As a woman, you want to get the most out of your workouts. Because working out is hard! And you deserve the best results possible. That’s where a pre-workout for women can be a game changer.
These pre-workout formulas offer the endurance and energy boost you need to take your exercise regimen to the next level–without risking any of the annoying downfalls associated with pre-workouts for men.
The Pre-Workouts for Women We RAVE About
When it comes to fitness supplements, pre-workouts geared toward men can have less-than-appealing side effects when taken by women looking to get amped up before exercising. On the other hand, the best pre workouts for women offer everything women need to step up their athleticism without the downsides.
A good pre workout for women will:
- have slightly lower caffeine
- have slightly less beta alanine
- be less “pump” oriented
- support cardio
- support resistance training
- increase well being
- improve mood
- lower anxiety
So at RAVE, we decided to find the best pre-workout options for women amongst a sea of preworkouts designed for men. We took a look at the latest news and developments in the industry to find an ideal pre workout supplement formulated just for women. In this article we’ve compiled 10 of the very best products on the market.
Before jumping into the rest of our review of the best women’s pre workout supplement products, here’s a handy quick link guide so that you can jump to any section that you’d like:
- What’s the Difference between Men and Women’s Pre-Workout?
- The Problem with Caffeine in Women’s Pre-Workouts
- Pre-Workouts Without Side Effects
- How to Choose the Right Pre-Workout for You
- The Best Women’s Pre-Workout Supplements
- Frequently Asked Questions About Women’s Pre-Workout
What’s the Difference between Men and Women’s Pre-Workout?
We’ve all seen the men’s pre-workout commercials. Greasy abs under spotlights with boulders being tossed in a Herculean fashion just to illustrate the sheer magnitude and power-packed in every scoop of pre-workout powder. Don’t forget the lightning bolts hitting the black pavement for no apparent reason.
Sure, it’s energetic and exciting for the gym bros out there, but it’s a complete turn-off for women. And people find these types of advertisements out of touch.
Most men’s pre-workout mixes pack high doses of caffeine, producing side effects such as jitters, itching, and interrupted sleep. While not beneficial for anyone, these caffeine highs — and subsequent crashes — can be extremely harmful and have detrimental effects in women, leading to poor workouts. That’s the exact opposite of what you want in a pre-workout supplement designed for women.
Despite what we may have grown up associating with pre-workout powders and supplements, most gym-goers and fitness enthusiasts are not all about becoming the next great bodybuilding champion. In which case there’s no reason to invest in a protein-dense bulking formula.
In fact, pre-workout mixes are extremely versatile since they work by giving you an added energy boost before and throughout your workout. They can even help with body slimming and burning body fat. Thus our primary focus in this ranking is pre-workout supplements for women that offer a wide-range of benefits to fitness enthusiasts of all kinds.
For even more options, from sugar-free pre-workouts to organic and keto-friendly pre-workouts, check out our full ranking of the 50 best pre-workout supplements.
The Problem with Caffeine in Women’s Pre-Workouts
Caffeine is the key ingredient in all pre-workout products. It gives you that accelerated kick, the energy drive that doubles the experience and benefit of your workout. But the higher the levels of caffeine, the greater the risk of side effects.
Using more intense pre-workout brands can cause jitters, energy crashes, high blood pressure, chest pain, and even itching.
This is why there are women’s and men’s pre-workout brands. Men’s pre-workout brands tend to include larger doses of caffeine in each serving, which can be dangerous to women’s bodies, especially those who are not used to intense physical training or are not aiming to bulk up fast.
Even if caffeine levels aren’t a problem, it can be dangerous for women to use workout supplements designed specifically for men’s bodies and expectations in the gym.
Pre-Workouts Without Side Effects
Luckily, there are many women-only pre-workout products, such as Powher, Gym Angel, FitMiss, and Athena as well as gender-neutral supplements. While Shifted Premium is our RAVE Review pick for best overall pre-workout product for women, Powher, PreSeries LEAN and 4 Gauge are also among our top picks for slimming and bodybuilding.
Both of these powdered brands are men- and women-friendly and offer a decent caffeine kick, without the dangerous crash associated with overly aggressive doses.
