Best Pre Workouts For Women: Top Supplements For Performance And Weight Loss

by Nader Qudimat
Updated November 2, 2021

If you want to perform your best, you need pre-workout.

Well, that’s not entirely true.

While pre-workouts can make or break your workout, too much of it can cause heart-attack like sensations and shorten your exercise session.

On the other hand, we have the possibility of using pre-workouts that are free of any stimulants such as caffeine. That way, the risk of a critically elevated heart rate is mitigated.

If you’re someone thats trying to cut down on caffeine, then the products I will recommend should be something to consider.

It should be mentioned that pre-workouts are stimulates already. Which means that you could simply drink coffee or tea since those are stimulants.

Although we’ve written a massive pre-workout buying guide, people are still falling for these “pre-workouts for women” guides that we don’t agree with.

It’s like going to Starbucks and asking for a “men’s coffee” or “women’s coffee”. There’s no difference.

As long as it doesn’t contain any testosterone boosting ingredients, which would be mentioned on the container, then its completely safe for women.

This means that basically any pre-workout is fine for you, but keep in mind that you should always start with half a serving or less to assess your tolerance to the drink.

The Biggest Problem With Pre Workouts

Pre-workouts that are designed to target women are overpriced and exist solely to trick people into thinking there’s a difference between men’s and women’s pre-workout.

You can tell if you can handle a pre-workout based on its stimulant content which should be disclosed on the bottle.

One cup of coffee is generally measured to have around 150 mg of caffeine.

So if you’re a coffee drinker, reading the caffeine content on the pre-workout container will help you assess whether or not you can handle the caffeine.

Always start with half a scoop or less to assess your tolerance, as there could be other stimulants that you are not used to like DMAA, synephrine, etc.

Focus on Your Goals

Recommendations on pre-workouts should never be based on gender or demographics unless there was really some ingredient that only men or women should take and that is rarely the case.

If your goal is to gain muscle (tone up), then you need everything you can get in a pre-workout like citrulline malate, betaine anhydrous, BCAA’s and more.

A pre-workout like PreSeries Bulk or Pre-Kaged are both perfect for muscle-building goals as well as fat loss since they contain very little calories.

Top Pre Workouts:

We picked two pre-workouts so far for you ladies but these are merely examples of what you should look for.

We know there’s many more out there but the problem with pre-workouts is that more of them are made with proprietary blends and have completely out-of-proportion ingredients.

Almost all of the pre-workouts targeted for women are overpriced and provide no extra benefit compared to the equivalent normal pre-workout.

You will hear of pre-workouts such as 4 Gauge but these are mostly pushed by affiliates who earn 30% or more on commissions.

Look at the pre-workouts below and from the formulas you should be able to set a standard of what you should search for.

If you’re overwhelmed by the variety of choices out there, compare the labels to either PreSeries Lean or Pre-Kaged and you’ll understand what the dosages should look like. Both of them can be found below.

These two pre-workouts have set the standard for full and balanced pre-workout formulas.

But if you want more choices, head over to our comprehensive top 10 pre-workout guide where we help you pick a pre-workout according to your preferences.

If you want the strong stuff, and you have experience with pre-workouts, then head over to our strongest pre-workouts guide.

Otherwise, you’ll want to check our these recommendations below which are not only great for women but for men as well.

​​Pulse by ​Legion Athletics

  • ​8g L-Citrulline Malate
  • ​4.8g Beta-Alanine
  • ​2.5g Betaine Anhydrous
  • ​2.2g L-Ornithine
  • ​2g Taurine
  • 350mg Caffeine Anhydrous
  • ​350mg L-Theanine

This has been one of the more popular pre-workouts on the market for the last couple of years and has been mainly available only through the Legion website or on Amazon.

Although, recently they’ve expanded to most major retailers.

There’s only 6 ingredients in Pulse and if you go to the Legion website, it’s marketed as “the perfect pe-workout”.

Well, maybe not perfect, but it is a solid pre-workout with full disclosure labeling and clinically dosed ingredients.

Pulse begins with a huge 8g dose of citrulline malate for massive pumps - there’s still some debate over which type of citrulline is best, pure citrulline or the citrulline-malic acid combo.

The main difference is that malic acid is involved in the ATP energy system so you can expect a little more endurance along with your pump.

Next we have Beta-Alanine and you can expect a lot more endurance with this ingredient! It works indirectly by increasing muscle carnosine levels which blocks fatigue buildup - this means you can train harder and longer.

Pulse has it very well dosed at 4.8g.

Next up is betaine, an exciting ingredient that’s been gaining popularity for the last few years.

It’s similar to creatine, helps increase strength, power and endurance.

Pulse has it clinically dosed.

If you’re starting to see a trend with quite a few endurance ingredients, that’s what Pulse is aiming for and the trend continues with ornithine, another endurance enhancer that’s extremely well dosed in Pulse.

