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The Best Pre Workout Supplements 2018

Best Pre Workout Supplements 2018

We're always looking for ways to get the most out of our workouts. We want to save time and ratchet up the intensity of our workouts. How are you gonna max out your barbell bench press without tons of energy? How do you keep focus while pushing your limits on your home gym? One of the ways to do that is with pre workout supplements.

Pre Workout supplements are becoming increasingly popular to help the intensity of your workouts. Many of these supplements are used to help increase focus and muscle mass as well as to help your muscles absorb more of the things that they are losing as you are working out. A great pre workout is becoming an essential part of many people’s daily gym routines. 

We're going to take a look at some of the best pre workout products out there, and help you understand a bit more about what they are, whether they really work, and how you might use them.

Our Top Pre Workout Supplement Picks for 2018


Vintage Blast 



Best 2-Stage Pre Workout

  • Works in 2 stages
  • Comes in one flavor
  • 20 servings per container
  • Main ingredients in Stage 1:
    • 150mg Caffeine
    • 5g L-Citrulline Malate
    • 1g L-Arginine AKG
    • 1g Beta Alanine
    • 250mg L-Carnitine
  • Main ingredients in Stage 2:
    • 100mg Caffeine
    • 2g D-aspartic Acid
    • 250mg N-Acetyl Tyrosine


#1 Rated in 2-Stage Pre Workouts

Pulse Pre Workout Supplement

Best Premium Pre Workout

  • Available in 6 flavors
  • Doesn't contain any artificial dyes
  • 21 servings in a container
  • Main ingredients:
    • 350mg Caffeine
    • 8g L-Citrulline Malate
    • 4.8g Beta Alanine
    • 2g Taurine
    • 2.5g Betaine
    • 2.2g L-Ornithine HCL
    • 350mg L-Theanine

#1 Rated in Premium Pre Workouts

Endorush Pre-Workout Powder

Best Budget Pre Workout

  • Comes in five flavors
  • 30 servings in one container
  • Main ingredients:
    • 3g Creatine Monohydrate
    • 1g Creatine Nitrate
    • 1.6g Beta Alanine
    • 1.5g L-Arginine
    • 1.5g L-Citrullate

#1 Rated in Budget Pre Workouts

GX7 Pre Workout Powder

Best Mid-Range Pre Workout

  • Available in 3 different flavors
  • Includes 30 servings
  • Main ingredients: 
    • 250mg Caffeine
    • 750mg L-Carnitine
    • 400 mg Taurine
    • 2g Beta Alanine
    • 1.5g Citrulline Malate
    • 1.5g Arginine AKG
    • 750 mg L-Carnitine

#1 Rated in Mid-Range Pre Workouts

Ripped Pre Workout Powder

Best Non-Creatine Pre Workout

  • Comes in 7 flavors
  • 4 different sizes available
  • 12 - 60 servings
  • Main ingredients:
    • 150mg Caffeine (Part of blend)
    • 1g L-Carnitine (Part of blend)
    • 1.6g Beta-Alanine
    • 1g Arginine AKG
    • N-Acetyl-L-Tyosine (Part of blend)

#1 Rated in Non-Creatine Pre Workouts

Optimum Nutrition
Gold Standard Pre-Workout

Most Trusted Brand Pre Workout

  • Comes in 6 flavors
  • 3 different sizes available
  • 30 - 120 servings
  • Main ingredients:
    • 176mg Caffeine,​
    • L-Carnitine​
    • 1.5g L-Citrulline Malate
    • 3g Creatine Monohydrate
    • 1.5g Beta-Alanine

#1 Rated in Most Trusted Brands Pre Workouts

Picking the Best Pre Workout Supplement

What Is a Pre Workout Supplement?

A pre workout supplement is a new product making its way around many fitness circles all over the world. Pre workout is essentially any kind of supplement that a person takes before their workout in order to give them an extra boost of energy during the workout. 

A pre workout can be taken in many different forms. There are special powders that you can mix with water or milk as a drink before your workout begins. Sometimes they come pre-mixed as a drink. And there are also meals that you can make to eat prior to your workout beginning as well. 

Let's take a look at an overview of what Pre-Workout Supplements are:

When do you use a Pre Workout?

A pre workout supplement needs to be taken or eaten between 15 to 30 minutes prior to your workout beginning, depending on the mix of ingredients. This will give your body time to break down the different ingredients of the pre workout. This will also get the pre workout inside of your system to be able to give your body the extra energy it needs for when your muscles get tired and they need the extra boost.

