10 Best Pre-Workout Supplements 2018 – The Complete Guide

10 Best Pre-Workout Supplements 2018 - The Complete Guide

Going to the gym requires dedication and enough discipline to continue the routine of showing up and finishing the workout plan with little procrastination. Exercise has become similar to regular employment in this regard. Yet, due to the the burdens of life outside of the gym, it is easy for people to fall back on resolutions and sworn promises. Some simply do not have the energy needed to accomplish their intended drill. For this reason, specific products are encouraged to be taken before any athletics are performed – commonly referred to as pre-workout supplements.

Pre-Workout Comparison Table

NameImageCreatineServing SizePrice
Cellucor C4 (Original Formula)10 Best Pre-Workout Supplements 2018 - The Complete Guide1g6.5g$$
PRE-KAGED Pre Workout Powder10 Best Pre-Workout Supplements 2018 - The Complete Guide1.5g32g$$$
Evlution Nutrition ENGN Pre-Workout10 Best Pre-Workout Supplements 2018 - The Complete Guide2g8.4g$$
JYM Supplement Science PRE JYM10 Best Pre-Workout Supplements 2018 - The Complete Guide2g26g$$
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout10 Best Pre-Workout Supplements 2018 - The Complete Guide3g10g$$
VINTAGE BLAST Pre-Workout10 Best Pre-Workout Supplements 2018 - The Complete Guide0g15.26g$$$$
NITROSURGE Pre Workout Supplement10 Best Pre-Workout Supplements 2018 - The Complete Guide0g8g$
MuscleTech Performance Series Vapor X5 Next Gen Pre-Workout Powder10 Best Pre-Workout Supplements 2018 - The Complete Guide1.5g9g$
ProSupps Dr Jekyll Intense Pump Pre-Workout10 Best Pre-Workout Supplements 2018 - The Complete Guide1g10.8g$$
BSN N.O.-XPLODE Pre-Workout Supplement10 Best Pre-Workout Supplements 2018 - The Complete Guide>0g18.5g$

What is Pre-Workout?

Fundamentally speaking, the pre-workout plan is the set of rituals that are done by an individual before the actual workout begins. During a routine morning, the first beverages and foods that are consumed before work may consist of coffee, tea, and a hearty breakfast. This boosts energy output and prepares workers for their daily commute to the job. A pre-workout is utilized in a similar fashion in that it involves the use of supplements and vitamins to achieve maximum efficiency during exercise, whether it be weight lifting, jogging, biking, or a combination of them all.

The large number of pre-workout choices that are sold online and at brick-and-mortar stores can oftentimes make searching for the best pre-workout a difficult chore. Shoppers looking for pre-workout enhancements should consider these distinctions which will later be discussed in detail:

Number of grams per serving of key ingredients
Detailed nutritional information on the label
Specific amino acids available in the product

Some supplements can also have a near-placebo effect, especially if the brand is of poor quality and does not contain the correct amount of ingredients needed to have a rewarding day at the gym. To simplify this burden, listed are detailed summaries and ingredients for the best pre-workout supplements available for casual and experienced gym-goers.

10 Best Pre-Workout Supplements

1. Cellucor C4 (Original Formula)

best pre-workout

Cellucor’s C4 is one of the most popular pre-workouts on the market, with much of brand’s commercial successes stemming from it’s mass appeal to casual and beginners at the gym. It is widely sold online and contains the standard ingredients expected from a pre-workout at a great price. It’s low percentage in calories and carbohydrates is useful for people seeking weight gain due to heavy calorie and carb intake from other foods. C4 has also been complimented as one of the best tasting supplement powders, a feature that could be important to some and is often overlooked. For all these reasons, C4 is on the top of our list as the best pre-workout. Only one scoop should be taken daily (2 scoops after a tolerance is built) 20-to-30 minutes before training.

