Most people have a limited amount of time in the day to fit in a workout. It can be especially challenging if you’re squeezing in your gym time before or after work, or among dozens of other responsibilities.
That’s why it’s important to show up ready to work, and with the energy to knock out a great session when you do make the time.
Pre-workout supplements can give you a boost that will help you make the most of your time at the gym. There are hundreds of options on the market. Here I’ve highlighted the strongest pre-workout formulas that will enhance your energy and endurance and give you the best chance of achieving great results.
Youwiin Sports Nutrition
PR1 Pre-Workout Performance BoosterClick for price
- RELENTLESS ENDURANCE - Whether your goal is improving your triathlon performance, reach a new personal best on your running...
- IMPROVED RECOVERY TIMES - Boost your CrossFit WODs and weightlifting gains by reducing time between sets to reach goals...
- BUILD CORE STRENGTH & TONED ABS - Create leaner, more defined muscle groups with powerful ingredients that help increase your...
Alpha Gx7 Pre-workoutClick for price
- MOST POWERFUL PRE WORKOUT POWDER - With a whopping 1500mg of total citrulline along with beta alanine, you'll feel a huge...
- EXPERIENCE IMMEDIATE STRENGTH GAINS: The ingredients inside of Alpha Gx7 Pre-workout powder are carefully chosen to boost...
- RESEARCHED BACKED INGREDIENTS, WITHOUT THE JUNK: Alpha Gx7 Pre-workout contains only science based ingredients proven to give...
Cellucor C4 Pre-Workout Supplements with Creatine, Nitric Oxide, Beta Alanine and EnergyClick for price
- Energy & Performance for Next Level Results: The days of mediocre workouts are over. Feel the momentum, and experience high...
- America's Number 1 Selling Pre-Workout+: Cellucor's C4 is a trusted pre-workout for men and women of all training levels. C4...
- Unbeatable Flavors: C4 is well known and respected for offering a variety of great tasting flavors that continue to raise the...
The Genius Brand
GENIUS Pre-workoutClick for price
- SYNERGISTIC MIND TO MUSCLE CONNECTION - Genius Pre is the world's first clinically dosed nootropic based pre workout. Devoid...
- CAFFEINE FREE... TRUE PERFORMANCE - Why are most preworkouts masked with proprietary blends? They are mostly caffeine/cheap...
- NATURALLY SWEETENED WITHOUT THE JUNK - Too many pre workouts are loaded with fillers and dyes. Titanium dioxide, red #40 and...
Who Should Take a Pre-Workout Supplement?
While pre-workout supplements are very popular among bodybuilders and the extremely fit crowd, they are actually an excellent choice for anyone who engages in physical activity.
For the average man or woman looking to lose weight or get fit, a well-formulated pre-workout can help you hone your focus and produce better results in your workouts.
Scientific studies have proven that people who consume the strongest pre-workout supplements see improved agility, muscular endurance, and energy as well as delayed fatigue in their workouts (source). I’m talking here about supplements that contain elements like caffeine, B-vitamins, amino acids, creatine, and beta-alanine.
Choosing the strongest pre-workout can help if you exercise in the morning. If you’re anything like me, you need a little assistance to fully wake up both physically and mentally before hitting the gym. It’s also a great choice if you fit in your session after work or a long day managing a household and children.
Pre-workout formulas can help to chase away fatigue and allow you to stay focused and productive during your workout. (source)
I find that a pre-workout drink gives me a boost in energy if I take it between 30 minutes to an hour before I hit the gym. Not only do I get a pleasant pick-me-up, but once I take the supplement, I never back out of a workout. It’s my personal point of no return – once it’s in my system, I am 100% going to the gym.
How do the Strongest Pre-Workout Supplements Work?
Not all pre-workout formulas are created equal. The best ones combine vitamins, minerals, and herbal supplements that have been proven effective. They are usually available in a variety of flavors in a powder form and just need to be mixed with water before your workout.
Most pre-workouts will affect one or more of these attributes: strength, energy, stamina, and the potential to build muscle. Some also are designed for specific purposes like fat-burning or building muscle mass.
It’s important to choose a pre-workout that supports your goals. For the purpose of this article and our reviews below, we will focus on the strongest pre-workout supplements that support overall health and fitness.
