If you work out or you are around people that do- whether at your home or in a gym, you’ve probably heard of pre-workout supplements. They are also often called “pre-workouts”. Those who advocate the use of these supplements promise that they will improve your overall fitness level and give you the energy you need to power through even the most challenging workout.
In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at what a pre-workout supplement is, as well as things you should look for in a pre-workout versus things you should avoid. Finally, ‘were going to go over the top 19 best pre-workouts for men that are on the market today.
Pre-Workout Supplement Defined
A pre-workout is a dietary supplement that is intended to be consumed prior to a workout and is formulated to improve athletic performance, increase energy levels, and decrease fatigue. Most of the time, these are powders that can be combined with water or your favorite smoothie/shake. However, there are a few on the market that are capsule form.
When you start shopping for a pre-workout, you’ll find that there are lots of options on the market. However, most of them are some combination of the same basic ingredients:
- Amino acids
When you are using a pre-workout, it’s important that you pay attention. Some of the manufacturers are not reputable and their supplements have not been tested for potency, purity, and quality. Of course, you can be sure that the supplements included in the following list are 100% legit.
19 Best Pre-Workout Supplements for Men
Now that you are aware of what a pre-workout is and the common ingredients found in these supplements, we’re going to review the top 19 best pre-workout supplements for men on the market today.
If you’ve been in the health and fitness arena for any length of time, you’ve no doubt heard of XWERKS. Their pre-workout supplement, Ignite, contains:
- Rhodiola Rosea
- Vitamin B6 and B12
Each container offers 30 servings and costs $49. However, they do offer a money-back guarantee. This pre-workout comes in four different flavors: green apple, watermelon, blue raspberry, and orange. Simply mix it in water and enjoy.
According to the website, Ignite was created to revamp the way you think about pre-workouts- not only does it provide the physical benefits, it also provides brain-boosting nootropic effects as well.
While Ignite does contain caffeine, you don’t have to be concerned with side effects such as jitteriness or anxiety- and you won’t crash once it wears off. You’ll have the motivation and the energy you need to push past your limits. Plus, you can be sure you won’t experience digestive distress or other unpleasant side effects that are associated with a lower quality supplement.
Ladder Pre-Workout contains the following ingredients:
According to the directions, the recommended serving is 1 scoop. Each container offers 30 servings and costs $56. However, Ladder backs their supplements with a 30-day money back guarantee.
LeBron James and Arnold Schwarzenegger teamed up in 2018 to create Ladder Supplements because they were disappointed with what they were able to find available on the market. Though this is still a young company, you can trust it because of who is behind it.
Another reason you can trust Ladder is because they have been NSF Certified for Sport, which means it’s a clean formula and only contains ingredients that athletes can use when preparing for competition. There are two flavors available:
- Strawberry Lemonade
- Tropical Fruit
NSP Nutrition Energize Pre-Workout
NSP Nutrition’s Pre-workout formula, Energize, contains the following ingredients:
Each container offers 30 servings for $36. They do offer a satisfaction guarantee, if you are not happy for any reason, NSP promises to make it right. There are several unique flavors, including:
- Grape Blast
- Lemonade Fresh
- Tropical Sunrise
According to the website, some of the benefits offered by NSP Nutrition Energize include:
- Increases activation of muscles
- Improves overall athletic performance
- Improves size of muscles
- Eliminates brain fog
- Improves mental acuity
Onnit Total Strength + Performance
As a brand, Onnit has a stellar reputation. Their pre-workout, Total Strength + Performance supports this reputation; it is one of the best options they have to offer. It is available in a Strawberry Lemonade flavor. However, that’s not why everyone loves it. They love it because it provides you with energy without caffeine.
Onnit Total Strength + Performance is a pre-workout that contains the following ingredients:
- Plant & Herb Extracts
There are 30 servings in each container, and it’s one of the most expensive options on the list, coming in at $69. That being said, Onnit does offer a 90-day money back guarantee.
In 2019, Huge Supplements came onto the fitness supplement scene. Since that time, they have committed to and followed through with providing high-quality supplements, including pre-workouts, to the market. One of the reasons they stand out from the crowd is because they offer three formulations:
- Huge Supplements Wrecked
- Huge Supplements Wrecked Extreme
- Huge Supplements Wrecked Stim-Free
We’ll take a moment to review each one of these below.
