Best Pre Workout Supplements 2020 – Your Ultimate Guide
We pick out five of the best pre workout supplements on sale right now to help support your fitness and exercise goals
Sometimes it can be easy to forget about one of the most important parts of getting into shape – hitting the gym and training hard. And that’s where a pre workout supplement can come into play.
Update: We’ve updated this guide with the latest information and supplements for 2020. We currently rate 4 Gauge (for men) and Powher (for women) as two of the best pre workout supplements on the market right now.
It’s common sense of course, but you won’t be able to get the physique you’ve always wanted unless you’re exercising regularly and consistently and sticking to a healthy and balanced diet.
A ‘pre workout’ supplement is a blanket name which generally refers to products which have been formulated to be consumed before periods of exercise to help support your training.
They are usually available as food supplements in powder or capsule form, and they contain a range of ingredients such as vitamins, minerals, amino acids and plant extracts, each of which may bring about potential benefit.
In this guide, we bring you what you need to know as we pick out some of the best pre workout supplements on sale in the UK, USA and worldwide right now.
Best Pre Workout Supplements – Top Five Picks
|4 Gauge||• 150mg Caffeine • 200mg L-Theanine • 1g Creatine • Potassium||Buy Now|
|Powher||• Made for Women • 1g Beta-Alanine • Vitamins B6 & B12 • 'Natural' Caffeine||Buy Now|
|SPORT Pre||• Capsule Form • 1.25g Creatine • Vegan Friendly • No Sweeteners||Buy Now|
|Stim Free Pre Workout||• No Caffeine • 6g Citrulline Malate • 4g Beta-Alanine • GMO Free||Buy Now|
|Elevate||• 5g Citrulline Malate • 200mg Caffeine • 2.5g Taurine • UK/Europe Only||Buy Now|
Editor's note: The content on this website is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The content of our articles is not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. It’s always best to speak with your doctor or a certified medical professional before making any changes to your lifestyle, diet or exercise routine, or trying a new supplement.
What Is A ‘Pre Workout’ Supplement?
Those of us who train regularly know all too well about the big difference between the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ days you can have at the gym.
We’ve all had those workouts which seem to fly by. You were in the zone from start to finish and felt like you could keep going forever. You didn’t want to leave the gym.
In contrast, we’ve all experienced those ‘off days’. Sessions where you’re physically present but seem to find yourself just going through the motions. You have to keep telling yourself to focus on each set. Simply put, we were just not in the game.
The purpose of pre workout supplements is to help you to support your training regimen, whether in the gym or elsewhere, as you aim to smash your fitness goals this year.
Pre workout supplements usually contain a range of different ingredients such as vitamins, minerals and plant extracts, each of which may bring some benefits when combined with the right healthy lifestyle choices.
It’s important to remember that they are not ‘magic’ pills or powders, though. They simply supply your body with some nutrients that may help support you during exercise.
What We Looked For
Here is exactly what we looked for when picking the best pre workout supplements:
• Effectiveness – We tried to ignore the marketing hype and instead focused on the facts regarding each supplement. Namely, the ingredients, the doses and the directions.
• Safety and side effects – We aimed for products which don’t contain any risky ingredients. We also tried to avoid products which overdo it on stimulants such as Caffeine.
• Company reputation – Who are the company behind the product? We looked into the manufacturers behind the products and examined the other supplements they offer.
• Multi-action ingredients – The best pre workouts usually contain a range of different ingredients and can help in multiple ways. These include vitamins, minerals, amino acids and plant extracts, each of which can bring their own individual benefit. We picked products that combined a variety of ingredients to ensure maximum effectiveness.
Best Pre Workouts 2020 – Five Of The Best
So, with the introductions out of the way, let’s get right down to it and bring you our pick of some of the best pre workouts on sale in the UK, USA and worldwide right now.
Editor's note: The health claims about the ingredients mentioned in this article are listed as authorised on the EU Register at the time of publishing.
1) 4 Gauge
Product website: www.4gauge.com
4 Gauge is a pre workout supplement made and sold by the UK-based supplements company Roar Ambition.
It comes in a shotgun-shell shaped bottle and uses a range of different ingredients to help support your training. These include minerals and plant extracts.
