Take your training to the next level with enhanced strength, endurance, focus and energy levels.
It’s normal to feel tired after a long day sat at your desk. Or you might feel unmotivated to make the journey to the gym in the evening – these are things that affect us all.
Well, here’s where pre workout supplements come in; they can fire-you-up and help you perform at your best, even on your worst days.
But with so many on the market, it can be hard to choose a safe and effect product. So we’ve done the research for you, and found the best pre workouts to recommend.
Check them out:
1. 4 Gauge
After seeing dozens of the same, plain packaging, 4 Gauge caught our attention; pictured in a shot-gun shell container, this pre-workout exploded onto the market, gaining great reviews fast.
By the end of 2017, 4 Gauge had established its reputation as one of the best pre-workouts on the market, and our favorite we’ve tried.
One great feature which helps to set this pre workout apart, is that you can safely take a ‘double serving’ of 4 Gauge; many others contain too much caffeine to offer this.
Anyway, we’ll give you a quick summary of 4 Gauge:
Keep your eyes off your phone and stay completely focused on your workout. This will allow you to really make the most of every rep and your time in the gym.
Clean energy boosts
Forget about pre-workouts that blow your head-off, leaving you feeling jittery and exhausted.
Instead, 4 Gauge offers a clean boosts to your energy, so you never feel tired even during your last set.
Train harder for much longer
Ever dropped the weight on your 3rd or 4th set? Well, you won’t have this problem while taking 4 Gauge.
It contains the perfect mix of nutrients that’re proven to enhance your endurance – so you make faster progress towards your goals.
Feel invincible during every workout
4 Gauge contains tried-and-tested nutrients that’ll pump up your muscles, making you feel and look unstoppable.
Not only that, as more blood and oxygen will be entering your muscles, you’ll experience less muscular fatigue, so you feel fresher for your next workout too.
You can only buy 4 Gauge directly from their official website: www.4Gauge.com; this might be a problem for those that prefer buying from retail stores, but it the good news is that it arrived very quickly.
Also, there are cheaper options than 4 Gauge available, but you get a much better quality, reliable and side-effect-free option with Roar Ambition’s premium pre-workout.
4 Gauge’s unique formulation is what really sets it apart. Roar Ambition have spared no expenses in including the ‘smart-caffeine combo‘ of Caffeine & L-Theanine, which fires up your energy levels while keeping you focused on your gym session – safe from jittery side effects.
With an optimal dosage of Citrulline Malate and the ever-reliable Creatine Monohydrate, you’ll benefit from skin-splitting muscle pumps and find yourself training harder than before, for longer.
Unique extra’s include Coconut Water Powder to pack your system with electrolytes through intense exercise. Rhodiola Rosea and L-Carnitine both ensure that you suffer minimal muscle damage or fatigue after your workout.
Overall, there simply isn’t another 100% natural, artificial sweetener free pre-workout on the market that can match these features.
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2. Pre Jym
Pre Jym has been around for a while, but it still asserts it’s dominance over many other pre workouts, making it a great 2nd choice on our list.
There are some downsides, such as being able to cause itchy skin, but it’s otherwise a very respectable product.
Clinical 6,000mg dosage of Citrulline Malate
It’s good to see that Pre Jym has been carefully formulated, with the same dosage of Citrulline Malate in 4 Gauge (6,000mg per serving).
What does it do? Well, studies have shown that it directly elevates your nitric oxide levels, increasing your blood flow, resulting in bigger muscle pumps.
Contains good dosage of Creatine
Creatine is one of the most reliable ingredients in the supplements industry. Over the years, it’s proven itself to be both effective and reliable at improving your strength and endurance.
Pre Jym has fallen into the trap of most pre workouts on the market; it contains Beta-Alanine, which is known for it’s paresthesia-inducing effects.
Not only that, Pre Jym contains a big punch of caffeine, so those sensitive to this stimulant should try a half scoop to assess their tolerance first.
3. Pre Kaged
Pre-Kaged has done very well since it hit the markets, quickly becoming a popular choice among gym-goers.
Optimal dosages of Citrulline & Creatine
Containing great amounts of these 2 key pre workout ingredients, you’ll benefit from enhanced muscle pumps, as well as strength & endurance too.
Coconut Water Powder keeps you hydrated
One of the worst things you can experience in the gym is cramp. Well, by keeping your body fuelled with high amounts of electrolytes through Coconut Water Powder, you’ll be firing on all cylinders at all times.
Due to containing Beta-Alanine, there’s the risk that you’ll suffer from itchy skin. Also, as it contains quite a big Caffeine serving (274mg per serving), we recommend that you test-the-waters with a half-scoop first.
