Energy is a strange thing; sometimes you have lots of it and feel like you could conquer the world. Other times, it up and vanishes and leaves you feeling deflated and weak. Sometimes it’s easy to identify the cause of an energy slump – lack of sleep, stress, and diet being the usual culprits. Other times, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly why you feel as flat as a pancake.
On days like this, you may be tempted to use a pre-workout supplement, but what is the best pre-workout for beginners?
These energy highs and lows can be very frustrating. You’ve planned to hit the gym, but you have no charge left in your batteries. If you manage to drag yourself to the gym, you may even find yourself just going through the motions. That’s no way to reach your fitness goals.
The good news is that pre-workout supplements were designed specifically for days like this. They contain energizing ingredients so that you can work out even on your most tired of days. They aren’t just useful on those days you feel less than stellar either, they can help turn a good day into a GREAT day, acting like a supercharger.
Some pre-workouts are definitely better than others, so make sure you choose the right one for you.
Or you could try this homemade recipe in our blog section.
Best Pre-Workout For Beginners
4 Gauge is made by supplement company Roar Ambition. It’s a pre-workout drink mix that promises to boost your energy, endurance, and focus. Sold in a cool-looking shotgun shell-shaped container, 4 Gauge is an excellent product for exercisers looking to exercise harder or longer.
- 150 mg caffeine for increased physical and mental energy
- L-Theanine for better focus
- Creatine for more endurance
- Red beetroot extract and L-Citrulline for better blood flow and muscle pumps
- Acetyl-L-Carnitine for fat burning and increased energy
- Coconut water powder for hydration-boosting electrolytes
A lot of pre-workouts give you energy, but they do it with nothing more than caffeine and sugar.
4 Gauge contains a range of ingredients to boost mental and physical energy via several different pathways.
Taken 30 minutes before training, this product will help you work out longer and harder than ever before. Check out our full review here.
- Fast-acting formulation
- No proprietary blends
- Low-calorie formulation
- No artificial sweeteners, colors, or preservatives
- Refreshing, fruit blast flavor
- Only available in one flavor
- 150 mg caffeine may leave some users feeling anxious or jittery
4 Gauge is a premium pre-workout supplement. It’s loaded with everything you need to give your all in the gym. It’s not the cheapest pre-workout available, but it’s definitely one of the most well-formulated. With no post-workout energy crashes to worry about, this pre-workout is reliable and easy to use.
Pre-workout supplements are very popular. They give you an energy boost just when you need it most – before exercising. They also increase mental focus and fat burning. Powher Pre-workout is unique because it is specifically engineered for women.
- Gradual-release formula
- Increases mental and physical energy and stamina
- Supports fat burning
- Rich in hydrating electrolytes
- Easy to mix
- Pleasant pink lemonade taste
Unlike a lot of pre-workout supplements, Powher is not just a mega-dose of caffeine. While it does contain this energizing ingredient, it isn’t so much that it will leave you feeling anxious and jittery.
Instead, ingredients like taurine, vitamin B, and tyrosine increase your energy without an uncomfortable buzz that can interfere with a good night’s sleep.
- Contains no proprietary blends
- Tried-and-tested ingredients
- Effective formula
- Backed with a 90-day money-back guarantee
- Contains the artificial sweeteners sucralose and Acesulfame-K
- Only available in one flavor
Powher Pre-Workout formula for women is an excellent alternative to supplements that contain nothing more than a massive hit of caffeine. The synergistic blend of ingredients will increase your energy levels and ward off fatigue without leaving you overstimulated. Made especially for women, this pre-workout is perfect for all types of exercise. Check out our detailed review of Powher here.
Most pre-workouts are pre-exercise drink powders. You mix them with water, chug them down, and 30 minutes later, get a rush of energy that can help you exercise longer or harder than usual. Performance Lab’s pre-workout is different. Supplied in capsule form, there is no drink to mix and no unpleasant taste to overcome. Just pop a couple of capsules in your mouth and wait for the ingredients to kick in.
- Creatine for increased strength, energy, and endurance
- L-citrulline for increased blood flow and a killer pump
- Cordyceps for faster ATP regeneration, increased energy, and enhanced oxygen utilization
- L-glutamine for increased tolerance to lactic acid, more growth hormone, and quicker workout recovery
- L-carnosine for inhibiting muscle damage, lactic acid buffering, and protection from exercise-induced free radicals
- Himalayan salt to replace minerals lost during sweating
- Maritime pine bark extract to relax blood vessels and enhance blood flow to working muscles
If you are looking to raise your workout game without having to face the caffeine jitters, Performance Lab Pre-Workout could be the product you are looking for. Despite being entirely stim-free, these pre-workout capsules will still improve exercise performance.
