on Amazon, Legion Pulse is one of the top-rated pre-workout supplements sold on the world’s largest online retailer. It’s made with all-natural ingredients and the dosages that are used are supported by science to increase energy levels and boost stamina so that you can get more out of your workouts.

Some of the key ingredients and dosages that you’ll find in Legion Pulse’s pre-workout supplement include the following:

  • 3.6 grams of beta-alanine
  • 8 grams of citrulline
  • 2.5 grams of betaine
  • 150 mg of alpha GPC
  • 350 mg of L-theanine
  • 350 mg of caffeine
  • Plus, with a 23.76 gram serving size, it is one of the largest serving sizes on the list. If you’re looking for a powerful pre-workout supplement that offers crazy high dosages of caffeine, Legion Pulse may be just what you’re looking for.

Shop Now Price: $29.72

Beast Sports’ Beast Mode Black


Beast Mode Black by Beast Sports is a super-powered pre-workout supplement that is intended for those who are looking for powerful amounts of energy with notable ingredient dosage amounts. When you take this supplement, you’ll get more out of every rep you make while also driving nitric oxide levels sky-high.

According to the manufacturer, Beast Mode Black’s dosage amounts are 380 percent stronger than their standard formula. With such impressive dosages, you’ll be able to go more miles, build more muscles, build more strength, and burn even higher amounts of fat. The ingredients that are used in Beast Mode Black are similar to those that are used in many of the other supplements featured on our list, such as:

  • 1,600 mg of beta-alanine
  • 500 mg of taurine
  • 400 mg of caffeine
  • The dosage of caffeine is one of the highest on our list, making it truly one of the most energy-boosting pre-workout supplements.

Shop Now Price: $39.99

Alani Nu Pre-Workout


A highly-regarded and popular pre-workout supplement, Alani Nu’s Pre-Workout Rainbow Candy supplement formula offers more flavor than other options. It’s also comprised of L-theanine, which helps to minimize the development of jitters and crashes post-workout.

Though other pre-workout supplements on the market feature long lists of ingredients, Alani Nu is different because the ingredient list is small. The proven ingredients that are used in this formula include the following:

  • 6 grams of L-citrulline
  • 1.6 grams of beta-alanine
  • 500 mg of L-tyrosine
  • 200 mg of caffeine
  • 200 mg of L-theanine

The above dosages are what you’ll get in each 10 gram scoop serving size. With those doses, Pre-Workout Rainbow candy from Alani Nu is one of the top-rated supplements on our list. It’s also completely free of fillers and it’s backed by an impressive amount of 5-star reviews.

Shop Now Price: $39.99

Wrecked Pre-Workout by Huge Supplements


Available in four unique, taste bud-pleasing flavors, including peach rings, rainbow burst, bomb popsicle, and raspberry mojito, Wrecked Pre-Workout Dietary Supplement by Huge Supplements is made with the highest quality ingredients and is backed by dozens of positive reviews.

With every scoop of Wrecked, you’ll receive the following:

  • 9,000 mg of L-citrulline
  • 3,200 mg of beta-alanine
  • 2,000 mg of betaine anhydrous
  • 1,000 mg of L-tyrosine
  • 250 mg of caffeine
  • It also contains a number of truly unique ingredients, including:
  • Theobromine
  • Himalayan pink salt
  • Inositol
  • Lion’s mane mushroom

As well as a handful of other unique, all-natural ingredients that aren’t commonly used in other pre-workout supplements.

Shop Now Price: $44.95

Wrecked Extreme by Huge Supplements


Built off the success of the original Wrecked supplement formula, Wrecked Extreme has the highest potency of all the supplements that Huge Supplements offers. The original Wrecked formula certainly has high dosages, but the Wrecked Extreme makes those ingredients even better.

With the above said, the ingredients that are used in Wrecked Extreme are smaller than those that are used in the manufacturer’s original formula. At 15.9 grams, the scoop is smaller, which means that the doses and the amount of active ingredients you’ll get are smaller, too; however, it’s still one of the most powerful options on the list. It offers up 250 mg of caffeine per serving, too.

On the whole, Wrecked Extreme by Huge Supplements is purported to feature more potent ingredients than their original formula; however, we have to be honest and report that it does not live up to that claim.

