The 8 Best Pre-Workouts of 2023

Hey there, if you’re anything like me, you’re always looking for a good pre-workout to fuel those exercises. Well, guess what? It’s 2023, and there are some new pre-workouts that caught my attention. I want to share my top 10 picks for the best pre workouts of 2023. Whether you’re a fan of cardio, lifting weights, or simply staying active, there’s something here for everyone. So, grab your water bottle, and let’s dive into the best pre workouts in 2023.

Top picks:

  • Best Overall: Transparent Labs BULK
  • Best for Focus: Onnit Alpha BRAIN Pre-Workout
  • Best Pre-Workout with Creatine: Gorilla Mode
  • Best Non-Stim Pre-Workout: Transparent Labs Stim-Free
  • Best Pre-Workout for Weight Loss: Transparent Labs LEAN
  • Best Budget Pre-Workout: Cellucor C4
  • Best Pre-Workout for Pump: Kaged Pre-Kaged Elite
  • Best Vegan Pre-Workout: Genius PRE

Best Overall: Transparent Labs BULK

Best Overall
Best Pre workouts

Transparent Labs BULK

Transparent Labs’ BULK supplement appeals to folks aiming for both muscle gain and a pre-workout pump. Although some may question the taste, it generally delivers solid results for most users.

Product Pros

  • Transparent ingredient list
  • 8 flavours
  • No artificial sweetener or colour

Product Cons

  • No creatine
  • Some people report it tastes bad

Let’s chat about BULK pre-workout, designed for muscle builders, but honestly, it suits everyone. It’s got solid ingredients, clear labelling, and no artificial stuff.

Each serving packs 8 grams of citrulline malate, great for strength and post-workout soreness. There’s also a hefty 4 grams of beta-alanine, giving you a kick with some tingles.

Caffeine and L-Theanine boost your energy and focus, with L-Tyrosine and Alpha GPC in the mix. With 180 milligrams of caffeine, it’s not super high, but it’s effective.

Downsides? No creatine and mixed reviews on the flavour. But overall, it’s a research-backed boost for strength, stamina, and focus, perfect for muscle builders.

Best for Focus: Onnit Alpha BRAIN Pre-Workout

Best for Focus
one of the best pre workout

Onnit Alpha BRAIN Pre-Workout

Onnit’s Alpha BRAIN Pre-Workout offers a distinctive mix of ingredients that our testers appreciated when they sought focus and energy for their workouts. It’s available in just two flavours, with the Tiger’s Blood Flavors being our top pick.

Product Pros

  • 200 mg of caffeine
  • Includes 225 mg of ashwagandha extract
  • Tiger’s Blood flavour tastes great

Product Cons

  • Only 2 flavours available
  • It is expensive
  • Key ingredients like citrulline and beta-alanine are under-dosed

Onnit Alpha BRAIN Pre-Workout stands out on our list of potent pre-workouts because it’s not high in stimulants, packing just 200 milligrams of caffeine. While it includes common pre-workout ingredients like 2.4 grams of beta-alanine and 2.4 grams of L-citrulline—falling on the lower end of effective doses—three unique components set it apart: NooGandha, AlphaSize, and Dynamine.

NooGandha, a patented ashwagandha extract, can reduce stress effects on your body, enhance cognitive function, and affect hormones. While the clinically effective dose is between 225 and 400 milligrams daily, Alpha BRAIN contains 225 milligrams.

AlphaSize, a trademarked alpha-glyceryl phosphoryl choline (A-GPC), supports growth hormone production when taken in 600 milligram doses about an hour and a half before your workout. However, Alpha BRAIN contains 125 milligrams, potentially limiting its effects. AlphaSize also bolsters brain function by providing ample choline. The effective dose for cognitive benefits falls between 250 and 500 milligrams, slightly higher than Alpha BRAIN’s 225 milligrams.

Lastly, Alpha BRAIN features Dynamine, a caffeine alternative with similar benefits like blocking fatigue-inducing neurotransmitters. Unlike caffeine, Dynamine doesn’t come with side effects such as headaches, jitters, or insomnia. Therefore, the 50 milligrams of Dynamine in Alpha BRAIN act as an extra 50 milligrams of caffeine without those pesky side effects.

