Getting and staying active can be difficult for many people. The main reason is a lack of energy. Many people use pre-workout supplements to get an extra boost of energy before working out.
Usually taken 15–45 minutes before working out, pre-workout supplements contain stimulants like caffeine or other ingredients to promote an intense workout.
Supplements are, however, available in many varieties, each containing different ingredients. Because of this, it can be difficult to know what to look for in a pre-workout supplement.
Pre-workout supplements should be considered in light of your goals and the type of exercises you normally do.
Most of the ingredients found in pre-workout supplements will only improve certain aspects of exercise performance. Strength and power can be increased by some ingredients, while endurance can be increased by others.
You can find the supplement that will work best for you if you know which ingredients are suitable for the type of exercise you are doing.
The following criteria guided our selection of pre-workout products:
- The amount of effective ingredients it contains
- Tested by a third party
- What the ingredients are and how much they are (no proprietary blends)
The following are the 20 best pre-workout supplements.
Top 20 Best Pre-workout Supplements of 2022
In order to determine the worst and the best pre-workout supplements, our editorial team consulted manufacturers, researched ingredients, reviewed lab reports, and analyzed thousands of reviews. Among the pre-workouts that they evaluated:
- Pre Lab Pro
- XWERKS Ignite
- Cellucor Pre-Workout Powder
- Cira Pre-Game
- CrazyBulk Intensive Pre-Train
- Ladder Pre-Workout
- 4 Gauge
- Onnit Total Strength Performance
- Transparent Labs Preseries Bulk Pre-Workout
- Legion Athletics Pulse Pre-Workout
- Blackwolf Pre-Workout
- Powher Pre-Workout
- NSP Nutrition Energize Pre-Workout
- Legion Pulse
- IdealFit IdealLean Pre-Workout
- Bauer Nutrition BRF Pre-Workout
- Beast Sports Beast Mode Black
- Alani Nu Pre-Workout
- Huge Supplements Wrecked (and Wrecked Extreme & Wrecked Stim-Free)
Following is a brief overview of the best pre-workout supplements of 2022:
Pre Lab Pro
Pre Lab Pro is a pre-workout supplement made by the UK-based company Opti-Nutra.
Opti-Nutra have been around for a few years now and they are the manufacturers behind the popular Performance Lab range of supplements, as well as the nootropic Mind Lab Pro.
Pre Lab Pro is the latest addition to Opti-Nutra’s growing range of cleanly-formulated, vegan-friendly supplements. Like most of the best pre-workout supplements on the market, Pre Lab Pro comes in a powder form that is designed to be mixed with water into a drink and consumed before training.
The supplement is currently only available in one flavour, called ‘Natural Berry’, and comes with plastic scoop so that you can accurately measure out each serving.
Pre Lab Pro is also totally vegan friendly, which is not the case for many other of pre-workout supplements out there.
For athletes looking to gain an edge in their workouts and love a good pre-workout supplement, look to Xwerks Ignite. Designed specifically for athletes who compete in high-intensity sports such as CrossFit, Olympic Weightlifting, and Powerlifting, Xwerks Ignite consists of scientifically-backed ingredients to give you a boost of energy without the unwelcome side effects of other pre-workout products.
When you take a pre-workout, the last thing you want to feel is an uncomfortable surge in your heart rate and energy that’s difficult to maintain during a workout, bound to lead to an inevitable crash and drop in your performance. Xwerks consulted scientific research and athletes to create a product that provides long-lasting energy and endurance.
The main ingredients in Xwerks Ignite include calcium and magnesium lactate, which, through separate studies in Current Sports Medicine Reports and International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, are shown to increase time to exhaustion and reduction in muscle burning in athletes.
The formula also offers multiple benefits such as enhanced energy derived from the citrus aurantium and 150mg of caffeine. Improved focus is supported from the inclusion of L-Tyrosine, and more effective recovery through rhodiola rosea, an herb traditionally used to treat fatigue.
Cellucor Pre-Workout Powder
C4 is a pre-workout supplement that gives you a boost of energy and motivation to “just do it”. It’s manufactured by a company called Cellucor. Established in 2002, this all-American brand has over 20 years of experience in the sports and nutrition field.
