Best Pre-Workout Supplements for Women to Try in 2022 – SI Showcase

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If you’re searching for a product to help boost your next sweat session at the gym then you’re in the right place. In this review we’re going to be covering the best pre-workout supplements for women to help you find the one that aligns best with your personal health and fitness goals.

As opposed to single ingredient supplements such as a protein powder, finding the right pre-workout might seem like an impossible task since there are so many different ingredients, dosages and effects. In addition, pre-workout supplements often have wild names such as “Psychotic,” “Gorilla Mode,” “C4” and “Wrecked.” From these names we can glean that many of these products aren’t necessarily marketed towards women. That being said, a pre-workout supplement can be a great way for women to take their workout routines to the next level.

There’s really no fundamental difference in the types of ingredients and dosages both men and women should look for in a pre-workout supplement. So, let’s try and put the crazy names aside, spin the tub of pre-workout around and check out the supplement label. This way we can break down the ingredients, weigh the pros and cons and help you find the perfect product to help you own your next workout.

This content is meant to be informative, but should not be taken as medical advice. It is not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention or treatment of health problems. Always speak with your doctor or medical provider before starting any new supplement or exercise regimen.

Our Picks for the Best Pre-Workout for Women in 2022:

Lean Preworkout_Transparent Labs

Key info:

  • Key ingredients: Citrulline Malate, Beta-Alanine, Acetyl L-Carnitine HCl, Caffeine
  • Cost per serving: $1.66 (subscribe and save plan = $1.42/serving)
  • Servings per container: 30 servings
  • Subscription plan offered? Yes. Save 15 percent and get free shipping with a subscription
  • Artificial sweeteners, colors, preservatives? None
  • Flavors: Fruit punch, blue raspberry, green apple, orange, cherry limeade, sour grape, strawberry lemonade, tropical punch, watermelon, sour peach
  • Certifications: None

Transparent Labs Lean is a very solid pre-workout formulation that is both well-rounded and has evidence-backed dosages of the active ingredients. One thing to consider about this pre-workout is that with the name “LEAN,” some might assume that it was created for people looking to lose weight and have serious fat burning effects. The brand itself describes their product as “the most exceptional ‘cutting’ pre-workout supplement available for both men and women,” and this is where I disagree. What appears to have happened is that the original LEAN formulation included ingredients like synephrine and hordenine which have possible fat-burning effects; however they are both now banned substances for athletes in the NCAA and I assume this is why they have been removed from the current ingredient profile. To replace these ingredients, LEAN added Acetyl L-Carnitine which has more evidence based studies supporting its potential use as a fat-burner. However, the 630 milligrams per scoop is well under the recommended two gram daily dosage. The reality is that most pre-workout powders do not contain any fat burning ingredients whatsoever because that is not what these products are intended for. While this product can technically be considered a pre-workout for women’s weight loss simply because it is the only formulation on this list that contains a fat burning ingredient, I would recommend that if you really want a supplement designed to help burn excess fat, then you likely have to look for it outside of a pre-workout. Still, this is a great pre-workout powder that is well formulated and will work to get you ready to crush your next gym session—just don’t purchase this thinking it will be a miracle weight loss and fat burning aid.

Pros:

  • Well rounded pre-workout formulation with evidence-based ingredient dosages
  • No proprietary blends
  • No artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors, or preservatives

Cons

  • Labeled as a potent fat burning pre-workout supplement but contains only one ingredient that might help with fat loss
  • The consumer reviews on the taste have been mixed, with a few reviews advising to avoid the green apple flavor in particular

Purchase Transparent Labs’ LEAN Pre-Workout


Pre-Kaged Pre-workout

Key info:

  • Key ingredients: L-Citrulline, Beta-Alanine, Creatine, Taurine, Tyrosine
  • Cost per serving: $2.25 (subscribe and save plan = $2.02/serving)
  • Servings per container: 20 servings
  • Subscription plan offered? Yes. Save 10 percent with a subscription
  • Artificial sweeteners, colors, preservatives? Sucralose
  • Flavors: Fruit punch, orange krush, berry blast, pink lemonade, krisp apple, cherry bomb
  • Certifications: Informed Choice Certified and Banned Substance Free

