What Is the Best Pre-Workout Without Creatine?

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Many workout supplements enhance the quality of your workout by using creatine and other stimulants. If you’re one of the unlucky few who can’t take creatine, or simply prefer not to, finding a pre-workout supplement is a lot harder.

That’s why this article is dedicated to finding the best pre workout without creatine to help you meet your fitness goals.

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Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy

Optimum Nutrition

Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy

5 out of 5

In the Pre Workout Supplements category

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  • AMINO BLEND - a perfectly blended mix of amino acids to aid in muscle recovery*
  • ENERGY BLEND - with 100mg of caffeine coming from green tea and/or green coffee extracts to supply you with a boost of energy...
  • MENTAL FOCUS - don't allow the day to get the best of you, the unique formula in ESSENTIAL AMIN.O. ENERGY helps provide you...
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5 out of 5

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Our #2 Rated
Old School Labs Vintage Blast Two Stage Pre-Workout Supplement

Old School Labs

Old School Labs Vintage Blast Two Stage Pre-Workout Supplement

5 out of 5

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  • PRE WORKOUT IN TWO STAGES: The world's first two-stage natural pre workout energy powder drink for men and women; steady...
  • TESTED AND TRUSTED: Third-party tested pre workout supplement with premium ingredients; can be used for bodybuilding or any...
  • MONEY BACK GUARANTEE: If you are not 100% satisfied with your pre workout, we will provide a full refund.
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5 out of 5

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PurePump Natural Pre-Workout Supplement by DO Vitamins

Do Vitamins

PurePump Natural Pre-Workout Supplement by DO Vitamins

4 out of 5

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  • CLEAN SUSTAINED ENERGY: Clean sustained energy without the crash, PurePump has revolutionized natural pre-workout...
  • THIRD PARTY TESTED AND VERIFIED: PurePump contents are tested and verified in an FDA-registered laboratory by Labdoor.com and...
  • THE ONLY ALL NATURAL PRE-WORKOUT SUPPLEMENT CERTIFIED BOTH VEGAN AND PALEO: PurePump is the only pre-workout formulation to...
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4 out of 5

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Red Leaf Pre-Workout Energizer

Redleaf

Red Leaf Pre-Workout Energizer

4 out of 5

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  • RED LEAF PRE-WORKOUT - Best tasting pre-workout nutrition supplement with natural cranberry lime flavors. This is a healthy...
  • ANTIOXIDANT AND ENERGY BLEND - Extracts from natural antioxidants like green tea support vibrant health and energy. A modest...
  • BETA-ALANINE - Beta Alanine reduces muscle fatigue and helps fuel intense workouts. Amino Acids, including BCAA's,...
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4 out of 5

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Cellucor C4 Ripped Pre Workout

Cellucor

Cellucor C4 Ripped Pre Workout

4 out of 5

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  • A LEGACY OF EXCELLENCE - We've been pioneering, building, and perfecting pre-workouts longer than most brands have been in...
  • ADVANCED FORMULA - We're proud to say that the formula powering each serving of C4 Ripped delivers an advanced experience on...
  • 100% SATISFACTION GUARANTEE: All Cellucor products are thoroughly developed, accurately tested, and proudly manufactured in...
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Our #5 Rated

4 out of 5

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What’s Wrong with Creatine?

Creatine produces great results such as increasing your strength and speeding up the rate of muscle growth. An overview by the American College of Sports Medicine found that people who took oral creatine supplements showed “small but significant” increases in athletic performance. (source)

The problem is that a small percentage of the population can’t take creatine. Due mainly to genetics, some people’s bodies don’t absorb creatine into their muscle cells properly.

Creatine is an amino acid that occurs naturally in the body. (source) One reason you might not experience a boost from taking creatine supplements is if your body already has a large store of it.

In a few cases, you might be able to change the type of creatine you use and see results. Switching from a monohydrate creatine source to HCL or di-ester creatine has been useful for some individuals.

Studies also show that creatine isn’t universally effective. It enhances performance in some physical activities and not others. For example, creatine doesn’t help with activities that require endurance, like running. Instead, it works best for short-duration exercises. (source)

A final drawback of creatine is how it reacts with other substances. Doctors recommend against taking creatine with any medications or herbal supplements. (source) In particular, you should avoid taking ephedra with creatine.

