GAIN MUSCLE

Top 7 Best Pre Workouts For Beginners [2023 Guide]

by Nader Qudimat
Updated December 31, 2022

Beginners have it the worst.

You're given so many options. 

And worst of all...

Most of the advice is just going to overwhelm you. 

The last thing you want to do is get something under-dosed and only really has caffeine as a working ingredient. 

Here you'll find the best pre-workouts for beginners...

Best Overall For Beginners
Extra Energy For Beginners
Great Choice for Beginners
Highlights:
  • Smooth energy and focus
  • Reliable and time-tested
  • 30 servings
Highlights:
  • Big doses of nitric oxide boosters
  • Long-lasting pumps & energy
  • 25 servings
Highlights:
  • Increases nitric oxide levels
  • Multiple nootropics & stims
  • 25 servings
Stimulants:
180mg Caffeine Anhydrous, 50mg Theobromine, 30mg Infinergy Caffeine
Stimulants:
250mg Caffeine, 250mg Eria Jarensis, 150mg Theobromine, 100mg DiCaffeine Malate, 1mg Alpha Yohimbine
Stimulants:
250mg Natural Caffeine, 100mg Theobromine, 1.5mg Alpha Yohimbine
Best Overall For Beginners
Highlights:
  • Smooth energy and focus
  • Reliable and time-tested
  • 30 servings
Stimulants:
180mg Caffeine Anhydrous, 50mg Theobromine, 30mg Infinergy Caffeine
Extra Energy For Beginners
Highlights:
  • Big doses of nitric oxide boosters
  • Long-lasting pumps & energy
  • 25 servings
Stimulants:
250mg Caffeine, 250mg Eria Jarensis, 150mg Theobromine, 100mg DiCaffeine Malate, 1mg Alpha Yohimbine
Great Choice for Beginners
Highlights:
  • Increases nitric oxide levels
  • Multiple nootropics & stims
  • 25 servings
Stimulants:
250mg Natural Caffeine, 100mg Theobromine, 1.5mg Alpha Yohimbine

As a beginner, really any pre workout (and program) will work for you. 

But you won't want to just pick any pre workout. 

There is no magic or secrets to the ingredients that work best to pre workout supplements. 

And we've done the research, we know what ingredients work. 

If you want to check out the safest pre workouts, check out this list.

So this is what we decided would be our criteria for selecting these pre workouts for you:

  • Clinical dosages of proven, research backed ingredients (citrulline, caffeine, beta alanine)
  • Dietary options (vegan friendly, natural flavoring, kosher, etc.)
  • Preferences (low caffeine, no beta alanine tingles, endurance, etc.)
  • Fully open and disclosed formulas (no proprietary blends)

And it doesn't matter what your gender is, male or female, these are pre workouts that contain ingredients that increase performance. 

These are pre workouts that are made for any level.

The only difference is that they are beginner-friendly.

Best Pre Workouts For Beginners

ENTRY LEVEL

Ghost Legend

GREAT CHOICE
Ghost Legend Pre Workout by Ghost Lifestyle

With citrulline, Nitrosigine, and a few stimulants along with nootropics, Ghost is a great choice.

Highlights:
  • Increases nitric oxide levels
  • Focus and energy with multiple stims
  • Tasty flavors
Ingredients: 4g Citrulline, 3.2g Beta-Alanine, 1.5g Nitrosigine, 1g Tyrosine, 1g Taurine, 300mg Alpha-GPC, 50mg AstraGin, 50mg Senactive
Stimulants: 250mg Natural Caffeine, 100mg Theobromine, 1.5mg Alpha Yohimbine
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If one company has not only flashy branding but also potent pre workouts with clinical doses, it would be Ghost Lifestyle. 

This company has been set on a mission since 2016 to make waves with their supplements, and they have been. 

And Ghost Legend v2 is vegan friendly, gluten free and soy free. 

Ghost Legend (version 2) is worth the ranking here as it uses everything needed in a pre workout. 

