In search of a good pre-workout to jump-start your workouts? Congratulations—you’ve graduated to the next level!

Maybe you’ve hit a plateau, or maybe you’re getting into your workouts and simply running out of energy halfway through. Then again, maybe you’re just ready to pack on some size.

But before we get too #swole, there’s a few things you should know.

THE RAVE PICK

KAGED, KAGED preworkout

The Muscle Pre-Kaged offers the right proportions of the right stuff: caffeine, aminos, & natural sweeteners and coloring.

Shop Kaged Muscle

What exactly goes into a pre-workout supplement?

One of the first things you’ll notice that almost all pre-workouts have in common is the almighty caffeine!

This is for good reason. Caffeine is best-known as a stimulant that can supercharge not only your energy levels but also your mental focus and acuity, helping you tackle tough tasks longer.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Caffeine also boosts your metabolism, which aids in fat burning, and it also helps your body break down fat stores, release them into the bloodstream, and convert them into energy. Unless you’re looking for a stimulant-free product, be sure to check for caffeine!

 

Another key ingredient in many pre-workout formulas is amino acids, and this is where things can get confusing.

There are lots of them, some of them are “essential” (they can only be obtained through diet), some of them “nonessential” (the body can synthesize them itself), many of them have weird names, and they all play different roles. Some common ones to look out for in pre-workout supplements are the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs): leucine, iso-leucine, and valine.

They are best taken together rather than in isolation, and the typical ratio is 2:1:1.

But there are other aminos you’ll commonly find in pre-workouts.

Beta-alanine is one, and its role is to stave off oxidative stress, which leads to fatigue. Add beta-alanine, and you could add a few more sets to your workout.

Another is citrulline malate, which plays a number of roles. It increases blood flow to the muscles, reduces toxins in the blood, increases aerobic energy, and can be converted to arginine.

You’ll also come across taurine, a workhorse that controls muscle contractions, regulates body fluids, and more.

Finally, creatine can be an important ingredient, depending on your goals.

Creatine has been a staple supplement for decades, and for good reason. It is cheap, it works, and it has no negative side effects. It is found naturally in grass-fed beef, eggs, and wild-caught fish, and it can be easily synthesized.

It is also produced naturally in the body. In a nutshell, creatine promotes the circulation of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, which causes your muscles to contract. If you want to build muscle, be sure to incorporate creatine into your routine.

What are the best pre workout supplements out there?

A good general pre-workout should do two things: get you going and keep you going.

And that means two things: caffeine and aminos.

If that’s what you’re looking for, check out our best overall pre-workouts below. But one size doesn’t fit all, so we’ve also included the top three pre-workouts in several categories, including the following:

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In order to arrive at our final rankings, we scoured the market for important factors such as key ingredients, customer satisfaction, and price per serving to give you a head start on finding the best pre-workout for you . . . and for your goals!

  1. Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged

    Pre-Kaged was developed out of a dissatisfaction with other brands’ pre-workouts — the right ingredients, the wrong doses; the wrong ingredients, the wrong doses; missing ingredients; and so on.

    So Kaged set out to develop its own pre-workout drink with just the right proportions of the right stuff, such as caffeine, aminos, and natural sweeteners and coloring. Pre-Kaged revolves around its approach to the mind-muscle connection.

    It promotes adrenaline, focus, energy, and positive aggression, which supports prolonged, physical intensity. It also features BCAAs in a proven 2:1:1 ratio. Currently it is available in fruit punch and krisp apple flavors.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Caffeine
    • Amount of caffeine: 274mg
    • Sweeteners used: Stevia, sucralose
    • Total carbs per serving: 3g
    • Dyes or coloring used: Beet root extract
    • Other functional ingredients: L-citrulline, aminos, beta-alanine, L-tyrosine, N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine, Taurine

    Energy Boost97%
    Ingredient Quality95%
    Taste94%
    Value96%
    Pros
    • Good taste
    • No artificial coloring
    • 2:1:1 BCAA ratio
    Cons
    • Artificial sweetener
    • No creatine
    • Limited flavor options
    95.5%Rave Meter
    Shop Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged
  2. Jacked NitroSurge

    NitroSurge is a scientifically dosed, maximum strength pre-workout supplement delivering everything you need for next-level workouts and next-level results.

    Feel a surge of energy, strength gains, enhanced focus, endless endurance, and powerful pumps. In addition to being a powerful pre-workout, it also promotes fat-burning and muscle-building.

    Key ingredients in this preworkout drink include L-Citrulline, Betaine Anhydrous, Beta Alanine, Caffeine, Theanine, and more. Nitrosurge helps promote elevated nitric oxide (NO) levels and blood flow to the muscles to maximize pumps, enhance endurance, boost strength, and fuel muscle growth.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Caffeine
    • Quantity of caffeine: 180mg
    • Sweeteners used: Sucralose, acesulfame potassium
    • Total carbs per serving: N/A
    • Dyes or coloring used: Fruit and vegetable juice
    • Other functional ingredients: Beta-alanine, L-citrulline

    Energy Boost94%
    Ingredient Quality96%
    Taste94%
    Value96%
    Pros
    • No artificial coloring
    • Nitrous-oxide boost
    • Promotes fat loss
    Cons
    • Artificial sweeteners
    • No creatine
    • Low caffeine dose
    95%Rave Meter
    Shop Jacked NitroSurge
  3. Jym Pre-Jym

    Pre-Jym hit the market with the intention to revolutionize the category. It features thirteen hand-picked ingredients included at full doses, and it bills itself as the most effective pre-workout supplement ever developed.

    It’s built on solid science, years of study, and decades of professional experience. JYM Supplement Science founder Jim Stoppani, PhD, has this to say about his creation: “I wanted to give my friends, colleagues, all of you, and myself the ability to access, in one bottle, the best ingredients in the exact doses suggested to help build lean muscle, torch body fat, improve strength, and boost speed.”

    It is currently available in popular flavors such as cherry limeade, orange mango, raspberry lemonade, and strawberry kiwi.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Caffeine, taurine
    • Quantity of caffeine: 300mg
    • Sweeteners used: Sucralose, acesulfame potassium
    • Total carbs per serving: 4g
    • Dyes or coloring used: Fruit and vegetable juice
    • Other functional ingredients: Creatine, beta-alanine, aminos

    Energy Boost100%
    Ingredient Quality95%
    Taste90%
    Value94%
    Pros
    • High caffeine content
    • No artificial coloring
    • Contains creatine
    Cons
    • Artificial sweeteners
    • Expensive
    • Lower taste rating
    94.8%Rave Meter
    Shop Jym Pre-Jym
  4. Evlution ENGN

    ENGN supports increased energy, power, and focus through its blend of caffeine, creatine, beta-alanine, and a Mind-to-Muscle proprietary blend of betaine, L-tyrosine, and extracts.

    ENGN has been shown to support cognitive function, enhance mood, expand muscle endurance, and delay fatigue. It provides intense energy, maximum focus, and explosive power for your heavy workouts.

    Users praise ENGN’s taste; it is available in Furious Grape, watermelon, fruit punch, green apple, Blue Raz, Orange Dream, cherry limeade, and pink lemonade.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Caffeine
    • Quantity of caffeine: 300mg
    • Sweeteners used: Sucralose, acesulfame potassium
    • Total carbs per serving: N/A
    • Dyes or coloring used: Various FD&C colors
    • Other functional ingredients: Creatine

    Energy Boost97%
    Ingredient Quality90%
    Taste94%
    Value97%
    Pros
    • Creatine
    • Good taste
    • High caffeine content
    Cons
    • Artificial sweeteners
    • Artificial coloring
    • No citrulline
    94.5%Rave Meter
    Shop Evlution ENGN
  5. Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy

    Optimum Nutrition’s Amino Energy is a standard-bearer in the world of pre-workouts. Its primary features are caffeine, derived from natural green coffee beans and green tea, and essential branched chain amino acids.

    Caffeine gets you going right away, and BCAAs support muscle endurance during your workouts. It is offered in a wide range of flavors, including not just fruit flavors such as blue raspberry, blueberry lemonade, grape, green apple, lemon lime, strawberry lime, and watermelon, but also coffee flavors such as iced café vanilla and mocha cappuccino.

    One serving includes 5 grams of BCAAs and 100mg of caffeine. It can also be used as an energy booster at any time of the day—not just pre-workout!

