If you’re looking to escalate your workouts and take your fitness gains to new heights in 2023, a quality pre-workout supplement should be an essential part of your regimen. Pre-workouts provide the turbo-charged fuel to boost your athletic performance, endurance, focus, energy levels, and muscle pumps.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain what to look for in an effective pre-workout and reveal the top 9 supplements to supercharge your workouts based on scientific evidence, ingredients, taste, effectiveness, and value. Let’s dive in! Well, as the best.
Table of contents
- What is a Pre-Workout Supplement?
- Benefits of Taking a Pre-Workout
- How to Choose the Best Pre-Workout
- The 9 Best Pre-Workout Supplements Ranked
- 1. Transparent Labs Bulk Pre-Workout
- 2. Legion Pulse Pre-Workout
- 3. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre Workout
- 4. Altius Pre-Workout by Jacked Factory
- 5. Original Pre-Workout by Cellucor
- 6. Pre-Kaged Sport Pre-Workout
- 7. Bucked Up Pre-Workout
- 8. Ryse Pre-Workout by RSP Nutrition
- 9. Nutrex Outlift Pre-Workout
- How to Use Your Pre-Workout Supplement
- Conclusion and Main Points
What is a Pre-Workout Supplement?
A pre-workout supplement, as the name implies, is a powder, pill, or drink formulated to be consumed 20-30 minutes prior to your workout or athletic activity. Pre-workouts contain a blend of research-backed performance-enhancing ingredients designed to improve energy, endurance, strength, focus, power output, and mental drive during training.
Common active compounds in pre-workout formulas include:
- Caffeine – The classic stimulant to boost alertness, focus, and performance. Caffeine also helps mobilize fat stores for energy use.
- Creatine – Supports strength gains, muscle growth, and power output by increasing intracellular water in muscle cells.
- Beta-Alanine – Reduces lactic acid build-up and improves muscle endurance, allowing you to train harder for longer. Creates a tingling sensation.
- BCAAs – Branched-chain amino acids like leucine reduce protein breakdown during workouts and can boost muscle protein synthesis.
- Citrulline – This amino acid is converted to arginine to support N.O. production, vasodilation, and muscle pumps. Enhances endurance.
- Tyrosine – Precursor to dopamine and adrenaline that enhances focus, drive, and motivation during tough training.
Get the right ergogenic aids like betaine, taurine, B vitamins, energy boosters from innermost, adaptogens, and electrolytes are also commonly added to pre-workout blends.
Benefits of Taking a Pre-Workout
Utilizing a pre-workout supplement provides a range of performance, physique, and mental benefits:
- Increased energy, alertness, and focus
- Ability to train harder and longer
- Delayed onset of fatigue and muscle burn
- More power and strength for heavy lifts
- Improved endurance and muscular performance
- Enhanced blood flow and “muscle pump” effect
- Better mind-muscle connection during lifts
- Heightened motivation even on hard training days
- Faster post-workout recovery
Simply put, a pre-workout is designed to get you in the zone so you can crush your workout and bring your A-game consistently. Let’s look at how to select the right product.
How to Choose the Best Pre-Workout
looking for a pre-workout With hundreds of pre-workout supplements on the market, it can be daunting to determine which the best pre-workouts are designed for your individual needs. Here are the key factors to evaluate:
1. Ingredient Quality and Doses
Always examine the formula and doses of ingredients rather than relying on “proprietary blends.” Look for clinically effective doses of compounds like citrulline malate, beta-alanine, BCAAs, creatine, and natural caffeine. Avoid pre-workouts with untested stimulants.
2. Flavor and Mixability
The best pre-workout supplements will dissolve thoroughly in water and taste delicious. You want something you enjoy drinking for improved adherence. Fruit punch, watermelon, and blue raspberry are popular flavors.
3. Lab Testing for Safety
Reputable pre-workout brands will have their products independently lab-tested for banned substances, purity, potency, and safety. This provides peace of mind that you aren’t ingesting any contaminants or illegal compounds.
4. Price per Serving
pre-workout boost costs can vary wildly. Calculate the price per serving to find good value. High-quality pre-workouts usually cost 25-75 cents per serving. Avoid super cheap products with questionable formulas.
5. Company Reputation
Established supplement companies with transparent business practices and positive customer feedback demonstrate higher standards of quality and ethics. Buy from reputable brands you can trust.
6. Caffeine Source and Dosage
Look for caffeine from natural sources like green tea or coffee beans rather than synthetic ones. 100-200mg per serving is ideal for most people. Higher amounts can increase side effect risks.
