Best natural pre-workout
- Price: $
- Active ingredients: beta-alanine, creatine monohydrate, L-arginine, caffeine
Naked Energy is not only certified gluten-free and vegan but also free of soy, dairy, preservatives, and artificial sweeteners.
Plus, it has been third-party tested by Eurofins Scientific, so you can trust the quality of its ingredients.
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Speaking of ingredients, Naked Energy includes 200 mg caffeine, which is equivalent to approximately two 8-ounce (237-mL) cups of coffee.
It also contains beta-alanine and creatine, making the supplement a great choice if you’re looking for a pre-workout to boost your energy levels and help build muscle.
However, it includes L-arginine rather than L-citrulline, so you likely won’t reap any improved blood flow benefits.
If the unflavored version is too natural for your taste, this supplement also comes in a fruit punch flavor that’s sweetened with pure cane sugar and natural flavors.
Many customers agree that the taste isn’t the best, but its simple, natural ingredients and effectiveness more than make up for it.
Legion Pulse Pre-Workout
- Price: $$$
- Active ingredients: L-citrulline, beta-alanine, betaine anhydrous, caffeine anhydrous, L-theanine
If you’re a seasoned caffeine drinker, this pre-workout may give you the kickstart you’re looking for. That said, if caffeine isn’t your thing, 1 of the 10 flavors (green apple) is caffeine-free.
If you do opt for a caffeinated flavor, each 2-scoop (24.2-gram) serving contains 350 mg of caffeine.
Keep in mind that an 8-ounce (237-mL) cup of coffee contains about 95 mg of caffeine, so it’s not a bad idea to try a one-half serving first to assess your tolerance before going all in.
The rest of the ingredient list makes this pre-workout supplement ideal for both strength and endurance training.
In addition to beta-alanine and L-citrulline, the ingredients include L-theanine, which may help lessen the intensity felt by such a big dose of caffeine (16).
Finally, you can rest assured that you’re getting what’s on the label, as this product is third-party certified by Labdoor.
Best for strength training
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout
- Price: $$
- Active ingredients: creatine monohydrate, AstraGin proprietary blend (Panax notoginseng extract and Astragalus membranaceus), beta-alanine, L-citrulline, acetyl-L-carnitine hydrochloride, L-tyrosine, caffeine, citrus bioflavonoid complex
With 3 grams of creatine per scoop (10 grams), Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout is great if you’re looking to build muscle and strength in the gym.
One serving also includes beta-alanine and a more modest 175 mg of caffeine to help your muscles work harder and fight fatigue.
Optimum Nutrition’s pre-workout is certified by Informed Choice — a third-party testing organization that specifically tests products for impurities and the presence of substances banned in sports.
It’s worth noting that the supplement includes a proprietary blend called AstraGin, which includes Panax notoginseng extract and Astragalus membranous.
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AstraGin is considered safe for healthy adults, and it’s thought to support the absorption of nutrients in the body and boost energy levels. However, there are currently no studies in humans to confirm these effects (17).
Alani Nu Pre-Workout
- Price: $$
- Active ingredients: L-citrulline malate 2:1, beta-alanine, L-tyrosine, caffeine, L-theanine
With 10 unique flavors to choose from, such as Rainbow Candy, Carnival Candy Grape, and Hawaiian Shaved Ice, it’s easy to see why this pre-workout is a fan favorite.
Not only does Alani Nu taste delicious, but its ingredient mix is simple and effective.
Each scoop (9.9 grams) provides 200 mg of caffeine, 200 mg of L-theanine, 6 grams of L-citrulline, and 1.6 grams of beta-alanine to boost energy, attenuate caffeine jitters, improve blood flow, and fight muscle fatigue.
Plus, this pre-workout includes L-tyrosine, which may help improve performance by increasing adrenaline and dopamine — two neurotransmitters thought to be beneficial during exercise, particularly in heat or unfavorable conditions, though the research is limited (18, 19, 20).
Alani Nu’s products are manufactured in a Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP)-compliant facility, and the pre-workout powder has more than 7,000 mostly positive online reviews, with customers noting its great taste and energy-boosting effect.
Best for caffeine-sensitive
Ora Organic Renewable Energy Pre-Workout Powder
- Price: $$$
- Active ingredients: coconut sugar, calcium, sodium, potassium, coconut water, green coffee bean, matcha green tea, yerba mate, pomegranate juice powder, beet root juice powder, ashwagandha, rhodiola root, panax ginseng, maca root
If the tingles from beta-alanine and large doses of caffeine aren’t your thing, this pre-workout from Ora Organic is a better choice.
In addition to being free of beta-alanine, each 1-scoop (10-gram) serving includes just 90 mg caffeine — about the same amount as 1 cup (237 mL) of coffee.
Another ingredient that you’ll see in this product is beetroot juice, which may increase nitric oxide production and blood flow to your muscles, though more research is still needed (21, 22).
