Rankings

The Top Pre-Workouts of 2019: Our Tested No B.S. Reviews

By September 11, 2018 January 21st, 2019 No Comments
Top Rated Pre-Workout Powders

ATTENTION: Many of the “top 10 pre workouts” lists you find online are written by content writers with no in-gym or supplement experience.  These lists are written by content writers that 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 and contain pre-workout supplement recommendations that are, for the lack of a better word, GARBAGE.

The following products on our pre-workout rankings list were used by the author of this article.

He used each of the pre-workout supplements through the duration of a full container. Sample packs were not used in determining the rankings.

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

Be Informed. Live Fit.


A Comparison of Our Top 5 Pre Workouts

OUR #1 RATED

Inspired Nutraceuticals DVST8 White Diamond Reserve

Inspired Nutraceuticals DVST8 White Diamond Reserve

Our Top Pick For:


  • Overall Pre-Workout Supplement

8.9 out of 10

in the Pre-Workout Category

Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 5%.

OUR #2 RATED

NTel Nutra Arez

NTel Nutra Arez: God of the Gym

Our Top Pick For:


  • Unique Stims

8.8 out of 10

in the Pre-Workout Category

Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 5%.

OUR #3 RATED

PRE-Extreme Bottle

NutraBio PRE Extreme

Our Top Pick For:


  • Ingredient Profile

8.8 out of 10

in the Pre-Workout Category

Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 5%.

OUR #4 RATED

Performax Labs StimMax

Performax Labs StimMAX

Our Top Pick For:


  • Stimulant Dosages

8.7 out of 10

in the Pre-Workout Category

Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 5%.

OUR #5 RATED

Sparta Kraken Reformulated Version

Sparta Nutrition Kraken

Our Top Pick For:


  • Pump

8.7 out of 10

in the Pre-Workout Category

Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 5%.

PRODUCT

DETAILS

OUR RATING

Inspired Nutraceuticals DVST8 White Diamond Reserve

Inspired NutraceuticalsDVST8 White Diamond Reserve

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Our Top Pick For:



  • Overall Pre-Workout Supplement

Highlights:


  • 400mg Caffeine
  • 250mg Dynamine 40%
  • 8g Citrulline
Fitness Informant Logo

Our #1 Rated

8.9 out of 10

in the Pre-Workouts Category

NTel Nutra Arez

NTel Nutra Arez
God of the Gym

Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 5%!

Our Top Pick For:



  • Unique Stims

Highlights:


  • 300mg Caffeine
  • 5mg Grains of Paradise
  • 300mg Lotus Leaf Extract
Fitness Informant Logo

Our #2 Rated

8.8 out of 10

in the Pre-Workouts Category

PRE-Extreme Bottle

Nutrabio
PRE Extreme

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Our Top Pick For:


  • Ingredients Profile

Highlights:


  • 350mg Caffeine
  • 6g L-Citrulline DL Malate
  • 1.75g Nitric Oxide
Fitness Informant Logo

Our #3 Rated

8.8 out of 10

in the Pre-Workouts Category

Performax Labs StimMax

Performax Labs StimMAX

Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 5%!

Our Top Pick For:


  • Stim Dosages

Highlights:


  • 2,000mg Choline Bitartrate
  • 450mg Caffeine
  • 250mg Dynamine 405%
Fitness Informant Logo

Our #4 Rated

8.7 out of 10

in the Pre-Workouts Category

Sparta Kraken Reformulated Version

Sparta Nutrition
Kraken

Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 5%!

Our Top Pick For:


  • Pump Complex

Highlights:


  • 300mg Vaso6
  • 2g HydroMax
  • 4g Citrulline
Fitness Informant Logo

Our #5 Rated

8.7 out of 10

in the Pre-Workouts Category



Why Should You Take 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.
  • check
    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.
  • check
    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.

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.


2019 Pre Workout Rankings: Our Top Rated Picks

Now the moment you’ve all been waiting for, here’s who topped our list of the 5 best pre-workout supps of 2018:

  1. Inspired Nutraceuticals DVST8 White Diamond Reserve
  2. NTel Nutra Arez God of the Gym
  3. NutraBio PRE Extreme
  4. Performax Labs StimMAX
  5. Sparta Nutrition Kraken

#1 Inspired Nutraceuticals DVST8 White Diamond Reserve

8.9 out of 10

Inspired Nutraceuticals DVST8 White Diamond Reserve

Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 5%!