Serving Size: 6.5g

Cellucor C4 (Original Formula) Ingredients

Calories: 5
Vitamin C: 250mg
Niacin: 30mg
Vitamin B6: 500mcg
Folic Acid: 250mcg
Vitamin B12: 35mcg
Calcium: 20mg
Beta Alanine: 1.6g
Creatine Nitrate: 1g
Arginine AKG: 1g
Explosive Energy Blend: 371mg
(N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine, Caffeine Anhydrous, Velvet Bean seed extract, Tetramethyluric Acid)

2. PRE-KAGED Pre Workout Powder

10 Best Pre-Workout Supplements 2018 - The Complete Guide

Rated high among serious weight trainers, PRE-KAGED has an above average quantity of amino acids. The level of L-Citrulline adds increased blood flow and oxygen to the body, giving lifters an added boost of endurance in what is described as the “pump.” Other amino acids include Beta Alanine for better performance during times of intense drive, especially if the user’s number of sets are elevated. PRE-KAGED also includes organic caffeine and coconut water for extended hydration and concentrated focus. It is recommended for users who anticipate prolonged or extended time at the gym during heightened workouts.

Serving Size: 32 g

PRE-KAGED Pre Workout Powder Ingredients

Creatine: 1.5 g
L-Citrulline: 6.5 g
Quercetin Anhydrous: 200 mg
L-Leucine: 1,750 mg
L-Isoleucine: 875 mg
L-Valine: 875 mg
Beta Alanine: 1.6 g
Betaine: 2 g
Niacin: 30 mg
Vitamin B6: 25 mg
Vitamin B12: 500 mcg
Calories: 15
Sodium: 85 mg
Carbohydrates: 3 g

3. Evlution Nutrition ENGN Pre-Workout

10 Best Pre-Workout Supplements 2018 - The Complete Guide

ENGN by Evlution is a high-end choice for trainers, and is commonly reviewed as a good option for people who have tried other pre-workout supplements that did not deliver as expected. It has a blend of Creatine Hydrochloride, Monohydrate, and Chelate, a combination that is useful to a broader range of individuals that would see results relative to their body’s response to a particular Creatine. ENGN has been described as providing attentiveness and endurance without the annoyance of shakiness and crashing. The risk of building a tolerance to this pre-workout is minimal, and is regularly taken by professional bodybuilders throughout the country.

Serving Size: 8.4 g

Evlution Nutrition ENGN Pre-Workout Ingredients

Creatine Blend: 2000 mg (Creatine Monohydrate, Magnesium Creatine Chelate)
Beta Alanine: 1,600 mg
Niacin: 35 mg
Vitamin B6: 2 mg
Vitamin B12: 25 mcg
Folic Acid: 800 mcg
Caffeine Anhydrous (Proprietary Blend)
Betaine Anhydrous (Proprietary Blend)
Choline Bitartrate (Proprietary Blend)
L-Tyrosine (Proprietary Blend)
Agmatine Sulfate (Proprietary Blend)
Huperzine A (Proprietary Blend)
Proprietary Blend Total: 2,213 mg

4. JYM Supplement Science PRE JYM

10 Best Pre-Workout Supplements 2018 - The Complete Guide

Jim Stoppani is widely credited as one of the most knowledgeable trainers in the world of exercise, and holds several degrees in fields relating to bodybuilding and biochemistry. He is the creator and owner of PRE JYM, a relatively new pre-workout supplement that has ingredients that were hand picked by Stoppani himself based on the choices of his own personal use. PRE JYM has no proprietary blends, and instead houses key branch chain amino acids and Caffeine, the only stimulant found within the powder. As a top-shelf pre workout, PRE JYM delivers great on it’s promises of having lasting performance enhancing results during the entirety of a workout, and praised throughout the weightlifting community.

