Best Pre-Workout Supplements, Drinks & Shakes For Extra Gym Energy Reviewed

Pre-workout supplements have become some of the fastest and best-selling product categories in the entire supplement market today.

This makes lots of sense when you think how important that brief period before your training is to your preparation and success.

This is the period when you feed your body the vital nutrients it needs to perform at its highest level.

More on this in a bit...

top rated c4 explosive energy

A quality pre-workout routine has the potential of taking your training to a whole new level. If you choose a second rate one, and there are a lot out there, you will waste not only your money but also your valuable time.

Fat burners assist with fat loss through elevating your levels of metabolism, suppressing cravings and sustaining a healthy level of appetite. In addition, they can enhance your focus and energy to optimize your potential during the workout.

image of woman drinking pre workout drink

Choosing the top products for before and after your training requires extreme care if you want to maximize your results.

This article will help you decide which one is most effective for you.

Here we will compare the different types of supplements that provide you with a variety of options that make your muscles even stronger.

Different Types of Pre-Workout Supps

Pre-workouts are designed to be taken before a workout in order to multiply endurance, energy and focus during your gym session. That's exactly why I suggest that you include our MusclePharm Assault review, to one of those to consider. You'll find out all about it in another article. I'm sure you'll be happy to read more about it.

However, the choice you make may have a huge impact on the outcome of your workout.

In addition to preparing your very own homemade snacks, the top choices generally fall under the following categories:

Standard Pre-Workout

Most basic pre-workout supplements are drinks that either come in a bottle or can, or as powders that you mix up in a shaker or blender. These supplements can even come in pills or tablets.  Common ingredients are described in detail later in this article, but the basic components are typically protein, creatine, caffeine, and various special additives, such as beta-alanine.

Before I go further, there's actually the B Nox pre workout review that's interesting. It provides a good boost without the heavy crash, it claims. I recommend that you check that article out.

But supplements are not all the same.  There are differing quantities of the each component. Some are balanced to provide more stimulation for your metabolism. Others tout that they are natural, non-GMO, and other specifications that may or may not be important to you. 

There are also supplements that are targeted more for men because they are stronger or maybe have more muscle-building components.  There are others that are primarily for pre-workouts for women because they have popular flavors or are formulated specifically for women.

All good pre-workout supplements make an excellent energy source. They increase your power levels and boost stamina during your gym workout and even your CrossFit sessions. However, some supps contain artificial ingredients that may not be agreeable to you. Some could even be harmful to your health.

If a natural lifestyle is important to you, there are products that qualify. But I can tell you, when you use organic pre-workout supplements, you will not only be getting excellent whole food products but also saving yourself from potential harmful effects of unwanted additives like artificial sweeteners.

Natural pre-workout mixes do not contain artificial hormones or steroids. These are healthy and clean products. You can safely use them without concern about potentially harmful effects to your health.

If you are health conscious, then you certainly are aware of the truly remarkable benefits of cardio exercise, where you exercise in an aerobic manner to raise you heart rate. It is proven to assist in the management of different health conditions. Other means of getting your endurance training done is also by running.

Cardio boosts your overall stamina and helps in burning those calories. By raising your heart rate, cardio ultimately enhances the functioning and efficiency of your lungs and heart.

Personally, I think you will greatly benefit from using a pre-workout for cardio booster, specific for your cardio exercise. It improves the overall functioning of your body and boosts your energy levels.

Pre-Workout Drinks and Shakes

image of athlete drinking pre workout drink

Pre-workout protein drinks and shakes, particularly branched-chain amino acids, are proven to assist muscles during your training. After being absorbed, BCAAs don't require being processed by your liver. They directly head into your bloodstream where they get picked up easily by your muscles.

When you add protein into your system prior to starting the training session you powerfully prime the pump. This is because it starts the process of synthesizing protein during your workout session rather than after.

Pre-workout shakes and drinks that are packed with protein increase the delivery of amino acid. They boost uptake by your muscles during a training session.

When making a choice for the best pre-workout drinks, don't forget to include 1MR Vortex from BPI Sports. You'd be surprise to find out about its benefits and effectiveness packed in a budget price. 

Taking protein nutrients in the pre-workout period also comes with a positive carryover effect. Muscle protein synthesis may stay elevated for as long as for three hours. That is what makes a protein drink or shake a good pre-workout supplement for a rapid energy boost.

Although creatine is an extremely useful pre- and post-workout supplement, not every athlete can reap all its benefits. The hitch is not with the product ingredient itself. It has to do with the biological makeup of the  particular person, similar in this way to lactose and gluten.

There is a tiny fraction of bodybuilders who have some challenges when it comes to absorbing creatine products into their muscle cells properly. These are usually genetically related reasons.

