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The 5 Best Pre-Workout Supplements in 2023: Our Tested Reviews

Top Rated Pre-Workout Powders

By Ryan Bucki, ISSA-CFT
Updated on: January 3, 2023

Honest Review Guarantee from Fitness Informant:
Our product testing team uses the full 30 day serving amount in container before reviewing. Learn more about our review process here.

Let's be honest, most of the "top ranked" or "best" pre-workout supplements you find online are full of shit. Many of them are fueled by funding from companies for placement. Yes, Fitness Informant makes revenue from supplement brands, but this does not dictate how we review or rank our products. Actual usage does.

The reason we are able to create what we feel is an accurate Top Ranked Pre-Workout list is because we've actually used and tested each and every pre-workout powder on this list. We understand how ingredients work. We understand flavoring. We understand effectiveness.

Some of the pre-workout supplements you may find on this list may have a full review here at Fitness Informant. It is very possible our rating on this page does not match the rating on the review page. Why? Our review software we use to plug in scores weights every attribute the same. For example, effectiveness (which we feel is ultimately the most important) is weighed the same as mixability (important, but we can live with a preworkout powder that rocks but maybe doesn't mix well). 

These are OUR rankings based on what we feel the product deserves from an all around perspective.

RYSE

Our list of best pre-workouts is constantly changing and evolving. When new pre-workouts come into the market, we use and evaluate. As pre-workouts are discontinued, we do the same.

If you have any questions no any of these pre-workout powders, feel free to reach out via Instagram and we can try to help!


The Best Rated Pre-Workout Supplements on the Market Today

Here's the top 5 picks for the best pre-workout supplements that money can buy:

Product Name

Highlights

Rating

#1 Core Nutritionals Fury V2

Core Nutritionals Fury V2

Overall Best Pre-Workout Supplement

Highlights:



  • ~400mg Caffeine from three forms
  • 6g Citrulline
  • 10mg Pregnenolone 

Our #1 Rated

Fitness Informant Logo

9.1 out of 10

in the Pre-Workout Category

#2 GHOST Legend All Out

GHOST Legend All Out

Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 20%

Best for Energy

Highlights:



  • 400mg Caffeine from two sources
  • 600mg Alpha-GPC
  • 2g Citrulline Nitrate 

Our #2 Rated

Fitness Informant Logo

9.1 out of 10

in the Pre-Workout Category

#3 RYSE Supplements Godzilla

RYSE Supplements Godzilla Pre-Workout

Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 15%

Best for Pump

Highlights:



  • 400mg Caffeine from two sources
  • 2g Citrulline Nitrate 
  • 20mg Thinkamine

Our #3 Rated

Fitness Informant Logo

8.9 out of 10

in the Pre-Workout Category

#4 Kaged Pre-Kaged Elite

Kaged Pre-Kaged Elite

Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 15%

Best for Comprehensive Ingredients

Highlights:



  • 10g Citrulline
  • 2g Creatine Nitrate
  • 388mg Natural Caffeine

Our #4 Rated

Fitness Informant Logo

8.9 out of 10

in the Pre-Workout Category

#5 MuscleTech EuphorIQ

MuscleTech EUPHORiQ

Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 20%

Best for Focus

Highlights:


  • NO CAFFEINE (300mg Paraxanthine)
  • 1.6g nooLVL
  • 300mg AlphaSize Alpha GPC

Our #5 Rated

Fitness Informant Logo

8.8 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 Core Nutritionals Fury V2

Core Nutritionals Fury V2
  • Rating: 9.1 out of 10
  • Servings: 40/20
  • Best For: Best Overall

Pros

  • 400mg Caffeine from three sources
  • 10mg Pregnenolone
  • 50mg Senactiv
  • 300mg Alpha GPC
  • Delicious Taste

Cons

  • Vitamin Shoppe Exclusive (availability)

Core Fury V2 deserves a spot on this list, and the makers are no stranger to it. In fact, Fury was already at #1 on this list in the past.

The new Fury V2 is a step up from the old version, and has really impressed the industry. It contains 5 separate blends, and hits everything you need without overlap. 