Pre-Kaged is a premium pre-workout formulation with science-backed ingredients that also comes with a premium price point. At $44.99 for 20 servings this pre-workout is expensive but Kaged is able to justify the price point as this formula is one of the most comprehensive pre-workout supplements available. In addition to the 274 milligrams of caffeine the supplement contains 6.5 grams of L-citrulline, 1.6 grams of beta-alanine and 1.5 grams of creatine as well as a 600 milligram hydration blend containing coconut water powder which supplies the body with essential electrolytes to support water retention. This means that this pre-workout powder is great for women who perform workouts where they sweat excessively and want to avoid dehydration. Another benefit is the spectra antioxidant blend that contains twenty-nine different fruits and vegetables per scoop. Kaged notes that these antioxidants are beneficial to counteract the free radicals generated from intense exercise programs. In addition, people do rave about the various flavors available for this pre-workout, however note that the brand does use sucralose to sweeten its product. Hands down this is a phenomenal pre-workout powder and one of the best on this list.

Pros:

  • Well rounded pre-workout formulation
  • Hefty caffeine dose of 274 milligrams per serving
  • No artificial flavors or colors
  • Informed Choice Certified and Banned Substance Free

Cons:

  • Artificial sweetener sucralose is used to sweeten this product
  • With such a high caffeine dose per serving you might not want to take this product every single day

Purchase Kaged Pre-Kaged Pre-Workout


Original Pre-workout powder_Cellucor

Key info:

  • Key ingredients: Caffeine, Citrulline Malate, Creatine, Beta-Alanine
  • Cost per serving: $1.00 (subscribe and save plan = $0.70)
  • Servings per container: 30
  • Subscription plan offered? 30 percent off subscribe and save plan on your first order, then save 20 percent off each recurring order after that
  • Artificial sweeteners, colors, preservatives? Yes. Natural and artificial flavors, sucralose and acesulfame potassium as sweeteners, plus artificial colors
  • Flavors: Icy blue razz, watermelon, cherry limeade, orange burst, fruit punch, frozen bombsicle, grape
  • Certifications: NSF Certified Safe for Sport

Despite being one of the most well known pre-workout supplements on the market, C4 original pre-workout is definitely a supplement formulated for both men and women who are new to the gym. Aside from the caffeine at a 150 milligram dose per scoop, the remaining active ingredients are significantly under-dosed compared to what the literature tells us is actually effective at enhancing performance. The good thing is that Cellucor does offer different C4 energy products based on its consumers’ goals and ability level in the gym. In addition to C4 Original, it has pre-workout supplements such as C4 Sport, C4 Ripped, C4 Ultimate, C4 Extreme, C4 Dynasty and C4 NO3 (stim-free). As far as the taste, the cherry limeade and watermelon flavors are my favorite.

Check out our in-depth C4 Pre-Workout review for more information

Pros:

  • Very affordable price point
  • 150 mg of caffeine per serving
  • NSF Certified Safe for Sport

Cons:

  • Artificial sweeteners, flavors and colors
  • Underdosed ingredients

Purchase Cellucor C4 Original Pre-Workout Powder


Pre-workout powder

Key info:

  • Key ingredients: Caffeine, Beta-Alanine, Creatine Monohydrate
  • Cost per serving: $0.90
  • Servings per container: 50 servings
  • Subscription plan offered? No
  • Artificial sweeteners, colors, preservatives? None
  • Flavors: Fruit punch, citrus, unflavored
  • Certifications: None

If you are familiar with the Naked Nutrition brand then you know that it prides itself on its supplements being completely natural, containing no artificial sweeteners, colors, or preservatives. With only ten ingredients you can be sure that Naked Nutrition avoids many of the common filler ingredients seen in other pre-workout formulations. However, aside from the caffeine at 200 milligrams per scoop, the other active ingredients including Beta-Alanine, Creatine, and L-Arginine are all slightly underdosed. That being said, this is the most affordable pre-workout powder on our list at under one dollar per serving so you are getting some excellent value. This powder does mix easily in water but if you choose the unflavored option it does taste quite bitter. If you prefer a flavored pre-workout then the supplement does also come in both a fruit punch and citrus flavor sweetened with pure cane sugar and natural flavors.