After launching C4 Original back in 2011, Cellucor has steadily built a solid and credible reputation for itself among the bodybuilding and fitness community.
It comes in powder form that you mix with water. By taking 1-2 scoops, 20-30 minutes before your workout, C4 Original provides:
- More focus and motivation
- Energy to train harder and lift heavier
- Decreased muscle fatigue
- Better Endurance
- Enhanced Performance
- Faster recovery
This all leads to faster and more noticeable results, whatever your fitness goals. It’s available in several sugar-free flavors, including:
- Orange Burst
- Fruit Punch
- Cherry Limeade
- Icy Blue Razz
- Pink Lemonade
- Strawberry Margarita
- Green Apple
If you’re feeling adventurous, add crushed ice for a guilt-free slushie before you get your sweat on.
It’s super refreshing.
C4 Pre-Workout can also be used by both men and women.
Cira Pre-Game pre-workout is a strategically branded product marketed towards women, though it is still a top product across the market in general.
Cira’s clean (yet undeniably noticeable pink and teal) packaging lists the product’s ingredients, which include l-citrulline, beta-alanine, betaine anhydrous, l-tyrosine, caffeine, l-theanine, theobromine, and AstraGin.
We found that Cira’s Pre-Game had a good combination of high quality ingredients with reasonable levels of caffeine to compliment.
We think that, for women, it’s a good starting point if you’re looking for something to give you a nice pick me up ahead of a workout, without leading to some of those unwanted jitters that can come with higher caffeine products.
We also found it light and tasty, without an overly fake sweet taste, which means it’s drinkable too.
Though Pre-Game is marketed as a women’s supplement, the solid dosages, effective ingredients, and reasonable price point make it a top notch pre-workout across the board.
CrazyBulk Intensive Pre-Train
CrazyBulk Intensive Pre-Train was designed to help you train hard while building up your stamina and focus. It tastes like blue raspberry – way better than a boring old cup of joe.
The supplement is manufactured to the highest quality standards in the USA in FDA and cGMP certified facilities. The crazy combo of ingredients are designed to give you incredible energy and supercharge your muscles, so that you can perform at your peak.
The official website lists the product’s ingredients, which include:
En-Xtra: Pre-Train contains caffeine for a clean and fast boost of energy. It speeds up your metabolism and blocks the fatigue response in your body. En-Xtra® extends the energy given by caffeine, making you feel more energized and alert. It also helps stop “caffeine crash”, so say goodbye to the afternoon slump if you train in the mornings.
KSM-66: This full-spectrum Ashwagandha extract helps promote endurance, strength, muscle size and muscle recovery rate. Extracted using a proprietary process from only the root of the plant, it also helps to enhance testosterone levels in men to give you that aggression and power in the gym.
Thiamine: Promotes energy production, causing your body to generate energy from sugar in your foods instead of storing it as fat. You’ll be amazed at how much potential energy is just waiting around in your body waiting to be released.
Testoprime has been on the market for over five years and has already established itself as a famous brand. The company has spent much on scientific research and third-party testing.
TestoPrime testosterone supplement is a natural product made with ingredients such as vitamins and fruit extracts specifically formulated to help men in their forties or older recover testosterone levels. The product contains no additives and does not cause allergies.
This supplement has dominated the market and is available without a prescription. As long as you are not suffering from a life-threatening medical condition, you may use it. You may buy it via the official website and return it for a full refund if you are dissatisfied with the results.
In addition, the company backs the product with many customer reviews. TestoPrime is the only supplement on the market with a 98% customer satisfaction rating for potency and effectiveness.
This supplement is a natural testosterone booster that may assist you in achieving optimum testosterone levels in your body.
Therefore, your body will have the necessary strength and stamina to accomplish daily activities effectively. If you are a gym-goer, you may be in for a great treat.
The reason for this is that the natural ingredients used in the formulation of TestoPrime supplement may help in the effective functioning of your testosterone hormones producing gland.
LeBron James needed a supplement that delivered professional-caliber results but couldn’t find what he was after. So, along with his personal trainer, the NBA superstar assembled a team of experts and partnered with Arnold Schwarzenegger to create Ladder.