It’s currently only available in ‘Fruit Blast’ flavour and you can buy it from the official website.
The Main Points
• Support Your Training – Make every gym session count.
• 150mg Caffeine – 4 Gauge contains a 150mg dose of Caffeine per serving.
• 1g Creatine – Creatine is a popular post-workout ingredient, but it also is used in many pre workouts.
• ‘Fruit Blast’ Flavour – It tastes sweet and also slightly sour.
• Clear Ingredients – 4 Gauge’s ingredients list is clear and easy to understand. It doesn’t use a proprietary blend, so we know exactly what is in each serving.
4 Gauge contains a range ingredients, from essential minerals to amino acids and plant extracts. Here are the main points:
• Caffeine Anhydrous – 4 Gauge contains 150mg of Caffeine per serving. To put this amount into context, you’d expect to find around 100mg of Caffeine in a regular cup of coffee.
• Potassium – Often overlooked in pre workout supplements, Potassium is a mineral that we need to get from our diet. It contributes to normal functioning of the nervous system and normal muscle function, amongst other things.
• Calcium – Another important mineral we need to get from food. Calcium contributes to normal energy release and normal muscle function.
• L-Theanine – This is an amino acid found in tea leaves. It’s often paired with Caffeine in pre workout supplements, as is the case here.
• Creatine Monohydrate – Creatine is a common pre- and post-workout supplement ingredient. Creatine Monohydrate is one of the most commonly used forms of Creatine.
• Red Beet Root Extract – A plant extract often found in pre workout supplements. 4 Gauge uses 300mg of Red Beet Root Extract per serving.
Here is the full list of ingredients in 4 Gauge, together with their individual doses, as shown on the official website:
As you can see for yourself, 4 Gauge contains some other ingredients, including things such as Potassium, Calcium and Rhodiola Rosea.
4 Gauge also uses a hefty 6g dose of L-Citrulline Dl-Malate per serving.
How To Take It
Each tub of 4 Gauge contains 20 servings of two scoops.
It varies a bit from person to person, but the directions say that you should consider taking 4 Gauge anywhere between 15 and 45 minutes before starting your workout.
As with all pre workouts, it’s worth experimenting to see when it ‘kicks in’ for you. It’s also always important to carefully check the label of any supplement before taking it.
Price, Shipping and Where To Buy
At the time of writing, the price for one tub of 4 Gauge is $45 / £25 / €35. You can get a discount on the price per tub if you’re willing to buy more than one at a time from the official website.
At the moment, you won’t find this product in the shops. It’s only available to buy directly on the official website.
The downside of this is it means that we can’t check out the customer reviews on other retail websites such as Amazon.
According to the official website, Roar Ambition’s supplements are made in the USA and UK in cGMP and FDA approved facilities. They ship from both the UK and USA to most countries.
• It currently only comes in one flavor, called ‘Fruit Blast’. Some other products have more choice in this area.
• You can only buy it directly on the official website, meaning you won’t find it in the shops or on other sites such as Amazon.
• Premium price-tag. 4 Gauge is a premium-priced product and may not fit into everyone’s budget.
If you don’t mind paying for a premium-priced product delivered in powder form, then 4 Gauge is a good option.
It contains a good blend of ingredients such as minerals and plant extracts, without overdoing it on the Caffeine (150mg per serving). It also uses ingredients such as Creatine, L-Theanine and Red Beet Root Extract.
The main drawbacks are the premium price tag, the lack of choices when it comes to flavour, and the fact that you can only buy it directly from the official website at the moment.
2) Powher (For Women)
Product website: www.powherofficial.com
While doing our research into the best pre workout supplements, we noticed that most of the products out there seemed to be geared towards men or both genders together.
As you’d expect for a pre workout, Powher, also known as ‘Powher Up’, contains a range of ingredients, including vitamins, plant extracts and amino acids. Some of the ingredients in Powher are also ‘branded’.
It’s designed to be mixed with water and consumed before beginning your exercise or training session. It currently only comes in a ‘Pink Lemonade’ flavour.
