The 17 Best Pre-Workout Supplements of 2023, According to a Dietitian


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As much as you may love to train, consistently completing your workouts day in and day out takes compelling dedication and motivation. At times when your motivation to train is low, you may reach for coffee or pre-workout to give you the kick in the pants you need to get the most out of a workout. Pre-workout supplements contain active ingredients designed to enhance various areas of your performance.

The Best Pre-Workout Supplements - Our Top Picks

Specifically, taking pre-workouts regularly may lead to increased power output, improvements in lean body mass, as well as enhanced muscular endurance, though the data is mixed. While pre-workouts for women and men may be beneficial, not all of them are produced with the user's long-term health and safety in mind.(1,2) Therefore, when shopping for a pre-workout supplement, it's important to do your research to ensure supplement safety.

Here, the experts at ACTIVE have taken care of the research portion for you to provide you with the best pre-workouts of 2023, to boost your workouts with safety in mind.

Why Trust Us?

The health and safety of's readers is of the utmost importance to us. To ensure your well-being when consuming supplements, we prioritize products that are independently tested by a third party. Additionally, we consulted with ACTIVE's Advisory Board, which includes nutritionists, competitive athletes, coaches, and certified trainers, to make certain that the products we feature are of the highest standards. The ACTIVE Reviews Team is passionate about bringing you products we trust and would personally use.

Best Pre-Workout for Muscle Gain - Legion Pulse



  • Price per serving: Approximately $2.25
  • Key ingredients: Caffeine anhydrous, L-citrulline malate, L-theanine, betaine, beta-alanine, alpha-GPC
  • Flavors: Arctic Blast, Blue Raspberry, Blueberry Lemonade, Cherry Limeade, Fruit Punch, Grape, Green Apple, Mojito, Peach Ring, Pink Lemonade, Sour Candy, Strawberry Kiwi, Strawberry Margarita, Tropical Punch, Watermelon, Apple Cider, Blood Orange, Frosted Cranberry


For an all-natural pre-workout supplement to help you bulk up and preserve muscle mass, our top pick is Legion Pulse. This pre-workout wonder is made with scientifically-proven ingredients that don’t include artificial sweeteners or preservatives. You can also choose between a caffeinated or stim-free option. The label is totally transparent, with no secretive “proprietary blends,” and manufactured in an FDA-approved facility.

Legion Pulse includes performance-boosting ingredients like L-citrulline malate and beta-alanine that have been shown to help elevate training capacity and longevity leading to potential increases in overall muscle growth.(3) This pre-workout is also backed by third-party testing, making it an outstanding choice for anyone who wants a safe, clean way to cultivate more muscle.

What We Like

  • Transparent ingredient list
  • All-natural, with no artificial sweeteners
  • Third-party tested
  • Caffeine-optional
  • Wide range of flavors

What We Don't Like

  • High sodium content
  • Doesn't contain creatine

BUY: Legion Pulse

Best Pre-Workout for Beginners - Xwerks Ignite



  • Price per serving: Approximately $1.63
  • Key ingredients: Calcium, vitamin B6 and B12, magnesium, caffeine, black pepper extract, L-citrulline malate, L-tyrosine, CarnoSyn® beta-alanine
  • Flavors: Green Apple, Orange, Blue Raspberry, Watermelon


Xwerks Ignite is a beginner-friendly option for several reasons. First off, it contains ingredients such as caffeine, BioPerine® black pepper extract, and L-citrulline malate that have been shown to potentially aid in weight loss, naturally augmenting your workouts and your diet.(11,12,13) Additionally, other than these active ingredients, the supplement doesn't contain any unnecessary fillers or proprietary blends. This pre-workout supplement would be a great option to take during a weight loss phase before hitting the weights or hopping on your favorite cardio machine.