Therefore, if you are one of those mentioned above, you should look on the side of taking pre-workout without creatine to boost your workout without getting yourself into trouble.

When you select quality creatine-free products, you can still get excellent results during your workout session. There are lots of proven non-creatine products available in the market today. 

Pre-Workout Thermogenic Fat Burners

Finally there is a completely separate type of pre-gym booster that is designed to increase your metabolism so that you will lose weight and burn more calories or fat.  These pre-workout thermogenic fat burners work great during HIIT training.

The Top 5 Best Pre-Workout Supplements

So the question is: what is the top-rated pick? Below are the 5 best supplements for pre-workout that are sure to set you on the path to success.

1.  Cellucor C4 Pre-Workout with Creatine, Nitric Oxide, Beta Alanine and Energy

C4 Original Pre Workout Powder Fruit Punch | Sugar Free Preworkout Energy Supplement for Men & Women | 150mg Caffeine + Beta Alanine + Creatine | 60 Servings

Cellucor C4 Pre-Workout Explosive Energy provides energy for next-level performance.  C4's formula includes ingredients that get you in the zone for great training sessions.

Cellucor claims that C4 is the #1-selling pre-workout in America. C4 has definitely been a leader for a long time, for both men and women.

Among other ingredients, C4 Explosive Energy includes Creatine Nitrate, Caffeine and N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine - a great core for an energy blend.  C4 provides top physical and mental performance during your workouts.  It also includes Calcium, Vitamin C, Vitamin B5, Niacin, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 and Beta Alanine.  

Looking at the complete ingredient list, one can see that C4 includes everything that makes a great workout even better!

2.  Universal Nutrition Animal Pak Sports Nutrition Supplement

Universal Nutrition Animal Pak Sports Nutrition Supplement

Animal Pak offers all you require for your workout, plus extras ingredients that you may not realize you need.

Each Animal Pak serving packet has 11 tablets with perfect doses of vital vitamins and minerals  -- all of which are important pharmacological agents and catalysts.

Animal Pak is routinely rated as one of the best pre-workouts for everybody.

It provides exerts anabolic and ergogenic benefits on your body and acts as the spark plug needed to activate all the vital chemical body reactions that make building muscle possible.

In addition, with 11 tablets in every pack, Animal Pak provides performance optimizers. Each supplement tablet is formulated to deliver the maximum benefits. They contain minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, amino acids, adaptogens, and digestive enzymes.



Vintage Burn is a top natural pre-workout formula because of the unique way it delivers its ingredients. It allows its components to pass into the body in a steady stream, thus allowing the body to continue working at an even pace from start to finish.

The double-stage formula cuts down on the accumulation of lactic acid. This enhances your body’s capacity to work while improving stamina and mental focus. Vintage Blast’s all-inclusive ingredients not only keep dehydration at bay.

They also minimize oxidation to allow for maximum effect. In addition, this product is good for your recovery. Apart from this, the brand also carries plant-based pre-workout supplements, one of which is included in our list of the best vegan pre-workout supplements. Theremogenic supplements not only boost your fat-burning, but also controls your appetite while kicking up your energy levels.

This is one fat burner you cannot afford to ignore!

4.  SHEER N.O. - #1 Best Nitric Oxide Supplement

SHEER N.O. Nitric Oxide Supplement

SHEER N.O. has been one of the highest recommended pre-workout supplements for a long time, and has been shown to provide enhanced muscle growth while still being kind to your heart and immune system. It helps your body in to generate added nitric oxide.  This gives you more explosive pumps, extra energy, boosted strength and keeps your heart healthy.

The ingredients in this nitric oxide booster are known also to work during the wound healing . This assists your kidneys in removing waste products, helping to maintain hormone function and the immune system.

SHEER N.O. promotes enhanced blood flow.  You'll feel increased strength and hardness in your muscles.  These very popular capsules may be the perfect choice for you!

5.  BSN N.O.-XPLODE - Fruit Punch

BSN N.O.-XPLODE - Fruit Punch

BSN N.O.-Xplode provides a balanced supplement for your pre-workout routine.  N.O.-Xplode is scientifically engineered to promote explosive endurance and enhanced energy.  

You will be able to maximize your performance during your training. 

N.O.-XPLODE, was one of the first complete pre-workout supplements, released in 2004.  It has helped athletes as they break through barriers ever since.

It has a new great flavor and provides more energy, more feel, and more focus. The weights won’t know what happened! What a way to prepare for your next gym sesh!

Other Quality Options

Use any of the above top 5 supplements and you are assured to experience enhanced energy and strength.

However, we couldn't completely leave out the following five quality products from our list. 

