Choosing the right pre workout supplement can be a game-changer for your fitness routine. With a wide array of options ranging from stimulant-free varieties to the ultra-potent DMAA or DMHA-based formulas, finding the perfect pre workout can seem daunting. The key to making the right choice lies in understanding your tolerance, previous experience with stimulants, and your specific fitness goals. Let’s dive into the different aspects of pre-workout supplements to help you find the best one for you.

Understanding Stimulant Loads

Pre-workouts are primarily distinguished by their stimulant content. The stimulant load in a pre-workout is crucial as it determines the level of energy, aggression, and endurance you will experience during your workout. Here’s how you can choose the right stimulant load based on your needs and experience:

  • Beginner Level: If you are new to pre-workouts or sensitive to stimulants, you might want to start with a low-stimulant or stimulant-free option. These will provide a moderate energy boost without overwhelming your system. For beginners, products like NaughtyBoy Menace (350mg caffeine) or Ibiza Juice (250mg caffeine) are excellent choices. Click here for our article on Pre workouts for beginners.
  • Intermediate Level: For those who have some experience with pre-workouts and are looking for a bit more kick, moderate stimulant pre-workouts are ideal. They often contain higher doses of caffeine and other mild stimulants. Examples include Havok (312.5mg caffeine) by Built Better Nutrition at a single scoop serving and Hypermax (400mg caffeine)by Performax labs.
  • Advanced Level: At the extreme end of the spectrum, there are pre-workouts designed for seasoned users with a high tolerance for stimulants. These often include ingredients much stronger than caffeine, like DMAA or DMHA. Products like Dark Labs Crack(400mg Caffeine, 120mg DMHA) or Superhuman Supreme (400mg Caffeine) by Alpha Lion fall into this category. These are not for the faint of heart and definitely not for beginners.

Important Note: Consider your workout schedule. If you’re planning to exercise close to bedtime, opt for a low-stimulant or stimulant-free pre-workout to avoid sleep disturbances.

The Role of Stimulants in Pre Workout Powder

Stimulants in pre-workouts primarily provide that surge of energy and mental focus needed to power through tough workouts. However, they also increase heart rate and blood pressure, which can be beneficial or detrimental depending on your health and tolerance.

For those seeking to maximize strength, aggression, and endurance, stimulants can be very effective. But remember, more is not always better. Assess your tolerance and build up gradually to avoid adverse effects.

Two other key ingredients to look out for are:

  • Beta-Alanine: This amino acid is well-known for causing the “tingles” you might feel after consuming a pre-workout. It works by buffering lactic acid in the muscles, thereby delaying fatigue and increasing endurance during high-intensity activities. Consistent use of beta-alanine can significantly improve your performance over time.
  • Niacin (Vitamin B3): Often included in its flushing form, niacin helps improve blood flow by dilating blood vessels. This not only enhances the muscle pump but also lowers blood pressure, making it easier for your heart to pump blood during intense exercise.

Exploring Non Stimulant Ingredients

Pre workouts aren’t just about stimulants. Many contain ingredients that can enhance your performance, endurance, and blood flow without the need for high stimulant content. Two top ingredients to look out for are:

Glycerol: often included in stimulant-free pre-workouts, enhances hydration and endurance by drawing water into muscle cells. This “hyper-hydration” effect delays dehydration, improves muscle pumps, and supports prolonged performance during workouts, making it a favored ingredient for athletes seeking better hydration and endurance without stimulants.

Citrulline: Citrulline converts to arginine in the body, boosting nitric oxide production. This enhances blood flow, improves oxygen and nutrient delivery to muscles, and promotes better muscle pumps and endurance. The conversion process supports prolonged, effective workouts by reducing fatigue and aiding recovery, making Citrulline a valuable ingredient for athletes seeking enhanced performance without stimulants.

Deciding your Pre Workout Goals

Once you’ve determined your desired stimulant load, it’s time to consider other performance-enhancing ingredients based on your specific goals. Here are the main categories of pre-workouts to help you decide:

  • Pump and Blood Flow: If you’re aiming for maximum muscle pumps and vascularity, look for pre-workouts rich in nitric oxide boosters like L-citrulline, arginine, and beetroot extract. These ingredients enhance blood flow, delivering more nutrients and oxygen to your muscles.
  • Endurance and Performance: For those focusing on stamina and performance, ingredients like beta-alanine, creatine, and betaine are essential. They help in delaying fatigue, increasing power output, and improving overall workout performance.
  • Focus: Ingredients like tyrosine, taurine, and nootropic compounds are included to enhance mental clarity and focus. These can be particularly beneficial for high-skill workouts requiring precision and concentration.

Comprehensive Pre Workouts: Do They Exist?

For those looking for an all-in-one solution, comprehensive pre-workouts do exist. These products aim to provide a balanced mix of stimulants, endurance boosters, and pump enhancers. One of the first successful all-rounder pre-workouts was MVPre 2.0, which set the standard for many products that followed.

Our Best High Stimulant Pre Workout Picks:

Our Best Non Stimulant Pre Workout Picks:

  1. Chaos Crew Pump Juice
  2. Nova Pump Neuro
  3. Superhuman Pump

Conclusion

Choosing the best pre-workout involves considering your tolerance to stimulants, your specific fitness goals, and the timing of your workouts. Whether you’re looking for a stimulant-heavy formula to power through intense sessions or a balanced option that covers all bases, there’s a pre-workout out there for you. Always start with a lower dose to assess your tolerance, and gradually build up as needed. Happy lifting!


By taking the time to understand your needs and preferences, you can make an informed decision and find the perfect pre-workout to enhance your fitness journey.