With so many choices on the market, it can be hard to find the right pre workout supplement that works best for your individual needs. In this article, we will discuss some of the best pre-workout supplements available today, how they can help take your workouts to new heights, the most common ingredients found in pre workouts and what they do.
What Are The Best Pre Workout Supplements?
Best Pre-Workout Overall – Gorilla Mode
Best Pre-Workout For Beginners – Cellucor C4 Original
Best Pre-Workout For A Pump – 4 Gauge
Best Pre-Workout For Men – Huge Supplements Wrecked
Best Pre-Workout For Women – MyProtein THE Pre-Workout
Best Pre-Workout Without Caffeine – Gorilla Mode Nitric
Strongest Pre-Workout – Huge Supplements Wrecked
Best Tasting Pre-Workout – Pre-Kaged
Best Pre-Workout For Lifting – Thavage Pre Workout
Best Pre-Workout For Running – Transparent Labs LEAN
Best Vegan Pre-Workout – MyProtein THE Pre-Workout
Best Pre-Workout With Creatine – Gorilla Mode
Best Pre-Workout Without Beta-Alanine – 4 Gauge
Best Cheap Pre-Workout – C4 Sport
Best Pre-Workout Gummies – Pre Chu
Gorilla Mode is a highly-rated pre-workout supplement that contains a blend of powerful ingredients designed to give you an extra boost of energy and focus. The main active ingredients are caffeine, betaine anhydrous, L-citrulline, and Glycerpump.
The research behind the ingredient profile is extensive and the amount of each ingredient in a single serving is higher than in almost all other pre workout formulas. The dosing of each ingredient is based on published literature to make sure that they actually have a significant impact on your athletic performance.
Cellucor C4 Original
In my opinion, C4 is the best for beginners for several reasons. They’re products are easily accessible to everyone, either through their own website or amazon. It gives you a bit of everything and the price is very reasonable. Another great feature is the wide array of flavors.
You can start with Original, test multiple flavors, and if you want a more potent pre-workout, you can move onto for example C4 Ultimate and pick the flavor that you already know you’ll love.
This is the best pre workout for a pump that also doesn’t include beta-alanine. That means that you won’t get the itching sensation from drinking 4 Gauge.
The research behind the effectiveness of beta alanine is very limited, so you’re probably not missing out. As for the pump, they boast a solid 6g of L-citrulline per serving, which has been shown to improve muscular endurance.
Huge Supplements Wrecked
This concoction is the best for men, because it is also the strongest pre workout I could find. What sets it apart from other pre workout supplements is the serving size, which is 30g. Same as a scoop of protein.
The formula is packed with everything you could wish for in a pre workout. What I like most is that there’s 8000mg of L-citrulline in a single serving!
MyProtein THE Pre Workout
THE pre workout is the best for women for several reasons. I know that many women don’t enjoy a high dosage of caffeine. Another positive is that it’s a vegan, all natural pre workout.
MyProtein offers a reasonable 200mg per serving. Another thing that stands out is the 6mg of iron in the formula. For women aged 19-50, this is around 43% of their daily iron requirement. Additionally, they pack 75mg of vitamin C, which can enhance the absorption of iron.
Gorilla Mode Nitric
Gorilla mode nitric is very similar to the overall best – gorilla mode, but it’s a stimulant free pre workout. It has slightly more L-citrulline and Glycerpump, which are both effective at improving muscular endurance.
The biggest downside to this product is the taste. Many reviews claim that every taste option is horrible. This might be explained by the fact that there is 750mg of Sodium Nitrate in the formula, which is basically salt.
Huge Supplements Wrecked
As mentioned before, this pre workout is the strongest and most potent of them all. The formula contains 17 different ingredients and the serving size is 30 grams! From what I can tell, none of the ingredients are added to inflate the label and provide at least some benefit to your workout.
When looking for the best tasting pre workout, pre-kaged should be your go to choice. Their formula isn’t anything crazy special, but if you’re not too concerned with a pre-workout’s potential performance benefits, then this should be perfect for you.
They offer classic flavors such as green apple and fruit punch to name a few.
Thavage Pre Workout
Thavage is the product of the now 4 time Mr. Olympia champion Chris Bumstead. You can be sure that he knows what should be in a pre-workout designed for lifting. It has an incredible 4.9/5 rating with over 600 votes.