Of course, that does not mean the energy boost is watered down. There’s still plenty of pep in every serving. A pre-workout overdose however, even with all-natural ingredients, can lead to harmful side effects. Always abide by the serving directions on the label to ensure safe use of dietary supplements, especially pre-workout powders.
And when starting a new pre-workout regimen, always start slow and monitor how your body responds. Everyone’s body is different, so experimentation will ultimately yield the highest chances of success.
How to Choose the Right Pre-Workout for You
This list of the top 10 best pre-workout products for women contains supplements for every fitness goal and health endeavor. Though when it comes to choosing the right pre-workout product for you, it’s productive to first decide what you’re looking to achieve through your workouts. Do you want to slim down, build muscle, or maintain your body where it is now?
While some pre-workout products have many general performance benefits, others cater to a specific purpose. Even choosing from this quality list at random won’t do you any favors. Check out the active energy-boosting ingredients, the quantity of caffeine, and the total carbohydrates per serving.
The way a pre-workout mix is concocted directly translates to its purpose and benefits for you. More carbs and amino acids mean more muscle mass, while caffeine and other thermogenic ingredients are better for slimming down.
Ultimately, it comes down to priorities. Consider evaluating these formulas based on the following offerings:
- Muscle building
- Metabolism boosting
Methodology of Ranking
Because there are so many risks with choosing the wrong pre-workout product, it’s essential to have the right criteria when filtering through the “bad apple” brands.
Though every brand advertises the benefits of their particular pre-workout mix for the sake of PR, looking at the ingredients, quantity of caffeine, and total carb count per serving will give you a clear picture of whether it is right for you.
Still, paying attention to the PR jargon is beneficial in discovering the focal point of the product. Is it for cutting fat, growing muscle, or all of the above? It’s also vital to know the side effects of each product, if there are any.
While side effects might not be listed on the website or label itself, they will certainly be noted in individual reviews from customers. With that in mind, here’s our criteria for choosing the best pre-workout products for women:
- Adequate energy-boosting effect: The whole purpose of pre-workout products is to motivate you and help you reach your optimal performance level for fitness workouts. Using energy-efficient and brain-boosting ingredients like caffeine, carbs, vitamins (such as vitamin C), and more, pre-workout mixes gets your muscles and mind stimulated for exercise.
- Caffeine quantity: While the right levels of caffeine can get your brain and body revving in all the right ways, too much caffeine can cause jitters, intense energy crashes, and heart problems. The level of caffeine you need depends on your unique health condition and fitness regimen, but we aimed to only include products with more balanced caffeine doses for women.
- Zero-calorie sweeteners used: It’s best to find a pre-workout mix free of any artificial sweeteners. Stevia and monk fruit are the better alternatives. Artificial sweeteners place a burden on the kidneys, which is the last thing you want to do before a workout.
- Added sugars: The last thing you want to experience during exercise is a sugar rush, let alone a sugar crash post workout. Sugar is great for sporadic energy boosts, and your body needs it to stay in balance, but natural sugars such as those from fruits are the way to go.
- Total carbs per serving: Carbohydrates also play an important role in getting your body stimulated for running, lifting, squatting, or whatever your exercise goals may entail. Pre-workout can help you either bulk up muscles or slim down fat depending on the amount of carbs and protein.
- Dyes or coloring used: Some of these protein powders come in a variety of colors. Colored supplement powder is nothing unusual but can be harmful if the color is artificial. Make sure the colors in your pre-workout mix are natural, since artificial dyes have been tied to health risks.
- Specific purpose (slimming or bulking): This criteria depends entirely on your wants and needs. Most pre-workout products specify whether they are designed for bodybuilding or slimming right on the package or the website.
- Taste: This factor might seem superficial compared to the criteria listed above, but if the pre-workout product doesn’t taste good, it’s unlikely you’ll use it much. Taste and smell play a big role in whether we like or dislike products, and the better a pre-workout mixes taste, the more likely you are to use them and get your money’s worth.
The Best Pre Workout for Women
Alani Nu Pre-Workout
Alani Nu is a trusted brand that has put out a sparse but good entry level pre-workout.