What We Like

  • Includes nootropic ingredients to reduce stress and enhance focus
  • Contains natural stimulants
  • Variety of flavor options
  • Money-back guarantee

What We Don't Like

  • Does include artificial flavors or sweeteners
  • May cause some GI issues

BUY: Xwerks Ignite

Best Tasting Pre-Workout - Huge Supplements Wrecked Watermelon Slush



  • Price per serving: Approximately $1.25
  • Key ingredients: L-Citrulline, Hydromax™, caffeine anhydrous, beta-alanine, betaine anhydrous, malic acid, agmatine sulfate
  • Flavor: Watermelon Slush


Taste is pretty subjective, of course, but for our money, the most delicious option in pre-workouts is Huge Supplements Wrecked Watermelon Slush. Both energizing and invigorating, this pre-workout is fortified with scientifically-backed ingredients to promote energy and athletic performance. Keep in mind; this pre-workout contains a fair amount of caffeine, depending on the number of scoops you use, along with plenty of other natural ingredients to help you optimize each run or weight-lifting session. This is why Huge Supplements Wrecked is a great—and delicious—option for focus, energy, and pump.

What We Like

  • Excellent flavor
  • Several potent ingredients for energy and focus
  • Highly-dosed and buildable depending on tolerance
  • GMP-certified and backed by athletes

What We Don't Like

  • Not recommended if you don’t want caffeine
  • Not the most cost-effective option

BUY: Huge Supplements Wrecked Watermelon Slush

Best Pre-Workout for Pump - Legion Performance Surge



  • Price per serving: Approximately $1.17
  • Key ingredients: PeakATP®, alpha-GPC, KSM-66™ ashwagandha extract
  • Flavor: Unflavored


Bodybuilders sometimes experience a temporary increase in vascularity immediately following a workout, commonly referred to as a “pump.” If a pump is what you’re hoping for, consider Legion Performance Surge. It’s made with three all-natural ingredients to boost power, strength, and endurance. It's one of the best options we’ve found for decreasing training fatigue and enhancing your muscle pump due to the inclusion of a clinically-effective dose of 450 milligrams of PeakATP® per serving.(4)

The product is tested and backed by third parties, and it comes with a robust money-back guarantee. Also note that it’s unflavored, making it a good option for mixing with other drinks.

What We Like

  • Clean, transparent ingredient list
  • All-natural ingredients
  • Cost-effective
  • Caffeine-free

What We Don't Like

  • No flavor options
  • Contains added sugar

BUY: Legion Performance Surge

Best Thermogenic Pre-Workout - PhenQ



  • Price per serving: Approximately $1.17
  • Key ingredients: Capsimax powder, chromium picolinate, caffeine, nopal cactus, L-carnitine fumarate
  • Flavor: Unflavored


Thermogenesis is a natural bodily process in which your body heats up and burns excess fat and is considered one of the best ways to lose weight, especially in stubborn areas like the abdomen. A product like PhenQ is meant to help kickstart that process through its use of ingredients like a-Lacys reset, a proprietary blend of ALA (alpha-lipoic acid), cysteine, and magnesium combined with Capsimax powder for a thermogenic effect.(5) Best known as a "weight loss pill", PhenQ is actually made with a range of ingredients to help you crush cravings, boost your metabolism, and enjoy heightened energy throughout your workout. PhenQ isn’t the cheapest product on the market, but you can save money by buying a bundle as opposed to individual bottles.

What We Like

  • Thermogenic ingredients including a-Lacys reset
  • Cravings control/appetite suppressant
  • Bundle savings and discounts
  • Money-back guarantee

What We Don't Like

  • Does include significant caffeine content and a proprietary blend
  • Not recommended if you struggle with pills or capsules

BUY: PhenQ

Best Pre-Workout for Weight Loss - Legion Forge Pre-Workout Fat Burner



  • Price per serving: Approximately $1.11
  • Key ingredients: Yohimbine, HMB, CDP-choline
  • Flavors: N/A


People work out for all kinds of reasons, but often, the underlying motivation is to lose weight. If that’s the boat you’re in, consider Legion Forge Pre-Workout Fat Burner, which includes an array of ingredients specifically chosen to help target stubborn fat while preserving your lean muscle. These ingredients include clinically-effective doses of yohimbine, and calcium HMB, to help you focus and fuel your fat-burning-focused workout. Legion Forge is also 100% natural and free of artificial fillers, flavors, food dyes, or other chemical additives.