Finally, we get to the energy ingredients!

There’s really only caffeine, however, it’s a very solid 350mg per scoop.

To taper that down a bit, there’s also 350 mg theanine - which is a relaxant that’s included in pre-workouts to smooth out the stims.

Here, the dosage may be a little too relaxing - not ideal for a brutally intense workout!

Overall, Pulse is a solid choice, but may be a little lacking in focus enhancers and may be slightly high in theanine - not to mention it’s priced at the high end.

It’s worth a try, but you should start with half a scoop to determine your tolerance to the caffeine.


​Altius by Jacked Factory

  • ​8g Citrulline Malate
  • ​3.2g Beta Alanine
  • ​3g Creatine Monohydrate
  • ​2.5g Betaine Anhydrous
  • ​325mg Caffeine Anhydrous
  • ​150mg Alpha GP
  • ​5mg Black Pepper

Altius is another pre-workout that features a fully open label and clinical dosing of 6 effective ingredients (similar to Pulse), plus black pepper to improve absorption.

Altius starts off with a 8g dose of citrulline malate for pumps and endurance, and follows that with a clinical 3.2g dose of beta alanine to further enhance endurance.

From here, Altius adds in creatine, and while it’s only 3g (it should be 5g), it’s good to see this in a pre-workout.

Creatine, for men and women both, is the most proven effective natural supplement on the market.

What makes this even better is the addition of the creatine-like betaine at clinical dosing, so you have a great strength, power, endurance and cell volumizing combo.

However, not all women want a combo like that, so this is definitely a goal-specific pre-workout.

That leaves just two ingredients - caffeine, well dosed at 325mg but with nothing to help smooth out the effects.

For focus, alpha GPC, a form of choline.

So if you are a woman that’s sensitive to caffeine, this may not be your best choice because if you cut it back to ¾ or ½ scoop, you’ll lose out on the effective dosing of everything else.

In addition, the fact that this is priced high for just 20 servings - but if you’re OK with that much caffeine, this is a decent choice.

Otherwise, there are better choices available.


Pre Kaged by Kaged Muscle

  • 6.5g L-Citrulline
  • ​​6.5g BCAA's
  • ​1.6g Beta-Alanine
  • ​2g Betaine Anhydrous
  • ​2g Taurine
  • ​500mg Coconut Water
  • ​274mg Organic Caffeine

Pre Kaged is one of the superior pre workouts out there.

It not only contains pre citrulline but also all naturally-sourced and fermented BCAA’s, which means its vegan friendly.

For focus enhancement it uses not one but two forms of tyrosine along with 274 mg of caffeine.

Most pre-workouts only focus on stimulants for focus and energy but I-Tyrosine is essential to have as it can improve dopamine production.

Endurance and Pumps

One thing you'll find in Pre-Kaged that isn't available in 99% of pre workouts, is the pure 6.5 gram dose of citrulline.

And that's pure citrulline, not citrulline malate.

Meaning you'll get nice and tight pumps that'll have you pumping out reps and sets like no tomorrow.

Some people have complained about upset stomachs due to high doses of citrulline, but for women you will most likely require less than a full scoop, which wouldn’t be enough to cause discomfort.

Men generally need a full scoop to get the maximum benefits from Pre-Kaged.

This way you will end up getting much more benefit from a single container of it.

BCAA's For Better Recovery and Fat Loss

BCAA's are branched amino acids that have research showing that it can increase recovery and reduce fatigue.

When you're exercising, your body benefits from BCAA's as it provides a steady fuel of energy directly to your muscles.

Focus and Neuro Energy

In this part of Pre-Kaged, you're getting:

    2g Taurine
    1g N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine
    850mg L-Tyrosine
    274mg Caffeine

Now that's a real good looking focus blend!

The first ingredient is taurine, one of the most abundant amino acid in the body that is found in muscles, heart and brain.

It works by drawing water into the muscles but don't worry, this won't cause noticeable bloating, just a great pump that temporarily makes your muscles look fuller and "leaner".

Next is N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine; a high quality expensive form of L-Tyrosine which works to increase the production of dopamine and noradrenaline, two very crucial neurotransmitters.

Another 850mg dose of L-Tyrosine is also included which is known to be less bioavailable but is still super effective at increasing focus.

The energy blend is topped off with 274mg natural caffeine.

This form of caffeine is PurCaf, a 90% organic pure caffeine extract that's derived from green coffee beans.

All caffeine forms will boost energy so this isn't a major deal breaker but it is nice knowing a non-GMO form is being used as it's organic.

If you're serious about the gym or just want full and proven doses of ergogenic ingredients then Pre Kaged is one for you to try.

Even if you take half a scoop, you'll be better off with this pre workout than 99% of pre workouts out there.

Also the flavors are great and are made with stevia, with absolutely no dyes or artifical coloring (no stained teeth!).