- No lingering aftertaste
- Free from sugar and carbs
- Proven ingredients
- Sports legal
- No unwanted side effects
- Suitable for aerobic and anaerobic activity
- Some users may miss their caffeine buzz
A lot of pre-workouts are nothing more than caffeine and carbs. This one is different. It doesn’t have the rocket fuel effect of other, more caffeinated pre-workouts. Instead, it provides a much smoother, sustained increase in energy. This makes it ideal for training sessions where you need to focus and perform at your best, and where too much caffeine could actually undermine your performance.
Alpha Lion Pre-Workout is an energizing nutritional supplement designed to boost energy and focus for exercise. Available in four great-tasting flavors, this product contains numerous proven ingredients to ensure you can give every workout your all, even on those days when you’re feeling less than enthusiastic about exercise.
- 42 servings per container
- Calorie-free formulation
- Tried and tested ingredients
- Four refreshing flavors
- Easy to mix powder
- Five different ingredient blends to boost performance in five different ways
To use Alpha Lion Pre-Workout, just take 1-2 scoops 15-30 minutes before exercise. You’ll not only feel energized and focused, but also experience better pumps and recover faster afterward too.
- Easy to use
- No energy slumps
- Good for physical energy, mental focus, and stamina
- High caffeine content could cause unwanted side effects for some users
- Contains several artificial ingredients
While other pre-workouts contain more caffeine, Alpha Lion Pre-Workout has a not insubstantial 200mg per serving. Because of this, you should avoid using this product too close to bedtime. Some people may also find it causes insomnia. That said, this is a potent product that should help you power through any workout, no matter how challenging.
- Pre Workout in Two Stages: The world’s first two-stage natural pre workout energy drink for men and women; specifically formulated to deliver clean, sustained energy, strength, endurance & pumps; steady delivery of ingredients including L-Citrulline, Beta Alanine and L-Arginine to power you through workouts of all types and all fitness levels, including weight training, cardio and home workouts. So stop wasting time & money on short-lived stimulants, guys! Get sustained, effective energy today!
- Tested and Trusted: Third-party tested and keto friendly preworkout supplement with exclusively premium ingredients. No banned substances; can be used for bodybuilding or any athletic event.
- Flavors to Love: Vintage Blast uses exclusively natural flavors of the highest quality grade to deliver award-winning sensory experiences that you’ll look forward to every time. All of our flavors are 100% vegetarian with no animal-sourced ingredients.
- Guaranteed Results or your Money Back: Old School Labs supplements never compromise on quality and always include clear and complete supplement facts without any “proprietary blends.” We stand by our products 100%. If you are not completely satisfied with any OSL product, we will help you resolve your concern or provide a full refund.
- Old School Labs, 40 years in the making, formulated in California, and Made in the USA. Ultra-pure and clean supplements for physique perfection or life changing transformations. From pre-workouts, multivitamins, protein, to amino acids, greens, and thermogenic fat burners, we have the right supplement and nutritional solution for you. We’re here to answer your questions via social media or email so that you can achieve your goals the Old School way. #oldschoollabs #teamosl #iamoldschool
Vintage Blast Pre-Workout is a two-stage product designed to provide fasting acting but sustained energy for even the toughest workout.
- Two-stage formulation for rapid but sustained energy
- Non-addictive formula
- Electrolytes for fluid replacement
- Contains several energizing ingredients
- No artificial flavors or sweeteners
Vintage Blast Pre-Workout is formulated and made in the USA. It contains a range of energizing ingredients including caffeine, nitric oxide, and magnesium so that it acts fast but also keeps working for the entire duration of your workout. Mixed with water, this good pre-workout supplement is available in blueberry lemonade flavor.
- Suitable for men and women
- Good for strength and endurance exercises
- 100% money-back guarantee
- May speed up recovery after exercise
- Sugar-free and sweetened with stevia
- Contains two forms of caffeine – caffeine anhydrous and microencapsulated caffeine
- Some users report that this product tastes unpleasant
- Product doesn’t always dissolve fully
If you are looking for a strongly caffeinated pre-workout supplement, Vintage Pre-Workout is a good choice. It’s only available in one flavor but, providing you like the taste, you should find that this product provides you with a reliable and sustained boost in workout performance.
