The best pre-workouts offer carefully formulated active ingredients and usually a caffeine kick to help you maximise your 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

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.

Other pre-workout recommendations

Best for flavorIt’s the joint-most expensive on test but the Crazy Nutrition Intensive Pre-Train range features three well-balanced flavors that are the most pleasant tasting of the bunch.
Best caffeine-free optionIf you’re sensitive to caffeine, your pre-workout choices are pretty limited. Healthspan has one caffeine-free option but at half the price the two from Protein Works Raze Extreme nick it.
Best valueMyprotein Alpha Pre-Workout works out the cheapest of any powder on test, at just 97p per serving (if you can still find the tubs). It has a substantial 300mg of caffeine too.

Product shot of a tub of Foodspring Energy Amino powder, a hand with a drink bottle and half a passionfruit

1. Foodspring Energy Aminos

Men’s Fitness verdict

Bolstered by BCAAs and slow-release caffeine, Foodspring’s pre-workout is a good choice, and ideal for morning sessions. The flavor might be too sweet for some tastes though.
Pros
  • Simple but effective list of active ingredients
  • Four flavors
  • 6g BCAAs
Cons
  • Tastes quite sweet
  • Slight aftertaste
  • Only available online

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.

Product shot of Crazy Nutrition Intensive Pre-Train powder

2. Crazy Nutrition Intensive Pre-Train

Men’s Fitness verdict

Instead of carbs and protein, we’ve got 19 active ingredients in Crazy Nutrition’s pre-workout. Some are more effective than others but it’s a good tasting option available with or without caffeine.
Pros
  • Pleasant taste
  • Mixes well
  • Comprehensive list of active ingredients
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Some ingredients not yet shown to improve performance

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 flavors.

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.

3. Protein Works Raze Extreme

Men’s Fitness verdict

Another good protein- and carb-free choice fortified with 12 active ingredients. They all seem relevant to pre-workouts, but some – like creatine – could do with higher doses.
Pros
  • Good blend of active ingredients
  • No aftertaste
  • Mixes well
Cons
  • Low doses of active ingredients
  • Only available online

This Raze Extreme pre-workout is available in three fruity, caffeinated flavors 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

Product shot of a packet of Healthspan Elite All Blacks Pre-Workout Fuel

4. Healthspan Elite All Blacks Pre-Workout Fuel

Men’s Fitness verdict

With carbs to fuel your workouts, Healthspan’s simple but effective pre-workout blend is designed to meet the training needs of the All Blacks. We reckon it should meet our needs too.
Pros
  • Good fruity flavor that’s not too sweet
  • Simple but effective blend of active ingredients
  • Contains a good source of carbohydrates to fuel more aerobic sessions
Cons
  • Doses for some ingredients are quite low
  • Slight bitter aftertaste
  • Only one flavor with and without caffeine

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

Product shot of a pack of Innermost Energy Booster

5. Innermost The Energy Booster

Men’s Fitness verdict

It’s a risk if your going to make your one and only flavor pineapple. But as long as that doesn’t turn you off you’ll get a fresh-tasting pre-workout with energy-boosting ingredients.
Pros
  • Low caffeine will suit those with high sensitivity
  • Vitamin B complex
  • Pleasant flavor
Cons
  • Only one flavor
  • Slightly odd aftertaste
  • Some of the ingredients need to be taken daily to be effective

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

Product shot of Bulk Complete Pre-Workout powder

6. bulk Complete Pre-Workout

Men’s Fitness verdict

Bulk packs protein, carbs, caffeine and BCAAs into a decent tasting pre-workout. There are plenty of active ingredients, too, but not many in high enough doses to be effective, we think.
Pros
  • Contains caffeine to aid concentration
  • No unpleasant aftertaste
  • Good blend of active ingredients
Cons
  • You’ll need to take some ingredients daily for them to be effective
  • Only available online
  • Some doses aren’t enough to be effective

bulk’s Complete Pre-Workout comes in four delicious flavors (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 flavor – I found no trace of any unpleasant aftertaste.

Product shot of a packet of pre-workout

7. Myprotein Alpha Pre-Workout

Men’s Fitness verdict

Myprotein takes the no-carbs-plenty-of-caffeine approach to pre-workouts and opts for just five active ingredients. It’s an effective balance but the slightly salty aftertaste takes getting used to.
Pros
  • Contains 300mg of caffeine
  • Mixes well with water
  • Good value
Cons
  • Slightly salty aftertaste
  • Some ingredients need to be taken daily to be effective
  • Only available online

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.

How we test the best pre-workouts

This list of the best pre-workouts was compiled by Rob Hobson, registered nutritionist (AFN) and sports nutritionist (SENr). 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 Rob was testing, he judged each pre-workout on how well they tasted and mixed, as well as their nutritional effectiveness. He also considered the cost and availability of each.

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 (check out the benefits of 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 what is pre-workout guide for more details on choosing the right option for you.