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Best Pre Workout Supplement 2021 Comparison

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Updated May 4, 2021

When it comes to pre workout, it is absolutely critical that you choose one of the top shelf, highest rated best pre workout supplements. Many people think any pre workout will do the trick and that all you need is an energy boost, but this couldn’t be further from the truth…

It comes down to the simple fact that input = output. In other words, you get the best output in the gym when you put the best possible pre workout into your body. It’s absolutely vital that you give your body all of the nutrients it needs to perform. Check out our top picks below!

Product

TSR Tested? (Y/N)

Best for

Rating

Pricing

Black Wolf

Yes

Stamina, strength, energy, focus

5.0/5.0

4 Gauge

Yes

Stamina, strength, energy

4.8/5.0

Pre Series Bulk

Yes

Stamina, energy, bulking

4.2/5.0

Pre Train

No

Stamina, strength

3.9/5.0

Pre Jym

No

Endurance, pump

3.9/5.0

Lit Pre Workout

No

Energy, focus

3.8/5.0

  Legion Pulse

No

Energy, strength

3.7/5.0

Gat Nitraflex

No

Pump, energy

3.6/5.0

Mr. Hyde

No

Energy, focus

3.4/5.0

C4

No

Energy

3.3/5.0

What are the best pre workout supplement ingredients?

We already talked about how better input leads to better output, but what exactly do we mean when we talk about input? We’re talking about the nutrients and specific ingredients that you put into your body before your workout. Let’s talk about the most important and effective pre workout supplement ingredients…

Citrulline Malate

Citrulline Malate is an absolutely crucial ingredient when it comes to pre workout supplements. The amino acid L-Citrulline is the most powerful nitric oxide booster in existence next to L-Arginine. Citrulline is going to open up your blood vessels and allow nutrients to flow more freely throughout the body. For that reason pre workout supplements with big Citrulline dosages produce incredible strength, pumps, and stamina.

Creatine

Creatine is the single most widely studied ingredient in all of sports nutrition. Creatine has proven itself time and time again across clinical studies to enhance athletic performance. Many researchers believe it increases strength and allows users to build muscle mass more efficiently as a result. I can personally attest to these benefits.

BCAAs

BCAAs, or branched chain amino acids, play a major role in your workout. During your workout, they are responsible for maximizing endurance and stamina. There’s also a ton of evidence showing that BCAAs continue producing benefits long after your workout. Researchers believe BCAAs can help speed up recovery and contribute to lean muscle mass production.

Beta Alanine

Beta Alanine has long been considered to be one of the most vital pre workout supplement ingredients due to the effect it has on muscle fatigue. Research has shown that beta alanine can potentially prevent your muscles from becoming fatigued too early, which can then lead to longer, more efficient workout routines. However, I personally don’t see it as a necessary ingredient just because it can cause side effects like feeling itchy, jittery, and anxious.

Caffeine Anhydrous

This one should be obvious, but it’s still worth talking about. Pre workout supplements need to contain a significant amount of caffeine (somewhere around 150-250 milligrams of caffeine) in order to effectively increase energy levels and focus. Moreover, caffeine anhydrous in particular is actually the purest form of caffeine in existence, which makes it more effective than just a cup of coffee for example.

What are the different types of pre workout supplements?

There are two different types of pre workout: Stimulant, and Non-Stimulant. Stimulant-based pre workout supplements contain ingredients that are classified as “stimulants” such as caffeine anhydrous. Non-stimulant pre workout supplements do not contain caffeine or any other ingredient that would be considered a stimulant.

If you can not handle stimulants, that’s totally fine. Non-stimulant pre workout is fine to use if your body reacts poorly to stimulants. However, if you can handle stimulants like caffeine, I would recommend opting for a stimulant-based pre workout for obvious reasons.

Stimulants allow you to perform more efficiently and focus more intensely. These ingredients are what give you the energy to get that extra rep or stay at the gym for that extra 5 minutes, which may not sound like a lot, but that extra rep adds up over time.

What is the best pre workout supplement? Here’s our 2021 top 10 list:

We used our unique SFP (supplement facts panel) analysis formula to analyze the most popular pre workout supplements on the market and determine which of them are the best. The top option on this list is far and away the best, but any of the top three supplements below are good choices. Check them out…

1. Black Wolf (Best pre workout supplement overall)

Black wolf jar

Black Wolf is an excellent pre workout supplement pretty much all across the board. It’s another very high quality supplement that checks all of the boxes and contains all of the right ingredients. There is one key difference between Black Wolf and 4 Gauge, and that difference is Beta Alanine.

