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6 Best Pre-Workout Supplements You Need To Know

Summary: If you're looking for the best pre-workout available in the market, you've come to the right place. Read on and find out our top picks!

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Best Pre Workout Supplements

If you're working out for some time now, you will notice that motivation and energy levels usually wane off after a while. You will notice that you're not as eager as when you were just starting out, as if you're looking forward to more rest days than training days. You will notice that there are days when you're all fired up and ready to go, and even more days when you need a hard slap in your face to get your ass moving.

Does this scene familiar to you?

It sucks, right?

As a fitness freak, gym rat, bodybuilder, athlete, or an ordinary person who wants to change the world, our most precious gift is the ability to perform -- not just physically, but mentally. And this means that we would do almost anything(legally) just to get our hands on something that will increase our physical and mental performance, right?

This is when pre-workout supplements hit us right on the spot.

In this article, we will be discussing the basics of a pre-workout supplement and what ingredients to look for when buying one. Later on, we will give you the 6 best of the best pre-workouts in the market today that will make you perform like Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps, each and every dose.

Let's begin.

What Is A Pre-Workout?

Pre-Workout Supplements

Pre-workout is one of the categories of supplements that boomed in the early 2000s. It is used by bodybuilders, athletes, and fitness enthusiasts for the purpose of enhancing performance, whether in training or in the field.

Pre-workouts usually contain stimulants like caffeine, which is said to boost workout performance. Back in the early days, bodybuilders just drink coffee as their pre-workout, and they're okay with that. Whereas today, there are tons and tons of products available in the market competing with each other -- some are crap, and some are decent.

Aside from stimulants, there are many other muscle enhancing, fat burning, and energy boosting ingredients that are now included in a pre-workout supplement like creatine, BCAAs, Beta-Alanine, etc. This just shows that supplement companies have evolved and improved over time.

But as with many supplements, there are many pre-workouts that contain unnecessary ingredients and just give you an expensive urine. Some of them even cost harmful side effects in the long run.

If that's the case, what should you be looking for in a pre-workout supplement?

Let's discuss that.

What To Look For In A Pre-Workout?

Pre-Workout Supplement Ingredients

Not all pre-workout supplements are created equally. Some go for that extra mile to provide the needed fuel and energy for an incredible workout, and some just want your money.

These are the things you should be looking for in a pre-workout supplement. Make sure some of these are present:

Strength Boosters

Strength Boosters

Make sure that your pre-workout supplement contains at least a few of these ingredients, which have been proven time after time to boost muscle strength and power, allowing for more muscle stimulation.

Creatine

Creatine

Time tested, backed up by science and research, and made wonders to many athletes and bodybuilders in the world -- Creatine has been one of the most effective and safest strength-boosting and muscle building supplements ever made.

Beta-Alanine

Beta-Alanine

This ingredient promotes muscle strength and power when taken before training. It can also enhance muscle endurance.

One way to tell if your pre-workout has enough dose of beta-alanine is when your skin gets tingly after a couple of minutes taking it.

Energy Enhancers

Energy Enhancers

Energy boosters refer to nutrients that increase endurance, stamina, and mental focus, enabling you to workout longer and harder.

Caffeine

Caffeine

No surprise here, as caffeine has been shown to increase muscle endurance, anaerobic capacity, and overall workout performance.

L-Tyrosine

An amino acid that boosts energy, mood, and mental focus by producing hormones and neurotransmitters that boost your energy during workout sessions.

B-vitamins

Vitamin B

Vitamins B6 and B12 are the B-vitamins that are critical for energy production.

If you take a separate B vitamin or multivitamin complex, then you shouldn't worry looking for this in a pre-workout.

Muscle Builders

Build Muscles

These are the ingredients, when taken right before your workouts, can help increase muscle size along with strength. They aid muscle hypertrophy during and after workouts.

BCAAs

BCAAs

The 3 BCAAs leucine, isoleucine, and valine are the most crucial group of amino acids that will increase muscle growth. They are also used as fuel sources for the muscles.

Only a few pre-workouts contain BCAAs in their product. The reason is they don't want the amino acids to mix with the other ingredients, thus, lessening its effect.