Wrecked, by Huge Supplements, contains the following key ingredients:
Each container offers 22 servings, which is smaller than most of the others on our list and will cost you $44.95. Therefore, it is a bit on the more expensive side- but there are several unique flavors, including:
- Peach ring
- Rainbow burst
- Raspberry mojito
- Bomb popsicle
While it’s true that this is one of the more expensive options on our list, it’s because of the 18 high-potency ingredients it contains. Some of them are not found in other pre-workouts, including:
- Himalayan Pink Sea Salt
- Lion’s Mane Mushroom
Additionally, the dosages are some of the highest compared to others on our list. Therefore, this is the preferred supplement for athletes that are participating in intense workouts.
The ingredients in Wrecked Extreme by Huge Supplements are the same as those in Wrecked. The difference is, Wrecked Extreme offers a higher quantity of the ingredients in a smaller serving. There are only 20 servings in each container of Wrecked Extreme and it costs $59.95.
The potency of Wrecked Extreme is much higher than Wrecked due to the fact that the amount of each ingredient is higher. The primary reason people like Wrecked Extreme is the promise that it’s more potent than the original. However, if you really take the time to evaluate it, the truth is it’s not as potent. If you want a potent pre-workout, you might want to stick to the original Wrecked.
The third product from Huge Supplements is Wrecked Stim-Free. This formula contains the following ingredients:
- Beetroot extract
There are 25 servings in each container of Wrecked Stim-Free and it costs $54.95. If you are looking for an effective supplement that doesn’t contain caffeine, this might be your best option. It contains the same ingredients as Wrecked and Wrecked Extreme- minus stimulants. The natural energy provided by Wrecked Stim-Free is much safer than artificial stimulants.
Alani Nu Pre-Workout
Alani Nu Pre-workout contains the following ingredients:
What you will not find in Alani Nu is any unnecessary fillers or other ingredients. There are 30 servings in each container and it’s a bit more budget friendly, costing only $39.99.
Alani Nu offers a wide array of unique flavors. Some of the most popular ones are:
- Aloha pineapple
- Carnival candy grape
- Pink guava
While it’s true that you have lots of options when it comes to pre-workouts, Alani Nu is different. Their primary focus is to give you substantial doses of a few ingredients. Also, instead of letting you deal with the jitters that comes with caffeine consumption, Alani Nu has added L-theanine to balance it out.
Bauer Nutrition BRF Pre-Workout
Battle Ready Fuel, or BRF, is a pre-workout from Bauer Nutrition that contains the following ingredients:
- Clarinol CLA
- Whey protein isolate
- Vitamin C
- Natural caffeine
Each container of BRF contains 15 servings and costs $26.99. Bauer does offer a 60-day money back guarantee. According to the experts, this is one of the best pre-workouts on the market. It promises to support increased energy levels and improve stamina. If you choose to use this pre-workout, you can be sure that you will experience greater intensity, endurance, and focus during your workout.
Cellucor by Nutrabolt is based out of Bryan, Texas and is undoubtedly one of the best manufacturers for pre-workouts on the market today. We have put two of their top pre-workouts on our list: C4 Original and C4 Extreme. You can find these supplements in a few different flavors, including:
- Fruit punch
- Strawberry margarita
- Icy blue razz
Let’s explore these two supplements below:
Cellucor C4 Original pre-workout contains the following ingredients:
There are 30 servings in each container, and it will cost you $30, or $1 per serving. You can save some money by purchasing the 60 serving container, which costs $50.
Cellucor C4 Extreme contains the same ingredients as the original, but more!
Cellucor has been on the market for several decades and therefore, when consumers think about the “ideal” pre-workout supplement, this is the one that typically comes to mind. If you can’t decide between the two, it’s important that you consider your needs.
Each container contains 30 servings and this one will cost you $34.99. Since Cellucor is such a reputable company, we believe they deserve a second spot on our list of best pre-workouts for men. If you like Cellucor’s formula, but you want more energy and endurance, C4 Extreme is your best option.