Black Wolf contains Beta Alanine and 4 Gauge doesn’t. Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing is for you to decide. It depends on your personal preference. As I mentioned before, I personally prefer supplements with Beta Alanine due to the tremendous benefits it provides with regard to strength and endurance.

If you want a pre workout supplement with Beta Alanine, this is the best option. If you want one without it, go with 4 Gauge. Below are some other details on the amazing ingredients Black Wolf contains.

Ingredients:

  • Beta Alanine
  • L-Citrulline Malate
  • Creatine Monohydrate
  • Betaine Anhydrous
  • L-Arginine
  • Caffeine Anhydrous
  • Taurine

BLACK WOLF REVIEW

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2. 4 Gauge (Best for high intensity workouts)

4 Gauge Pre Workout jar

4 Gauge is the most exciting pre workout we’ve seen hit the market in years, and not just because of the kickass packaging! 4 Gauge is a no-nonsense, top-shelf product that packs over 9,000 MG of overall nutrients per serving. It utilizes highly potent ingredients such as L-Citrulline, Creatine Monohydrate, and more all in very large dosages.

4 Gauge is actually the only supplement on this whole list that contains all of the above listed best pre workout ingredients. The formula is comprehensive, transparent, and highly potent. It checks all of our boxes and then some, which is why it was the clear choice for this year’s best pre workout.

Considering that you’re getting 9,000 milligrams worth of high quality ingredients in every serving, it’s actually pretty inexpensive too. Many top shelf pre workout powders tend to be overpriced, but not this one.

Ingredients:

  • L-Citrulle Malate
  • Creatine Monohydrate
  • L-Carnitine
  • Caffeine Anhydrous
  • L-Theanine
  • Beet Root Extract
  • Rhodiola Rosea

4 GAUGE REVIEW

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3. Pre Series Bulk (good for muscle gain)

Pre Series Bulk jar

Pre Series Bulk by Transparent Labs is one of the top pre workout powders on the market due to its exceptionally high potency levels and dosage sizes. This is not a supplement that we would recommend to beginners due to the high potency.

Pre Series Bulk doses all of its ingredients higher than average, which means it is a stronger supplement than average. If you take a full serving size of Pre Series Bulk, I can tell you personally, it’s pretty strong. This is a particularly intense pre workout powder, but it has all of the right ingredients for lean muscle gain. See below…

Ingredients:

  • Citrulline Malate
  • Beta Alanine
  • BCAA 2:1:1
  • Betaine Anhydrous
  • Taurine
  • L-Theanine
  • Caffeine Anhydrous
  • N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine

PRE SERIES BULK REVIEW

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4. Pre Train (best for beginners)

Rule One Pre Train jar

Pre Train is a great pre workout powder made by Rule One Proteins. It contains excellent ingredients, and the formula as a whole is very comprehensive and transparent. The one thing it lacks that the supplements ranked above it have is exceptionally high overall potency.

We say it’s best for beginners because it’s not very potent, so it’s not going to be overwhelming. Some of the best pre workout powders can be a little too intense for beginners. This one lacks the potency and intensity, so it could be a good option if you’d prefer a less potent pre workout.

Ingredients:

  • Beta Alanine
  • L-Citrulline
  • Betaine Anhydrous
  • Taurine
  • L-Tyrosine
  • Caffeine Anhydrous
  • Theacrine
  • Theobromine

PRE TRAIN REVIEW

5. Pre Jym (good for men)

pre jym jar

Pre Jym is rapidly becoming a rising star in the pre workout supplement space. Though it is significantly less potent and comprehensive than the top pre workout supplements, our review of Pre Jym presents the case for why we have it deserves to be amongst the top 10.

It is one of many supplements created by the famous authority figure in the sports nutrition space, Dr. Jym Stoppani. Many people blindly buy Jym Stopanni supplements simply based on their faith in him and his expertise. This is a dangerous decision to make…just because someone you like endorses or creates a product does not automatically mean it is a high quality product.

Ingredients:

  • Creatine HCL
  • Betaine
  • Beta Alanine
  • Taurine
  • N-Acetyl L-Cysteine
  • Alpha GPC
  • Citrulline Malate

PRE JYM REVIEW

6. Lit Pre Workout (good for maximizing energy levels)

Lit pre workout jar

Lit Pre Workout earned a spot on this list through its extremely large dosages and usage of clinically proven ingredients. We love the formula as a whole, but the problem we have lies in the user reviews.