To counteract this and make the most out of each workout, have a separate BCAA drink intra-workout.

Pump Igniters

muscle pump

Getting a good muscle pump not only feels good and helps you look more attractive in the gym, but can also be good for long term muscle growth. The pump allows nutrients to be delivered faster inside the muscle cells and it stretches the membranes allowing sarcoplasmic hypertrophy to happen.

Arginine

Arginine

via blog.aminogenesis.com

The amino acid that's widely popular among pre-workout supplements as the body readily converts it to Nitric Oxide. This ingredient is responsible for the muscle tearing pumps that one experience in the gym.

Citrulline Malate

Watermelon

Watermelon is a great source of Citrulline.

Citrulline Malate is a combination of the amino acid citrulline and malic acid. It increases energy levels by removing ammonia from the body and also boosting nitric oxide.

Citrulline Malate boosts blood levels of arginine and nitric oxide better than arginine alone.

Now that we know what to look for in a pre-workout supplement, let's now go to the top 6 pre-workouts of our choice. These are the best pre-workouts you can see on the market today.

6 Best Pre-Workouts On The Market

Rather than take a risk of choosing the wrong supplement, take a look at our 6 best pre-workouts currently on the market:

Product Name

Quality

Price

Our Rating

1. Cellucor C4

A+

$$

2. SHEER N.O

A+

$$

3. BSN N.O Xplode

A+

$

4. Vintage Blast

A+

$$$

5. Animal Pak

A

$$

6. NOW Foods L-Arginine

A

$

**Below, you'll see more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices and read customer's reviews on Amazon.com.

1. Cellucor C4

Cellucor C4 Pre Workout Supplements

via Amazon.com

C4 is an explosive pre-workout supplement that will help you push through your toughest workout sessions. It is formulated with ingredients such as TeaCor™ for energy that lasts longer, intense focus and pumps. These are the main ingredients:

  • ​Beta-Alanine
  • Creatine Nitrate
  • N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine
  • Caffeine

No wonder it is one of the best selling and top rated pre-workout supplements all over the world.

Pros

  • ​Cellucor is a trusted brand
  • ​One of the best selling products
  • Simple and solid profile ingredients
  • B-vitamins for energy production
  • Beta-Alanine for muscle power
  • ​Creatine Nitrate for strength
  • ​Arginine for muscle pumps
  • Tyrosine for added energy

Cons

  • No citrulline mallate
  • No BCAAs
  • Maybe too strong for caffeine-sensitive individuals

2. SHEER N.O

SHEER N.O. - #1 Best Nitric Oxide Supplement

via Amazon.com

A pre-workout that focuses on increasing Nitric Oxide production in the body. When used in combination of healthy eating habits and a good exercise program, the vasodilating effects of this pre-workout will help you build muscles, give you more energy, and let you lift harder and longer.

About the product:

  • ​Build Muscle And Strength Or Your Money Back!
  • Good For Your Heart
  • #1 Top Rated Formula
  • Boost Male Performance
  • Money Back Guarantee

Pros

  • One of the best sellers on Amazon
  • Reviews and ratings to back the effectiveness up
  • Reasonable price
  • Has a money back guarantee
  • Focuses on Nitric Oxide production, which is also good for the heart
  • ​Nitric Oxide for male enhancements
  • It doesn’t use harsh stimulants.

Cons

  • No caffeine nor any energy boosters
  • ​No creatine
  • ​No BCAAs
  • No Beta-Alanine

3. BSN N.O Xplode

BSN N.O.-XPLODE - Fruit Punch

via Amazon.com

BSN® has re-ignited N.O.-XPLODE®, the famous pre-workout that was launched in 2004. It became a huge hit that time and it's one of the pre-workouts that really boomed on the market because of its effectiveness and the results it brings.

With 275mg of caffeine, 1.8g of Beta-Alanine, and ingredients that boost not only your physical but mental performance, BSN N.O Xplode will surely transform how you experience your workout.

If you’re ready to PUSH harder and longer than before, N.O.-XPLODE® will help take your workouts to new levels.