- All-In-One Amino Energy & Weight Management – AminoLean was designed to be the most comprehensive amino acid weight management supplement for men and women available. We combined BCAAs & EAAs (essential amino acids) with a focus & energy blend and natural weight management ingredients to form the perfect amino energy supplement
- Anytime Energy & Performance – Each serving of AminoLean contains 125mg of Caffeine from the natural source of Green Tea Extract. It is formulated to take as a Pre Workout powder, Post Workout or anytime for the perfect energy boost without a crash or jitters. You can take 1-3 servings to customize the amount of energy that’s right for you
- BCAAs + EAAs – Each serving of AminoLean contains 5g of Amino Acids, the ideal ingredient to help improve workout performance and support lean muscle building. More complete than just regular BCAA powder, additional EAAs contain everything your body needs to help build muscle.
- Comprehensive, Natural Weight Management Supplement – A scientifically formulated blend of Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), L-Carnitine Powder, Green Tea Extract, and Green Coffee Bean promote natural weight management to help maintain a lean physique year-round
- Zero Sugars, Carbs, or Calories – AminoLean has 0 sugars, 0 carbs and 0 calories; making it an extremely clean product for any diet. Additionally, it does not contain any gluten in its ingredients. *However there may be trace amounts, due to the environment it is processed in
RSP AminoLean is more than just a good pre-workout; it also contains ingredients that will speed up recovery and help you burn more fat too.
- Sugar, carb, and calorie-free
- Contains three different ingredient blends for energy, recovery, and fat burning
- Fast-acting but sustained energy
- Can be used before or after exercise
- Available in eight flavors
Most pre-workouts are designed to give you energy – period. RSP AminoLean is more than just a pre-workout and contains fat burning and recovery boosting ingredients too. Substances like CLA, green tea and green coffee bean extract, and well as essential amino acids, make this a very comprehensive nutritional product.
- Good value
- Very versatile product
- Speeds up fat burning and weight loss
- Boosts exercise performance
- Non-habit forming
- Some users report stomach upsets after using
RSP AminoLean is designed especially for exercisers who want to work out for weight loss. It’s a good value product that contains lots of tested and proven ingredients. If you usually use a separate fat burner and a pre-workout, this product allows you to enjoy all the benefits of both those supplements in one easy-to-use formula.
- ✅ Gx7 Pre-workout – With clinically dosed ingredients you’ll feel a huge energy boost within minutes and be able to enjoy the best workouts of your life.
- ✅ Immediate strength and endurance – The ingredients inside of Gx7 Pre workout for men & women powder are carefully chosen to boost strength and give you amazing drive and focus.
- ✅ Researched back-end ingredients, without the junk – Alpha Gx7 Pre-workout contains only science based ingredients proven to give you the best workouts that you’ve ever had.
- ✅ Breakthrough Plateaus- lift more weight, and leave the gym with the best pump you’ve ever had. Prime your muscles with the right fuel before your workout, with Gx7 Pre Workout.
- ✅ Gx7 Pre-Workout is always made in the USA!
Alpha Gx7 is a powerful pre-workout that contains several proven energizing ingredients, including caffeine, taurine, beta-alanine, and yohimbe. It’s available in four different flavors – watermelon, fruit punch, cherry, and blue raspberry.
- Rapid but sustained energy
- No after workout energy crashes
- Contains a range of tried and tested energizing ingredients
- Formulated and produced in the USA
Where a lot of pre-workouts are nothing more than concentrated sources of caffeine, Alpha Gx7 contains a range of active ingredients to provide a rapid but sustained burst of energy. Carb and calorie-free, this pre-workout will help you power through even the toughest workouts.
- Comprehensive formula
- Suitable for men and women
- Designed for gym-based strength workouts
- Contains a range of energizing ingredients for a sustained effect
- High caffeine content
- Some users report severe ski tingling after using
With its range of energizing ingredients, Alpha Gx7 pre-workout supplement boosts your energy in several different ways. It is high in caffeine, and that may mean that some users find that it makes them feel anxious or jittery. This is not a good pre-workout for nighttime use.