Pros:

  • Affordable price point
  • No artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors or preservatives
  • Vegan, non-GMO, and free from dairy, gluten and soy
  • 200 milligrams of natural caffeine from coffee beans

Cons:

  • Despite containing both creatine and beta-alanine, I would like to see these in higher dosages on the supplements facts label

Purchase Naked Nutrition Naked Energy Pre-Workout


Gold Standard pre-workout_Optimum Nutrition

Key info:

  • Key ingredients: Caffeine, Creatine, Beta-Alanine, L-Citrulline, Acetyl L-Carnitine
  • Cost per serving: $1.10
  • Servings per container: $0.30
  • Subscription plan offered? If you buy more, you save more. Get 10 percent off orders over $75, 15 percent off orders over $100 and 20 percent off orders over $150
  • Artificial sweeteners, colors, preservatives? Yes. Natural and artificial flavors, sucralose and acesulfame potassium as sweeteners plus artificial colors
  • Flavors: Blueberry lemonade, fruit punch, green apple, watermelon
  • Certifications: Informed Choice Certified Safe for Sport

Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard pre-workout is your standard pre-workout supplement formulation, which helps to explain the affordable price point (about $1 per serving). The modest 175 milligrams dosage of caffeine is definitely enough to get you excited for the gym however, some of the other ingredients including the beta-alanine and L-citrulline are likely ineffective at the level included in this formula. This product does contain three grams of creatine monohydrate per serving and while it’s on the low end of what you might want to consume, it does satisfy the daily creatine requirement for most individuals using creatine for its muscle building effects. The flavors I have tried include the blueberry lemonade, green apple and fruit punch. They’ve all tasted great but they all contain artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners.

Pros:

  • Three grams of creatine per serving
  • 175 milligrams of Caffeine per serving
  • Informed Choice Certified Safe for Sport

Cons:

  • Artificial sweeteners, flavors and colors
  • Underdosed ingredients

Purchase Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout


Pre-workout Alani

Key info:

  • Key ingredients: Caffeine, Beta-Alanine, L-Citrulline, L-Tyrosine, L-Theanine
  • Cost per serving: $1.33 (subscribe and save plan = $1.27/serving)
  • Servings per container: 30 servings
  • Subscription plan offered? Save five percent with a subscription
  • Artificial sweeteners, colors, preservatives? Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium
  • Flavors: Cosmic stardust, rainbow candy, blue slush, candy grape, Hawaiian shaved ice, island crush, breezeberry, mimosa, galaxy lemonade, Arctic white, rocket pop
  • Certifications: None

From the packaging to the creative and unique flavors it is easy to see why Alani Nu is such a popular product among women. Not only does it look and taste great, but it has the ingredient profile to back up the praise. Despite only containing five ingredients, they are the right ones and dosed correctly. Each scoop contains 200 milligrams of caffeine, six grams of L-citrulline, 1.6 grams of beta-alanine, 500 milligrams of L-tyrosine and 200 milligrams of L-theanine. This combination of ingredients is meant to boost energy, increase blood flow, delay fatigue and improve your focus and performance in the gym. Almost all of the reviews regarding the taste were positive, however some women noted that a few of the flavors taste rather similar. I personally tried the Hawaiian shaved ice flavor and although sweet, it was a light and refreshing flavor.

Pros:

  • Multiple different flavor options
  • Simple but effective five-ingredient list
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • No third-party testing available
  • Artificial sweeteners include sucralose and acesulfame potassium

Purchase Alani Nu Pre-Workout


Wrecked Pre-Workout_Huge Supplements

Key info:

  • Key ingredients: Caffeine, L-Citrulline, Beta-Alanine, Betaine, L-Tyrosine
  • Cost per serving: $2.50
  • Servings per container: 20
  • Subscription plan offered? None
  • Artificial sweeteners, colors, preservatives? Yes. Natural and artificial flavors, sucralose and acesulfame potassium as sweeteners
  • Flavors: Raspberry mojito, bomb popsicle, rainbow burst, peach rings
  • Certifications: None