You'll see this being compared to Pre-Jym all the time, but we prefer Pre-Kaged for the fact it uses natural flavoring, no dyes and a pure massive 6.5 gram dose of citrulline.


​White Flash by Controlled Labs

  • 5g L-Citrulline
  • ​4g Betaine Anhydrous
  • ​1.5g L-Tyrosine
  • ​750mg Agmatine Sulfate
  • ​500mg Lion's Mane Mushroom Powder
  • ​300mg Caffeine Anhydrous
  • ​300mg VASO6™ Green Tea Leaf Extract
  • ​100mg L-Theanine
  • ​50mg AstraGin
  • ​20mg Theobromine

​White Flash is the newest pre-workout from Controlled Labs and has quickly become their flagship product - and for good reason, it’s a strong formula with effective dosing, full disclosure labeling and some innovative ingredients.

White Flash has a complex of pump enhancers and starts off with a huge 5g dose of pure citrulline - there’s no malic acid here, so you’ll see more pumps but a little less endurance.

This is paired with agmatine sulfate to further enhance nitric oxide based pumps.

It also includes the new compound vaso-6, a patented combination of green tea extracts that is being called the most effective nitric oxide enhancer on the market, even more-so than citrulline.

Is it really that good?

It may be too soon to know because the research is somewhat limited, but it seems to be generating positive reports so far.

Next up is a very strong 4g dose of betaine, at this level it not only improves strength and endurance, it acts as a cell volumizer for water-based pumps.

White Flash also has a stimulant/focus complex that consists of caffeine (300mg), with a 100mg dose of theanine to help smooth out the effects of caffeine.

Plus lion’s mane and tyrosine for focus, concentration and motivation.

There is also theobromine, which is similar to caffeine but milder, it’s dosed so low it’s hardly worth mentioning and we have to wonder why it’s even here.

Overall, this is an excellent pre-workout with 20 servings at a fairly high price, but you could cut back to maybe ¾ of a scoop and still provides great results.

As always, and this is true not only for women but all users, it’s a good idea to start with ½ scoop and go from their based on your tolerance.


​PreSeries S​TIM-FREE​ by Transparent Labs

  • 6g Citrulline Malate
  • 4g BCAAs
  • ​4g Beta Alanine
  • ​3g Creatine HCI
  • ​2.5g Betaine Anhydrous
  • ​1.3g Taurine
  • ​600mg N-Acetyl L Tyrosine
  • ​500mg Choline
  • ​70mg Mucuna Pruriens
  • ​60mg Norvaline
  • ​5mg Black Pepper

Stim Free Pre-Workout by Transparent Labs is designed for users - women and men - that don’t want any stimulants.

Of course, some users may want to mix in their own stim-based product - users that like lower caffeine or more cognitive enhancers can do it this way and end up with a better pre-workout than you could find on the shelves.

Stim Free is a great all around formula that is fully disclosed and well dosed with a solid 6g of citrulline malate for pumps and endurance.

We like the fact it also contains BCAAs and creatine, two ingredients every pre-workout should have.

Of course, complexing betaine with creatine is a great idea as well.

Stim Free uses 3g of creatine hci, a form of creatine that is supposed to absorb better than regular creatine monohydrate, meaning smaller doses work as well as a larger dose of regular creatine.

Next up is a complex of cognitive enhancers starting with taurine, which is mainly a cell volumizer so it works well with creatine and betaine, but also supports neurotransmitter function thereby helping to control stress and anxiety.

From here we have tyrosine and choline for focus, concentration and motivation.

Transparent Labs gives you quite a few pre-workout choices so you can choose the one that best fits your goals.

Stim-Free is a great way to go if you don’t want any stims whatsoever.


​Quake 10 by Scivation

  • 6g L-Citrulline
  • ​3.5g L-Leucine
  • ​3g L-Tyrosine
  • ​2g PeakO2® Blend
  • (Cordyceps, Reishi, King Trumpet, Shiitake, Lion's Mane, Turkey Tail)
  • 1.7g L-Isoleucine
  • ​1.7g L-Valine
  • ​1.5g Arginine Nitrate
  • ​1.5g L-Carnitine L-Tartrate
  • ​1g Capros® (Indian Gooseberry Extract)
  • ​350mg Caffeine Anhydrous
  • ​200mg L-Theanine
  • ​50mg AstraGin®

Stim Free Pre-Workout by Transparent Labs is designed for users - women and men - that don’t want any stimulants.

Of course, some users may want to mix in their own stim-based product - users that like lower caffeine or more cognitive enhancers can do it this way and end up with a better pre-workout than you could find on the shelves.

Stim Free is a great all around formula that is fully disclosed and well dosed with a solid 6g of citrulline malate for pumps and endurance.

We like the fact it also contains BCAAs and creatine, two ingredients every pre-workout should have.