Serving Size: 26 g

JYM Supplement Science PRE JYM Ingredients

Calories: 80
Carbohydrates: 3 g
Creatine Hydrocloride: 2 g
L-Leucine: 3 g
L-Isoleucine: 1.5 g
L-Valine: 1.5 g
L-Tyrosine: 1.5 g
Beta Alanine: 2 g
Taurine: 1 g
N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine: 600 mg
Beet Root Extract: 500 mg
Citrulline Malate: 6 g
Caffeine Anhydrous: 300 mg
Huperzine A: 50 mg
Black Pepper Fruit Extract: 5 mg

5. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout

10 Best Pre-Workout Supplements 2018 - The Complete Guide

Optimum Nutrition Gold has made several supplements that have received positive reviews in their lineup of bodybuilding formulas. Gold Standard Pre-Workout, which is the name of it’s recent supplement, is an all-around satisfying powder that includes all of the staples that are to expected in pre-workout brands. A nice starter powder, it has high enough grams of amino acids but low enough for beginners to become comfortable with the energy increases at no risk of feeling overloaded. It’s caffeine is extracted from either tea or coffee beans and has a high milligram content for a single dose. As with most other pre-workout supplements, up to two scoops can be taken every day if necessary.

Serving Size: 10 g

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout Ingredients

Creatine Monohydrate: 3 g
Beta Alanine: 1.5 g
Caffeine: 175 mg
Acetyl-L-Carnitine: 375 mg
N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine: 250 mg
Citrus Bioflavonoids: 100 mg
Vitamin D: 500 IU
Thiamin: 2 mg
Niacin: 20 mg
Vitamin B6: 2 mg
Folic Acid: 200 mcg
Vitamin B12: 10 mcg
Pantothenic Acid: 10 mg
Calories: 5
Carbohydrates: 1 g
Astragalus Membranaceus (Proprietary Blend)
Chinese Tienchi Ginseng (Proprietary Blend)
Proprietary Blend Total: 25 mg

6. VINTAGE BLAST Pre-Workout

10 Best Pre-Workout Supplements 2018 - The Complete Guide

Some pre-workouts have different stages in which they will become more effective during the course of the time spent in the gym. Vintage Blast is an example. It relies on two stages of energy input: Stage One Start Strong, and Stage Two Finish Strong. During Stage One, the supplement delivers the Branch Chains into the nervous system with the additional kick of a Caffeine boost, and Stage Two’s controlled release of Encapsulated Caffeine helps to finish off the final sets near the end of the workout, a crucial time when fatigue can potentially begin in some trainers. Vintage Blast’s formula is the idealistic powder for users looking for an extended release of power that lasts well beyond the start of a gym session.

Serving Size: 15.26 g

VINTAGE BLAST Pre-Workout Ingredients

L-Citrulline Malate: 5000 mg
Beta Alanine: 1000 mg
L-Arginine AKG: 1000 mg
L-Carnitine Tartrate: 250 mg
D-Aspartic Acid: 2000 mg
N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine: 250 mg
Caffeine: 100 mg
Vitamin C: 250 mg
Niacin: 30 mg
Vitamin B6: 10 mg
Vitamin B12: 50 mcg
Vitamin B5: 10 mg
Magnesium: 50 mg
Potassium: 99 mg
Sodium: 50 mg
Encapsulated Caffeine: 100 mg

7. NITROSURGE Pre Workout Supplement

10 Best Pre-Workout Supplements 2018 - The Complete Guide

While Nitrosurge may not have all of the fancy ingredients listed on some pre-workouts, it benefits by allowing the consumer to get the BCAAs and Caffeine needed for a proper workout without the worry of getting the jitters or an excess of unnecessary substances. It’s Black Pepper Fruit Extract allows the entire formula to have a long lasting body response to the powder, allowing quality pumps without the need of coming back for an extra scoop. While the other supplements can also be considered, Nitrosurge is a good pre-workout for women that are beginning their journey of lifting to test how their body reacts to the changes that take place from consuming the powder.