Huge Supplements delivers one of the strongest pre-workout supplements on the market with its flagship “Wrecked” pre-workout. This product contains a massive 250 milligram dose of caffeine per serving along with 100 milligrams of Di-Caffeine Malate so it is a very potent stimulant. So, if you are new to pre-workout and want to give this product a try then I would suggest starting with half-scoop serving sizes. Along with the caffeine, the company follows through with the other ingredients as well. Wrecked contains a huge 8,000 milligrams of L-citrulline, 3,500 milligrams of beta-alanine, 3,000 milligrams of betaine and 1,500 milligrams of L-tyrosine to name a few of the seventeen total ingredients. These large dosages are the reason that this pre-workout is the most expensive on the list, but the potency of the product supports the price point. Upon testing this product, I noticed my energy and work capacity were definitely increased, and I felt energized and engaged through my entire workout. I caution you to be careful with this product because I did notice that if I took it later in the day it would impact how quickly I was able to fall asleep due to the high caffeine content per serving. If you’re a dedicated gym goer looking for a maximum strength pre-workout, then I would advise giving this one a try. However, if you are on the more casual side and prefer cardio over resistance training then this product would likely be a little overkill for you. This product is both naturally and artificially flavored, and the flavors include raspberry mojito, bomb popsicle, rainbow burst and peach rings. The only flavor I have tried so far is the raspberry mojito—it tasted great, and the performance aspect was unmatched.

Pros:

  • Robust formula that includes large doses of 17 highly effective active ingredients
  • 250 milligrams of caffeine, 100 milligrams of Di-Caffeine malate and eight grams of L-Citrulline

Cons:

  • Expensive price point at $2.50 per serving
  • $100 order minimum needed for free shipping

Purchase Huge Supplements Wrecked


Renewable Energy Preworkout_Ora

Key info:

  • Key ingredients: Beetroot Juice Powder, Green Coffee Bean extract, Organic Matcha Green Tea extract
  • Cost per serving: $1.85 (subscribe and save plan = $1.48/serving)
  • Servings per container: 20 servings
  • Subscription plan offered? Yes. Save 20 percent with a subscription plan
  • Artificial sweeteners, colors, preservatives? None
  • Flavors: Raspberry lemonade, beet pomegranate, ceremonial matcha
  • Certifications: None

This product is fantastic for women looking for an all-natural alternative to the standard pre-workout formulas currently found in the market. Ora notes that its powder still gives you the feel-good-boost and performance enhancing benefits you look for in a pre-workout, just without all of the excess sugar and caffeine found in other formulas. While this is true, it does only contain the amount of caffeine you would expect to find in an eight-ounce cup of coffee. So if you are someone who has a fairly high caffeine tolerance then you might need a stronger pre-workout powder. The really cool part about this product is the nitric oxide blend that contains pomegranate and beetroot juice powders that mimics the effects of citrulline and arginine found in other formulas.

I would confidently recommend this product to women looking for an all natural pre-workout alternative with a jitter-free energy boost. I found both the raspberry lemonade and ceremonial matcha flavors to be great. The raspberry lemonade flavor uses organic raspberry and lemon and tasted light and fresh, while the ceremonial matcha had that distinct matcha green tea flavor that is wonderfully grounding. There is just something about sipping that earthy matcha flavor on my patio as the sun rises before a morning workout.

Pros:

  • 90 milligrams of caffeine from natural, plant-based sources
  • No artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors or preservatives
  • Organic, vegan, non-GMO and free from dairy, gluten and soy

Cons:

  • Not as powerful as other pre-workout powders that contain on average around 200 milligrams of caffeine per scoop
  • Ora uses proprietary blends so the exact amount of ingredients are undisclosed

Purchase Ora Renewable Energy Performance Pre-Workout


What Is Pre-Workout?

A dietary pre-workout supplement is usually a multi-ingredient formulation taken to boost energy, benefit athletic performance and delay overall fatigue. Pre-workout supplements can appear in a wide variety of products, most commonly powders; however pills, gummies and ready-to-drink beverages are available as well.

Common Pre-Workout Ingredients

Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)

Conjugated linoleic acid, often referred to as CLA, is a fatty acid that is found in both meat and dairy products. It is often added to pre-workout supplements marketed towards women and labeled for weight loss. This is because of its potential in reducing body fat despite clinical evidence being mixed. However, a meta-analysis in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition did conclude that a dose of around three grams per day produced a modest loss of body fat in humans.

Carnitine

Carnitine is another supplement linked to weight loss due to its role in the body helping to transport fat into the mitochondria of cells. Although it is best known as a fat burner, the clinical evidence on weight loss has led to inconsistent results. A 2020 meta-analysis did look at thirty-seven different randomized controlled clinical trials and did end up concluding that L-carnitine did provide a modest reduction in body fat. Pre-workout supplements that include this ingredient might be beneficial for women with weight loss goals.