The first blend is the Fury Pump Blend, which contains Citrulline, VasoDrive-AP, and Citrapeak. All of these ingredients hit different pathways, and are all dosed well. While 6g of Citrulline is quite standard, the other two ingredients really push this to a great level

Following this you get the Fury Performance Blend. This blend has 3.2g of Beta-Alanine, 2.5g of Betaine Anhydrous, and 50mg of Senactiv. Beta-Alanine helps buffer lactic acid which aids in endurance, and Betaine Anhydrous can increase power output. Senactiv can help your body increase ATP production, healthy aging, and recovery. 

We all know how important hydration is, so of course Fury added a Hydration Blend. You get 2g of Taurine, 400mg of Albion, and 200mg of Sea Salt. These are all great ingredients that help you perform while not experiencing any cramping.

Next up we have the Focus Blend, which really sets this apart. You get the usual nootropic ingredients such as Tyrosine and Alpha GPC, and both are dosed well. However, just like the previous Fury, you get Pregnenolone. This is really interesting as no other brand uses this in a pre-workout. It is a neurosteroid, and can aid with focus. This is certainly felt when using this one. 

Finally you have the Energy Blend, because who doesn’t want caffeine before a workout? You get 250mg of Caffeine Anhydrous, it will hit you quickly. This is followed by Caffeine Citrate, and ZumXR. The ZumXR is a longer lasting caffeine, which will help with longer lasting energy, and may help prevent a crash. So this is def on the higher side for Caffeine, however it isn’t over-caffeinated. 

Overall, Fury deserves to be on this list because it simply hits on all fronts; Great energy, powerful pumps, amazing focus, and a noticeable performance increase certainly pushes this one to a top spot.

We also have to mention that the flavoring is amazing. This is important, because the more loaded a formula is, it simply becomes tougher to flavor. Fury has no issues here, and every flavor is enjoyable and we have no complaints. If there is one pre-workout to try in 2023, this is it.

Who Makes It?

Core Nutritionals is a company that has been around for a long time, doing things the right way since day one. Founded by natural bodybuilder Doug Miller (who has since founded Merica Labz and Arms Race Nutrition) he had a goal of making clean supplements that work. Fury V2 is one of those mastermind products behind Doug and his amazing team of employees.

What's In It?

One serving (two-scoops) contains:

  • 6g L-Citrulline - increases nitric oxide and pumps
  • 254mg VasoDrive-AP  - helps improve blood flow
  • 200mg CitraPeak - branded ingredient aiding in the flow of blood to your muscles
  • 3.2g Beta Alanine - buffers lactic acid, allows you to workout longer
  • 2,500mg Betaine Anhydrous -  aids in power output and potential recovery benefits
  • 50mg Senactiv - energizes the muscles, longer workouts
  • 2g Taurine - helps with hydration
  • 400mg Albion - branded ingredient that aids in hydration
  • 260mg Sea Salt - muscular hydration
  • 2g Tyrosine - improves focus
  • 300mg Alpha GPC - choline molecule responsible for improving memory and focus
  • 100mg Cocobuterol - aids in improved focus and increased body temperature
  • 10mg Pregnenolone - low dosages improve focus
  • 250mg Caffeine Anhydrous - fast acting caffeine for energy
  • 150mg Caffeine Citrate - yields 50% caffeine, longevity of energy
  • 100mg zumXR - yields 70% caffeine, longer lasting energy
Core Nutritonals V2 SFP

Bottom Line:

Core Nutritionals did a great job of revamping their already amazing pre-workout Fury V1. V2 is currently only available at Vitamin Shoppe (until 3/1/23) but it is well worth the drive or the online shopping experience. This is our current favorite pre-workout due to how awesome this one performs in the gym, with great ingredients at optimal dosages and solid flavors to put the cherry on top.

#2 GHOST Legend All Out

GHOST Legend All Out
  • Rating: 9.1 out of 10
  • Servings: 40/20
  • Best For: Energy

Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 20%

Pros

  • Fully transparent label
  • 400mg Total Caffeine from two sources
  • 600mg Alpha-GPC
  • More stimulants / harder hitting
  • Exogenous nitrates for pump

Cons

  • Limited flavors

GHOST Legend All Out could easily be side-by-side our #1 ranked as it is that damn good. GHOST did not have a higher stimulant pre-workout until they launched All Out. This is the most hardcore pre-workout supplement the brand has ever released, but it is 100% compliant and won't cause your heart to beat out of your chest.