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Caffeine
    • Quantity of caffeine: 200mg
    • Sweeteners used: Sucralose, acesulfame potassium
    • Total carbs per serving: 1g
    • Dyes or coloring used: Various FD&C colors
    • Other functional ingredients: BCAAs

    Energy Boost97%
    Ingredient Quality90%
    Taste89%
    Value100%
    Pros
    • Affordable
    • Multiple flavors
    • 2:1:1 BCAA ratio
    Cons
    • Artificial sweeteners
    • Artificial colors
    • Low taste rating
    94%Rave Meter
    Shop Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy
  6. Scivation Xtend

    Scivation’s XTEND is the best-selling pre-workout mix on the market. One serving offers 7 grams of BCAAs in a 2:1:1 ratio, and it also includes glutamine and citrulline malate. XTEND also includes an electrolyte blend, which supports workout endurance.

    XTEND is sugar-free and carb-free, so it has just what you need and nothing you don’t. World-class athletes, champion fighters, elite bodybuilders, and weight training enthusiasts of varying types all use XTEND during their workouts in order to train longer, harder, and with more intensity.

    It has been shown to facilitate both fat loss and new muscle construction and supports muscle recovery long after your workout is over.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: N/A
    • Amount of caffeine: N/A
    • Sweeteners used: Sucralose, acesulfame potassium
    • Total carbs per serving: 0
    • Dyes or coloring used: Various FD&C colors
    • Other functional ingredients: Citruline malate and other amino acids

    Energy Boost95%
    Ingredient Quality90%
    Taste91%
    Value98%
    Pros
    • 2:1:1 BCAA ratio
    • Contains citrulline
    • Affordable
    Cons
    • Artificial sweeteners
    • Artificial coloring
    • No creatine
    93.5%Rave Meter
    Shop Scivation Xtend
  7. GAT Nitraflex

    GAT Nitraflex is a clinically tested, high-intensity pre-workout designed to increase energy, alertness, strength, stamina, pumps and free testosterone during workouts.

    It delivers fast, explosive training results for a more powerful body, including energy, stamina, Nitric Oxide (NO) and testosterone levels. Key ingredients include L-Citrulline malate, L-Arginine, L-Arginine Alpha-ketoglutarate (AKG) amino acids and Calcium Fructoborate (CFB), a natural, high potency form of Boron which has been shown to support free testosterone.

    It is available in blue raspberry, black cherry, green apple, watermelon, fruit punch, orange, pineapple, and pina colada.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Caffeine, N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine
    • Amount of caffeine: 325mg
    • Sweeteners used: Sucralose, acesulfame potassium
    • Total carbs per serving: N/A
    • Dyes or coloring used: Various FD&C colors
    • Other functional ingredients: Citrulline, beta-alinine

    Energy Boost100%
    Ingredient Quality90%
    Taste91%
    Value90%
    Pros
    • High caffeine content
    • Multiple flavors
    • Contains fat-burning ingredients
    Cons
    • Artificial sweeteners
    • Artificial colors
    • Expensive
    92.8%Rave Meter
    Shop GAT Nitraflex
  8. BSN N.O.-Xplode

    BSN’s N.O.-Xplode is a classic pre-workout that features an aggressive and focus-inducing caffeine dose of 275mg. Other important ingredients include creatine and beta-alanine.

    It was first launched in 2004 and has been popular in the gym ever since. Users are fans of its taste and mixability and its ability to power long workouts and help them break through plateaus. It supports not just physical energy but mental energy as well, a crucial component to any successful workout.

    N.O.-Xplode is available in flavors such as fruit punch, blue raz, grape, green apple, and watermelon, and it is recommended to be taken twenty to thirty minutes prior to your workout.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Caffeine
    • Quantity of caffeine: 275mg
    • Sweeteners used: Sucralose, acesulfame potassium
    • Total carbs per serving: 5g
    • Dyes or coloring used: Various FD&C colors
    • Other functional ingredients: Creatine, taurine, beta-alanine, citruline malate

    Energy Boost97%
    Ingredient Quality90%
    Taste85%
    Value97%
    Pros
    • Classic formula
    • Affordable
    • High caffeine content
    Cons
    • Artificial sweeteners
    • Artificial coloring
    • Low taste rating
    92.2%Rave Meter
    Shop for BSN N.O.-Xplode
  9. Cellucor C4 Original

    No ranking of pre-workouts would be complete without C4, a classic supplement found in gyms across the country.

    C4 promotes explosive energy, heightened focus, and an overwhelming urge to tackle any challenge. It is popular among beginning bros and advanced competitive strength athletes alike. It is consistently one of the best-selling pre-workouts in the country, and it features a classic formula for advanced energy, endurance, focus, and pumps.

    Its most recent formulation features additional flavor options, such as fruit punch, green apple, Icy Blue Razz, Orange Burst, pink lemonade, strawberry margarita, and watermelon. C4 is available in a number of specialized versions as well, such as Sport, Ripped, Extreme Energy, and Ultimate.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Caffeine, velvet bean seed extract, N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine
    • Quantity of caffeine: 150mg
    • Sweeteners used: Sucralose, acesulfame potassium
    • Total carbs per serving: N/A
    • Dyes or coloring used: Various FD&C colors
    • Other functional ingredients: Beta-alanine, creatine, arginine

    Energy Boost94%
    Ingredient Quality93%
    Taste85%
    Value96%
    Pros
    • Classic formula
    • Affordable
    • Contains creatine
    Cons
    • Artificial sweeteners
    • Artificial coloring
    • Low taste rating
    92%Rave Meter
    Shop for Cellucor C4 Original
  10. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout

    Another pre-workout from nutrition supplement juggernaut Optimum Nutrition, Gold Standard Pre-Workout is a newcomer to its lineup and supports amplified energy, focus, and enhanced endurance for your workout.

    In addition to caffeine, Gold Standard also includes 375 mg of Acetyl-L-Carnitine HCI, 250 mg of N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine, and a proprietary Muscle Matrix including 25 mg of AstraGIN®.

    Flavors include blueberry lemonade, fruit punch, green apple, pineapple, strawberry lime, and watermelon. Other crucial ingredients include creatine and beta-alanine, classic strength supplements in the gym.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Caffeine, Acetyl-L-Carnitine HCI
    • Quantity of caffeine: 175mg
    • Sweeteners used: Sucralose, acesulfame potassium
    • Total carbs per serving: 1g
    • Dyes or coloring used: N/A
    • Other functional ingredients: Creatine, citruline malate, beta-alanine

    Energy Boost94%
    Ingredient Quality90%
    Taste83%
    Value97%
    Pros
    • Contains creatine
    • Extensive flavor options
    • Affordable
    Cons
    • Low taste rating
    • Artificial sweeteners
    • Lower caffeine content
    91%Rave Meter
    Shop for Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout
  11. BONUS! Sleep and coffee

    We fully support—and in many cases encourage—the use of pre-workout supplements to supercharge your workouts . . . as long as they are viewed as supplements to an established and balanced routine of good nutrition, hydration, activity, and rest.

    If you don’t have these things down, you can’t supplement your way to the results you want. For some people, the best place to start is with a good night’s sleep, which works wonders for muscle recovery, hormone regulation, and energy levels, and a cup of coffee before you hit the gym.

    In case you haven’t noticed, a common denominator in nearly all pre-workout supplements is good, old-fashioned caffeine. So if you’re just getting started, start with the basics: get some sleep, have a cup of coffee, and hit the gym!

BEST PRE-WORKOUT SUPPLEMENTS FOR MEN

Men and women both benefit from some of the classic pre-workout ingredients such as caffeine and aminos. But men thrive on testosterone, and our best pre-workouts for men include extra ingredients proven to boost free-flowing testosterone.

  1. GAT Nitraflex

    GAT Nitraflex’s lab-tested formula is an excellent choice for the male strength athlete. Not only is it designed to increase alertness and intraworkout stamina, but it also promotes the circulation of free testosterone during your workouts.

    325mg of caffeine jumpstarts the process, and Nitraflex is also popular for its quick delivery of nitric oxide to the circulatory system.

