With more active ingredients than we’ve seen in a pre-workout, Intensive Pre-Train promises big performance benefits.

Unlike most of the other best pre-workouts on test, Crazy Nutrition’s Intensive Pre-Train is free of carbohydrates and protein. It’s one of the most comprehensive pre-workouts and contains 19 active ingredients. Though some ingredients are thought to be more efficacious than others.

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.
  • Pleasant taste
  • Mixes well
  • Comprehensive list of active ingredients
  • Expensive
  • Some ingredients not yet shown to improve performance

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.

Crazy Nutrition includes citrulline malate in its pre-workout blend. That works as a vasodilator to help improve oxygen supply to the muscles, prolong fatigue and improve performance. Research indicates that between 6g and 8g is needed daily to be effective. The dose here is a decent 7g and is among the highest in all the pre-workouts on test.

Crazy Nutrition Intensive Pre-Train ingredients

You’ll find beta-alanine included in Intensive Pre-Train too, which is common in all pre-workouts. The dosage is usually established by body weight but would probably sit somewhere between 2.5g and 6g for the average person. The amount in this pre-workout is at the lower end of the scale at 2.5g. To be effective, beta-alanine needs to be taken regularly a few times daily to deliver the proper dosage and over a prolonged period.

Another of the many active ingredients is betaine anhydrous, which comes from beetroot. It’s thought to help muscle hydration and improve exercise performance by increasing creatine synthesis rates and elevating blood nitric oxide levels. However, evidence for improved performance is again not conclusive.

Another ingredient the efficacy of which we’re unsure of is the combination of L-arginine and alpha-ketoglutarate (AKG). L-arginine is an essential amino acid believed to help promote the production of nitric oxide, a vasodilator that increases blood flow to muscles – giving it potential as a muscle growth supplement – and so reduces fatigue. Combined with AKG, L-argenine is also thought to improve absorption, but so far there’s little supporting evidence.

Crazy Nutrition have added taurine, too. This amino sulfonic acid is made naturally in the body from other amino acids. Research has suggested that taurine enhances endurance and decreases lactate accumulation, reducing fatigue. According to research, taurine doses of between 70mg and 3g reduce the need for high amounts of caffeine to gain a performance effect. The 1g in this blend falls within that band, though Crazy Nutrition have still included an efficacious dose of caffeine (200mg).

There’s L-tyrosine here, too, as it’s a precursor to the hormone adrenaline. This is sometimes added to pre-workouts to improve cognition. The research is limited though and mostly focuses on cognition under extreme heat or cold environments.

Other Crazy Nutrition Intensive Pre-Train benefits

You might know what pre-workout is, but unlike traditional formulas, this is the only one we’ve tested that includes ashwagandha, which is classed as an adaptogen, helping the body deal with stress. Research is limited to performance, but a 300-1250mg dose has been associated with potential improvements in strength, powder and V02 max. This blend contains 300mg, but more research is needed to prove its effectiveness.

The pre-workout is only available online and comes in three flavours. There’s fruit punch and blue raspberry, as well as a caffeine-free green apple flavour. We tested the fruit punch flavour, which is quite pleasant, moderately sweet and with some sourness.

At first glance the price of Crazy Nutrition Intensive Pre-Train (buy now) is expensive – £2.50 a serving makes this the joint most expensive on test. (We assume that’s due to the cost of all the active ingredients it uses.) But factor in a 30% subscription saving and that brings the price down to a similar level to most others on test.

Crazy Nutrition recommends a dose of one 25g scoop to 500ml water, and that mixes well. Overall, this pre-workout has a pleasant taste and is for someone looking to cover every base, even if some ingredients aren’t relevant to their sporting discipline.