The “extreme” is not due to large amounts of sugar- so you don’t have to stress that C4 Extreme will affect your macros if you are trying to lose weight.
Crazy Nutrition Intensive Pre-Train
The primary focus of Crazy Nutrition is to provide an alternative to steroids. Their pre-workout supplement, Intensive Pre-Train contains the following ingredients:
- KSM-66 extract
Each container provides users with 20 servings and costs $57.99. If this seems expensive, it’s important to note that it’s worth it. The company has backed their products with a 60-day money back guarantee.
This pre-workout is known for providing users with lasting energy, reducing fatigue, and encouraging greater intensity. One of the primary reasons this supplement is so popular is due to the EnXtra, which boosts caffeine and the ashwagandha and KSM-66 extract facilitates relaxation.
Pre Lab Pro
Pre Lab Pro follows the standard dosage regulations of the industry to ensure the best reaction possible. The following ingredients are found in Pre Lab Pro:
- Setria blend (proprietary blend to improve nitric oxide levels)
- Beetroot powder
Each container offers 20 servings and costs $59. However, it does offer a 30-day money back guarantee. This supplement is available in a delicious natural berry flavor and supports users through all parts of their workout. According to the website, this pre-workout improves strength, stamina, and recovery.
This pre-workout even promises to improve cardio workouts. However, the primary reason we put this on our list is because it addresses homeostasis support as well as offers nootropic benefits.
So far, every pre-workout we’ve talked about are powders. TestoPrime is the first capsule form and contains the following beneficial ingredients:
- KSM Ashwagandha
- Panax Ginseng
- D-Aspartic Acid
According to the directions, a serving size is 4 capsules, and each bottle contains 120- so one bottle is a 30-day supply. You will pay $59.99 for a bottle. According to TestoPrime, they offer a lifetime money-back guarantee- but it’s only on the first bottle.
According to the website, TestoPrime is an all-natural supplement and contains ingredients that are proven to increase testosterone levels and improve your workouts. This product will improve protein synthesis, but it will also regulate hormones, which makes it much easier to workout. Due to the testosterone support, TestoPrime is formulated specifically for men. That being said, it’s important to note that there are supplements specifically for women.
The company’s website proves that this supplement improves mental and physical energy of those who use it. Additionally, you’ll be able to maintain your motivation because you’ll see results. As mentioned, it does boost testosterone- so if you’re a woman or not interested in that, you’ll want to avoid this supplement.
Legion Pulse is a stim-free pre-workout. The formulation is so potent, and the recommended dosage is so much larger, most users start with a portion of the serving to give their body time to adjust to it. Plus, this will make your container (at least your first one) last much longer. Legion Pulse contains the following ingredients:
- Alpha GCP
Each container offers 30 servings and costs $29.72. The company does offer a money back guarantee. It is available in a fruit punch flavor.
Transparent Labs Pre-Workout
Transparent Labs has created a place of leadership for themselves in the world of pre-workouts. They actually offer 6 pre-workout formulas. They are as follows:
- Preseries Stim-Free Booster
- Preseries HowtoBeast Bulk
- Preseries Stim-Booster
- Preseries Jessie James Pre-Workout Bulk
- Preseries Bulk Pre-Workout
- Preseries Lean Pre-Workout
Each container will contain 30 to 60 servings and vary in price, starting at $40. The goals of these pre-workouts include the following:
- Help users bulk
- Facilitates weight loss
- Increases energy levels
Again, pre-workouts can be with or without stimulants. Therefore, you are able to remain in control of how you get in shape. When you choose a pre-workout from Transparent Labs, you should be aware of the unique flavor options:
- Strawberry lemonade
- Sour grape
- Green apple
Beast Sports Beast Mode Black
Beast Sports Beast Mode Black contains a high dose of caffeine in each serving. This supplement also contains beta-alanine and taurine. Each container offers 30 servings and will cost $39.99- but Beat Sports does offer a 60-day money back guarantee.
According to the website, this is an extreme solution to a lack of energy. It promises to improve nitric oxide levels. This is like most of the other pre-workouts, it needs to be consumed shortly before working out to get the most benefit from it. It has been proven to improve blood flow and energy levels, which makes it perfect for those that want to get started with a workout first thing in the morning.
