Pre-workout supplements may contain a wide variety of ingredients, dosage, and effects, making it difficult to find the best one for your individual needs. Don’t forget about proper sleep, nutrition, and hydration when working out. These three lifestyle choices can certainly improve your performance, mood, muscle growth, or immunity. However, if you're looking for a little bit of an extra boost, the right pre-exercise supplement can help you perform better.
It's hard to choose the best pre-workout supplement. Besides caffeine, other ingredients list includes amino acids, plant extracts, and other powders meant to improve endurance, exercise performance, focus, and blood flow.
Pre-workouts are dietary supplements designed to boost energy and mental performance to reach your peak in your fitness journey.
Here, you'll find a list of the best pre-workout for beginners and answers to the most frequently asked questions people have about pre-workout supplements.
How We Chose the Best Pre-Workouts for Beginners
A high-quality pre-workout is mainly made with active ingredients and not filled with artificial flavors.
Most pre-workout supplements cost between $1.0 and $2.0 per serving. Some are more expensive than others, but most are priced well above $1 per serving.
A considerable number of workout supplements consist of proprietary blends. You know the ingredients but not their amounts. That means you won’t know for sure which methods are effective and which aren’t. We also selected some products for this list because they're transparent.
Products using proprietary blends aren't usually included. Proprietary blends usually contain a lot of ingredients, so you need to know exactly how much of each ingredient they contain.
Research-backed ingredients are used in many pre-workout supplements, but not all of them use research-backed doses of these ingredients. For example, citrulline needs to be at least 5 grams.
We know the research well enough to be able to assess how effective a particular dose is. For the most part, however, we've only included picks on this list that contain the correct dosage for their ingredients.
Products were chosen that contained clinically-dosed amounts of the most researched ingredients: caffeine, citrulline, and beta-alanine. Citrulline can help prevent muscle fatigue by promoting blood flow.
Some companies will hire a third party, like an independent lab, to test their products or facilities for banned substances. Athletes often prefer to use third-party tested products because they're more likely to produce positive results.
You don't need to look for the most intense pre-workout supplement with ingredients you cannot pronounce. Simple, proven ingredient lists are all you need.
Here are the top five pre-workout products for beginners on the market today:
Best Pre-Workout Overall
We look for research-backed ingredients in clear dosages that are clinically shown to be effective.
If you're looking for an all-around pre-workout, Kaged Muscle is one of the most trusted brands when it comes to delivering proven products at effective doses.
Kaged Muscle provides a clean source of nutritional supplements for people who care about what they put into their bodies.
Formulated with organic caffeine from non-GMO green coffee beans, taurine, Tyrosine, and fermented plant-based BCAAs, Kaged Muscle Pre Workout Powder delivers energy and focus that will connect your mind and body and ready to take your workout to the next level.
Best Pre-Workout for Men
We think it's likely that most men want more muscle and strength — which means it's important to choose a pre-workout supplement with specific formulas to help them build muscle and strength while providing the energy they need for productive intense workouts.
If you're a beginner who doesn't like the feeling of beta-alanine tingle, then Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy may be a good choice for you. It contains 100 mg of caffeine from Green Tea and a 5 g Amino Acid Blend.
If you limit the caffeine content to something that you're comfortable with, it can give you a nice boost. Caffeine has been shown to improve athletic performance, but some people may be more sensitive to its stimulant effects than others.
Caffeine is one of the key ingredients to look out for as some may be mild and others may be too strong.
Optimum Nutrition is a good beginner pre-workout supplement because it contains just 100 mg of caffeine and no beta alanines tingling. It contains 5 grams (about 1 teaspoon) of amino acids per serving but uses a proprietary blend of amino acids.
Best Pre-Workout for Muscle Gain
Some pre-workout supplements contain a lot of stimulants, and nothing else. They're great for improving energy levels, but they also contain some other useful ingredients that can help support muscle growth, and recovery, like BCAA's.
C4 Sport by Cellucor combines several powerful ingredients to help build lean muscle mass, maximize performance, increase overall strength, and aid recovery.
Each tub contains 30 servings of Cellucor's mix of performance and energy-enhancing ingredients, along with a range of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and other nutrients.
This pre-workout supplement has been third-partied tested and delivers effective ingredients for giving your workout a boost, but without the caffeine.
The brand has added beta-alanine and creatine monohydrate to help support muscular endurance, and creatine monohydrate to support strength and muscle gains. Cellucor recommends drinking one serving with 6-10 fl oz of water approximately 30 minutes before training for optimal results.
Best Pre-Workout for Weight Loss
The key to losing weight is eating less than you burn, but can there be a pre-workout supplement that offers a little extra help?
None of these products describe themselves explicitly as weight loss supplements and shouldn't be taken as such. Consult with a medical professional before starting any weight loss program.
RSP Nutrition Aminollean pre-workout is intended to increase energy and mental clarity.
It contains 125 mg of natural caffeine which provides a clean, sustained energy boost along with enhanced mental focus so you can crush your workouts and stay alert throughout the day.