Before every workout or game, LeBron uses Ladder Pre-workout, which provides a premium energy boost from natural green tea leaves, beta-alanine, and l-theanine.
The combination helps you feel less fatigued, maximizes natural production of energy, boosts endurance, enhances focus, and increases strength without any crash or jitters. The strawberry-lemonade flavored drink contains no artificial sweeteners and breaks down the limitations of your body to unlock higher performance.
The formula will help give you a boost of energy that you’ll feel kick in within 30-45 minutes after taking the supplement.
4 Gauge is a pre-workout supplement that uses a unique formula of natural ingredients to help you enhance your athletic performance at the gym. Not to mention that it belongs to the topmost effective pre-workout supplements for vegans.
According to Roar Ambition, the company that makes it, you will be able to push yourself harder, look significantly bigger, and have the mental focus to stay motivated towards your fitness goals.
Combine those claims with a shotgun shell-shaped container, and you would be forgiven to think that it’s all just hype. But, the company has produced the powder by taking advice from dietitians, nutrition experts, and top performance athletes and bodybuilders.
Still, there is a lot of evidence that it does deliver improved strength during training which results in better muscle gains.
From my conversations with other bodybuilders and some nutrition experts, I believe that 4 Gauge pre-workout has managed to combine natural ingredients that work exceptionally well together.
Onnit Total Strength Performance
Onnit Total Strength Performance is a blend of adaptogens, vitamins, and other select botanical ingredients specifically designed to promote physical performance. It’s been formulated to assist with power and force production, and optimize hormone levels. Furthermore, it has been clinically shown to support gains in squat, bench press, and deadlift strength.
A double-blind, placebo-controlled study conducted at Florida State University found that athletes taking Onnit Total Strength Performance for four weeks had greater gains on their maxes in the squat, bench press, and deadlift, with bench press performance being the main standout.
The ingredients are broken up into three main proprietary blends — that means we don’t know how much of each ingredient is present.
First there’s the Onnit Performo Blend, which has branched-chain amino acids, glutamine, and beta-alanine.
The Onnit Power Blend has d-aspartic acid, mucuna pruriens extract (also called velvet bean), eurycoma longifolia root extract (also called longjack), and stinging nettle extract.
Then there’s the Onnit Support Blend, which has red clover extract, luteolin, amd resveratrol (from Japanese knotweed).
The other ingredients include five milligrams of black pepper extract and some natural flavors, stevia, organic arabic gum, organic rice hull concentrate, and sodium citrate.
There’s also some added micronutrients: well over a day’s worth of Vitamins B5 and B6, 10 percent of your daily magnesium, and a small amount of calcium and sodium.
Transparent Labs Preseries Bulk Pre-Workout
Transparent Labs is a Utah-based supplement company with a big dedication to, well, transparency. They have two pre-workouts, “LEAN” and “BULK,” with BULK focused on muscle gain. It claims to do that through increasing testosterone.
Plus, the blend also contains big pre-workout ingredients like citrulline, beta-alanine, and betaine that can help with endurance and power output.
If you’re looking to gain muscle and want to supplement with a robust pre-workout that may help with that, BULK is the way to go. In addition to its muscle-focused formula, Transparent Labs BULK also nixes proprietary blends, which means you know the exact quantity of every ingredient in a serving.
Plus, TL implements third-party testing, and provides certificates of analysis and composition on their site. If it’s transparency and effectiveness you’re after, this could be the last pre-workout formula you need to try.
PreSeries BULK is available in 4 flavors – blue raspberry, sour grape, tropical punch, and strawberry lemonade.
Legion Athletics Pulse Pre-Workout
Legion Pulse pre workout is a pre workout supplement known for its simple but strong ingredient profile. Its ingredients include 350 mg of caffeine anhydrous, 8 grams of L-Citrulline Malate, and 300 mg of Alpha GPC among others. Pulse Pre Workout is popular as a “daily driver” pre workout that can be taken every day without significant side effects.
One serving has two scoops and has 5 calories and 350 milligrams of caffeine, about as much as you’ll find in 3.5 cups of coffee. This is about as strong a pre-workout as you’re likely to find on a per serving basis, though you can always just use one scoop.