Here are what I believe are the most important ingredients you should look for pre-workout, and how they work.
Creatine is a amino acid found naturally in protein sources. It’s produced by the human body in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas. Creatine is a precursor to ATP, a significant energy source utilized during periods of high-intensity exercise.
The strongest pre-workout formulas will contain creatine to help the body produce an excess of ATP. This should lead to increased strength, energy, and endurance. (source)
The end result is that you’ll be able to work out harder and longer without experiencing as much fatigue as usual. Longer and more intense workouts will lead to changes over time, and may even help you reach your goals faster.
The strongest pre-workout formulas will also include caffeine as one of the main ingredients. Caffeine in both low and high doses can significantly impact alertness and mood during exercise and has a positive effect on athletic performance. (source)
If you’re sensitive to caffeine or don’t want to ingest any stimulants, be sure to look for pre-workout supplements that don’t include caffeine on the ingredient label.
Beta-alanine is the compound in pre-workout that gives some users a tingly, warm, or itchy sensation. While it feels a bit odd, it goes away quickly, and then the ingredient begins to work. Beta-alanine helps to combat the buildup of acid in the muscles, which can promote greater endurance and strength over the course of a workout.
You know that moment when you “feel the burn” and feel like you can’t go any longer or do another rep? This ingredient helps to lessen that burn and give you a greater capacity for exercise. (source)
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Amino acids help the body with a number of functions including workout recovery and delivery of oxygen to our muscles. When combined with other ingredients in the strongest pre-workout supplements, they can help improve recovery time between workouts.
Amino acids at a very high dose allow the blood carry to more oxygen, which results in less overall muscle damage after a hard workout. (source)
Remember, muscle damage is actually a good thing. The result of that damage is muscle repair, which makes our muscles stronger and bigger.
By boosting our ability to repair the damage we do to our muscles during a workout, you will be able to work out harder without being as sore the next day. Harder workouts equal faster results, which is a good thing!
Is it Safe to Take a Pre-Workout?
The effects of pre-workout and the safety of the individual compounds have been widely tested. In one study on healthy men and women over a 28-day period, researchers concluded that the pre-workout in question was safe to be used and had no negative effects on the heart, liver, and kidneys.
Overall, pre-workout formulas are considered safe for the average population. Of course, pregnant or nursing women should not take products with stimulants like caffeine. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, or you’re taking any medications or have a health conditions that can be negatively affected by stimulants, you should steer clear of pre-workout supplements.
What to Look for in a Good Pre-Workout Supplement
Determining the best pre-workout for you means picking a product that aligns with your goals. That said, the strongest pre-workout formulas on the market will include the ingredients listed above. Some may contain several others to boost your energy and metabolism, or to contribute to building muscle and reducing body fat.
You’ll want to consider the time of day you plan to take your pre-workout when you pick your formula. If you are exercising in the evening or close to bedtime, consider choosing a blend with less than 200 mg of caffeine without additional stimulants. For reference, coffee has about 95 mg of caffeine in a single cup.
You’ll also want to note if you’re sensitive to the ingredients. Some users really don’t like the tingly or even itchy feeling they get when taking products with beta-alanine, and choose a pre-workout supplement without it. Other ingredients can deliver similar effects if you don’t respond well to a particular component.
How to Take a Pre-Workout Supplement
Most bulk powders are designed to be reconstituted into a shake with water. They should usually be taken around 30 minutes before beginning your workout, but that will depend on the exact formulation. Always read the label instructions before taking your pre-workout supplement.
It should be common sense, but never take more than the amount specified on the label. High doses of caffeine and other stimulants can cause unpleasant or even dangerous side effects.
I recommend sticking with the lower end of the recommended dosages if you’re new to using a pre-workout formula. Especially if you are a smaller adult (under 150 pounds), you may want to start by using half of a scoop and modify your dosage if needed to feel the desired effects.
It’s also not necessary to take a pre-workout everyday. Many users like to “cycle” their products. This means taking a break or switching supplements for a period of time to reduce tolerance and increase efficacy. The exact cycling technique will depend on the ingredients in question.
