What is the best pre-workout you can take to improve your performance in the gym?
The truth is that it is not easy to make a ranking.
With Pre-workout supplements, it happens as with so many other gym supplements.
They come in beautiful colorful boats and carry a lot of ingredients that are supposed to be effective and backed by science.
But it’s not always like this.
Do not be impressed by the talk that uses the supplement industry to sell your products.
In many cases, although a specific ingredient has proven its ability to improve performance, it is contained in the formula in insufficient quantities to produce the desired result.
So to know what are the best pre-trainers in the market that you can incorporate into your arsenal of supplements, you have to scratch beyond the surface, and that is what I intend to do here.
With what I am going to tell you in this article you will learn:
- If you really need a pre-workout or not:
- What components are recommended to include and in what quantities
- How can you make an effective natural pre-workout shake if you can’t spend on supplements.
I’m sure you’ll find it interesting.
The Best pre-workout 2020
Last update on 2020-11-23
What is a pre-release and what benefits does it provide?
Supplementation before training can help you in several ways:
- Have higher energy levels
- Provide quality nutrients
- Improve mood and concentration
- Increase strength and/or resistance
So, in principle, incorporating a pre-training supplement seems like a good idea.
And it really is as long as the formula contains the right ingredients and the right amounts.
But you have to keep in mind that it’s just one more piece of the puzzle you want to build.
You need to get enough sleep, train hard, and eat the amount of protein needed so that this plus that the pre-training gives you translates into bigger and stronger muscles.
A pre-workout supplement is nothing more than a formula that combines different substances that can help you lift more weight or do some extra repetition, feel more willing to train and generate some types of reactions in the body that favor muscle growth.
That doesn’t mean you can’t make progress without incorporating these kinds of supplements.
But if you train seriously and want to maximize your progress, they are an interesting product that you should consider.
Do I need a pre-workout supplement?
That said, it should be clarified that a pre-workout is not, in my opinion, an essential supplement.
If you train to stay and you don’t give 100% in each effective series, you don’t need a pre-workout.
If you do not take care of your diet and simply eat what you want at all times, you do not need a pre-workout.
In other words, it only makes sense to buy a pre-workout if you have the following objective:
Contrary to what happens with protein supplements, which you can take several times a day and at any time, a pre-workout is a supplement that should only be consumed at a specific time and period.
If your training plan is especially demanding and includes training with maximum or sub-maximum loads, a pre-workout will help you.
To do this you should consume it for about an hour before your training session.
In the days of rest, it does not make sense to take it since its objective is to produce an improvement in performance.
Now, if your budget is not enough to buy a pre-training supplement, you have the option of making your own homemade pre-training, either only with natural foods, or with a combination of foods and supplements.
That is why at the beginning of this section I mentioned that it is not an essential supplement.
It is clear that a pre-workout supplement will always be more comfortable and faster, and will have a more balanced balance of ingredients than if you start mixing them on your own in the eyes of a good Cubero.
But it is certainly possible to improve your performance in the gym with a homemade pre-workout, even if it is not to the same extent.
How to make a homemade pre-workout
A homemade pre-workout basically differs from a pre-workout supplement in that it is not so complete.
However, they are a good alternative, especially if you are already spending money on other supplements such as whey protein or creatine, which in my opinion should be your priority.
When making a homemade pre-workout you can choose to include only foods that help you get extra energy or make it more complete.
A basic pre-workout can include:
- greek yogurt
- defatted cocoa
This mixture gives you fast energy and quality protein, but little else.
If you want to prepare a more complete homemade pre-workout, then you have to add elements such as Caffeine, Whey Protein or Creatine, with which you will be able to enhance its effectiveness.
In any case, and although a homemade pre-workout is not as complete as commercial formula, it is always better than not taking any food before training.
A homemade pre-workout like this can be an excellent alternative.
Best pre-workout: components
Pre-training formulas are usually a combination of different components among which different levels of demonstrated efficacy can be distinguished.
Of course, manufacturers will try to sell you that each and every one of them has positive effects backed by science.
And for this, they will rely on all those studies that in one way or another may come to suggest such a conclusion.
But to assess the effectiveness of a component, it is not enough to just stick to a study.
It is much more reliable to use scientific literature reviews that analyze all the studies related to it and draw a conclusion.