7. Your Goals and Preferences
Consider your guide to pre-workout goals, stimulant tolerance, flavor preferences, and whether you want a natural or conventional pre-workout when selecting a product best aligned with your needs.
Now let’s dive into the top usual pre-workout supplements for 2023 and detailed reviews of each one.
The 9 Best Pre-Workout Supplements Ranked
Based on a thorough analysis of ingredient formulas, effectiveness, taste, lab testing, value, and customer reviews, here are the top 9 pre-workouts dominating the market this year:
1. Transparent Labs Bulk Pre-Workout
Offering premium ingredients, dosage transparency, and zero artificial additives, Transparent Lab’s Bulk Pre-Workout takes the top spot for quality and safety.
With 6 grams citrulline malate, 2 grams beta-alanine, and 6 grams BCAAs plus aminos, Bulk provides solid clinical doses to boost endurance, strength, power, and growth. Caffeine from natural sources provides clean energy.
It contains no artificial sweeteners, coloring, or preservatives – just proven muscle-building compounds, antioxidants, and superfoods. Lab testing ensures purity and safety as well. The flavors mix excellently while tasting great.
Overall, Transparent Labs’ Bulk pot of pre-workout represents exceptional quality and value for top-tier workout performance. It’s also one of the few stim-free pre-workouts available.
2. Legion Pulse Pre-Workout
Developed by biohacker and author Mike Matthews, Pulse by Legion Athletics contains mega-doses of performance-enhancing ingredients in a 100% formula transparency label.
With clinically effective amounts of citrulline malate, ornithine, beta-alanine, betaine, theanine, and natural caffeine plus amino acids, Pulse aims to take your workouts to the next level.
Backed by a large body of scientific literature and dosed optimally, Pulse enhances energy, endurance, strength, mental drive, muscle pumps, power, and more. It contains zero artificial additives as well. The exotic limeade flavor gets rave reviews.
For an extremely well-formulated pre-workout powerhouse, Legion Pulse earns its status as a top choice for hardcore trainees and athletes.
3. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre Workout
Optimum Nutrition sets the gold standard when it comes to popular, take pre-workout supplements, and the Gold Standard Pre-Workout formula is a prime example.
With 175mg caffeine, 3 grams creatine monohydrate, and an effective blend of designed to boost amino acids, this budget-friendly ideal as a pre-workout provides fantastic bang for your buck.
The tropical fruit punch flavor tastes fantastic while mixing easily and smoothly. Taken 20-30 minutes before training, Gold Standard gives you workouts that can boost motivation, strength, muscle endurance, energy, and focus for powerful workouts.
As a best-selling pre-workout brand with a reputation for quality and effectiveness, Optimum Nutrition checks all the boxes if you want great value on a tighter budget.
4. Altius Pre-Workout by Jacked Factory
Featuring a transparent label with full dosages, Altius aims to enhance athletic performance through upgrades in energy, pumps, strength, and mental drive.
It supplies 6 grams citrulline malate, 3.2 grams beta-alanine, 1.7 grams betaine, and 175mg naturally sourced caffeine plus additional ergogenics for power and endurance.
Jacked Factory Altius contains zero artificial additives or unhealthy compounds – just research-backed ingredients in their proper doses. With delicious flavors and smooth mixing, Altius deserves its status as a rising star pre-workout.
5. Original Pre-Workout by Cellucor
If you’ve researched pre-workout supplements, you’ve likely come across C4 Original by Cellucor – one of the category’s most popular and well-reviewed loaded pre-workout.
Powered by a potent blend of caffeine, creatine nitrate, CarnoSyn beta-alanine, and amino acids, C4 aims to support explosive energy, endurance, focus, and pumps.
With 150mg of caffeine per serving, C4 provides a stronger stimulant kick than some competitors. It delivers delicious flavors and smooth mixing as well. Available in a wide range of options.
For a pre-workout powerhouse trusted by thousands, C4 Original lives up to its reputation as an intense workout fuel. Just be wary of building up too much stimulant tolerance with daily use.
6. Pre-Kaged Sport Pre-Workout
If you’re seeking a pre-workout that brings serious pumps and vascularity, Pre-Kaged Sport is a top choice focused on nitric oxide boosting.
It pre-workout supplements a whopping 6 grams of pure L-citrulline alongside citrulline malate, plus 1.5 grams of betaine anhydrous and coconut water powder for muscle fullness and hydration.
With 150mg caffeine from caffeine anhydrous and Infinergy di caffeine malate, Pre-Kaged brings clean, long-lasting energy as well. Flip the switch into beast mode with this pre-workout!
