If you want to achieve lean gains and boundless energy during your workouts, a pre-workout supplement is your solution. After all, you can’t become fit and toned if you’re suffering from exhaustion and muscle fatigue. Taken before a workout, the best pre workout powder supplements contain ingredients to boost energy, enhance strength, and increase endurance during exercise.
With all the gimmicks surrounding workout supplements, finding the best pre-workout for your fitness goals can be difficult. While some products are fantastic, others are seriously lacking. How will you know the difference?
The good news is, we’re here to help! In this article, we’re going to walk you through seven of our top picks for the best supplements. We’ll explore what pre-workout supplements are supposed to do, the many myths surrounding pre workout supplements and explain what role the most popular ingredients in these products play. In addition, we’ll provide links to best-selling retailers where you can order the supplements at great prices!
The Top 5 Pre-Workout Supplements
#1. LEAN Pre-Workout Supplement by Transparent Labs
Pumped with all of the great, pre-workout ingredients, Preseries Lean is a fantastic product for men and women. In it, you’ll find energy boosters like caffeine and bioperine as well as classic protein ingredients like Beta-Alanine and Citrulline Malate. It comes in several flavors so that you can choose what tastes best to you.
A range of ingredients including minerals, a protein blend and energizing elements
No artificial sweeteners, colorants or preservatives
Focused on lean muscle mass gain while eliminating fat
Reasonable price: $50 for 30 servings
Developed for men and women
Who Makes It?
Transparent Labs is the maker of Preseries Lean Pre Workout. The company is US based and creates a range of workout supplements including isolated proteins such as Creatine or special bulk formulas.
Things to Consider
To get the full benefits of the Preseries Lean supplement, make sure you take it as directed (and take it when it will be most effective). According to the company, this pre-workout supplement should be taken 20-30 minutes prior to your workout.
Who Should Purchase this Product
Those who are engaging in rigorous physical activity and exercise, such as elite athletes, should consider use of this product. The Preseries Lean can help enhance your performance, replenish your body and help with muscle gains. It offers a comprehensive blend of thyroid support, energy boosters and easily digestible amino acids.
The Bottom Line
This product offers a great blend of ingredients that will help you reach your workout goals. For those who workout to lose weight and increase muscle mass, this is one of the best options.
#2. 4 Gauge: For the Most Effective and Explosive Pre-workout
Easily the best pre-workout for men and women alike, this product is killer. Made from just 8 naturally sourced ingredients such as coconut water, caffeine, red beet and of course staples like L-Citrulline DL-Malate,4 Gauge is one of the best natural pre-workout supplements. This powerhouse of a pre-workout supplement is hard to pass up!
Ingredients from natural sources
Simple, but effective
Well-researched formula – you can find links to studies on their website!
No artificial or synthetic sweeteners
Reasonable price: $45 will get you a can containing 20 servings
Who Makes It?
4 Gauge is made by a company based in England called Roar Ambition. The company specializes in creating a number of supplements. Committed to researching and creating high quality products, Roar Ambition only uses natural ingredients in their formulas. Based on reviews done by several 3rd party websites and testimonials, the company creates fantastic supplements.
Things to Consider
According to the company, the 4 Gauge pre-workout supplement’s effects last between 2 to 4 hours after consumption. That being said, take this supplement 15 to 45 minutes before your workout. You may need to experiment to see when and how much supplement works best for you.
Many customers try the 4 Gauge specifically for the natural ingredients, and rightfully so! Also, while there is only one flavor available, one customer stated that the 4 Gauge is the “best tasting supplement” they’ve ever tried.
Who Should Purchase this Product
Whether you are interested in muscle gains or upping the ante of your endurance, consider the 4 Gauge. Customers with a variety of needs and goals are satisfied with this limited-ingredient product. The 4 Gauge is equipped with several features to give you a better workout, specifically vasodilation to oxygenate your blood. If you want a supplement to help you get to the next level, the 4 Gauge may be the best option for you.
The Bottom Line
For a pre-workout supplement you can count on for quality ingredients and powerful results, give 4 Gauge a try! Remember, sometimes less is more. With 8 quality ingredients, you know exactly what you’re getting with this product, and it shows in the outcomes.
#3. Nitro Surge by Jacked Factory (Maximum Strength Pre-workout)
A nitric oxide booster, this supplement by Jacked Factory can help you achieve your best workout performance ever. The ingredients help increase nitric oxide in the body which essentially improves blood flow. In addition, the supplement contains other ingredients that make it one of the best pre-workout powder products available.