It's important to note that some pre workout supplements have been known to have side effects if the supplement is taken and the workout is not completed. Shaking or tingling sensations have been known to occur. Taking a pre workout is best done on an empty stomach in order to make sure of maximum absorption of the supplement.

Most of all, as with any supplement, it is important to follow the dosage directions listed on the package. However, if you feel like you are experiencing unwanted side effects from the dosage in the directions, you can adjust for your own personal dose. 

Fitness guru Jeff Cavaliere from Athlean-X has an awesome explanation of just how pre workouts fit in to a workout timeframe for different people:

Why should you use a Pre Workout?

A pre workout is a really great way to give your body an extra boost of energy before and during the workout. Some pre workouts can have the effect of boosting your energy after you take them. This can help you right off the bat by giving you the energy and mental focus you need to start your workout.

Usually towards the middle of the workout, your body will start to slow itself down and you will begin to feel tired and ready to stop your workout after a short amount of time. Sometimes, if a person is really tired, they will stop the workout after only 20 minutes of work. 

As your muscles get tired and they begin to start aching, the ingredients in a pre workout kick in and provide the muscles with certain supplements that will help the muscles push through to the end of the workout.

Another benefit is the pump that you can get from a pre workout supplement. A pump is the feeling you get when your muscles get much more blood pumped to them. This is an important feeling that occurs when doing intense workouts. It helps show you're muscles are working at maximum capacity. Over time, these pumps will help to make more blood capillaries which will bring more oxygen to your muscles.

The ingredients in pre workouts can give you better pumps that will build the muscle mass that you want. The nitric oxide in some pre workouts can help to increase your pump. This feeling can also help you get back to feeling the way you felt at the beginning of the workout. That way you can completely finish the workout that you set out to do. 

Here are some opinions on a few of the advantages, as well as some of the drawbacks of pre workout supplements from the guys at I'll Pump You Up:

Does using Pre Workout Really Improve Workouts?

Using a pre workout has been proven to help many people remain focused and alert during their workouts. Remaining alert during your workout is imperative, especially if you are lifting a lot of heavy weights and you have a high-stress level job and have not had a lot of adequate sleep.

Pre workout supplements also help you challenge yourself to get the most out of your workout. There has not been a ton of scientific research studies conducted on whether or not the pre workout plays a factor in how good of a workout a person has, or if the pre workout plays a role in creating more muscle mass. However, based on the many reviews of various products, a good pre workout will keep you alert and focused for the workout itself.

How to Choose the Best Pre Workout for you

Now that you’ve decided that you would like to add a pre workout to your workout regimen, it’s important to pick the one that best fits your needs and wants. There are a certain mix of ingredients that usually differ with each supplement. Some of these may be just what you need while others may be something that you would rather not take. Either way, there are usually four key ingredients that are found in most types of pre workout. 

Creatine Monohydrate

The main ingredient inside of a pre workout is creatine. Creatine is a protein-like compound that is essential in building muscle in the body. The creatine inside of the pre workout supplement is evenly distributed throughout the body and the muscles take it all in, helping to re-build the muscle.

Creatine Monohydrate is a really big key ingredient in most pre workouts. Its purpose is to help muscles rebuild as they are exercised. Creatine helps in protein synthesis, which means muscle building. Having more creatine go to your muscles will help when doing short, intense exercises. This is one of the best ingredients to have in a pre-workout supplement in general. 

There has been extensive research on creatine for the past 80 years, however, to date, there is nothing that has been found that suggests a limit on when to take creatine. Studies have found that taking creatine pre or post workout have yielded very similar results. This means that you can take the supplement whenever you would like. One of the best things about creatine is that it is extremely likely that you would not experience any side effects. 


Branched Chained Amino Acids (BCAA) are three different amino acids which are leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These are all special types of protein that are developed when the body goes through the protein producing process of protein synthesis. These three amino acids are crucial for regulating protein metabolism and suppressing protein breakdowns.

When BCAAs are included in your blend of pre-workout, you want to be sure that you are getting the right ratio of them for your body. The usual ratio of about 2:1:1, with leucine being the top amount, has been shown to trigger the beginning of muscle protein synthesis. These are also really important ingredients of your pre workout because they give you some protection against carbohydrates and they help combat next day muscle soreness, which helps you get back to training faster. 


Caffeine is another really important ingredient in most pre workout supplements. Caffeine has been proven to significantly reduce the amount of fatigue a person is feeling and increase the amount of productivity that they are able to accomplish.

