The 5 Low-Stim Pre-Workouts In 2021: Our Tested Reviews

The 5 Best Low-Stim Pre-Workouts

By Gerhard Hoermann, ISSA-CFT
Updated on: October 3, 2021

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Our product testing team uses the full 30 day serving amount in container before reviewing. Learn more about our review process here.

One thing that we have noticed in the industry here on FI over the past 10 years or so is the amount of Caffeine that people consume pre-workout. Many used to be fine with a modest 200mg dose... well now the average is 300mg, and to be honest it might even be higher than that. It's actually quite rare these days for us to get pre-workouts that contain less than 350mg of Caffeine.

That is simply not for everyone, and find ourselves getting burned out of constantly being overstimulated during our workouts. There are certainly some negative sides to constantly taking high-stim pre-workouts. The main issue being that you simply develop a tolerance that makes you constantly need to take more. Eventually you're taking massive amounts of Caffeine just to feel normal, and coming off of high amounts of stim overtime is actually quite difficult.

The good news is that there are plenty of options these days in our space. 

For this guise, the products must have under 300mg of Caffeine, and this 

Here at Fitness Informant, we don’t steer you wrong. If you're looking for the best pre-workout supplement with low-stim options that you can trust, look no further than our top 5 picks below.


A Comparison of the Beta-Alanine Free Pre-Workout Supplements

Here's the top 5 picks for the best pre-workout supplements with no beta-alanine that money can buy:

Product Name

Highlights

Rating

#1 GHOST Legend

GHOST Legend V2

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Best Overall Low-Stim Pre-Workout

Highlights:



  • 400mg Caffeine
  • 100mg Halostachine
  • 10mg Pregnenolone
  • Our #1 Rated

    Fitness Informant Logo

    9.0 out of 10

    in the Pre-Workout Category

    #2 Like A Pro Supplements Pump+Focus

    Like A Pro Supplements Pump+Focus

    Best for Focus

    Highlights:


    • 300mg Vaso6
    • 6g L-Citrulline Malate
    • 125mg Caffeine Anhydrous
    • Well-Balanced Loaded Formula

    Our #2 Rated

    Fitness Informant Logo

    in the Pre-Workout Category

    #3 Tiered Nutrition Demand

    demand tiered nutrition

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    Best for Pumps

    Highlights:


    • 5g Betaine Nitrate
    • 200mg Caffeine
    • 4g Taurine
    • 3.2g Beta-Alanine

    Our #3 Rated

    Fitness Informant Logo

    8.5 out of 10

    in the Pre-Workout Category

    #4 Transparent Labs Bulk

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    Best for  Calming

    Highlights:


    • 6g L-Citrulline Malate
    • 180mg Caffeine
    • 4g Beta-Alanine
    • 300mg AlphaSize®

    Our #4 Rated

    Fitness Informant Logo

    8.5 out of 10

    in the Pre-Workout Category

    #5 GNC Beyond Raw Lit RTD

    Best for RTD Option

    Highlights:


    • 150mg elevATP
    • 250mg Caffeine Anhydrous
    • 3g Citrulline

    Our #5 Rated

    Fitness Informant Logo

    8.4 out of 10

    in the Pre-Workout Category

    There are hundreds of different brands and variations of pre-workout supplements out there.

    How did these 5 make Fitness Informant's top 5 list? Read on and we'll tell you:


    #1 GHOST Legend

    GHOST Legend V2
    • Rating:  9.0 ​​out of 10
    • Servings: 20 Servings
    • Best For: Top Overall Product

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    Pros

    • Fully transparent label
    • 250mg Caffeine
    • 1g Tyrosine
    • 50mg Senactiv
    • Solid Pumps, Energy, and Focus

    Cons

    • Not widely available

    GHOST Legend makes this list for simply being a great example of what we wanted for this guide. The profile delivers Citrulline and Beta-Alanine, both of which are proven ingredients, and very common. Citrulline can aid with pumps and performance, whereas Beta-Alanine can aid with endurance. To aid with the pumps you also get a clinical dose of Nitrosigine, an ingredient from Nutrition21. GHOST also delivers 50mg of Senactiv, an ingredient from NuLiv Science that helps with performance and recovery.