It has a similar profile to Wrecked, but if you prefer something with less stimulants, then Ghost is your choice. 

Wrecked has more nitric oxide boosters but also more stimulants. 

Ghost originally only had 202mg caffeine, 2g beta alanine, agmatine and norvaline. 

Now in Ghost Legend v2, they've bumped up the dosages and added high quality ingredients, like 250mg caffeine, 3.2g beta alanine, 1.5g Nitrosigine and Senactive. 

Ghost attacks energy, pumps and focus from various angles. 

For pumps and optimal vasodilation, it contains l-citrulline and Nitrosigine, a potent combo for long lasting pumps. 

Senactive is a fairly new ingredient, it can increase ATP production and help with energy. 

Focus will be optimized thanks to the combination of L-Tyrosine, Alpha GPC, and taurine.

The stimulants in here are decently dosed with 250mg caffeine, 100mg theobromine and 1.5mg alpha yohimbine. 

You won't be overly stimulated but yet you'll have more than enough energy to power through a tough workout. 

CHECK IT OUT
PUMPS & ENERGY

Wrecked by Huge Nutrition

PUMPS & ENERGY
Wrecked by Huge Nutrition

Wrecked is one of the few pre-workouts with 8g of pure citrulline and it packs over 30g of ingredients per serving.

Highlights:
  • Big doses of nitric oxide boosters
  • Long lasting pumps and energy
  • Enhances mood
Ingredients: 8g Citrulline, 4g Hydromax, 3.5g Beta Alanine, 3g Betaine Anhydrous, 3g Malic Acid, 1.5g Agmatine, 1.5g Tyrosine, 600mg Alpha GPC 50%, 600mg Lion's Mane, 196mg Himalayan Pink Salt, 75mg S7, 10mg Black Pepper Extract
Stimulants: 250mg Caffeine, 250mg Eria Jarensis, 150mg Theobromine, 100mg DiCaffeine Malate, 1mg Alpha Yohimbine
Discount code: FITFREK
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Wrecked is more like an entry-level to hard-hitting pre-workouts but it doesn't overdo it with stimulants. 

However, if you can handle these stimulants

  • 325mg Caffeine (75mg coming from caffeine malate), 250mg Eria Jarensis, 150mg Theobromine, 1mg Alpha Yohimbine

Then you're good to go.

The caffeine comes from 2 sources, 100mg is coming from caffeine malate, which is a slow-digesting form. 

So you'll only be hit with 250mg nearly instantly not long after consuming this, and the malate form will take more time to digest and deliver you energy. 

This makes it perfect if you can't usually handle 300mg caffeine in its fast-acting form, along with the other stimulants pre-workouts usually have. 

What makes Wrecked stand out is its a blend of ergogenic aids. 

Let's start with the pumps, with 8g citrulline malate, 2g betaine anhydrous, 1.25g Agmatine, 255mg VasoDrive AP and 100mg S7, you'll feel the pumps for hours and your muscles will be much more full. 

This is a pretty intense blend of nitric oxide for a pre-workout that wasn't just designed to be a pump pre-workout. 

An interesting ingredient that may be new to you is the S7.

S7 is a patented blend of several extracts from green tea, tart cherry, blueberry, broccoli, kale, and green coffee bean extract. 

Research has seen this blend of natural extracts to be able to increase nitric oxide by 230% by only using 50mg. 

This will help expand blood vessels, allowing oxygen-rich blood to flow throughout the body.

Now, this is combined with 9g citrulline malate, 1.25g agmatine, and 255mg VasoDrive AP, so you may experience some intense muscle filling thanks to these nitric oxide boosters. 

Keep in mind if you're lactose intolerant, VasoDrive AP is sourced from casein protein, but it is considered to be lactose-free.

If you have a severe lactose allergy then you should avoid this ingredient. 

And the stimulants in here are fairly hard hitting but it's not overly done where you'll feel jitters and anxiety. 

It only uses 1mg of alpha yohimbine, which should be barely felt as this is a low dose. 