Besides the caffeine, there’s beta alanine (4.8g), taurine (2g), theanine (250mg), betaine (2.5g), l-citrulline DL-malate (8g), and l-ornithine HCL (2.2g). I’ll discuss the effects of these ingredients in the next section.
There are a few electrolytes too, 6 percent of the recommended daily intake of sodium and potassium — that’s a very high dose, higher than you’ll find in your standard sports drink ending in “-ade.”
The “Other Ingredients” section is just a mixture of anti-caking agents and natural flavorings including stevia, maltodextrin, and erythritol, a sugar alcohol. Fun fact: the blue coloring of this product comes from spirulina, a type of nutrient-dense algae.
BlackWolf claims to be a revolutionary dietary formula made by MuscleClub Limited. The BlackWolf manufacturer claims this is a premium formula that can provide you with added boost before training, thus improving your workout performance.
The optimum ingredients in BlackWolf can supercharge your system and help you build endurance and vigor. Additionally, the BlackWolf manufacturer guarantees consumers that regularly using this supplement can help you take your physical performance to new heights.
BlackWolf sports nutrition supplement combines eleven ingredients to heighten your energy, focus, and endurance to help you train for extended periods. Also, BlackWolf creators claim you can consume a healthy sports supplement packed with delicious taste and flavor.
There are three BlackWolf flavors, namely: Green Apple, Fruit Punch, and Blue Raspberry. However, the BlackWolf Fruit Punch flavor contains zero caffeine, thus a better option for individuals who opt for caffeine-free formulas.
The Powher Pre Workout is a supplement made by Ultimate Life. It’s marketed as a fitness supplement designed to be taken by women before hitting the gym or exercising.
Powher contains a range of different ingredients, including vitamins, minerals and plant extracts. Each of these substances may bring a potential benefit to the table.
The Powher Pre Workout contains a number of ingredients, ranging from Vitamins B6 and B12, to Caffeine and Taurine. We’ll look at the ingredients themselves in a bit more detail below.
Powher is currently available to buy only from the official website, meaning that you can’t buy it in the shops or on other sites such as Amazon.
One of the downsides of the fact that it’s not available on other retail sites such as Amazon, is that it is a bit more tricky to find verified customer reviews.
Ultimate Life offers a money-back guarantee if you’re not happy with the product. However, in order to qualify for this “100% satisfaction guaranteed promise”, you’ll need to buy the pack containing four tubs.
The website says that all of the Powher supplements are made in FDA registered facilities. The official site also says that the products are shipped from both the UK and the USA to most countries.
NSP Nutrition Energize Pre-Workout
Using ‘Energize’ from NSP, you can stimulate muscle growth once again by supercharging your workouts and unleashing the power of the muscle-building trifecta:
- Increased strength and power
- Improved focus and concentration
- Increased work capacity
Using a unique blend of nutrients, Energize enables you to recruit more muscle fibers in a single training session so you can generate further muscular development.
Unlike many of the other pre-workout drinks available on the market today, which are loaded with sugar and heavily processed chemicals, Energize uses a zero-sugar formula consisting of scientifically approved nutrients to enhance your workouts and help you transform your physique faster than ever before.
Two of the ingredients in Energize are citrulline malate and creatine monohydrate. Numerous studies have shown that supplementing with these two nutrients can help to improve strength and power output, which can increase muscle fibre recruitment and enhanced muscular density.
In addition, citrulline can improve your pump since it increases nitric oxide levels in the blood. A larger pump means increased blood flow to the target muscle, which can accelerate muscle growth by enhanced nutrient delivery and removal of metabolic waste products.
Pulse is a 100% natural pre-workout drink that increases energy, improves mood, sharpens mental focus, increases strength and endurance, and reduces fatigue.
Every ingredient is backed by peer-reviewed scientific research and is included at clinically effective levels. Pulse is also naturally sweetened and flavoured and contains no artificial food dyes or other chemical junk.
Every bottle of Pulse is analyzed in a state-of-the-art ISO 17025 accredited lab to verify what is and isn’t in it. That way, you know exactly what you’re getting and putting into your body.
For the first time using Pulse, assess your individual tolerance by mixing 1 scoop with 10-12 ounces of water and consuming 15-30 minutes prior to exercise.