Best Pre-Workout with Creatine: Gorilla Mode

Best Pre-Workout with Creatine
one of the best pre workouts

Gorilla Mode

Although opinions on Gorilla Mode vary, it’s packed with all the essential elements you’d desire in a pre-workout beverage to boost your gym performance. Nevertheless, if you happen to be sensitive or prefer to steer clear of stimulants, this supplement might not be the best fit for you.

Product Pros

  • Can be bought in bulk for discount
  • 11 flavours
  • Ingredients shown to improve mental focus, muscle endurance, and energy

Product Cons

  • A bunch of reviewers did not feel its effect
  • Expensive
  • Contains stimulants

Gorilla Mode is specifically designed to amp up your energy, sharpen your focus, enhance muscle strength, and boost endurance during your workouts. This magic mix of L-Citrulline, GlycerPump, and Agmatine works wonders by cranking up nitric oxide, enhancing blood flow, and keeping your muscles well-hydrated.

As we dive deeper into the ingredients, there’s a nifty combo of nootropics in there, aimed at boosting your focus and mood. It’s got L-Tyrosine, Kanna, and Huperzine A, all known for their brain-boosting properties and stress-busting abilities.

But wait, there’s more! Each serving packs 160 milligrams of caffeine and a solid 2,500 milligrams of creatine, which could be your ticket to those bigger, stronger muscles you’ve been chasing.

Now, if you’re an athlete or someone who’s regularly subjected to drug tests, it’s wise to double-check whether N-Phenethyl Dimethylamine Citrate (aka Eria Jarensis extract) is allowed. Some places and sports organizations might have it on their no-go list.

When it comes to the taste, opinions are as mixed.

Best Non-Stim Pre-Workout: Transparent Labs Stim-Free

Best Non-Stim Pre-Workout

Transparent Labs Stim-Free


Transparent Labs Stim-Free Pre-Workout is a caffeine-free powder that won’t leave you feeling jittery or tingly like some other pre-workout supplements. It’s loaded with BCAAs, citrulline malate, beta-alanine, L-tyrosine, taurine, and elevATP, a compound said to enhance ATP activity in muscles.

Product Pros

  • Free of artificial colours, sweeteners, and other additives
  • Won’t give you the jitters
  • Designed to increase nitric oxide uptake in the muscle cells

Product Cons

  • Those who want caffeine should look elsewhere

This version is designed for those who prefer caffeine-free workouts, maybe in the evenings or when they’d rather get their caffeine from coffee. The main ingredient here is citrulline malate, which a 2021 review highlighted as essential for boosting nitric oxide production, aiding skeletal muscle function, and enhancing blood flow to muscles.

To support mental focus, especially in the absence of caffeine, they’ve included Huperzine A, Taurine, and L-Tyrosine.

Sodium and potassium primarily serve as electrolytes to keep you hydrated, although studies suggest they can also contribute to getting a good pump. Beetroot powder is added not only for colour but also to boost nitric oxide production.

Best Pre-Workout for Weight Loss: Transparent Labs LEAN

Best Pre-Workout for Weight Loss

Transparent Labs LEAN

Transparent Labs’ LEAN pre-workout supplement aims to provide enhanced endurance, power, alertness, and focus. However, when it comes to the fat loss aspect, there have been few reports of noticeable changes in body composition, making it less of a guaranteed outcome.

Product Pros

  • No artificial colors
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • Includes vitamins/micronutrients to support thyroid production

Product Cons

  • Reports of receiving wrong item
  • Bitter and unpleasant taste for some consumers

If you’re gearing up for cutting season and aiming to shed weight while preserving muscle, consider trying Transparent Labs PreSeries LEAN. This pre-workout is specifically crafted to act as a fat burner and even incorporates a thyroid support complex. Each serving of LEAN contains 1,000 milligrams of Acetyl L-Carnitine, which research suggests may help alleviate symptoms associated with an overactive thyroid, like insomnia. Health experts suggest that carnitine aids in converting body fat into energy, and although our bodies typically produce carnitine, some individuals might not get enough due to illness or medication. While some evidence hints at L-carnitine’s potential to promote fat loss while increasing muscle mass, further research is required to confirm these effects.