Evlution Nutrition ENGN
- Intense Pre-Workout Powder for Increased Energy, Power, & Focus (Pikatropin-Free)
- Supports Cognitive Function, Enhances Mood, Expands Muscle Endurance, and Helps to Delay Fatigue
- Powerful Pre Workout Energy Powder: Smooth energy rush and more focus with no crash or jitters. Trusted by men and women!
- Unbeatable Flavors: ENGN is well known and respected for offering a variety of delicious flavors to make drinking ENGN enjoyable.
Evlution Nutrition ENGN is a potent, caffeine-laden pre-workout supplement. It is designed not just to increase workout performance but to enhance cognitive function too. It’s carb and calorie-free and is available in ten refreshing flavors.
- Rapid but sustained energy
- Supports energy production and mood
- Delays fatigue
- Contains creatine
More than just a pre-workout, Evlution Nutrition ENGN Pre-Workout also contains creatine for faster, more complete recovery after exercise. It’s quite high in caffeine and contains 300mg per serving. While this will give a notable increase in energy, it could also leave some users feeling anxious or jittery. That much caffeine will definitely disrupt sleep.
- Proven, energizing ingredients
- Powerful formula
- Good choice of flavors
- Contains a proprietary blend
- Artificially flavored and sweetened
- Contains the same amount of caffeine as two cups of strong coffee
If you like to feel your pre-workout working, Evlution Nutrition ENGN Pre-Workout could be a good choice. The high caffeine content should give you a real buzz and boost. It’s not just a high caffeine product, though. Evlution Nutrition ENGN Pre-Workout also contains a blend of proven energizing ingredients.
- A NATURAL BOOST OF ENERGY: Maintain healthy stamina, motivation, and mental focus with 150mg of organic caffeine derived from 20 adaptogenic herbs, superfoods, green coffee extract, yerba mate, and ginseng for sustained energy without the crash.
- BETTER INGREDIENTS: Certified USDA organic, non-GMO verified, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, keto friendly, and with NO preservatives, hormones, sweeteners, artificial flavors, colors, or preservatives. All ingredients you can pronounce!
- BUILD LEAN MUSCLE & BURN FAT: Drink before a workout to promote vascularity and pump with only 20 calories per serving and no added sugar. Our premium formula boosts metabolism while supporting muscle growth and recovery for better long-term results.
- OPTIMIZE OVERALL HEALTH & VITALITY: More than just a pre-workout, each serving is packed with nootropics and essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and micronutrients for full-body nourishment, so you look and feel your best!
- NO JITTERS, NO CRASH, NO ITCHY SKIN: Avoid unpleasant and dangerous side-effects associated with “mainstream” pre-workouts: jitters, heart palpitations, itchy skin, bloating, nausea, or trouble sleeping. Only clean ingredients for better results.
Most pre-workout supplements are full of chemicals. With its long list of natural ingredients, ORGANIC MUSCLE dares to be different. This is a good pre-workout for those looking for a more natural energy booster.
- Organic, vegan-approved pre-workout supplement
- All-natural ingredients
- Contains three different blends for rapid but sustained energy
- Ingredients include herbs and fruit extracts
- Only 25 calories per serving
Containing only 150 grams of caffeine per serving, ORGANIC MUSCLE Organic Pre-Workout Powder won’t leave you feeling anxious or jittery. Instead, it will provide a smooth but sustained burst of energy without the all-too-common after-use crash. Unlike a lot of pre-workouts, it contains none of the ingredients that can trigger itchy, tingly skin either.
- Healthy, chemical-free formulation
- Contains no GMOs, gluten, dairy, fillers, chemicals, hormones, soy, added sugars, artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, or preservatives.
- Modest caffeine content
- Not as powerful as other pre-workout supplements
- Some users report an unpleasant aftertaste
Available in three flavors; lemon-berry, passionfruit guava, and strawberry mango, ORGANIC MUSCLE is a good option for exercisers who prefer a gentler, more natural pre-workout supplement. This product won’t feel like rocket fuel pumping through your veins, but for a lot of users, that milder effect will be very welcome.
