Pre-workout supplements aim to provide a boost of energy and nutrients that can keep you powering through the most intensive training while reducing the risk of fatigue and exhaustion which can negatively impact on your performance and muscle building results.
Table of Contents
- Benefits of Using Pre-workout Supplements
- 1. Battle Ready Fuel Pre-Workout
- 2. Blackwolf Workout Track (for Men)
- 3. Blackwolf Workout Trail (for Women)
- 4. Crazy Bulk NO2-Max
- 5. Pre JYM – JYM Supplement Science
- 6. EVLution Nutrition ENGN
- 7. Cellucor C4 Original
- 8. EVLution Nutrition PumpMode
- 9. ProSupps Hyde NitroX Black
- 10. Cobra Labs The Curse
Benefits of Using Pre-workout Supplements
- Stimulate the metabolism to boost fat loss and increase physical, and mental energy before a workout
- Stimulate the metabolism to boost fat loss and enhance performance so you can train harder and for longer
- Provide all the nutrients required to get through a workout without fatigue – improve the flow of blood, oxygen and nutrients to the muscles
- Increase protein synthesis by supplying essential amino acids and maintain focus and motivation throughout your entire workout
Each individual product has its own unique take on how to achieve the above goals in a supplement that you will usually take between 20 to 40 minutes before starting a training session. No two products contain the same formula, which means they’ll all have slightly different effects and outcomes; that makes selecting the right one for your needs a matter of knowing the benefits of the most important ingredients and how they all work together.
While most pre-workout supplements will give you the full spectrum of benefits, some can skew more towards increasing power and strength during a workout, while others can benefit endurance more. Knowing what you want to achieve will help you look at which specific ingredients best suit you. Consider:
– Creatine: Excellent for muscle strength and power increases, particularly for weight lifting.
– Beta-alinine: An important amino acid that contributes to the prevention of muscle fatigue thanks to its ability to counter the effects of lactic acid build up during intense muscular exertion. This ingredient is therefore highly useful during short burst exercises like lifting weights or doing sprints.
– Caffeine: A stimulant that makes the brain alert and provides a power and endurance boost for all types of physical activity.
– BCAAs: The three essential branched chain amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine are required for muscle growth, while also having a host of other benefits like improving endurance, reducing physical and mental fatigue and potentially reducing post-workout muscle pain.
These are just some of the ingredients you’ll come across when choosing a pre-workout supplement. It’s important to keep in mind that it’s not only the specific ingredient to take note of; but the quantity used as well. Too little of any ingredient can render it ineffective, while too much can cause unwanted side effects or interactions with other ingredients. Reputable supplement makers will always make available the exact quantities of all ingredients so you know exactly what you’re taking.
Pre-workout supplements are always intended for use with a suitable diet, and are not a replacement for eating quality food which is critical to fuelling your workouts. A pre-workout supplement works in addition to the energy and nutrients you gain through your food with the goal of taking your focus and performance beyond a regular level.
Let’s take a look at the 10 Best Pre-Workout Supplements in 2019:
1. Battle Ready Fuel Pre-Workout
With the goal of providing all the nutrients you need to fuel a workout, Pre-Workout by Battle Ready Fuel makes use of a range of vitamins and minerals, as well as important amino acids and energy boosting ingredients – all derived from natural sources. With a focus on enhancing not only your physical energy, but your mental energy and motivation, this supplement gets you ready to push yourself to the limits and perform at your peak from start to finish.
Another goal of the Battle Ready Fuel Pre-Workout is to provide enough fuel so your body doesn’t resort to using muscle for energy; resulting in muscle loss. This supplement contains some caffeine to enhance focus, but doesn’t only rely on this ingredient for energy.
Also included is creatine to power your intense bursts, and vitamin B12 due to its role in maintaining healthy brain function so you’re less likely to suffer fatigue during training. Whey isolate and the essential BCAA amino acids are included to provide the much needed protein you’ll need for your gains, while the natural metabolism booster Thiamine will help supercharge fat burning. Battle Ready Fuel Pre-Workout comes in powder form and should be taken 20-30 minutes before a workout.
2. Blackwolf Workout Track (for Men)
Made by Blackwolf Workout for men wanting to power through the most intense workouts, Track aims to boost stamina and power so you can perform at the highest level for the duration of your training without succumbing to fatigue. It gets you mentally focused and physically energized right when you need it, with the result being a noticeable increase in your strength, focus and lifting ability while you workout. Track also works to get the fat burning and muscle gain processes started while providing a constant source of energy during exercise so you’re not at risk of muscle catabolism.
Track contains a powerful form of Vitamin B12 called cyanocobalamin which is known for its high absorption rate, thus allowing the body to more efficiently gain energy from your nutrient intake thanks to the critical role of cyanocobalamin in metabolism, while enhancing mental function and motivation which are areas that suffer when Vitamin B12 levels are low or deficient.