LEAN is available in eight different flavours. The company advises that if you don’t experience the desired effects, you can try adding an extra scoop, but it’s important not to exceed two scoops in a day.

Best Budget Pre-Workout: Cellucor C4

Best Budget Pre-Workout

Cellucor C4

If you’re looking for an affordable pre-workout drink from a big-name supplement company, give C4 a look.

Product Pros

  • Powerful ingredients
  • Dissolves well
  • Affordable price
  • Gives a solid boost of energy

Product Cons

  • Some users report unpleasant aftertaste
  • Gives some people headaches

C4 stands as Cellucor’s flagship product and is often hailed as the top pre-workout choice in the country by many. It’s notable for being carbohydrate-free and packing 150 milligrams of caffeine per serving, which is roughly equivalent to the caffeine content in about 1.5 cups of coffee. Notably, it’s also a wallet-friendly option, costing less than $1 per serving, which is quite a steal when compared to the typical $1.50 to $2 per serving price range for most pre-workout powders in the market.

Additionally, C4 contains 1.6 grams of beta-alanine, a compound known to reduce the buildup of metabolic waste products, such as hydrogen ions, and can help stave off muscle fatigue when taken consistently.

As a bonus, C4 also boasts fantastic flavours like Fruit Punch, Icy Blue Razz, and Cherry Limeade, earning it a devoted following with an impressive 4.7 out of 5-star rating from nearly 6,500 reviews on Amazon.

Best Pre-Workout for Pump: Kaged Pre-Kaged Elite

Best Pre-Workout for Pump
One of the best pre workouts for a pump

Kaged Pre-Kaged Elite

Pre-Kaged Elite is a super strong pre-workout that will get you a huge pump.

Product Pros

  • 10,000 milligrams of pure L-citrulline per serving
  • Five unique and delicious flavour options

Product Cons

  • Contains an artificial sweetener (sucralose)

Kaged has made a significant impact with its latest offering, the Pre-Kaged Elite pre-workout. Having delved into numerous pre-workout supplements throughout my years of research, Pre-Kaged Elite stands out as the most potent and concentrated pre-workout powder I’ve ever come across. A single scoop of this powerhouse contains a whopping 35.1 grams of various ingredients, featuring key components like 10,000 milligrams of L-citrulline for remarkable pumps, 388 milligrams of caffeine to amplify focus and energy, 3,200 milligrams of beta-alanine for endurance, and a substantial 5,000 milligrams (five grams) of creatine to boost strength and muscle gains.

This pre-workout is tailor-made for bodybuilders and strength enthusiasts aiming to push their boundaries in the gym. Its primary goal is to significantly enhance blood flow during workouts, not only aiding in the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to muscles but also serving as a major driver of muscle growth, also known as hypertrophy. As for the array of available flavours, consumer feedback suggests they’re all delectable, with Caribbean Sunrise and Glacier Grape emerging as the fan favourites.

Best Vegan Pre-Workout: Genius PRE

Best Vegan Pre-Workout
The best pre workouts for vegans

Genius PRE

The Genius Brand Genius Pre stands out as a stimulant-free, nootropic-infused pre-workout that’s specifically crafted to enhance your focus and performance during gym sessions. While it has garnered highly favorable reviews, some customers express a desire for larger containers with more than 20 servings to reduce the frequency of their purchases.

Product Pros

  • Available in 4 flavours
  • Subscribe and save 20%

Product Cons

  • No 3rd-party certifications
  • Only available in 20 serving containers

Genius PRE is a vegan-friendly pre-workout that prides itself on being clean. It’s free of preservatives, proprietary blends, artificial flavours, and banned substances, making it an excellent choice for those seeking a pure product. Notably, this pre-workout is devoid of caffeine, so you won’t experience the intense energy surge typically associated with other products.