4. C4 Mass
If you know about pre workouts, you would have seen Cellucor’s C4 series before. It’s a popular line of these supplements, and we believe C4 Mass deserves its place on our list here.
Contains Creatine Monohydrate
Packing a good punch of the most reliable form of Creatine, C4 will help you lift bigger weights in the gym.
Sensible dosage of Caffeine Anhydrous
Cellucor has added a very calculated 150mg Caffeine in C4, so you benefit from raised energy levels without being at risk from jitters and crashes.
While most of C4 Mass is filled with safe and effective ingredients, one drawback is that the Beta-Alanine might cause itchy or tingly skin.
5. Gold Standard Pre-Workout
You can’t have a top 5 supplements list without an Optimum Nutrition product on there. Gold Standard Pre-Workout lives up to their reputation and offers a great option at 5th place.
Packed with Creatine Monohydrate
Gold Standard Pre-Workout contains 3g of Creatine Monohydrate, which will raise your strength and endurance during training.
Contains Citrulline & L-Tyrosine
Citrulline will help enhance your muscle pumps in the gym, while a great dosage of L-Tyrosine will raise your focus too.
Like with the 4 other products on this list, the Beta-Alanine in Gold Standard Pre-Workout is likely to cause itching while you workout.
Also, Citrulline has been seriously underdosed, with only 750mg being included here.
Looking through EVLution’s ENGN pre workout, there’s many great benefits to be had form their well researched formula. You’ll find a high dose of caffeien at 300mg, creatine, and B vitamins.
Overall at first glance it looks to be a great pre workout, but! It contains beta-alanine, which will cause your skin to itch and tingle. “What’s wrong with this?” You’re possibly asking yourself. We’ll let us explain. This itchy feeling is called Paresthesia, which can seriously affect your health if you have any underlying conditions.
It will not only make you feel uncomfortable, but it could also cause you to have an accident in the gym. for example, it could put you off your heavy lifting routine when your face it itching so much you have to scratch it.
But if you are used to beta-alanine, and you are okay with a funny tingeing feeling over your body, then it could be a good pre workout for your goals as it certainly packs a punch!
Contains caffeine, which is good for energy. It’s also made by a well-known company, which means that the quality of ingredients will be of a good standard.
Uses beta alanine, which is know for creating the ‘itchy’ feeling. This is something many people will want to avoid. It also contains high doses of stimulants, which might not be suitable for some people.
7. N.O Xplode
BSN created N.O Xplode to help people smash through boundaries in their intense workouts. Looking at the ingredients, it certain will do the trick. With a whopping 300mg of caffeine, and other hard core pre workout ingredients, N.O Xplode could be just the pre workout you’re looking for.
Digging a little deeper, you ‘ll find vitamins, amino acids, and healthy minerals that will support a well balanced diet and training plan.
There’s only one thing we don’t like about N.O Xplode and that it contains bete-alanine. Like we’ve already mentioned in other supplement reviews, beta-alanine can cause you a whole host of issues. Such as; itchy tingeing skin, nervousness, and uncomfortable feeling all over the body.
Contains vitamins, amino acids, and creatine – which is good for recovery and overall health. This is very important, especially if you are taking part in intense workouts.
Uses beta-alanine, which is know for creating an uncomfortable feeling all over the body. This may cause issues in your workout, possibly even preventing your from lifting weight depending on how you react to this ingredient. It also contains high doses of caffeine of 300mg per serving, which is a heavy dose for many people.
8. The Curse – Cobra Labs
The Curse has become a household name in the pre-workout world. It’s been well advertised on supplement websites, and used by many hard core gym goers.
When we first looked into The Curse, we thought by the name it would blow our heads off, but looking a little deeper, we found it had a low dose of caffeine compare to other pre-workouts.
One thing that we didn’t like was the fact it contains proprietary blends, even worse because in one of these blends it has beta-alanine (an ingredient that causes a strange and uncomfortable sensation all over the body).
Not as higher doses of caffeine compared to other pre workouts. It also contains multiple ingredients that are all linked to increasing your performance.
One of the main issues with The Curse, is that fact that it uses proprietary blends in the ingredient profile. This means that the company doesn’t disclose how much of each ingredient is used to make up the proprietary blend. Not ideal as you never know how much you’re actually taking of certain ingredients.
9. Signature Pre Workout
Signature Pre Workout by BodyBuilding.com is a well rounded pre workout that might suite many people due to it’s rejuvenating, and energy boosting ingredients.
What we did like about Signature Pre Workout is that fact that it contains potassium, and magnesium. Which is very important if you’re taking part in intense exercises as these ingredients will help replenish minerals lost through sweat.
One thing that we did notice however is the fact that it contains beta-alanine, which is very common in pre workouts, but not something that everyone likes when taking a pre workout as it causes itchy skin all over the body.