Even in situations where the person is sleep-deprived, when the person took caffeine, they were able to stay awake and focused enough to finish their daily activities as well as their workout. Caffeine is a supplement that can be found in a number of foods and drinks but it is also available in supplemental form as well. 

If you are an avid caffeine user, it will take a bigger dose of caffeine supplements for you to even notice that you have taken anything at all. However if you are not a big caffeine user, then you won’t need as much caffeine to get a great workout and you will definitely be able to notice that you have taken something.

When taking caffeine, it is important to remember when you are working out to think about the time that you are working out. If you are working out really late at night, you may want to refrain from taking caffeine, because it is possible that caffeine can keep you awake for the rest of the night. 


Beta-Alanine is another popular ingredient inside most pre workouts. Beta-Alanine will block hydrogen ions, which means that you can keep your intensity up for a longer period of time, which means that you will get bigger gains and more muscle mass from the ability to workout longer without being tired.

With this ingredient, it is common that you will feel or notice a tingly sensation afterwards. This sensation can be minimized though by reducing the amount of your dose or cutting the dose in half during the day. 

Here's bodybuilding guru Jim Stoppani's ideas on which ingredients are absolute musts for a pre workout supplement:

Quick Review of the 6 Best
Pre Workout Supplements

There are many different pre workout products on the market today. These are some of the best pre workout supplements that can help you get the most out of your workout. 

Best 2-Stage Pre Workout

Vintage Blast Pre Workout

  • Price
  • Quality
  • Mixability

Vintage Blast is the only two stage delivery pre workout on the market. In the first stage, the product is delivered to the body slowly, giving your body optimal absorption time. In the second stage of delivery, once the product has been delivered to the muscles, the muscles “wake up” and they begin to help you power through your workout with an extreme pump for a great physique. Part of the way they do this is by having micro-encapsulated caffeine which gets released into your body during that second stage.

This product is a powder that is mixed with water and delivers the energy and strength that you need to get you through your workout. It keeps you going with a boost in your performance in the middle of the workout all while producing results not dependent on the powder itself. ​

We like how this product has some L-Arginine AKG and L-Carnitine. Those are both great energy boosters which aren't always found in other pre workouts. That's in addition to pre workout staples like L-Citrulline Malate and Beta Alanine.



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    The delivery is very steady of the course of a workout 

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    Designed to avoid creating dependency on the product
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    Gives results without huge crash afterward 
  •  Contains beta-alanine. This is a pro if you like the tingly feeling, but a con if you do not
  •  May have a bad, chalky like taste that some users did not like
  •  Some users have found it's a bit more difficult to mix

Best Premium Pre Workout

Legion Pulse Pre Workout Supplement

  • Price
  • Quality
  • Mixability

Legion Pulse is a really great pre workout powder that is focused on increasing blood flow and helping the user maintain mental focus on their workouts by reducing fatigue. What makes Pulse one of the best pre workout supplements is that the Legion Company did their homework and there is research that will back every ingredient in the mixture.

We really like the combination of L-Citrulline, L-Thealine, and Beta-Alanine that Legion has come up with for this pre workout. The nitric oxide boost that you get from that blend can really help you get an awesome pump during your workout.

The company actually tested the pre workout on healthy adults and the dosage scoops are the same ones that were used in the studies, which means that you will get the biggest bang for your buck. One of the nice things about Legion Pulse is that they have used natural sweeteners in the product to improve the taste and flavor.



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    All ingredients backed by scientific research  

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    Improves mental focus, reduces fatigue, and increases blood flow 
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    All naturally sweetened and made in the USA 
  •  Not enough of an energy boost for some 
  •  Itchy/tingling feeling after taking recommended dose 

Best Budget Pre Workout

BSN Endorush Pre Workout Powder Energy Supplement for Men and Women

  • Price
  • Quality
  • Mixability

Endorush is another solid option for a pre workout supplement. This one is an awesome powder for men and maybe one of the best pre workout for women. Endorush has a different set of instructions for men and for women, which will help each gender get the most out of this pre workout.

Endorush offers many different flavors so you can choose which one you like best. That makes a big difference when you're going to drink the stuff three to five times a week. Looking forward to having a pre workout is something that could make the difference when creating the habit.

We like the blend that they have put together for more muscle endurance and mental focus. The VELOX blend that they came up with is great for pumps since it has half L-Arginine and half L-Citrulline. There's a good amount of creatine, both creatine monohydrate and creatine nitrate. So your muscles will be getting the fuel they need during your workout.