Wrecked is one of the best pre-workouts for beginners and with 25 servings of 21g, it's a long-lasting purchase. 

Use discount code FITFREK.

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WELL ROUNDED

Bulk by Transparent Labs

NATURALLY FLAVORED
PreSeries Bulk Pre-Workout by Transparent Labs

Containing over 22g per serving, Bulk contains full doses of ergogenic aids and a range of nootropics as well as stimulants to help enhance energy.

Highlights:
  • Smooth energy and focus
  • No crash
  • Reliable and time-tested
Ingredients: 6g Citrulline Malate, 4g Beta Alanine, 4g BCAA, 2.5g BetaPure, 1.3g Taurine, 1g Tyrosine, 300mg Alpha GPC, 360mg L-Theanine, 25mg Astragin
Stimulants: 180mg Caffeine Anhydrous, 50mg Theobromine, 30mg Infinergy Caffeine
Discount code: FITFREK
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Bulk has the name of a pre workout as if it was designed only for muscle building. 

But in reality, it just has clinical doses of performance enhancing ingredients. 

From 6g citrulline malate to 4g BCAA's, 4g beta alanine, and 2.5g betaine anhydrous, you'll be able to squeeze out more sets and reps than usual with these ingredients. 

Beta alanine will help clear out the lactic acid while citrulline malate will increase vasodilation and betaine anhydrous will increase muscle size and strength. 

On top of that, the 1.3g taurine will help increase size by forcing more water retention in your muscles. 

The nootropics and stimualnts in Bulk will help enhance both focus and energy. 

The fast acting form of caffeine is dosed at 180mg, but on top of that there's 30mg of the malate form for long lasting energy, and 50mg theobromine on top of that, which is a mild stimulant. 

The 360mg of theanine here is sure to be felt, it'll help increase calmness without causing drowsiness. 

A similar pre workout to Bulk is Wrecked. 

If you prefer more energy and pumps, then go with Wrecked, but if you want more power and strength, then Bulk is a good choice. 

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SMOOTH ENERGY

SuperHuman by Alpha Lion

SMOOTH ENERGY
SuperHuman by Alpha Lion

Alpha Lion makes decent supplements that stand out in the crowded market of pre-workouts.

Highlights:
  • Smooth energy
  • No crash
  • Decent pumps
Ingredients: 7g Citrulline Malate, 3.2g Beta Alanine, 2.5g Betaine Anhydrous, 1g Taurine, 750mg Nitrosigine, 350mg Theanine, 100mg S7, 50mg Astragin, 5mg BioPerine
Stimulants: 300mg Caffeine, 100mg DiCaffeine Malate, 100mg Theobromine
Discount code: FITFREK
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Superhuman by Alpha Lion might be one only pre workouts on here with DMHA. 

It's not overly strong, with 100mg DMHA, 275mg caffeine and 75mg N-Methyl Tyramine HCl, you'll be getting a nice flow of energy without the jitters of anxiety. 

There is also 100mg of a slower acting caffeine, caffeine malate, but that doesn't hit as quickly as the 275mg caffeine anhydrous. 

Caffeine takes longer to digest in it's malate form, allowing you to have energy over a longer period of time. 

DMHA is usually dosed at 200-300 in stronger pre workouts, so this is a nice introduction to exotic stimulants. 

But keep in mind, NMT (n-methyl tyramine HCl) is banned by WADA (World Anti Doping Agency) and should be avoided if you're drug tested for competition.

NMT isn't really that strong of a stimulant, but it's mainly banned because it can work as a bronchodilator. 

If you have experience with 300mg of caffeine, then Superhuman should be no problem for you. 

But if you don't, then you should go for Bulk or MyProtein Pre Workout. 

If you want the revised version without DMHA, then check it out here.

Use discount code FITFREK.