Caffeine

Caffeine is one of the most common ingredients found in pre-workout supplements. This is due to its ability to stimulate the central nervous system leading to improvements in cognition, performance, power output and endurance through a reduced perception of fatigue. Studies show caffeine supplementation is effective for enhancing athletic performance in dosages of three to six milligrams per kilogram of body weight; for reference most pre-workout supplements have between 100 to 300 milligrams of caffeine per serving. This means that a 140-pound female should see real performance enhancing benefits with around 190 milligrams of caffeine taken 30 minutes before their workout. Remember, when choosing to use a pre-workout supplement containing caffeine it is important to monitor your total caffeine consumption throughout the day to prevent any unwelcome side effects like anxiety and insomnia. Caffeine also comes in a variety of different forms when looking at a supplement facts label including caffeine anhydrous, dicaffeine malate, green tea extract, and coffee bean extract; so make sure that you add these different forms together to get the total dosage of caffeine.

BCAAs

Branched chain amino acids, more commonly abbreviated as BCAAs, are the three amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine. These three amino acids make up about one-third of the body’s muscle protein, and have been shown to help build muscle by increasing the rate of protein synthesis and decreasing the rate of protein degradation in resting human muscle tissue. BCAAs are included in pre-workout formulations with the intent of stimulating muscle protein synthesis which consequently would reduce exercise-induced muscle breakdown due to resistance training. This sounds good in theory, but studies have not been able to show that BCAAs alone significantly enhance athletic performance. This is because for performance enhancing benefits to occur, BCAAs must be consumed in conjunction with the other six essential amino acids. BCAAs are not what I would look for in a pre-workout supplement, and they can easily be consumed either pre- or post-workout through your diet or using a protein shake or powder supplement.

Creatine

Creatine is a combination of the three amino acids arginine, glycine and methionine, and is one of the most studied performance enhancing supplements available. It has been shown to aid in building muscle, shortening recovery time and improving performance. Creatine is considered safe and without significant adverse effects at dosage levels of four to five grams per day. Women should not avoid taking creatine for a fear of building too much muscle, the only compounds that will do that are androgenic steroids. Creatine really is a great addition to pre-workout supplements for women looking to build lean muscle mass.

Creatine is an ingredient often added to pre-workout for overall convenience, but it’s not a critical component because it provides no immediate benefits to your training session. It doesn’t have noticeable, immediate and short-term effects like ingredients such as caffeine and L-citrulline. Instead, creatine has long-term effects when taken daily, so if you wish to supplement with creatine, you can take it whenever you want throughout the day. If you are looking to optimize your routine, you should supplement with creatine daily, not just on the days you work out. For most women, I would suggest purchasing a stand-alone creatine powder so you can still supplement without needing to take a caffeinated pre-workout powder during your rest days.

Beta-alanine

Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid that increases the amount of the molecule carnosine in the muscles. Carnosine plays a key role in buffering the lactic acid produced in the muscles during bouts of intense exercise. This reduction in lactic acid build up ultimately improves performance and increases total time to exhaustion. An effective dose of four to six grams per day is suggested to elicit performance enhancing benefits. A common side effect of beta-alanine supplementation is a sensation of prickly or tingly skin called paresthesia. This is completely normal, temporary and there is no evidence of it being harmful. In fact, many women report that they enjoy the sensation because it lets them know that their pre-workout supplement is kicking in and it’s time to hit the gym!

L-Citrulline

L-Citrulline is a non-essential amino acid that acts as a precursor to the amino acid L-arginine and the chemical nitric oxide. Studies show that supplementation with L-Citrulline or Citrulline Malate (a combination of L-Citrulline with Malic Acid which is believed to possibly increase the bioavailability of L-Citrulline and therefore increase absorption) results in increased muscular endurance, reduced muscle soreness and better aerobic performance through enhanced ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production. Effective dosage ranges for pure L-Citrulline appear to be between three to four grams per day and six to eight grams per day for Citrulline Malate if in a 1:1 ratio.

L-Tyrosine

L-Tyrosine is a non-essential amino acid that is the precursor to the hormone/neurotransmitter dopamine. Supplementation has been shown to lead to improvement of mood and well-being in people under stress, a common emotion experienced during strenuous workouts. This can be a beneficial addition to pre-workout formulations, especially when you are looking for that added mental fortitude to smash your next workout.