    This promotes the pump that guys seek, and other ingredients such as L-Citrulline malate, L-Arginine, L-Arginine Alpha-ketoglutarate (AKG) amino acids, and Calcium Fructoborate (CFB) combine to promote a truly legendary product.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Caffeine, N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine
    • Quantity of caffeine: 325mg
    • Sweeteners used: Sucralose, acesulfame potassium
    • Total carbs per serving: N/A
    • Dyes or coloring used: Various FD&C colors
    • Other functional ingredients: Citrulline, beta-alinine

    Energy Boost100%
    Ingredient Quality95%
    Taste91%
    Value90%
    Pros
    • High caffeine content
    • Multiple flavors
    • Contains fat-burning ingredients
    Cons
    • Artificial sweeteners
    • Artificial colors
    • Expensive
    94%Rave Meter
    Shop for GAT Nitraflex
  2. Betancourt B-NOX Androrush

    B-NOX Androrush is one of the innovators in the men’s pre-workout category. It was one of the first supplements to combine testosterone-boosting ingredients with classic pre-workout ingredients to meet the unique needs of male strength athletes.

    Its ability to promote focus and intensity has made it famous. From the beginning, it has been engineered, manufactured, and tested in a cGMP certified facility.

    The testosterone-boosting blend enhances aggression and pump, and its intense energy formula consisting of N-Acetyl Tyrosine, Glucuronolactone, Caffeine Anhydrous, and Theobromine is one of the strongest on the market.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Caffeine, theobromine
    • Quantity of caffeine: N/A
    • Sweeteners used: Sucralose
    • Total carbs per serving: 12g
    • Dyes or coloring used: Various FD&C colors
    • Other functional ingredients: Beta-alanine, aminos, creatine

    Energy Boost95%
    Ingredient Quality90%
    Taste85%
    Value92%
    Pros
    • Testosterone-boosting ingredients
    • Contains creatine
    • High caffeine content
    Cons
    • Artificial sweeteners
    • Artificial coloring
    • Expensive
    90.5%Rave Meter
    Shop for Betancourt B-NOX Androrush
  3. Transparent Labs BULK

    BULK was developed with one goal in mind: to be the best bulking pre-workout on the market. Its key ingredients, all backed by published scientific research, are included at clinically effective dosages and contain zero colored dyes, unnecessary fillers, or harmful additives.

    Transparent Labs prides itself on complete transparency and no “proprietary blends” of anything. Men in particular will benefit from a testosterone-supporting complex of vitamin D3, boron, and zinc.

    It is an excellent supplement for gaining size and increasing muscle mass. As a pre-workout, it also contains caffeine and other nitric oxide-boosting ingredients.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Caffeine
    • Quantity of caffeine: 180mg
    • Sweeteners used: Stevia
    • Total carbs per serving: N/A
    • Dyes or coloring used: N/A
    • Other functional ingredients: Citrulline malate, beta-alanine, aminos

    Energy Boost94%
    Ingredient Quality92%
    Taste80%
    Value91%
    Pros
    • Testosterone-boosting complex
    • Sweetened with Stevia only
    • No artificial ingredients
    Cons
    • Low taste rating
    • Lower caffeine rating
    • Expensive
    89.7%Rave Meter
    Shop for Transparent Labs BULK

BEST PRE-WORKOUT SUPPLEMENTS FOR WOMEN

Women have unique pre-workout needs as well. Testosterone-boosting ingredients are obviously unnecessary, but so are extra bulking ingredients and unnecessary calories. Some will feature thermogenics for an extra fat-burning effect.

  1. StrongGirl Pre-Workout

    StrongGirl Pre-Workout is formulated specifically for women. It is free of ingredients men would find beneficial, such as testosterone-boosting compounds.

    It features energizing and motivating caffeine derived from green tea, as well as quercetin and beta-alanine. Green tea has been shown by some studies to have unique strength-enhancing properties for women in particular. Users report increased energy and improved strength and focus for their workouts. StrongGirl is free of banned substances, harmful impurities, and undeclared ingredients.

    It comes in two flavors: strawberry mojito and cosmopolitan fruit punch.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Caffeine
    • Quantity of caffeine: 125mg
    • Sweeteners used: Sucralose, acesulfame potassium
    • Total carbs per serving: 3g
    • Dyes or coloring used: Beetroot powder and FD&C colors
    • Other functional ingredients: Beta-alanine

    Energy Boost94%
    Ingredient Quality92%
    Taste90%
    Value96%
    Pros
    • Contains natural coloring
    • No bulking ingredients
    • No creatine
    Cons
    • Also contains artificial coloring
    • Artificial sweeteners
    • Low caffeine content
    93.5%Rave Meter
    Shop for StrongGirl Pre-Workout
  2. FitMiss Ignite

    FitMiss Ignite is your solution to workout motivation in a world of supplements designed for bros.

    FitMiss Ignite focuses on results geared specifically toward women: converting fat into energy, improving endurance, and promoting healthy body composition. It contains beta-alanine, natural amino acids like glycine and taurine backed up by the fat-burning power of L-carnitine. It is also free of artificial colors and dyes.

    It is currently available in two flavors: fruit punch and strawberry margarita. Its parent company, MusclePharm, is a leader in sports nutrition and makes a wide range of supplements for the strength athlete, including a full line of supplements for women.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Caffeine
    • Quantity of caffeine: N/A
    • Sweeteners used: Sucralose, acesulfame potassium
    • Total carbs per serving: 1g
    • Dyes or coloring used: Fruit and vegetable juice
    • Other functional ingredients: Beta-alanine

    Energy Boost95%
    Ingredient Quality94%
    Taste86%
    Value97%
    Pros
    • Affordable
    • No artificial coloring
    • Fat-burning ingredients
    Cons
    • Artificial sweeteners
    • Low taste rating
    • Limited flavors
    93%Rave Meter
    Shop for FitMiss Ignite
  3. NLA Uplift

    Uplift is formulated for pre-workout and sustained energy for the female strength athlete. It promotes fast-twitch muscle fiber activation and improves athletic performance.

    It contains just enough caffeine to get you going but not crash or feel jittery in the middle of your workout. Uplift comes in three flavors—guava passion, cherry limeade, raspberry lemonade—that users report tastes great. Uplift contains more amino acids than some of its competitors, so you can be sure the effects aren’t just in your head.

    Uplift also contains plant and berry extracts, providing a natural boost to your activity.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Caffeine
    • Quantity of caffeine: N/A
    • Sweeteners used: Sucralose, acesulfame potassium
    • Total carbs per serving: 2g
    • Dyes or coloring used: N/A
    • Other functional ingredients: Beta-alanine, aminos

    Energy Boost95%
    Ingredient Quality90%
    Taste89%
    Value96%
    Pros
    • Uses plant and berry extracts
    • Higher amino acid content
    • Moderate caffeine content
    Cons
    • Artificial sweeteners
    • Expensive
    • Limited flavor options
    92.5%Rave Meter
    Shop for NLA Uplift

STRONGEST PRE-WORKOUT SUPPLEMENTS

Want to take it to the next level? Our strongest pre-workout supplements feature mind-bending doses of caffeine as well as classic pre-workout ingredients sure to supercharge your workouts. Take at your own risk!

  1. Psycho Pharma Edge of Insanity

    Our first entry for this category was designed for and tested by lifters with extensive experience and high tolerance for the most powerful ingredients on the market. Edge of Insanity delivers energy, pumps, and most importantly strength at levels few other supplements can compare to.

    EoI features a proprietary “Razor Edge Focus Blend” that includes caffeine, theobromine, root extracts, and more. Users report laser-like focus and extreme energy levels during lifting and cardio sessions alike. EoI also contains a generous amount of beta-alanine and currently comes in two flavors: Spiked Punch and Cosmic Candy.

    Users are strongly encouraged to start with partial doses to determine tolerance!

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Caffeine, N-Methypentyl-Iminoglutaric acid, and other HCLs
    • Quantity of caffeine: N/A
    • Sweeteners used: Sucralose
    • Total carbs per serving: N/A
    • Dyes or coloring used: Various FD&C colors
    • Other functional ingredients: Beta-alanine, L-Arginine

    Energy Boost100%
    Ingredient Quality90%
    Taste97%
    Value93%
    Pros
    • High caffeine content
    • Root extracts
    • Taste
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Artificial sweeteners
    • Artificial coloring
    95%Rave Meter
    Shop for Psycho Pharma Edge of Insanity
  2. Olympus Re1gn

    Re1gn is an infamous pre-workout supplement not for the faint of heart. It includes Vaso-6 which is shown to be ten times more effective than the standard L-citrulline alone, and it provides an instant boost to pumps and endurance.

