Supercharge your sessions: The best pre-workouts 2024

Read our guide to find everything you need to know about pre-workouts, as well as the best ones to try right now – just in time for new years’ resolutions.

Best pre-workouts

by Jack Barrell |
Updated on

Getting results at the gym is all about getting the most out of your gym supplements, and the best pre-workouts are one of the best ways of doing that. Featuring a range of safe ingredients designed to pump you up, get you focused and add a strong dose of motivation, the best pre-workouts make sure you leave nothing on the table every time you go to the gym

On this page, you’ll find everything you need to know about the best pre-workouts, and the ones to try right now.

The best pre-workouts at a glance:

• Best overall Pre-workout: Applied Nutrition All Black Everything Pre-Workout - View offer on Amazon UK
• Best OG Pre-workout: BSN NO-Xplode Pre-Workout - View offer on Amazon UK
• Best tried-and-trusted Pre-workout: Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout - View offer on Amazon UK

What is a pre-workout?

As you’d expect from the name, pre-workouts are taken before the gym. For the effects to take effect on time, it's usually recommended to get them in your system around 30 minutes before you go to the gym. Unlike protein powders that typically fuel you post-workout, pre-workouts perk you up and get you in the zone for intense exercise. To do this, most pre-workouts will use a mixture of caffeine and other ingredients like taurine, beta-alanine, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) and even creatine powder supplements.

It is suggested that pre-workouts can also increase your stamina in addition to helping you focus and get a quicker pump. This means you can work out harder for longer. This isn't just physical stamina either, but mental. Ingredients such as caffeine are known for their ability to focus the mind, keeping you away from distractions (no more scrolling through Insta between sets), and letting you make sure your form is on point.

The best pre-workouts to get you in the zone:

Best overall Pre-workout

If you're after something that will give you a serious surge of energy, look no further than All Black Everything, or ABE for short. Turn to the back of its all-black packaging, and you'll find it has pretty much everything you can think of for smashing your gym sessions. There's citrulline, creatine as well as beta-alanine and each serving packs a massive 200mg of caffeine. In practice, it's one of the most powerful pre-workouts we've used and we'd recommend starting off on a half dose to begin with. It's not too expensive and also comes in a range of surprisingly drinkable flavours, from Gin and Tonic to Sour Gummy Bear.

Pros

  • High in B3 and B12 to aid healthy living
  • Great variety of flavours
  • Each ingredient has been tested to ensure a high nutritional value

Cons

  • If you are sensitive to caffeine, this might not be for you as it's strong

Best budget Pre-workout

Impact Pre WorkoutMyprotein

Myprotein Impact Pre-Workout energizes your training sessions with a powerful blend of scientifically backed ingredients. Packed with caffeine, beta-alanine, and essential vitamins, it sharpens focus, boosts energy levels, and ups endurance.

This formula is designed to help you achieve peak performance and tackle even the most intense workouts with vigor. Get ready to make an impact.

Pros

  • Super value pre-workout
  • Tried and tested, very effective for energy, focus, and productivity

Cons

  • Cola flavour is the only current option

Best Pre-workout for flavours

WarriorWarrior

Unleash ferocious strength and relentless endurance with Warrior Rage Pre-Workout Powder. Here is a potent formula combining high-powered stimulants like caffeine and beta-alanine with essential nutrients to enhance focus, increase energy, and maximise recovery. Perfect for athletes looking to push their limits, Warrior Rage comes in delicious flavours, ensuring your path to peak performance is as enjoyable as it is optimal.

Pros

  • So many original and tasty flavours
  • Very good value for money
  • Reputable sports supplement brand

Cons

  • Can make some users gassy

Best OG Pre-workout

In some ways, BSN's NO Xplode started the whole pre-workout thing off, so it's fitting it remains one of the best supplements you can buy. Now featuring everything from amino acids, beta-alanine, vitamin C and zinc, NO Xplode still contains a solid 200mg of caffeine in every serving. It's a little more expensive than some other supplements on this list, but you're paying for a more active ingredients than other brands as well as the quality you'd expect from BSN. The only catch? We've only seen it in three flavours; Red Rush, Green Burst or Strawberry, and they could taste a little better.

Pros

  • Reduces tiredness and fatigue so you can work towards hitting your PB's
  • Includes BNS food supplement, which supports alertness and focus
  • Whopping 650g tub to make your pre-workout last longer

Cons

  • Only available in a limited three flavours

Best pre-made Pre-workout

NXT TNT Pre-Workout Drinks supercharge your workouts with explosive energy and enhanced focus. Made to fuel athletes, these scientifically formulated shots deliver a blend of caffeine, beta-alanine, and amino acids, boosting endurance and performance. With zero sugar and refreshing flavours, they’re the perfect pre-training boost to maximise every set and every rep. There's even 10g protein per shot, which is practically unheard of for pre-workout.

Pros

  • Super easy and convenient
  • 10g protein per shot
  • Extremely tasty

Cons

  • Not ideal for long-term or daily usage

Best tried-and-trusted Pre-workout

Optimum Nutrition is another tried and tested brand when it comes to supplements, so it's no wonder its Gold Standard pre-workout is one of the best. It's pretty cheap and packs in a strong range of ingredients for a decent amount of focus. Its 175mg of caffeine per serving isn't as high as some others on this list but it also adds creatine monohydrate, beta-alanine, and vitamin B complex to support your body during a workout. In practice, it doesn't offer the same rush as other products, but it'll certainly help you perform better than without. And sometimes, milder is better.

