Best pre-workout supplements 2022: Powder and drink formulas

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that if you don’t fuel yourself properly before a challenging workout, you’ll feel less energised, weaker and will fatigue faster than normal. But what’s the best thing to fuel with before exercising? A banana? A boiled egg? A cup of coffee? What about a pre-workout supplement?

Designed to boost your energy, pre-workout supplements are typically powdered substances that you mix into water, shake and then drink around 30 minutes before exercising. Pre-workout supplements typically contain a blend of ingredients such as caffeine, creatine, beta-alanine, BCAAs and nitric oxide agents, which can help improve energy levels, increase endurance and stamina, and safeguard lean muscle during exercise.

Not totally convinced? Well, according to a 2010 study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, combining pre-workout with HIIT workouts gave some great results. It found there were significant increases in VO2 max (which describes the way in which the lungs, muscles and heart most efficiently and effectively use oxygen while you workout), as well as training volume and lean body mass. It also helped speed up the rate at which moderately-trained recreational athletes lost body fat.

How we tested

We tried the following pre-workout supplements roughly half an hour before hitting the gym, to amp us up ahead of our workouts. We tested most of them by adding around 10g (two teaspoons) to 300-400ml of cold water – marking each of them on ingredients, taste, texture, affordability and effectiveness.

Of course, pre-workout formulas aren’t for everyone. If you don’t usually have caffeine in your diet, we’d recommend choosing a caffeine-free supplement, or at least considering the time of day that you take it (otherwise, it may well disrupt your ability to fall asleep).

Read more:

The best pre-workout supplements for 2022 are:

  • Best overall – Innermost the energy booster: £24.95,
  • Best for evening workouts – Myprotein The pump: £26.99,
  • Best for flavour – Grenade .50 calibre: £24,
  • Best for muscle gain – Battle Ready fuel pre-combat: £24.99,
  • Best limited-edition supplement – Bulk millions pre workout: £30,
  • Best for caffeine lovers – Myprotein the pre-workout+: £39.99,
  • Best vegan supplement – Foodspring energy aminos: £29.99,
  • Best pre-workout drink – Nocco blood orange del sol: £24.99,

Innermost the energy booster, 300g

Best: Overall

Rating: 8/10

Innermost’s award-winning pre-workout supplement – the energy booster – was developed to help you make the most out of your workout. It’s filled with a whole lot of good stuff from branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), citrulline malate, maca, beta alanine, guarana, caffeine and vitamin B complex. All these ingredients combined aim to reduce fatigue, physical and mental stress, as well as increase energy, alertness, aid performance and boost cognitive function.

Each 300g bag serves 30 servings – which works out as less than £1 per shake. Vegan, low sugar, and gluten-free – this pre-workout ticks a lot of boxes. Plus, it tastes good too. The pineapple flavour is pretty sweet, so we actually added a little bit more water than recommended to water down the taste slightly. Our only question is, Innermost, when are you bringing out additional flavours?

Myprotein the pump, 320g

Best: For evening workouts

Rating: 8/10

Most pre-workout supplements are filled to the brim with caffeine to help get you in gear for your workout. But not this one. The pump – named after that sought after “muscle pump” gym bunnies and fitness fanatics strive for – is Myprotein’s caffeine-free pre-workout. And it’s ideal for those who prefer to workout in the evening, and don’t want to be overstimulated before bed – or those who simply don’t like that jittering feeling caffeine so often comes hand-in-hand with.

It is filled with vitamin C, taurine, VASO and beta-alanine – a mixture of ingredients that between them aim to reduce fatigue, support the immune system, protect cells from exercise-induced oxidative stress, increase oxygen transport in the body and reduce lactic acid build up.

The 320g pot includes 20 servings – so a little more expensive per shake than Innermost (£24.95,, but you can get up to 45 per cent off using code MORE. There’s two different flavours; orange mango and rainbow candy. The orange and mango flavour is quite sharp and strong – so do add a little more water if you need – otherwise, it’s surprisingly delicious, and refreshing.

Grenade .50 calibre, 232g

Best: For flavour

Rating: 8/10

Grenade’s pre-workout supplement – .50 calibre – is packed with high-quality, effective ingredients. Notably, citrulline malate to help improve aerobic and anaerobic performance during prolonged exercise, beta alanine to enhance high-intensity exercise performance, and caffeine for boosting mental and physical performance. There’s also creatine which increases your body’s ability to produce energy quickly.

The 232g box serves 20 servings – working out at £1.20 per shake. There are three different flavours – berry blast, killa cola and ultimate orange. We tried the former and thought it sat somewhere between Ribena, Lucozade Sport raspberry and Robinson’s apple and blackcurrant flavoured squash. It dissolved well and kept us energised throughout our workout.