Of course, complexing betaine with creatine is a great idea as well.

Stim Free uses 3g of creatine hci, a form of creatine that is supposed to absorb better than regular creatine monohydrate, meaning smaller doses work as well as a larger dose of regular creatine.

Next up is a complex of cognitive enhancers starting with taurine, which is mainly a cell volumizer so it works well with creatine and betaine, but also supports neurotransmitter function thereby helping to control stress and anxiety.

From here we have tyrosine and choline for focus, concentration and motivation.

Transparent Labs gives you quite a few pre-workout choices so you can choose the one that best fits your goals.

Stim-Free is a great way to go if you don’t want any stims whatsoever.


​Genius Pre by The Genius Brand

  • 6g Citrulline Malate
  • 2g Beta Alanine
  • ​2g Betaine Anhydrous
  • ​1g Tyrosine
  • 1g Arginine
  • ​1g Taurine
  • ​600mg Alpha GPC (50%)
  • ​500mg HICA
  • ​150mg ElevATP
  • ​100mg Rhodiola Rosea
  • ​30mg Theobromine
  • ​25mg Astragin
  • ​10mg Huperzine A 1%

​If you want a clean, caffeine-free pre-workout, this is the one for you - Genius Pre by The Genius Brand.

This is billed as the “world’s first nootropic based” pre-workout and it’s designed to enhance the mind-muscle connection.

Genius Pre is clinically dosed with a fully disclosed label and no artificial anything.

What’s it sweetened with?

Organic stevia.

Genius Pre is all about cognitive enhancement and takes nootropics very seriously with tyrosine, alpha GPC, rhodiola, huperzine and theobromine.

This combination dramatically increases focus, concentration - and creates a serious mental edge for a true mind-muscle connection.

Genius Pre is more than nootropics and actually is a very well-rounded formula with a 6g dose of citrulline malate and 1g arginine for great pumps.

It also has betaine for strength and power output, as well as taurine which can help promote water-based pumps, plus beta alanine for fatigue reduction and endurance.

Two unique ingredients are elevATP for strength and endurance, and HICA, a metabolite of leucine (the super-anabolic BCAA) for protein synthesis.

One serving is 2 scoops, and you will pay a premium price for this product.

There’s nothing here that is in any way harmful to women or that should be used in smaller dosages for women.


PreSeries BULK LEAN By Transparent Labs

  • 30 Full Servings With 21 Grams Of Active Ingredients
  • ​4g Beta Alanine
  • ​4g BCAA
  • ​1.3g Taurine
  • ​600mg N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine
  • ​500mg Choline Bitartrate
  • ​360mg L-Theanine
  • ​180mg Caffeine Anhydrous
  • ​70mg Mucuna Pruriens (98% L-Dopa)
  • ​60mg L-Norvaline
  • ​50mg Synephrine
  • ​25mg Hordenine
  • ​5mg BioPerine
    Vitamin D3, Zinc, Boron Citrate

Transparent Labs has a number of supplements that you can benefit from but here we'll focus on their pre-workouts.

PreSeries Bulk is a massively packed pre-workout that has everything from BCAA's to strength-boosting ingredients.

The name might be a turn off but it is like any other pre-workout except with full clinical doses.

It contains a "testosertone blend" but it is nothing that women can't take.

Here's what the testosterone blend contains:

    Vitamin D3 (supports mood, bone structure, and cognition)
    Boron Citrate (mineral that supports bone health)
    Zinc AAC (another mineral that supports the immune system)

PreSeries LEAN by Transparent Labs

  • 6g Citrulline Malate
  • 2.5g BetaPure (Betaine Anhydrous)
  • ​1.5g Beta Alanine
  • ​360mg L-Theanine
  • ​600mg N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine
  • ​500mg Choline Bitartrate
  • ​180mg Caffeine Anhydrous
  • ​70mg Mucuna Pruriens (98% L-Dopa)
  • ​60mg L-Norvaline
  • ​50mg Syneprine HCl
  • ​25mg Hordenine
  • ​5mg BioPerine
  • 200mcg Chromium
  • ​Thyroid Support: 225mcg Iodine, 30mg Zinc AAC, 50mcg Selenium, 1mg Copper, 75mg Guggulsterones

The formula truly does do all the talking, look at that long list!

And everything is disclosed, there no secret or hidden dosages.

Here's why this is a great pre-workout:

    No sweeteners, dyes, preservatives or aritifcal flavors
    Provides a source for "clean energy" and focus
    Uses clinically proven doses with ergogenic ingredients

Not even the "extra ingredients" like stevia, flavoring or anything like that is hidden!

This pre-workout obviously has had a lot of planning invested into it and it hasn't failed to receive any negative reviews.

It's a pre workout that can be taken with consistant results and no worries about tolerence issues as the ingredients have a "build up" effect so it gets better with each use.