Here are the main things you need to know about Powher:
The Main Points
• Made for women – This pre workout has been specifically designed with the female body in mind.
• Combine with your workouts – It’s been formulated to help you reach your goals.
• Simple to use – You are advised to mix one 10g scoop with water 30 minutes before your workout.
• Clear ingredients formula – Powher’s ingredients formula is shown in full on the tub, along with the doses of each substance.
Powher uses a range of ingredients to help you take your workouts to the next levels. Let’s take a look at the main ones now:
• Vitamins B6 and B12 – These are two important essential vitamins that we need to get from our diet. In case you didn’t know, Vitamins B6 and B12 both contribute to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue and normal energy release amongst other things.
• Pantothenic Acid – Also known as Vitamin B5, Pantothenic Acid contributes to normal energy release and normal mental performance.
• Natural Caffeine – Powher contains 100mg of ‘Natural’ Caffeine from Green Coffee Bean Extract. This 100mg dose of Caffeine is about the same amount found in a strong cup of coffee.
• OxyJun – This is a branded form of Terminalia Arjuna Bark extract. Each serving of Powher contains 400mg of OxyJun.
• RedNite – This is another branded ingredient in the Powher formula. It is essentially beetroot powder (Beta Vulgaris Root Extract). Each serving of Powher contains 500mg of RedNite.
• L-Citrulline Malate – L-Citrulline Malate is an amino acid. It’s a common ingredient used in pre workout supplements, and Powher uses two grams per serving.
• Taurine – An organic compound which is found in many commercially-available energy drinks. Each serving of Powher uses 2.5 grams of Taurine.
• Beta-Alanine – Another common ingredient in pre workout supplements. Each serving of Powher uses 1 gram of Beta-Alanine per serving.
Here is the full ingredients list of Powher as written on the actual box:
How To Take It
The Powher directions say that you should mix one 10g scoop with around 250ml of water, 30 minutes before starting your workout or exercising.
Remember to carefully check the label of any supplement you’re thinking of trying.
Price, Shipping and Where To Buy
One tub of Powher contains 20 servings and currently costs $45 / £35 / €39.
You can only buy it on the official website at the moment, meaning that you won’t find it in the shops or elsewhere online at places like Amazon.
As we’ve already mentioned, the downside of this is that we cannot check out verified customer reviews on other retail websites such as Amazon, for example.
You can get a discount on the price per tub if you’re willing to commit to buying more than one at a time from the official website.
Powher ships worldwide and is manufactured in FDA registered facilities, according to the official website.
• It currently only comes in one flavour, called ‘Pink Lemonade’.
• Uses Sucralose to enhance flavour.
• It’s one of the more expensive pre workouts on the market right now, meaning that it may not fit into everyone’s budget.
• You can only buy it directly from the manufacturer on the official website at the moment. You won’t find Powher at GNC on Amazon, eBay or in any other stores.
Powher is a pre workout for women which contains vitamins, plant extracts and amino acids, as well as a dose of Caffeine.
It contains a clear ingredients formula and does not overdo it on the stimulants, with the 100mg dose per serving around the same amount found in a strong cup of coffee.
Some of the slight downsides are that it’s a premium-priced supplement and you can only buy it directly from the manufacturer on the official website at the moment.
3) Performance Lab SPORT Pre
Product website: www.performancelab.com
The next product on our list is Performance Lab SPORT Pre from Performance Lab. It has a few things that sets it apart.
Firstly, unlike most of the pre workout supplements on the market, it’s delivered in capsule form, meaning that it’s easy to consume and doesn’t contain any sweeteners at all.
It’s also one of the few pre workouts out there that doesn’t use Caffeine as one of its main ingredients, which is a refreshing change from the supplements which are packed full of stimulants. This means that it’s a ‘stim free’ pre workout option, that presumably can also be taken later in the day without any stimulants affecting sleep.
Performance Lab is the latest range of supplements from the UK-based supplements company Opti-Nutra.
The Main Points
• Achieve your goals – Get the most out of your hard work training.