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     Great for both men and women
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     Ingredients have no stimulants – they can be taken at any time of the day
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     No crash or jitters from the powder 
    •  Some users reported a bit of red skin or blotchiness as a possible side effects
    •  Not as strong as some other pre workouts on the market

    Best Mid-Range Pre Workout

    Alpha Gx7 Pre Workout Power

    • Price
    • Quality
    • Grip

    The Alpha Gx7 is a pre workout that is proven to give you more strength and focus during your workouts. This powder is made of powerful ingredients that are made for helping you break through your plateau, and getting back to normal.

    It's got L-Carnitine which can help improve the building of lean muscles mass. It also has taurine which can help you get an energy boost. There's also Beta-Alantine and Citrulline Malate to help you combat tiredness and increase your pumps. A lot of people have noticed that your tolerance won't decrease with this pre workout, unlike some other products. That means that you can take it for a while and not have to worry about it decreasing in effectiveness.

    This pre workout is awesome with water or milk to mix the powder together. The mixture includes 2000 mg of beta-alanine per serving, which means that there will be a lot of tingling but also some great pumps. This will also help you stay more focused and you will be able to power through the kind of high intensity workout that you want.



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     Zero grams of sugar and no calories 
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     Helps improve mental focus 
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     Great energy boost for high intensity workouts 
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     Probably won't see reduced effectiveness with prolonged usage
    •  Very strong tingling sensation 
    •  Some users may find that they have an increased risk of headaches
    •  Some of the ingredients have been known to cause some people to feel slightly nauseous at times

    Best Non-Creatine Pre Workout

    Cellucor C4 Ripped Pre Workout Powder  

    • Price
    • Quality
    • Mixability

    C4 is a thermogenic pre workout powder which is a really great option for weight loss. In fact, C4 is usually used as the pre workout when the user is trying to lose weight, making this supplement the best pre workout for weight loss, when also taken accompanied by a calorie-controlled diet and exercise program.

    Many of C4’s ingredients are specifically tailored to weight loss without the use of creatine. C4 has been known to cause a tingling sensation on your hands and on your feet. This usually lasts around 30 minutes after you start your workout. C4 Ripped will also keep your mental focus in check, since there is 150 mg of caffeine in the formula. 

    It's important to know that there are 5 different kinds of C4 Pre Workout - Original, Ripped, Sport, Extreme Energy, and Ultimate. Each has slightly different ingredients and level of intensity. So if you found that you weren't getting quite enough energy from one kind, try one of the stronger kinds.



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     Great for weight loss and cutting fat
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     A few flavors to choose from
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     Doesn't have creatine, so if you're looking for a pre workout without creatine, this one works
    •   Some users have found that there is a bit too much caffeine for them
    •   Other users have experienced jittery feelings after usage
    •   People with higher caffeine tolerance may find it less effective

    Most Trusted Brand Pre Workout

    Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre Workout

    • Price
    • Quality
    • Mixability

    The Optimum Nutrition brand of pre workout is a really great choice for a creatine-based power pre workout. This pre workout was made to keep your mental focus in check and to get all of your work done before moving on to other daily activities.

    This powder also allows the user to have a boost of energy while they are finishing up their workout due to a good amount of caffeine. There's also some L-Citrulline Malate and Beta-Alanine in there to help you push through your workout and get the pumps you want.

    Optimum Nutrition is generally pretty well-known for having clean, quality ingredients in their pre-work powder supplements. They've been in the supplement game for a while and show a lot of consistency in their products.



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    Creatine based for more gains and improved muscle building
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    Formula helps support your physical focus 
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    6 different flavors available
    •   Contains quite a few other ingredients besides the main ones usually found in most pre workouts
    •   Caffeine content may be a bit much for less intense workouts
    •   Some users have found it less effective in providing energy


    After looking at these six pre workouts, if I had to choose one, I would choose the C4 as the overall best pre workout supplement. This is because of the thermogenic factor. The fact that this ingredient can help give you a little bit of a boost during your workout, and still keep the “burn” going even after the workout has ended says something large to me.

    My husband has personally used C4 before and I have plenty of experience with him using the powders before he would begin his workouts. He would get jittery and shaking, but as soon as he began his workout, the supplement kicked in and he was able to finish the workout and still have time and energy to come home and play with the kids.

    C4 really provides great value and is the overall best pre workout supplement choice for the fact that multiple people can take it. C4 is a really great option for men and women who need another boost during their workouts.

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