    Vaso-6 is an innovative vasodilation and nitric oxide ingredient Olympus refers to as Superior Epicatechin. It was first studied and funded through the University of South Florida and Olympus Labs is the first company to bring this ingredient to the pre-workout market. Whereas citrulline converts to 5 percent nitric oxide, Vaso-6 converts to 50 percent. The blend also includes fruit extracts, such as pomegranate, for a natural kick.

    Re1gn also wins the award for most creative flavor names: Dragons Mist, Krusherz, Lions Blood, Area 51, ISEE Fury, Pandoras Potion, and Fairy’s Kiss.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Caffeine and fruit extracts
    • Quantity of caffeine: 300mg
    • Sweeteners used: Sucralose, acesulfame potassium
    • Total carbs per serving: N/A
    • Dyes or coloring used: Various FD&C colors
    • Other functional ingredients: Citrulline

    Energy Boost100%
    Ingredient Quality90%
    Taste96%
    Value93%
    Pros
    • High caffeine content
    • Fruit extracts
    • Taste
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Artificial sweeteners
    • Artificial coloring
    94.7%Rave Meter
    Shop for Olympus Re1gn
  3. Mr. Hyde NitroX

    If you’re ready to take your workouts to the next level, Mr. Hyde NitroX might be your ticket.

    Hyde is infamous and is way more than just another pre-workout. It bills itself as the complete pre-workout training solution with ingredients scientifically shown to promote pumps, vascularity, strength, mental focus, sustained energy, and motivation. In addition to creatine, beta-alanine, and various other complexes, Hyde contains 420mg of caffeine—roughly the same amount as four or five cups of coffee!

    It’s available in a wide variety of crazy flavors, such as Lollipop Punch, Blue Razz Popsicle, What-O-Melon, Sour Green Apple, Peachy Oh!, Red Fish Candy, Pixie Dust, Orange Slices, Cotton Candy, and Cherry Popsicle.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Caffeine (multiple forms)
    • Quantity of caffeine: 420mg
    • Sweeteners used: Sucralose, acesulfame potassium
    • Total carbs per serving: N/A
    • Dyes or coloring used: Various FD&C colors
    • Other functional ingredients: Beta-alanine, creatine, citrulline

    Energy Boost100%
    Ingredient Quality90%
    Taste82%
    Value97%
    Pros
    • High caffeine content
    • Creatine
    • Affordable
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Artificial sweeteners
    • Artificial coloring
    92.2%Rave Meter
    Shop for Mr. Hyde NitroX

BEST VALUE PRE-WORKOUT SUPPLEMENTS

The cost of pre-workouts can vary widely, but we’ve located the best bang for your buck with this list. Each one of these pre-workouts comes in at $1.00 per serving or less.

  1. Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy

    Optimum Nutrition’s Amino Energy has already been mentioned as a best overall pre-workout supplement, and it appears again here as the best value on our list.

    At a retail price of $19.99, you’ll be paying about $0.67 per scoop! That’s a bargain, considering what you get for your dollar and also that some pre-workouts can run over $2.00 per serving. Optimum’s formula gets you what you need and little else: caffeine and BCAAs, the classic one-two pre-workout punch. Caffeine will get your engine going, and BCAAs will keep it running.

    Although it is colored and sweetened artificially, it’s still a great pre-workout bargain.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Green coffee and green tea extracts
    • Quantity of caffeine: 200mg
    • Sweeteners used: Sucralose, acesulfame potassium
    • Total carbs per serving: 1g
    • Dyes or coloring used: Various FD&C colors
    • Other functional ingredients: Aminos

    Energy Boost97%
    Ingredient Quality93%
    Taste89%
    Value100%
    Pros
    • Affordable
    • Multiple flavors
    • 2:1:1 BCAA ratio
    Cons
    • Artificial sweeteners
    • Artificial colors
    • Low taste rating
    94.7%Rave Meter
    Shop for Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy
  2. Scivation Xtend

    There’s a reason Scivation’s Xtend is the best-selling pre-workout on the market, and that’s because it’s affordable!

    Coming in at around $0.80 per serving, Xtend retails for around $23.99. Whereas Optimum’s formula (above) offers just what you need and little else, Xtend adds a few more ingredients, making it an impressive offering for the price. In addition to caffeine and BCAAs (7g instead of Optimum’s 5g), it also includes glutamine, citrulline malate, and an electrolyte blend to get you going and keep you going.

    It is also sugar-free and carb-free, so you can train longer without the added calories.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: N/A
    • Quantity of caffeine: N/A
    • Sweeteners used: Sucralose, acesulfame potassium
    • Total carbs per serving: 0
    • Dyes or coloring used: Various FD&C colors
    • Other functional ingredients: Citrulline malate and other amino acids

    Energy Boost95%
    Ingredient Quality90%
    Taste91%
    Value98%
    Pros
    • 2:1:1 BCAA ratio
    • Contains citrulline
    • Affordable
    Cons
    • Artificial sweeteners
    • Artificial coloring
    • No creatine
    93.5%Rave Meter
    Shop for Scivation Xtend
  3. BSN N.O.-Xplode

    BSN’s N.O.-Xplode rounds out our best values in pre-workout supplements at right around $1.00 per serving.

    It retails for $29.99. For that, you’ll get a little extra caffeine per serving at 275mg, as well as creatine and beta-alanine, which our other two best-value supplements do not feature. N.O.-Xplode hit the market in 2004 and has remained a fixture among strength athletes ever since. According to many users, it is highly mixable, and it supports both mental focus and physical stamina.

    It is currently available in flavors such as fruit punch, blue raz, grape, green apple, and watermelon.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Caffeine
    • Quantity of caffeine: 275mg
    • Sweeteners used: Sucralose, acesulfame potassium
    • Total carbs per serving: 5g
    • Dyes or coloring used: Various FD&C colors
    • Other functional ingredients: Creatine, taurine, beta-alanine, citruline malate

    Energy Boost97%
    Ingredient Quality90%
    Taste85%
    Value97%
    Pros
    • Classic formula
    • Affordable
    • High caffeine content
    Cons
    • Artificial sweeteners
    • Artificial coloring
    • Low taste rating
    92.2%Rave Meter
    Shop for BSN N.O.-Xplode

BEST SUGAR-FREE PRE-WORKOUT SUPPLEMENTS

The best-tasting nutritional supplements often hide a dirty secret: sugar! For those seeking to cut sugar out completely, consider these three products, sweetened with a variety of artificial and natural ingredients.

  1. Legion Pulse

    Legion Athletics is a well-respected supplement company, and Pulse is its popular pre-workout. It is a 100 percent natural product that increases energy levels, improves mood, sharpens mental focus, boosts strength and endurance, and reduces fatigue.

    Legion takes science seriously and provides clear reasoning for what it includes in its products—and what it doesn’t! The only stimulant in Pulse is a moderate dose of caffeine, which is combined with an equal dose of the amino acid L-theanine to smooth out the energy curve and enhance mood and cognition.

    The real “magic” of Pulse, though, is in its unique combination of natural substances scientifically proven to increase strength, endurance, focus, and mood: citrulline malate, beta-alanine, ornithine, and betaine.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Caffeine
    • Quantity of caffeine: 350mg
    • Sweeteners used: Stevia, Swerve
    • Total carbs per serving: 4g
    • Dyes or coloring used: Red beet juice powder
    • Other functional ingredients: Citrulline malate, beta-alanine, aminos

    Energy Boost100%
    Ingredient Quality100%
    Taste91%
    Value96%
    Pros
    • All-natural ingredients
    • High caffeine content
    • Scientifically formulated
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Moderate caffeine dose
    • No creatine
    96.7%Rave Meter
    Shop for Legion Pulse
  2. Muscle Tech Vapor X5 Neuro

    Sugar-free Vapor X5 Neuro packs in time-tested ingredients into its pre-workout, including the almighty creatine, which increases the availability of phosphocreatine (PCr). This famously helps users lift heavier weights for longer periods of time and thereby increase muscle mass and strength.

    X5 offers creatine in a 3-gram dose along with beta-alanine in a scientifically proven 3.2 gram dose, which has been shown to enhance muscle carnosine levels. The same is true of its dose of taurine.