In this sense, we can say that among the usual components that we can find in pre-training there is four whose usefulness as an ergogenic aid is backed by robust scientific evidence:
and two that present limited or mixed scientific evidence:
Limited or mixed scientific evidence means that while more research is needed to firmly affirm its effectiveness, existing ones suggest that they may have some level of impact.
Out of these compounds, most substances listed on the label are still a filler that only serves to make the product seem more complete
Or at best, they provide a minimum benefit.
Special mention should be given to an ingredient such as L-Tyrosine, which although it cannot be qualified as an ergogenic aid, is used in many pre-training formulas to stimulate an improvement in mood.
That is, it allows you to train with more desire.
The other point to consider is the amount in which they are present.
A formula may contain a large combination of components but that these come in insufficient doses to produce the necessary effect.
With all this in mind, we will review the main components present in most pre-training formulas to see what each one brings you.
Carbohydrates are the macronutrients responsible for producing energy in muscle function.
That is its main purpose, hence recharging glycogen stores with the addition of carbohydrates before training is a strategy that makes perfect sense.
However, it is curious to see how the amount of carbohydrates in some pre-workout drinks is certainly limited.
This may be due to different causes, including the emergence of recent studies that offer surprising conclusions.
In this study, for example, it was demonstrated that the simple act of rinsing the mouth (without swallowing) with a carb drink was enough to increase the time until exhaustion in a cycling test of maximum intensity.
This result suggests that, instead of a metabolic cause, this improvement can be related to the receptors of the brain, when they detect the presence of carbohydrates in the mouth.
Undoubtedly it is a risky and quite novel theory, but it has already obtained support in other studies such as this and this one.
In any case, the presence of carbohydrates to a greater or lesser extent is one of the elements that will help to achieve better sports performance.
Creatine is a supplement whose effectiveness is well proven, and that will allow you to improve your ability to lift large weights, either by increasing these or increasing the number of repetitions that you are able to perform.
One of the positive aspects of creatine is that its effectiveness is not limited to maintaining or increasing muscle mass.
While its use is especially recommended in sports that require explosive efforts, the ability of creatine to promote glycogen loading and carbohydrate storage suggests that its use as a supplement could also provide better performance in resistance exercises.
This versatility makes the inclusion of creatine in a pre-training formula very useful regardless of the type of effort to be carried out below.
Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid that has been gaining prominence in recent times in relation to sports supplementation.
In addition to increasing the ability of muscles to produce energy anaerobically, it plays a fundamental role in the synthesis of carnosine.
Carnosine acts as a buffer of the muscles, delaying the appearance of the sensation of “burning” in high-intensity exercises.
The scientific literature has been providing more and more evidence of the benefits of including Beta-alanine as a supplement.
These benefits include an increase in training volume and a reduction in the feeling of fatigue, as well as an increase in clean body mass.
As if this were not enough, it should be borne in mind that beta-alanine is usually in pre-training accompanied by creatine, and studies have shown that the creatine-beta alanine combination improves creatine results by itself, offering greater Increase of clean mass and reduction of body fat.
However, in relation to beta-alanine, a couple of considerations must be made.
The first is that in order to produce an increase in the concentration of carnosine, it takes 4 to 6 weeks.
This means that you can only benefit from the effects of beta-alanine in relation to the delay in burning sensation if you take your pre-workout for more than 1 month.
The second refers to the dose.
Beta-Alanine, in higher doses than recommended, produces a tingling sensation (paraesthesia) that can be unpleasant.
So if when taking a pre-workout you notice a certain tingling in the fingertips, you should know that it is the effect of this compound.
If you want to know more about Beta-Alanine and its impact on sports performance, I recommend consulting this review.
Branched-chain amino acids are one of those supplements that have received a lot of hype over time.
Or what is the same, we have wanted to sell as the most, when in reality its benefits and scientific support are limited.
However, that does not mean that they do not have some kind of utility in a pre-training formula.
Although they do not have a direct effect on performance and their effects on the delay of fatigue are certainly insignificant, they do help prevent known stiffness and promote better recovery.
Caffeine is a powerful stimulant, and in fact, it is the main component of many of the pre-trainings that are commercialized.
It will give you a boost of energy that will be very useful to face the most demanding series.