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caffeine-free Pre-workout

Pump Serum by Huge Supplements

MEGA DOSED
Pump Serum by Huge Nutrition

Pump Serum v2 is the latest formula from Huge Nutrition, packing lots of citrulline, nitric oxide boosters and more. This is 30% off at the moment, use discount code FITFREK to get an extra 10% off.

Highlights:
  • Strong long lasting pumps
  • Nootropics included for focus
  • Optimizes performance and reduces fatigue
Ingredients: 8g Citrulline, 3g Betaine Anhydrous, 3g GlycerPump, 2g Beet Root Extract, 1.5g Tyrosine, 1.5g Nitrosigine, 1.25g Agmatine, 1g Pomegranate, 254mg VasoDrive, 980mg Choline Bitartrate, 157mg Himalayan Salt, 20mg Huperzine, 5mg Bioperine
Discount code: FITFREK
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You don't always want stimulants. 

There are tons of ingredients that can do wonders for workouts like nitric oxide boosters and even nootropics. 

That means you can remain focused and have fuller muscles without requiring stimulants like caffeine. 

You may also want to train later in the evening and don't want to disturb your sleep.

This is where non-stimulant pre-workouts like Pump Serum come into play. 

Pump Serum is one of the safest pre-workouts you can go with because it's packed with ingredients that will increase nitric oxide levels from different levels and it also has nootropics to produce all-day focus. 

It'll also help enhance mood, so whether you're trying to cut down on caffeine or you want to train at your best without stimulants, then Pump Serum is a great choice. 

CHECK IT OUT
SIMPLE

MyProtein The Pre Workout

CHEAP
THE Pre-Workout by MYPROTEIN

THE Pre-Workout is a decent choice that offers muscle and endurance-boosting benefits.

Highlights:
  • Increases pump and focus
  • Decent strength-boosting benefits
  • Moderate energy
Ingredients: 4g Citrulline, 2.5g Betaine Anhydrous, 2g Creatine, 2g Beta-Alanine, 750mg N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine, 25mg AstraGin, 2.5gmg BioPerine
Stimulants: 150mg Caffeine, 50mg TeaCrine
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Simple pre workouts are hard to find these days. 

However My Protein has done it right with THE Pre Workout. 

The simply named THE Pre Workout contains exactly what you need and leaves out everything else. 

The downside to THE Pre Workout is that it contains a small dose of creatine, 2g. 

Creatine should be dosed at 5g for proper benefits, but you should have this ingredient in bulk anyway as it can be taken anytime. 

And beta alanine is a little underdosed at 2g, it should be 3.2g at least.

But if you don't like the tingles then this dose may just be good for you. 

There's also 4g citrulline with 2.5g betaine to help with muscle pumps, size and strength. 

All in all, THE Pre Workout is the perfect introduction to the world of this category of energy supplements. 

CHECK IT OUT
FOCUS & STRENGTH

Pre-Kaged by Kaged

GREAT PICK
Pre Kaged by Kaged

Kaged is a simple but effective formula with much-needed ingredients to improve performance and recovery for workouts.

Highlights:
  • High dose of pure citrulline
  • Trusted company with a solid reputation
  • Improves focus and hydration
Ingredients: 6.5g Citrulline, 3.75g Leucine, 875mg Isoleucine, 875mg Valine, 2.5g BetaPower, 1.6g Beta-Alanine, 1.5g Creatine HCL, 500mg Coconut Water Powder, 100mg Spectra ORAC Blend, 2g Taurine, 1g N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine, 850mg Tyrosine
Stimulants: 274mg PurCaf Organic Caffeine
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Pre-Kaged is a great pre-workout with a formula that can't do any beginners any wrong. 

Although it does have a little bit of beta-alanine, the tingles won't be as overwhelming as a pre-workout with 3 grams. 

It's also from a trusted company and it doesn't have any banned substances. 

Pre-Kaged is a straightforward pre-workout that doesn't try to do anything new but it does have proven-to-work ingredients that will surely help strength and performance. 

Although it doesn't go overboard with stimulants, the energy is just enough to keep you going for hard workouts and some more. 