    Of course we have to talk about the awesome energy and focus blend in Legend. The first ingredients in here are Tyrosine and Taurine. Tyrosine helps with focus under stressful situations, and Taurine helps with hydration and blood flow. Both are at solid doses.

    Now we come to Alpha GPC, which is a source of choline. It can help with focus, and at 300mg, it is dosed well. Now we come to Caffeine, which is at 250mg. This is the only Caffeine in here, and 250mg is a solid dose and doesn't break that 250mg barrier we set for this guide. Next up we have AstraGin, another ingredient from NuLiv Science that can help with absorption. Finally you get Alpha-Yohimbine, which can aid with energy and fat loss. 

    GHOST Legend is a solid option, and the flavors they have are second to none. Certainly worth keep around, as it is a solid option for any day. 

    Who Makes It?

    GHOST is a fully transparent brand in the supplement industry. They are more than a supplement brand, they are a lifestyle (that's really what they are going for). They could easily attract consumers with their amazing YouTube Channel and marketing campaigns, which they do, but they keep them with their quality formulas and products.

    What's in it?

    One serving contains:

    • 4g L-Citrulline - Converts to arginine to aid in nitric oxide production
    • 3.2g Beta-Alanine - Helps with endurance
    • 1,500mg Nitrosigine – enhances body's NO production
    • 50mg Senactiv - Helps with performance and recovery
    • 1g L-Tyrosine - aids in focus and alertness
    • 1g Taurine – regulates water and electrolytes producing better pump and more endurance and strength
    • 300mg Alpha-GPC – nootropic that improves focus
    • 250mg Caffeine - Good for energy
    • 100mg Theobromine - May help with energy
    • 50mg AstraGin - helps with absorption
    • 1mg Rauwolfia Vomitoria Extract - Alpha-Yohimbine source

    Bottom Line:

    Ghost Legend is a powerful well-rounded pre-workout supplement that delivers on every aspect from Pumps, Performance, Focus, and Energy. The energy for just 250mg of Caffeine is nice, and GHOST simply proves that you don't need a boatload of Caffeine to get in a great workout.  


    Read our full review here.

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    #2 Like A Pro Supplements Pump+Focus

    Like A Pro Supplements Pump+Focus
    • Rating: 8.7 out of 10
    • Servings: 20
    • Best For: Focus

    Pros

    • 300mg Vaso6
    • 6g L-Citrulline Malate
    • 2g PeakO2
    • Transparent label
    • 125mg Caffeine
    • Strong Nootropic Blend

    Cons

    • Taste is a little "earthy"

    Pump+Focus is a loaded pre-workout that deserves recognition. It is impressive, and like the rest of the brands on this list, does not need 300mg+ of Caffeine. The profile starts off with a clinical dose of Citrulline Malate, which can aid with pumps and performance. This is then followed by GlycerPump. GlycerPump can help with muscular hydration and cell volumization. It is great for pump and you're getting a solid dose in here at 3 grams. Then we have PeakO2, which is an ingredient from Compound Solutions. This is patented blend of mushrooms that can aid with endurance. 

    Now we come to Tyrosine, which is one of our favorite ingredients. It can aid with focus under stressful situations. At 2 grams it is dosed well. Next up we have Agmatine Sulfate. Agmatine is a metabolite of Arginine, and while it has many benefits, it may aid with pumps and performance. Vaso6 is next, and it is a powerful vasorelaxant. It is clinically dosed in here at 300mg. 

    Norvaline is something you see as much anymore. It can help with pumps by preventing Arginine from being broken down in the body. Now we come to another nootropic ingredient with Alpha GPC. Alpha GPC is a source of choline that has a high bioavailability. It is usually the first ingredient we recommend for focus, and at 600mg, it is dosed well. 

    As for stimulants, you get 125mg in here, which is the smallest amount on this guide. This should be enough to get you going, and LAPS has really shown us that you don't need a lot of Caffeine to have great workouts. Finally you have Huperzine A, which prevents choline from being broken down in the brain. 

    Who Makes It?

    Like A Pro Supplements is one of those smaller brands that really focuses on making loaded products. Formulated by a respected IFFB Pro/Coach, the products are usually regarded as some of the best on the market. You will most likely see their products on many of our list for that reason. 