Our biggest criticism of Alani Nu and why it is not #1 is the sparseness of effective ingredients. When you compare to our #1 pick Shifted, you can really see the difference. Shifted has more and better ingredients to improve strength, body composition, recovery and mood.
Positive reviews on Amazon mention excellent flavor options, and that resulting energy levels remain consistent throughout the day. 4G of l-citrulline (it’s listed as 6g of citrulline malate but only 4g of citrulline malate is the effective ingredient l-citrulline) and 500mg of L-Tyrosine help to keep mental calm in stressful situations. L-theanine also helps smooth out the caffeine throughout strenuous workouts.
Alani Nu earns customer loyalties by providing great transparency and the promise of quality. Their formulas are manufactured in a GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) compliant facility. The Alani Nu Pre Workout powder contains zero proprietary blends (which are often used to obscure dosing and ingredient information), so that customers know exactly what they’re consuming with each scoop.
Alani Nu Pre Workout as a good basic pre-workout option for women looking to avoid the drastic ups and downs of energy-based blends.
- Contains L-carnitine for supporting fat metabolism
- Well-balanced caffeine and electrolyte doses
- For all fitness needs
- Uses artificial sweeteners
- Beta-alanine tingles can be a nuisance
NLA Uplift is a tasty pre-workout mix that aims to cover all the bases from losing fat to defining muscle in the right places. Uplift’s Cherry Limeade, Guava Passion, and Raspberry Lemonade flavors are the cherry on top of the effective performance-boosting concoction and strong enough to ramp up your energy without excessive amounts of caffeine.
Like the rest of us, Uplift finds jitters and a bad energy crash during a workout highly undesirable. NLA’s NOOTropic Brain and Body Potentiators Complex is a proprietary blend of ingredients that works to nourish your mind as well as your body with cognitive enhancers that help improve focus during workouts.
The supplement’s muscle-building compounds are purported to reduce catabolism and increase anabolism during workouts. This means you can more effectively tone and condition your body while hanging onto the muscle you’ve worked hard to build.
Uplift’s ingredients also include L-carnitine as well as amino acids such as beta-alanine, lysine, glycine, arginine, isoleucine, valine, and others which can be found on NLA’s website. The company recommends taking one to three scoops of Uplift for an effective “mentality makeover.”
- Versatile muscle-activating formula
- Great fruity taste
- Cognitive enhancers
- Contains proprietary blends
- Limited info on sweeteners
Angry Supplements Monster Girl, Women’s Pre-Workout
The Monster Girl Women’s Workout + Recovery by Angry Supplements are made in the USA and is GMP certified for your safety. If you’re looking for a great workout experience, these Monster Girl workout supplements are for you, providing vitamin B6, caffeine, garcinia Cambogia, guarana extra, and ginseng, providing you with more energy, focus, endurance, and weight loss with less fatigue. It also contains appetite suppressants, such as Apple Cider Vinegar and Yerba Mate.
If you are looking for the ultimate fat burner, Monster Girl will help you break down those pesky carbs and regulate blood sugar levels, as well as curb your appetite. Use this supplement to complement your healthy lifestyle to get to a healthy weight and into shape fast.
- Lasts longer than energy drinks
- Great for high-intensity workouts
- Very affordable
- Caused heartburn for some
- No more energy than coffee provides for some
- Simply did not work for some
RSP Nutrition AminoLean
While this pre-workout product is male and female-friendly, there’s no denying the fact that it’s the best mix for women looking to slim down and get lean. One of the best things about RSP’s Amino Lean is that it lists the amounts of both the active ingredients and inactive ingredients (e.g. sweeteners and flavoring) on their product labels.
What makes this great for weight loss? It contains no carbs, sugar, or calories! In addition, it is gluten-free, making this a clean product if you are dieting. If you need an all-encompassing supplement that provides weight loss, as well as the energy you need to complete your workouts, this is suitable for women and menfolk, making this a great addition to the cabinets of couples who workout together.
Each serving of Amino Lean has 125mg of caffeine derived from Green Tea Extract. For an extra boost without all the jitters, you can take 1-3 servings to get your desired level of energy that is right for you! It comes in five awesome flavors, too!