What We Like

  • Transparent ingredient list
  • All-natural, with no artificial additives
  • Money-back guarantee
  • Third-party tested and clinically-dosed

What We Don't Like

  • 4-capsule serving size can be a lot for some
  • Some users experienced side effects like nausea/jitters

BUY: Legion Forge Pre-Workout Fat Burner

Best Caffeine-Free Pre-Workout - Legion Pulse Stim-Free



  • Price per serving: Approximately $2.25
  • Key ingredients: Citrulline malate, beta-alanine, alpha-GPC, betaine
  • Flavors: Grape, Fruit Punch, Sour Candy, Green Apple, Tropical Punch, Blue Raspberry


While caffeine is a common, energy-boosting ingredient, not everyone wants or can consume a pre-workout with high stimulant content. That’s because caffeine can often cause jitteriness or sleep disruptions to those with a heightened sensitivity. Legion Pulse Stim-Free is an effective option for those who want to avoid the risk of overstimulation while training.

Legion also provides clinically-proven ingredients that may help boost energy and enhance performance. Lastly, there are no artificial additives or sweeteners, and this pre-workout product comes fully vetted for purity and safety.

What We Like

  • Stim-free energy
  • All-natural ingredients
  • Several flavor options
  • Third-party tested

What We Don't Like

  • Not the most cost-effective option
  • High sodium content

BUY: Legion Pulse Stim-Free

Best Pre-Workout with Creatine - Kaged Pre-Kaged® Elite



  • Price per serving: Approximately $2.99
  • Key ingredients: L-citrulline, beta-alanine, creatine monohydrate and nitrate, betaine anhydrous, L-carnitine, taurine, caffeine, L-tyrosine, alpha-GPC
  • Flavors: Caribbean Sunrise, Orange Mango, Strawberry Lemonade, Glacier Grape, Fruit Punch


Featuring a hearty combination of 3,000 milligrams of creatine monohydrate and 2,000 milligrams of creatine nitrate (NO3-T), Kaged Pre-Kaged® Elite is a premium creatine powerhouse of a pre-workout supplement. Creatine nitrate is a form you don't often see on pre-workout labels, but it is a patented ingredient that has been shown to boost nitric oxide for an extreme muscle pump.(6) Pre-Kaged® Elite also boasts 388 milligrams of PurCaf® organic caffeine per serving, 10,000 milligrams of L-citrulline, 3,200 milligrams of beta-alanine, and 1,500 milligrams of L-carnitine.

With such high doses, it is recommended that you follow Kaged's advice and start with a half dose to assess your tolerance. You'll also want to take this pre-workout 20 to 30 minutes before you plan on training. Lastly, Pre-Kaged® Elite comes in five mouth-watering flavors, including Caribbean Sunrise and Glacier Grape.

What We Like

  • High levels of creatine and caffeine
  • Those who want several flavors to choose from
  • Athletes who need high-quality ingredients that are Informed-Choice Certified

What We Don't Like

  • Not for those on a budget, as this is nearly $3/serving
  • Not ideal for caffeine averse or lifters who train at night

BUY: Kaged Pre-Kaged® Elite

Best Pre-Workout for Men - Huge Supplements Wrecked Enraged



  • Price per serving: Approximately $1.12
  • Key ingredients: Beta-alanine, alpha-GPC 50%, N-phenethyl dimethylamine, caffeine anhydrous, di-caffeine malate, caffeine citrate
  • Flavors: Blood Razz, Death Wish, Blue Razz, Mango Citrus


If you're looking for a pre-workout recommendation specifically formulated for men, we like Wrecked Enraged from Huge Supplements. Very high-stim with three forms of caffeine included in the formula, this supplement can provide a significant boost in energy and mental focus for powering through the most intense workouts. Available in a handful of tantalizing flavors, this high-potency pre-workout is recommended for experienced athletes only.