Taurine

Taurine is classified as a conditionally essential amino acid with demonstrated antioxidant and potential athletic performance benefits. A meta-analysis of 19 taurine specific studies show potential improvements in VO2 max, time to exhaustion, anaerobic performance, reduced muscle damage, electrolyte balance, peak power and recovery. The main takeaway from these studies is that taurine supplementation is helpful for recovery by reducing the oxidative stress placed on your body during intense exercise. From the analysis, taurine dosages ranging from one to three grams per day appear to be effective.

Nitric oxide or beet root extract

Nitric oxide (NO) itself is not found in pre-workout formulations, however NO precursors such as L-Arginine, L-Citrulline, and citrulline malate as well as chemicals that mimic the effects of nitric oxide, such as Betaine, are readily found in pre-workout supplements. Nitric oxide’s main role in the body is regulating vasodilation which affects blood pressure and blood flow. During exercise, this increased blood flow means that more oxygen and nutrients are delivered to the muscles. Interestingly enough one of the most common nitric oxide precursors in all-natural pre-workout supplements is beetroot juice extract. Similar to citrulline, beetroot juice powder also increases levels of nitric oxide in the body which serves multiple benefits including increased blood flow and strengthening of muscle contraction.

Vitamins and minerals

Micronutrients such as mineral electrolytes like calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium are often included in pre-workout supplement formulations. The addition of these mineral electrolytes will help women who sweat a lot during training to better maintain their hydration. Pre-workout formulations containing these ingredients are a great option for women who enjoy extended cardio sessions or a sweaty hot yoga class.

Vitamins also play a key role in overall health and physical performance. Specifically, many of the B-vitamins are included in pre-workout powders because they are involved in the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats for energy. This helps to provide the energy your body needs to perform optimally in the gym. They also play a role in the formation of hemoglobin in red blood cells which contributes to the availability of oxygen in the muscles during intense aerobic exercise.

Pre-Workout Ingredients to Avoid as a Woman

As a woman, there are not any specific ingredients that you need to avoid in a pre-workout supplement. However, there might be a few things that you at least want to take note of based on your personal health and fitness goals.

  • Added sugars: Certain pre-workouts contain additional carbohydrates usually in the form of added sugars. These formulations are usually developed for athletes who are training multiple times a day and need some quick and easy energy to replenish their glycogen stores before their next session. If you are someone with weight-loss goals then you would likely want to avoid these added calories.
  • Artificial ingredients: Artificial ingredients specifically artificial sugars are something that a woman might want to avoid, especially if they have any pre-existing digestive issues. This is because many of these sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners have been linked to gastrointestinal distress for susceptible individuals. For approximately 10-20 percent of the population, these ingredients might cause abdominal pain, bloating and altered bowel habits.
  • Caffeine dosage: You definitely want to note the total amount of caffeine in your pre-workout powder and how that correlates with your total daily caffeine consumption. The USDA recommends a limit of up to 400 milligrams of caffeine per day. It is important to note that caffeine can also take up to 10 hours to fully clear from your system. This means that it might be smart to use a stimulant-free (no caffeine) pre-workout powder if working out in the evening, typically anytime after three p.m.
  • Proprietary blends: Proprietary blends are a tactic used by supplement companies to group together ingredients and list only the total amount of that blend on the supplement facts label. This is seen as a shady practice used to hide the fact that although they are including a specific ingredient, it is probably underdosed and will not add any real value.

What to Look for as a Woman Choosing a Pre-Workout

When choosing a pre-workout supplement there are a number of factors you should take into account. The first is the quality of the ingredients and the transparency of the manufacturer. For instance, you may favor a supplement without any artificial ingredients, you also want to ensure that the ingredients are included in amounts that will result in the purported benefits. This is why in most cases you want to avoid proprietary blends. Luckily, this form of labeling is a dwindling practice as consumers are becoming more savvy and are in favor of knowing the exact amount of each ingredient in the formulation. Other factors to look out for are the price tag, ensuring that you are paying for the ingredients and not just the brand name and shiny container. Also, if you are an athlete, it is of paramount importance to determine whether or not the supplement has been third-party tested and certified safe for sport. This ensures that there will not be any potential for banned substances in your pre-workout that might disqualify you from participating in drug-tested events. Lastly, it is obvious that you want a pre-workout powder that comes in a flavor you enjoy and tastes great! Many companies sell small sample packets of pre-workout powder so you can give it a try before buying an entire tub.

What Are the Benefits of Using a Pre-Workout?