Shop Now Price: $59.95

Huge Supplements Wrecked Stim-Free


If you’re interested in taking advantage of all of the benefits that Huge Supplements’ Wrecked formula offers, but without the caffeine, then their Stim-Free formula is a great option to consider. It’s made with many of the same ingredients that are used in the Huge Supplements Wrecked and Wrecked Extreme formulas, with one major difference; it’s complete free of caffeine and other types of stimulants.

With every huge scoop (31 grams) of Huge Supplements Wrecked Stim-Free pre-workout supplement, you’ll get a healthy dose of the following:

  • 8 grams of L-citrulline
  • 3 grams of Glycerpump
  • 2 grams of beetroot extract
  • Rather than polluting the body with high-doses of caffeine and other types of stimulants, the manufacturer is focused on providing natural energy by using natural ingredients.

Shop Now Price: $54.95

Summary of Our Top Pre-Workout Supplements for 2021

Now that you’ve read through our detailed reviews of each of the products we selected, here’s a brief summary of the pre-workout formulas that are featured on our list.

How We Rated the Top Pre-Workout Supplements for 2021

While there’s no shortage of pre-workout supplements on the market and every one of them claims to provide powerful results, they don’t all live up to their claims. In order to sift through all the different options, we used the following factors to select and rank the options that are featured on our list.

Ingredients and dosages that are backed by science. We gave preference to supplements that are made with ingredients and dosages that are backed by scientific evidence.

Claimed benefits. A lot of pre-workout formulas market great claims but don’t live up to them. We gave preference to options that actually lived up to the claims that they made.

Healthiness, safety, and testing. Some pre-workout supplements are dangerous; particularly those that are made by companies that aren’t reputable. The top-rated supplements undergo rigorous health and safety testing to ensure that they are not only effective, but that they are safe to consume.

Backed by medical professionals. Some of the pre-workout supplements that are on the market are made by marketing teams that have no experience with health. Others are made by doctors, dietitians, naturopaths, and other experts that have extensive knowledge in health. We gave preference to supplements that were formulated or made by the latter group.

Taste and texture. Many pre-workout supplements are supposed to be taken with water, and as such, you can taste them. When rating the supplements on our list, we preferred options that were flavorful and that had a smooth texture.

Reputation and ingredients. There are so many pre-workout supplements on the market, and unfortunately, some of them are made by fly-by-night manufacturers and contain poor-quality, unproven ingredients. We preferred formulas that were made by manufacturers with proven reputations of excellence and that used high-quality ingredients.

Satisfaction guarantee. When companies stand behind their products, that’s a good indication of the quality of their products and their commitment to their customers. We preferred pre-workout supplements that were backed with satisfaction or money back guarantees.

Price and value. Like any other type of supplement, pre-workout supplements vary in price and value. We preferred options that were affordably priced and that offered a good value for the money.

Serving size. The serving sizes of the pre-workout supplements that are featured on our list have serving sizes that range from 5 grams to 31 grams.

Who Should Use a Pre-Workout Supplement?

From professionals to laymen, anyone who wants to maximize their workouts can take pre-workout supplements. The following are just some of the people who might be interested in and benefit from taking these types of supplements:

  • Weight lifters
  • Bodybuilders
  • Cyclists
  • Runners
  • Swimmers
  • Professional athletes
  • Anyone who wants to support their weight loss and fat loss goals
  • Those who want to boost their endurance levels

No matter if you’re trying to boost your pump or enhance your fat burning power, with a pre-workout supplement, you can boost the success of every single workout you do.

What Does the Science Say About Pre-Workout Supplements?

Pre-workout supplements are supported by plenty of scientific evidence. Numerous studies have found that these supplements can increase physical performance and boost mental clarity, while also reducing fatigue and enhancing focus. These benefits have been confirmed by several peer-reviewed, controlled clinical trials.

In a study that was published in the Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition, it was determined that pre-workout supplements were an effective way to boost energy levels. Other studies have also found that these supplements support cognitive health. A study that was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that caffeine increases the concentration and arousal levels of participants, and enhanced their moods. By taking a pre-workout supplement that contains caffeine, you may be able to enjoy the same benefits.

In another study, it was found that caffeine increase endurance levels while working out, which allowed participants to work out for longer periods of time before they felt tired. Caffeine can also boost energy expenditure by about 11 percent, which means that your cardio workouts could potentially be 11 percent more powerful and effective when you’re taking a pre-workout supplement that contains caffeine.

