What Are The Best Stimulant and Caffeine Free Pre Workout Supplements in 2017?

The pre workout supplement market is saturated with stimulants and caffeine, however not everyone wants or needs that artificial boost. There are plenty of high quality caffeine free pre workout options out there.

In this article, I’m going to detail some of the reasons you might want to leave caffeine out of your exercise routine. Then I’m going to look at some of the pre workout supplement options available and share their pros and cons. Hopefully by the end you’ll be able to decide on the best stimulant free pre workout supplement for you.

Why Go Stimulant Free?

The purpose of stimulants (including caffeine) in a pre workout supplement is to give you a boost of energy. The dose of caffeine in most is equivalent to one or two huge mugs of coffee. Higher energy is a good thing, but stimulants aren't always the best way to achieve this. Here are some reasons you might consider going stimulant free.

1. Caffeine can interfere with your sleep

Many people work out in the evening or at night after work. If you're taking caffeine in the late afternoon, you might not be able to sleep well that night.

Your central nervous system remains alert for an average of five hours after you take caffeine or any similar stimulants (source).

2. It’s not safe for people with high blood pressure.

Stimulants work by vasoconstriction, which means tightening of the blood vessels. As a result, it becomes harder you for to pump blood throughout your body. This leads to spikes in blood pressure. For those of you who already have high blood pressure, stimulants can be very dangerous. If you have an ongoing health condition or take a prescription medicine, always check with a healthcare professional before adding a supplement to your routine.

3. Some people just don't benefit from stimulants

Stimulants can have adverse effects on some people, ranging from nausea and stomach pain to anxiety. In those cases, the benefit simply doesn’t outweigh the side effects.

4. Stimulants can be addicting.

Caffeine and most stimulants provide not only a physical boost but a mental one. Stimulants increase dopamine levels in the brain, the neurotransmitter associated with pleasure.

You'll feel a sort of high while on caffeine or stimulants, but the crash afterward will probably leave you craving more. Coming off of stimulants can even result in anxiety or depression (source).

5. Even people who use stimulants regularly should take breaks.

It's not safe to take supplements with a high stimulant content for extended periods of time. Taking a break from stimulants gives your body a chance to regain its natural energy.

Your body will also adjust to stimulants over time, making them less effective the longer you take them.

One fitness expert recommends cycling off stimulant pre workouts approximately every two months. Check out his video for reasons why you should give your body the occasional rest from caffeine and other stimulants:

Common Stimulant Substitutes

So what do the best stimulant free pre workouts use to give you a boost? The answer is usually amino acids. There is a wide variety of amino acids with an even wider array of benefits. The right amino acids can do anything from improving endurance and giving you more power to helping with muscle recovery.

The following are the most common amino acids and nutrients you’ll find in the best caffeine free pre workout supplements:

Creatine

Creatine is one of the most well-researched workout supplements on the market. It's an amino acid known to increase strength and stimulate muscle growth (source).

Many studies have revealed creatine's benefits for athletic performance (source). Taking creatine can have long-term cumulative benefits too - including greater strength, less fat mass, and more muscle mass (source).

Today many companies have devoted time and resources to developing enhanced varieties of creatine for their supplements.

Creatine monohydrate is the original, while creatine HCL is another common version known to cause less water retention and produce muscles that appear slimmer. Micronized creatine is a finer powder that is easier to blend into a drink and absorb into the body.

However, some people have trouble absorbing creatine simple due to their genetics. Creatine also isn't that effective for endurance-based exercises like running (source). For these reasons, I didn't choose any creatine-only supplements to review in this article.

Citrulline

Citrulline, sometimes listed as L-citrulline, is an amino acid that helps the body produce more nitric oxide (NO). Nitric oxide is a vasodilator, which helps the body with blood circulation.

With the opposite effect of stimulants, NO widens blood vessels and allows for greater blood flow to your muscles. Healthy blood flow lets your body deliver more oxygen and nutrients to the muscles and improves your performance.

One study tested the time it took cyclists to complete an exercise with and without citrulline. The participants who took oral supplements of citrulline not only completed the task faster but reported less muscle fatigue and better concentration (source).