According to their website, Beast Mode Black is better than the standard Beast Mode pre-workout. It provides improved support for muscle growth and increased strength. The dosages are basically the same as the rest of the supplements on the list.
Pre-workout by Blackwolf promises to offer the following to it’s users:
Each container offers 22 servings, and costs $45 per container. This may seem a bit higher than some of the others, but it’s important to understand it’s worth it. Though it’s not as well-known as some of the other options on the market, it performs just as well as those that are well known. Some of the flavors offered by Blackwolf are:
- Blue raspberry
- Green apple
- Fruit punch
Blackwolf is fairly new to the industry. However, it’s parent company, MuscleClub Limited has been around for several decades. That being said, though they are new, they are sure to find just what you are looking for. Plus, there are two options: one contains caffeine, one does not. The caffeinated version contains 200 milligrams of DMAE and the caffeine-free option provides 10 milligrams of huperzine A.
According to the website, 4 Gauge is a 4-in-1 solution. It promises to support strength, muscle pumps, energy, and focus with the following ingredients:
- Rhodiola Rosea
Additionally, nitric oxide levels are boosted with beetroot powder. This formula contains 20 servings and will cost around $45. This pre-workout is stim-free and provides users with the energy needed to get through the workout without worrying about jitters. Plus, the packaging is really cool- it looks like a giant shotgun shell.
When you use 4 Gauge, you will look and feel better than ever before so it helps with muscle building. Also, 4 Gauge allows you to remain focused on what you’re doing. Since the energy provided by 4 Gauge is balanced, you don’t have to be concerned with an energy crash. Also, it is free from artificial sweeteners, so you don’t have to stress about digestive upset.
Common Ingredients in Pre-Workouts
Above, we briefly mentioned some of the most common ingredients in a pre-workout formula. Below, we’re going to take a closer look at each and every one of them. Unfortunately, research on pre-workouts in general is limited at this time. There are some studies that indicate certain ingredients can be beneficial for athletic performance.
This is a common ingredient found in pre-workouts that promises to improve energy and focus. Research shows that in addition to mental alertness and physical performance, it also improves memory and may burn body fat.
Creatine is a chemical that is naturally created by your body and stored in the skeletal muscles, where it facilitates the production of energy and builds strength. While this one is often found as a standalone supplement. This ingredient is popular among power athletes including weightlifters and bodybuilders.
Research indicates that creatine supplementation is proven to increase creatine stores in your body, which can improve recovery time and workout performance. In addition, this supplement increases strength and muscle mass.
Beta-alanine is an amino acid that is often found in pre-workouts primarily because it has been proven to keep lactic acid from building up in your muscles. Lactic acid is what causes your muscles to start cramping. If they are not cramping, you can work out much harder and longer. Of course, it’s important to note that you may experience a tingling sensation after consuming it, but there’s nothing to worry about- it’s just uncomfortable.
There are some pre-workouts that include BCAAs, also known as branched-chain amino acids. Research indicates that these can help increase muscle growth and decrease soreness following a workout.
Things to Avoid in a Pre-Workout Supplement
Pre-Workouts are generally safe- but they do have some risks that are associated with them. if you’re thinking about using a pre-workout, you should make sure you avoid the following:
Artificial sweeteners &/or sugar alcohols
You will find that some pre-workouts include artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols to enhance flavor without adding calories. However, both of these are known to cause gastrointestinal distress.
Some of the undesirable side effects caused by sugar alcohols and some artificial sweeteners, such as sucralose, include bloating, gas, and even diarrhea. All of these can cause a disruption in your workout.
Of course, not everyone will experience these side effects. If you’re not sure and you want to find out how it will affect you, try a small amount to begin with. If you don’t experience any side effects, you may be fine using it. If you do experience side effects, you’ll want to find something else.
Pre-workouts are known for giving you an energy boost to power through your workout and the ingredient responsible for that is usually caffeine. Many people, when they consume excessive amounts of caffeine, they experience undesirable side effects, including high blood pressure, insomnia, jitters, and even increased anxiety.