- SYNERGISTIC MIND TO MUSCLE FORMULA – Unlock strength & power that will take you beyond raw capabilities and push you to new levels of excellence; Genius Pre is the World’s 1st Clinically Dosed Nootropics Based Pre Workout; Your physical capabilities are guaranteed to expand when your brain is engaged with the proper (all-natural) nutrients & your muscles are stimulated by scientifically proven ingredients
- CAFFEINE FREE & SCIENTIFICALLY SUPERIOR – From a scientific standpoint; This is the absolute best pre workout for men and women. Don’t fall for flashy marketing hype and misinformation; Caffeine, DMAA & DMHA actually reduce blood flow. Find yourself mentally energized & esp focused with natural ingredients like huperzine a, taurine and l tyrosine; No heavily caffeinated powder or energy drink compares
- ULTIMATE NITRIC OXIDE BOOSTING POWERHOUSE – With 6 Grams of l citrulline malate (6x the competition), beta alanine and ATP all brought together, you’re ensured rapid NO elevation; Go into full muscle pump mode where you can expect more endurance & faster recovery
- NATURALLY SWEETENED WITHOUT THE JUNK – Genius Pre is 100% naturally flavored and sweetened with organic, vegan friendly stevia; Our formula is certified for sport and 3rd party tested for purity and potency
A large percentage of pre-workouts contain lots of caffeine. While caffeine is an effective energizer, too much can leave you feeling jittery and anxious. Caffeine-sensitive individuals may even find that a lot of pre-workouts leave them feeling unwell. Genius Pre-Workout Powder is caffeine-free, making it an excellent alternative to other, heavily caffeinated pre-workout supplements.
- Stimulant free
- Contains nitric oxide for increased blood flow
- Boosts physical and mental performance
- Delays fatigue
- Range of proven energizing ingredients
- 100% naturally flavored and sweetened
Genius Pre-Workout Powder is as much a nootropic as it is a pre-workout. That is to say, it will increase mental as well as physical performance. With no caffeine, you can use this product at any time of day or night – even before bedtime.
- Stimulant free for fewer unwanted side effects
- Use anytime you need to boost energy or cognitive function
- Third-party tested for purity
- Formulated and made in the USA
- Sport-approved – no banned substances
- Suitable for men and women
- Powder prone to settling and clumping together after opening
- Not a cheap product
If you are looking for an alternative to highly caffeinated pre-workouts, Genius Pre-Workout Powder is a good choice. It’s not just a good pre-workout for increasing workout performance either; it can help boost brain power too. It’s not as strong as other pre-workouts, but if you want a modest boost in energy, this product delivers.
Beyond Raw LIT
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Beyond Raw LIT Pre-Workout is a powerful, fast-acting energy drink that increases both physical and mental performance. With only 10 calories per serving, this high-caffeine product contains a range of energizing ingredients, including nitric oxide for increased blood flow.
- Clinically dosed formulation
- Contains creatine
- 250 mg of anhydrous caffeine per serving
- Sugar and gluten-free
Beyond Raw LIT Pre-Workout is designed to be used on training days for extra energy, and on non-training days for increased mental focus. It contains several vasodilating ingredients designed to increase blood flow to working muscles. With no proprietary blends, this pre-workout will help you power through even the toughest workouts.
- Strong fast-acting formula
- Contains several different energizing and vasodilating ingredients
- Available in 30 and 60-serving containers
- Available in six interesting flavors
- Mixes easily with water
- High caffeine content may be problematic for some users
- Very low dose of creatine per serving
- Contains artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives
Beyond Raw LIT Pre-Workout is a solid choice for exercisers looking for an energy boost. It contains a range of proven active ingredients and should provide a quick but sustained effect. High in caffeine, this supplement should not be used late at night.
- Pre Workout Powder for Energy, Strength, and Pumps: Nitrosurge is a pre-workout for men and women that has been scientifically-crafted using the latest cutting-edge research on strength and performance ingredients. This maximum strength pre-workout supplement without creatine delivers everything you need for explosive workouts and head-turning results. Experience explosive energy, instant strength gains, laser-sharp focus, endless endurance, and powerful pumps.
- Pre-Workout Drink for Physique Improvements: This powerhouse preworkout energy powder promotes an enhanced body composition over time. The formula contains the most cutting-edge, potent ingredients available: L-Citrulline, Betaine Anhydrous, Beta Alanine, Caffeine, L Theanine, and it’s creatine-free.
- Nitric Oxide Boosting Pre Workout Supplement: Boost nitric oxide (NO) levels and blood-flow to the muscle to maximize pumps, endurance, strength, and fuel muscle growth. This potent pre workout powder contains no artificial fillers or food dyes and is like no other preworkout supplements on the market.
- Manufactured in the USA in a cGMP certified facility.