Many supplements combine citrulline with L-malate. You might see the ingredient listed as citrulline malate. Malate, which is just the addition of malic acid, boosts your energy levels.

A study on citrulline-malate for professional male weightlifters resulted in more lower body repetitions (source). A similar study looked at professional female tennis players. The result was increased grip strength and greater lower body power when players took eight grams of citrulline malate before exercising (source).

In addition to improving performance in athletes, citrulline malate also reduces muscle soreness, making it useful for those new to the gym too (source).

Beta-Alanine

Beta-alanine is naturally produced in the liver. You also get beta-alanine from meats like beef and poultry. It's known as a "non-essential" amino acid since it’s not necessary to consume it. However, beta-alanine supplements can provide additional benefits.

When you take beta-alanine, it goes to the muscle fibers. There it combines with histidine - another amino acid - to form carnosine. Carnosine is responsible for maintaining your blood pH. It acts as a buffer between hydrogen ions to promote less acid build-up.

Maintaining the right pH in your blood is important. Too much acid in the bloodstream results in muscle fatigue. During exercise, your body naturally produces more acid, and you begin to feel worn out (source). Beta-alanine mitigates and holds off these effects.

Studies on beta-alanine show impressive results. Participants who took beta-alanine supplements during high-intensity interval training workouts increased their lean muscle mass. They also saw improvements in their overall performance (source).

Beta-alanine can give you a tingling or "pins and needles" sensation, so don’t be surprised if this happens when you take a pre workout with this ingredient.

BCAAs

Branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs, are also great workout boosters. The primary BCAAs are L-leucine, L-isoleucine, and L-valine. Leucine is the most impactful BCAA and has a large volume of studies to support its benefits (source).

One study found that participants who look BCAA supplements with a resistance-training workout had greater muscle strength. They also experienced fat loss and lean muscle gains.

Best Stimulant and Caffeine Free Pre Workouts for 2017

I've reviewed five of the best stimulant free pre workout supplements. It might surprise you how simple some of these products are, but all of them are proven to give you a boost during a workout. Take a look at this list to help you find the best caffeine free pre workout.

Kaged Muscle Citrulline

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This first supplement focuses on one simple element, so you know exactly what you're getting. As a pure L-citrulline product, you'll see a boost in nitric acid and improved blood circulation for longer, better performance.

Kaged Muscle Citrulline is all about high quality, with the certifications to prove it. This supplement is GRAS approved (labeled generally recognized as safe by the FDA) and Banned Substance Free certified, which means it's safe for competitive athletes.

They use a vegetable fermentation method to get their citrulline instead producing it synthetically. Although this process takes longer, it ensures that the resulting product retains its full benefits.

Kaged Muscle wants to sell you on the benefits of using pure L-citrulline instead of citrulline malate, but it depends on what you want in a pre workout. Focusing on citrulline and leaving out malic acid, emphasizes strength and endurance without any additional boost to energy.

Pros


  • 2 grams of 100% pure l-citrulline per serving
  • Derived from vegetable fermentation
  • Increases blood circulation and nutrient delivery to muscles
  • Vegetarian, gluten-free and kosher
  • GRAS approved
  • Banned Substance Free Certified (Safe for Athletes)
  • No artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners
  • No Fillers
  • No GMOs
  • Made in the USA
  • Unflavored

Cons


  • Mixture can be a little gritty

Primaforce Citrulline Malate

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Our rating

Primaforce Citrulline Malate is another supplement focused on citrulline. It supports increased performance, lean muscle mass growth, and improves blood flow.

This powder includes l-malate or malic acid. While some companies dismiss malate as a filler, it serves a function too. L-malate increases your body's ATP production, which then boosts your energy.

Pros


  • 2 grams of l-citrulline dl-malate per serving
  • Improves performance and blood flow
  • Promotes lean muscle mass growth
  • Ups ATP production to increase energy
  • Lab tested
  • Comes in 200-gram bottle
  • Unflavored

Cons


  • Some find the citrus flavor sour

Primaforce Beta Alanine Powder

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Our rating

Primaforce also has a beta-alanine option for a stimulant free pre workout. This supplement uses a Beta Alanine called blend CarnoSyn®, licensed by Dr. Roger Harris. CarnoSyn® stays in your system longer than regular beta-alanine.