    What's In It?

    One serving (one-scoop) contains:

    • 6g L-Citrulline Malate- clinically dosed Citrulline to help move blood into the muscles
    • 3g GlycerolPump - helps with cellular hydration and pumps
    • 3g Betaine Anhydrous - good for power output
    • 2g PeakO2 - helps with endurance
    • 2g L-Tyrosine - aids in focus and alertness
    • 1.5g Agmatine Sulfate - Helps with pumps and more
    • 300mg Vaso6 - helps with pumps
    • 250mg Norvaline – prevents arginine from being broken down
    • 2g PeakO2 - helps with endurance
    • 1g L-Tyrosine - aids in focus and alertness
    • 600mg Alpha-GPC – nootropic that improves focus
    • 125mg Caffeine Anhydrous - Good for energy
    • 200mcg Huperzine A (1%) - May help with focus
    Pump+Focus Lable

    Bottom Line:

    Pump+Focus is certainly deserving of a spot here on this list. It contains great dosages of many ingredients, and it really delivers without the need of 300mg+ of Caffeine. Even with the amount of Caffeine, it delivers an experience, and this could seriously become your go-to


    Read our full review here.

    #3 Tiered Nutrition Demand

    demand tiered nutrition
    • Rating: 8.5 out of 10
    • Servings: 20
    • Best For: Betaine and Taurine Dose

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    Pros

    • Fully Transparent Label
    • 5g Betaine Anhydrous
    • Solid Energy
    • Clinical Doses
    • Great Pumps
    • Solid Focus

    Cons

    • Some may not like Theanine

    Demand was one of those pleasant surprises we experienced here on Fitness Informant. The profile is loaded, while also not having 20+ ingredients. Instead, you get a modest 9, all with their own purpose in Demand. The first blend consists of Citrulline, Betaine Anhydrous, Taurine, and Beta-Alanine. Citrulline can help with pumps and endurance, and at 6 grams you are getting a solid dose. Following that you get 5g of Betaine Anhydrous, which can aid with power output. Betaine is usually seen at 2.5g, so you're getting double the dose in Demand!

    Taurine is a popular ingredient that can aid with blood flow and hydration. At 4 grams you're getting a massive dose. Finally you get Beta-Alanine, which may aid with endurance. You're getting the clinical 3.2 grams in Demand. Let's get to the next blend.

    The Focus "Matrix" in Demand starts off with Tyrosine at 1.5g. Tyrosine can help with focus under stressful situations, and it is one of our favorite ingredients in Demand. Now we come to Alpha GPC, which is an ingredient that can help with focus. It is a great source of Choline, and you're getting a solid dose in this one. Next up we have Caffeine, which is at 250mg. This is just the right amount for us, and we do not get overstimulated from it. Finally we have Theanine, which simply acts as an anxiolytic. At 100mg it is not over the top, but still some may not like this.

    Finally we have AstraGin, an ingredient from NuLiv Science that can aid with absorption. 

    Who Makes It?

    Tiered Nutrition is a brand that isn't as known as some of the other brands on this site, however they make some impressive products and we highly suggest you take a look at them yourself. Everything is always dosed well, and there is no ingredient they used that we don't like to some degree. Well worth trying out if you want to support a smaller brand. 

    What's In It?

    One serving contains:

    • 6g Citrulline – clinically dosed Citrulline to help with pumps and performance
    • 5g Betaine Anhydrous - good for power output
    • 4g Taurine – regulates water and electrolytes producing better pump and more endurance and strength
    • 3.2g Beta-Alanine - Helps with endurance
    • 1.5g L-Tyrosine - aids in focus and alertness
    • 300mg Alpha-GPC – nootropic that improves focus
    • 250mg Caffeine  - Good for energy
    • 100mg Theanine - helps with calming
    • 50mg AstraGin - helps with absorption
    demand

    Bottom Line:

    Demand is a pre-workout that really holds its own. Not only does it have great dosages of every ingredient, it also has ingredients at dosages higher than you'd expect. This one is worth trying out for yourself, and we love how it is from a smaller company that actually cares. 


    Read the in-depth full review here.