    X5 features a modest dose of caffeine, but users can always experiment with the precise amount that fits their needs.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Caffeine
    • Quantity of caffeine: 150mg
    • Sweeteners used: Sucralose, acesulfame potassium
    • Total carbs per serving: 0g
    • Dyes or coloring used: Various FD&C colors
    • Other functional ingredients: Creatine, citrulline, beta-alanine

    Energy Boost94%
    Ingredient Quality90%
    Taste98%
    Value93%
    Pros
    • High taste rating
    • Contains creatine
    • Zero carbs
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Artificial sweeteners
    • Artificial coloring
    93.7%Rave Meter
    Shop for Muscle Tech Vapor X5 Neuro
  3. Vega Sport Energizer

    Not only sugar-free but also all-natural, Vega Sport Energizer is a refreshing entry a world of pre-workouts that are loaded with chemicals, proprietary blends, and unidentifiable and unpronounceable ingredients!

    It contains a small amount of caffeine from green tea and yerba maté—roughly the equivalent of one cup of coffee—and no artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners.

    For vegans and those who are gluten intolerant, it is gluten free and vegan certified. It is entirely plant-based, and it contains a small amount of carbohydrates to provide your body with the fuel it needs to power through your workout.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Caffeine from yerba maté and green tea
    • Quantity of caffeine: 100mg
    • Sweeteners used: Sprouted whole grain brown rice syrup, organic palm nectar
    • Total carbs per serving: 16g
    • Dyes or coloring used: Red beet powder
    • Other functional ingredients: Various root and plant extracts

    Energy Boost94%
    Ingredient Quality100%
    Taste79%
    Value97%
    Pros
    • All-natural ingredients
    • Sweetened with plant extracts
    • Gluten free
    Cons
    • Low taste rating
    • Higher carb content
    • No additional performance-enhancing ingredients
    92.5%Rave Meter
    Shop for Vega Sport Energizer

BEST ALL-NATURAL PRE-WORKOUT SUPPLEMENTS

Some pre-workout formulas are chock full of artificial ingredients and sweeteners. Our all-natural pre-workouts contain none of that and are instead derived from fruits, vegetables, and other plants.

  1. Legion Pulse

    Legion appears for the second time here, and for good reason.

    It has hit a home run with Pulse, an entirely natural pre-workout formula that does all the things any good pre-workout formula should: promote mental focus, increase energy levels, ward off fatigue, and ramp up your strength and endurance. Legion’s formula has been tested extensively, and there’s nothing in the formula that doesn’t belong there.

    If you’re averse to artificial colors, sweeteners, and ingredients, Pulse is what you need: it is sweetened only with Stevia and Swerve, colored with beet juice powder, and includes all the other good stuff you need: citrulline malate, beta-alanine, ornithine, and betaine.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Caffeine
    • Quantity of caffeine: 350mg
    • Sweeteners used: Stevia, Swerve
    • Total carbs per serving: 4g
    • Dyes or coloring used: Red beet juice powder
    • Other functional ingredients: Citrulline malate, beta-alanine, aminos

    Energy Boost100%
    Ingredient Quality100%
    Taste91%
    Value96%
    Pros
    • All-natural ingredients
    • High caffeine content
    • Scientifically formulated
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Moderate caffeine dose
    • No creatine
    96.7%Rave Meter
    Shop for Legion Pulse
  2. Optimum Nutrition Naturally Flavored Amino Energy

    The primary features of the naturally flavored version of Optimum Nutrition’s famous Amino Energy pre-workout are caffeine, derived from natural green coffee beans and green tea, and essential branched chain amino acids.

    Caffeine gets you going right away, and BCAAs support muscle endurance during your workouts. One serving includes 5 grams of BCAAs and 100mg of caffeine. It can also be used as an energy booster at any time of the day—not just pre-workout!

    The difference primary difference between this version and the original is that it is sweetened only with stevia rather than sucralose or acesulfame potassium, and it also contains no artificial colors or dyes.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Caffeine, green tea extract, green coffee bean extract
    • Quantity of caffeine: 160mg
    • Sweeteners used: Stevia
    • Total carbs per serving: 1g
    • Dyes or coloring used: Fruit and vegetable juice
    • Other functional ingredients: Aminos

    Energy Boost94%
    Ingredient Quality100%
    Taste89%
    Value100%
    Pros
    • No artificial colors
    • No artificial sweeteners
    • Affordable
    Cons
    • Low taste rating
    • Low caffeine content
    • No creatine
    95.7%Rave Meter
    Shop for Optimum Nutrition Naturally Flavored Amino Energy
  3. Old School Labs Vintage Blast

    Old School Labs occupies a unique niche in the supplement market, and its pre-workout, Vintage Blast, is no exception.

    It boasts a unique two-stage formula that helps fight dependency and delivers steady energy and hydration during your entire workout. Old School has a commitment to all-natural ingredients in its products, and Blast contains an extensive and impressive list of natural alternatives throughout its complexes, such as fruit and root powders.

    Vintage Blast increases your overall work capacity and pumps, improves mental focus and drive, reduces soreness and lactic acid buildup, and hydrates you along the way.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Caffeine
    • Quantity of caffeine: 150mg
    • Sweeteners used: Stevia, pineapple juice powder
    • Total carbs per serving: N/A
    • Dyes or coloring used: Fruit and vegetable juice powder
    • Other functional ingredients: Citrulline, beta-alanine, aspartic acid, N-Acetyl-L Tyrosine

    Energy Boost94%
    Ingredient Quality100%
    Taste90%
    Value91%
    Pros
    • All-natural ingredients
    • Two-stage formula
    • Contains fat-burning ingredients
    Cons
    • No creatine
    • Expensive
    • Low caffeine content
    93.7%Rave Meter
    Shop for Old School Labs Vintage Blast

BEST VEGAN PRE-WORKOUT SUPPLEMENTS

Vegans have high standards for what they put in their bodies, and the pre-workout industry has risen to the occasion. Each of these formulas meet vegan standards and also offer the pre-workout jolt you need.

  1. Genius Pre

    The Genius Brand is another company dedicated to finding natural ways to provide maximum results. Pre is the world’s first clinically dosed nootropic based pre-workout.

    Unlike many pre-workouts, Pre is devoid of caffeine altogether. Rather it relies on clinically backed doses of key performance enhancers along with various brain nutrients to create a true mind to muscle connection. It is also free of artificial fillers, dyes, and coloring agents, such as titanium dioxide and certain FD&C colors.

    It relies on stevia for its sweetener, and it offers crucial pre-workout ingredients such as L-Citrulline and L-Arginine in precise doses for optimum results.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Fruit extracts
    • Quantity of caffeine: 0mg
    • Sweeteners used: Stevia
    • Total carbs per serving: N/A
    • Dyes or coloring used: Beetroot powder
    • Other functional ingredients: Citrulline, beta-alanine, betaine, aminos

    Energy Boost90%
    Ingredient Quality100%
    Taste94%
    Value96%
    Pros
    • Unique formula
    • No artificial colors
    • No artificial sweeteners
    Cons
    • No creatine
    • No caffeine
    • Weaker effects
    95%Rave Meter
    Shop for Genius Pre
  2. Jacked NitroSurge

    Pre-workout fans might not necessarily associate Jacked NitroSurge with vegan ingredients, but vegan it is.

    It is colored only with fruit and vegetable juice, and it still offers scientifically calibrated doses of popular pre-workout ingredients: L-Citrulline, Betaine Anhydrous, Beta Alanine, Caffeine, Theanine, and more. NitroSurge is popular for its nitric-oxide boosting properties, which increase blood flow to the muscles. NitroSurge promotes energy, strength, focus, endurance, and pumps. Users also report a high level of satisfaction with NitroSurge’s taste, which is an added bonus.

    It is moderately caffeinated at 180mg per serving, so users with a high tolerance for pre-workouts could afford two scoops in some situations.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Caffeine
    • Quantity of caffeine: 180mg
    • Sweeteners used: Sucralose, acesulfame potassium
    • Total carbs per serving: N/A
    • Dyes or coloring used: Fruit and vegetable juice
    • Other functional ingredients: Beta-alanine, L-citrulline

    Energy Boost94%
    Ingredient Quality96%
    Taste94%
    Value96%
    Pros
    • No artificial coloring
    • Nitrous-oxide boost
    • Promotes fat loss
    Cons
    • Artificial sweeteners
    • No creatine
    • Low caffeine dose
    95%Rave Meter
    Shop for Jacked NitroSurge
  3. RARI Infinity

    Infinity is a gluten-free, all-natural pre-workout that has been formulated with only premium ingredients. RARI is committed to providing peak-performance supplements with all-natural ingredients.