Many studies point to the benefits of the patented CarnoSyn®, including greater work capacity, less physical and mental fatigue, and more production of carnosine to improve performance and endurance.

Primaforce Beta Alanine increases your performance and promotes lean muscle growth, much like citrulline. The effect of beta-alanine on your carnosine levels also reduces muscle fatigue for greater endurance.

Just don't forget that beta-alanine will give you that tingling sensation, usually in the face and neck. While some people dislike this sensation, it has no adverse effects on your health.

Pros


  • 2 grams of CarnoSyn® Beta-Alanine per serving
  • Lab tested
  • Stays in system longer than regular beta-alanine
  • Promotes lean muscle growth
  • Improves athletic performance
  • Reduces fatigue
  • Comes in 200-gram bottle
  • Unflavored

Cons


  • Some users reported being uncomfortable with the “tingling” effect

Evogen EVP Elite Pre Workout Solution

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Our rating

Evogen EVP is a traditional pre workout supplement and protein powder with a variety of nutrients to help get you going. This supplement has had a long history. Models often used Evogen EVP before fitness shows to look their best.

EVP includes several different amino acids including l-leucine, the most powerful and well-tested BCAA (branched-chain amino acid). The blend used in this supplement has been formulated to be easy to absorb. The company produces l-leucine through a highly monitored fermentation process to ensure high-quality.

The blend of nutrients in EVP stimulate protein synthesis in your muscles and increase your lean muscle mass growth. Their ATP/cognitive support complex, including l-tyrosine, improves concentration, alertness, and gives you a blast of energy.

Pros


  • 15 calories per serving
  • 9.22 grams of l-leucine, l-arginine, alpha-ketoglutarate, creatine, l-glutamine, and l-tyrosine
  • Includes B1, B2, B3, B6, and B12 vitamins
  • Stimulates protein synthesis
  • Increases muscle mass
  • Improves concentration
  • Comes in 475 grams or about 40 servings
  • Available in grape and strawberry kiwi flavors

Cons


  • Includes additional ingredients and artificial flavoring
  • Powder can be difficult to blend well
  • High price

PEScience High Volume

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Our rating

The main active ingredient in PEScience High Volume is l-citrulline, with no malate. It has double the amount of l-citrulline than most pre workouts at four grams per serving.

High Volume is great for if you want to focus on increasing nitric oxide levels, which improve blood circulation and oxygen and nutrient delivery to your muscles for enhanced performance.

PEScience High Volume uses a performance pump matrix that includes taurine and Ferula Asafoetida root extract.

Taurine is an organic acid with sulfur commonly used to improve blood flow and reduce pain from cramps. It also has antioxidant properties, which facilitate muscle recovery.

Ferula Asafoetida root improves lung health and benefits the gastrointestinal system. Studies have shown that asafoetida as a spice can stimulate digestive enzymes and increase nutrient absorption.

Pros


  • 4 grams of l-citrulline per serving
  • 250 mg of vitamin C
  • 2 grams of arginine
  • 3,750 mg of taurine, glycerol, and Ferula Asafoetida root extract
  • 1 gram of agmatine sulfate
  • Increases nitric oxide (NO) levels for better blood circulation and performance
  • Antioxidant properties
  • Muscle recovery
  • Supports lung and gastrointestinal health
  • Vegan
  • Comes in 36 scoop size
  • Four flavors available

Cons


  • Contains some artificial ingredients and flavoring

Conclusion

I recommend Kaged Muscle's Citrulline powder as the best stimulant free pre workout. It's priced a little higher than other citrulline powders, but their quality is among the best.

Guaranteed safe for athletes and GRAS-approved, Kaged Muscle Citrulline has many additional benefits that other brands don't. While they only use citrulline to enhance your workout, I challenge you to try a simple supplement.

Many pre workouts are packed with so many ingredients that we don't know what is helping you get positive results. Several studies have proven the effectiveness of L-citrulline as a workout supplement. It increases blood circulation, muscle growth, and overall performance.

Try one of the best caffeine free pre workout supplements around and do something good for your body.

Helen Sanders
 

Chief editor here at Health Ambition, I'm a proud mother of two passionate about nutrition and ways to live healthier with more energy!