Since caffeine causes the same effect on the body regardless of the way in which it is consumed, you can add a cup of coffee to your homemade pre-workout shake or take a pill of caffeine.
As with almost all substances, there are conflicting studies.
Although its impact on muscle strength and performance is not fully accredited, most of the scientific literature on caffeine as an ergogenic aid points to its effectiveness in types of effort with a duration greater than 30 minutes and a moderate level of intensity.
It also seems to have positive effects on mood, and on a lower perception of exertion and muscle pain.
In fact, there are so many benefits that caffeine produces in the body consumed in advance of performing certain types of effort that is the fundamental ingredient on which most pre-training formulas are based.
L-tyrosine is an amino acid.
However, its inclusion in pre-training formulas is not due to its ability to transform into peptides or proteins.
Amino acids are also precursors of other molecules that exert different functions, and in the case of L-Tyrosine, it is an amino acid precursor to catecholamines (adrenaline, dopamine, and norepinephrine).
Surely if you have heard about them they sound to you in relation to moods.
When we say that something gives you “a rush of adrenaline” we are mentioning a very intense emotion.
Well, catecholamines regulate moods, and hence L-Tyrosine is an ingredient that some brands include in their pre-training products since in adequate amounts (100 mg/kg body weight) it is effective for promoting positive moods that will help you train with more desire.
Taurine is another of the most common components in pre-training.
It is an amino acid widely used in energy drinks.
Although there are studies in which it has not been able to demonstrate its effectiveness in improving performance, in others it has offered positive results in aspects such as the reduction of muscle damage induced by exercise, or the attenuation of DNA damage induced by exercise and improving exercise capacity
In addition, in some studies, the use of Taurine as an ergogenic aid has been shown to be more effective than caffeine or the caffeine-Taurine combination.
What is the best pre-workout in 2020?
To make these top pre-training supplements I have used the most reliable reference that exists in the world of supplementation: the Labdoor ranking.
If you are a follower of the blog you will have already read about Labdoor, a company that performs independent analysis of supplements in different laboratories, contrasting their results with what appears on the labels of the products and giving them, depending on their composition, a value as far as to efficiency and quality.
Cellucor C4 is an autonomous supplement, which gives you the energy to push hard through your training. After training, fade slowly without leaving you crushed and in pieces.
The main ingredient in this pre-workout is beta-alanine. It helps to delay muscle fatigue in the first place. However, due to this ingredient, this product is not for long training, but ideal for interval training and high strength.
It also contains creatine nitrate, something that is lacking in most supplements, so this is a unique product. Creatine helps increase muscle strength and size, while nitrate helps dissolve the product, so there are no remnants in the bottom of your shaker bottle.
Another important ingredient is arginine alpha-ketoglutarate (AKG) that works well with nitrate to help blood flow to the muscles. A final commercialized aspect of this product is the mixture that increases energy. This mixture contains 150 mg of caffeine per serving, and since they often take two servings, users can obtain 300 milligrams of caffeine before training.
It is worth mentioning that many gym enthusiasts take it due to a large amount of energy it gives to the body and the extra pump it has during workouts. It offers a feeling of excitement while maintaining focus and does not make you feel dizzy at all. This is one of the best pre-workout with creatine free formula that has no side effects.
✅ Ingredients in Cellucor C4, scientifically proven to help increase energy levels before a workout.
✅ Cellucor C4 has a lot of flavors so anyone can find one they like.
✅ It comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
✅ Cellucor C4 is easy to drink, only one or two tablespoons mixed with 4-6 oz. of water about thirty minutes before embarking on a workout.
❌ Cellucor C4 is a bit expensive, especially for larger people who take two or three servings at a time.
❌ T Some users are disappointed that it does not include more ingredients for muscle development in Cellucor C4.
- America's #1 Pre-Workout Brand
- 150mg of Caffeine Per Serving
- 0 Sugar and 0 Calories Per Serving
- 1.6g CarnoSyn Beta-Alanine
- Vitamin C for Immune Support - 417% of Daily Value Per Serving
Last update on 2020-11-24
EVL Nutrition ENGN is a powerful pre-workout formula that has been developed with the intention of giving you the physical and psychological edge you need to unleash the carnage in the gym and really do some damage.