Lit Pre Workout is a very strong supplement that contains a lot of stimulants. In my opinion, it contains too many stimulants in too large of dosages. This can result in side effects such as anxiety, loss of focus, and jitters.

If you’re looking for a really strong and intense pre workout, this is a solid choice, but there’s a reason so many users have given it a negative rating. It’s a little too intense for some people.

Ingredients:

  • CarnoSyn Beta Alanine
  • Micronized Creatine
  • Caffeine Anhydrous
  • ElevATP
  • L-Citrulline
  • Nitrosigine

LIT PRE WORKOUT REVIEW

7. Legion Pulse (good for bodybuilding)

legion pulse jar

Legion Pulse is perhaps the single most powerful pre workout supplement when it comes to nitric oxide boosting specifically. It contains a whopping 8,000 milligrams of L-Citrulline, which is about twice the standard dosage. The formula is impressive, but some of the dosages may actually be a little too high.

Another example of an over-dosed ingredient is Beta Alanine at 3,600 milligrams per serving. The standard dosage is 3,200, and that even that dosage size causes side effects. Beta Alanine is not an ingredient that you want to be over-dosed due to the potential side effects, which include anxiety, jitters, and shaky hands while exercising.

Ingredients:

  • Beta Alanine
  • L-Citrulline
  • L-Theanine
  • Betaine Anhydrous
  • Caffeine Anhydrous

LEGION PULSE REVIEW

8. Gat Nitraflex (good for women)

Gat Nitraflex jar

Gat Nitraflex is a great pre workout supplement, but it’s missing one of the most important pre workout ingredients: Creatine. This is a very significant con for men, but it actually may be a good thing for women.

Many women prefer supplements without creatine since it can cause people to gain water weight. Water weight is not necessarily a bad thing, but if your goal is weight loss, gaining water weight may not be in your best interest.

It should also be noted that another major con of this supplement is the fact that it uses a proprietary blend, meaning not all dosages are disclosed, so you don’t know exactly what you’re taking here.

Ingredients:

  • Citrulline Malate
  • L-Arginine
  • Resveratrol
  • Beta Alanine
  • Caffeine
  • Theanine

GAT NITRAFLEX REVIEW

9. Mr. Hyde (good for consumers on a budget)

Mr. Hyde Pre Workout jar

Mr. Hyde is a very popular pre workout supplement that has been around for a long time. Due to the reputation of the supplement, people assume it is a high quality product, but this is really not the case here.

They offer one of the better prices on the market which makes it an attractive option for people who are on a tight budget, but if you have a few extra bucks, we would recommend buying a better pre workout since this one is simply too weak.

It only has 5,000 milligrams per serving of total nutrients, which is about half the amount of our top ranked pre workout.

Ingredients:

  • Creatine Monohydrate
  • L-Citrulline
  • L-Theanine
  • Caffeine Anhydrous
  • Theacrine
  • N-Acetyl Tyrosine

MR HYDE REVIEW

10. C4 (the top most popular pre workout on the market)

C4 Pre Workout jar

C4 is easily the most popular pre workout on the market, so how did it end up at the bottom of this list? The answer is actually rather simple, and the SFP (supplement facts panel) proves that C4 is not worthy of a top 5 or top 3 spot.

It only contains three active ingredients outside of its “explosive energy blend,” which is a proprietary blend. The proprietary blend itself is pretty weak at a total of only 425 milligrams per serving, and the dosages outside of the blend are even worse.

The formula is essentially 1,000 MG of L-Arginine, 1,000 MG of Creatine, and 1,600 MG of Beta Alanine. All of those dosages are significantly too small, as you will see if you compare them to the dosage sizes of our top ranked options.

Ingredients:

  • Beta Alanine
  • Creatine
  • L-Arginine
  • Caffeine Anhydrous
  • N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine

C4 PRE WORKOUT REVIEW

Our Conclusion, final points, and key takeaways

All things considered, it was really not difficult at all for us to name the top pre workout supplement. It required a lot of work, research, and testing, but once all of the research was done, 4 Gauge stood out as the clear best pre workout supplement.

The only supplement that comes even close to 4 Gauge in terms of overall nutrition, potency, and value is Black Wolf, which is why we ranked it #2. However, note that there is a huge quality gap once you get outside of the top two. For that reason, we would strongly recommend choosing between the top two. Thanks for reading!

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