CHECK IT OUT
PERFECT FOR FIRST-TIMERS

4 Gauge 

WITHOUT BETA ALANINE
4 Gauge Pre Workout

If you don't like the tingles and want just enough caffeine, then 4 Gauge is a solid pick for you.

Highlights:
  • No tingles
  • Smooth energy
  • Increases endurance
Ingredients: 6g Citrulline Malate, 300mg Reed Beet Extract, 500mg Acetyl-L-Carnitine, 1g Creatine Monohydrate, 300mg Coconut Water, 200mg Theanine, 100mg Rhodiola Rosea
Stimulants: 150mg Caffeine
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If you want a smooth experience for your first pre-workout, then 4 Gauge pre-workout is a solid choice. 

It has just enough energy and it doesn't cause any side effects.

Without beta-alanine, it won't even cause tingles. 

The caffeine and theanine combo is a solid way to increase energy smoothly without causing jitters or anxiety. 

You also won't experience a crash.

There's also a clinical dose of citrulline malate at 6g, along with beet root extract to help further increase nitric oxide levels. 

4 Gauge will help also with hydration as it has coconut water. 

So you can't go wrong with this pre-workout, whether it's your first time using pre-workouts or just want a nice experience. 

CHECK IT OUT
NO BETA ALANINE

Amino Energy

AFFORDABLE
Amino Energy by Optimum Nutrition

Amino Energy is a reliable energy booster that uses amino acids and caffeine from green tea.

Ingredients: 5g Amino Blend
Stimulants: 160mg Caffeine
Discount code: FITFREK
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If you want something cheap and better than coffee, then Amino Energy has what you need.

This is a energy supplement with amino acids and caffeine.

It's fairly straightforward with 100mg caffeine per 2 scoops with a little bit of beta alanine (probably less than a gram)

Every serving has 5 grams of amino acids but they are in a proprietary blend, so you don't know how much of each amino acid you're getting.

But it's still a cheap choice and has been a popular pre workout for years now

CHECK IT OUT

What Is A Pre Workout?

Pre workouts are supplements that provide energy for your workouts. 

They contain ingredients that assist with different areas of your workouts, like endurance, strength, focus and motivation. 

The ingredients used are typically ones that have some research supporting their purpose. 

Not all pre workouts are safe. 

You can learn about the safest options here. 

Should I Use Pre Workouts?

There's no reason not to unless you don't have the budget or can't have the ingredients in them for whatever reason (allergies, caffeine, etc.)

Not all pre-workouts are created equally. 

I created this list to help you find a pre-workout that is friendly for beginners. 

I also have other lists that include:

You should pick a pre-workout based on your preferences, but if you don't have any preferences and just want something that works then go for either Wrecked or Bulk

When Should I Take A Pre Workout?

Typically you should take a pre workout 30-45 minutes before your workout. 

But most pre workouts will be fine if you wait an hour or two because the effects last for at least 3-5 hours, even more for stimulant sensitive folks. 

It should be taken on a empty stomach, so if you've just eaten a protein heavy meal, like eggs then you would wait at least 2 hours before consuming your pre workout. 

I typically workout without eating anything in the morning, and just take my pre workout and that helps power through the workout without feeling hungry. 

Some pre workouts are stimulant free, allowing you to consume it at night, or anytime without worrying it would disturb your sleep. 

There are nootropics like huperzine which can possibly keep you up at night. 

How Long Does It Last?

Typically you should take a pre workout 30-45 minutes before your workout. 

But most pre workouts will be fine if you wait an hour or two because the effects last for at least 3-5 hours, even more for stimulant sensitive folks. 

It should be taken on a empty stomach, so if you've just eaten a protein heavy meal, like eggs then you would wait at least 2 hours before consuming your pre workout. 

I typically workout without eating anything in the morning, and just take my pre workout and that helps power through the workout without feeling hungry. 

Some pre workouts are stimulant free, allowing you to consume it at night, or anytime without worrying it would disturb your sleep. 