Serving Size: 8 g

NITROSURGE Pre Workout Supplement Ingredients

L-Citrulline Aspartate: 2 g
Beta Alanine: 1.6 g
Betaine Anhydrous: 1.25 g
Caffeine Anhydrous: 180 mg
L-Theanine: 90 mg
Hordenine: 25 mg
Black Pepper Fruit Extract: 2.5 mg

8. MuscleTech Performance Series Vapor X5 Next Gen Pre-Workout Powder

10 Best Pre-Workout Supplements 2018 - The Complete Guide

MuscleTech is a large and respected company in the world of bodybuilding, having lots of great products available that are not limited to only pre-workout powders. Vapor X5 is well-rounded supplement that adds strength and endurance to lifts. It’s Creatine Monohydrate tops off it’s formula by fueling muscles during and after the onset of sets. With 1.6 grams of Beta Alanine, users will stay pumped with the tingles that are anticipated with the pre-workout. While one scoop is slightly lower in Niacin than other brands, Vapor X5 carries less flushing, an effect that is either wanted or unimportant depending on the individual. Regardless, MuscleTech’s pre-workout remains a top selection among professionals and casual trainers.

Serving Size: 9 g

MuscleTech Performance Series Vapor X5 Next Gen Pre-Workout Powder Ingredients

Creatine Monohydrate: 1.5 g
Calories: 15
Carbohydrates: 1 g
Niacin: 15 mg
Betaine Anhydrous: 1.25 g
Beta Alanine: 1.6 g
Taurine: 500 mg
Arginine Inositol: 750 mg
Hawthorn Extract: 200 mg
Caffeine Anhydrous: 190 mg
Choline Bitartrate: 100 mg
L-Theanine: 62.5 mg
Galangal Extract: 25 mg
Yohimbe Extract: 20 mg

9. ProSupps Dr Jekyll Intense Pump Pre-Workout

10 Best Pre-Workout Supplements 2018 - The Complete Guide

With an obviously catchy name, Dr Jekyll delivers a clean workout with little shakiness and no random periods of fatigue. The Choline Bitartrate contributes to giving users intense focus and energetic pumps for the entirety of the session. For this reason, Dr Jekyll is recommended for lifters who go to the gym during late nights. While it does contain Caffeine, the pre-workout’s total mixture of BCAAs and vitamins add kick without the burden of over-excitability. Avoiding an reliance on stimulants, Dr Jekyll makes the list as the go-to supplement choice for lifters without a set schedule.

Serving Size: 10.8 g

ProSupps Dr Jekyll Intense Pump Pre-Workout Ingredients

Creatine: 1 g
Caffeine: 100 mg
Niacin: 25 mg
Calcium: 30 mg
Beta Alanine: 2.5 g
L-Leucine: 500 mg
Beta-Hydroxy Beta Methylbutyrate: 200 mg
Choline Bitartrate: 500 mg
Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid: 25 mg
Glycerol Monostearate: 1.5 g
L-Citrulline Aspartate: 1.5 g
Agmatine Sulfate: 750 mg
L-Norvaline: 100 mg

10. BSN N.O.-XPLODE Pre-Workout Supplement

10 Best Pre-Workout Supplements 2018 - The Complete Guide

BSN’s N.O.-Xplode is a complete pre-workout in terms of ingredients and the amount of energy that it delivers. It’s lengthy list of vitamins and amino acids may appear slightly intimidating but has been regarded as one of the best mixtures of important compounds needed for a full pre-workout. It provides the user with the tingles, endurance, pump, and excitability to last for lengthy visits in the gym. It also contains proprietary blends that are divided by vitamin, amino acids, and plant extracts. For those wanting a serious energy boost that can increase sets to uncharted numbers, N.O-Xplode is advised for it’s powerhouse of energy sources.