What We Like

  • High-stim for experienced athletes and high-intensity workouts
  • Transparent labeling
  • Reviewers love the flavors
  • Made in the USA

What We Don't Like

  • Not recommended for stimulant-adverse athletes
  • Not for beginners

BUY: Huge Supplements Wrecked Enraged

Best Pre-Workout for Bulking - Transparent Labs BULK BLACK



  • Price per serving: Approximately $2
  • Key ingredients: Vitamins B6 and B12, citrulline malate, astragalus membranaceous root, Panax notoginseng, beta-alanine, betaine anhydrous, L-tyrosine, alpha-GPC, caffeine
  • Flavors: Cherry Kiwi, Blue Raspberry, Peach Mango


Effective bulking requires outstanding mental focus and endurance to perform at your highest level. Our choice for the best pre-workout for bulking is Transparent Labs BULK BLACK because it supplies a unique blend of caffeine and a high-octane nootropic—alpha-GPC— for cognitive enhancement that may help increase power output and keep your head in the game.(7)

In addition to these cognitive-enhancing ingredients, this pre-workout supplement also supplies L-citrulline and betaine, two compounds that may help increase blood flow to working muscles during intense training sessions.(8,9)

What We Like

  • Ingredients to help boost cognitive performance and blood flow to muscles
  • Clinically-dosed and transparent labeling
  • Energy boost without a crash
  • Subscribe-and-Save program

What We Don't Like

  • Triathletes who want a stimulant-free pre-workout
  • Athletes avoiding sweeteners like Stevia extract

BUY: Transparent Labs BULK BLACK

Best Pre-Workout Energy Drink - Legion Energy Surge



  • Price per serving: Approximately $1.17
  • Ingredients: Caffeine anhydrous, L-theanine, taurine, rhodiola rosea extract, B vitamin complex
  • Flavor: Unflavored


Prepare a serving of Legion Energy Surge before your workout, and you may experience a considerable boost in your physical vigor, to say nothing of cognitive function and mental clarity. This formula has clinically backed ingredients to improve focus and mood, and its lack of flavor makes it a great choice to mix with water or an energy beverage for a pre-workout drink of your choice.

A 100% natural product, Legion Energy Surge also happens to be one of the most cost-effective pre-workouts at just over a dollar per serving.

What We Like

  • Clean, transparent labeling
  • All-natural ingredients
  • Cost-effective
  • Money-back guarantee

What We Don't Like

  • No flavor options
  • Caffeine content may be too high for some

BUY: Legion Energy Surge

Best Pre-Workout for Runners - Kaged Pre-Kaged® Sport



  • Price per serving: Approximately $1.25
  • Key ingredients: Carnosyn®, BetaPower®, L-citrulline, taurine, caffeine, coconut fruit water powder
  • Flavors: Glacier Grape, Fruit Punch, Watermelon, Mango Lime, Blue Raspberry


Designed to help sustain your stamina over longer, endurance workouts, Kaged Pre-Kaged Sport is an outstanding pre-workout powder for runners looking to go the distance. The ingredient list includes organic caffeine and a healthy dose of electrolytes, plus other potent ingredients to support your performance. The flavors are unique and refreshing, and this is one of the few pre-workouts recommended for cardio rather than weight training.

What We Like

  • Formulated for cardio performance and stamina
  • Organic, hydrating ingredients
  • Third-party tested and safe for athletes
  • Several flavors

What We Don't Like

  • Not recommended for the caffeine-averse
  • Not as laser-targeted for bodybuilding

BUY: Kaged Pre-Kaged® Sport

Best Pre-Workout for Cardio - Transparent Labs Stim-Free



  • Price per serving: Approximately $1.67
  • Key ingredients: Citrulline malate 2:1, BCAA 2:1:1, BetaPure™ betaine anhydrous, taurine, L-tyrosine, choline bitartrate, elevATP® ancient peat and apple fruit extract, BioPerine®, huperzine A
  • Flavors: Cherry Limeade, Sour Grape, Blue Raspberry, Green Apple, Orange, Peach Mango, Strawberry Lemonade, Tropical Punch


Though listening to upbeat music or a podcast with your favorite earbuds while doing cardio can help provide some motivation, some people may be looking for that extra edge to power them through their endurance sessions. While many traditional pre-workouts are geared toward muscle building, some cater to the endurance side of the exercise spectrum.

Among them, we found Transparent Labs Stim-Free to be the best pre-workout supplement for cardio due to its 13 active ingredients designed to enhance aerobic performance; by way of increased levels of focus and endurance. It's also non-caffeinated for those with low caffeine tolerance or looking to cycle off of pre-workouts with stimulants.

