The best pre-workouts offer carefully formulated active ingredients and usually a caffeine kick to help you maximise your new year training efforts…
If you plan on upping your training game in 2024, you’ll want to prepare for each session in the best way possible. The best pre-workout supplements will deliver active ingredients and stimulants such as caffeine to prime your body for the workout ahead, increasing endurance capacity and alertness, delaying the onset of fatigue, and often providing carbs to help fuel your training.
Nutritionist Rob Hobson tested every pre-workout and judged them on how well they tasted and mixed, as well as their nutritional effectiveness. He also took other factors into account such as cost and availability.
A word of warning to the caffeine-sensitive: though there are some exceptions, caffeine is often the main active ingredient in pre-workouts, so they’re not recommended for anyone who gets jittery or feels sick after too much coffee.
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Best pre-workout in 2024
- Foodspring Energy Aminos (£29.99 for 400g – not available in the US), amazon.co.uk
- Crazy Nutrition Intensive Pre-Train ($59.99 / £49.99 for 500g), crazynutrition.com
- Protein Works Raze Extreme ($47.99 / £39.99 for 360g), amazon.co.uk
- Healthspan Elite All Blacks Pre-Workout Fuel (£29.99 for 480g – international shipping available), amazon.co.uk
- Innermost The Energy Booster ($44.95 / £29.95 for 300g), amazon.co.uk
- Bulk Complete Pre-Workout (£49.99 for 720g – not available in the US), amazon.co.uk
- Myprotein Alpha Pre-Workout (£28.99 for 600g – not available in the US), myprotein.com
Foodspring Energy Aminos
Rather than throwing dozens of natural ingredients into the mix, Foodspring goes for a more selective approach with its Energy Aminos pre-workout. The ingredients list is simpler than most, but features the good stuff: including BCAAs, caffeine, and B and C vitamins.
It’s one of the few pre-workouts I tested to include guarana, but that makes a lot of sense as it helps release its caffeine payload more slowly, avoiding spikes and jitters. At £1.50 per serving this represents solid value, too.
- Read our full Foodspring Energy Aminos review
Crazy Nutrition Intensive Pre-Train
At £2.50 a serving, Crazy Nutrition’s pre-workout is the priciest pre-workout I tested, but subscribing to regular deliveries with give you a substantial 30% off. I think it’s one of the tastiest, too, with three well-balanced flavours.
There’s a whopping 19 active ingredients here – more than any other pre-workout I tested – which should cover all your bases whatever discipline you’re preparing for. There’s a good dose of citrulline, especially, which helps deliver oxygen as your muscles start to fatigue.
- Read our full Crazy Nutrition Intensive Pre-Train review
Protein Works Raze Extreme
This Raze Extreme pre-workout is available in three fruity, caffeinated flavours and two caffeine-free versions. At £1.25 a serving it represents decent value, especially as it packs in 12 active ingredients and a useful 200mg caffeine.
In my opinion, Protein Works gets the flavours about right – I found there to be just a hint of a synthetic taste and no bitter aftertaste. There are B and C vitamins to look after your energy metabolism and immune system, too.
Read our full Protein Works Raze Extreme review
Healthspan Elite All Blacks Pre-Workout Fuel
If the All Blacks rugby team put their name to a product, it’s usually because it’s the business, and that’s just the case with Healthpan’s Elite pre-workout. I found it to be a good source of BCAAs, protein and particularly carbs, making this a useful way to fuel your cardio or strength sessions.
The inclusion of taurine will help give your endurance a boost, and it decreases the need for large doses of caffeine – making this a better choice for workouts later in the day. At £2.50 a serving it’s not cheap, but is high-quality.
Read our full Healthspan Elite All Blacks Pre-Workout Fuel review
Innermost The Energy Booster
If you love pineapple, you’ll be onto a winner with The Energy Booster from Innermost. That’s mainly because that’s the only flavour it comes in, but also because I found the taste to be pretty moreish. A good dollop of BCAAs will see you right, as will the inclusion of guarana – meaning less caffeine.
There’s a healthy dose of vitamin B complex as well as maca to influence mood, but the main sell is the price – at just £1 per serving there’s only one other pre-workout powder I tested that works out cheaper.
Read our full Innermost The Energy Booster review
bulk Complete Pre-Workout
bulk’s Complete Pre-Workout comes in four delicious flavours (I recommend the Cola) and is loaded with 8.8g protein and 12g carbohydrates, as well as 12g of active ingredients per serving.
At £1.67 per serving, it’s not one of the cheapest powders but if you like a shot of caffeine in your pre-workout then it definitely delivers, with the recommended 200mg to improve alertness and concentration. And it’s certainly a winner on flavour – I found no trace of any unpleasant aftertaste.
- Read our full Bulk Complete Pre-Workout review
Myprotein Alpha Pre-Workout
Myprotein eschews the carbs in favour of a caffeine kick for its pre-workout. There’s a hefty 300mg in here, so make sure you don’t exceed the serving recommendations. Still, it’s a good choice if you’re doing high-intensity workouts that require short bursts of activity.
For those who are prepping for training on a budget, Myprotein’s Alpha pre-workout works out the cheapest of any powder on test, at just 97p per serving. Not bad for the equivalent of two cups of coffee.
- Read our full Myprotein Alpha Pre-Workout review
How we tested:
There are lots of different pre-workouts on the market and the number of active ingredients differs substantially between brands. (However, the research to support their effectiveness in terms of performance is not always solid.)
While I was testing, I judged each pre-workout on how well they tasted and mixed, as well as their nutritional effectiveness. I also considered the cost and availability of each.
My favourite overall is the Foodspring Energy Aminos pre-workout. This supplement contains a good mix of the basic ingredients you’ll want in a pre-workout (e.g. caffeine and branched-chain amino acids). I also thought it tasted good (which is not always a given with pre-workouts), making it a great all-rounder whether you’re pushing weights or doing HIIT workouts.
Benefits of pre-workouts:
If you struggle to get yourself pumped up before a training session, pre-workout could offer a helping hand. Usually taken 30-60 minutes before exercising, pre-workouts are designed to provide energy to fuel workouts and improve athletic performance. While the energy boost is usually provided by caffeine and carbohydrates, additional ingredients can offer specific benefits for different sports and training methods.
What to look for when buying pre-workout:
When shopping for pre-workouts, the main ingredients you’re likely to see are carbohydrates and caffeine. Alongside these energy boosters, pre-workouts often contain other compounds such as beta-alanine, creatine and branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs).
While you may be tempted to go for a product containing everything, only some of these ingredients necessarily suit every type of sport. In some cases, certain compounds may have a negative impact. For instance, beta-alanine may be suitable for a middle-distance runner. However, taking creatine could cause unwanted weight gain, affecting their power-to-weight ratio.
Choosing the best pre-workout for you will depend on the type of training you’re doing. Different active ingredients will support different elements of your workout – such as citrulline delaying muscle fatigue or taurine decreasing lactate accumulation. Check out our guide to pre-workout for more details on choosing the right option for you.