Taking high doses of caffeine with creatine is also unhealthy and can even be toxic. (source) Research on athletes taking creatine found that also consuming caffeine caused upset stomachs in some people.

Are Supplements without Creatine Less Effective?

The short answer is no.

The best pre workout without creatine should include different nutrients or stimulants to produce the same boost you’d get from creatine. Pre-workout supplements without creatine use different sources of energy, like caffeine, amino acids, beta-alanine. Other supplements like L-arginine and L-citrulline may be present to increase blood flow to the muscles and remove waste products to decrease fatigue.

The only thing you might miss out on by not taking creatine is the long-term cumulative effect. (source) Sports scientists haven’t been able to replicate this yet.

What Should You Look for in a Creatine-Free Pre-Workout?

Caffeine

This one comes down to personal preference. Caffeine is a stimulant and can provide a significant boost. As an ergogenic aid, it improves your performance and gives you energy. Research shows that caffeine can get you to voluntarily put in more effort, even when you’re sleep-deprived. (source) It also reduces fatigue, but you already knew that a cup of coffee could do that.

However, some people like to avoid it. Caffeine is one of the ingredients in a supplement that can make it addictive. It gives a short-term energy boost but isn’t as useful when it comes to endurance-based activities like running.

L-tyrosine and choline bitartrate are energy boosting alternatives to caffeine.

Graphic of a caffeine molecule.

Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

BCAAs, like leucine, isoleucine and valine, regulate the metabolism of proteins.Typically the recommended ratio of leucine to isoleucine to valine is 2:1:1. This closely mirrors the natural structure of muscles.

However, if you only get one BCAA in your pre-workout, look for leucine. Leucine has the most scientific evidence to back up its powers, which include protein synthesis, muscle growth, and reduced soreness. (source)

Beta-Alanine

Beta-Alanine’s primary function is to increase muscular endurance. It works as a buffer for hydrogen ions. This buffer then protects against changes in your blood pH to maintain the same level of acidity.

The reason this is important is that increased acidity from carbon dioxide and lactic acid causes your muscles to tire faster. (source) Beta-Alanine prevents muscle fatigue, while also helping you build up your strength.

Scientists who studied the use of beta-alanine with high-intensity interval training found that this amino acid improved performance and the percentage of lean body mass in participants. (source)

Product Reviews

Our #1 Rated
Our pick our #1 rated

Optimum Nutrition

Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy

  • Quality
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Optimum Nutrition is one of the most famous and reliable supplement manufacturers. They’re one of the few brands in the industry to operate their own production facilities, so you know you’ll get high quality products.

ON’s Amino Energy focuses on giving your greater endurance and improving muscle recovery. As the name states, they concentrate on amino acids, with both branched-chain and free form amino acids. Caffeine content is moderate but still gives you a boost.

This supplement has some unique ingredients to boost your energy without creatine like green tea and green coffee bean extracts. With antioxidants, electrolytes, l-glutamine and citrulline, Amino Energy is a competitive choice.

Pros
Pro 5 grams of amino acids, including BCAAs
Pro No added sugar
Pro Only 10 calories
Pro Includes l-glutamine, citrulline and antioxidants
Pro Electrolyte Blend
Pro Green tea and green coffee extracts
Pro Perfect for runners
Pro Reputable company in the supplements industry
Pro 15 flavors
Pro Competitive price
Cons
Con Less electrolyte replenishment than some competitors
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Our #2 Rated
Our pick our #2 rated

Old School Labs

Old School Labs Vintage Blast Two Stage Pre-Workout Supplement

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Old School Labs in California is a unique supplements company that creates all-natural products. Vintage Blast is their pre-workout supplement and looks to be a much healthier option than many competitors.

Vintage Blast boasts a two-stage process which releases its benefits gradually over time. Its effect on endurance is a major advantage of this product. The supplement includes electrolytes and several micronutrients to help slow down oxidation, balance pH levels, and improve hydration.

With a focus on clean ingredients, Vintage Blast has no calories, carbs or sugars, no GMOs, and no gluten. If you’re worried about developing a dependency on a supplement, Vintage Blast might be perfect for you.

