Updated for September 2021
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.
So we at RAVE decided to solve this problem by taking a look at pre-workouts formulated just for women and discovered a clear winner: Shifted’s Premium Pre-Workout (the tropical flavor is amazing!)
The Pre-Workouts for Women We RAVE About
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.
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.
Enter Shifted’s new Premium Pre-Workout formula — a next generation pre-workout supplement made with all the right ingredients and a slightly lower caffeine dose. When we say next generation, we mean it. Put simply, Shifted Premium blows everything else out of the water. Better, more effective ingredients. Almost perfect dosing. It will make your body sing (and your taste buds too!).
Shifted’s Premium pre-workout is excellent for women looking to slim their curves and improve muscle tone, and that’s why we rank it as the best pre-workout for women. We’ve got everything you need to know about Shifted Premium and nine more of our favorite pre-workout products geared towards fitness-focused women.
Some of these supplements focus on amplifying muscle tone, while others focus on slimming stubborn body areas like the hips/love handles. No matter your fitness goals, these powerful powders (listed below) work magic for women’s health.
If you have ever lived with a fitness fiend kind of guy — be it a boyfriend, brother, fiancé, husband, or father — you are probably used to seeing the infamous pre-workout pantry shelf.
You can’t miss it, with its containers that have neon lettering reading, “COMBAT” or “Bucked Up.” Next to the pre-workout powder mixes, you’ll see a giant tub of protein, meal replacement bars, and one too many BlenderBottles. This image is commonly associated with the term “pre-workout.”
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 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.
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 Difference Between Men’s and 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.
Chances are, a woman wouldn’t go shopping for Aveda shampoo and buy men’s Old Spice two-in-one. Products made for men might not work the same or provide the same beneficial results for women. Same goes for pre-workout supplements.
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.
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.
Choosing 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. When it comes to choosing the right pre-workout product for you, 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 thermogenics are better for slimming down.
So ladies, all that said, it’s time to treat yourself and improve your workout strategy. Going through this list is the first step to a better workout with more benefits and timely results.
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, 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.
- 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.
- 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
Being one of the most affordable pre-workout products on this list is definitely a plus, but it’s far from FitMiss Delight’s golden ticket to the top 10. This women’s fitness supplement contains 100 mg of caffeine, beta-alanine, and natural amino acids like glycine and taurine. This mixture is backed up by the fat-burning power of L-carnitine, a natural molecule that helps the body break down and metabolize fat for energy.
This pre-workout mix is also gluten-free and takes pride in its safe and superior ingredients: It is tested for banned substances, cleared and certified by Informed-Choice, a quality-assurance program for sports nutrition products. The fruit punch flavor is also an added bonus.
Additional ingredients include citric acid, rice concentrate, sucralose, and acesulfame potassium. A word to the wise, both natural and artificial flavors are included in this blend, which could be a deal-breaker.
Users reported experiencing zero side effects — no jitters or anxiety to speak of — and had a palpable increase in energy levels. However, taking too much does result in tingles and possible itching, a common (and innocuous) side effect of beta-alanine. Thankfully, the tingling sensation goes away after your body adapts, usually within 20 to 30 minutes. In any case, only take the recommended one scoop of FitMiss Delight in 14 to 16 fluid ounces of water, 20 to 30 minutes before your workout.
- 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.
Do you need more energy after your workout? The Monster Girl 1000 mg capsules will give you the boost you need. You will gain the recovery you need to complete your day without the jitters that some supplements have.
- 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 the menfolk!
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! Comes in five 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Best Pre Workouts
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When Should I Take My 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.
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.
High doses of caffeinated pre-workout supplements can cause stomach aches, but so can not eating before a workout.
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.
Do All Pre-Workouts Use Natural Ingredients?
If you find a pre-workout 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 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.
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 Is the Best Overall Pre-Workout Mix?
Our choice for the best overall pre-workout 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
Pre-workouts for women are just one of the many products that can make your workout more fulfilling. For more products to help you obtain optimal benefits in your daily workouts, check out these RAVE recommended options below:
- Hydra Cup’s Dual Shaker Bottle: This dual-action and one-of-a-kind protein shaker bottle allows exercise enthusiasts to pre-game and post-game without having to change bottles. With two separate sides for pre-workout mixes, recovery shakes, or just hydration fluid, Hydra Cup’s shaker bottle is also dishwasher-safe and travel friendly with a built-in hiking clasp.
- ONE Protein Bars: Birthday cake, almond bliss, Maple Glazed Doughnut, and Peanut Butter Pie are just a few of the many flavors of these gluten-free, healthy protein bars.
- Orgain Organic Protein Powder: Being plant-based, vegan, and gluten free, it doesn’t get much healthier than Orgain. This best-selling protein powder is extremely affordable, and lactose- and dairy-free without sacrificing anything on taste.
- KT Tape: This therapeutic sports tape is latex free, water resistant, and guaranteed to stay in place during workouts. The woven fabric and strong adhesive make it the perfect injury protectant for serious trainers and athletes.