Pros

  • Contains vitamin B complex: including vitamins B6 and B12, that assist with metabolism and energy-yielding
  • Banned-substance tested to ensure what you're putting in your body is safe
  • Only one scoop needed in 350ml water to make sure your pre-workout lasts

Cons

  • Less caffeine content than other pre-workouts on our list, at 175mg

Best zero caffeine Pre-workout

RazeThe Protein Works

Raze Zero-Caff Pre-Workout offers a powerful boost without caffeine, perfect for those sensitive to stimulants. This innovative formula features nine heavily researched ingredients, including essential amino acids, beta-alanine, and creatine, to enhance endurance, increase strength, and improve focus. Enjoy sustained energy and peak performance with each sugar-free serving, available in two delicious flavours. Maximise your workout naturally with Raze Zero-Caff, the smarter way to train.

Pros

  • Totally caffeine-free alternative
  • Safe, researched, and effective formula
  • Dairy, gluten, and soy free

Cons

  • Pricier than standard caffeine options

Best Pre-workout for clean ingredients

Grenade
Price: £24.95 (was £44.99)

www.grenade.com

Not actually a pre-workout as such, Grenade's Thermo Detonator 100 is classed as a weight management product, but it also works well as a pre-workout too. It's technically designed to help you burn fat, but the ingredients mean it'll give you a boost at the gym. Slightly more natural than some of the other solutions on this list, Grenade's capsules contain green tea, orange powder, cayenne pepper and green coffee, as well as 175mg of caffeine in total. If you want something cleaner and a little more subtle and also have a focus on burning fat, Grenade's Thermo Detonator is one to check out.

Pros

  • Designed to give you endurance and sustained energy throughout the day
  • Capsule formula means you don't have to worry about mixing powder with water
  • Great value for money at 44 capsules per box

Cons

  • Not suitable for vegetarians as the capsule is made from gelatine

Best Pre-workout for focus

Although not as popular as some of the other brands on this list, Cellucor's C4 pre-workout is a go-to supplement for many. The ingredients list is up there with the best; you'll find 200mg green coffee beans, 50mg of cayenne and 1500mg of micronized creatine. The only catch? Just 150mg of caffeine per serving, which is around 50mg less than some of the highest here. Still, it's hardly noticeable during a workout. Strangely, we found C4's original pre-workout one of the best focusing, second only to the equally matched BSN NO Xplode and Applied Nutrition ABE.

Pros

  • Wide variety of flavours, including fruit punch and green apple
  • No sugar, carbohydrates or calories per serving, making it a healthier option than other pre-workouts on our list
  • Includes 37.5mg of vitamin C for added nutrition

Cons

  • One reviewer found he needed two scoops to feel the effect rather than the advertised one

Best pre-workout tablets

Pure Caffeine TabletsMyprotein

Energize with Myprotein Pure Caffeine Tablets, the quick and convenient way to enhance alertness and improve concentration. Each tablet delivers a potent 200mg dose of caffeine, equivalent to roughly two cups of coffee, providing the boost needed to power through workouts or other physically demanding tasks. Perfect for on-the-go support, these tablets help you stay sharp and focused anytime and anywhere.

Pros

  • Incredible value for money
  • Great alternative to traditional powder mix
  • Vegan and gluten-free

Cons

  • Not as potent as some powder mixes

FAQs

Are pre-workouts worth it?

The worthiness of your pre-workout is all down to you. Pre-workouts are designed to enhance energy, focus and endurance during intense sessions, which can be beneficial to some individuals, particularly those battling fatigue. It's important to note their effectiveness does vary from person to person, and some may experience other side effects like jitteriness due to its caffeine content. Furthermore, relying solely on pre-workouts for long-term progress may not be the best approach; a balanced diet and consistent training remain fundamental.

Is it okay to take pre-workout every gym session?

While pre-workouts can provide a temporary boost in energy and focus, using them too often may lead to several potential issues. Over time, your body may build up a tolerance to the ingredients in pre-workouts, requiring higher doses to reach the same energy levels. The dangerous part of this is that it can lead to a cycle of dependence and potential health risks associated with excessive caffeine.

Relying on supplements for every fitness session can mask underlying issues like poor sleep, inadequate nutrition or overtraining, which should always be addressed. It's advisable to reserve pre-workouts for days when you need an extra push, like during intense workouts or when you're feeling particularly fatigued. Prioritising what to eat before training, your hydration and adequate rest will only benefit overall well-being in the long run.

What's better, creatine or pre-workout?

It's important to recognise creatine and pre-workout serve different purposes.

Creatine: This is a supplement that mainly improves muscle performance and strength. It works by increasing the body's stores of phosphocreatine, which helps produce energy during short bursts of intense activity, like sprinting. It's considered one of the most effective and safe supplements for increasing muscle mass and strength over time.

Pre-workout: On the other hand, pre-workout is there to provide a temporary boost in energy, focus and endurance prior to a workout. They usually contain ingredients like caffeine, amino acids, and other components that enhance alertness and reduce fatigue. Pre-workouts are particularly helpful for individuals looking to push through intense sessions or combat exercise-related fatigue. Their effects are temporary and may not directly contribute to muscle growth or gains.

The decision between creatine or pre-workout depends on your own goals. If your objective is to build muscle and improve strength, creatine is the better choice out of the two. If you're looking for a temporary energy boost, then a pre-workout supplement may be suited better to your needs.

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