IdealFit IdealLean Pre-Workout
IdealLean Pre Workout is a fitness-focused supplement designed to help you get the most out of your exercise and workout sessions.
Like most of the leading pre-workout supplements on the market, IdealLean Pre Workout comes in a flavoured powder that’s designed to be mixed into a drink and consumed before starting your training session.
It’s available in a number of different flavours, including:
- Pink Lemonade
- Strawberry Lemonade
- Watermelon Ice
- Pineapple Mango
- Cherry Limeade
The IdealLean Pre Workout is aimed at women and it’s available to buy from a number of online outlets, including Amazon.com and the official IdealFit website.
Like most of the leading pre-workout supplements on the market, IdealLean Pre Workout contains a blend of ingredients including Vitamins, Minerals, Stimulants, Amino Acids and Plant Extract.
For the flavour of blue raspberry, you’re instructed to mix one scoop with 8 to 10 ounces of water. This makes for a very strong, sweet concoction. It tastes a lot like a slightly creamy, raspberry-flavoured candy. I liked it, but you may prefer to use more water.
For the flavour of pineapple mango, it has an element of creaminess that borders on waxiness.
I preferred the blue raspberry because although I’m a big fan of tropical flavours, the pineapple mango tasted a little like lip balm.
Bauer Nutrition BRF Pre-Workout
This is a pre-workout that gets you fired up and ready before you hit the gym. More than an energy booster, this premium blend of natural ingredients will focus your mind, fuel your motivation and help protect lean muscle mass as you work hard to push through mental and physical barriers.
Most pre-workouts contain caffeine, but not much else. This premium formula is based on the latest sports science research, with every ingredient backed by human data.
BRF Pre-Workout contains only the finest ingredients of the highest quality so you can fuel your toughest sessions in the gym or your most gruelling outdoor workouts. The formula includes amino acids (including the critical BCAA’s) and whey isolate to help protect your muscle mass and bone health, while the key vitamins and minerals help boost your overall health so you can work hard and recover fast.
Beast Sports Beast Mode Black
Beast Mode Black is a pre-workout made by Beast Sports Nutrition. It is designed to “build strength”, “increase endurance” and “maximize focus”.
According to the manufacturer, the key ingredients in Beast Mode Black are 380% stronger than the regular Beast Mode pre-workout.
This product contains 11 ingredients. This includes 400mg of caffeine for “incredible levels of energy”, while Yohimbe, beta-alanine and theacrine are included to increase endurance, “build muscle” and “maximize strength”.
In addition, Beast Sports Nutrition says it uses DMAE for “intense focus” and agmatine sulfate for intense muscle pumps.
Alani Nu Pre-Workout
Alani Nu Pre-Workout is considered one of the best tasting pre-workouts and contains minimal ingredients. It is also rated as one of the best pre-workout powders for women.
The Alani Nu brand was founded in 2018 by fitness entrepreneur and social media influencer Katy Hearn. Since then, it has become one of the most popular wellness brands on the market.
Alani Nu Pre-Workout comes in powder form and is available in multiple flavours such as Hawaiian shaved ice, pineapple, and carnival candy grape.
The manufacturers state that they test for banned substances and are produced in a GMP-certified facility for good manufacturing practices.
The company claims that this product can help maximize your workouts. Compared to other pre-workout supplements, this product has fewer ingredients overall and fewer ingredients that pose potential side effects.
The serving size suggestion is 1 scoop per day mixed with 6–8 ounces of your favourite beverage. Alani Nu Pre-Workout contains 4 core ingredients intended to produce the desired effects to enhance your workout.
This product contains minimal ingredients, including l-citrulline, beta-alanine, l-tyrosine, and caffeine.
Most of Alani Nu Pre-Workout’s ingredients are present in clinically tested doses that may enhance endurance, energy, and the speed of your workouts.
Huge Supplements Wrecked (and Wrecked Extreme & Wrecked Stim-Free)
Wrecked pre-workout is a solid choice for folks looking for a strong pre-workout supplement that is not too aggressive with exotic stimulants.
It delivers enough energy and focus to be a true step up from standard pre-workouts, but does not include so many hardcore stimulants that negative side effects creep in. This would be a good choice for someone’s first stronger-than-usual pre-workout supplement.