What We Like

  • Caffeine-free and transparent ingredients
  • Formulated to help enhance blood flow to muscles during cardio
  • Variety of flavors
  • Subscribe-and-Save program available

What We Don't Like

  • Doesn't contain creatine
  • May not work for those with sensitive stomachs

BUY: Transparent Labs Stim-Free

Best Budget Pre-Workout - Kaged Amino Synergy + Caffeine



  • Price per serving: Approximately $0.83
  • Key ingredients: Leucine, lysine, valine, isoleucine, threonine, phenylalanine, organic caffeine, coconut water powder
  • Flavor: Raspberry Lemonade


Pre-workout supplements can often be on the pricey side, but you can get something that’s safe and effective without breaking the bank. Kaged Amino Synergy + Caffeine is a terrific option for energy and protein synthesis and includes coconut water powder to help fuel hydration. This pre-workout powder has only one flavor to choose from, and it’s not for users who are caffeine-averse or have a lower tolerance, but at under a dollar per serving it offers plenty of value for athletes of all types.

What We Like

  • Cost-effective
  • Provides energy and hydration
  • Low sugar, naturally-flavored, gluten-free, and non-GMO
  • Vegan-friendly

What We Don't Like

  • Does include significant caffeine and proprietary blend
  • Only 1 flavor available

BUY: Kaged Amino Synergy + Caffeine

Best Natural Pre-Workout Transparent Labs Bulk



  • Price per serving: Approximately $1.67
  • Key ingredients: Citrulline malate 2:1, beta-alanine, betaine anhydrous, taurine, L-tyrosine, alpha GPC, PurCaf® caffeine, L-theanine, theobromine, BioPerine®, boron
  • Flavor: Retro Candy


Transparent Labs BULK is made with natural doses of citrulline malate, beta-alanine, betaine, caffeine, L-theanine, and alpha-GPC. Ingredients like betaine anhydrous, in particular, show promising effects on body composition, size, and training capacity.(10) It includes no artificial ingredients, instead using only natural sweeteners and flavoring. Transparent Labs BULK does away with proprietary blends, using 100% transparent labeling that shows you exactly how much each compound contains. While this pre-workout includes a hefty 180-milligram dose of caffeine, it also comes in a stim-free version for those heavy lifters avoiding stimulants. Transparent Labs suggests that you start with a half-scoop dosage to assess your caffeine tolerance when using BULK.

What We Like

  • Solid pre-workout with high caffeine content
  • Clean, transparent ingredients
  • Mix of vitamins and minerals for muscle gain
  • Subscribe-and-Save program

What We Don't Like

  • Those who want a pre-workout supplement with creatine
  • Users looking for a variety of flavors

BUY: Transparent Labs BULK

Best Vegan Pre-Workout - Kaged Pre-Kaged®



  • Price per serving: Approximately $2.25
  • Key ingredients: L-citrulline, L-leucine, betaine anhydrous, beta-alanine, creatine HCL, coconut water powder, taurine, organic green coffee bean, L-tyrosine
  • Flavors: Fruit punch, Krisp Apple, Grape, Orange Crush, Cherry Bomb, Berry Blast


Building muscle is no small task when you're on a vegan diet. You have to consistently put in the work in the gym and utilize protein from plant-based sources to maximize muscle gains. But while diet and exercise are the key factors, supplementation can also help to a certain degree. Kaged Muscle's Pre-Kaged® includes scientifically-backed ingredients such as creatine, beta-alanine, L-citrulline, betaine, and BCAAs, all of which can aid in muscle building. In addition, Pre-Kaged contains additional leucine, a branched-chain amino acid that is responsible for initiating muscle protein synthesis.(14)

What We Like

  • Muscle-building support that is vegan-friendly
  • Informed-Choice Certified and banned-substance-free
  • Organic source of stimulants
  • Highly reviewed by users

What We Don't Like

  • Not as budget-friendly
  • Caffeine level may be too high for some

BUY: Kaged Pre-Kaged®

Best Pre-Workout for Women - POWHER Pre-Workout



  • Price per serving: Approximately $1.80
  • Key ingredients: EnXtra, caffeine from green coffee bean, vitamin B6, vitamin B12
  • Flavor: Pink Lemonade


Think pre-workouts are just for men? Think again. POWHER is a pre-workout for women designed to address the physiological needs of the female body, providing energy, stamina, and focus through the most strenuous workouts. It’s also a low-stimulant pre-workout option in a refreshing Pink Lemonade flavor, making it easy to prepare for a satisfying training session without the fear of jitteriness or sleep disruptions. Though not the most affordable pre-workout supplement, buying in bulk yields extra savings.