The Highlights:

  • 40/20 serving
  • Clinically backed dosages
  • 400mg Caffeine (2-scoops) for energy
  • Eria Jarensis for memory and focus
  • Dynamine used at recommended amount with caffeine
  • plus
    Epic energy and focus

DVST8 White Diamond Reserve is the comeback player for Inspiried Nutraceuticals. When FI first launched, the originally version of DVST8 White Cut was rated #1. It has been that long since IN has found itself back on top of the pre-workout rankings.

Even though DVST8 White Diamond Reserve uses a proprietary blend for their stims, they give us enough evidence to be able to reverse engineer the formula to determine that this thing is loaded. With two scoops (20-servings) you are killing the game.

At two-scoops, you get optimal dosages of key ingredients. You get 8g Citrulline, 6g Betaine Anhydrous, 3.2g Beta-Alanine and 2g Taurine, all fully-disclosed. These key ingredients are common in pre-workouts, but at uncommon dosages (besides Beta-Alanine) where you find them at higher than normal amounts.

The stim complex is great. Yes, it is a proprietary blend, but any expertise can reverse engineer to determine you are shy of 600mg on Choline Bitrartrate, 400mg Caffine, 250mg Dynamine, 200mg Eria Jarensis, 50mg Hordenine, 50mg Synephrine, 50mg Theobromine and 4mg of Alpha Yohimbine. Collectively this stim complex is going to provide euphoric energy and focus like you haven't experienced before in a pre-workout.

The team at IN did great with the latest version of DVST8 and it finds itself on top of our pre-workout rankings. 

Who Makes It?

Inspired Nutraceuticals is a smaller company focused on product quality and innovation. Unlike the big guys, who focus much of their efforts growing the top and bottom line through clever marketing, IN is putting their resources into R&D to provide quality supplements for the consumer.

What's In It?

Two-scoops contains:

  • 8g L-Citrulline – huge dose to enhance and improve blood flow in your body providing that pump
  • 6g Betaine – massive dosage designed to increase endurance and strength output
  • 3.2g  Beta-Alanine – maximizes your strength, power and endurance while fighting fatigue – clinically dosed
  • 2g Taurine – helps regulate your body's electrolytes providing longer-lasting workouts (endurance)
  • 300mg Aquamin - a natural, multi-mineral ingredient
  • PROP BLEND BREAKDOWN
  • <600mg Choline Bitartrate – cognitive enhancing ingredient
  • 400mg Caffeine Anhydrous – you know what this does!
  • 250mg Dynamine 40% – yielding the recommended 100mg Dynamine, to provide longer-lasting energy
  • ~200mg Eria Jarensis – cognitive enhancing stimulant
  • ~50mg Horedenine – fat burning stimulant that provides energy
  • ~50mg Synephrine – another fat burning stimulant that provides energy
  • ~50mg Theobromine - ingredient that opens up the  blood vessels to allow more blood flow
  • ~4mg Alpha Yohimbine - a crazy strong stim that aids in fat loss and energy production
DVST8 White Diamond Reverse Engineer

Bottom Line:

Inspired Nutraceuticals DVST8 White Diamond Reserve is the #1 rated pre-workout based on ingredient selection and effectiveness. This takes your workouts to a whole new level, while not solely focusing in on one area of the pre-workout game (i.e. energy, focus, pump). It focuses on multiple areas of the pre-workout game.

It's no surprise a pre-workout of this nature came out the doors of Inspired Nutraceuticals. If you've ever tried the brand you know what you're getting: quality and well-thought out products. This deserves to be the next pre-workout you purchase and use to fuel your lifts.

90%
Ingredients Profile
90%
Mixability
85%
Effectiveness
90%
Value
90%
Taste
89%
Overall Rating
Inspired Nutraceuticals DVST8 White Diamond Reserve

Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 5%!


#2 NTel Nutra Arez God of the Gym

8.8 out of 10

NTel Nutra Arez

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The Highlights:

  • Fully transparent label
  • Effective dosages
  • 300mg Caffeine for great energy
  • Numerous stims to contribute to energy
  • Top of the line workouts
  • plus
    Unique combo of proven ingredients

Arez God of the Gym by NTel Nutra knocks off the rest to get to our #1 rated pre-workout of 2018s once our #1 rated pre-workout. How did they do it? Simple, a nice combination of stims with the added strength, pump and focus makes it a must-try to enhance your workouts.

