8 Best Pre-Workouts for CrossFit: Reviews to Crush The WOD

It doesn’t matter if you are new to CrossFit workouts or if you are an elite CrossFit athlete...

The intensity of the workouts is always sky-high and requires non-stop strength and muscular endurance to perform to your highest abilities.

woman using battle ropes in crossfit box

But on the flip side, you probably wake up with barely enough drive to hit the gym or fatigue easily just halfway through the WOD (Workout of the Day).

Not to worry.

One almost perfect way to make sure that you’re always ready to hit the box is to find the best pre workout supplement for CrossFit reviewed to fuel you up. 

There are lots of options to pick from to provide you that added push - almost too many to list down, unless you prefer snacking on grilled chicken with a nice mixed salad, sweet potato and the likes, before doing your exercise routines. 

You are in luck.

To make things easier for you, we’ve reviewed them all and Transparent Labs Bulk Pre-Workout made it on top of our list. The other products below made it to our "best recommended" pre-workout nutrition drinks for CrossFit, too, for several reasons particular to certain factors they carry.

Product Details
1. Transparent Labs Bulk Pre-Workout

Best Overall

  • Prevents Muscle Pain
  • No Trade Secrets
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2. 4 Gauge Pre-Workout

Packed w/ Active Ingredients

  • Low Calorie, Solid Blend
  • Natural Flavor
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3. Performance Lab Sport

Vegan Friendly

  • Comes in Plantcaps®
  • Caffeine-free
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4. Cellucor C4 Pre Workout Supplement

High Performance Hit

  • No Crash
  • Comes in 12 Flavors
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5. Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy

More Stamina

  • Aids Muscle Recovery
  • Affordable Choice
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6. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard PWO

Enhanced Focus

  • Renowned Brand
  • Contains Creatine
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7. Pre WOD Pre Workout

Brain Boosting

  • Zero Calories
  • Contains Huperzine A
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8. Equip Pure WOD

All Natural But Doesn't Taste Good

  • Suitable for Paleo Diet
  • Hydrating
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Pre-WOD's 8 Best Supplements for Crossfit

1. Transparent Labs Bulk Pre-Workout

Transparent Labs Bulk Pre-Workout

Our Verdict: Best Overall

One of the reasons why Transparent Labs' Supplements is our top recommended choice is because they don't keep any keys on the fold.

The name has it... "Transparent". And I believe that is one thing you don't get all the time these days. Their products, including Transparent Labs Bulk have no components hidden as a secret.

Its caffeine content is just like taking a small cup of coffee; enough to give you that "kick" you need for the day's workout.

Aside from that, Bulk PWO is packed with just the right amount of ingredients to help improve concentration and energy levels which is a "must-have" for Crossfit training .

Available in 5 natural flavors; my personal favorite is the Strawberry Lemonade. You can take my word for it!

Pros:

  • No trade secrets
  • Creatine-free
  • Third-party tested
  • Caffeine content only equals to one small cup of coffee

Cons:

  • Comes in a nylon bag
  • Can be pricey for some

2. 4 Gauge Pre-Workout

4 Gauge Pre-Workout

Our Verdict: Best for Endurance

Sold exclusively by Roar Ambition through their website, 4 Gauge Pre-Workout stands out all the way from its look and feel, down to its solid blend of ingredients. 

4 Gauge is one of our best recommendations for a Pre-workout supplement because of its proven effect to give you the much needed endurance plus its low calorie content and much more. And  I'd no doubt recommend this product for all age groups.

Although you might find it short for choices in flavor because it only comes in Fruit Blast, the dose of generous ingredients does spell a BIG difference. 

4 Gauge prides itself with "No proprietary blends" - meaning, there's no trade secrets kept from you. You can check that out from the customers' testimonies in their website. 

Pros:

  • No proprietary blends
  • Smooth & easy to take down
  • Only 5 calories per shell
  • Generous dose of ingredients

Cons:

  • Only 1 unique flavor
  • Slightly sour

3. Performance Lab Sport

Performance Lab Sport

Our Verdict: Most Convenient

Obviously, Performance Lab Sport is made for "performance". And
that's what you want to get better at, aside from other reasons you have for working out. These guys know that, too, that's why they're giving you this product to get you on your game even before you start.

Added to the great reasons why you have to check this out is the fact that it is vegan and it comes in Plantcaps®. Portability and convenience define this product, next to its proven result.

Pros:

  • Tapioca-based Plantcaps®
  • No caffeine content
  • Stim-free

Cons:

  • Can potentially cause bloating
  • Only available from the maker's website

4. Cellucor C4 Pre-Workout Supplements

Cellucor C4 Pre-Workout Supplements

Our Verdict: Best Energy Booster

Another contender for the title of best crossfit pre workout is the Cellucor C4 Pre-Workout supplement.