Serving Size: 18.5 g

BSN N.O.-XPLODE Pre-Workout Supplement Ingredients

Creatine Blend: 5.1 g
Calories: 20
Carbohydrates: 5 g
Vitamin D: 500 IU
Niacin: 20 mg
Vitamin B6: 2 mg
Vitamin B12: 6 mcg
Folic Acid: 200 mcg
Pantothenic Acid: 10 mg
Calcium: 40 mg
Phosphorus: 10 mg
Magnesium: 125 mg
Sodium: 100 mg
Potassium: 200 mg
Beta-Alanine (Proprietary Blend 1)
Potassium Bicarbonate (Proprietary Blend 1)
Sodium Bicarbonate (Proprietary Blend 1)
Magnesium Oxide (Proprietary Blend 1)
Cholecalciferol (Proprietary Blend 1)
Proprietary Blend Total (1): 2.9 g
N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine (Proprietary Blend 2)
L-Tyrosine (Proprietary Blend 2)
Caffeine Anhydrous (Proprietary Blend 2)
Grapefruit Bioflavonoid (Proprietary Blend 2)
Pterostilbene – (Proprietary Blend 2)
Caffeine Cocrystal (Proprietary Blend 2)
Proprietary Blend Total (2): 1.3 g

Pre-Workout Ingredient Breakdown

You have gone through our list of the best pre-workout supplements and have seen the list of ingredients for each one, so what now? We are going to share a breakdown of the most common ingredients in pre-workout and what they are designed to do. This will help you distinguish between pre-workout products in the future and let you know exactly what you are putting in your body.

1. Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

Named based on their linked molecular carbon atoms, Branch Chain Amino Acids consists of three distinct molecules that are broken down within the muscular system. Unlike other amino acids, the digestive process is not absorbed into the liver. BCAAs are not naturally produced in the body and therefore must be consumed orally from food intake. They collectively work together to strengthen and protect bone and muscle cells during periods of increased physical pressure.

• Leucine – Helps to build protein within the muscles and prevents current muscular protein from being destroyed.
• L-Leucine (Isoleucine) – Prevents other amino acids from being destroyed during strenuous activities and assists in the healing process of muscle cells.
• Valine – Regulates metabolism within muscle tissues and provides muscle endurance. While acting as a stimulant in the central nervous system, it also regulates blood sugar levels and oxygen flow in the veins.

2. Creatine Varieties

Creatine is one of the most researched compounds available in most pre-workout brands. It is also sold separately as solely Creatine. Commonly found in meat and fish, it is stored within the muscles and increases the amount of power in their cells. Longevity is added with muscular activity as long as the Creatine in their tissues are present.

• Creatine Hydrocloride (HCL) – This common Creatine ingredient is attached to Hydrocloric Acid. It helps to increase the density and volume of the muscles and facilitates their growth in mass and proportion.
• Creatine Monohydrate – The most popular form of Creatine. It is most effective when taken with carbohydrates. Aides in muscle recovery during and after workouts, and provides a resistance to fatigue.
• Creatine Magnesium Chelate – A patented form of Creatine, it transforms Creatine to Magnesium. It also allows the muscles to become less dependent on water for mass, commonly referred to as “water weight.”

3. N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine – An acetylated (chemically altered) type of L-Tyrosine, it is an amino acid that absorbs into the body slightly easier than standard Tyrosine, and produces noradrenaline, dopamine, and increases levels of seratonin in the brain. It is responsible for heightened senses, mood, and concentration.

4. Niacin – Widely sold individually, Niacin is commonly used as a cleanser to restore fat cells from having excess levels of impurities such as metals and other unwanted toxins. It can lower cholesterol, relieve joint pain, increase overall body energy, and reduces the levels of fat in the blood. It also has a flushing effect, which contributes to the pump and muscle warmth during a workout.

5. L-Citrulline Aspartate – In the kidneys, Citrulline metabolizes into L-arginine, and helps to reduce fatigue. It it naturally found in watermelons.

6. Beta Alanine – Naturally found in the human body, Beta Alanine (sometimes written as β-Alanine) produces Carnosine and is found deep within the muscles. When Beta Alanine is consumed, Carnosine levels are increased and high energy sugars such as Glucose boost energy and stamina during exercise and lifting. Additionally, muscle acidity is reduced, decreasing the chances of fatigue during periods of heavy physical stress on the body.

7. Caffeine – A widely popular stimulant found in coffee and tea, caffeine increases blood flow in the arteries, elevates reaction time, and temporarily boosts energy output. At high levels, it has a tendency to cause a sudden decrease in energy that is known as “crashing.” In pre-workouts, crashing is prevented by amino acids which negate the unwanted effect while sustaining it’s onset of power.