While most pre-workouts are a variation of something already on the market, Arez God of the Gym is completely different. We have not seen a formula like this out there yet. It is interesting, unique, but most importantly, it works. For energy, you get the nice combination of 300mg Caffeine mixed with several stems including Lotus Leaf Extract and Grains of Paradise.

You get more than just a stim high, you also get 4.3g of pure Citrulline (pump), 100mg of Alpha GPC (focus) and Chinese Skullcap (mood/memory). We're not the only ones that put this in our top 5 list!

Who Makes It?

NTel Nutra makes several different supplements, but their Arez series is by far their most popular. Each supplements in the NTel Nutra line up utilizes unique combinations of not-so-common ingredients which makes you believe they take their time to study these ingredients and the synergies between them. We’ve had several NTel products and have liked them all so far.

What's In It?

One serving contains:

  • 4.3g L-Citrulline – increases your body nitric oxide production increasing your pump
  • 3.2g  Beta-Alanine – maximizes your strength, power and endurance while fighting fatigue – clinically dosed
  • 1g Betaine – increases endurance and strength output
  • 300mg Lotus Leaf Extract – burns fat and increases energy
  • 200mg Beta Phenylethylamine HCl – happy molecule
  • 300mg Caffeine Anhydrous – you know what this does!
  • 5mg Grains of Paradise – cognitive enhancer – focus fat burner/energy enhancing ingredient
  • 225mcg Rauwolfia Vomitoria Extract – another fat burner/energy enhancer
  • 100mg Alpha GPC – nootropic designed to increase focus
  • 20mg Hordenine HCl  – stimulant to burn fat and increase energy
  • 100mcg L-Huperzine A – cognitive enhancer
  • 200mg Chinese Skullcap – enhances mood, relaxer
  • 50mg N-Methyltyramine HCl – used as a stim to burn fat
  • 185mg Velvet Bean Extract – anti-crash
  • 100mg Rhodiola Rosea – anti-fatigue
NTel Nutra Arez Label

Bottom Line:

Arez God of the Gym is a great ore-workout designed to improve energy, endurance and focus…with pump to boot. Unique ingredients uniquely combined produces one helluva workout that you will love. We’ve had a lot of pre-workout supplements over the years, this one is one of our highest rated in the history of pre-workouts.

Arez deserves to be in our top rated pre-workouts for three reasons. It hits on profile, effectiveness, flavor, mixability and price. I am not sure why you’re still waiting, run, don’t walk to get your Arez now!

90%
Ingredients Profile
90%
Mixability
90%
Effectiveness
90%
Value
80%
Taste
88%
Overall Rating
NTel Nutra Arez

Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 5%!


#3 NutraBio PRE Extreme

8.8 out of 10

PRE-Extreme Bottle

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The Highlights:

  • Pre-load carbs
  • Insane energy
  • Massive pumps
  • Explosive energy
  • 100% transparent label
  • plus
    Highest quality of ingredients available

PRE Extreme from NutraBio is a more “extreme” version of their popular pre-workout supplement PRE. PRE Extreme includes more caffeine than the original PRE. PRE Extreme was formulated to target five areas of your workout: pre-load, endurance & performance, electrolyte & hydration, focus and pump.

PRE Extreme is a high quality pre-workout supplement made by one of the most well-respected brands in the sports nutrition industry.

PRE Extreme is a step-up from NutraBio’s PRE pre-workout supplement. PRE Extreme is a stimulant based preworkout supplement that we guarantee will enhance your workouts and take you to the next level.

PRE Extreme includes high quality ingredients targeted at specific areas of concern during your workout: athletic endurance and performance, power strength and recovery, hydration and electrolytes, focus and cognitive functions and nitric oxide production. The label is 100% transparent so you know the exact dosage you are receiving per serving.

Who Makes It?

NutraBio has been in business since 1996 producing some of the highest quality supplements you can buy today. They not only promote awesome, high quality products, but education as well.