Benefits Of Pre-Workout

Upgraded Energy Levels

Pre-workouts are like a secret weapon for boosting your energy and focus during workouts. You’ve got caffeine in there, which is a champ at giving you that extra kick and endurance during intense sweat sessions. Plus, there are nitric oxide boosters like citrulline and beetroot extract that help improve blood flow, delivering more oxygen and nutrients to your muscles for top-notch performance.

Amplified Muscle Strength

These pre-workout wonders can rev up your strength game in a couple of ways. First off, they provide you with that extra burst of energy to hit your workouts harder and increase your training intensity. Plus, they help speed up your recovery time between workouts, so you can spend less time resting. But the real star of the show when it comes to strength gains is creatine. Some pre-workouts include creatine, and it’s been shown to be a game-changer for boosting strength when combined with resistance training, as numerous research studies have found.

Sharper Focus and Motivation

Ever have those days when you just can’t get in the zone for your workout? Pre-workouts have your back with ingredients like L-Theanine, Rhodiola rosea, and L-Tyrosine. These bad boys help you stay locked in, motivated, and ready to crush it at the gym. They’re also known as nootropics and can even give your memory, attention, and concentration a nice little boost.

Banishing Fatigue

Nothing can put a damper on your workout like fatigue. But fear not, caffeine is here to save the day once again. It can stimulate the release of endorphins, which means you’ll feel like you’re putting in less effort and experiencing less muscle pain during your exercise. And if you’re into supplements, beta-alanine can help delay fatigue by increasing carnosine levels in your muscles.

Common Pre-Workout Ingredients

Alpha-GPC:

You’ll find Alpha-GPC in pre-workout supplements, and it’s like a brain booster. It’s all about improving your mental and physical game when you hit the gym. Studies show that around 200 milligrams a day can help. It does this by keeping your acetylcholine levels (that’s a neurotransmitter in your brain) from dropping too much during exercise.

AstraGin:

This one’s a mix of Astragalus membranaceus and Panax notoginseng. They call it AstraGin, and it’s supposed to help with athletic performance and making sure your body absorbs nutrients from your food. But here’s the catch, there’s not a ton of scientific proof backing up these performance claims, even though it’s considered safe at around 0.5 milligrams per kilogram of your body weight daily.

Beta-alanine:

This amino acid teams up with L-histidine in your body to create carnosine, which is a superhero at buffering the lactic acid your muscles produce during intense exercise. Less lactic acid buildup equals better endurance and performance in both training and competition. You’ll want about four to six grams a day but be ready for a tingling sensation (paraesthesia) that lasts a few minutes – it’s harmless though.

Betaine anhydrous:

Betaine, or trimethyl glycine if you want to get fancy, is a derivative of an amino acid found in foods like beets. Research suggests that taking two to three grams might help you get better body composition, increased strength, and more muscular endurance.

Bio Perine:

This one’s a black pepper extract, and it’s not here for the party but to enhance the effects of the other ingredients in your pre-workout. It’s like a superhero sidekick, making everyone else work better.

Caffeine anhydrous:

Caffeine is pretty much the superstar of pre-workouts. It gets your central nervous system all pumped up, leading to better athletic performance, mental sharpness, more power, and endurance. There’s a lot of research on caffeine, and for most people, an effective dose for workouts is around 200 to 400 milligrams, depending on your body weight. But remember, keep an eye on your total daily caffeine intake; the recommended daily limit for healthy adults is 400 milligrams.

Citrulline malate or L-Citrulline:

These guys are all about boosting your endurance, aerobic capacity, and reducing muscle soreness. They do this by increasing nitric oxide, which amps up blood flow to your muscles, giving you that pumped feeling. You’ll want about six to eight grams of citrulline malate or four to six grams of L-citrulline before you hit the gym.

Creatine:

It’s a superstar in the supplement world, known for bulking up muscles and speeding up recovery after tough workouts. Some pre-workouts toss it in for an all-around boost. The ideal dose is about three to five grams a day, depending on your body weight.