• No Caffeine – Many pre workouts contain lots of Caffeine. SPORT Pre doesn’t use any at all, which may suit some people, especially if you regularly train in the evening and at night.
• No sweeteners – Because SPORT Pre is delivered in capsule form, there’s no need for any sweeteners of any type. This is basically never the case with powder-form pre workouts.
• Vegan friendly – It’s 100 per cent suitable for Vegans and Vegetarians, unlike many other pre workouts on the market at the moment.
The Performance Lab SPORT Pre formula uses ingredients selected to help give you a boost and reach your goals.
They include the important essential mineral Iron, and doses of branded versions of Creatine and other ingredients.
Here’s a summary of the seven ingredients in the formula:
• Sodium – 140mg per serving
• Iron – Contributes to normal energy release and reduction of tiredness and fatigue. 2.5mg per serving.
• Branded form of Creatine – Contains 1250g per serving
• Branded form of L-Citrulline and L-Glutathione – 2200mg per serving.
• Beta-Alanine – Contains 800mg per serving.
• Maritime Pine Bark Extract – 100mg per serving.
• Himalayan Pink Salt – 350mg per serving.
Here is the full ingredients label of SPORT Pre, as shown on the official website at the time of writing:
How To Take It
Unlike most pre workouts, SPORT Pre is delivered in capsule form, which makes the directions pretty simple.
The directions say that you should consider taking six capsules with a glass of water, around 45 to 60 minutes before starting your workout. One bottle contains 120 capsules.
Price, Shipping and Where To Buy
The price for one bottle of SPORT Pre is $39 / £29 / €34 at the time of writing. You can take some money of the price per bottle if you are willing to buy more than one at a time.
Like the supplements above, the Performance Lab range is not for sale in the shops or on other websites such as Amazon. You can only buy it directly from the manufacturer on the official website at the moment.
The official website says that the Performance Lab supplements are made in both the USA and UK in cGMP and FDA approved facilities, and are shipped worldwide.
• You can only buy it directly from the manufacturer on the official Performance Lab website. You won’t find it in stores or on Amazon or eBay.
• It doesn’t use Caffeine. This may be a plus point for some people, but could be a drawback for others.
We like that Performance Lab SPORT Pre comes in a capsule form and also offers a caffeine-free alternative when shopping for a pre workout supplement.
It’s delivered in capsule form, doesn’t use any sweeteners at all and is completely Vegan friendly.
It contains a range of ingredients, including the essential mineral Iron, and other ingredients such as Creatine and Beta-Alanine.
4) Stim Free Pre Workout
Product website: www.transparentlabs.com
Stim Free Pre Workout is a supplement made by US-based company Transparent Labs.
One important thing about their products is that they never use proprietary blends, meaning that you’ll know exactly what is in the supplement you’re taking along with the exact dose.
We always recommend staying clear of any supplements that use proprietary blends, and you’ll see that all of the products on this list clearly state their full list of ingredients for us to see.
As the name suggests, the Stim Free Pre Workout doesn’t use any Caffeine in its ingredients formula.
Instead, it contains a range of other popular pre workout supplement ingredients, including 4 grams of Beta-Alanine and 3 grams of Creatine HCl.
It currently comes in five different flavors, including Blue Raspberry.
Like Powher, it also uses a dose of Taurine. It also includes a dose of Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs), which sets it apart from the other supplements on this list.
Here’s the Stim Free Pre Workout ingredients list in full:
• Does not include any essential vitamins or minerals.
• Transparent Labs are a US-based company. Their products may not ship to all countries.
The Stim Free Pre Workout doesn’t use any Caffeine and contains some common pre workout ingredients such as Creatine HCl and Beta-Alanine.
However, it doesn’t use any essential vitamins and minerals, which is a slight drawback.
Product website: www.bulk.com
Elevate is a pre workout supplement made by Bulk Powders.
If you’ve read any of our health and fitness content before, you’ll know that we’re big fans of Bulk Powders and their reasonably-priced products. Bulk Powders are a UK-based supplements company that have been around for many years.
Elevate is Bulk Powders’ premium pre workout offering and it comes in three different flavors. They are Cherry Cola, Orange and Mango, and Summer Berry.