With your Mind-to-Muscle Matrix Proprietary Blend, you must have everything you need to enjoy improved pumps and a better mental connection to the muscles you are working on.
The idea with this is that it will allow you to contract the target muscles more strongly, engulfing them with nutrient-rich blood and stimulating a much larger degree of muscle hypertrophy of your workouts.
Looking beyond the housing benefits of caffeine-induced mental focus and increased pumps, we can see that nootropic substances such as Choline and Huperzine are going to get more than just giving you a “buzz.”
These substances, together with alpha-glycerolphosphorylcholine, help provide your brain with a higher level of acetylcholine, which has been shown to dramatically improve concentration and general cognitive function.
Beta-Alanine is another great addition to ENGN as it acts as a kind of buffer against the accumulation of lactic acid. This lactate cushioning effect will allow you to go harder and harder during those high volume entrances, helping you squeeze out the last final reps that would otherwise have been inaccessible.
❌ The only negative that I would really have to say about ENGN is that it does not provide branched-chain amino acids or BCAA.
- All-In-One Formula to Build Muscle and Burn Fat Plus Boost Endurance and Recovery with 5 grams of BCAAs to improve muscle growth and recovery, plus CLA and L-Carnitine to support fat burning without stimulants.
- Anytime Weight Management and Fat Loss Support from a full spectrum of fat burning ingredients including CLA and L-Carnitine which support release of fat and burning it for fuel to help you build a lean body any time of day.
- Protect Muscle from Breakdown During Training and Dieting: BCAAs have been shown to preserve muscle mass under intense training or dieting characterized by protein breakdown and muscle wasting; by providing added BCAAs, the body is less likely to consume its own amino acid (protein) stores from muscles.
- Stimulant Free Muscle Fuel: BCAAs provide an additional fuel source during training for working muscle, kicking in when the body uses up other fuel sources to keep your performance high.
- Zero Calories, Zero Sugar or Carbohydrates, and Gluten Free making LeanBCAA the cleanest product to support your active lifestyle and keep you going without added sugar or carbohydrates.
Last update on 2020-11-23
3. Nutrabio Pre
PRE is an excellent pre-training product, which stands out from the crowd because it is completely transparent with its formula and is also one of the few pre-workouts that combine the 3 favorite categories in a pre-workout.
This product combines the “pump”, focus and energy into one, something I can rarely say for most products. By having such a transparent composition, we can verify that it is clinically dosed with quality ingredients. It is also a product suitable for vegans, gluten-free and BSE / TSE free as well. The taste of green apple is exquisite and highly recommended. The mixability is excellent and the texture is good too. Overall, an excellent perfectly balanced pre-workout!
When compared directly to Staunch Original and BULK, NutraBIO was not the winner. However, it is still a quality supplement that has great availability, tastes good, and is produced by a brand that believes in transparency.
✅ Produced effectively
✅ Available worldwide
✅ 20 doses per pot
❌ Like Transparent Labs PreSeries BULK, but with less energy
- 8-In-1 nitric oxide vasodilator muscle stack
- 100% active ingredient
- Targets every aspect of muscle growth*
Last update on 2020-11-23
This is one of two products in this review that does not contain creatine.
Some scientific studies suggest that by simultaneously consuming caffeine and creatine, it can weaken the effects of muscle building that the latter has to offer. That is why the GAT recommends taking a creatine supplement separately and leaving the preparation work to do what was born to do – give it that killer energy boost and muscular endurance that really lasts your entire session.
There are natural testosterone boosters that help you maximize your strength and muscle gains, even without the missing ingredient listed above.
This is another tasty pre-workout, which is perfect if your stomach is not able to assimilate something that is not so pleasant in taste.
Taking into account GAT Nitraflex has the lowest levels of beta-alanine in this review (1.5 g per serving) we were impressed with the amount of energy and resistance that gave us analyzing our results through our training from beginning to end.
In fact, we found that the shock after training was surprisingly strong, although it may be because of its 325mg of caffeine per serving.
The packaging does not recommend taking this before bedtime, so night workouts are probably not an option unless you are a night owl. 5 hours later before bedtime is the recommended time of GAT.