Typically, a single serving of a pre-workout contains approximately the same amount of caffeine you would get in 1 to 2 cups of coffee. However, there are some that have more- but even with the lower caffeine levels, you may get too much because you’re likely getting it from other sources as well: coffee, soda, tea, etc.
Products that are not 3rd party tested
Dietary supplements in the United States are regulated by the FDA as foods, not drugs and, due to gaps in regulations, sometimes labels are inaccurate. In some cases, these inaccuracies are blatant lies.
If you choose a supplement that has compromised safety and/or quality, you may end up with substances that have been banned or even too many of certain ingredients.
Do You Need a Pre-Workout?
It’s important to understand that pre-workouts are just like other supplements- they are not for everyone. If you have issues with your energy levels and struggle to get through a workout, you may want to look at your lifestyle, including hydration, diet, and sleep hygiene first. It’s not always necessary to immediately jump to a supplement, you may just make some minor changes to your lifestyle. Plus, it’s hard to judge their effectiveness due to the variations in the ingredients. Finally, as you can see, they can get expensive and, according to research, you can get the same nutrients from whole foods.
On the other hand, if you have tried using a pre-workout and found one that works, there’s no reason you should stop using it. Just be sure that you exercise caution and choose one that is proven safe.
A pre-workout will increase your energy level and improve your athletic performance- but there is ongoing research regarding their efficacy. Pre-workouts are generally safe, but not critical for performance or health.
Pros of Pre-Workouts
As we have mentioned, there are some advantages to using a pre-workout. The primary one is the increase in energy and strength. In addition, stamina and power is improved so that your workouts can last longer. You will be motivated to push even harder and therefore, get the most from your workouts.
The beta-alanine encourages you to push harder to accomplish more because it removes the lactic acid from your muscles. The lactic acid is what causes muscle fatigue. When you don’t have muscle fatigue, you don’t have to worry about discomfort- which means you can keep working out.
Finally, as you have seen, a pre-workout contains various ingredients that help build muscle, including amino acids and creatine. These are found in your body naturally- but when you work out, you deplete your resources. Your body can’t replenish them that quickly, which is why supplementation helps.
Cons of Pre-Workouts
Of course, when you’re considering trying something new, it’s important to look at both sides. There are also a few disadvantages to using a pre-workout. Most of the time, the issue is that people take too much. In some cases, they do it on purpose to try to achieve more. Sometimes, it’s an accident. Whatever the case, it can cause unwanted side effects including nausea, headache, and anxiety. These are typically short lived, but they are quite uncomfortable when you’re in the middle of them.
If you’re new to using a pre-workout, start with a smaller serving to give your body time to adjust. Once you know that you can handle it, you can gradually increase the serving size as needed. Of course, don’t exceed the recommended serving size.
As we’ve mentioned, caffeine is often included to give you the motivation to push past your limits. Some people have a sensitivity to caffeine- so it’s important to be careful. Most of the pre-workouts contain the caffeine found in 1 to 2 cups of coffee- but there are some that contain up to 400 milligrams per serving. This is the same amount that you’d find in 5 cups of coffee.
If you are sensitive to caffeine, try finding one that is stim-free. If you don’t find one of those that you like, try to make sure there is 150 milligrams or less in your pre-workout of choice. Also, if you have trouble sleeping after consuming caffeine, try to avoid using it too close to bedtime.
Another disadvantage of pre-workouts is the tingles that many people experience from the beta-alanine. Some people find this extremely uncomfortable. On the other hand, some people find it exhilarating and say it gives them a surge of energy. If you don’t like this feeling, reduce your dosage.
Finally, creatine is known to cause water retention. Some people find this as a disadvantage- but ultimately, it will lead to muscle bulk.
Whether you are a gym rat or you prefer to stay home and work out, chances are you’ve heard of pre-workouts. Many people claim they have lots of benefits- but there are skeptics out there that say they’re not as wonderful as you may think.
They have been proven to increase energy levels, which will improve your overall athletic performance. When you have energy, you are motivated to push past your physical and mental limits. If you’re fatigued, you will probably only do the bare minimum.
There are advantages and disadvantages to using pre-workouts. Some of the “disadvantages” are not really disadvantages at all. There are lots of options on the market, it can be hard to choose the best one. That is why we have created this list of the best pre-workouts for men.
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