NITROSURGE is a strong, fast-acting sports supplement for men and women. Loaded with proven ingredients such as l-citrulline, caffeine, and beta-alanine, this product provides a fast but sustained burst of energy that all exercisers will welcome.
- Highly bioavailable ingredients
- Potent formulation
- Increases energy and fat burning
- Contains mood and energy-boosting herbal extracts including ginseng
Where some pre-workouts contain 300mg or more caffeine, NITROSURGE contains a much more modest 180mg which makes it a good pre-workout for beginners. The inclusion of nitrous oxide boosters means you can enjoy increased blood flow to your working muscles and a better pump.
- Good value
- Research-backed ingredients
- Improves strength, endurance, mood, and focus
- Available in six flavors
- Only available in 30-serving containers
- Some users report feeling jittery and wired after using this product
This product represents excellent value for money, and it is a good pre-workout for newbies. The ingredients are tried and tested, and users report that the flavors are pretty good too. If you want a medium caffeine pre-workout product that’s also easy on your pocket, this pre-workout is worthy of your consideration.
- PRE WORKOUT IGNITER legendary pre-workout with industry heritage that has been helping athletes train harder since 2004
- ADVANCED INGREDIENT TECHNOLOGY re engineered to push you past previous limits
- SUPPORTS EXPLOSIVE ENERGY, INTENSE FOCUS, EXTREME PUMPS and MAXIMUM PERFORMANCE
- 2 SIZES AVAILABLE 30 servings or 60 servings
- 5 AMAZING FLAVORS cherry limeade, raspberry lemonade, green apple, grape, fruit punch
BSN N.O.-XPLODE is a very popular pre-workout supplement that has been around for over 12 years. This means it works! Available in two sizes, 30 and 60-servings, and nine flavors, this tried-and-tested pre-workout is a best-seller.
- Contains five different energizing blends
- Increases strength, power, endurance, and mental focus
- Powerful, fast-acting formula
- Contains creatine, beta-alanine, and caffeine
Shortly after taking BSN N.O.-XPLODE, you will start to feel it working. Your skin will tingle, your face may become flushed, and your energy levels will noticeably increase. The combination of proven ingredients will help you exercise harder and longer than ever before.
- Noticeable effect
- Proven formula
- Nice flavors
- Popular, respected product
- Good value for money
- Very high caffeine content – 275mg per serving
- Some users do not enjoy the tingling effect
BSN N.O.-XPLODE is a very well-regarded pre-workout supplement. It’s been around for many years, and that means it lives up to the hype. While this is a good pre-workout, it may be too intense for some beginners. New users should consider using a half serving to see how they react to this product.
- VITAMIN D Provides Immune Support
- PACKAGING MAY VARY – New look, with the same trusted Quality
- 175MG OF CAFFEINE- help fuel your mind and body to train at the highest level
- 3G CREATINE – help support overall performance
- 1.5G BETA-ALANINE – help support enhanced endurance
Optimum Nutrition is one of the biggest names in sports supplements. Their products are high-quality and very popular. This pre-workout supplement is well-priced and contains all the ingredients necessary to boost physical and mental performance.
- Contains creatine, beta-alanine, and caffeine for energy
- Free from banned and dangerous substances
- Available in 30 and 60-serving containers
- Six refreshing flavors
A lot of pre-workouts that include caffeine and creatine contain a lot of the former and very little of the latter. OPTIMUM NUTRITION Gold Standard Pre-Workout flips the script and provides three grams of creatine and only 175 grams of caffeine per serving. This will increase your energy levels and speed up recovery without causing anxiety or jitters.
- Suitable for men and women
- Moderate caffeine content
- Very budget-friendly
- Contains artificial colors and sweeteners
- Some users report that the product gets less potent with repeat uses
OPTIMUM NUTRITION is one of the most respected pre-workouts around. It won’t make you anxious or jittery, and won’t make your skin tingle either. Instead, OPTIMUM NUTRITION provides you with a smooth increase in energy and no dramatic post-use crash.
Before we start deep-diving into some good pre-workout supplements for beginners, let’s take a look at the key information you need to know before buying and using these popular workout supplements.
Things To Look For In A Pre-Workout Supplement
To the uninitiated, all pre-workout supplements look the same. They come in brightly colored tubs and have names that evoke energy. Most are mixed with water and come in a wide variety of great-sounding flavors.