Do Pre-Workout Supplements Have Side Effects?

It has been found that pre-workout supplements can cause certain types of side effects. This is particularly true for people who aren’t able to tolerate caffeine and other types of stimulants well. The majority of health adults who take these supplements will experience few, if any, side effects; especially if they’re taking a high-quality formula with standard dosages. It’s important to note that it seems like supplements that are made by non-reputable companies tend to be more likely to cause negative side effects.

Some of the side effects that have been attributed to pre-workout supplements include the following:

  • Jitters
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep interruptions
  • Tolerance build-up
  • Digestive upset (constipation and diarrhea)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches

In more severe cases, pre-workout supplements can result in liver and kidney damage; however, these side effects are very rare.

Certain ingredients have been found to increase the likelihood of bad reactions. For example, magnesium, sodium bicarbonate, caffeine, and creatine, have been linked to digestive upset. Caffeine and other stimulants have also been linked to anxiety and jitters (especially when taken at higher doses).

Dangers of Poor-Quality Pre-Workout Supplements

If you’re thinking about adding a pre-workout supplement to your routine, choosing a high-quality formula is imperative. If you use a poor-quality supplement, not only is it possible that you won’t experience any benefits, but there’s also an increased risk of side effects.

Researchers examined a number of pre-workout supplements and discovered that they offered no help. They also found that some formulas increased heart rate and blood pressure. Supplements that are made with proprietary formulas have also been found to increase the risk of adverse side effects. Proprietary labels list the overall dosages that are used in the supplement, but they don’t provide a specific breakdown of the ingredients or the dosages that are used. As such, it isn’t possible to determine how much of each ingredient you’re ingesting, and you can’t determine exactly what ingredients you’re taking. It also makes it easier for manufacturers to conceal any questionable ingredients that they may use. Pre-hormones, amphetamines, and other dangerous additives have been found in some pre-workout supplements in the past.

For these reasons, it is absolutely crucial to make sure that you look at labels to find out the ingredients and dosages so that you can ensure you are taking something that is safe and effective.

Recommend Pre-Workout Supplement Dosages

A lot of people who use pre-workout supplements take one serving about ½ hour to an hour before they plan on working out; however, some start by taking small servings and increase them overtime. For example, you may start with 0.5 servings to see how you react and get used to the ingredients, and then increase the amount when you know how your body handles the supplement.

Be sure to pay careful attention to caffeine amounts when you’re exploring serving sizes. When taken in high doses, caffeine can be extremely hazardous and even lethal. Even when taken in moderate amounts, caffeine can cause negative effects, such as increased anxiety and jitters. The recommended amount of caffeine per day is 400 mg, maximum.

According to scientific studies, the recommended doses for popular ingredients that many pre-workout supplements contain are as follows:

  • 1.25 to 2.5 grams of betaine
  • 8 grams of citrulline per day
  • 1:2 ratio of L-theanine when taken with caffeine
  • 10 grams of BCAAs (both pre- and post-workout)
  • 500 mg to 2,000 mg of taurine per day
  • 2 g to 3 g of L-ornithine

Frequently Asked Questions About Pre-Workout Supplements

We receive tons of questions about pre-workout supplements, and we’re sure that a lot of the questions that you have are similar to those that we receive. Below, we’ve compiled a list of those questions, as well as their answers.

Q: What do pre-workout supplements do?

A: These supplements are designed to enhance physical and mental stamina and performance prior to a workout. They do this in different ways; for example, some increase endurance and energy levels, while others maximize muscle building capabilities.

Q: Are pre-workout supplements safe to use?

A: Generally speaking, high-quality supplements that are taken in regular doses are safe for most healthy adults; however, it is important to avoid taking more than the recommended dosages. It’s also important to avoid taking poor-quality supplements.

Q: What do pre-workout supplements contain?

A: These supplements can contain a variety of ingredients, and vary from formula to formula. Examples of some of the most commonly used ingredients include caffeine, BCAAs, creatine, amino acids, protein, and B vitamins.

Q: What is the best pre-workout supplement?

A: All of the supplements that are included on our list are considered the best of the best.

Q: How do these supplements boost mental health?

A: They can boost cognition and focus, while also increasing mental clarity. The ingredients that can offer these mental health benefits include a variety of essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.

Q: How are pre-workout supplements taken?