Signature Pre Workout contains potassium, and magnesium which is good to help rejuvenate and replenish the body after intense workouts. It also contains a balanced set of ingredients that are all designed to help push through difficult training sessions.
One of the main down sides to Signature pre Workouts is the fact that it contains beta-alanine, Like so many others before, Bodybuilding.com have used this ingredient as a filler. This has caused many issues for people, as it can irritate the skin – causing an uncomfortable.
10. SuperPump MAX
Here we have SuperPump MAX by Gaspari Nutrition. This pre-workout has been around for some time now, becoming a popular option for many people in the process.
It contains vitamins, minerals, caffeine, and other very useful ingredients that will help you boost through most workouts.
One thing that we don’t like about PuperPump MAX is that fact it uses a proprietary blend of ingredients. This means you’ll never know how much of each ingredient you’re taking as they are all mixed together.
The well-known company Gaspari Nutrition have made sure to add in many ingredients, making this one of the most diverse pre workouts we’ve seen. For this reason, the money you pay, means you’ll get a lot in return.
Even though SuperPump MAX does contain numerous ‘beneficial’ ingredients, most of the ingredient profile comes in the form of a proprietary blend. Meaning, you’ll never know how much of each ingredient you’re taking.
What Are The Benefits Of Taking Pre Workout Supplements?
Now that we’ve shown you our top 5 favorite pre workouts on the market, we’ll give you some more information on why we chose them.
Simply put, the best pre workouts deliver these benefits:
- Elevated energy
- Increased strength & endurance
- Enhanced focus
- Intense muscle pumps
Why else would you want these supplements? These benefits will help you lift bigger weights, train at a higher intensity for longer without burning out, and most importantly – make faster progress on your fitness goals.
But as you know, it’s not as easy as walking into a supplement store and choosing the best-looking product.
Instead, it’s wise to check which ingredients pre workouts contain; we believe that this is the most reliable way of ensuring you receive a safe and effective product.
❌Pre Workout Ingredients To Avoid
To avoid potentially harmful side effects with pre workouts, all you have to do is avoid the ingredients that cause them – it really is as simple as that.
Simple, but only if you have the right knowledge. Fortunately, we’ve done the research so you don’t have to.
See which ingredients to avoid below:
Yohimbe Bark Extract
Studies have shown that Yohimbe’s main use is being used to promote fat loss; it’s believed to block specific receptors in order to deliver this benefit.
However, the reason it’s used in pre workouts, is due to being a stimulant. As a result, Yohimbe is considered to raise your energy levels due to containing high amounts of the chemical, Yohimbine.
The bad news is that Yohimbe Bark Extract has been banned in the UK  after commonly causing harmful side effects.
Ultimately, Caffeine Anhydrous is the safest stimulant you can find in supplements; it’s consumed daily through products such as tea & coffee and known to be safe and effective.
As the old saying goes, ‘there’s no need to fix something that isn’t broken’. So we recommend choosing a pre workout containing Caffeine Anhydrous as it’s only source of stimulant.
Betaine Anhydrous & Choline Bitartrate
The reason why these 2 ingredients are on this list is pretty simple; they don’t do much to benefit your workout, but cause an unwanted side effect – fishy body odor.
In case you’re wondering, this side effect is officially known as trimethylaminuria .
So why are they added to pre workout supplements? Well, Betaine Anhydrous is believed to improve your general health and immune system, while Choline Bitartrate is considered to be important in supporting liver function and your cognition too.
Ultimately, they aren’t essential additions to pre workout supplements and cause a fishy side effect – not what you want.
Big Dosages of Stimualants
Think about the last time you consumed too much tea, coffee or energy drinks. You hit a big high, but soon came crashing down and were left feeling exhausted.
Well, this is exactly what happens when you consume pre workouts containing big dosages of stimulants.
We mentioned already that Caffeine Anhydrous is your safest choice when it comes to boosting your energy levels. However, many companies add other stimulants such as Theobromine or Theacrine alongside this.
As a result, we recommend that you choose a pre workout containing under 200mg Caffeine per serving  without any other stimulants included – to avoid any potential side effects.
You might not know about proprietary blends, but you will have seen them in supplements before.
They’re basically mixtures of ingredients that are only displayed on nutrient profiles as 1 overall serving.
Why is this bad? Well, without knowing the exact dosages of each ingredient inside a supplement, you can’t determine how safe or effective it’ll be – increasing your risk of suffering side effects and wasting your money.
For this reason, you should always choose pre workouts that are completely transparent.
✅Best Pre Workout Ingredients
One of the best things about lifting weights is seeing your muscles blow-up. That sensation is officially known as the ‘muscle pump’ and can be enhanced by certain ingredients.