L-Theanine:

This amino acid partners up with caffeine to sharpen your mind. It improves focus, reaction time, and keeps you in the zone. If you’re worried about caffeine jitters, L-theanine can help calm those down. The magic ratio is usually two parts L-theanine to one part caffeine.

L-Tyrosine:

This amino acid doesn’t just sound fancy; it’s great for your mood and focus. It’s like a mood booster that keeps fatigue at bay. Take around 500 to 2,000 milligrams, and you’ll be good to go.

Taurine:

You’ve probably seen taurine in energy drinks. It’s got antioxidants and can boost endurance, power, electrolyte balance, and recovery. Just pop in one to two grams before your workout, and you’re all set!

Precautions

So, if you’re a healthy adult and you’re using a pre-workout like it’s meant to be used, there’s usually no need to stress too much. But, here are some simple tips to keep in mind, especially if you’re trying a pre-workout that’s way stronger than what you’re used to.

First off, take a good look at the label. Compare it to the pre-workout you’ve been using. If your usual one has 150 milligrams of caffeine, and you’re thinking about diving into something like Pre-Kaged Elite with a hefty 388 milligrams of caffeine per serving, be ready for possible jitters, headaches, and anxiety. To be safe, you might want to start with a smaller dose, like half a scoop, and then gradually work your way up to a full serving as you figure out your tolerance.

And here’s a tip for your sleep – don’t chug pre-workout too late in the evening. Most of these powders pack a caffeine punch that can mess with your bedtime plans if you’re not careful.

Lastly, I know it sounds obvious, but always follow the directions on the label. Going over the recommended dose with these supercharged pre-workouts can lead to some serious side effects like a racing heart, anxiety, or even worse. It’s never a bad idea to chat with a healthcare pro, especially if you’ve got any health issues or you’re taking other meds. They can help you decide if the pre-workout is a good fit for you. Stay safe and power up those workouts!

How to Choose the Best Pre-Workout for You

Stimulant Content:

One of the key factors in determining the strength of a pre-workout supplement is the amount of caffeine and other stimulants it contains. Most regular pre-workout supplements have about 150 to 200 milligrams of caffeine per serving, which is roughly equivalent to two to three cups of coffee. This caffeine dose is typically enough to give people the energy boost they need for their workouts.

However, if you are a larger individual, have a high caffeine tolerance, or work out in the early morning, you might require a stronger pre-workout with 250 to 400 milligrams of caffeine per serving to achieve the desired focus, drive, and strength.

Active Ingredients and Dosage Levels:

The strength of a pre-workout isn’t solely determined by caffeine content. To be considered strong or elite, pre-workouts should also contain multiple active ingredients at clinically effective dosage levels. Common ingredients found in pre-workouts, apart from caffeine, include L-citrulline or citrulline malate, beta-alanine, betaine, and individual amino acids like taurine and tyrosine. You can refer to the individual ingredients section to learn more about these components and their recommended dosage levels for maximum benefit.

Third-Party Testing:

Several organizations, such as NSF International, Informed Sports, and Labdoor, conduct testing on pre-workout supplements to ensure their safety and effectiveness. While third-party testing is not mandatory, it indicates that the company is committed to providing high-quality, safe, and effective supplements. This is particularly important for athletes involved in drug-tested sports who want to ensure that the products they use do not contain banned substances.

Customer Reviews:

Reading customer reviews of the pre-workout supplement you’re considering can be a valuable practice. These reviews often provide insights into how the product made individuals feel, the results they achieved from using the product, and suggestions for the best flavor options to try.

Flavor Options and Taste:

It’s essential to choose supplements that taste good and have at least one flavor profile you enjoy. If you don’t like the taste, you’re less likely to use the product consistently. Additionally, consider how the product is flavored and sweetened. If you prefer all-natural products, carefully check the supplement facts label to ensure there are no artificial sweeteners, colors, or flavors.

Cost:

Remember that the price of a supplement does not always reflect its quality or effectiveness. Overspending on supplements is not necessary. To make an informed decision, consider your specific needs, fitness goals, and budget to select a product that offers the most value for you.

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