Wrecked is a relative newcomer on the pre-workout scene, but has been getting a bit of buzz going around it recently.
Huge Supplements were kind enough to send me over a sample for me to try out and review for all of you.
If you like Beta-Alanine tingling then you’ll definitely enjoy Wrecked. I feel tingles within 20 minutes or so of taking this.
It’s a little show to ramp up, but after about an hour I definitely feel a serious increase in energy and overall motivation. This isn’t a “tunnel vision” focus type of pre-workout, but for energy and getting work done in the gym, Wrecked delivers.
I’ve taken this several times and Wrecked always hits. It’s not so strong that I can’t take it daily, but it still has enough stims to get me going – it’s a real sweet spot. I think stim junkies will like this as a daily driver and noobs will like this as their first strong pre-workout.
In terms of side effects, I haven’t noticed any. That’s why I personally feel fine taking this on a daily basis. Definitely a plus for me.
Things To Consider When Buying Pre-Workout Supplement
In order to choose the best pre-workout for you, there are several factors to consider, from the obvious list of ingredients to your end goal from your workout. In short, not all pre-workouts are created equal.
Here are the top 5 factors to help you make an informed decision.
Aim Of Your Workout
Just like not all supplements are the same, not all workouts are the same. You’ll have sessions where you want to build your endurance, your VO2 max, or where you’re just doing a light cardio workout. And there are those times when you want to reach your 1-rep max goal.
Depending on the workout you’re planning, you’ll need to choose a pre-workout that has caffeine in it or not. Additionally, if you’re in a cutting cycle of your muscle-building program, you may want to avoid too many carbs or sugars. Finally, if you’re building mass, you’ll want a pre-workout that supports muscle growth and optimizes your testosterone levels.
Ingredients And Transparency
It’s important that a good pre-workout supplement is transparent about ingredients and that you can trace the benefits of each component.
Many supplement manufacturers use fillers or refer to mysterious “proprietary blends” without listing what they’re made of on their ingredients list. This can be dangerous for your health and could even put you at risk of consuming banned substances (which is even more important if you’re preparing to compete in a sport where you will be drug tested).
Look for pre-workout supplements that include the top ingredients listed above and which are third-party tested, helping you feel confident that strict quality assurance has been adhered to in the making of your supplement.
Many popular pre-workout supplements have added sugar to make them taste good. That’s fine if you’re not watching your sugar intake, but the calories do add up quickly. You want to be watching what you put in your body, especially after investing time and effort into it at the gym.
If you’re trying to lose weight, make sure that your pre-workout doesn’t have a lot of unnecessary calories and sugar. Equally, if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, check that your supplement doesn’t clash with that.
Proof Of Results
Marketing messages are great, but what are the results of the pre-workout powders you’re being sold? To make sure that you’re taking an effective supplement, check the label and look for ingredients that are scientifically proven to boost muscle growth, fat burning, and overall workout performance.
Keep an eye out for creatine, L-carnitine, caffeine for added on-the-spot energy, and a testosterone boost if needed.
Components To Avoid
The final consideration when choosing your pre-workout needs to be avoiding harmful or unknown components. Stay away from proprietary blends and supplements with too many complicated chemical substances that you can’t trace back to a scientific study proving that they’re both not harmful and effective for your goals.
Finally, make sure that you check with your doctor before taking pre-workout if you have any concerns or a history of heart problems. You may be sensitive to certain ingredients, which is why we suggest gradually getting your body used to pre-workout and adhering to the suggested serving sizes.
Pre-workouts don’t directly build muscle, but rather they give you the energy, endurance, and focus to perform the exercises that can help you reach both of these goals.
It’s hard to show up to the gym if you feel like you’re not going to get the most out of your workout. Sometimes you just might not feel up to it, and that’s where a pre-workout comes in. Pre-workouts combat those lethargic muscles and provide some much-needed motivation when you really need it.
But a pre-workout isn’t just for improving the hard days — it also enhances the good days, helping you perform at your best and ultimately achieve your desired results. Pre-workout is proven to enhance your performance in many different ways, so you can tailor your pre-workout to your needs and ensure that you’re maximizing the benefits.