What We Like

  • Female-centric performance optimization
  • Excellent flavor
  • Low-stim
  • GMP-certified

What We Don't Like

  • Only cost-effective when bought in higher quantities
  • Not as transparent ingredient list

BUY: POWHER Pre-Workout

How We Picked the Best Pre-Workout Supplements

We thoughtfully selected our list of the best pre-workouts by researching products from brands we trust—Transparent Labs, Xwerks, and Kaged, for example—with clean, transparent ingredients, certifications, and positive word-of-mouth from athletes and reviewers. We also give extra consideration to products that have a proven track record for excellent customer service or money-back guarantees. 

What Ingredients Are in Your Pre-Workout Powder?

As you can probably tell from our list, pre-workout ingredients can vary depending on the product. However, here is a list of common ingredients that you can expect from the majority of pre-workout supplements:

  • Caffeine: A natural stimulant and cognitive enhancer that speeds up the central nervous system
  • Betaine: A metabolite that is naturally formed in the body and may help improve power, strength, and body composition.(9)
  • Beta-alanine: Boosts performance by helping reduce lactic acid buildup in the muscles. Is also the primary cause of the pre-workout "tingles."(15)
  • L-citrulline: A non-essential amino acid that may help increase endurance, reduce soreness, and improve aerobic performance.(16)
  • Taurine: A naturally-occurring antioxidant that helps maintain hydration and electrolyte balance, performance, and recovery.(17)
  • Nitric oxide: A vasodilator—or blood vessel opener—that delivers a workout pump by increasing blood flow and oxygen levels in the muscles.(18)

The Benefits of Pre-Workouts

Whether caffeinated or stimulant-free, pre-workouts feature a collection of ingredients that can help give you the motivation and edge you need to boost your workout performance. When properly dosed, they also have the potential to help improve levels of strength, muscle gain, focus, and endurance. Many pre-workouts also include ingredients—BCAAs, for example—that have been shown to help the body recover quicker after vigorous training sessions.

What to Consider Before Buying a Pre-Workout Supplement

Active Ingredients

One of the most important things to consider when shopping for a pre-workout is the active ingredients it contains. Based on your goals, you may prioritize certain active ingredients over others. Caffeine is the most popular active ingredient found in stimulant pre-workouts, while creatine is another common active ingredient found in pre-workouts generally. Creatine is a well-researched amino acid that's been shown to increase high-intensity exercise performance with daily supplementation of 3-5 grams.(19) Other common ingredients you'll find in pre-workouts include branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), beta-alanine, and L-citrulline.

Proprietary Blends

Proprietary blends are mixtures of multiple ingredients. Amounts of each ingredient in a proprietary blend are typically not specified on the label, which makes it difficult to distinguish exactly how much of a given ingredient is in the pre-workout. Companies often use proprietary blends to hide the fact that they are underdosing a certain ingredient. In general, it's best to steer clear of proprietary blends and instead stick to brands that use transparent labeling.

Third-Party Testing

Third-party testing is when a supplement company sends a sample of its products to an outside lab to test the products for contaminants and banned substances. If a pre-workout is third-party verified, this means it's free of potentially harmful or illegal substances. Choosing a pre-workout that is third-party tested ensures a certain level of safety and is highly recommended when shopping for supplements. This is especially important for those competing in federations that test for banned substances.

Cost Per Serving

Pre-workouts range dramatically in price depending on the complexity of the active ingredients they contain. When shopping for a pre-workout, be sure to keep your desired budget in mind. You may calculate the cost per serving to get an idea of how different brands compare in terms of cost. We've done the legwork for you here by providing a price rating scale on all of the products we've reviewed.