Pros
Pro 150 mg of caffeine with additional 100 mg through extended release
Pro 1000 mg beta-alanine
Pro 5000 mg citrulline
Pro Includes l-carnitine, l-arginine, and tyrosine
Pro No carbohydrates, sugars, or calories
Pro 9 essential electrolytes and micronutrients
Pro No GMOs
Pro Gluten free
Cons
Con Only 1 flavor
Con Some find it gritty and hard to mix
Con Higher price
 
 
 
 
 

Our #3 Rated
Our pick our #3 rated

Do Vitamins

PurePump Natural Pre-Workout Supplement by DO Vitamins

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PurePump is a clean and natural supplement choice that’s ideal if you’re concerned about what you put into your body. It’s both vegan and paleo certified.

The supplement contains a healthy dose of caffeine, all extracted from green tea leaves. It includes large amounts of beta-alanine for energy and endurance boost during your workout. Several amino acids and vitamins increase the nutritional value of this product.

True to its name, PurePump doesn’t use any artificial ingredients, including sweeteners. It is an unflavored pre-workout, meaning he taste of the natural ingredients can get pretty bitter.

PurePump is a solid, healthy choice if you can stomach or mask the taste.

Pros
Pro 200 mg of caffeine from green tea extract
Pro 2 grams of beta-alanine
Pro 2 grams of L-Citrulline
Pro 1 gram of combined BCAAs
Pro Includes vitamin C and three B vitamins
Pro No GMOs
Pro No artificial sweeteners
Pro Vegan and paleo certified
Pro GMP-certified
Pro Unflavored, mixes well
Cons
Con Taste is bitter when taken alone
Con Has a bitter smell
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Our #4 Rated
Our pick our #4 rated

Redleaf

Red Leaf Pre-Workout Energizer

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Red Leaf’s Pre-Workout Energizer packs their supplement with BCAAs and beta-alanine for high energy and lasting endurance. It includes l-glutamine and arginine alpha-ketoglutarate (AAKG) to help with recovery post-workout too.

It comes in a natural cranberry lime flavor which isn’t just for show. These ingredients contribute to the product’s nutritional value, with antioxidant and energy-boosting properties. It includes a very mild dose of caffeine.

Manufactured in a GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) certified facility, Red Leaf’s pre-workout formula uses high-quality ingredients. There is no maltodextrin or artificial coloring. This supplement is also carb-free.

The Red Leaf Pre-Workout Energizer is great for beginners or people with high sensitivity to supplements. However, seasoned gym-goers and athletes might find Red Leaf a little weak.

Pros
Pro 40 mg of caffeine
Pro 1 gram of beta-alanine
Pro 1 gram of BCAAs
Pro 1 gram of L-Glutamine
Pro 500 mg of AAKG
Pro Antioxidants from cranberry and green tea extracts
Pro No carbohydrates
Pro No maltodextrin
Pro No artificial coloring
Pro Produced in a GMP-certified facility
Cons
Con Weaker than some others
Con Only 1 flavor available
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Our #5 Rated
Our pick our #5 rated

Cellucor

Cellucor C4 Ripped Pre Workout

  • Quality
    Quality

  • Quality
    Price

  • Quality
    Our rating

Cellucor’s C4 Ripped focuses on making the most of your body fat. The formula mobilizes your fat and turns it into energy to burn in your workout. Their focus on lean muscle build and fat loss is a unique approach to pre-workouts.

C4 Ripped has a mix of natural ingredients for blasting fat, including ones you may not have heard of like Coleus forskohlii root and Velvet Bean seed extract. Their unique blend of fruit extract also manipulates your fat, promoting lipolysis and using it for increased energy.

Pros
Pro 150 mg of caffeine
Pro 1.6 grams of beta-alanine
Pro Fatty acids, l-carnitine, and l-tyrosine
Pro Capsimax® Cayenne fruit extract converts fat into energy
Pro Coleus forskohlii root extract helps break down fat
Pro Velvet bean seed extract gives you an energy boost
Pro Four flavors
Cons
Con Ingredients, most likely from the flavoring, can stain bottles and cups
Con Higher price
 
 
 
 
 

Conclusion

Optimum Nutrition’s Amino Energy is my top choice for a creatine-free workout supplement. It’s available for a great price and doesn’t have any major cons. Caffeine, beta-alanine, and BCAAs are present in high but not overwhelming amounts.

Other supplements on this list have less variety and users have complained about taste or effects that were too strong. For a balanced, reliable pre-workout supplement, try Amino Energy.

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