Improves blood flow
Contains important proteins such as Beta Alanine and L-Citrulline
Inexpensive: $25 for 30 servings
Who Makes It?
Jacked Factory is a well-known supplement company. The company produces a wide range of products including testosterone boosters, weight loss supplements, muscle builders, multivitamins, superfood powders and more. Based on the customer reviews, the company offers very high quality, effective products.
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking for the top pre-workout for pump power, consider using this product. You’ll reach new levels in your workouts with increased energy and strength. Available in a variety of fruity flavors, you’re sure to find a Nitrosurge flavor you’ll love.
If you’re looking to amplify your exercise efforts, consider the cost-effective Nitro Surge Shred pre-workout supplement. With L-citrulline, beta alanine and caffeine, you can get energized and bump up your workout performance. This product also contains L-theanine, which has shown to have nerve cell-protective benefits.
Price: $29.99 for 30 servings (that’s only 99 cents per serving!)
Who Makes It
Products from Jacked Factory reappear on this list of the best pre-workout supplements. Aside from the wide array of supplements offered, Jacked Factory is headquartered in the USA where they manufacture all of their products.
Things to Consider
You may be unfamiliar with some ingredients on the label. Sucralose is an artificial sweetener that is safe to consume in certain amounts. Another questionable ingredient to you may be silicon dioxide. This is merely an anti-caking agent. If you are unsure of an ingredient, do your research and look it up. The ingredient may not be as intimidating as it sounds!
Who Should Purchase This Product
Depending on when you are able to work out, you may feel sluggish and tired prior to your workout. If you feel your workouts are being stifled by normal fatigue, you may benefit from taking a pre-workout supplement like this one. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that this item contains caffeine. Current caffeine recommendations suggest that adults limit caffeine consumption to 400mg per day. If you already consume coffee, tea or other caffeine-containing supplements, make sure you add up your daily intake. Excessive caffeine intake can lead to dehydration, jitters, insomnia, high blood pressure, rapid heart rate and eventual fatigue.
The Bottom Line
If you are looking for a pre-workout supplement that can increase your energy with some protective ingredients, consider the Nitro Surge Shred supplement. For those who are new to exercise (i.e. sedentary people and/or beginners), consider waiting on using this supplement until you are more fit. Research shows that some ingredients in this product are not as effective if you are a non-athletic person.
While women can use just about any pre workout supplement, some are better formulated for women than others. Here is one of the best options available for women:
#5. Trail Black Wolf Workout (Powerful All-in-One Workout Formula)
This particular pre-workout for women is packed with fabulous ingredients that go above and beyond the standard. By featuring important vitamins that will help you keep your energy levels up, this supplement sets itself apart.
Contains high quality ingredients such as creatine, Vitamins B6 and B5 and whey protein
Can help you burn fat
Gives you energy
Who Makes It?
Black Wolf is supplied by a company called Wolfson Berg Limited and is based in Cyprus. The brand offers a range of supplements for both men and women. In addition to pre-workout supplements, you can purchase packs of supplements that can help you before, during and after your workouts.
The Bottom Line
This effective supplement may be the best pre-workout for women on the market. The combination of pre-workout ingredients combined with important vitamins make it a great choice. Give it a try!
You’re probably familiar with the advice to eat a lot of healthy carbohydrates before exercising—and for good reason! When you work out, your muscles need energy to work hard and produce results.
Carbohydrates are the muscles’ natural pre-workout fuel, offering energy they can use during and even after your workout.
But often, especially if you’re on a diet or low-carb routine, your body doesn’t have enough extra carbs for fuel. This depletes your drive and motivation during both cardio and strength exercises, and can even cause sluggishness and exhaustion.
Many athletes alternatively find that their carb stores aren’t enough to bulk up and reach their fitness goals. Other people eat too many unhealthy carbs and want a boost of energy to help them power through their workouts and lose weight.
This is where a pre-workout formula comes in. By taking a small dose of carefully-combined ingredients, you can give your body an extra shot of energy and strength to achieve your fitness goals… more effectively and faster than before. This avoids the worry about consuming a pre-workout food before getting started.
Myths Surrounding Pre-Workout Supplements
Because pre-workout formulas are often advertised for male bodybuilders, there are plenty of myths surrounding pre-workout supplements. Some of them run along false assumptions related to gender while other myths are based on outdated information. It is important to note that most of the myths below are completely false. Here are some examples:
1. “Pre-workout supplements are only for men.”