There are nootropics like huperzine which can possibly keep you up at night. 

Why Take A Pre Workout?

Modern science has taken us far and when it comes to supplement research, a lot has been learned about what several ingredients can do for improving workout performance.

While caffeine on it's own has some performance boosting benefits, ingredients like citrulline, beta alanine and betaine have been shown to help improve workout quality and reduce fatigue.

A good pre workout will contain several ingredients for mainly improving your workout experience as well as motivation. 

However not all pre workouts are created equally and not all companies would spare no expense creating formulas with the best bang for your buck. 

Ingredients to Look For

Pre workout ingredients are usually formulated together to achieve a goal or two. 

Pre workouts can either contain just caffeine along with ergogenic aids (like ingredients that help with vasodilation or reduce fatigue) or they can choose to have thermogenic aids to help enhance fat loss. 

No matter what you want to achieve, you generally want to have citrulline and caffeine as these two ingredients are well researched to help improve workout performance. 

Caffeine

This is one of the most common stimulants you'll find in pre workouts.

It reduces mental fatigue by inhibiting adenosine and phosphodiesterase, while increasing alertness and awareness. 

The fast acting form is usually just labelled as caffeine, or caffeine citrate, or caffeine anhydrous, while the slower acting form is the caffeine malate. 

Citrulline

There's generally two forms of citrulline to look out for, citrulline malate and citrulline.

Citrulline is an amino acid that's able to convert into arginine, better than arginine itself. 

It increases ATP production, removes and clears out the toxic molecule called ammonia, and can increase workout performance. 

It'll help increase vasodilation and help deliver oxygen rich blood to muscles. 

The other form is citrulline malate, which is bonded with malic acid and it's believed to be more bioavailability, but we haven't really noticed a difference. 

If you see 8g of citrulline malate, this means you're getting 4g of pure citrulline. 

Beta alanine

Beta Alanine helps enhance workout performance by delaying fatigue, and boosts endurance. 

It's responsible for the harmless tingling sensation that you get after drinking it, which is called paresthesia. 

This sensation decreases as your body becomes saturated with beta alanine. 

The clinical dose is anywhere from 3.2g to 6.4g per day. 

Taking this will increase overall power, strength and work volume. 

Beta alanine, like creatine, can be taken anytime during the day and it doesn't need to be in a pre workout.

Betaine

Betaine is a strength boosting compound that works similarly to creatine. 

It helps with size and strength gains. 

Benefits can be seen with doses anywhere from 500mg to 2.5g per day, but we prefer the latter for the most benefits. 

It'll also help increase muscle protein synthesis. 

Creatine

Creatine is not needed in a pre-workout as it can be taken anytime during the day (pre, post, intra).

And you should use 5g per day, without needing to load. 

It takes a few days for creatine to leave your system completely, so after a few weeks of using creatine daily, you can skip days where you don't take it if you wanted to save money. 

Theanine

Theanine is an amino acid that induces relaxation and calmness without causing drowsiness. 

When combined with caffeine and other stimulants, it can result in a very smooth zen-like focus and energy.

It can also reduce jitters.

Doses are usually anywhere from 150mg to 300mg or more. 

Extra fillers 

Watch out for the extra ingredients. 

If you don't want artificial ingredients or coloring, then look at the fillers and avoid the ones that have them. 

There are natural flavored pre workouts without coloring, or artificially flavored pre workouts without coloring. 

But keep in mind, the natural ones won't taste as good, it'll just be healthier for you.

Pre Workouts That Didn't Make The List

These are pre-workouts we considered but ultimately didn't make our list:

  • G Fuel
  • Sneak Energy
by Nader Qudimat

Forged by the iron and cold steel, Nader takes his knowledge and hulks it up into this site.

Having to be stuck as a 110lb skinny guy in the early days, he has had no choice but to keep improving himself until he cannot.

Click here to check out his 12 year transformation: Natural 12 Year Transformation

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