You'll notice a number of benefits when taking PreSeries LEAN, like your focus, energy and mood. Metabolism and endurance will increase and you'll perform better with not only your workouts but your overall day as well as the energy and focus lasts for quite a while.

PreSeries LEAN (and BULK) has clearly raised the standards for what a pre-workout should look like.

This is something that will be used for many years to come and we're unlikely to see the formula changing entirely except for maybe some minor changes like the flavors.

Pre-workouts like LEAN and Bulk do not need to hide their dosages nor do they need to be overpriced.

Start with half a serving.

And if half a serving is enough for you, you'll end up getting twice as much and still have something that outperforms the 99% of pre workouts out there.

Save 10% with this coupon: FITFREK

Check out Lean here and if you want to see what else Transparent Labs has to offer, click here.


​How To Pick A Pre Workout (Guide):

​Pre Workouts Should Be Fully Disclosed (No Pixie Dust Prop Blends!)

​The use of prop blends is one of the biggest problems in the industry.

They are solely used by companies to hide the ingredients they use and are therefore charging you more for less.

These products can’t be trusted when there are pre-workouts that fully disclose their ingredients.

Everything should be clearly labeled with dosing fully disclosed on any product you might have an interest in - if it isn’t clearly detailed, don’t buy it.

Remember, always look for a supplement that is effectively dosed using quality ingredients and full label transparency - that should be your number one buying rule.

Caffeine Is In Every Pre-Workout (but often alongside other stimulants)
You will find that a majority of pre-workouts on the market contain caffeine unless it’s stim-free.

Caffeine does much more than increase energy, it also increases alertness, improves strength as well as endurance, plus it acts as a thermogenic; which all help during exercise.

The effective dose ranges between 200 mg to as high as 400 mg, depending on body weight (3-6 mgs per kilogram of bodyweight).

You’ll also find that caffeine is not usually the only stimulant, so the total amount needs to be a little lower than what you would normally use.

Depending on the product, you might find stimulants that work with caffeine to extend and smooth its effects, like teacrine, theacrine or theobromine, or, you might find more exotic stims that work with caffeine to ramp you up and rocket you through your workouts, like eria jarensis or senegalia.

The bottom line is to always start with ½ serving to determine tolerance, even if you like a lot of stims.

Read the label, it shouldn’t contain artificial sweeteners, coloring and preservatives because those things are counterproductive to your health and fitness goals.

Unfortunately, even some of the best products available contain artificial sweeteners or flavors - but you should know that there are all-natural pre-workouts available that are sweetened with stevia and contain nothing artificial whatsoever.

You might pay a little more, but these types of products are as healthy as it gets, so if that’s a concern, you’ll want to look at products like NutraBio’s Pre-Workout V5 Natural - check them out, they are great products!

​What Pre Workouts To Avoid:

​Ignite by FitMiss

  • 30 Servings
  • ​7g Scoop
  • 5.7g Prop Blend Of: Beta Alanine, Choline, L-Tyrosine, Glycine, Taurine, L-Carnitine, Beet Root, Hawthorn, Agmatine, Caffeine, Huperzine A.

Ignite by FitMiss is a pre-workout that really looks the part - “designed and formulated for women” with an attractive pink and black label.

One look at the ingredient profile, however, and you can see - this is not a pre-workout that lives up to the hype.

What we have is a prop blend with no dosing breakdown whatsoever - not even caffeine.

We have no idea how much of anything we’re getting with this product.

Clearly they’ve spent more time on design and marketing rather than creating a good product.

In this day and age of clinical dosing and full disclosure labeling, this kind of product is a fossil.

They are redundant.

There’s just no reason to hide behind a prop blend - just dose it effectively and fully disclose your ingredients!


​4 Gauge by Roar Ambition

  • 6g L-Citrulline DL-Malate
  • ​1g Creatine Monohydrate
  • ​500mg Acetyl L-Carnitine
  • ​300mg Red Beet ( Beta Vulgaris)
  • ​300mg Coconut Water Powder
  • ​200mg L-Theanine
  • ​150mg Caffeine Anhydrous
  • ​100mg Rhodiola Rosea

​4 Gauge actually embraces the idea of being a quality pre-workout using all natural ingredients, full disclosure labeling and well-portioned components.

All of this is neatly presented on their website; giving you a detailed breakdown.

Sounds good, right?

Sure, until you decide to order it.

4 Gauge is not a terrible pre-workout - but some of the ingredients are portioned at the lower end of the range.

Despite the reasons given on their website for such a low portion of creatine, for example, we would want to see a full dose of this ingredient.

The caffeine-theanine combo might be strong enough for some users, but the low caffeine dose might be a problem with users that want more of a kick - but you could just double-scoop it, right?

This is easily the most expensive pre-workout on the market - and it only has 20 servings!

Not to mention you can only order it from the 4 Gauge website.