The pre-workout contains key ingredients for improved pumps, focus and energy. Citrulline and Citrulline Nitrates as NO3-T are added for improved blood flow. 

Alpha GPC and Tyrosine are added for improved focus, both at higher dosages than we are typically used to seeing (a full 600mg dosage of Alpha GPC and 2,000mg dosage of Tyrosine).

The big thing here for GHOST was the stimulant complex. GHOST elected to go with 400mg of total caffeine from Caffeine Anhydrous and zumXR extended release caffeine. We love the ratio as well. Caffeine Anhydrous is the source of caffeine that hits first, followed by the tapering off impact of zumXR. Users get 300mg from Caffeine Anhydrous and 100mg from zumXR. The combination doesn't make you want to blow your heart out of your chest.

GHOST adds in Theobromine and Bitter Orange as well for a little extra kick in terms of energy. Users will for sure feel the energy burst from GHOST Legend All Out.

Who Makes It?

GHOST has taken over the sports nutrition industry since launching the brand. They combine a lifestyle approach culture with pretty labels and great formulas. Many brands do one or the other great but GHOST happens to hit on everything very well. GHOST won our Brand of the Year award in 2019, 2020 and 2021 (we did not do one in 2022.)

What's In It?

One serving (one scoop) contains:

  • 6g L-Citrulline - combined of pure Citrulline and Citrulline Nitrate improving blood flow
  • 3.2g Beta Alanine - improved muscular endurance
  • 2.5g Betaine Anhydrous - more strength and power output
  • 2g Tyrosine - improved focus
  • 600mg Alpha GPC - choline molecule proven to improve memory and focus
  • 300mg Caffeine Anhydrous - fast acting energy
  • 100mg zumXR - extended release caffeine for longer energy
  • 100mg Theobromine - similar to caffeine, can increase body temperature
  • 60mg Bitter Orange Extract - increased energy and alertness with increased body temps
GHOST Legend All Out SFP

Bottom Line:

GHOST Legend All Out could really be #1 as well. The formula is awesome and it performs, plain and simple. We hope the brand continues to expand flavors but the ones they do have are delicious. You will get a jolt of energy, without the crash, great focus and solid pumps making this a must-try for all pre-workout fans. 

Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 20%

#3 RYSE Supplements Godzilla

RYSE Supplements Godzilla Pre-Workout
  • Rating: 8.9 out of 10
  • Servings: 20
  • Best For: Pumps

Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 15%

Pros

  • 9g Citrulline
  • 2g Citrulline Nitrate
  • 300mg VasoDrive-AP
  • 5g Creatine Monohydrate
  • 350mg Caffeine Anhydrous
  • 50mg zumXR Caffeine

Cons

  • Limited Flavors
  • Price Point higher

RYSE Supplements Godzilla pre-workout is the brand's top of the line pre-workout supplement. Many brands come out with what we call a "F-U" pre-workout. This is theirs. RYSE combines pump with focus and energy. 

The race to increase Citrulline is officially on. RYSE packs in a total of 11g from Citrulline and Citrulline Nitrates. As if that was not enough, they toss in double the typical dosage of Beta Alanine at 6.4g - which a caution to users you will feel this - if you don't like that itchy feeling then you won't like this at the 2-scoop serving.

In addition to the above 11g Citrulline, RYSE has 300mg VasoDrive-AP for even more help moving that blood into the muscles. Creatine Monohydrate, which can help pumps too, is added at the full dosage of 5g.

Energy-wise they combine zumXR with Caffeine Anhydrous like many of the other great brands and formulas. Combine that with Thinkamine and Choline Bitartrate and users will experience improved focus - which is clutch in the gym.

Regarding flavors we have not tried any outside of Monster Berry, which we weren't huge fans of, but we are looking forward to the others.

RYSE Godzilla looks good on paper and it performs. That is key.  

Who Makes It?

RYSE Supplements has blown up. Period. They are one of the fastest growing brands in sports nutrition and it is through products and formulas like Godzilla that they are gaining more and more fans. They also have an energy drink which is gaining popularity. They combined fun branding/marketing with quality products.

What's In It?