- Vegan friendly and gluten free
- Full-label transparency
- Best for slimming
- Not enough caffeine for workout advantage for some
- Not ideal for building muscle
- Some did not enjoy the taste
Truth Nutrition Vegan BCAA Powder
Truth Nutrition’s Vegan BCAA is designed to help you “build lean muscle and keep lean muscle.” It’s made with the clinically studied 2:1:1 ratio of leucine, isoleucine, and valine, which mimics the ratio of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) found naturally in skeletal muscle tissue.
This supplement is unique on our list in that it’s not strictly for pre-workout: You can drink it before, during, or after your gym session. Sexy BCAA includes coconut water with added electrolytes to help you power through your training and recover quickly afterward.
Truth Nutrition’s Vegan BCAA powder has an all-natural fruit flavor that is pleasant, leaving no unwanted taste that is often masked by excessive sweeteners. This supplement is 100% natural for healthier results. It’s dairy-free, non-GMO, and gluten-free, caffeine-free, and contains zero carbs.
- 2:1:1 ratio of BCAAs
- Clean and chemical-free
- No muscle soreness
- Not technically a pre-workout supplement
- Flavor is too sweet for some
Genius Muscle Builder
This one is for the power pushers. If you’re looking to bulk up and get your swole on, The Genius Muscle Builder is the way to go. It’s no surprise that this pre-workout product is made for both men and women, but this is one of those rare circumstances where the road to the goal is nearly the same.
The Genius Muscle Builder optimizes muscle strength by scientifically developing a supplement designed to support muscle growth, enhances lean muscle mass, and supports long-term, healthy results. You will also increase your strength, as well as create your ideal physique.
As your body ages, often muscle mass is the first to deteriorate; however, (particularly after 40), you may need a little boost. Let the Genius Muscle Builder Anabolic Growth Optimizer help you rebuild and regain your strength without altering your hormone function.
The Genius Muscle Builder contains PeakO2™ (Cordyceps militaris), Reishi (Gandoerma lucidum), King Trumpet (Pleurotus eryngii), Shiitake (Lentinula edodes), Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus), Turkey Tail (Tramete versicolor), Mediator® (Phosphatidic Acid 50%), MyoeDge™ Calcium ß-Hydroxy ß-methylbutyrate (HMB), Vitamin D (as Cholecalciferol), Citric Acid, Natural Flavors, Stevia Leaf Extract, Silica, Beet Root, making this the ideal supplement for true athletes.
While this formula represents one of the most expensive options on our ranking, we believe this incredibly unique and powerful formula justifies the price tag.
- Great for building muscle
- Yields great results
- More expensive
- Not exclusive to women
Catalyst Pre Workout Supplement
With ingredients like 2 grams of Creapure creatine and 3.2 grams of CarnoSyn beta-alanine to promote gains in power, strength, endurance, and muscle growth, Catalyst is the pre-workout supplement of choice for hard-core trainers.
Each serving contains 25 calories (from 6 grams of natural sugar) and 175 milligrams of caffeine anhydrous. In addition, Catalyst also contains antioxidant-rich grape seed extract, Nitrosigine, L-citrulline, taurine, B vitamins, and key electrolytes.
Catalyst, like any good sport-focused pre-workout mix, is certified by NSF Sport, making it safe for use by athletes and those who want to perform their best in the gym. However, reviewers say Catalyst is also a great pre-workout for beginners. So with a middle-range price tag, consider this formula if you want to elevate your strength-building game.
- Certified by NSF Sport
- Great for athletes and high-intensity workouts
- Promotes strength and endurance
- Might be too much for beginners
- Not ideal for slimming down
- 6 grams of sugar per serving
Nutricost Pre-Workout Powder for Women
The Nutricost Pre-Workout Powder for Women was specifically created to meet the needs of a woman’s body. If you are looking for that extra boost to complete your workout, give this a try! The strawberry flavor tastes good and it is Non-GMO and gluten-free.