This is easily one of the best supplements for crossfit workout in the market, and crossfitters are some of the most energetic buyers of C4’s products.

What I love about this pre workout is that it gives you an all around high performance hit for energy focus, motivation, and endurance, which is a necessity when you are a crossfit athlete. Also, with its select ingredients, it decreases blood pressure and provides increased blood flow.

Pros:

  • Good value per serving
  • Provides great stimulant effect
  • Good pump and endurance increase

Cons:

  • Has a proprietary blend
  • Some products harden or form clumps

5. Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy

Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy with Green Tea and Green Coffee Extract, Flavor: Watermelon, 65 Servings

Our Verdict: Best for Power & Strength

Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy is another one of the best pre workouts for crossfit athletes who want to work out longer and strong.

This type of preworkout supp is made to boost three aspects of your workout: Your mental focus, your energy and your strength levels.

With these nutrients backing you, you’ll be able to show off more power and strength during your workouts than ever before. Bonus: there are no harmful additives in Amino Energy!

Some ingredients worth mentioning include citrulline, amino acids (BCAA), beta alanine, taurine, boron, vitamin d3, zinc.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Optimum caffeine content
  • Aids muscle recovery

Cons:

  • Contains artificial sweeteners
  • Mixed with some irrelevant ingredients

6. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout

Our Verdict: Best for Mental Focus

Another option I’ll be briefly reviewing today is the Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout.

This provides three important nutrients for your workout; all of which mentioned above. All three of these will give you more push while also helping your muscles work more efficiently without causing any damage.

Crossfitters need these supplements to have their best workout ever, and the Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard can give you the best boost around.

Pros:

  • Boosts strength & performance
  • Enhances focus and energy output
  • Its caffeine dosage is suitable for most

Cons:

  • Can be pricey
  • Contains artificial sweeteners and colors
  • A few key components are under dosed

7. Pre WOD Pre Workout

Pre WOD Pre Workout

Our Verdict: Best Brain Booster

Spotting the brand name at first gives you a feeling that the PreWOD pre-workout is an ideal product for CrossFit. Nonetheless, that’s not enough to make it a good pre-workout supplement for CrossFit. But its ingredients surely make it one.

First, its brain-boosting elements will make sure you get out of bed and hit the gym with all revved up. Think 200mg of caffeine (about 2 cups of coffee) coupled with effective doses of Huperzine A.

In conclusion, Pre WOD is best to use to support you with more focus and drive to start and finish your routine.

Pros:

  • Adequate dose of caffeine Sweet tasting flavors
  • Contains zero calories

Cons:

  • Clumps easily
  • Creatine-free

8. Equip Pure WOD

Equip Pure WOD

Our Verdict: Best for Crossfit Training

Equip’s Pure WOD pre-workout is not one of the most popular products out there, but it surely is worth a consideration for Crossfit athletes. Why?

This is an all-natural supplement with no trade secret of elements and effective dosage. This means that it’s safe for a vegan and paleo diet.

The only drawback with this pre-workout supp is its taste. Many customers have given it all sorts of bad-bitter names but remark its consistency. All in all, Pure WOD is a great pre-workout supp option for CrossFit training if you are all about the results and not too bothered by taste.

Pros:

  • Effective dose of ingredients
  • Hydrating
  • All natural 

Cons:

  • Not the best tasting
  • Ziplock packaging

The Truth Is...

Effective workouts are possible without a supplement, but adding one of the best pre-workouts for Crossfit to your routine before working out is a great way to attain the following benefits:

  • Fuel up your strength
  • Protect and support your muscles from damage
  • Reduce fatigue to recover faster
  • Grow bigger & stronger muscles
  • Get more done during your workout so you can hit a home run!

All it takes is the right supp.

There are so many different choices on the market you can shop for, and I know that it can be hard to figure out which one is right to use as the best creatine pre-workout supplement.

Key Questions to Consider

Why Should You Consider A CrossFit Pre-Workout?

You are probably still thinking twice about having a pre-workout drink before hitting the box.

This can be as a result of things you’ve heard (usually misconceptions) about using pre-workout supps for a high-intensity program like CrossFit.

More on that later...

Why not know the facts before you use pre-workout supplements first?

Taking a single dose before a workout can give you the pre-workout energy, resistance, and mental focus needed to complete the intense workouts at the box.

Not just that, with the aid of stimulants like caffeine, you get that extra fuel to hit the gym early in the morning or after a long day at work.

Now, to clear your mind...

Is It Bad To Do CrossFit Training Using A Pre-Workout?

It is definitely not a bad thing to use a pre-workout for CrossFit training.