This product is definitely not worth it’s price for the value you receive.

Moving on.


​You Don't Need Any Supplements At All

​The truth is, you don’t have to use pre-workouts - or any supplements for that matter - to get satisfactory results.

Many people see supplements as some sort of magical potion that can make the difference between looking buff or looking unfit.

Supplements are just what the name implies, its an step extra to the dedication you put into the gym - and not what you should be relying on for results.

Having said that, adding in a good pre-workout (as well as well-chosen supplements in general) can make things easier.

It’s a good feeling to walk into the gym with energy and motivation as well as feeling more strength and endurance once you get going.

Don’t think you can’t make progress without one, though.

Sometimes a good cup of coffee gets the job done.

​You Can Take Any Pre Workout You Want

​That headline is true - but you will need to assess your tolerance by taking much less than the full serving.

As strong as some pre-workouts are - many of them may have caffeine as high as 350mg per scoop, and that might not be the only stimulant - it’s always important for everyone to start off with half a serving to fully assess your tolerance.

Once you have determined your tolerance, you can go up to a full serving.

​Caffeine Is Not The Only Stimulant

As mentioned above in the section about caffeine, there are quite a few high-stim pre-workouts available.

Let’s take a look at some of the other stimulants you might find:


The original replacement for ephedra that came out not long after one of the FDA bans.

This is a very popular stimulant that can also be found in fat burners.

Synephrine, also known as Bitter Orange, is structurally similar to ephedra but has much milder effects.

It should be noted that while you won’t see ephedra in a pre-workout very often, Hi Tech Pharma does make a modern version of one the first pre-workouts ever made, Ultimate Orange, which does contain 25 mg of ephedra.


​You’ll usually see this as  β-Phenylethylamine HCL or Phenylethylamine HCL, this compound is a powerful stimulant and mood enhancer.

This compound occurs naturally in the brain and causes “runner’s high”.

As a supplement, it works fast and provides dramatic energy, focus and mood enhancement.


​This is also known as norcoclaurine and is a plant extract which means it has a history of medicinal as well as culinary use in various cultures.

It’s a beta-2 receptor agonist, which means it will stimulate the breakdown of fat but it is also a stimulant and most often included in pre-workouts for this reason.

Higenamine can be dosed as high as 100 mg, usually in combination with caffeine and other stimulants. 


This is a plant extract that stimulates release of epinephrine and norepinephrine, neurotransmitters that increase energy and focus and are part of the body’s natural “fight-or-flight” response.

While this is not considered a powerful stimulant, it can increase energy and focus noticeably.

​N-Methyl Tyramine

​This compound stimulates release of neurotransmitters such as epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine (noradrenaline), and dopamine, which increases energy.

It’s also a beta-2 receptor agonist so it will also burn fat.


​This is a central nervous system stimulant that’s similar in structure to a number of illegal stimulants including AMP citrate, ephedrine, and DMAA.

There are 2 forms of DMHA: 2-amino-6-methylheptane (synthetic) and 2-amino-5-methylheptane (naturally occuring).

DMHA increases energy, creates a “feel-good” experience and improves overall cognitive function.

This is as hardcore as it gets and is suggested only for those users, regardless of gender, that want a heavy stimulant experience when they workout.

Avoid outside stimulant sources (like energy drinks, soda, coffee, tea) on the same day that you use a pre-workout.

One of the most important things to remember about using supplements, especially high-stim pre-workouts, is that you should never combine it with other stimulants.

Avoid energy drinks, lots of coffee, fat burners that may contain stimulants or any other stimulant-based product while using your pre-workout.

​What Makes A Good Pre-Workout

​A good pre-workout should provide energy, focus, motivation as well as overall mood elevation, strength, endurance and pumps - all things that can make your workout better.

You want to be sure you’re using a product that can support these benefits.

Where do you start?

The best pre-workouts start with full disclosure labeling.

After all, if you are paying for a product, you should be able to see exactly what you’re getting, in this case, the dose of every single ingredient.

The best companies, like NutraBio and Transparent Labs, take it further and fully disclose the sweeteners and flavorings.

These are the kinds of companies that design a product right, using only the most effective ingredients and full clinical dosing.

Typically the formula seldom changes, and if it does it’s because they have added an ingredient proven to work - they aren’t adding stuff just to add stuff!

​Try to avoid taking stimulants after 3 pm (unless you can sleep after drinking coffee then 6-7 pm is ok but there is more than just caffeine in pre workouts)

The thing with pre-workouts is that they can contain so many stims you’ll lay awake half the night if you take it too late in the day.

That’s why you have so many options - if you work out late, then you can either use a stim-free or a pre with a mild dose of caffeine if you can handle it.

You can use a low to no stim pre-workout and still get plenty of mental enhancement as well as performance enhancement.

The thing to remember is that there’s a pre-workout for virtually every need.