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    #4 Transparent Labs Bulk

    • Rating: 8.5 out of 10
    • Servings: 30 servings
    • Best For: No Jitters

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    Pros

    • 6g L-Citrulline Malate
    • 180mg Caffeine
    • Transparent Formula
    • AstraGin for absorption 
    • 4g Beta-Alanine
    • 2.5g Betaine Anhydrous

    Cons

    • Too much Theanine
    • Taste could be better
    • BCAAs are unnecessary

    CelluVol is known as one of the kings of pump supplements these days. By one glance of the profile, it’s easy to see why. This product is LOADED with high doses. So much so, that many have called it “too much”. Those people have a point, so let’s break down the ingredient profile and see why this product is so good.

    To start, we have 7 grams of L-Citrulline, this is preferable when compared to Citrulline Malate. Citrulline Malate is simply L-Citrulline blended with Malic Acid powder, as there are very few brands on the market with bonded Citrulline Malate. After that, CelluVol has the clinical dose of Nitrosigine™, which is 1.5 grams. Nitrosigine™ is an ingredient with some solid human studies behind it, so it’s nice to know Matt Porter looks into ingredients before he simply adds them to his products.

    Next we have HydroMax™, at 5 grams. This is a form of Glycerol Monostearate, which may aid in cellular hydration. It must also be noted that this form of Glycerol Monostearate that yields 65% or Glycerol, while many other forms on the market have much less than that. Anyway, 5 grams is pretty much more than double of what many other companies use in their products. 5 grams is great, and there is no way you’re not to notice it working.

    Now what makes this a pre-workout as opposed to a simple pump product, is the addition of Alpha GPC and ElevATP™. Alpha GPC is a form of Choline that has a high bioavailability. We love it here at FI, and it’s a great addition. Sometimes, getting away from the usual 300mg+ of Caffeine you see these days. Next we have an ingredient that is very underrated, ElevATP™. This patented ingredients is derived from apple extract and ancient peat extract. ElevATP™ can increase ATP production in the body and provide trace minerals. It’s at the clinical dose as well.

    So overall, CelluVol is loaded with high doses, and you’d probably get great pumps and performance/focus at a half-dose. This is a great option for those who want an actual pre-workout, that is more than just a pump product, that will still give you a powerful pump.

    Who Makes It?

    Transparent Labs is a solid brand with products that have a lot of backing behind them. They take a very safe approach, and certainly deliver on the majority of their products. Definitely a brand that is never a bad option. ​​

    What's In It?

    One serving contains:

    • 6g Citrulline Malate – Helps with pumps and performance
    • 4g Beta-Alanine - Helps with endurance
    • 4g BCAA – Helps with recovery
    • 2.5g Betaine Anhydrous - good for power output
    • 1.3g Taurine – regulates water and electrolytes producing better pump and more endurance and strength
    • 1g L-Tyrosine - aids in focus and alertness
    • 360mg Theanine - helps with calming
    • 300mg Alpha-GPC – nootropic that improves focus
    • 180mg Caffeine  - Good for energy
    • 100mg Theobromine - May help with energy
    • 135mg Di-Caffeine Malate - prolonged energy and crash prevention
    • 50mg AstraGin - helps with absorption

    Bottom Line:

    Transparent Labs Bulk is a solid addition to this list. We have to admit that it is not a product for everyone. The 180mg of Caffeine is definitely a nice amount, however the Theanine makes it something that many will not like. Perhaps if the Theanine was a bit lower this would be higher on this list, but for now it's a solid option for those who are sensitive to jitters. 


    Read our full review here.

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    #5 GNC Beyond Raw LIT RTD

    • Rating: 8.4 out of 10
    • Servings: 1
    • Best For: RTD option

    Pros

    • 3g Citrulline
    • Transparent Formula
    • 250mg Caffeine Anhydrous
    • 150mg elevATP
    • 100mg Neurofactor™
    • Great Taste

    Cons

    • Not widely available

    GNC LIT RTD gets a spot on this list, and it certainly deserves it. While some like to bash GNC, we have to give them a lot of credit here for an impressive profile for their LIT RTD. As far as carbonated RTD pre-workouts go, this one is easily at the top, and the ingredient profile is certainly impressive. 