Sheer Thermo

This leading fat burning thermogenic supplement comes with a science-based formula that is proven. The ingredients in Sheer Thermo burn fat fast and hence why it’s been ranked among the top fat burners in the industry. Besides getting rid of your body fat, the ingredients enhance your thinking and also protect muscle.

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout

This new Gold Standard Pre-Workout sets a new standard for optimized energy and focus with caffeine from natural sources. Regular use can also help you train harder and longer with the endurance supporting qualities of beta alanine.  Includes CarnoSyn Beta-Alanine, supporting intramuscular buffering system so you can train longer and harder. Creapure Creatine Monohydrate  high purity creatine monohydrate.


Legion Pulse contains amino acids theanine and citrulline malate.  These are scientifically proven to increase nitric oxide production dramatically. Pulse’s pre-workout is great for both men and women to improve gym performance.

All ingredients in Pulse are supported by scientific studies, all dosages are at effective clinical levels, with no artificial sweeteners, unnecessary fillers or dyes. Pulse also contains caffeine (350 mg) making your body more energy-burning.

Read our full Legion Pulse review here.

Alpha Gx7 Pre-workout - Maximized Energy - For Workouts

Alpha GX7 is a powerful pre-workout, with 1500mg of total citrulline along with beta alanine.  You'll get a great boost of energy boost within moments and enjoy great workouts with immediate focus, strength, and drive.

The Alpha Gx7 ingredients are carefully chosen to boost strength and to provide focus and drive. As a result, you'll lift more weight, and leave the gym energized.

Alpha Gx7 Pre-workout contains only scientifically selected pure ingredients proven to produce great workouts.  And, it tastes great!

Red Leaf Pre-Workout Energizer Supplement

Red Leaf Pre-Workout Energizer is a fantastic combination of beta-alanine, glutamine, L-arginine, and green tea -- in a great natural cranberry flavor. Beta-alanine provides for muscle endurance which exercising at high-intensity.

Glutamine helps with muscle repair. In addition, there are branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) for muscle repair and endurance. And there is a medium amount of caffeine to get you going, without making you jittery. The unique blend of ingredients in Red Leaf is specially designed to provide what you need for hard workouts, energy, and fast recovery.

Best pre-workout supplements without stimulants (especially caffeine)Buying Guide

Well selected supplements can give you the needed upper hand when you hit the gym. However, it’s very easy to get totally lost in the vast sea of product names, ingredients, labels and packaging. This becomes particularly challenging if you are new or maybe say, a beginner in using pre-workout supplements.

I can understand if you feel like you are drowning with all that extreme marketing and some hard-to-pronounce compounds! After all, what you really wanted was a simple and easy to use product to boost your sessions.

Have no fear, I have you well covered. What about starting simple and getting to what is most critical: the ingredients of what makes the top pre-workout supplement?

Ensure that the product you select has at the minimum several of the following ingredients. I can assure you that these have been clinically suggested to greatly boost your power and muscle strength.

  • Caffeine: Repeatedly, this ingredient has been proven to be an extremely effective performance booster in both sprints and endurance exercises. Caffeine increases your workloads through decreasing your rate of fatigue and even lowering your perception of required effort. This even works when you are operating in sleep-deprived situations! However, if you're also interested in caffeine-free supplements, we've rounded up the best pre-workout supplements without stimulants (especially caffeine) for you!
  • Creatine: This is the key ingredient that assists most with your workouts. It helps in saturating your muscles with the energy source needed for your big lifts.
  • Branched-Chain Amino Acids: BCAAs provide your body some immediate protection against the effects triggered by exercising. This includes delaying the onset of muscle soreness (DOMS) so you can resume hard training faster.
  • Beta-alanine: Another useful ingredient that boosts the volume of your overall training. It is excellent for squeezing the maximum out of your workout and for pumping out extra reps.


More than ever before, pre-workout supps are becoming more popular today. It is a proven fact that when correctly selected they can boost your muscle pump, endurance, strength, and focus. However, there are endless volumes of products to choose from. Lots of these supplements rely heavily on stimulants only and they fail to deliver any real vital nutrients to your muscle fibers.

Therefore, as you scan the health food store shelves for the top-rated pre-workout, ensure that you select not only a super-fast-acting compound but also one that has tangible nutritional value. You will need a product that can quickly absorb into your bloodstream to give you rapid energizing effects. If you have ever wondered why you're experiencing pre-workout tingle, check out our latest post to know more about this sensation.

Following these guidelines when choosing a product for your specific needs, you will be assured of success! However, it’s also critical that you ensure that you keep the rest of your routine diet firmly in control.

Last Updated on July 13, 2020

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