This pre-workout supplement is easy and convenient – just mix in one scoop per day with a 6 -10 ounce glass of water. Ingredients include Vitamin B1 (as Thiamine Mononitrate), Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B6, Folate, Vitamin B12, Citrulline Malate 2:1, Taurine, Arginine AKG 2:1, L-Ornithine HCl, Betaine Anhydrous, Agmatine Sulfate, N-Acetyl Tyrosine, L-Theanine, Caffeine Anhydrous, L-Norvaline, BioPerine, Natural & Artificial Flavors, Tartaric Acid, Calcium Silicate, Silicon Dioxide, Sucralose, Acesulfame K, Red #40.
The 12.24-ounce jar yields 30 servings and is GMP compliant. Please note the following disclaimer, “Beta-Alanine may produce a slight flushing and/or prickly sensation which is harmless and will subside within hours of use.”
- Great flavor
- Long-lasting burn without jitters for most
- Caused jitters in some
- Very sweet
- Caused hot and flushed feeling for some
Gym Angel: Energy Angel
With 225 milligrams of caffeine in each serving, Gym Angel’s Energy Angel is another high-octane pre-workout supplement for women. There are no fillers, creatine, or artificial colors in this formula. Just natural ingredients like vitamin C, amino acids, and electrolytes.
Energy Angel is fast-acting and focused on giving fitness-oriented women an intense, high-energy workout, minus the crash. Better yet, this product promotes and stimulates “muscle pumps” with its nitric oxide boosting ingredients that keep you going strong for hours on end. That is until it’s time to konk out on your pillow.
While other blends are low in carbohydrates, Energy Angel is free of carbs and artificial food dyes. Some reviewers aren’t over the moon about its taste though, and those with a gluten or peanut allergy should steer clear.
- Great for high-intensity training
- Kicks in quickly
- No artificial colors or carbs
- Contains wheat and peanuts
- Unpleasant taste
FAQ: How to Maximize the Beneficial Effects of Your Pre-Workout Supplement
So you have a good idea concerning the best pre-workout products for women, but you still have some lingering questions. Fear not! in this section, we will endeavor to answer common questions and remove some popular misconceptions.
By the end, you should be fully prepared to make the most out of the pre-workout formula that you choose!
What’s the Deal with Beta-Alanine?
Beta-alanine is what’s known as a non-essential amino acid, meaning that it’s produced naturally in the human body. Pre-workout supplement makers often include beta-alanine in their formulas, as it aids in the production of carnosine.
Carnosine is a compound that’s been linked to increased athletic performance in high-intensity, high-endurance workouts. The issue is that beta-alanine is one of the more problematic ingredients for women.
It can causing an itchy, tingling feeling in the body and/or skin. So instead, women may want to consider getting a natural dose beta alanine and carnosine from meat, fish, and poultry.
What Makes A Good Pre-Workout for Women?
We used to recommend taking half a dose of normal pre-workouts because most pre-workouts were made for men who tend to have bigger bodies. With caffeine and beta-alanine, what would make men feel driven would make women feel jittery and tingly.
The good news is that now some pre-workouts are coming in with lighter doses of caffeine and beta-alanine and these are perfect for women. In general, a pre workout for women should have 150-250mg of caffeine, 1-2g of beta-alanine, and 4-6g of L-citrulline as a good foundation.
What’s the best time to take a women’s pre-workout?
You should take your pre-workout supplements 20 to 30 minutes before your workout. However, it takes about 30 minutes for caffeine to be fully absorbed (on an empty stomach) into the body and up to 12 hours for most of it to be eliminated. That said, if you plan on a heavy workout before bed, you might want to look for a stimulant-free pre-workout powder.
Speaking of that, the other ingredients in pre-workouts all have different half lives so they all kick in at slightly different times. L-Citrulline for example peaks around 40 minutes into your workout and is pretty much flushed out of your system within 3 hours. Nitrates on the other hand, don’t fully kick in for 2 hours are better suited for endurance sports.
Also, it’s important to note that a pre-workout supplement is not a replacement for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Always be sure to eat something (preferably lean proteins and complex carbs) an hour or two before your workout unless you are trying to lose weight through a fasted workout.