Type of Sweetener

Sweeteners are added to pre-workouts to improve their flavor and mask the off-putting taste of some of the ingredients. Most often, companies use calorie-free sweeteners to add sweetness without additional calories. Many of these sweeteners come from artificial sources, so some people try to avoid them for various reasons. Companies have responded by using natural calorie-free sweeteners such as stevia leaf extract, monk fruit extract, and fermented sugar cane.

Is Pre-Workout Dangerous?

While pre-workout supplements are generally considered safe, they are not entirely risk-free. Before adding a pre-workout supplement to your fitness routine, be aware of any potential side effects and that you talk with your doctor if you have any specific concerns.

Some of the most common risks associated with pre-workout supplements include symptoms related to excess caffeine, a surplus of sugar and artificial sweeteners, or ingredients that have not been third-party tested.

What is Dry Scooping?

Another issue to be aware of is "dry scooping," a TikTok trend that encourages people to take pre-workout without adding water. This can be very risky and should always be avoided. Dry scooping can lead to many concerns, including heart palpitations, infections, lung irritation, and significant digestive issues.

When Should I Take Pre-Workout?

Most pre-workouts are designed to be taken 30-60 minutes before training for the best effect. Manufacturers will generally specify the mixing instructions on the label. Most pre-workouts require you to mix 1-2 scoops with 6-12 ounces of water, though instructions may be more specific based on your body size. If your pre-workout contains caffeine, it's important to be aware that it may affect your sleep, so taking it later in the day may not be the best idea for some people.

FAQs about Pre-Workout

Who should take a pre-workout supplement?

Pre-workouts are designed for healthy individuals looking for improvements in energy levels and exercise performance while training. Some people may find they have plenty of energy to train, therefore a non-stimulant pre-workout may be best for them. Others may not wish to take a pre-workout at all, which is totally fine because they certainly are not necessary to perform at a high level.

What does a pre-workout do?

In simple terms, taking a pre-workout will provide you with a boost of energy and prime your body for exercise. Depending on the active ingredients in the pre-workout, different brands may have differing effects. Most pre-workouts contain a good amount of caffeine or other stimulants to provide energy and stamina. That said, some other pre-workouts are caffeine-free and focus on increasing blood flow to the working muscles to enhance the benefits of exercise.

How much caffeine is in pre-workout supplements?

Generally speaking, caffeinated pre-workouts usually contain anywhere from 100-400 milligrams of caffeine. When starting out, we recommend trying one with a lower amount of caffeine until you become accustomed to its effects. Some brands make stimulant-free pre-workouts that contain no caffeine, although they usually contain other active ingredients as a means to enhance performance in other ways.

Is pre-workout powder bad for you?

When used sparingly as part of a well-designed training and nutrition plan, pre-workouts are generally not bad for you. It's when pre-workouts are abused that they may have harmful effects. Always use the pre-workout as instructed on the label. In addition, it greatly depends on the specific pre-workout you choose, as some have been found to have potentially harmful ingredients. We recommend choosing a pre-workout that is third-party certified to ensure it is free of contaminants and banned substances. Or alternatively consider using energy drinks.

How much do pre-workouts cost?

While the cost can vary significantly from product to product, the average cost of a pre-workout supplement usually falls somewhere between $40 and $80 for a 30-serving container.

Our Final Takeaway

When used safely, pre-workout supplements can help increase your stamina and allow you to get more out of each sweat session, while also boosting your post-workout recovery. We hope our recommendations will help you find the best pre-workout for your training needs.

What to Eat Before a Workout | Nutrient Timing | Creatine Timing | Protein Timing | Best Pre-workout Supplements | Best Post-Workout Supplements | Best Creatine Supplements | Best Protein Powder Supplements | Best Peanut Butter | Best Greek Yogurt

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


  1. Martinez, N., Campbell, B., Franek, M. et al. The effect of acute pre-workout supplementation on power and strength performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 13, 29 (2016).
  2. Harty, P.S., Zabriskie, H.A., Erickson, J.L. et al. Multi-ingredient pre-workout supplements, safety implications, and performance outcomes: a brief review. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 15, 41 (2018).
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