But there are times where you just have to cautious about the type of supplements you use so you don’t become dependent on them as your main source of stamina - and make sure to use the correct one depending on what type of training you are doing.

Here are 3 reasons why pre-workouts can have ill reactions:

  1. Proprietary Component: Some may contain stuff that might cause dehydration or are outright banned. The latter is especially important if you are an elite athlete.
  2. Caffeine Content: You can become dependent on supplements if not taken properly or at the right time of day. Be aware of high caffeine content and avoid consuming caffeine later in the day. Also, you can quickly build a caffeine tolerance which will lead you to take more quantity to see the same effects in the longer run.
  3. Fast Heart Rate: Your heart rate can become very fast, a bit too fast when you use these supplements for some exercises. It is best used with strength and power workouts and unless it is needed for cardio.

Guidelines for Taking a Pre-Workout for CrossFit Training

Once you’ve decided to try out a pre-workout supplement, you’ll need to have these tips at the back of your mind.

#1 Use Caffeinated Pre-Workout Supplements for Morning Workouts

No doubt, the caffeine content in most pre workouts will do its job and provide you that added energy you need in the gym.

But, the “boost effect” of caffeine can last for up to 6 hours depending on age, weight, and sensitivity to caffeine. 

Its negative effects on sleep can lead to accumulated fatigue in progression, so in order to avoid that, you will want to stick with stimulant free options if you are working harder routines later in the day.

#2 Don’t Mix & Match Your Drinks

Mixing preworkouts with some source of other caffeinated beverages is unnecessary and dangerous.

The most common and least harmful side effects are probably nausea and having jitters. But it could get much worse...

So, stick to either a pre-workout OR coffee – not both at the same time.

cup of coffee on a saucer

#3 Helps With Muscle Building, Not Weight Loss

Most worry free pre-workout supplements contain creatine, in addition to other components that fuel muscle mass gain more so than having a fat burner property.

So if your goal is to maximize fat burning, avoid food and drinks with ingredients intended to not only energize but also to help you build muscle.

#4 Avoid a Pre-Workout Supplement with Added Sugar & Shoddy Ingredients

Unfortunately, this means you have to avoid a lot of products on the market in order to stay out of trouble.

But we have compiled a list of the best pre workouts for crossfitters to ease you the stress of weeding out tons of products with unnatural, artificial contents and fillers.

Key Ingredients To Search For & Their Purpose

Now that you have a clear grasp of using pre workouts for CrossFit and how to avoid any negative factors, I’ll give you a short overview of the top components to keep an eye out for.

These ingredients will help you go for the right one that meets your needs.

Creatine

These supplements provide you with strength and power to perform both weightlifting and resistance workouts.

It enhances high performance by restoring ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) during high-intensity programs.

What is Creatine

Caffeine

As previously mentioned, it is an almost inevitable component of pre-workout powder, or even pill in form, whether you like it or not.

This stimulant affects the neuromuscular system to increase strength and alertness at the gym, as well as focus, thus aiding mind-muscle connection .

Beta-Alanine

If you quickly get muscle soreness and fatigue easily from the intensity of working out, this can be as a result of a build-up of lactic acid hydrogen ions in your muscles.

This is where beta-alanine comes in.

It will give your body the help to store carnosine which in turn gets rid of the excess hydrogen ions. This increases your training volume.

Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs)

Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) are the guys that help you recover quickly after tearing up your muscles at the gym, and another great crossfit supplement.

Leucine is the most dominant of the three amino acid types (leucine isoleucine and valine) and uses protein synthesis to aid muscle gain, reduce muscle breakdown and fatigue.

Pick The Right One For YOU

No matter which one you decide to try from this reviewed bests to add to your cart, you’re sure to see a marked difference in your performance the next training session you start a CrossFit workout.

To give you that extra push to complete your routine to the top, we recommend using Transparent Labs Bulk Pre-Workout. It’s great for both athletes and non-athletes and doesn’t get you bloated like most products on the market.

Remember to take into account that even the best pre workout supplement will not give you that powerful result you desire if you don’t work out efficiently or give enough time for muscle repair. While supplements can increase muscle endurance in lower recovery times, you still need to be smart during your workout.

We know the ladies out there are crazy about CrossFit too, which is why we've compiled the best pre-workouts for women right here on this page.

Which types of supplements do you prefer before doing CrossFit? What do you actually search for in the different types of supps? Let me know in the comments if you like one of these best supplements for CrossFit we reviewed as much as I do, and get to your workout with the much needed energy you’ve been in the search for!

And if you're in for both "pre and post; don't forget that while these preworkout supps are taken before or precedent your routine, and the ones that contain a good source of whey protein are made for after, or better called post workout. You can also take whey protein containing supps as a meal replacement.

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