One serving (two-scoops) contains:

  • 9g Citrulline – clinically dosed Citrulline to help move blood into the muscles
  • 2g Citrulline Nitrate - exogenous nitrates moving blood into the muscle
  • 3.2g Beta Alanine - muscular endurance
  • 2.5g Betaine Anhydrous - good for power output
  • 5g Creatine Monohydrate – helps product ATP - muscular energy
  • 1.6g VitaCholine - improved focus and memory
  • 500mg Pink Himalayan Salt - improved hydration/pumps
  • 350mg Caffeine Anhydrous – fast acting caffeine for improved energy levels
  • 300mg VasoDrive™ - a derivative of Casein that helps with pumps
  • 200mg Theobromine - increased energy and body temperature
  • 50mg zumXR - extended release version of caffeine for longer energy
  • 20mg Thinkamine – improved focus
RYSE Supplements Godzilla Pre-Workout SFP

Bottom Line:

RYSE Supplements nailed this one. The experience in the gym is fantastic, especially if you like good energy with great muscle pumps. There is a reason they have a hard time keeping this one in-stock, it is that good. We want to try all the other flavors versus the one we did because we feel they improved them or they are just better - but many like the Monster Berry flavor.

Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 15%

#4 Kaged Pre-Kaged Elite

Kaged Pre-Kaged Elite
  • Rating: 8.9 out of 10
  • Servings: 40/20
  • Best For: Comprehensive Formula

Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 15%

Pros

  • Banned substance free
  • 388mg Natural Caffeine
  • 10g Citrulline
  • 2g Creatine Nitrate
  • 150mg elevATP
  • 300mg Alpha GPC

Cons

  • Mixability

Kaged Pre-Kaged Elite took the brand's pre-workout products to the next level. For the longest time they had Pre-Kaged, which was good, but fell behind times with the formula. The brand then focused on Pre-Kaged Sport which is an entry level pre-workout. Then they came back hard with Pre-Kaged Elite and it was very impressive.

Pre-Kaged Elite is a banned substance free pre-workout that is loaded. You get 10g Citrulline per serving, combined with 2g Creatine Nitrate to improve blood flow and pumps. Add in another 3g of Creatine Monohydrate and you get a great blood flow experience.

The combination of natural caffeine at 388mg and Carnipure Carnitine L-Tartrate at 1,500mg aids in great energy without any crash or weird jitters. In addition you get elevATP, which combined with Creatine, can aid in replenishing ATP and muscular energy

Focus is great too as Kaged includes 2,500mg Tyrosine, the largest dosage on this list, and 300mg Alpha GPC. They also toss in Huperzine A and AmaTea for a pre-workout that will have you laser focused.

Pre-Kaged Elite was a very impressive output from Kaged. Kaged is taking a fresh direction as a company, and this was a helluva way to get back out there!

Who Makes It?

Kaged formerly known as Kaged Muscle Supplements, is the maker of fully transparent, effective formulas that are tested for banned substances. Their formulas and supplements are designed for athletes. The brand has been around for a long time, but recently (2022) started getting back into the spotlight with a new, fresh look, and what we would call next-level formulas.

What's In It?

One serving (one-scoop) contains:

  • 10g L-Citrulline - converts to arginine to aid in nitric oxide productio
  • 3.2Beta-Alanine - Increases endurance
  • 3g Creatine Monohyrdate - replenishes ATP, improved muscular energy
  • 2g Creatine Nitrate (NO3-T) - improved pumps and muscular energy
  • 2.5g Betaine Anhydrous - may increase power output
  • 1.5 Carnipure L-Carnitine L Tartrate - improved energy
  • 2g Taurine - aids in hydration and endurance
  • 500mg Coconut Water Powder - hydration
  • 150mg elevATP - helps your body produce more ATP
  • 2,500mg L-Tyrosine -  a well-researched amino acid with many benefits. May be good for fat loss, focus, and stress
  • 388mg Natural Caffeine - increased energy
  • 300mg Alpha GPC - source of Choline that helps with focus and has a high bioavailability 
  • 100mg AmaTea - included in caffeine - aids in energy
  • 10mg Huperzine A - improved focus 
Kaged Pre-Kaged Elite SFP

Bottom Line:

Well done Kaged, well done. This pre-workout could easily fit into any one of the top five spots. When Pre-Kaged first came out it was great, but the truth is it got passed up by many others. Kaged went back to what made them great and formulated this epic pre-workout that anyone could love. Great energy, great focus, and great pumps.

Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 15%

#5 MuscleTech EuphorIQ

MuscleTech EUPHORiQ
  • Rating: 8.8 out of 10
  • Servings: 20
  • Best For: Focus

Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 20%

Pros

  • No caffeine - energy from Paraxanthine (Effinity)
  • 1.6g nooLVL
  • 300mg AlphaSize Alpha GPC
  • 100mg NeuroFactor
  • 10mg Huperzine A

Cons

  • Limited flavors
  • Distribution

MuscleTech EuphorIQ has officially put the brand back on the map. It is one of the first product to feature the new ingredient Efinity, a branded version of Paraxanthine. Paraxanthine is a metabolite of caffeine, but not caffeine itself. It gives users the benefits of caffeine without the negative sides we experience (jitters). 

As if that was not enough to make this special, MuscleTech loads the nootropics up. They give users the full clinical dosage of Nutrition 21's nooLVL, which is a combination of Nitrosigine and inisitol. Users will experience a bump in cognition as well as improved blood flow. They also give you 100mg NeuroFactor (also known as CognatiQ). In addition you get 10mg Huperzine A and 300mg AlphaSize Alpha GPC. EuphorIQ will give you one of the best mind/muscle connections from a pre-workout.

Other ingredients like Taurine, Beta-Alanine and Betaine aid in strength and power output giving users a well-rounded pre-workout experience.

EuphorIQ is MuscleTech's best pre-workout in their history, in our opinion. Don't be fooled by the brand name, MuscleTech is making a comeback and it starts with formulations and impactful products like EuphorIQ.

Who Makes It?

MuscleTech is the one brand on this list that has been around the longest. They are what we call a "legacy" brand. When you think of that term you typically think the brand has lost focus. MuscleTech is not that brand. They are putting emphasis back on science and effective formulas. MuscleTech has informed us that they will continue down this path featuring more innovative products and formulas. 

What's In It?

One serving contains:

  • 4g of L-Citrulline - converts to Arginine which can increase pumps in the gym
  • 3.2g Beta-Alanine - buffers lactic acid and improves muscular endurance
  • 2.5g Betaine Anhydrous - improves strength and power output
  • 1.6g nooLVL - improves focus, alertness and reaction time
  • 1g Taurine - aids in hydration and output
  • 500mg L-Tyrosine - a well-researched amino acid with many benefits including improved focus
  • 300mg Efinity (Paraxanthine) - new innovative ingredient, metabolite of caffeine, giving users the positive effects of caffeine without the negatives
  • 300mg AlphaSize Alpha GPC - improved focus and memory
  • 100mg NeuroFactor - cognition improvement
  • 10mcg Huperzine A - helps with focus
MuscleTech EUPHORiq SFP

Bottom Line:

It is so good to see MuscleTech back in the innovation stage. EuphorIQ is the brand's best pre-workout. If you have an intolerance to caffeine, this may be a solid choice for you to get the positives but negate the negatives. You will also experience awesome mind-muscle connection and focus allowing you to focus on each rep getting the most from your workout. EuphorIQ is a breath of fresh air for MuscleTech and we're excited to see what is next. This is a must-try!

Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 20%


Frequently Asked Questions About Pre-Workout Supplements

Why Do You Need To Supplement with a Pre-Workout?

Pre-workout supplements provide benefits that can significantly improve your workout and muscle growth. Pre-workout supplements can be more than just “energy” supplements. They are not just glorified caffeine pills.

The best pre-workouts can provide you with:

  • Increased Energy

This is the first place most consumers look for in a pre-workout. How much caffeine is this giving me?! There are many different types of caffeine, and they are not all treated the same.

  • Prolonged Endurance

Certain ingredients are included in pre-workouts to assist you in the endurance category. Energy is nice, but we want that energy to last throughout a lengthy workout so we can do some work in the gym.

  • Strength Gains

Ingredients are included in the best pre-workouts to help assist in the strength department. These ingredients are selected to help you get one more rep, maybe put on five more pounds. Strength gains in the gym lead to muscle gains outside of it.

  • Improved Focus

You can be jacked up on caffeine, but if you’re not focused on the task at-hand, it can all be wasted. Nootropics and other cognitive enhancing ingredients are used in the best pre-workout supplements to help you achieve your desired results in the gym.