    It provides maximum pump and performance without the artificial ingredients associated with many pre-workouts. It is formulated to provide your body with exactly what it needs at the proven amounts, packed with key ingredients to promote euphoric pumps, energy, focus, and endurance. Users will not experience crashes, shakes, or jitters, and they will benefit from improved mood and focus during their workouts.

    It is sweetened only with stevia extract, and it contains no artificial colors or dyes.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Caffeine
    • Quantity of caffeine: 175mg
    • Sweeteners used: Stevia
    • Total carbs per serving: N/A
    • Dyes or coloring used: Beetroot powder
    • Other functional ingredients: N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine, citrulline, beta-alanine

    Energy Boost94%
    Ingredient Quality100%
    Taste84%
    Value96%
    Pros
    • All-natural ingredients
    • No artificial sweeteners
    • No artificial coloring
    Cons
    • Low taste rating
    • No creatine
    • Lower caffeine content
    93.5%Rave Meter
    Shop for RARI Infinity

BEST ORGANIC PRE-WORKOUT SUPPLEMENTS

If you’re passionate about organic ingredients and also seek a pre-workout formula that will get you through your sessions, you’re in luck. These three products feature all organic ingredients and also make extensive use of plant, berry, fruit, and vegetable extracts.

  1. Organic Muscle Pre Workout

    Our organic category has some strict standards, and Organic Muscle’s Pre Workout leads the pack. While sugar-free pre-workouts can still contain some artificial ingredients, organic pre-workouts should include all-natural, organic ingredients only.

    Organic Muscle Pre-Workout is formulated to increase energy, focus, circulation, pump, and stamina while also nourishing the body with important nutrients and antioxidants, thus promoting overall health and vitality.

    You won’t find the traditional aminos, stimulants, and other ingredients here but rather fruit, vegetable, root, berry, and herb extracts in strategic amounts. Recent formulations also include coconut water and aloe vera for improved hydration and endurance.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Green coffee bean and various root extracts
    • Quantity of caffeine: N/A
    • Sweeteners used: Organic rice syrup, organic coconut palm sugar
    • Total carbs per serving: 6g
    • Dyes or coloring used: Berry extract
    • Other functional ingredients: Berry, fruit, root, and herb extracts

    Energy Boost95%
    Ingredient Quality100%
    Taste96%
    Value96%
    Pros
    • All-organic ingredients
    • Promotes hydration
    • Good taste rating
    Cons
    • Low caffeine content
    • No creatine
    • Sugars
    96.7%Rave Meter
    Shop for Organic Muscle Pre Workout
  2. Ground-Based Nutrition Organic Pre-Workout

    GBN’s Sport Series is the first all-natural, organic, plant-based performance enhancement system specifically developed to help athletes perform at their best.

    GBN’s Sport Pre-Workout is no exception: it is 100% plant-based, certified organic, vegan and gluten free. This supplements is designed to fuel performance, increase energy, and enhance focus and stamina. Key ingredients include organic green tea, organic goji berry, organic matcha tea, and organic caffeine from green coffee bean. Nitric oxide–boosting ingredients include organic pomegranate juice, organic red beet juice, organic red beetroot, and organic acai.

    It is also sweetened only with stevia, making it easy on your blood sugar levels as well.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Coffee bean, green tea, and fruit extracts
    • Quantity of caffeine: 100mg
    • Sweeteners used: Stevia
    • Total carbs per serving: 4g
    • Dyes or coloring used: N/A
    • Other functional ingredients: Various vegetable, root, and fruit extracts

    Energy Boost94%
    Ingredient Quality100%
    Taste80%
    Value93%
    Pros
    • All-natural ingredients
    • No artificial coloring
    • No artificial sweeteners
    Cons
    • Low caffeine content
    • Low taste rating
    • Expensive
    91.7%Rave Meter
    Shop for Ground-Based Nutrition Organic Pre-Workout
  3. Garden of Life Organic Pre-Workout

    Garden of Life’s pre-workout Energy + Focus is available as a delicious organic Blackberry drink and is designed to boost energy levels and help you focus during your workouts. Made only with clean, plant–based organic ingredients, it delivers clean fuel in the form of 85mg of organic coffeeberry to provide mental focus.

    It also contains 220mcg of wholefood vitamin B12 to optimize energy production. Its nitric oxide blend is derived not from artificial ingredients but rather from organic veggies such as kale, spinach, and beets, which are rich in nitrates.

    It is one of the cleanest pre-workout supplements available, and it is certified USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project verified, as well as NSF Certified for Sport and Informed-Choice for Sport Certified.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Coffee and other fruit extracts
    • Quantity of caffeine: 85mg
    • Sweeteners used: Organic cane sugar
    • Total carbs per serving: 13g
    • Dyes or coloring used: N/A
    • Other functional ingredients: Various vegetable, root, and fruit extracts

    Energy Boost90%
    Ingredient Quality100%
    Taste80%
    Value95%
    Pros
    • All-natural ingredients
    • No artificial coloring
    • No artificial sweeteners
    Cons
    • Low caffeine content
    • Low taste rating
    • Sugars
    91.5%Rave Meter
    Shop for Garden of Life Organic Pre-Workout

BEST PALEO/KETO PRE-WORKOUT SUPPLEMENTS

If you’re going to go ketogenic, you need to do it all the way—no exceptions! These pre-workout formulas include keto-friendly ingredients such as medium-chain triglycerides and beta-hydroxybutate.

  1. Sheer Keto Pre-Workout

    Sheer Keto Pre-Workout is a comprehensive product that not only energizes you for your workout but also improves your body’s use of fat for fuel. It increases alertness, strength, and endurance.

    It also features classic pre-workout ingredients such as beta-alanine, so you can be sure that you’re not losing out on performance. Sheer’s formula also includes calcium, magnesium, and sodium, electrolytes that will support strength, endurance, and power and also reduce the risk of fatigue, cramping, and crashing.

    It is sweetened with stevia and monk fruit extract, a unique combination, and is free of artificial colors and dyes.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Caffeine
    • Quantity of caffeine: 150mg
    • Sweeteners used: Stevia, monk fruit extract
    • Total carbs per serving: N/A
    • Dyes or coloring used: Beetroot powder
    • Other functional ingredients: BHBs, beta-alanine

    Energy Boost94%
    Ingredient Quality99%
    Taste92%
    Value92%
    Pros
    • No artificial sweeteners
    • No artificial colors
    • BHBs
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Moderate caffeine content
    • No creatine
    94.2%Rave Meter
    Shop for Sheer Keto Pre-Workout
  2. Sparta Keto Pre Extreme

    Sparta’s Keto Pre Extreme is also formulated to utilize your body’s stored fat as its primary fuel source rather than artificial ingredients or other supplements.

    It also utilizes BHB in a 6-gram dose, which signals your body to use ketones as a fuel source over glucose. Once ketones have been utilized, the next best source of ketones the body has is fatty acids.

    This makes Keto Pre Extreme a unique pre-workout: not only can it aid in overall performance to make your workouts better, but it can also help increase fat burning. It also features a healthy dose of caffeine at 200 mg, roughly the equivalent of two cups of coffee. It is sweetened with stevia and also features citrulline, another standard pre-workout ingredient.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Caffeine
    • Quantity of caffeine: 200mg
    • Sweeteners used: Stevia
    • Total carbs per serving: 1.5g
    • Dyes or coloring used: N/A
    • Other functional ingredients: BHBs, citrulline

    Energy Boost97%
    Ingredient Quality93%
    Taste80%
    Value96%
    Pros
    • No artificial sweeteners
    • No artificial colors
    • BHBs
    Cons
    • Low taste rating
    • Fewer performance-enhancing ingredients
    • Limited flavor options
    91.5%Rave Meter
    Shop for Sparta Keto Pre Extreme
  3. BPI Ketogenic Pre-Workout

    Keto pre-workouts are designed to prepare your body for the workout ahead and also encourage it to use its own fat stores as fuel while preserving lean muscle mass and enhancing performance.

    BPI’s pre-workout does just that through a strategic blend of ingredients. The primary ketogenic agent in BPI’s formula is beta-hydroxybutate, or BHB, which is a common supplement in ketogenic dietary regimens.