First and foremost, you should listen to your body. If you aren’t feeling the benefits of a pre-workout or are noticing side effects, stop taking it and try something else.
Top 5 Strongest Pre-Workout Supplements
PR1 Pre-Workout Performance Booster comes as a blue raspberry flavored 30-serving powder. It includes all of the elements key to the strongest pre-workout formula. The sugar-free, gluten-free, non-GMO recipe is comprised of top ingredients like creatine, beta alanine, BCAAs and caffeine at or above the recommended doses. Alpha Gx7 Pre-workout is a pre-workout powder that delivers a whooping 250 mg of caffeine and 2000 mg of beta-alanine. It also includes compounds to provide energy and strength before your gym session. The powder comes in a 30-serving canister in watermelon flavor. Cellucor C4 Pre-Workout Supplements with creatine, nitric oxide, and beta-alanine come in a powder form. There are six different flavors to choose from: Strawberry Margarita, Icy Blue Razz, Fruit Punch, Orange Dreamsicle, Watermelon and Pink Lemonade. You can purchase a 30 or 60-serving canister, and each dose includes large servings of B-vitamins, caffeine, beta alanine, and a caffeine-based energy blend. GENIUS Pre-workout is a caffeine-free pre-workout powder. It delivers large doses of beta alanine, BCAAs, and energy through the nootropic compound Alpha GCP. Nootropics such as Alpha GCP are also referred to as cognitive enhancers because they improve brain function. Made without fillers and sweetened naturally, the 30-serving product comes in grape limeade flavor.
Contains all recommended pre-workout ingredients
Made in the USA at an FDA certified facility
Only one flavor available
Users report feeling effects within 30 minutes
Rushes oxygen to muscles and delivers a great “pump” during workout
Uses artificial coloring and flavoring
Higher dose of caffeine makes some users jittery
Does not contain creatine
Fast-acting (feel effects within an hour)
Increased energy and focus
Contains muscle-building creatine
Beta alanine may cause itching or tingling sensation
May affect sleep if taken in the evening
BCAAs aren’t included in the formula
Beta-alanine and amino acids
Good choice for anyone who doesn’t like stimulants or caffeine
Naturally sweetened with Stevia
Made in the USA
Beta-alanine caused itchy or tingly feeling in some users
PR1 Pre-Workout Performance Booster comes as a blue raspberry flavored 30-serving powder. It includes all of the elements key to the strongest pre-workout formula. The sugar-free, gluten-free, non-GMO recipe is comprised of top ingredients like creatine, beta alanine, BCAAs and caffeine at or above the recommended doses.
Alpha Gx7 Pre-workout is a pre-workout powder that delivers a whooping 250 mg of caffeine and 2000 mg of beta-alanine. It also includes compounds to provide energy and strength before your gym session. The powder comes in a 30-serving canister in watermelon flavor.
Cellucor C4 Pre-Workout Supplements with creatine, nitric oxide, and beta-alanine come in a powder form. There are six different flavors to choose from: Strawberry Margarita, Icy Blue Razz, Fruit Punch, Orange Dreamsicle, Watermelon and Pink Lemonade.
You can purchase a 30 or 60-serving canister, and each dose includes large servings of B-vitamins, caffeine, beta alanine, and a caffeine-based energy blend.
GENIUS Pre-workout is a caffeine-free pre-workout powder. It delivers large doses of beta alanine, BCAAs, and energy through the nootropic compound Alpha GCP. Nootropics such as Alpha GCP are also referred to as cognitive enhancers because they improve brain function. Made without fillers and sweetened naturally, the 30-serving product comes in grape limeade flavor.
Of all of the pre-workout supplements I reviewed, PR1 Pre-workout Performance Booster meets all the criteria to be the strongest pre-workout supplement out there. It includes the four crucial ingredients and gives you a great pre-workout energy boost while also helping to promote better performance and faster recovery times. I felt safe knowing that it didn’t use any artificial sweeteners or dyes and that it was certified as being free of both gluten and GMOs.
It also received high marks because it’s also one of the most affordable products out there. However, don’t think that the lower price tag means they have compromised on ingredients or taste. All these positives, combined with the fact that it has third-party testing that supports its efficacy makes it my favorite choice for anyone looking to boost their workout performance and results.