Actually, research shows the opposite to be true! Women especially can take advantage of pre-workout supplements to mildly increase their testosterone levels by building muscle (to increase focus and drive), encourage nitric oxide production to promote blood and oxygen flow, give more power to their muscles, and increase their energy. The best pre workout for women will give you a boost that will take your fitness to the next level.
2. “A pre-workout will give me the jitters.”
This myth is partially true. If you’re sensitive to caffeine or stimulants, some pre workout formulas might indeed give you the jitters. However, if you pick the pre workout supplement for your needs, you can easily avoid this. There are plenty of stimulant free pre workout options to choose from that will still boost your performance.
3. “There are different ingredients in a women’s pre-workout than a men’s pre-workout.”
Most pre-workout supplements apply to both men and women. There are some pre-workouts that apply primarily to men because of their elevated levels of testosterone and creatine, which women don’t necessarily need. But beyond this, don’t be fooled by the “manly” packaging many pre-workouts come in. Not to mention, pre-workout products advertised as “women-specific” are often much pricier for the exact same ingredients! In either case, the pre workout powder options include ingredients that will help you build muscle and achieve lean gains (see our list of recommended supplements for muscle growth). On the other hand, the supplement will give you energy to get through endurance training.
4. “Taking a pre-workout will make me too big.”
Happily, the top pre-workout supplement formulas don’t include steroids, which push your body past its limits to create huge muscles and strength gains. Instead, pre-workouts work with your body to build your muscles or give you energy, depending on your fitness goals. There’s no need for you to worry about becoming The Hulk!
5. “I’m a woman, so I should stay away from a pre-workout with creatine or testosterone in it.”
Of all the ingredients in pre-workout supplements for women, creatine and testosterone are the most controversial. This is because they’re typically considered “manly” hormones. But in actuality, everyone’s body produces them. As long as you’re taking the recommended amount of creatine (5-10 grams/day), it’ll help your muscles grow and give you endurance and focus. You can also enjoy the benefits of increased energy and competitive drive from testosterone. Just make sure there aren’t elevated levels of testosterone in your pre-workout (i.e., your supplement isn’t made for men exclusively).
Important Ingredients in the Best Pre Workout Supplements
Many of the top pre-workout powder products include their own blends and ingredients. Still, there are a few substances you should look for when you’re considering the most effective mix for your needs:
Beta-alanine. Beta-alanine packs one heck of a punch when it comes to keeping your muscles strong and ready to go. Beta-alanine also delays muscle fatigue by promoting the formation of carnosine, which in turn buffers acid build-up in the muscles. That means you’ll be working out a lot harder, and longer, with beta-alanine in your pre-workout for women formula.
Bioperine. Also known as black pepper extract, this natural ingredient helps enhance the other ingredients by promoting increased absorption and usage.
Caffeine. Skip the coffee and take advantage of the caffeine contained in your pre-workout supplement. Caffeine boosts your energy and focus, and several studies have confirmed the positive impact a dose of caffeine can have on your workout. However, as mentioned, if you’re sensitive to caffeine, there are plenty of other options out there that are stimulant free.
Citrulline malate. An amino acid, citrulline helps increase oxygen and blood flow to your muscles. Having this in a women’s pre-workout supplement helps combat muscle fatigue and allows you to work out longer.
Creatine (optional). Creatine is a muscle growth hormone that increases your strength and resistance. It isn’t a must-have for individuals simply looking for a boost to their cardio workouts and endurance, but is helpful for those who want to gain some lean muscle and crush their workouts.
L- arginine. This amino acid helps with vasodilation by initiating the synthesis of nitric oxide (NO). NO works to dilate the blood vessels, encouraging more blood and oxygen delivery to the muscles.
Protein. Protein has a better reputation than creatine, in that it doesn’t include some of the possible side effects such as water retention or bloating. It does, however, act like creatine to enhance muscle growth and increase strength.
The Final Weigh In
You now know what to look for in a pre-workout supplement, how they work and which products you can count on for excellent results. So, it’s time to get to crushing those workouts! Whether you want to increase your endurance, up your strength, build muscle, or something in between, these best pre-workout supplements have you covered.
Do you use one of these pre-workout supplements in your workout routine? Have you tried different options? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
Amanda is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist in Chicago who graduated with a bachelor's in Nutrition from Northern Illinois University. She completed her dietetic internship at Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital in Hines, IL. Amanda has a background in clinical nutrition, nutrition education, and experience working with populations like children, acute care, intensive care, outpatients, and eating disorders. Amanda works with athletes and weight loss clients in the Los Angeles and southwestern Arizona area as a Dietitian. Amanda prides herself in connecting with her audience while providing evidenced-based information for a complex population.