As long as other lifestyle factors such as nutrition, hydration and sleep are optimized, women who choose to take a pre-workout supplement will experience a number of positive effects throughout their workout. This includes increased energy, focus, power output and delayed fatigue. One of the major reasons for these benefits is the stimulant boost provided by caffeine. This is the reason that caffeine is one of the only ingredients found in almost every single pre-workout formulation. So why not just drink a cup of coffee before the gym? While this would work for getting a moderate dose of caffeine, pre-workout powders contain many additional ingredients that will benefit your next workout—some notable ones include beta-alanine, L-citrulline, creatine and taurine.

How to Use Pre-Workout

A pre-workout powder is typically ingested by mixing one scoop with eight to 12 ounces of water and consuming it around 30 minutes prior to your training session. Nonetheless, it is still best practice to read and follow the label instructions on the container. Oftentimes, companies will actually give you the supplement facts for either one or two scoops, as taking a double serving is helpful for consumers needing an extra boost and looking for a higher dosage of caffeine.

There also is a wrong way to take pre-workout powder called dry-scooping. It is a trend that is commonly found on social media platforms in which the powder is ingested without mixing and diluting with water. This is a dangerous trend for a number of reasons; first, the most obvious is that you can accidentally inhale the powder, which poses a potential choking hazard. Second is that dry-scooping essentially floods your body with an acute dose of caffeine, which can drastically increase both your blood pressure and heart rate and potentially lead to an irregular heartbeat rhythm.

Related Post: The Best Shaker Bottles

Pre-Workout FAQs

Do pre-workouts help burn fat?

Certain pre-workout formulations might contain a few ingredients that you might also see in a fat-burner supplement; however the products on the above list are not labeled as weight-loss supplements and should not be taken for that purpose. In the majority of pre-workout supplements there are no inherent fat-burning effects aside from increasing your motivation to get to the gym, and your workout intensity when you are there. If you are looking to lose weight then you must be in a caloric deficit. I would suggest reaching out to a certified nutrition coach or registered dietician to help you develop a sustainable plan to help you achieve your goals.

Should women take a pre-workout supplement?

Maybe. Women can take pre-workout supplements and reap their benefits, but there is a caveat. As with any other supplement, they are really only intended for people who have first optimized their lifestyle. Before choosing to start a supplement regimen you should first ensure that your nutrition, hydration and sleep are optimized. Taking a pre-workout in itself will not counteract a poor diet or lack of sleep.

What are the differences between women’s and men’s pre-workouts?

Aside from the marketing, there really is no difference between the ingredients and dosages in a pre-workout powder that is effective for both men and women. It really comes down to preference and what you are looking to gain out of your supplement. I would say it’s much better to focus on factors such as body composition rather than gender when assessing the type of pre-workout supplement to choose. For example, the research suggests that a lower body weight male or female would in turn have a lower caffeine tolerance than a person with a heavier body weight. Other factors to consider would be natural versus artificial ingredients, price, formulations with proprietary blends and the types of flavors you enjoy.

How much caffeine should my pre-workout contain?

The majority of pre-workout supplements contain anywhere from 100 to 300 milligrams of caffeine. This might take some trial and error, but you want to find a product with a caffeine dosage that will give you energy without the potential unwanted side effects such as headaches, anxiety or jitters. Luckily, there is a beverage that most people consume on an everyday basis that also contains caffeine: coffee. The average eight ounce cup of coffee contains about 95 milligrams of caffeine; so you need to ask yourself if you are the type of person who drinks a cup of coffee and immediately feels the effects, or if can you drink a cup of coffee right before bed and fall straight asleep. If you feel like you have a high tolerance to caffeine then you might favor a pre-workout powder with a higher dosage of 200 to 300 milligrams. Conversely, if you are someone who doesn’t consume caffeine on a regular basis then a lower dosage of around 100 milligrams may be a good place to start.

It is important to note that the suggested daily caffeine consumption limit is 400 milligrams per day. So, if you are drinking a few cups of coffee in the morning and choosing to use a pre-workout supplement in the afternoon or evening before your workout then you are likely close to this limit. This is important because excessive intake of caffeine can cause a variety of unwanted side effects including insomnia. This is why I recommended avoiding the consumption of pre-workout powders after about three to four p.m. It is also smart to take some days off from caffeinated beverages including pre-workout supplements to prevent dependance and maintain tolerance levels.

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