✅ Highest caffeine pre-workout on this list
✅ Good balance of beta-alanine and creatine
✅ Offers an incomparable muscle pump
❌ It may be too strong for your first pre-workout if you are small in size or easily affected by stimulants such as caffeine
- INCREASE MUSCLE GROWTH WITH SUPPORTED TESTOSTERONE LEVELS: In a clinical study, calcium fructopyranose borate (CFB) was shown to increase total and free testosterone within 3 hours of a single dose equivalent to just over 2 scoops of Nitraflex.
- INCREASE BLOOD FLOW, ENERGY, AND LIBIDO: This clinically tested, high-intensity pre-training formula has potent ingredients to help magnify energy, alertness, strength, stamina, pumps and free testosterone during workouts.
- CREATINE-FREE, IDEAL FOR PRE-CONTEST PREP AND LEAN MUSCLE: Creatine causes water retention, which can make achieving a dry, hard muscular look even more difficult, so we left it out. NITRAFLEX is ideal for pre-contest prep and lean muscle physique.
- BOOST BENCH PRESS STRENGTH IN 2 WEEKS: Increase bench press strength up to 10 lbs in just 2 weeks. Potent ingredients will increase energy for each workout while increasing strength.
- INCREASE INTENSITY OF WORKOUT WITH MORE ENERGY: Contains unique ratios of compounds that help you remain alert, intense and focused while you’re flying from set to set with veins fully dilated and muscles pumped to the extreme.
Last update on 2020-11-23
BSN N.O. Xplode is a great favorite in bodybuilding forums over the Internet.
With a delicious taste in all flavors, it is reduced to the quality of the ingredients and the effect they have on your body in terms of what defines this pre-workout
While it is a re-designed mix of its original ‘ignition pre-workout’, we believe it is less effective than the previous version. This is a common occurrence with these supplements since some high potency ingredients are banned for being a bit too effective in the body.
However, we cannot hit a company too hard to fight back with new formulas that comply with regulations and still help give you exceptional training. Especially when it is now much tastier than it used to be.
In addition to giving you a great physical boost, the focus and motivation you get with BSN NO Xplode are seriously effective.
This supplement comes with a large amount of caffeine, beta-alanine and a whole load of creatine. 3 grams to be precise!
✅ Solid all terrain
✅ Sweet taste
✅ Minimal side effects: no feelings of nervousness and limited stress after training
❌ Better taste, but less effective than your old recipe
❌ Some users are increasing their consumption, something not recommended
- The Original Pre-Workout Igniter; Re-Engineered
- Supports explosive energy, enhanced endurance, and maximum performance
- Supports focus, muscular strength, and power
- Advanced ingredient technology
- Amazing flavors and great mixability
Last update on 2020-11-23
Designed specifically for today’s athlete, we firmly believe that MusclePharm is one of the best paper pre-workouts.
In terms of the ingredients, they have included; the variety, quality, and balance, which marks absolutely every box.
300mg of caffeine will keep you highly energized, and with reasonable amounts of beta-alanine and creatine included too, you will really feel the benefit that your muscles receive.
When a product has always been on the market and still selling, you know that the creators are doing something right.
Increase your strength and power during workouts or before competing in high energy sports.
Assault makes use of powerful amino acids, creatine, strong stimulants and a nitrate delivery route for a solid, undoubted increase in potency.
It definitely does not compete with other competitors on this list when it comes to that undesirable desire to lift weights, but that makes it a more suitable option for PWO beginners.
✅ Efficient for beginners or low users of caffeine tolerance
✅ Minimum placement after training
✅ Well balanced ingredients that satisfy all areas
❌ It will not give you a good pump
❌ The old formula was more effective, although the same is true for many pre-workouts on this list
The name itself provides a clear view of the supplement, this supplement provides the power of a bull. The supplement consists of a traditional mixture of beta-alanine, creatine, Tribulus and ZMA. Increase the pumping of blood in the body to create a fresh sensation before training. The supplement has six tasty flavors that have active results in workouts without side effects.
- A Truly Complete University-Studied Athletic Performance Pre-Workout System
- Contains A Time-Released Carbohydrate Matrix As Well As The New And Innovative Ingredient Teacrine Which Provides Long-Lasting , Non-Habit Forming Energy With A Heightened, Stimulated Sense Of Focus
- Increases Muscular Endurance & Power Output
- Delays Muscle Fatigue And Fights Muscle Degradation While Restoring Energy And Mental Alertness
- No Proprietary Blends
Last update on 2020-11-23
The Kaged Muscle has pure L-Citrulline for strong energy levels before starting a workout.