NutraBio has been trying to educate the consumer on the sports nutrition industry for several years to ensure that you are purchasing supplements of high quality and not just a marketing gimmick. All of their products contain a 100% transparent label to ensure you know what you are putting in your body.

What's In It?

One serving contains:

  • 15g Highly Branched Chain Dextrin – pre-workout energy in the form of fast digesting carbs
  • 6g L-Citrulline – increases your body nitric oxide production increasing your pump
  • 2.5g  CarnoSyn® Beta-Alanine – maximizes your strength, power and endurance while fighting fatigue
  • 2g Creatine Monohydrate – promotes muscle strength and gains
  • 1g Creatine Hydrochloride (HCL) – increases lean body mass while maximizing strength
  • 3.5g L-Leucine – activates mTOR which induces protein synthesis aka muscle recovery
  • 1.5g Taurine – increases muscle strength and endurance
  • 1.2g N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine – enhances drive and alertness improving your focus
  • 350mg Caffeine – increases energy and alertness
  • 300mg TheaPure™ L-Theanine – increases focus
  • 1g Agmatine Sulfate – promotes production of nitric oxide and increased pumps
  • PRE-Extreme Label

    Bottom Line:

    PRE Extreme is a fully packed pre-workout supplement that works, and it works very well. There are no risky ingredients in PRE Extreme. The ingredients used are high quality well researched ingredients by one of the best companies in the world.

    PRE Extreme will provide the energy and pump you desire while keeping you on-point with your focus in the gym. This pre-workout supplement will make you not want to stop during your workouts. PRE Extreme could have very well been our number one pre since it is that good.

    90%
    Ingredients Profile
    90%
    Mixability
    90%
    Effectiveness
    80%
    Value
    90%
    Taste
    88%
    Overall Rating
    PRE-Extreme Bottle

    Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 5%!


    #4 Performax Labs StimMAX

    8.7 out of 10

    Performax Labs StimMax

    Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 5%!

    The Highlights:

    • Explosive energy
    • Focus is great
    • 425mg of Caffeine for sustained energy
    • 250mg Eria Jarensis
    • 200mg Dynamine

    StimMAX from Performax Labs is exactly what you would expect it to be: a stim bomb. This thing is packed with caffine and stimulants, and forgoes the pump and other aspects of a pre-workout. They don't over promise, but they over deliver.

    We get 425mg of Caffeine combined with 200mg of Dynamine and 250mg Eria Jarensis to provide a huge shot of long-standing energy. Let's not stop there, you also get 75mg of Hordenine and Higenamine which also provides hard-hitting stimulant energy. Are we done? No, we get Rauwolscine at 1.8mg which also provides amazing energy. Huperzine A at 200mcg contributes to you overall focus with the 2g of Choline Bitartrate. Oh shoot, how could we forget to mention the 30mg of Noopept, a great nootropic!

    StimMAX provides energy and focus. Nothing more, nothing less. This is what a lot of people want in the gym. Here's a straight-forward hard-hitting option that checks those boxes.

    Who Makes It?

    Performax Labs is one of the most underrated supplement companies on the planet. They consistently release great products with promise and that deliver. We've had so many different products from the brand and have NEVER been disappointed. 

    What's In It?

    One serving contains:

    • 2,000mg Choline Bitartrate - a cognitive enhancing ingredient that helps improve focus
    • 425mg Caffeine - you know what this does, but this is a TON of caffeine
    • 250mg Eria Jarensis - the common name, contributes to focus and memory
    • 200mg Dynamine 40% - yeilding 80mg of Dynamine to provide euphoric energy
    • 75mg Hordenine - fat burning stimulant that provides energy
    • 75mg Higenamine - fat burning ingredient that provides energy
    • 30mg Noopept - great nootropic to enhance focus
    • 25mg Kanna - reduces anxiety
    • 200mcg Huperzine A - great cognitive enhancing ingredient
    • 4mg Rauwolfia Vomitoria - epic stim providing explosive energy
    StimMAX Label


    Bottom Line:

    StimMAX is one of the best hard-hitting stimulant based pre-workouts available on the market today. It doesn't give anything in terms of endurance, strength, power or pump, but it promises energy and focus. It over delivers on these components. If you're into stimulant and want that rush, this is for you. NOT FOR BEGINNERS.