    It encourages your body turns to cellular energy and fatty acid ketone bodies for energy instead of muscle mass. Your energy boost will come from CDP-choline and caffeine.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Caffeine
    • Quantity of caffeine: 250mg
    • Sweeteners used: Sucralose, acesulfame potassium
    • Total carbs per serving: N/A
    • Dyes or coloring used: Various FD&C colors
    • Other functional ingredients: MCTs and BCBs

    Energy Boost97%
    Ingredient Quality90%
    Taste80%
    Value97%
    Pros
    • High caffeine content
    • MCTs
    • BCBs
    Cons
    • Low flavor rating
    • Artificial coloring
    • Artificial sweeteners
    91%Rave Meter
    Shop for BPI Ketogenic Pre-Workout

BEST PILL-FORM PRE-WORKOUT SUPPLEMENTS

Sometimes less is more, and sometimes all you really need for an intense session at the gym is to get the blood flowing. Our pill-form pre-workouts excel at just that: a non-drink way of getting the blood flowing through nitric-oxide boosting ingredients.

  1. MuscleTech MuscleBuilder

    Pill-based pre-workout supplements are different in a number of respects from powder-based pre-workouts. While some of them will contain similar ingredients, others will not—it is all but impossible to fit all the relevant ingredients into a pill form, so pre-workout pills have to focus on the ingredients that offer the best bang for the buck.

    The ingredients in MuscleTech’s Muscle Builder were awarded 2015 Product of the Year at NutraIngredients Awards, which speaks highly of the product’s effectiveness. Muscle Builder revolves around a proprietary blend of Adenosine 5’-Triphosphate Disodium, known on the market as PEAK ATP.

    It is a patented nutraceutical ingredient identical in structure to actual human ATP that boosts muscle excitability and improves blood flow, delivering impressive performance results. Clinical studies demonstrated increased total strength, power, lean body mass, and muscle thickness.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: N/A
    • Quantity of caffeine: N/A
    • Sweeteners used: N/A
    • Total carbs per serving: N/A
    • Dyes or coloring used: N/A
    • Other functional ingredients: Adenosine 5’-Triphosphate Disodium (PEAK ATP)

    Energy Boost90%
    Ingredient Quality95%
    Taste100%
    Value98%
    Pros
    • Pill form
    • Nitrous-oxide boosting
    • Testosterone-boosting
    Cons
    • No caffeine
    • No creatine
    • No other performance-enhancing ingredients
    95.7%Rave Meter
    Shop for MuscleTech MuscleBuilder
  2. Sheer N.O.

    Sheer N.O. relies on traditional pre-workout ingredients as well as nitric-oxide boosting supplements (hence the “N.O.”). L-arginine promotes nitric oxide production for rapid muscle development, heart health, increased performance, excellent pumps, and increased blood flow.

    It also contains L-citrulline, a popular pre-workout ingredient and well-known nitric oxide booster. While it does not contain caffeine, it also doesn’t contain artificial colors, sweeteners, dyes, calories, sugars, or the like. You’ll be free of the jitters—and free of unwanted extras!

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: N/A
    • Quantity of caffeine: N/A
    • Sweeteners used: N/A
    • Total carbs per serving: N/A
    • Dyes or coloring used: N/A
    • Other functional ingredients: L-arginine, L-citrulline

    Energy Boost90%
    Ingredient Quality95%
    Taste100%
    Value97%
    Pros
    • Pill form
    • Nitrous-oxide boosting
    • Testosterone-boosting
    Cons
    • No caffeine
    • No creatine
    • No other performance-enhancing ingredients
    95.5%Rave Meter
    Shop for SHEER N.O.
  3. Jacked N.O. XT

    Jacked N.O. XT is also a nitric oxide booster that runs off L-citrulline and L-arginine, but it also includes a healthy dose of L-glutathione, an important antioxidant capable of preventing damage to important cellular components caused by free radicals.

    N.O. XT was scientifically created using the most cutting-edge ingredients that help boost nitric oxide and enhance blood flow to the muscle during training. Improved blood flow allows for greater nutrient delivery and performance.

    Nitric oxide expands blood vessels while you train, which helps fuel nutrient delivery to working muscle tissue. It also contains the most powerful form of L-arginine on the market.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: N/A
    • Quantity of caffeine: N/A
    • Sweeteners used: N/A
    • Total carbs per serving: N/A
    • Dyes or coloring used: N/A
    • Other functional ingredients: L-citrulline, arginine, L-glutathione

    Energy Boost90%
    Ingredient Quality95%
    Taste100%
    Value97%
    Pros
    • Pill form
    • Nitrous-oxide boosting
    • Testosterone-boosting
    Cons
    • No caffeine
    • No creatine
    • Most expensive of three
    95.5%Rave Meter
    Shop for Jacked N.O. XT

BEST CAFFEINE/STIMULANT FREE PRE-WORKOUT SUPPLEMENTS

One of the common ingredients across the board with pre-workout supplements is old school caffeine. But what if that’s not your thing, or if you have high blood pressure? Consider one of these stimulant-free pre-workouts, all of which are caffeine-free.

  1. Evlution PumpMode

    “Stimulant-free pre-workout” might sound like a contradiction in terms, but there is a demand for pre-workout products that do not cause unnecessary jitters and instead focus on other important ingredients for a successful workout.

    Like the pill-form pre-workouts listed above, stim-free pre-workout supplements often emphasize nitric oxide production, which expands blood vessels and delivers necessary nutrients to the muscles. Evlution’s PumpMode does just that with a formulation that accomplishes this quickly.

    Key ingredients include glycerol and betaine nitrate, which provide intense pumps and promote power, vascularity, endurance, and performance. Available flavors include Blue Raz, Furious Grape, Pink Lemonade, and Watermelon.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: N/A
    • Quantity of caffeine: N/A
    • Sweeteners used: Sucralose, acesulfame potassium
    • Total carbs per serving: 1g
    • Dyes or coloring used: Various FD&C colors
    • Other functional ingredients: Glycerol, betaine nitrate

    Energy Boost90%
    Ingredient Quality90%
    Taste96%
    Value100%
    Pros
    • Affordable
    • Promotes nitrous oxide production
    • High taste rating
    Cons
    • Artificial coloring
    • Artificial sweeteners
    • Limited flavor options
    94%Rave Meter
    Shop for Evlution PumpMode
  2. Transparent Labs Stim-Free

    Transparent Labs, makers of BULK, also offer STIM-FREE, a pre-workout accelerator free of caffeine and other stimulants for those who prefer not to rely on or are sensitive to caffeine.

    In addition to nitric oxide–boosting ingredients such as L-norvaline, which regulates how the body processes arginine, it also includes traditional pre-workout ingredients such as citrulline malate, beta-alanine, betaine, creatine, and taurine in clinically proven effective doses. The result is a high-intensity product that offers everything a traditional pre-workout does without the stimulants.

    Available flavors include strawberry lemonade, blue raspberry, green apple, and sour grape.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: N/A
    • Quantity of caffeine: N/A
    • Sweeteners used: Stevia
    • Total carbs per serving: N/A
    • Dyes or coloring used: N/A
    • Other functional ingredients: L-norvaline, citrulline, aminos, beta-alanine, creatine

    Energy Boost90%
    Ingredient Quality95%
    Taste80%
    Value93%
    Pros
    • All-natural ingredients
    • No artificial sweeteners
    • Contains creatine
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Low taste rating
    • Limited flavor options
    89.5%Rave Meter
    Shop for Transparent Labs Stim-Free
  3. NutraBio PRE Stim Free

    PRE Stim Free is a stim-free version of NutraBio’s popular pre-workout formula. It was designed for athletes who are sensitive to ingredients such as caffeine, hit the gym late at night, or otherwise want a pre-workout with the performance-boosting ingredients found in PRE minus the stimulants.

    PRE Stim Free revolves around clinically proven doses of ingredients that promote strength, endurance, energy production, and focus. Nitric oxide–boosting ingredients include L-citrulline, agmatine sulfate, and arginine, and PRE Stim Free also includes an electrolyte complex to keep you hydrated.

    You will be prepared both physiologically and psychologically to take on whatever the gym throws at you.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: N/A
    • Quantity of caffeine: N/A
    • Sweeteners used: Sucralose, acesulfame potassium
    • Total carbs per serving: N/A
    • Dyes or coloring used: Plant extracts
    • Other functional ingredients: Creatine, aminos, beta-alanine, citrulline

    Energy Boost90%
    Ingredient Quality93%
    Taste80%
    Value92%
    Pros
    • Contains creatine
    • No artificial coloring
    • Clinically proven doses
    Cons
    • Expensive
    • Low flavor rating
    • Limited flavor options
    88.7%Rave Meter
    Shop for NutraBio PRE Stim Free

BEST PRE-WORKOUT SUPPLEMENTS FOR GETTING LEAN

Everyone has different goals in the gym, and one of the most common ones, especially around the springtime, is getting lean! If you’re looking for the best pre-workout for weight loss, these great pre-workout formulas not only get your session going but also feature fat-burning ingredients.