​Pre-Workouts Are Never FDA Approved And Not Always Tested

​Here’s the thing with pre-workouts and supplements in general - they are not regulated, FDA approved and often not even tested.

That’s one more reason to stay away from the under-dosed prop blends, and products with lots of hype but nothing to back it up.

The best companies, like NutraBio, always use third party lab testing for purity, quality and potency.

Also, like we have said elsewhere, the best companies use clinically proven ingredients that are effectively dosed and clearly labeled.

​Testosterone Boosting Ingredients Are Rarely Found In Pre-Workouts

​For the most part, you won’t find ingredients in pre-workouts that women shouldn’t use, such as testosterone boosters.

There are a couple that do contain testosterone-boosting ingredients, but they are few and far between.

One pre-workout that is a testosterone-based product is PepTest Bulk by MAN - probably best avoided by women users!

On the other hand, PreSeries Bulk by Transparent Labs is perfectly safe for women because the test support is coming from Vitamin D3, Zinc and Boron - great for bone health too!

Be smart - Pre workouts are not required, they can be addictive.

Follow directions, read the label, tolerance will build up.

Pre-workouts are great, in fact many bodybuilders and athletes would say they are a cornerstone product.

Is there a downside?

Yes, there is.

First of all, you don’t have to use one to get in a good workout, there are other options - like a cup of coffee for energy.

Sure, the better choices go well beyond energy and that’s great - but often you will build up a tolerance or even an addiction to them.

What’s the solution?

Choose a good product as we have talked about, read and follow the directions, cycle use of the heavy stim pre-workouts - if you’re using a pre 3, 4 or 5 days a week, a good strategy is to rotate between a couple of products and try to keep the higher stims to just 2-3 days a week.

Many users stay on a high-stim pre for maybe 4-6 weeks but then cycle off for 3-4 weeks, typically switching to a pump, performance and focus product.

​​9 Best Pre Workout Ingredients For Perfomance

​So, what are the best ingredients for a great pre-workout?

Glad you asked!

Let’s check it out:


​The most tested and proven effective supplement on the market.

The original form of creatine monohydrate is the one with the most research.

The original is still the best, look for a micronized version and look for 5 grams - anything less and it’s underdosed.

This is not as common in pre-workouts as you might think.

As far as we’re concerned, no pre-workout is complete without it.

This is not as common in pre-workouts as you might think.

As far as we’re concerned, no pre-workout is complete without it.

​Beta Alanine

​Here’s a newer ingredient that has really made a name for itself.

Beta-alanine blocks fatigue and increases endurance but it does it indirectly by increasing levels of carnosine in the muscles - this natural compound is what does all the work.

When you take beta-alanine for the first few times you will experience tingling sensations - don’t worry, it’s normal and it will pass after a few minutes.

The bottom line on this is that it works - but look for the 3.2g clinical dose.


​Of course, this is great for energy, focus, thermogenesis and performance.


It can range from as low as 100 mg to as high as 450 mg.

If it’s mixed with other stims, around 200 mg is a good place to start.


This is an herbal adaptogen that helps fight stress and fatigue.

It also is well known as a cognitive enhancer that improves motivation.

There’s a trend now with pre-workouts that promote the all-important mind-muscle connection - this is one of those ingredients that help.

This herb has a broad dosing range with dosages from 50 mg to as high as 680 mg.

Typically you’ll see 200-300 mg in most pre-workouts.


​If you have a lot of caffeine in your pre-workout, it’s a good idea to have this ingredient in their as well.

Theanine is an amino acid that acts as a relaxant yet it does not make you drowsy.

What it does do is smooth out the effects of caffeine - this means less chance of a big crash and less chance of the jitters.

Typical dosing is 100-200 mg, a lot of products include it at about half the dose of caffeine.


​Also known as TMG, this is an exciting ingredient that’s been compared to creatine.

Betaine is quickly becoming a standard ingredient in the newest pre-workouts and for good reason - it works!

This ingredient has an impressive list of benefits - it can increase strength and power output as well as increase cell volume, that’s important because cell volumization is one of the things that helps stimulate protein synthesis, which of course means muscle growth.

What’s the effective dose?

2.5 grams is the best place to start.


​BCAAs are the three most anabolic amino acids because they stimulate protein synthesis.

The primary BCAA that does this is leucine.

It’s important to understand that it’s not just leucine, in fact all the EAAs are required (EAA stands for essential amino acids, there are nine including the BCAAs and they are called essential because they cannot be made by the body, they must come from diet and supplements).

These are not as common in pre-workouts as they should be, after all, training is catabolic, why not start the workout with something anabolic?

The best dose for BCAAs is 6-8g with 4g leucine.

In terms of a complete EAA dosage, 10g is a great pace to start.


Some pre-workouts add designer carbs to their formulas, usually something like cluster dextrin, which absorbs fast yet does not cause an insulin spike and provides sustained energy.