This pre-workout supplement is made to be particularly useful for those times when you are not naturally feeling energized for a workout; such as early morning or after a long day at work. Track is a powder that you must take 20 to 30 minutes before working out and best results are achieved when you use it for at least 60 days.
3. Blackwolf Workout Trail (for Women)
One of the very few pre-workout supplements created especially for females, Trail is made with two big goals in mind: to get the fat burning process going for maximum fat loss results, and to provide all the fuel needed to power through high intensity workout sessions.
Trail aims to get you into the gym full of energy, even on days where you don’t feel like it; it does this by boosting both mental and physical energy and providing the motivation you need to get you through the toughest workouts no matter how hard your day’s been. The formula is a blend of essential amino acids, taurine, Aspartic acid and Beta Alanine which the company says have all been selected based on their benefits for women wanting to improve athletic performance, whether it be in speed, endurance or strength.
Creatine is also included in Trail, as part of the Blackwolf Power Blend set of ingredients. Creatine powers short intense bursts of physical exertion, while the Whey Isolate ensures a quality supply of protein to fuel muscle energy and growth. By enhancing mental focus and energy, Trail is designed to give you the boost you need to workout hard even on days you don’t feel like it, so you never miss a training session.
4. Crazy Bulk NO2-Max
Made by CrazyBulk, NO2-Max focuses on increasing nitric oxide which has the effect of getting increased blood flow and oxygen to the muscles. Nitric oxide is important to this process because of the effect it has on blood vessels by widening them and allowing a greater flow of blood and in turn, increased nutrients and oxygen which are delivered to the muscles.
Maintaining this oxygen flow ensures the muscles are getting a constant supply of nutrients so you can power through intense lifting without fatigue. And it’s not only during workouts that the benefits of NO2-Max are useful, but during muscle recovery as well. By no depleting the muscles of all energy and nutrients, they can recover quicker; giving you faster gains and getting you on track to your next workout sooner.
NO2-Max is taken 20 minutes before a workout and contains the main active ingredient of L-Arginine alpha-Ketoglutarate (AAKG) which is an amino acid that is essential for nitric oxide production in the liver. It’s also known for its role in protein synthesis, and in having the liver break down ammonia which comes about from strenuous exercise. Ammonia contributes to fatigue so reducing the amount of ammonia by-product is another important role of NO2-Max.
5. Pre JYM – JYM Supplement Science
This supplement makes a big claim of being the “most effective pre-workout supplement I’ve ever developed“. It takes a wide approach to providing for pre-workout needs including increasing strength and muscle endurance, reducing fatigue, increasing mental focus, mood and brain energy, and providing the right nutrients to get you through a workout without running the risk of becoming depleted. Pre JYM also kickstarts the protein synthesis process which is critical for muscle growth thanks to the inclusion of 6 grams of Branched-Chain Amino Acids.
Pre JYM has quite an extensive ingredients list consisting of various amino acids and other natural compounds and extracts. The main active ingredients include N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine. This is a type of Cysteine which is an amino acid found in high protein foods. N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine is an antioxidant replenisher and is known to contribute to brain health and supporting the function of other amino acids during strenuous exercise.
The company goes to lengths to let us know they include all ingredients at scientifically proven quantities without under-dosing. Pre JYM has a huge number of reviews and ratings shared by customers at Bodybuilding.com, with the supplement having a score of over 9 out of 10 by almost 4,000 customers.
6. EVLution Nutrition ENGN
ENGN is described as an intense pre-workout powder which is made to boost focus, energy and power by improving cognitive function and boosting your mood, delaying fatigue so you can work out longer and harder, and enhance muscle endurance so you can push yourself to the maximum for ultimate results. The formula is divided into three main purposes: strength and endurance, a vitamin complex, and a “mind to muscle matrix“.
One of the more interesting ingredients in ENGN is a trademarked product called Infinergy that is basically a blend of caffeine and malic acid designed to substantially boost energy and focus while increasing thermogenesis which leads to better workout performance and more fat loss. ENGN also contains regular caffeine as a separate ingredient, which tells us that caffeine is relied upon quite heavily by this supplement. However there are many other ingredients contributing to the overall goals including the mood enhancing amino acid L-Tyrosine, Creatine Monohydrate and betaine to power your muscle pumps, and an additional patented form of creatine that also contains magnesium which boosts the uptake of creatine for additional strength and performance benefits.
ENGN is a popular and highly regarded supplement, with over 3000 reviews at Bodybuilding.com and a score of over 9 out of 10 submitted by customers.