  • Massive Pumps

The pump is what we all strive for in the gym. We want to look huge, right? The best pre-workout supplements include pump enhancing ingredients that are not meant for just show, but a solid pump improves blood flow into your muscles which aids in muscle recovery and growth.

What To Look For in a Pre-Workout?

With the influx of pre-workout supplements, many people are unsure of what they are looking for when they purchase their pre-workout. Our 5 top rated pre-workout list incorporates many areas to give you the best of the best when it comes to an all-in-one pre-workout supplement. These pre-workouts are optimal if you’re a man, woman, looking for energy, strength, focus, pump, endurance, or are looking for a thermogenic pre workout supplement.

Each of those bullet points listed above have certain criteria you want to look for when selecting the right pre-workout for you. We will take you through each of these and give you ideas on what you should look for when buying your pre-workout. Don’t be fooled by pushy sales reps or non-credible websites. Find the correct information you need right here and experience your workouts be taken to the next-level.

Pre Workout Supps for Men

It is not surprising to hear that there are biological differences in a man and a woman. Our make-ups have the same organs and do similar functions, but we do have a set of human behaviors, cognition and body types [source: National Center for Biotechnology Information] Due to these differences, different pre-workouts may be required based on your sex.

Men typically carry more body weight than women. It may take more dosage of certain ingredients to be effective for men versus women. Men may require a heavier dose of stimulants to give them the energy they need to perform optimally at the gym.

The point is, effective pre-workouts will be different for men than women, and vice versa. When purchasing your next pre-workout, and you’re a man, keep in mind that you may want to look for higher, clinically dosed pre-workouts.

Pre-Workouts for Women

Women may be more sensitive to stimulants, and may want to look for a pre-workout with little to no caffeine (yes, I am well aware that there are women who are bigger than men…in that case, knock yourself out with stimulants!)

Pre-workouts for women may require less than the clinical dosage of certain ingredients to be fully effective. What does this mean? Women may be able to purchase “under dosed” pre-workouts, in terms of clinically dosage standards, and still obtain an effective dose for their body type. Thus, they may be able to get more servings or save a few dollars on a pre-workout supplement versus a man.

Taking a Pre Workout for the Energy Benefit

The #1 reason why people use a pre-workout powder is for added energy. The #1 ingredient people look at in any pre-workout is the stimulant we all know as caffeine.

However, it is important to note, there are many different ingredients supplement companies use to provide a boost of energy, including multiple forms of caffeine. Here are just some of the ingredients you want to look for on a supplement facts label that produce energy:

  • Caffeine: caffeine does come in various forms, the most popular is Caffeine Anhydrous. Other forms include Infinergy a.k.a. Di-Caffeine Malate and Caffeine Citrate. You may see some company’s utilize a combination of the three. They do this to provide instant energy (Caffeine Anhydrous) and then provide slow-acting energy as you workout (Di-Caffeine Malate). There are no clinical dosages on stimulants, but you will typically see caffeine dosed around 200-350mg per serving. A black cup of coffee contains 90mg of caffeine.
  • TeaCrine: this is very similar to caffeine but does have some major differences. It is similar in that it’s energy boosting effects similar to caffeine without the jitters, the crash and the habituation that often accompanies caffeine. Typical dosage of TeaCrine 100mg-150mg.
  • DMAA: also known as 1,3-Dimethylamylamine is best described as caffeine on steroids. DMAA, as of 2017, has been banned by the FDA. Typical dosages of DMAA were anywhere from 50mg-100mg.
  • DMHA: also known as 2-Aminoisoheptane is the second-coming of DMAA. This is still legal in the US. It is not as strong as DMAA so you will typically find dosages around 125mg-200mg.
  • Eria Jarensis: this stimulant is also very similar to DMAA and Ephedra. You will find this coupled with DMHA and caffeine in a lot of pre-workouts to provide a huge rush of energy. Typical dosage of this is 150mg-250mg.

Look for these ingredients on the pre workout powder’s label to determine if it is going to contain an energy rush or an energy dud.

