Top Ingredients for Pre Workouts

top pre workout ingredients, best ingredients for pre workout, best pre workout ingredients

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Top Ingredients for Pre Workouts

Pre workout ingredients are a real mixed bag. The top ingredients for pre workouts, even more so.

Unfortunately there is plenty of information out there on the effectiveness of some inferior ingredients and many companies chose to include these in their products. This is often based on loose research.

You want a supplement that contains as many of the top ingredients for pre workouts as possible. And with the optimum dosages.

You can’t rely on caffein. Otherwise you would just neck two coffees and a redbull before working out – something we do not recommend of course!

The nutrients in a pre workout should get you motivated. As well as stop you from feeling fatigued and give you lots of energy and there is no one ingredient that does this effectively by itself.

We have made a list of what we and many studies have found to be the most effective ingredients for a pre workout so you know what to look out for.

What Should a Pre Workout Ingredient Do?

Some ingredients cross over more than one of these sections, but a good ingredient should do at least one of the below:

  • Focus – Anything with a cognitive enhancer is good news for your pre workout. The ability to concentrate on a sole task means you can get more done faster.
  • EnergyArguably the most important element of a pre workout, the best pre workouts will provide an effective and safe level of energy boosting nutrients so you can walk in the gym ready to smash your PB
  • StrengthWhen you stimulate your nerves you will find they can be more responsive than usual. Without a supplement your normal strength will get you so far, but with enhanced power through your brain and muscles communicating more effectively, you can reach new levels of explosiveness.
  • Muscle PumpsImprove the blood flow to your muscles and you improve, the look and feel of them.


If your pre workout claims to do the above, but does not include many of the essential ingredients we recommend below, then chances are you are being misled. This leads nicely onto us helping you with the bad ore workouts…

What Don’t You Want in a Pre Workout?

Proprietary Blends

Bad news from the start. If you see one of these, you might want to do more research into the effectiveness of the product. A supplement with proprietary blends is often inferior because you can’t actually tell how high the dosages are in the supplement. In turn, you can’t see what the quality is like.

The ingredients might even be concealed as a blend of this sort in a mix of ingredients. Then put into one new nutrient package on the label.

Pre workouts are particularly susceptible to a proprietary blend. This is where you need to be careful. With so much caffeine already in a lot of them, you want to make sure you know what else you are putting into your body.

Now that the cautionary part is done, let’s take a look at the good stuff.

Top Ingredients for Pre Workouts


Well known for it’s surprising health benefits as well as being a stimulant for energy.

It makes you feel alert and ready to go due to it’s ability to block adenosine¨, the chemical in the brain that makes you more sleepy.

Caffeine has many benefits on your performance. These include the ability to enhance your cardio levels, the power in your lift, the blood flow in your body as well as fat burning in the body through thermogenesis. This is where your body heats itself up and burns fat to cool itself down again.

The recommended dosages is anywhere between 100-225 mg per serving. Be careful when taking a pre workout if you intake a lot of caffeine as part of your regular diet. Monitor yourself, especially when taking pre workouts for the first time.


Good news when you find this in a pre workout supplement that contains caffeine is the fact that it helps you to remain calm. So the caffeine doesn’t just take over your body completely. Your focus will remain and you won’t be so erratic as many people can be when consuming high levels of caffeine.

It is also thought to reduce anxiety levels in those who consume more L-Theanine. It has been used as a repellant for stress levels for many years.

Much like caffeine, around 100-200 mg will be enough for you to feel the benefits of L-Theanine.

Citrulline Malate

An amino acid found in water melons. This has great properties for increasing the quality of your muscle pumps by dilating blood vessels.

Citrulline converts in the body to adenosine triphosphate which gives you a real energy boost.

It is a good all round ingredient. This is why it is often found in other supplements due to it’s workout recovery benefits as well. Citrulline helps to stop you from feeling so sore as well as removing lactic acid in the muscles – leaving you with a faster recovery.

The recommended dosage for optimum effectiveness is 5,000 – 8,000 mg. Since your body needs a lot, be on the lookout for insufficient amounts included in a lot of pre workouts.

One of the top ingredients for pre workouts for sure.

Beet Extract

If you are new to the supplements game then this might seem like a strange inclusion. We assure you, its benefits warrant its inclusion.

The biggest strength is the fact that it is great for endurance, allowing you to perform at a high level for longer. This is complimented by the way it makes you more efficient with your energy.

You don’t need loads of it for it to be effective but the recommended dosage is around 250 – 500 mg.

Creatine Monohydrate

Another ingredient that is often found in post workout shakes and bars due to its great recovery properties. It also has a lot to offer for a pre workout.

Creatine is big business in the fitness industry which should be no surprise. It allows your body to increase the amount of lean muscle mass it has as well as promoting muscle endurance. All this whilst also giving you more energy.

With numerous studies backing this up, it is one of the most reliable ingredients around. Its great for promoting the strength and size of your muscles.

The optimum amount of creatine for a pre workout should be around 1,000 – 5,000mg. Be mindful when consuming creatine in your pre workout. Many post workouts also contain a lot of it. Stay on top of your daily intake and don’t forget to take some creatine in through your regular diet with a lot of meats, fish as well as eggs having an ample supply.


Prominently found in meats, this helps you to lower levels of fatigue. So if you are going into the gym an hour after lunch and are feeling that lull in energy mentally and physically, this can help.

Its other benefits include the ability to help you post workout by reducing soreness and aiding muscle recovery as well as an increase in focus.

The dosage recommended is 500 – 2,500 mg. This means you get a great intake of this awesome all rounder if the product has sufficient amounts.

What are the Worst Ingredients for a Pre Workout?

Like we alluded to earlier, there are a lot of pre workouts that actually contain more low quality ingredients than high. Some of these potentially dangerous with negative side effects.

Here is a list of a few for you to avoid if possible, especially in high dosages:


Dimethylamylamine is banned in many countries from being used in supplements. However, some do still üse it and it is definitely one you want to look out for.

It has the ability to cause serious harm to the user so be wary of it as it can cause side effects such as:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Rapid Heartbeat
  • Increased risk of heart attack or stroke

Look out for it in proprietary blends just incase.

Beta Alanine

There are still quite a lot of product around that contain this ingredient. Although the side effects are quite minor when compared to some of the other risky ingredients. The studies have shown it to be effective at aiding your gym performance, but the risk is there.

It gives you temporary itchiness and tingles on your skin, otherwise known as paresthesia. This can be distracting to your workout, although the effects do wear off.


Although it is natural, it still has negative side effects. And these are worsened when taken with caffeine so look out for the two together on the label.

That’s the problem if you see it in a pre workout, it is most likely to be part of a mix that has caffeine so be careful.

The effects are quite similar to that of DMAA:

  • Headaches
  • Increased risk of stroke and heart attack
  • High blood pressure

Which Are the Best Pre Workouts?

We have compiled our list of the top 5 Pre workouts, and they contain a lot of the above ingredients between them.

You can rest assured that the number 1 in particular has a high level of the above ingredients, thus making it to our top spot.

To find out more, check out our list of the top 5 Pre Workouts.

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