7. Cellucor C4 Original
Like all of the pre-workout supplements we’ve looked at C4 Original is also made to boost focus and energy just before you start working out. Claiming to be the best selling pre-workout supplement in America, C4 Original is made for everyone from beginners up to elite athletes; anyone who wants a huge boost in energy, focus, motivation, endurance and performance. This supplement contains 150mg of caffeine as part of the Energy Blend portion of the formula, as well as another stimulant theacrine, in the form of Teacrine which like caffeine stimulates the central nervous system but without the effect on blood pressure that caffeine has.
CarnoSyn beta-alanine is another important ingredient in this supplement. This is a more powerful form of beta-alanine with a higher absorption rate, resulting in delayer fatigue, more endurance and increased capacity for intense physical exertion. Creatine nitrate in the form of the patented NO3-T is another central ingredient, with the nitrate form of creatine known to have higher absorption levels than creatine monohydrate.
There are 8 flavors of C4 Original and it needs to be taken 20 to 30 minutes before a workout. Although a popular supplement, C4 Original has a lower rating than some of the others we have looked at, scoring less than 9 out of 10 from over 4000 customers at Bodybuilding.com
8. EVLution Nutrition PumpMode
Designed to accelerate pumps without acting as stimulant, so you won’t find any caffeine in PumpMode unlike a lot of the other pre-workout supplements. Instead it contains a simple formula of Betaine Nitrate, a trademarked type of glycerol called HydroMax, and Vitamins C and D. This is one of the smallest ingredients lists we’ve seen in a pre-workout supplement, but that doesn’t mean it still can’t pack a punch.
PumpMode has received a 9 out of 10 rating from over 700 reviewers at bodybuilding.com which shows it is delivering results for people. As the name implies, this supplement is heavily focused on boosting your pumps and one of the ways it does this is by boosting nitric oxide through the use of Betaine Nitrate. This means increased blood flow and oxygen going to the muscle, which equals more intense pumps and more muscle endurance.
The other critical ingredient in PumpMode is the patented form of glycerol called Hydromax. Glycerol helps maintain tissue hydration which is important during strenuous exercise and long workouts, while increasing endurance and energy. Vitamins C and D are included aid in recovery of the muscles, supporting bone health and in the case of vitamin D, playing a strong role in muscular performance during exercise.
9. ProSupps Hyde NitroX Black
Described as a complete training solution, Hyde NitroX Black aims to be better than the average pre-workout supplement, and one of the ways it does this is by using a unique formula containing three patented versions of certain compounds, like Teacrine which is a form of theacrine that’s similar to caffeine in its effects. Teacrine is a stimulant that increases mental energy, focus and mood so gets you geared up for a workout any time of day.
Nitrosigine is another patented ingredient based on Arginine Silicate. It’s known to start working within 15 minutes and last for 6 hours, so is perfect for pre-workout with its ability to enhance performance by increasing blood flow, focus and energy all the way through from the start of a workout to when you need to start recovering.
The third trademarked ingredient is kinetiq which is based on P-Synephrine, an active compound in bitter orange extract, that increases metabolism by acting as a non-stimulant thermogenic agent. Caffeine is also included in NitroX and as a stimulant thermogenic combines with kinetiq to stimulate the metabolism and energy in two different ways without overstimulating the nervous system.
Increased pumps, strength, endurance, vascularity, focus and metabolism are the core goals of Hyde Nitro X. This supplement has received a positive response from most users with high ratings and reviews being seen.
10. Cobra Labs The Curse
Energizing the muscles, increasing blood flow and enhancing mental focus are the three main goals of The Curse, which is standard for a pre-workout product. It does this by separating the ingredients into three sections – “Energizing Muscle Fuel” containing creatine and other muscle performance enhancers, “Blood Flow Amplifier” containing AAKG and L-Citruline to boost blood and oxygen flow to the muscles for enhanced endurance and power, and “Extreme Mental Focus” with caffeine, and olive leaf extract which is known for its benefits as a brain booster.
The Curse comes in powder form in seven different flavors and it should be taken within 30 to 45 minutes of starting your workout by which time you should be feeling extremely energized both mentally and physically, with the ability to push through the hardest workout with huge pumps from start to end.
This supplement contains some caffeine as a physical and mental energy booster. Beta Alanine, Creatine Monohydrate and Citric Acid make up the muscle fuel portion of the formula, while increased blood flow and oxygen to the muscles is achieved with L-Citruline Malate and L-Arginine Alpha-Ketoglutarate (AAKG).
Cobra Labs claims that The Curse is a very powerful supplement and should not be used for more than five consecutive days.
As we can see by looking at ten of the best pre-workout supplement, most (but not all) products in this category will contain some quantity of caffeine to help stimulate energy levels and mental focus, while others will rely on other types of stimulants or a combination of several working together to bring about a quick and effective increase in your focus and energy within a short period of time before working out.
Pre-workout supplements are a staple for anyone serious about getting the most out of a workout and unlike most other types of supplements, can be used by absolutely anyone whether you’ve just started to get into training, or are an elite athlete.