Pros

  • BSN is a trusted brand
  • Comprehensive profile
  • Has creatine and beta alanine
  • ​Has energy boosters aside from caffeine
  • Has pump igniters such as L-arginine and Citrulline Mallate
  • ​Has BCAAs and amino acids from whey protein isolates
  • Plus other extras

Cons

  • Some reported side effects such as stomach upsets and gas buildups
  • Some reported their energy crash after a couple of hours
  • ​Too much stimulants
  • ​Too many ingredients that you don't need
  • Propriety blend -- you don't know exactly how much ingredient you're getting

4. Vintage Blast

VINTAGE BLAST - The First Two-Stage Pre Workout Supplement

via Amazon.com

Old School Labs has one of the most attractive brand logos in the supplement industry. I mean look at that logo, right?

Apart from their cool logo, the company has created one top quality pre-workout product, Vintage Blast. This is what their website says about it:

  • KEEPS YOU GOING: Vintage Blast™
  • ​PRODUCES RESULTS, NOT DEPENDENCY
  • MORE HOLISTIC FORMULA

To add my say to that, this is how I understand their formula:

  • Two-Stage formula: It's designed to give you a jolt of energy then supply you a more steady flow of energy in the end to finish strong.
  • Different "caffeine": They use a sustained-release caffeine type to keep you going until the end. No energy crash
  • Clean formula: No extra harsh stimulants, just a basic profile

Pros

  • ​One of the best sellers on Amazon
  • ​Lots of good reviews
  • ​Very clean profile -- no unncessary ingredients
  • ​It has Beta-Alanine
  • ​It has L-arginine
  • ​It has L-Carnitine
  • ​It has Citrulline Mallate
  • ​It has electrolyts and micronutrients
  • ​It has B-vitamins
  • ​No crashing
  • Sustained energy

Cons

  • ​Quite pricey
  • ​Caffeine might be too little for some
  • ​Sustained-released caffeine might take long to kick in
  • ​No creatine
  • ​No BCAAs

5. Animal Pak

Universal Nutrition Animal Pak Sports Nutrition Multivitamin Supplement

via Amazon.com

​Research has proven that strength athletes such as bodybuilders and powerlifters, due to the intensity and frequency of their training programs, have higher nutritional requirements than regular athletes.

That's one main reason to go for a high-quality multi-vitamin supplement like this one.

With this supplement, you get everything you need plus plenty of extras! Animal Pak contains performance optimizers such as Pyridoxine Alpha-Ketoglutarate (PAK), Carnitine, Liptropics, L-Arginine for muscle pumps, Alpha Lipoic Acid, and more. In each dose of this super multivitamin, you get over 60 key ingredients that will increase your body's optimal performance, thus performing better at the gym.

Pros

  • Animal Pak is a trusted product that's been around for 30 years
  • It has a very good and comprehensive profile and has everything you need
  • ​60 key ingredients including amino acids, essential fatty acids, and other energy boosting, muscle building, and health improving stuff
  • ​Loads of B-vitamins
  • ​Money back guarantee

Cons

  • ​11 huge pills all at once may be tough for some
  • It can't be taken on empty stomach. When used as a pre-workout, you have to have a meal first
  • ​Not exactly intended as a pre-workout supplement
  • No caffeine

6. NOW Foods L-Arginine

NOW Foods L-Arginine

via Amazon.com

L-Arginine is a conditionally essential basic amino acid involved primarily in urea metabolism and excretion, as well as DNA synthesis.

This product has twice the L-Arginine (1,000 mg per tablet) as in our regular strength product (500 mg per capsule).

About product

  • Double Strength
  • Conditionally Essential Amino Acid
  • Premium Grade

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Only 1 ingredient
  • ​No harsh stimulants
  • ​Increases pump
  • ​NOW is a trusted brand
  • Cleanest and most basic profile

Cons

  • No Citrulline Mallate that can jive well with Arginine
  • No other pre-workout goodies

Conclusion

We've selected these 6 best pre-workout supplements on the market because they all fit the criteria of a good pre-workout product. It's up to your personal preference on how you'll choose which one to buy. You can't go wrong with any of them.

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