Lastly, this pre-workout includes adaptations, which are substances used in herbal medicine to help counteract stress. When it comes to exercise, adaptogens may help fight fatigue and improve mental performance (23).
All Ora Organic products are third-party tested by various organizations, including Eurofins and JK BioScience Analytical Laboratories, and certificates of analysis (COAs) are available to allow customers to view testing results.
Based on reviews, customers appreciate the company’s testing process and use of high quality ingredients. However, many note that the taste is not spectacular.
Transparent Labs Stim-Free Pre-Workout
- Price: $$$
- Active ingredients: citrulline malate, BCAAs, beta-alanine, betaine anhydrous, taurine, L-tyrosine, choline bitartrate, elevATP Ancient Peat and Apple Fruit Extract, black pepper extract, huperzine A
Transparent Labs Stim-Free is geared toward those looking to avoid stimulants altogether.
This pre-workout supplement has been third-party tested and delivers effective ingredients to give your workout a boost, just without the caffeine.
On the ingredient list, you’ll find L-citrulline for improved blood flow to your muscles during exercise, as well as beta-alanine.
Just keep in mind that while this product is completely stimulant-free, beta-alanine can cause a harmless tingling sensation.
This product also contains a few unique ingredients, including black pepper extract, which may have anti-inflammatory properties (24).
You’ll also see huperzine A, an extract from a plant known as Chinese club moss (Huperzia serrata). The substance is thought to boost your mental energy, though recent research has found it to be ineffective for this purpose (25).
Best personalized pre-workout
- Price: $$$
- Active ingredients: caffeine, L-theanine, L-citrulline, creatine, beta-alanine, BCAAs
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Gainful is a subscription-based company that specializes in personalized protein powders based on the results of an online quiz.
While it can get pricey, a subscription also includes access to a registered dietitian who can provide expert and personalized advice.
Gainful Preworkout is formulated to support endurance and recovery with the inclusion of caffeine, creatine, L-theanine, L-citrulline, beta-alanine, and BCAAs. Just keep in mind that the specific dose of each ingredient varies based on your information from the quiz.
Gainful products are third-party tested, and COAs are available upon request.
Best pre-workout for pump
Do Vitamins Pure Pump
- Price: $$$
- Active ingredients: beta-alanine, L-citrulline, creatine monohydrate, L-arginine, BCAAs, caffeine, alpha lipoic acid
Do Vitamins Pure Pump pre-workout includes the amino acids L-citrulline and L-arginine to increase the pump you feel during resistance exercise.
L-citrulline has been shown to improve blood flow to the muscles, which can lead to a pump. However, L-arginine is broken down before it reaches your bloodstream, so it’s unlikely to make a difference (8, 9, 10, 11).
Creatine monohydrate is also included, making this a good option for strength-based workouts (12).
Lastly, Do Vitamins Pure Pump contains alpha lipoic acid, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties that may be beneficial in improving muscle recovery, though more research on its effectiveness as a pre-workout is needed (26).
This pre-workout is also certified vegan and third-party tested by Labdoor.
Garden of Life SPORT Organic Plant-Based Energy
- Price: $$
- Active ingredients: sodium, vitamin C, vitamin K1, vitamin B12, cane sugar, baobab, coffee fruit extract, emblic fruit extract, spinach, beet root, kale
Garden of Life SPORT Organic Plant-Based Energy is made from real food ingredients and is certified vegan and gluten-free. It also carries Informed Choice and NSF Certified for Sport certifications.
The organic antioxidant energy blend contains natural fruit extracts and coffee fruit extract.
However, each serving contains just 85 mg of caffeine, making this a great choice for someone who prefers a lower dose of caffeine.
The organic nitric oxide blend is comprised of spinach, beet, and kale. While beets may boost blood flow to your muscles, more research is still needed (21, 22).
Keep in mind these are proprietary blends, so the exact amount of each ingredient may not be disclosed. If you are sensitive to any of the individual ingredients, this may not be the best pre-workout choice for you.
- Price: $$$
- Active ingredients: L-citrulline malate, beta-alanine, L-tyrosine, L-arginine, taurine, Alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine (Alpha GPC), hydroxyisocaproic acid (HICA), ElevATP, rhodiola rosea, theobromine, AstraGin, Huperzia serrata
Nootropics are compounds that are thought to help improve cognitive function. This pre-workout contains a few nootropics, including Alpha-GPC, theobromine, rhodiola rosea, Huperzia serrata, and Panax notoginseng.
While these nootropics may be beneficial for mental performance, more research is needed (27, 28, 29, 30).
This supplement also contains AstraGin, which is a proprietary blend including Panax notoginseng extract and Astragalus membranaceus. While it’s thought that AstraGin may boost energy levels, there are currently no human studies to support this effect (17).
Genius Pre is third-party tested by Labdoor.
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