Pre-Workout Supplements for Strength & Muscle Gains

Everyone wants to get stronger when they workout. There are certain ingredients you can look for on your pre-workout label that will help with your overall strength gains. Look for the following ones on your pre-workout label:

  • Beta-Alanine: known as the “tingly” ingredient in which it is the one ingredient in your pre-workout that will give you that itchy/tingly feeling that people either love or hate. However, Beta-Alanine has a strength output benefit. When dosed properly it has been shown to increase strength. Effective dosage of Beta Alanine is 3.2g.
  • Betaine Anhydrous: this has been shown to improve power output and strength gains. Effective dosage of Betaine is 2.5g.
  • Taurine: this is found in many pre-workouts and has been proven to help contribute to overall strength output and gains. Effective dosages of Taurine is between 500mg and 2000mg. Typically you will find this around 1g in pre-workouts.
  • Creatine: there are many forms of creatine that you find in your pre-workouts. Creatine is one of the most proven ingredients on the market shown to increase your strength. Effective dosage of creatine varies on the type, but 5g of Creatine Monohydrate and 2g of Creatine HCL. However, some may want a creatine-free preworkout.

Strength gains are important and are an important focus of pre-workout supplements. Be sure to check your labels to ensure you are getting an adequate amount of strength contributing ingredients listed above.

Pre-Workout Supplements for Increased Focus

Maybe one of the most under appreciated areas of a good pre-workout is the cognitive enhancing abilities that it provides. When you look at stimulant free pre-workouts, they rely on focus ingredients to help us get through out workout.

When these are combined with stimulants, such as caffeine (side note: caffeine is a focus ingredient as well as it works with your central nervous system to help sharpen mental alertness), it can provide a laser focus that is incomparable. The following ingredients are common in today’s pre-workouts that contribute to enhancing you cognition:

  • L-Tyrosine: an amino acid known for producing an anti-stress effect helps calm you and focus on the task at-hand…the gym and crushing your workout. The most effective dosages of L-Tyrosine are 500-2,000mg. You will typically find this dosed around 1,000mg.
  • L-Theanine: yet another amino acid known for it’s relaxation effects. Theanine is found in a lot of pre-workouts along with L-Tyrosine to provide the relaxation needed to crush your workout. Studies show 100-200mg, along side caffeine, tends to be the most effective.
  • Choline: this is a molecule known for it’s cognitive enhancing abilities. It is gaining more popularity in the pre-workout market. You can find this in various forms, but they all contribute to improving cognition. Dosages should be 200-500mg.
  • Mucuna Pruriens: this is a bean that provides a good source of L-DOPA. This helps clear the mind and acts as an anti-stressor. Typical dosage will vary.
  • Huperzine-A: this is a cognitive enhancer that fights against cognitive decline. This is gaining more popularity in the pre-workout market. Recommended dosage is 50-200mcg.
  • Nootropics: this is the biggest buzz word in the world of Silicon Valley and the bodybuilding community. More and more companies are incorporating nootropics into their pre-workouts. Examples include Alpha-GPC and Noopept, along with many more. These are awesome enhancements that only help your workout.

It is important to not neglect the focus factor in a pre workout. Look for supplements that contain these ingredients and nootropics to provide the best tunnel vision you can have.

Pre-Workout Supplements for Pump

Arnold Schwarzenegger is famous for his bodybuilding and acting career, but also for his line in “Pumping Iron” when he talks about the Pump being the equivalent to sex. The “pump” provides so much more than just an amazing look to your physique. In fact, the pump plays a much larger role.

When you obtain a good pump from a pre-workout, it means blood is flowing into your muscles bringing them essential nutrients they need to repair, recover and regrow. The following are popular pump activating ingredients to look for in your pre-workout supplement:

  • L-Citrulline: this might be the most popular pump ingredient found in pre-workouts. There are various forms of L-Citrulline but they all work the same way to contribute to an increased pump. Clinical dosages of L-Citrulline is 3-5g.
  • Agmatine Sulfate: this ingredient serves two functions, one is to increase NO production in the body, and the other is to “mask” pain. You want this so you can bang out one more rep, even if it hurts. Agmatine dosage varies but you will typically find this around 1g.
  • HydroMax/GlycerSize (Glycerol Powder): this powder increases the concentration of fluids in your muscles. More and more pre-workout powders are using Glycerol Powder a.k.a. HydroMax as part of their pump enhancing complex. Dosage will vary as there is not a clinical dosage at this time.
  • Nitrosigine: this is being used more to improve pumps and vascularity. Dosages of 750mg-1,500mg have been seen. In some pump products, this can be as high as 2,000mg.

