Homemade Pre-Workout

Pre-workout supplements have been around for about 20 years now. The first commercially made pre-workout was called Ultimate Orange. Packed with caffeine and ephedrine, this potent product was eventually banned when ephedrine became a controlled substance. Still, it was the effect of Ultimate Orange that kickstarted the entire pre-workout market.

Pre-workout supplements are designed to give you energy, increase your endurance, and deliver a powerful pump to ensure you have a great workout; even on those days you’re feeling less than stellar.

Modern pre-workouts might not contain ephedrine, but they do include a host of powerful stimulants, energizers, vasodilators, lactic acid buffers, vitamins, and minerals to ensure you can give your workout everything you’ve got.

With so many pre-workouts available, you may be wondering why you should bother making your own. After all, every gym and supplement store sells them, right?

A homemade pre-workout means you can tailor the ingredients to your needs, avoid putting in substances you don’t like or want, and can probably make your own pre-workout supplement for less money, too. It’s a win-win!

In this article, we share a recipe for a real butt-kicking pre-workout and discuss a few of the ingredients that you should consider adding to your homemade energy drink recipe.

Homemade Pre-Workout

Can I Make My Own Pre-Workout?

Anyone can make their own pre-workout. All you need is the ingredients, some scales and measuring spoons, and somewhere to store your finished product, like an airtight tub. While the names of some of the ingredients sound exotic, most are readily available supplements that you can buy cheaply and then combine into your recipe.

Most pre-workouts are made by people who don’t have a degree in chemical engineering. They’re just workout enthusiasts who want to get more from their training.

So, can you really make your own pre-workout? Absolutely! And you won’t even need a laboratory or a white coat to do it.

What Ingredients Make A Good Pre-Workout?two scoops of protein

Pre-workout supplements can contain anything from a few ingredients to a very long list. These are some of the best ingredients for making a good pre-workout:

  • Caffeine – for energy and fat burning
  • Citrulline malate – for a better pump
  • Creatine – for increased strength and more endurance
  • Glucose – for energy
  • Branched-chain amino acids – for energy and muscle preservation
  • Beta-alanine – to buffer lactic acid
  • Beetroot powder – to increase blood flow and ward off fatigue
  • Bicarbonate of soda – to delay fatigue and reduce lactic acid levels
  • Medium-chain triglyceride powder – for energy
  • Maca – for energy, focus, and increased testosterone
  • L-tyrosine – for minimizing the side effects of consuming caffeine
  • Natural flavors and sweeteners – to make your pre-workout more tolerable

You don’t want to include all these ingredients in your pre-workout. Instead, choose the ones that produce the results you want. For example, if you want a better pump and more energy, caffeine, citrulline malate, and maca would be a good combination. Add some flavoring and sweeteners, and you’re good to go.

How to Make Your Own Pre-Workout?

Homemade pre workout in a bottle

Not sure how to start making your own pre-workout supplement? Try this recipe!

Per serving:

  • Caffeine powder – 200mg
  • Creatine – 5 grams
  • Beta-alanine – 4 grams
  • Citrulline malate – 6 grams
  • Gatorade powder – 1 serving

Mix all the ingredients together in the specified ratios, adding as much Gatorade (or similar sports drink) powder as needed to make it taste good. Store in an airtight tub. Use a carb/sugar-free sports drink mix if you want a calorie-free homemade pre-workout supplement.

What Can I Take Instead of Pre-Workout?

Low on energy and don’t have your pre-workout with you? Or maybe you don’t like the idea of all those chemicals? Don’t worry – you can still get a good energy boost.

A strong cup of coffee is an excellent place to start. Caffeine is a proven energizer and fatigue fighter. In fact, caffeine used to be on the International Olympic Committee’s list of banned substances. One cup contains about 100mg of caffeine. Take care though, caffeine has a diuretic effect, so you may need to hit the head partway through your workout.

Or, you could make like a prison inmate and whip yourself up a serving of “hyphy mud” or penitentiary pre-workout. It’s not exactly the best-tasting energizer, but it does work.

All you need is a tablespoon of instant coffee powder and half a cup of Coke or Pepsi. Mix them together, chug it down, and train like a maniac! Needless to say, this is not a good choice if you are overly sensitive to the effects of caffeine.

Bottom Line

A pre-workout can turn a good training session into a great one. It will boost your energy, open up your blood vessels for better circulation, give you a massive pump, and fight off fatigue. Loaded up with pre-workout, you should be able to train harder and longer than usual, leading to better results.

However, a harder, longer workout means you’ll need to pay even more attention to rest and recovery afterward. After all, you need to put back into your body what exercise takes out. If you don’t recover as hard as you trained, you could end up making little or no progress at all.

You should also avoid becoming too reliant on a pre-workout to get you through your training sessions. If you use one too often, you could develop a tolerance, and it will lose some of its potency. Instead, save it for when you really need it – like leg day, for example.

If the price of store-bought pre-workouts puts you off, try making your own. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also be able to customize it to your precise needs.


Patrick Dale is an ex-British Royal Marine and owner and lecturer for a fitness qualifications company. In addition to training prospective personal trainers, Patrick has also authored three fitness and exercise books, dozens of e-books, thousands of articles, and several fitness videos.

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