    80%
    Ingredients Profile
    90%
    Mixability
    95%
    Effectiveness
    90%
    Value
    80%
    Taste
    87%
    Overall Rating
    Performax Labs StimMax

    Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 5%!


    #5 Sparta Nutrition Kraken (Reformulated)

    8.7 out of 10

    Sparta Kraken Reformulated Version

    Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 5%!

    The Highlights:

    • Combination of HydroMax and Vaso6 provide amazing pumps
    • Replaced DMHA with Caffeine, TeaCrine and stems
    • Clinically dosed Beta Alanine
    • Great flavors
    • Option between 40 and 20-servings

    Kraken by Sparta Nutrition reformulated their previously ranked #1 rated pre-workout Kraken in 2018 to remove DMHA from the formula. Many people were let down by this change, but I can assure you that it didn’t hurt the pre-workout all that much. Yes, this was our former #1 rated pre-workout, and the reformulation forced it out of the top spot, but it still makes our top 5 pre-workout supplements.

    The reformulated version still has a great pump profile consisting of 2g HydroMax  combined with 300mg of Vaso6, a new ingredient in the reformulated version. You will get one of the best pumps with this pre-workout. You also get Theobromine and Citrulline to contribute to this!

    So what did they do to replace DMHA? They added 250mg TeaCrine, 30mg N-Methyl-Tyramine HCl and 15mg Cocoabuterol to contribute to the overall energy profile. It still works, just a slight step back from the OG version.

    Some have criticized the reformulated Kraken, but the criticism is not fair at all. Take it from a guy who actually lifts and uses pre-workout supplements. Kraken, the reformulated version, deserves to be in our top 5 and that’s right where you find it!

    Who Makes It?

    Sparta Nutrition BURST onto the scene with the original version of Kraken back in 2017. They became one of the fastest growing supplement companies in the world. Since then, they’ve released a whole plethora of supplements including a Keto line and a top rated protein powder.

    Sparta Nutrition is owned by two brothers, one is the business/marketing guru, and the other is the formulator/business guru. Collectively they created a special brand that we expect a lot from in the very near future!

    What's In It?

    One serving contains:

    • 4g L-Citrulline – increases your body nitric oxide production increasing your pump
    • 3.2g  Beta-Alanine – maximizes your strength, power and endurance while fighting fatigue
    • 2g HydroMax – fantastic pump enhancer
    • 1g Taurine – increases muscle strength and endurance
    • 500mg N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine – cognitive enhancing ingredient
    • 300mg Vaso6 – increases Nitric Oxide in the body
    • 250mg TeaCrine – increases energy and alertness much like caffeine
    • 250mg Caffeine – increases energy
    • 50mg Theobromine – blood vessel dilator to increase pumps
    • 30mg N-Methyl-Tyramine HCl – burns fats and increases energy
    • 15mg Cocoabuterol -increases energy through fat loss
    • DMHA – insane energy
    Kraken V2 Facts

    Bottom Line:

    The reformulated version of Kraken STILL deserves to be in top pre-workouts. Made by a company who holds true to their promise of producing quality supplements, Kraken is a quality supplement. A well rounded ingredient profile that provides great energy, awesome pump and good focus should be in anyone’s top pre-workout list.

    Kraken did a nice job of replacing DMHA with the combination of caffeine, TeaCrine and stims. Do we miss the OG? Sure, but it’s time to move on and accept the reformulated Kraken, and give it the credit it deserves. 

    90%
    Ingredients Profile
    90%
    Mixability
    80%
    Effectiveness
    90%
    Value
    85%
    Taste
    87%
    Overall Rating
    Sparta Kraken Reformulated Version

    Use coupon code INFORMANT to save 5%!


    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

    preworkout drinks for menIt 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

    for women that liftWomen 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

    caffeine energy in pre work out drinkThe #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 Workouts for Strength & Muscle Gains

    strongest pre workout on the market has creatineEveryone 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.

    For Increased Focus

    preworkout for focusMaybe 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-Workouts 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-Cittruline: this might be the most popular pump ingredient found in pre-workouts. There are various forms of L-Cittruline but they all work the same way to contribute to an increased pump. Clinical dosages of L-Cittruline is 6g.
    • 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 (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.

    Endurance Ingredients

    caffeine energy without crashIf 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.

    Good Tasting Pre-Workouts?

    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!

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