  1. Evlution ENGN Shred

    Evlution ENGN is featured above as one of our best all-around pre-workout drink products. It supports increased energy, power, and focus through its blend of caffeine, beta-alanine, and a Mind-to-Muscle proprietary blend of betaine, L-tyrosine, and extracts.

    ENGN has been shown to support cognitive function, enhance mood, expand muscle endurance, and delay fatigue. It provides intense energy, maximum focus, and explosive power for your heavy workouts. ENGN Shred combines all these benefits with a blend of fat-burning ingredients for those on a cut or just looking to get a little leaner.

    In addition to L-Carnitine L-Tartrate, a classic fat-burning ingredient, it also features root and bark extracts as well as lineolic acid. It also omits creatine, which can cause unwanted water retention.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Caffeine
    • Quantity of caffeine: 260mg
    • Sweeteners used: Sucralose, acesulfame potassium
    • Total carbs per serving: N/A
    • Dyes or coloring used: Various FD&C colors
    • Other functional ingredients: Betaine, aminos, CLA, L-Carnitine L-Tartrate, various root, fruit, and bark extracts

    Energy Boost97%
    Ingredient Quality93%
    Taste94%
    Value96%
    Pros
    • Diverse ingredient list
    • Good taste
    • High caffeine content
    Cons
    • Artificial sweeteners
    • Artificial coloring
    • No citrulline
    95%Rave Meter
    Shop for Evlution ENGN Shred
  2. MuscleTech Vapor X5 Ripped

    Vapor X5 Neuro was mentioned above as one of our best sugar-free pre-workouts. It packs time-tested ingredients into its pre-workout in scientifically proven amounts.

    Vapor X5 Ripped brings the same attention to detail to its formula and also includes C. canephora robusta, a coffee bean derivative that has been shown in two double-blind, placebo-controlled studies to help subjects lose weight. It also includes L-carnitine L-tartrate, a common weight-loss supplement, and rosemary leaf powder.

    Vapor X5 Ripped also takes flavoring seriously, and users across the board agree that it is one of the best-tasting pre-workouts out there! It is currently available in popular Strawberry Limeade and Icy Rocket Freeze.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Caffeine
    • Quantity of caffeine: 150mg
    • Sweeteners used: Sucralose, acesulfame potassium
    • Total carbs per serving: 1g
    • Dyes or coloring used: Various FD&C colors
    • Other functional ingredients: Citrulline, beta-alanine, L-Carnitine L-Tartrate, seed and leaf extracts

    Energy Boost94%
    Ingredient Quality90%
    Taste98%
    Value96%
    Pros
    • High taste rating
    • Proven formula
    • Contains natural ingredients
    Cons
    • Low caffeine content
    • Artificial sweeteners
    • Artificial coloring
    94.5%Rave Meter
    Shop for MuscleTech Vapor X5 Ripped
  3. Cellucor C4 Ripped

    C4 is a classic pre-workout, mentioned above, that promotes explosive energy, heightened focus, and an overwhelming urge to tackle any challenge. It is popular among beginning bros and advanced competitive strength athletes alike.

    It is consistently one of the best-selling pre-workouts in the country, and it features a classic formula for advanced energy, endurance, focus, and pumps. We mentioned that C4 is available in a number of specialized versions, and Ripped is one of them. It combines the explosive energy of C4 with ingredients specific to fat loss.

    It eliminates creatine and includes L-Carnitine, Green Coffee Bean Extract, cayenne fruit extract root extracts.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Caffeine
    • Quantity of caffeine: 150mg
    • Sweeteners used: Sucralose, acesulfame potassium
    • Total carbs per serving: N/A
    • Dyes or coloring used: Various FD&C colors
    • Other functional ingredients: Beta-alanine, L-Carnitine L-Tartrate, fruit and root extracts

    Energy Boost94%
    Ingredient Quality93%
    Taste90%
    Value91%
    Pros
    • Classic formula
    • Contains natural ingredients
    • Contains L-Carnitine L-Tartrate
    Cons
    • Artificial sweeteners
    • Artificial coloring
    • Expensive
    92%Rave Meter
    Shop for Cellucor C4 Ripped

BEST PRE-WORKOUT SUPPLEMENTS FOR BULKING

One of the classic goals floating around any gym is good, old-fashioned bulk. There’s no substitute for hard work, but the more help your testosterone levels can get, the better. These supplements feature a variety of testosterone-boosting ingredients as well as other ingredients to help you put on mass.

  1. Blackmarket Labs Adrenolyn Bulk

    In addition to serving as a pre-workout powerhouse, Adrenolyn Bulk also boosts natural testosterone levels through proven levels of D-aspartic acid. It provides potent energy, improved endurance, nitric oxide for significant pumps and visible vascularity, and creatine.

    It is thus a two-in-one solution for those looking to put on size quick through increased work capacity, muscular endurance, increased testosterone, and muscle growth.

    It is a time-tested formula that has been popular in the strength community for years, and it is offered in fruit punch, watermelon, and Blue Razz.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Caffeine
    • Quantity of caffeine: 300mg
    • Sweeteners used: Sucralose, acesulfame potassium
    • Total carbs per serving: 1g
    • Dyes or coloring used: Various FD&C colors
    • Other functional ingredients: Creatine, beta-alanine, D-aspartic acid

    Energy Boost100%
    Ingredient Quality90%
    Taste95%
    Value92%
    Pros
    • High caffeine content
    • High flavor rating
    • Contains creatine
    Cons
    • Artificial sweeteners
    • Artificial coloring
    • Expensive
    94.2%Rave Meter
    Shop for Blackmarket Labs Adrenolyn Bulk
  2. MAN Sports PepTest BULK

    PepTest BULK is one of the strongest pre-workout drinks on the market, not least for its unusually high level of caffeine of 400 mg—roughly the equivalent of five cups of coffee! It promotes blood flow to the muscles, increases aggression, and jump starts strength through its testosterone-boosting formula of D-aspartic acid and agmatine sulfate, which promotes nitric oxide circulation.

    When this is combined with free-flowing testosterone, get ready for some of the most super-charged workouts you’ve ever had.

    Users are encouraged to tread lightly—it’s not for beginners, and you should start with partial doses until you’re up to the challenge of a full dose.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Caffeine
    • Quantity of caffeine: 400mg
    • Sweeteners used: Sucralose, acesulfame potassium
    • Total carbs per serving: N/A
    • Dyes or coloring used: N/A
    • Other functional ingredients: Aspartic acid, agmatine sulfate

    Energy Boost100%
    Ingredient Quality90%
    Taste80%
    Value92%
    Pros
    • High caffeine content
    • Promotes nitric oxide production
    • Testosterone-boosting complex
    Cons
    • Artificial coloring
    • Artificial sweeteners
    • Expensive
    90.5%Rave Meter
    Shop for MAN Sports PepTest BULK
  3. Transparent Labs BULK

    Transparent Labs is filling a need in the supplement market for high-quality products that feature high-quality, all-natural ingredients that also perform at the highest levels.

    True to its name, Transparent is committed to ingredient and dosage transparency, and they never use artificial sweeteners, food dyes, or other additives. In addition to traditional pre-workout ingredients such as caffeine, nitric-oxide boosting ingredients, and citrulline malate, it also includes a testosterone-boosting complex consisting of vitamin D3, boron, and zinc.

    These ingredients will help you attack your workout, pack on muscle, and give your body the micronutrients it needs to keep growing long after you’re done.

    • Active energy boosting ingredients: Caffeine
    • Quantity of caffeine: 180mg
    • Sweeteners used: Stevia
    • Total carbs per serving: N/A
    • Dyes or coloring used: N/A
    • Other functional ingredients: Ciltrulline malate, beta-alanine, aminos

    Energy Boost94%
    Ingredient Quality90%
    Taste80%
    Value93%
    Pros
    • Testosterone-boosting complex
    • Sweetened with Stevia only
    • No artificial ingredients
    Cons
    • Low taste rating
    • Lower caffeine rating
    • Expensive
    89.2%Rave Meter
    Shop for Transparent Labs BULK

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