7. Bucked Up Pre-Workout
Bucked Up by DAS Labs is one of the fastest-growing pre-workouts on the market. Formulated to enhance energy, focus, mood, motivation, and performance.
Powered by a blend of caffeine, citrulline, beta-alanine, and other ergogenics, Bucked Up aims to help you train relentlessly and break PRs. A unique selling point is the addition of DEER ANTLER VELVET for supposed hormone modulation.
With delicious candy-like flavors, cool branding, and a modest price point, Bucked Up has quickly built a loyal user base. Keep an eye on the best overall brand as it continues its rise.
8. Ryse Pre-Workout by RSP Nutrition
Trust RSP Nutrition to create a pre-workout powerhouse. RYSE aims to boost workout intensity through focus elevation, tunnel vision achievement, and optimizing energy flow.
It packs 3 grams of creatine hydrochloride and 6 grams of citrulline malate alongside a unique cognitive enhancing matrix for motivation and concentration.
If you want a pre-workout fueled by science that brings great value at an affordable price point, RYSE deserves your consideration. Plus it tastes amazing!
9. Nutrex Outlift Pre-Workout
Outlift concentrates on amplifying power, strength, stamina, and intensity through a blend of stimulants and smart ergogenics.
With 350mg total caffeine plus yohimbine, rauwolscine, and hordenine, the energy vitamin b complex in Outlift packs a major stimulant punch. 6 grams of citrulline malate supports the muscle pumps.
Flavored like an energy drink and available in 30-serving tubs, Outlift hits hard and effectively if you have a high stim tolerance and train intensely. This pre-workout means business!
How to Use Your Pre-Workout Supplement
Once you’ve selected a quality pre-workout tailored to your needs, here are some tips on proper usage:
- Take your standard 1 scoop serving 20-30 minutes before helping you make it on an empty or semi-empty stomach for best absorption.
- Assess tolerance before taking a full serving. Start with 1/2 scoop and work up over multiple sessions.
- Combine your pre-workout powder with 6-12oz of cold water and shake or stir thoroughly until fully dissolved.
- Consider stacking your pre-workout with a source of amino acids (like whey protein or EAAs) for enhanced performance and recovery.
- Cycle your usage by taking 1 week off every 4-6 weeks to avoid building up too much caffeine/stimulant tolerance.
- Avoid pre-workouts too late at night – take them at least 4-6 hours before bedtime.
- Increase water intake in order to stay properly hydrated while using pre-workout products.
When used correctly, your new pre-workout can take your training intensity to the next level as you smash PRs! Let’s summarize the key takeaways.
Conclusion and Main Points
- A quality pre-workout supplement can give you the energy, focus, strength, endurance, and motivation needed to maximize gym performance.
- Effective pre-workout ingredients include caffeine, creatine, citrulline, beta-alanine, BCAAs, tyrosine, B vitamins, and adaptogens.
- The top pre-workout supplements enhance your ability to train harder, break through plateaus, and make consistent gains.
- Look for pre-workouts featuring research-backed doses of key compounds, formula transparency, natural caffeine-free sources, and independent lab testing.
- Time the intake 30 minutes before workouts and begin with lower servings to assess tolerance. Cycle usage to avoid building up too much stim tolerance.
- Pair your pre-workout with sound nutrition, proper hydration, sports nutrition sessions, and adequate sleep to optimize results.
If you’re ready to reach new fitness heights in 2023, upgrading your pre-workout game is one of the best things you can do to gain an edge. The right pre-workout will help you tap into that inner motivational drive, strength, stamina, and focus needed to conquer any workout!
Pre-workout supplements are products designed to be consumed before exercising to boost energy, focus, and performance. Common ingredients in pre-workouts include caffeine, beta-alanine, citrulline, and creatine.
It is recommended to take a pre-workout supplement 30-45 minutes before your workout. This gives the ingredients time to enter your bloodstream and take effect before you start exercising. Taking a pre-workout too close to your workout may not provide optimal results.
When used as directed, most pre-workout supplements are safe for healthy adults. However, some pre-workouts contain stimulants that may cause side effects like jitteriness, headaches, and insomnia in sensitive individuals. It’s best to start with a half serving to assess tolerance.
Coffee provides caffeine, which can boost energy and focus. However, pre-workouts contain additional performance-enhancing ingredients not found in coffee.
The “best” pre-workout depends on your needs and preferences. Caffeine-free options like Performance Lab Stim are ideal for caffeine-sensitive individuals. Pre-workouts with creative like Transparent Labs Pre-Series Bulk can aid muscle growth.