Citrulline Malate has proven to be the most reliable nutrient at getting this job done; it raises your nitric oxide levels, which leads to more blood and oxygen being pumped into your guns .
But that’s not the only benefit Citrulline Malate offers; due to it being formed by Citrulline being bound with Malic Acid, it’s also able to raise your ATP levels slightly too – increasing your muscular endurance and lowering fatigue.
The optimal dosage for Citrulline Malate is 6,000mg per serving, so make sure that the pre workout you choose contains this amount.
This is one ingredient that you simply can’t argue against.
Creatine as a supplement has a long history of being successful at improving sporting performance; it was used by Olympic athletes at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics  after being released for public use and hit the spotlight shortly afterwards.
Since then, many forms of creatine have been released, with Creatine Monohydrate being the most popular and reliable form used.
So what does it do? Well, countless studies have proven that Creatine Monohydrate is able to increase your strength, endurance and promote muscle growth  – making it a perfect addition to pre workout supplements.
Smart-Caffeine Combo (Caffeine + L-Theanine)
Not many people know about L-Theanine, but it can really help take your training to the next level when consumed with Caffeine.
What does it do? L-Theanine is a relaxing agent that keeps you calm without making you drowsy . As a result, it works in synergy with Caffeine to raise your focus and deliver clean energy boosts  – keeping you safe from the dreaded jitters and crashes.
For this reason, while not many pre workouts contain this smart-caffeine combo, it’s exactly why we believe 4 Gauge to be the best on the market right now.
Key Tips On Choosing The Best Pre Workout Supplements
Buy Direct From The Company
Buying supplements isn’t like buying your groceries. The best products aren’t always found in stores or retailers.
Instead, it’s much better to find specialist pre workouts sold directly from the company themselves; this will allow them to deliver a better, personalized service to you.
Think about it, retailers are less likely to care about each of the hundreds of products they sell. So we recommend looking for premium supplements and buying direct from company websites.
Always Buy Pre Workouts Manufactured In USA or UK
You might be thinking that this is just pretentious thinking, but there’s a reason for it; supplements manufactured in the USA & UK are created under strict cGMP or FDA regulations.
On the other hand, products created in China or other countries aren’t always required to pass such regulations, leading to lower quality supplements and results.
Choose 100% Natural Pre-Workout Without Artificial Sweeteners
The market might be overflowing with pre-workout supplements, but there’s not many that only contain 100% natural ingredients without artificial sweeteners.
Artificial sweeteners have long been linked with adverse side effects, with recent research showing they can be capable of causing migraines. So by choosing a 100% natural pre-workout, you’re ensuring that you stay safe from side effects while getting a high quality product.
This is one of the many things that help set the best pre-workout, 4 Gauge, apart from the others; by using all-natural sweeteners such as Monk Fruit Extract, this pre-workout is one of the few that don’t contain artificial sweeteners.
You now have in-depth knowledge into what makes pre workout supplements ‘tick’. Choose one with safe and effective ingredients, and you’ll be sure to experience benefits that’ll help you get results, faster.
As a result, you should always analyze the nutrient profile of pre workouts before you order them.
Personally, we found 4 Gauge to deliver the best results, because it contains the perfect mixture of ingredients that offer enhanced strength, endurance, focus and clean energy boosts without the jitters.
Ultimately, if you follow our advice on this article, it’ll save you from wasting your cash on pre workouts that might cause side effects.
 UK Government. Banned and restricted herbal ingredients. Published 18th Dec 2014. Avaialble Online: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/list-of-banned-or-restricted-herbal-ingredients-for-medicinal-use/banned-and-restricted-herbal-ingredients.
 Jeffrey, M. A review of Trimethylaminuria: (Fish Odor Syndrome). J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2013 Nov; 6(11): 45–48.
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Let me start by saying that I’ve given 4 Gauge a 4 star because I tried drinking it with coffee and felt jittery. Probably my own fault in hindsight, so just a warning to others not to drink any pre workout with coffee.
Anyway, apart from that, 4 Gauge costs a lot of money compared to others. But it does work. Very well.
I usually keep it in the glovebox of my used Nissan Micra GLS 987cc K10, so I always have it on hand when I drive to the gym – or use my underground basement gym.
With other pre wokrouts i’ve only felt energy boosts, but with 4 Gauge i do agree with its advertisement and feel great muscle pumps. Again remember to not take this with coffee bt otherwise very very good
Can honestly say that this is the best pre workout I have tried. I only get time to go to the gym in the evening, and this product does not interrupt my sleep patterns, even after three scoops on my evening session. the only drawback is the sourness of the product but you get used to that very soon.
sour taste but, wow, this stuff kicks the hind end of a DONKEY!