Transparent Labs LEAN
This is your best choice for running, or any endurance sports. The 6000mg of citrulline malate will improve your blood-flow and boost your muscle endurance. The caffeine dosage isn’t very high (180mg), which makes it ideal for a prolonged activity where you want to have consistent energy levels and not a huge spike.
MyProtein THE Pre Workout
The best vegan pre workout would be THE pre workout. It has a reasonable amount of caffeine, a good amount of L-citrulline and GlycerSize (65% glycerol powder), and even creatine monohydrate.
Coming back to Gorilla Mode, I really think that it is the best pre workout with creatine. It has everything you’d want in a pre workout to boost your blood flow and improve your focus. The fact that there’s creatine in it makes it even more incredible.
Beta-alanine isn’t for everyone. The tingling and itching can ruin an otherwise good workout. 4 Gauge is an excellent pre workout, covering the basis with ingredients like creatine monohydrate and citrulline malate while keeping their formula free of beta alanine.
For those of you looking for a stimulus, while spending as little money as possible, C4 Sport should be your go-to. The cost per serving is only $0.73 with 30 serving in a tub for a total of $22.
The ingredients are basic but they get the job done. Caffeine stands at 135mg per serving, which will be quite low for most people. If you’d like something with a similar price, that also includes citrulline, check out C4 Ripped.
Pre-workout gummies are the newest trending supplement. They are easy to consume and provide the same benefits as a regular pre-workout powder would.
It is important to keep in mind however, to drink plenty of water with them. This ensures the best absorption of all the ingredients and makes sure that you won’t get dehydrated.
How The Items Were Picked
First of all, the reason you see me repeat some of the pre workouts is because I genuinely believe that they are the best for that given category. I think that if something is truly high-quality then it ticks several boxes, am I right?
There are a lot of pre workout supplements with inflated labels. The ingredient profile might look impressive but they don’t actually have a significant effect on your performance.
After extensive research, I found that there are only a handful of ingredients that have actually been proven to be useful. Here is a short breakdown of the main ingredients found in most pre-workouts.
Caffeine is one of the most common pre workout ingredients, and for a good reason. It can help boost energy levels and make you feel less fatigued by blocking adenosine receptors in your brain.
Adenosine is basically the molecule that signals your brain how tired you are.
Caffeine’s effects on physical performance metrics such as time-to-exhaustion, time-trial, muscle strength and endurance, and high-intensity sprints (typical of team sports) are evident following doses that exceed about 200mg (∼3mg/kg BW). 1
Minimal effective doses of caffeine currently remain unclear but they may be as low as 2 mg/kg body mass. Very high doses of caffeine (e.g. 9 mg/kg) are associated with a high incidence of side-effects and do not seem to be required to elicit an ergogenic effect. 2
L-citrulline is the most effective supplement you can use to increase your nitric oxide (NO) levels. NO plays a significant role in our cardiovascular health. It acts as a vasodilator, therefore lowering your blood pressure and increasing oxygen levels in the blood.
NO can also be made from the amino acid arginine. You might’ve seen L-arginine on the label of a pre-workout. The problem is that only an estimated 1% of ingested arginine will be available. So in the end, supplementing with L-citrulline will be more beneficial for performance than supplementing with L-arginine. 3
This means that L-citrulline supplementation will improve your muscular endurance. It may help increase lean body mass and reduce visceral fat mass. It may also help reduce soreness 24-48h after a workout. 4
The recommended dose is 4-10g at a time, with the minimum efficacious dose being 3g.
GlycerPump which is just a trademarked version of glycerol powder. It contains roughly 65% of glycerol and is used instead of the glycerol because it doesn’t clump up as much when mixed with water.
Glycerol significantly enhances pumps by hyper-hydrating the muscle. Athletes intending to hyperhydrate with glycerol should ingest glycerol 1.2 g/kg BW in 26 mL/kg BW of fluid over a period of 60 minutes, 30 minutes prior to exercise. 5
Amino acids are what proteins are made of. BCAAs or branched chain amino acids are amino acids that have an aliphatic side chain with a branch. There are three BCAAs: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. 6
The most common argument for BCAAs that I’ve come across is that it enhances muscle growth.
The problem with BCAA supplements alone, i.e. without the other essential amino acids, is that all of the necessary building blocks to make new proteins are not available for maximal stimulation of MPS. 7
A 2017 study demonstrated that post exercise muscle protein synthesis was increased with ingestion of BCAAs, but the stimulation was only about half of that measured following the ingestion of intact whey protein, i.e. all of the essential amino acids. 8
This shows, again, how important it is to cover your basis before moving on to supplements and other aids.