Elevate contains some popular and common pre workout ingredients such as Citrulline Malate and Caffeine.
Vitargo is its main flagship ingredient, and each serving of Elevate contains 10 grams. It also uses Vitamin B6 as one of its main ingredients. Vitamin B6 contributes to normal energy release and the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.
Each serving of Elevate, which is a 33g scoop, contains 200mg of Caffeine. This is the most of the other products featured on this list.
It also uses Beta Alanine and Taurine as two of its main ingredients.
Here is the full ingredients list as shown on the official website at the time of writing:
The directions are fairly straightforward. They advise that you mix one level scoop (33g) with 300ml water, around 30 to 45 minutes before exercise, ideally on an empty stomach.
There is a note on the official website saying that this product is not recommended for children or pregnant or breast-feeding women, because of the high caffeine content.
• Like 4 Gauge, Powher and SPORT Pre, this is something of a premium priced product, coming in at £39 for a 660g bag.
• Uses a significant dose of 200mg of Caffeine per serving. This may be too much for some people’s liking.
• Only ships to the UK / Europe at this time.
Elevate is a good pre workout supplement but it may not be for everybody because of slightly-high 200mg dose of Caffeine.
However, it does contain some popular ingredients such as Citrulline Malate, Taurine and Vitamin B6 and it’s made by a reputable brand.
When And How To Take A Pre Workout Supplement
This tends to vary a little bit from person to person. It’s always best to follow the directions as stated on the instructions label of your product.
It’s important to realise that everyone is different and will have varying degrees of tolerance to the ingredients.
For some people, taking a pre workout 30 minutes before starting training is perfect, but for others, it can take as long as an hour to ‘kick in’.
You should carefully read the label of any supplement you purchase and speak directly to the manufacturers themselves to find out more if you have any queries about the product.
As mentioned above, most pre workout supplements contain at least some Caffeine. For this reason, it’s probably best not to take a Caffeine-containing pre workout within six hours of when you plan to go to sleep.
Men’s Pre Workouts vs Women’s Pre Workouts
You may have noticed that some pre workout supplements are aimed at both men and women, while others are more specific depending on your gender.
Generally speaking, men’s and women’s pre workouts use similar ingredients, but there may be some subtle tweaks to the ingredients formulas.
For example, some pre workout supplements made for women will contain slightly less Caffeine than male-focused products.
If you’re interested, you can check out our dedicated guide to some of the best pre workouts for women on the market at the moment.
Pre Workout Pills vs Powders
You probably already know that most pre workout supplements are supplied in a flavoured powder that’s designed to be mixed into a drink and consumed before your exercise session.
However, there are also some options on the market if you’re looking for a pre workout in capsule form. We’ve featured one of them on this list, of course.
Whether you should choose a pre workout pill or powder really comes down to personal preference.
Some people may prefer a flavoured drink that’s easy to consume before their training sessions, while other may prefer to take their pre workout in a capsule form like a multivitamin.
One of the advantages of choosing a capsule-form pre workout is that it means there are unlikely to be any artificial flavourings or additives in the formula.
Anything Else To Consider?
Firstly, we think it’s important that you speak to your doctor or other certified medical professional before making any major changes to your diet or exercise regimen, or trying a new supplement.
As we always say when discussing supplements, it’s important to remember that they won’t do the hard work for you. You’ll still have to be the one doing the hard work in the gym.
It’s no good taking a pre workout and expecting it to boost your training without any extra effort on your part. As with most things in life, there’s no shortcut to success when it comes to achieving a muscular and toned physique.
That being said, taking a good quality pre workout supplement can help to support your goals by providing some ingredients such as Vitamins, Minerals, Amino Acids and Plant Extracts to support you.
Always remember that supplements work best when combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle. Make sure that you’re eating right, have a good training schedule and are getting enough rest to feel the full effects.
Conclusion – Our Final Thoughts
So there we have it, our top pick of some of the best pre workout supplements on sale right now.
We’ve taken you through what to look for in a pre workout supplement and brought you our pick of some products on sale at the moment based on all of the important information.