This Pre-Kaged supplement can improve the flow of adrenaline in your body and make better workouts happen right after consumption in 15 to 20 minutes of time.
The other ingredients in the product include
- Fermented BCAA
- Fermented Leucine
- Anhydrous Betaine
This is the medically proven formula that is used by many bodybuilders to have better training energy levels before training.
- Delivers intense energy & laser-like mental focus*: formulated with PurCaf organic caffeine from non-GMO green coffee Bean, Taurine, Tyrosine, and a complete profile of fermented, plant-based Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs), Pre-Kaged pre workout powder delivers a clean, intense surge of energy and relentless focus that will get your mind and body locked in and ready to obliterate your workout.* it’s so good, you’ll never use another pre-workout product again.
- Triggers bigger, longer-lasting muscle pumps*: every serving of Pre-Kaged pre-workout for men and women delivers a massive dose of pure L-Citrulline. This scientifically superior vasodilator helps drive nutrient rich blood and oxygen deep into your muscles for dense, hard muscle pumps.* Pre-Kaged also includes Spectra, a patented blend of 29 fruit and veggie Superfoods that not only provide important antioxidants, but it also supports nitric oxide production.*
- Award-winning pre-workout formulated to increase muscle, strength & performance*: Pre-Kaged is an award-winning pre-workout powder that delivers a unique combination of patented ingredients, scientifically tested to deliver increases in muscle size, strength, and athletic performance.* This includes patented Creatine HCl, patented Carnosine beta Alanine with self-affirmed Gras status, and patented beta power, a purified Betaine extract.
- The industry largest, most fully dosed scoop: with Max dose ingredients, and a massive 32g per serving, just one scoop of Pre-Kaged does it all. Kaged Muscle is a health-forward brand, so like all our products, Pre-Kaged has been third-party tested, screened for banned-substances, and our ingredient profiles are completely transparent. So, even the most meticulous athletes can see exactly what they’re getting. There’s a reason it's one of the highest-rated and most-awarded pre-workout supplements available.
- The Kaged Muscle difference: we develop our formulas with some of the most premium, patented, and cutting-edge compounds available. After all, why train to get bigger, stronger, FITTER, and healthier, but use supplements with low-quality ingredients? Or worse yet, in dosages that aren’t effective? Kaged Muscle supplements are formulated for performance-minded men and women who not only want real results, but also want clean products that provide incredible value for their money.
Last update on 2020-11-23
The Optimum Nutrition product has fantastic results that help energize the body before your workouts. The supplement is made up of high-quality classy ingredients that help protect the body from harmful side effects.
Each serving of this product is only 10 grams and is essentially 3 grams of creatine with some beta-alanine and stimulants. However, we must admit that there are a lot of bodybuilders who appreciate the simplicity and this pre-workout has their names written on everything.
ON Gold Standard Pre is the perfect minimalist pre-workout for those who want the minimum necessary in their pre-workouts.
❌ 10 grams per dose (small)
❌3 grams of creatine
- VITAMIN D Provides Immune Support
- PACKAGING MAY VARY - New look, with the same trusted Quality!
- 175MG OF CAFFEINE- help fuel your mind and body to train at the highest level
- 3G CREATINE - help support overall performance
- 1.5G BETA-ALANINE - help support enhanced endurance
Last update on 2020-11-23
Although I do not consider a pre-training to be basic to be able to make progress, it seems to be a supplement to be taken into account for those who really train seriously and with the aim of achieving maximum improvements in the best possible time.
Do you want to know if you really need a pre-training? If you go to the gym with your mobile and entertain yourself watching YouTube videos between series and series, I already tell you no.
But if you are one of those who come to the gym with the intention of eating the irons and want to get an exceptional body within a few years, it will probably be very helpful.
Any of the 3 products that I have recommended here will serve you, although probably one will be better than another in your case depending on your tolerance to caffeine.
If you are one of those with two cups of coffee a day you reveal yourself, you should opt for Optimum Nutrition, which is the softest, but if you do not have that problem, both Assault and Evolution will give you that ass kick you need to go for a Step beyond your limit.