10 Best Pre-Workout Supplements 2018 - The Complete Guide

What Is The Purpose Of Pre-Workout?

When pre-workout supplements are ingested, the effects are not felt immediately. With most brands, it is recommended to drink the powder with cold water 30 minutes prior to lifting. During the onset, the body is given a tremendous energy boost that allows the mass to take on larger amounts of weight. Using a combination of substances that alter the nervous, muscular, bone, and digestive systems in one sitting, pre-workouts often include compounds that store water during lifting sessions for hydration, further extending periods of endurance. They negate unwanted changes in the body that would normally lead to exhaustion if no supplements were taken during a gym session.

Pre Workout Benefits

Pre-gym supplements are beneficial in two ways. First, they provide literal motivation required to raise the number of sets that are completed during the entirety of the time spent in a gym. With more sets comes more muscle gains and faster results in body tonality and appearance.

The second benefit is in the ingredients. Creatine, along with other essential and non-essential amino acids, assists in a more refined metabolism within the muscles and immune system. One of the common issues that leads to less time spent in the gym is from fatigue which can easily discourage beginners from continuing their workouts to grow body mass. With the right pre-workout supplements, fatigue is guaranteed to be a rare occurrence.

Does Pre-Workout Work?

Not everyone has come on board to taking performance supplements before hitting the gym. One easily refutable criticism is that pre-workouts are unnecessary and hold few benefits. While it is true that successful weightlifting can be achieved without the need of pre-workout supplements, millions of people have endorsed them due to noticeably better gym performance and their ability to push for higher set and weight amounts.

Others may have taken one supplement and found that it brought about little change in their workout routine. In this case, it is advised to try a different formula. Some products can have mild to radically different effects on users that may work well for some but will become easily tolerable for other people. Many brands can also be gradually taken or slightly increased in dosage for those with a tendency to quickly build a tolerance.

Is It Dangerous?

Pre-workouts have few dangers associated with their use, so long as they are taken responsibly. As with all vitamins and supplements, potential users should consult with a physician before using any pre-workout, particularly the elderly. Thorough research should be done on every product prior to purchasing any supplement.
Since pre-workouts normally have a laundry list of ingredients which are sometimes exotic in their terminology and familiarity, unpredictable side effects can occur, especially in those sensitive to Caffeine. However, many of the listed supplements have Caffeine-free varieties for a complete avoidance of nervousness and the jitters.

Included on all pre-workout powders are labels that contain nutritional information about everything contained inside the product. Care should be taken to read and understand if the supplement contains common items that could cause allergic reactions, namely soy and nuts. Pregnant women are discouraged from taking branded pre-workout substances since they commonly contain stimulants that are not healthy for premature babies.

If highly sensitive medication such as MAO inhibitors and central nervous system stimulants are prescribed, a copy of the supplement’s ingredients should always be gone over with a health care professional or doctor. Furthermore, no more than two scoops of nearly all pre-workouts should be taken within a 24 hour period. Any greater amount taken than what is instructed could potentially lead to complications that require hospitalization. For people who nervous to try the supplements in the beginning, a half dose of one scoop is another useful method of knowing if a blend is manageable, whereby the regular amount can be added if no irritable results are felt.

Pre-Workout Simplicity

In the most basic sense, a pre-workout is a way for people to get excited in anticipation about going to the gym. In this regard, it is similar to any new activity in that what is put in to the experience will determine what is gained from it at the end of the training session. All of the brands listed are standouts that can be accompanied by other supplements that are used during the post-workout recovery.

They also have been studied and utilized by professionals and personal trainers. Users are thereby persuaded to test one or more of the pre-workouts listed. With an added gym boost comes more time spent at achieving visible results. With visible results comes a healthier body, toned figure, and more confidence. This could in turn could lead to a user being an inspiration for someone else to hit the gym, with pre-workouts being a contributing factor to the root cause of refined physical and mental health.

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