However, while good pre-workouts are safe and effective to use, others are less so. Look for the following ingredients in your pre-workout to make sure you’ll get the results you want.
- Caffeine – a reliable energy booster
- Creatine monohydrate – increases energy and workout performance
- Beta-alanine – a lactic acid buffer that can delay fatigue
- Vitamin D – improves recovery after exercise
- Magnesium – helps relax blood vessels for greater blood flow to muscles
- Nitric oxide – increases blood flow by dilating or opening up blood vessels
- Beta-alanine – another lactic acid buffer that may delay fatigue
- Citrulline – promotes an increase in blood flow for greater endurance
- BCAAs – branch chain amino acids to prevent muscle breakdown during your workout
- Carbohydrates – some pre-workouts contain carbs, usually in the form of glucose. If you need extra energy because you haven’t had the chance to eat before exercise, extra carbs may be beneficial
Ingredients To Avoid
Some pre-workout supplements contain ingredients that are either unproven or that simply do not work. Avoid pre-workouts that include the following:
- L-carnitine – an amino acid thought to increases fat burning. Very little evidence supports this claim
- Glutamine – another amino acid, glutamine is thought to increase muscle mass and boost recovery however this effect is not supported by research
- Vitamin B3 – this vitamin is supposed to increases carb metabolism for more energy, but this is not the case. Also, vitamin B3, usually in the form of niacin, is responsible for the uncomfortable tingling sensation associated with many pre-workouts. This is not an indicator that your pre-workout is working
- Caffeine – caffeine is a double-edged sword in pre-workouts. While it can give you energy, too much can leave you feeling anxious, jittery, and unable to relax or sleep. Pre-workouts without caffeine can be just as useful as those with it
Who Should And Shouldn’t Take A Pre-Workout Supplement?
Pre-workout supplements contain a range of ingredients, but most are considered safe by the FDA and have been certified GRAS, which is short for generally regarded as safe. But, despite this, pre-workout supplements are not suitable for everyone. The ingredients have a noticeable effect on your energy levels and performance and in some cases that may mean they cause unwanted side effects too.
Pre-workouts are suitable for people who are fit, healthy, and who need an energy boost so they can work out harder or longer than usual. Fit and healthy people should have no problem tolerating the effects of a good pre-workout supplement.
However, the following people should avoid using pre-workouts. If you are in any doubt as to your suitability for this type of supplement, speak to your doctor before using. When it comes to your health, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Do not use a pre-workout if you are or have:
- High blood pressure
- A history of heart disease
- Poorly managed diabetes (type 1 or 2)
- Suffer palpitations
- Pregnant or breastfeeding
- Chronic fatigue
- Sensitivity to caffeine
- Under the age of 18
- Any known sensitivity to the ingredients – read the label before using
How To Take A Pre-Workout Supplement Properly
For best results, always use your pre-workout supplement according to the manufacturer’s instructions. In most cases, this will involve mixing the prescribed amount with water and then drinking it down 15-30 minutes before the start of your workout. This will give the ingredients time to start working their magic.
Take a pre-workout too early, and it could wear off before you finish your training session. Take it too late, and it might not kick in before you are almost done. Be aware that high-caffeine pre-workouts are best avoided late at night.
Yes, they’ll give you energy for your workout, but could then stop you sleeping. The good news is that not all pre-workouts contain caffeine, so if nighttime is the right time for your workout, choose a caffeine-free product.
Pre-workouts are popular supplements. On those days when your energy levels are low, they can give you the boost you need to hit the gym and exercised anyway. They’re like motivation in a jar!
Some contain a lot of caffeine, and that can cause unwanted side-effects such as anxiety and tremors, especially if you are caffeine sensitive. High caffeine products can also interfere with sleep. However, there are plenty of low and no-caffeine pre-workouts that are just as good at raising your energy levels and also have fewer side effects.
While good pre-workouts are safe for most people, they should not be abused. If you feel so tired that you need to use a pre-workout all the time, there could be an underlying problem that needs addressing. Not getting enough sleep and eating unhealthily can reduce your energy levels. A pre-workout merely masks the symptoms of a more serious underlying issue.
Pre-workouts definitely work, but that doesn’t mean you should use one all the time. Instead, save them for those really tough workouts or rare occasions when you need an energy boost.
As always, head to Fitness Equipment Reviews for all your workout needs!
We've reviewed the best pre-workout for beginners to help you choose which to use throughout your workout journey.