This makes sense, your body uses carbs for energy.

Typical dosing is 10-25g.

​Exotic Stimulants

When it comes to exotic stims, it all starts with ephedra, which as quite a history.

Ephedra is an herbal CNS stimulant that gained fame decades ago as a fat burner (long before the days of pre-workouts) and energy enhancer.

Back in the day, it was abused by numerous users and banned.

It’s managed to loophole its way back more than once.

While you can get it today, you’ll have a hard time finding it in many pre-workouts - the notable exception is Ultimate Orange, one of the very first pre-workouts that has been brought back to life by Hi Tech Pharma.

Unless you’re a stim freak, this pre is best avoided by women and anyone that  does not like heavy stims.

Side effects?

Heart palpitations, jitters and a nasty crash, to name a few.


Another stimulant that ignites energy quickly.

Somewhat similar to caffeine, there’s not very many pre-workouts still using this ingredient.

In fact, Hi Tech Pharma is in the middle of a huge legal battle with the FDA over this compound.

The FDA feels it’s “not a dietary supplement ingredient” and poses health risks.

Hi Tech disagrees.

The best option is to avoid it altogether until the legal battles decide the fate of this ingredient.

​What Ingredients Women Should Avoid

​​The most obvious ingredients women should avoid are testosterone boosters like d-aspartic acid.

As we have seen, there are very few test boosting pre-workouts, so this shouldn’t be a big problem.

Otherwise, creatine may not appeal to some women because it’s more of a bulking compound, and a common sense approach to stimulants is always the way to go for men as well as women.

As we have seen, there are very few test boosting pre-workouts, so this shouldn’t be a big problem.

Otherwise, creatine may not appeal to some women because it’s more of a bulking compound, and a common sense approach to stimulants is always the way to go for men as well as women.

​Common Side Effects From Pre Workouts

​Some of the common side effects from a typical pre-workout can include:


​Beta alanine can cause a harmless, short term tingling sensation, somewhat similar to the “flush” caused by niacin.

Usually, this effect gets weaker the more you take the pre-workout.
Jitters / Anxiety (caffeine and other stimulants) - Too much caffeine or stims in general can cause jitters and anxiety - that’s why it’s always suggested to start with a half serving.

Most pre-workouts include ingredients that help smooth the effects of heavy caffeine or stims, such as theanine or sustained release caffeine.

​Vomiting (overuse / too much stimulants)

​Sometimes too much caffeine or other stims can cause this reaction - we can’t say it enough, always determine your tolerance with a half serving!

​Rapid Heart Rate

​This is a very common side effect from heavy stims, the best solution is to find a dose the gives you energy with the least amount of side effects.

Also, it’s important to drink plenty of water while using a pre-workout.

​High Blood Pressure

​As above, the best answer is to find a dose that gives you energy without going overboard, and keep that water coming!

​Trouble Sleeping

Caffeine and other stimulants have a half-life (about 5-6 hours), which is defined as the amount of time it takes the body to eliminate one-half of the ingested compound.

This varies by age, sex, weight, etc.

If you take a pre-workout with heavy caffeine/stims too late in the day you will end up having trouble sleeping.

One solution is to use a high stim pre-workout for morning workouts but switch to stim-free, pump and focus pre-workouts for late afternoon, early evening workouts - unless you can tolerate caffeine and still get a good night’s sleep.

​Long Term Usage

​Your body builds a tolerance and dependency on your pre-workout over time, especially if you work out 4-5 days a week.

What’s the answer?

​Cycle use

Either rotate among pre-workouts weekly or use one for 4-6 weeks, and then give your body a break for a few weeks.

As great as the energy is, many people choose to go low stim and concentrate on performance enhancing ingredients instead.

​Adrenal Fatigue

Overuse of stimulants is the primary cause of adrenal fatigue, which is defined as the adrenal glands being unable to produce adequate amounts of hormones which in turn can cause problems such as muscular aches, fatigue, nervousness and sleep problems.

Again, this goes back to following all label directions and cycling use of stim-based pre-workouts.

As you can see, as good as a pre-workout can be as far as helping you have a great training session, it’s important to proceed with caution.

We hope this guide can help you make the right pre-workout choice so you can get the most out of your training!

Pricing Schemes

Pre Kaged or PreSeries BULK (or LEAN), may seem like expensive pre-workouts but they are actually similarly priced to any "cheap" looking pre workout.

Pre Kaged has 20 servings and that means 20 full servings.

You don't need to double scoop to get the full dosages of the ingredients.

And the label is fully transparent so you know how much of each ingredient you're getting.

A pre workout that's hidden in a massive 5 gram proprietary blend would be much more expensive even if it had 40 servings because you'd need multiple scoops to get anywhere close to the actual full serving.

This is where doing a bit of research will go a long way, for both the health of you and your wallet!

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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