    The first blend is called the Energy and Mental Intensity blend. It starts off with a clinical dose of CarnoSyn® Beta-Alanine at 3.2g, and followed by 250mg of Caffeine. Two solid doses to start this off. After this comes elevATP® at 150mg, which is also the clinical dose. This can help with ATP production in the body, and it a welcome addition. Rounding off the first blend is Neurofactor®, which can increase BDNF levels. A popular ingredient in nootropics, it is nice to see in here at the 100mg clinical dose. 

    Next up we have the Pump & N.O Support blend which gives you 3g of Citrulline, which is a great dose, and 1.5g of Arginine. These two ingredients may aid in Nitric Oxide production, and we like the addition of Citrulline more than Arginine. 

    GNC Lit RTD is also very well flavored, and we have not had a bad flavor yet. This is certainly worth trying, and while you have to go to GNC or order online to try it, we highly recommend doing so. You won't be disappointed. 

    Who Makes It?

    Cutler Nutrition owned by Jay Cutler, is a brand that re-launched in 2019 with solid products. As mentioned earlier, Cutler did not have to give consumers full dosages and a fully transparent label, but he did because it was the right thing to do. Not all big name athletes take advantage of the consumer, Jay Cutler is living proof of that.. 

    What's In It?

    One bottle contains:

    Energy & Mental Intensity

    • 3.2g Beta-Alanine - helps with endurance
    • 250mg Caffeine Anhydrous - helps with energy
    • 150mg elevATP® - helps with ATP production
    • 100mg NeuroFactor® - helps with brain health 

    Pump & N.O. Support

    • 3g Citrulline -helps with pumps, endurance, and performance
    • 1.5g Arginine - helps with pumps

    Bottom Line:

    While GNC gets hated on sometimes in this space, we have to say we are impressed with this one. For a carbonated pre-workout RTD, this is certainly at the top. Not only is the profile impressive, but the flavors are all solid as well. If you like a carbonated RTD, this is certainly one to try out for yourself. 


    Read our full review here.


    Our Pre-Workout Supplement Testing Process

    We examined five different areas of each pre-workout supplement when we compiled our rankings:

    1. Ingredients Profile
    2. Effectiveness
    3. Taste
    4. Mixability
    5. Value

    preworkout powder in bottle

    Ingredients Profile

    When we review each pump activating supplement on their ingredient profile, we look at the active ingredients being used and their dosages.

    Many pre-workout supplements include a variety of beneficial ingredients, but under dose them proving to be non-effective.

    Effectiveness

    Effectiveness is an extension of ingredient profile. If the product uses proven ingredients at clinically suggested dosages, the product should be effective.

    Everyone is different. Everyone takes to different ingredients differently at varying dosages. We have tried and tested each of these products throughout the full duration of their container to ensure these products are effective over their life.

    Taste

    We review taste on two different components. First, how close does the muscle pump supplement taste to the actual name printed on the label. For example, does Blue Raz actually taste like blue raspberry. Second, we review it on overall taste (in our opinion) versus others in the same flavor category.

    Mixability

    Mixability refers to how well does the product mix in 8-12oz of water. The testing process for a pump activating drink we use here is a generic Blender Bottle with the chrome spiral ball. We use regular tap water with no ice.

    Value

    Value is a combination of ingredient profile, effectiveness, taste, mixability and cost. We do not just look at the price tag like a lot of others do. If a product is priced at a premium, we inform you if it is worth the premium price or not based on all the categories. We look at the overall picture of the  pre-workout supplement, and how it compares to other pre-workout supplements on the market.

    Please Note: Many of the “top 10” lists you find online are written by content writers with no in-gym or supplement experience who are paid by the word count to write an article for a website trying to generate money.

    These lists are influenced by brands who pay for placement. These lists contain pump activating supplements that are, for the lack of a better word, garbage.

    The following products on our best of list were used by the author of this article. He used the pump activating supplements through the duration of a full container. Sample packs were not used in determining the rankings of the best pump producing supplements.

    Stop relying on faulty information that is influenced by outside writers and money. This list is the real deal. Here at Fitness Informant, we don’t steer you wrong. Be Informed. Live Fit.