bulk’s caffeinated pre-workout contains six active ingredients and gets the taste just right.

If you’re looking for an energy boost, bulk Pre-Workout ticks all the boxes with a good blend of active ingredients and caffeine to aid concentration. Here’s how it performed when we tested the best pre-workouts.

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.
  • Contains caffeine to aid concentration
  • No unpleasant aftertaste
  • Good blend of active ingredients
  • You’ll need to take some ingredients daily for them to be effective
  • Only available online
  • Some doses aren’t enough to be effective

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.

bulk’s Comprehensive Pre-Workout is available in 720g bags and comes in four flavours – apple & raspberry, lemon & lime, cola and watermelon. It contains 84 calories per 24g serving, as well as 8.8g protein and 12g of carbohydrates in the form of maltodextrin.

It’s loaded with more than 12g of active ingredients per serving, including 5g of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which help decrease exercise-induced muscle damage and promote muscle protein synthesis.

Each serving also has 3g of arginine alpha-ketoglutarate, 400mg of L-tyrosine and 2.5g of citrulline malate.

bulk Complete Pre-Workout benefits

bulk adds L-tyrosine as it’s a precursor to the hormone adrenaline and is supposed to improve cognition. However, research around this is limited and mostly focused around cognition under extreme heat or cold environments. So the jury’s out on whether it’s effective over normal conditions.

There’s around two strong cups of coffee worth of caffeine (200mg) in each dose, which will help improve alertness and concentration. That’s more than the Healthspan Elite All Blacks Pre-Workout Fuel. There’s beta-alanine, too, which is used to increase levels of carnosine in the muscles, helping to buffer hydrogen ions which cause acidity during short bursts of high-intensity exercise.

The amount needed will depend on your body weight, and must be taken daily for a prolonged period to be effective. However, the amount here (1.7g) is not likely to be effective as a daily dose, but it may still cause a tingling sensation at this dosage.

There’s also 2.5g citrulline malate, which acts as a vasodilator, helping to improve the flow of blood and hence oxygen to muscles. According to research, citrulline and malate may work synergistically to increase the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP, the principal molecule of storing and transferring energy in cells), which is why this is used over L-citrulline.

The amount in a serving of bulk Complete Pre-Workout is lower than the efficacious dose of 6-8g suggested by research, through so we doubt this will have much effect. bulk also adds arginine as a vasodilator, although it’s not as effective as citrulline malate.

bulk Complete Pre-Workout taste

We tested the cola flavour, and enjoyed the taste. The aftertaste is quite pleasant too, and not as much of an issue as it can be with a lot of pre-workout powders. The powder mixes well with water, but it does take a while to get it to fully dissolve.

At £1.67 per serving, the price of bulk Complete Workout is on a par with most of the best pre-workouts. It’s only available online, with free delivery if bought directly from bulk.com.

We’d advise sticking to the recommended dose, especially if you’re sensitive to caffeine. Overall, once you’re clued up on what pre-workout is, bulk is a good choice with a pleasant taste. However, some of the active ingredients may not be effective in these doses.