In conclusion, I think it’s unnecessary to look for a pre-workout that includes BCAAs if you’re getting enough protein through your diet.
To my surprise, and probably to yours, beta-alanine is the most common ingredient found in pre-workouts. A recent study found that 87% of the top 100 commercially available pre workout products contain beta-alanine, with caffeine being the second most popular choice at 86%. 9
If you’ve ever felt a tingling or itching sensation after taking a pre workout, it’s most likely been caused by beta-alanine. Because it produces such a noticeable effect, some brands have used it solely to make pre-workout feel like it does something.
Beta-alanine works by increasing the muscle’s carnosine content. Carnosine is a dipeptide synthesized from the amino acids histidine and beta-alanine, with the latter being the rate-limiting factor.
Carnosine can perform several physiological roles, although its function as a muscle buffer is most widely accepted as its predominant role during high-intensity exercise. This means that it can buffer the hydrogen ions (H+) that are generated during anaerobic glycolysis; these H+ contribute to muscle acidosis which can lead to muscle fatigue. 10
However, you’d have to supplement it daily for at least 3-4 weeks, taking 3.2-6.4g/day as it doesn’t have an acute effect. Although even then, the effects may be transient as shown in a study done on elite swimmers. 11
What Is Pre-Workout?
Pre-workout supplements are designed to improve performance and energy levels before a workout. They usually contain some combination of caffeine, B vitamins, amino acids, and other ingredients that can help increase focus, energy, and endurance during your workouts.
The key to finding the right pre-workout is understanding your goals and what ingredients you need to achieve them.
How And When To Take Pre Workout?
It’s best to take pre-workout supplements 30 minutes before your workout. This will give the ingredients time to absorb and start working in your body. Make sure to drink plenty of water while taking a pre-workout supplement, as some can cause dehydration if taken without proper hydration.
The Benefits Of Taking Pre Workout
Taking pre-workout supplements can provide a range of benefits, including increased focus and energy levels, improved endurance, and enhanced muscle growth. Pre-workouts can also help reduce fatigue and improve recovery times after workouts.
Beginners and intermediate trainees shouldn’t concern themselves too much with picking the right pre-workout as taking anything will generally improve their performance anyway.
Advanced people and athletes should look for specific ingredients based on their sports discipline and the parameters that they’re looking to improve.
Potential Side Effects Of Taking Pre Workout
One of the main side effects of taking pre workout is the itching sensation. This is caused by Beta-Alanine, which stimulates nerve endings and can cause an itching sensation. It’s not dangerous but it can be annoying and disturb you during your workout.
They can also cause dehydration. This is mostly the case with people who dry scoop. If you do, then make sure you drink plenty of water afterwards. Read the label to find out the recommended dosage of water per a serving of pre workout.
Some of the other potential side effects are increased heart rate and blood pressure, jitteriness or nervousness, nausea, and headaches. These symptoms can appear when you consume a high dose of a stimulant such as caffeine.
Do keep in mind that pre-workout supplements are not intended to be used by children under the age of 18 as kids and adolescents can be more sensitive to caffeine’s undesirable side effects, such as anxiety, diarrhea, and dehydration.
How To Choose The Best Pre-Workout For You?
The best pre-workout for you will depend on the type of workout you are doing and your fitness goals. If you want to increase muscular strength, look for a pre-workout that contains creatine. If you want more energy, choose one with caffeine or B vitamins. To improve endurance, look for ingredients like Beta-Alanine, L-Citrulline, and Taurine.
For beginners or people who are sensitive to stimulants, avoid pre-workouts containing high doses of caffeine. Instead, you might want to look for products that contain ingredients like Beta-Alanine and L-Citrulline to get a noticeable effect from the supplement.
Pre-workouts can be beneficial for beginners, intermediate and advanced trainees alike.They can help increase focus, energy levels and endurance during workouts. Although, in my opinion, recovery supplements and post-workout supplements should have a higher priority, just because they can be more effective for your overall performance.
However, it’s important to choose the right one for your fitness goals as well as being aware of potential side effects and what causes them. With the right pre-workout, you can power through your workouts and reach your goals faster by giving your workouts a performance boost.
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