Remember, the pump is more than just the look. It is important to your overall growth and physique. Obtain the pump you want through an effective pre-workout containing pump activating ingredients.

Pre-Workout Supplements for Endurance Athletes

If you’re an endurance athlete, you may not want all of the ingredients that promote strength or pump. You may just want ingredients that will help your heart beat longer at faster rates through the use of supplementation. The following ingredients are used in in pre-workouts to help with improving your endurance:

  • Caffeine: this is an energy ingredient, but it also works with your central nervous system to provide cognitive benefits and increased endurance. For an endurance athlete, you do not need 200+mg dosage. A dosage of 150mg would suffice. Many times there are other forms of caffeine meant to last longer than Caffeine Anhydrous.
  • Beta-Alanine: didn’t we say this was for strength gains? Yes we did, but it has also been show to improve endurance. Dosage should be at 3.2g.
  • Taurine: another ingredient we mentioned under strength ingredients, but it also contributes to overall improved endurance. You would want to supplement with 500-2,000mg of Taurine to be effective.
  • ElevATP: this is a newer ingredient with a lot of science behind it, that has been proven to enhance mitochondrial ATP production (which is what our body uses for energy). There is not a standard dosage for this, but look for it to be around 200mg.
  • Peak O2: another unique, newer ingredient proven to enhance endurance. Peak O2 fights damage from oxidative stress in the body, helping athletes train longer, recover faster and leading to more oxygen uptake. No standard dosage exists but look for this to be 500-1,000mg.

As an endurance athlete, you must look for ingredients that will help contribute to your type of training as it is vastly different than strength training. In fact, a whole other muscle type (slow-twice aka Type 1) is being trained.

Great Tasting Pre-Workout Supplements

In addition to people looking for a solid energy producing pre-workout, maybe equally, people are looking for a good tasting pre-workout drink. Now we caution you, don’t make your pre-workout decision solely based on taste. If that was the case, you might as well buy a container of Kool-Aid.

However, we realize taste is important, so you do want to find one in which you can drink and not have to choke down. Look for pre-workouts with minimal artificial flavors, sweeteners and fillers. These will benefit you most in the long run.

Stimulant vs Non-Stimulant Pre Workouts

Many people are sensitive to stimulants. If you are one of those people, read the energy section above and avoid all those ingredients. Many companies have two variations of their popular pre-workouts. One would include stimulants like caffeine, while the other would be considered a stimulant-free pre-workout, meaning there’s no caffeine or any other “like” ingredients being used.

Another time that stimulant free may be sought after would be if you work out later at night before bed. The use of stimulant pre workout powders at that time of day could affect your sleep. We need proper sleep to help with muscle recovery and HGH production.

This completes our pre-workout supplement rankings for the year 2018. The products listed above earned the right to be in the top 5 category. Each supplement had a great ingredient profile that promoted energy, endurance, strength, focus and pump.

Stay tuned to Fitness Informant throughout the year for updates as new products are tested and reviewed. Thoughts? Comment below!


Our 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 bottleIngredients Profile

When we review each pre-workout supplement on their ingredient profile, we look at the ingredients used and the dosage they are being used at.

Many pre-workouts include a variety of beneficial ingredients, but under dose them proving to be non-effective. This section also looks at how many of the sub-categories are being hit (energy, focus, strength and pump).

Effectiveness

Effectiveness is an extension of ingredient profile. If the product uses proven ingredients at clinically suggested dosages, then typically 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 pre-workout 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 pre workout 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.

Why We Test Like This

In an industry with so many players and choices choosing the right supplement for you can be difficult. The pre-workout category is no different. Pre-workouts are a staple supplement for many brands.

Many new start-up brands start with them because it is easy to copy other’s formulas and slap a label on a container and call it your own.

All of this for a minimal investment.

We’ve all read the hype about pre-workout supplements. The bark is way louder than their bite. Cool marketing slogans and product package designs make it difficult to select one that is correct for you. This is especially true if you’re just starting out in the game. We test so you know what’s legitimate and what is not.

RYSE