AminoLean contains caffeine, so you won't experience any negative side effects. Use it as a postworkout powder, a morning cup of coffee replacement, or an afternoon energy booster.
It contains 5 grams of branched-chain amino acid and essential amino acid which help speed up recovery and promote fast muscle repair, build muscle and offer a more complete amino profile compared to typical BCAAs powders.
Each tub provides 30 servings, or 60 scoops, all providing you with an excellent blend of high-quality ingredients.
Best Pre-Workout for Vegans
It's the best pre-workout supplement for vegans and vegetarians: high-quality ingredients, effective dosing, and delicious flavors.
Best Pre-Workout for Vegans
Garden of Life's Organic Plant-Based Pre-Workout is designed to give your body a quick boost of energy and help you stay focused during your workout.
Each tub contains 40 serving sizes of the brand's proprietary blend of ingredients. Due to its natural ingredients (caffeine, taurine, L-glutamine), this is a good pre-workout for vegetarians or vegans.
The brand suggests that taking its pre-workout may give you an immediate boost of energy, be mentally clear, and help you with your workout performance.
Garden of Life recommends using one level scoop of pre-workout powder in 8oz of ice-cold water and drinking it approximately 30 minutes before working up a sweat for best results. People who don't like artificial flavors in their pre-workouts will appreciate that Garden of Lifes pre-workout contains no artificial ingredients.
Benefits of a Pre-Workout For Beginners
Pre-workouts can be useful for beginners because they can provide the energy required for your workout performance. If you can work harder at lower intensities, you may be able to accelerate your results and reach them faster.
Typically, pre-exercise supplements help improve physical and cognitive performance, strength, endurance, and recovery time.
Pre-workout supplements can help you perform better when exercising by helping you build muscle, enhance endurance and stamina, or improve recovery after a high-intensity exercise.
It depends on what you put into your pre-workout, including ingredients like caffeine, beta-alanine, and betaine. These natural ingredients may help improve energy levels, power production, and endurance.
Pre-workout can help boost your mood. It's not always easy to know which supplement will give you the best results. Therefore, reading pre-workout reviews helps understand how a given pre-workout impacts mood.
Some supplements claim to give you a "euphoric" effect. Many people who use pre-workout supplements enjoy them because they provide energy and help them focus during training sessions.
Focus & Motivation
Finally, focus and motivation can also be improved by taking pre-workout supplements. This can create an urgency to get things done and improve the mind/body connection. When I am focused, I tend to be able to exercise longer and harder than if I were distracted by something else.
Pre-Workouts Supplements FAQs
Which is The Best Pre-Workout for Beginners?
There is no clear-cut answer. It all depends on your goals, tolerance to caffeine, and budget.
Are Pre-Workouts Safe for Beginners?
Yes, generally. However, it is important to assess your tolerance to caffeine to minimize any adverse side effects, and/ or consult with a doctor before taking a pre-workout supplement.
Do Beginner Athletes Need Pre-Workout?
Beginners don't need a pre-workout. However, if you want to get the most out of your workout, you should consider using quality pre-workouts like one of the options listed here.
How Does Pre-Workout Supplements Work?
It depends. Pre-workout supplements typically contain caffeine to increase energy levels but they also contain other ingredients that improve key factors of mental performance including motivation, focus, endurance, and physical performance.
Do Pre-Workouts For Beginners Have Any Unwanted Side Effects?
Pre-workout supplements are generally considered safe to use when following the suggested serving guidelines.
Caffeine-containing pre-workouts may cause common side effects like nervousness, nausea, headaches, heart palpitations, and insomnia in some people.
If you take pre-workouts before bedtime, they may cause insomnia because of their stimulant properties. Therefore, it might be better to use a non-stimulants pre-workout instead of a stimulant one.
Some pre-workout supplements contain artificial ingredients that may lead to gastrointestinal issues, like gas bloating or diarrhea.
How Do I Take Pre-Workout Supplement As A Beginner?
To get the most from your pre-workout, you should consume it approximately 30-60 min before your workout.
We recommend taking your pre-workout drink on its own with water or consuming it with creatine, protein powders, or BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) before working out.
Make sure to take it within 30 minutes of your workout; if not, it won't have time to absorb into your bloodstream and take effect.
Caffeine is one of the most effective in the increase in energy, so you'll probably feel its effects within a few minutes of taking the pre-workout. However, natural ingredients like beta-alanine and creatine take longer for their effects to kick in.
Can Teenagers Take Pre-Workout Supplements?
It's not recommended that anyone under the age of 18 take a pre-workout supplement.
Final Thoughts on Pre-Workout Supplements
There's something for every fitness enthusiast, even if you're already using pre-workout supplements and want to try something different. They're not just good for beginners but have overall beneficial effects.
If you're just starting, it’s best to use pre-workout supplements that aren't high in caffeine but rather contain enough to give you noticeable boosts in physical and cognitive performance.
The idea is to gradually increase the dosage of these products until you feel comfortable using them regularly without experiencing any negative side effects.