High doses of caffeinated pre-workout supplements can cause stomach aches, but so can not eating before a workout. The most poignant advice here is to experiment with your routines in order to find something that works best for your personally.
How Often Should I Use Pre-Workout Supplements?
Feel free to take pre-workout every day before your exercise routine. It’s not advised to take pre-workout supplements more than twice a day, and you should make sure that the doses are many hours apart (e.g., early morning and late afternoon). You don’t want to load your body up with too much caffeine in one day or in a short period of time.
Also, be mindful of caffeine you consume from other foods and drinks, especially coffee and energy drinks. All of that counts in addition to the caffeine in your pre-workout supplement. Most adult women should consume no more than 400 mg of caffeine per day.
The best scenario, for those who like to get two workouts in a day (not many of us), would be to take a morning run and do a more intense workout in the evening, or vice versa. This way, the workouts are spread out enough so your body can be nourished with a couple meals before taking a second dose of pre-workout supplements.
Additionally, don’t forget to hydrate beyond what you drink for your pre-workout. If you become dehydrated during or after your workout, your kidneys could become overtaxed by ingredient-rich formulas of your pre-workout formula.
Do All Pre-Workouts Use Natural Ingredients?
If you find a pre-workout supplement mix that uses tons of artificial ingredients and sweeteners/added sugars, it’s best to steer clear. Your body is already hyped up on caffeine and other energizing ingredients before and during your workout; the last thing you want is a sugar crash.
Artificial colors and sweeteners may not be a deal breaker for everyone. After all, we eat foods with artificial colors all the time.
But artificial colors in high volumes can be dangerous to your health, so it’s best to be educated about what you’re consuming. If you are concerned about the levels of artificial ingredients in a pre workout supplement product, contact the company through their website.
Are There Any Dangerous Side Effects to Using Pre-Workouts?
There are a number of dangerous side effects regarding the use of cheap pre-workout products as well as the abuse of quality varieties. While all the products listed above are reportedly free of side effects, some users of products that contain beta-alanine and caffeine experience slight tingles and jitters when taken in large doses — though these side effects are generally harmless.
There are some Internet anecdotes about pre-workouts causing liver problems but there is no good science backing this up. Still, it is important to stay hydrated and probably not a bad idea to take a a day or two off every week for your body to recuperate.
It’s important to pay attention to the directions when it comes to how many scoops are a safe serving. It might be tempting to take extra pre-workout supplements in the hopes of seeing faster or more dramatic results, but like all supplements and drugs, it doesn’t work that way. You have to do the work to see the results you want, and it takes patience.
Abusing and overusing pre-workout supplements might seem like no big deal, but it can undoubtedly have negative effects on your body, just like any drug overdose.
What are the specific benefits of pre workout supplements for women?
Pre-workouts supplements are multi-ingredient products and their benefits come down to the included ingredients. Most pre-workouts provide the following benefits: more energy, more endurance, better blood flow.
Some pre-workouts have ingredients to improve your mood. Others have ingredients to improve strength. Still others help with body composition and weight loss (thermogenic).
Can a pre-workout supplement drink help with performance in women’s sports?
Yes, absolutely. Any women’s sport that requires high-intensity bursts of energy, endurance or sustained exertion will see performance benefits from a pre-workout supplement.
Which women’s sports benefit the most from a pre-workout supplement?
We have seen performance enhancing benefits in the following women’s sports: volleyball, field hockey, softball, track and field, running, sprinting, basketball, soccer, lacrosse, CrossFit competitions and weightlifting.
Where demanding strenuous physical activity is the norm, a pre workout supplement may provide benefits.
What Is the Overall Best Pre Workout For Women?
Our choice for the best overall pre workout supplement for women is Shifted Premium, for its focus on total body improvement as well as mood enhancement and using all-natural ingredients. Despite having no dyes and minimal sweetener, Shifted Premium still tastes amazing!
The delicate balance of energizing ingredients, mood enhancers, anti-fatigue and mind-clearing and focusing components make Shifted Premium a great pre-workout mix for both serious trainers and beginner fitness pre-gamers. It has set a new standard in women’s pre-workout products.
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