A: It depends on the formula that you are taking; however, generally, they are powdered and are taken by mixing with water, shaking, and then you would drink it down.

Q: Do pre-workout supplements taste good?

A: It depends. There are some formulas that have less-than-appealing flavors and that are gritty, while there are others that offer a variety of tasty flavors and a smooth texture. We gave preference to the latter.

Q: Do these supplements cause kidney failure?

A: It has been found that taking large amounts of pre-workout supplements can result in kidney failure, high blood pressure, and dehydration. If you are taking a supplement that contains caffeine and creatine, make sure that you are also taking a diuretic.

Q: Do these supplements support weight loss?

A: They can. Many contain stimulants, like caffeine, that can support weight loss. Also, because they help you get more out of your workouts, they can help you achieve your weight loss goals.

Q: Can they be taken on an empty stomach?

A: Yes, you can take these supplements on an empty stomach; however, if you want to reduce the risk of side effects (most notably, stomach upset, nausea, and vomiting), you should consider having something in your stomach before you take them

Q: Are pre-workout supplements legal?

A: Yes, they are legal; however, some have been banned. For example, Jack3d, once a popular pre workout supplement, was available for a decade, but it was found that it contained epinephrine, which causes heart failure, and as such, it was not only taken off the market, but it was completely banned.

Q: What are the best ingredients?

A; The best ingredients in a pre-workout supplement include the following:

  • Nootropics
  • Beta Alanine
  • B vitamins
  • Taurine
  • Elements that increase NO2, such as citrulline, arginine, and beetroot extract

Q: What ingredients should you avoid?

A: Avoid pre-workout supplements that are made with excessive amounts of caffeine and other types of stimulants. The maximum recommended amount of caffeine per day is 400 mg, so make sure that you read the label before purchasing.

Q: How long will it take for a pre-workout supplement to kick in?

A: On average, it takes about 30 to 60 minutes for a pre-workout supplement to activate; however, it does vary and depends on how much you have in your stomach, as well as the ingredients and dosages, and your tolerance for those ingredients and dosages.

Q: How long do the effects last?

A: Again, it depends; however, on average, caffeine and other types of stimulants last about 3 to 7 hours, and the most noticeable effects take place within 3 hours of ingestion.

Q: Can coffee be used as a pre-workout supplement?

A: Yes, it can, as it contains caffeine; however, if you really want to maximize the effects and get the most out of your workouts, then you should consider taking a high-quality supplement instead.

Q: Can I take other supplements with a pre-workout?

A: You can; however, do make sure that you read the ingredients on all supplements you are taking and use caution to ensure you aren’t taking high doses of caffeine.

Q: Do pre-workout supplements really work?

A: Dozens of studies have been done that have validated the effectiveness of the most popular pre-workout supplements on the market and the ingredients that they contain. These ingredients include caffeine, L-arginine, creatine, L-citrulline, and BCAAs. These ingredients have been verified in double-blind, placebo-controlled trials that have been published in peer-reviewed journals.

Q: How do you select a pre-workout supplement?

A: When selecting a pre-workout supplement, make sure to consider your workout goals. For example, would you like to build more muscle, lose weight and burn fat, increase your energy levels, or improve your pump? Select a supplement that contains ingredients and dosages that have been proven to help you meet your workout goals.

Final Thoughts About the Best Pre-Workout Supplements for 2021

With the right pre-workout supplement, you can truly maximize your gains. Selecting the right supplement to suit your unique needs can be challenging, however, as there are so many options on the market to choose from.

All of the supplements that are featured on our list have been thoroughly vetted, are backed by tons of customer reviews, and many of them have undergone rigorous trials or are made with proven ingredients. As such, to ensure that you are choosing a supplement that you can rely on, be sure to consider using one of the options on our list. With the right pre-workout supplement, you can get a whole lot more out of your exercise.

RELATED:Best Creatine Supplements That Really Work for Men

Affiliate Disclosure:

The links contained in this product review may result in a small commission if you opt to purchase the product recommended at no additional cost to you. This goes towards supporting our research and editorial team and please know we only recommend high quality products.


Please understand that any advice or guidelines revealed here are not even remotely a substitute for sound medical advice from a licensed healthcare provider. Make sure to consult with a professional physician before making any purchasing decision if you use medications or have concerns following the review details shared above. Individual results may vary as the statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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