Battle Ready fuel pre-combat, 375g

Best: For muscle gain

Rating: 8/10

Founded by former UK Special Forces soldier, Ollie Ollerton – who’s known for appearing on all five series of SAS: Who Dares Wins – Battle Ready is a pre-workout supplement that is supercharged with a nootropics blend to keep your energy levels and focus high during a workout. Ingredients wise it includes 200mg of caffeine per serving, beta alanine, l-tyrosine and – most unusually – ashwagandha, the adaptogenic herb known for its calming qualities.

The 375g tub includes 15 servings – so approximately £1.66 per shake. The blue raspberry flavour is bright blue in colour – it reminds us of the blue Powerades electrolyte drinks we used to have at training. After shaking, there’s an inch or so of foam that sits on top of the drink and when you open the lid, there’s a bit of a gas release from the product (so beware, as it may spit at you). The flavour isn’t sharp at all, it’s actually very fruity and surprisingly delicious.

Bulk millions pre workout, 510g

Best: Limited edition supplement

Rating: 8/10

Bulk’s new millions pre workout has been developed to provide everything you need to push harder through your training session. Containing 5g of BCAAs in an impressive 3:1:1 ratio – 3g of beta alanine, 1g taurine and 200mg of caffeine – to improve performance, increase alertness and improve concentration.

The large 510g container includes 30 servings – £1 per drink. Inspired by the retro Millions sweets of Nineties fame, the Bulk pre-workout is currently available in two classic flavours – bubblegum and strawberry. We tried the strawberry flavour and it definitely offered us a tasty throwback to our childhoods. What better way to inject some fun into your workouts? The packaging is really joyful, too – and certainly helps it to stand out in a market filled with black tubs.

Myprotein the pre-workout+, 360g

Best: For caffeine lovers

Rating: 7/10

Myprotein’s pre-workout+ is arguably their most powerful pre-workout. What sets it apart from the rest? The combination of innovative ingredients and a hit of 300mg of caffeine per serving. It includes VASO6 which helps boost metabolism, endurance, and VO2 max in elite athletes, as well as Alpha-GPC which has the potential to boost your power and strength during workouts. There’s also Huperzine A (hich supports focus and memory.

The 360g tub offers 20 servings – so at nearly £2 a shake, this is one of the more expensive choices on the market – and the price reflects the strength. (Note: we actually recommend starting with just half a scoop to begin with as this stuff is seriously strong).

Foodspring energy aminos, 400g

Best: Vegan supplement

Rating: 6/10

Lemon, apple or passion fruit? It’s hard to know which flavour of Foodspring’s energy aminos to choose. Packed with 171mg of caffeine per serving, piperine, plant-based BCAAs, vitamin C, Vitamins B3 and B12, it’s ​​formulated to both increase your energy and enhance your performance.

The 400g tubs include 20 servings, which works out at under £1 per drink. We tried the lemon flavour which was a little bitter and peppery and left a bit of a lingering aftertaste. The mixability was good, although there were some surprise granules, so do give it a real good shake (until the powder has completely dissolved) and off you go. Squat ready.

Nocco blood orange del sol, pack of 12

Best: Pre-workout drink

Rating: 7/10

For those who really just can’t be bothered with the faff of measuring powder and mixing with water, then you ought to try the “Red Bull of sports drinks”, NOCCO. Sugar-free, these 330ml carbonated cans are filled with 180mg caffeine and 3,000mg BCAA’s, and they taste a lot better than most supplements.

Ideal for those who like fizzy drinks, there’s a whole host of flavours – blood orange, caribbean, limon, miami strawberry, the list goes on. They even have a zero caffeine range with apple and citrus and elderflower flavours.

At £24.99 for 12 cans, these are much more expensive than any of the powdered supplements – so you really are paying for the ease. Holland and Barrett and Ocado sell them by the can, so it’s worth maybe trying one, to see if you like the taste, before committing to a 12-pack.

The verdict: Pre-workout supplements

While we can’t promise we’ll be permanently swapping our usual pre-workout combo of coffee and a banana for one of these, if you’re looking for a supplement to intensify your workout (while also being super quick and easy to add to your daily routine) then we recommend experimenting with one of the pre-workout products above.

Our favourite? The energy booster from Innermost – developed to replenish and energise, it’s filled with all the good stuff (and not a lot of the bad). AKA, lots of BCAAs, not too much caffeine and zero additives, artificial colours or fillers. Oh, and it tastes great, too.

A word of advice though – it pays to read the ingredients label before you invest in a pot of pre-workout (especially if you don’t usually drink coffee). While each tub includes a measuring spoon to ensure you get the right dosage, if you’re new to pre-workout, we recommend starting with half doses and seeing how your body reacts.

Voucher codes

For offers on protein powders and more, try our discount code pages:

Fuel your workout with our round-up of the best protein powders and shakes, from Grenade to Protein World

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.