A good value caffeinated pre-workout enriched with vitamins – but you might want to bump up creatine levels.

Protein Works Raze Extreme is a pre-workout that contains no carbohydrates or protein, and packs in 12 active ingredients. All the ingredients appear well selected to support many aspects of performance, including endurance, speed and cognition. Here’s how it performed when we tested the best pre-workouts.

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.
  • Good blend of active ingredients
  • No aftertaste
  • Mixes well
  • Low doses of active ingredients
  • Only available online

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.

Protein Works Raze Extreme ingredients

You’ll find creatine here to support high-intensity exercise and performance. The recommended dose for creatine is 5g daily, which is higher than the 3.5g dose found in a Protein Works serving. If you take creatine regularly, you may need to take an additional supplement alongside this.

There’s also L-citrulline, a vasodilator that helps improve blood flow and oxygen to muscles to reduce fatigue. Improvements in exercise performance have been seen in doses of 6-8g daily, and again that’s more than the 3g in this pre-workout.

Protein Works has included beta-alanine, another common active ingredient in pre-workouts. To be effective, it must be taken regularly for several weeks and often a couple of times daily. The recommended dose is generally between 2.5g and 6g daily. Like other ingredients in Protein Works Raze Extreme, the amounts are low, suggesting they may need to be used with other supplements.

One thing Protein Works hasn’t scrimped on is caffeine – a key ingredient that often springs to mind when we think about what pre-workout is. At 200mg, levels are in line with recommendations to improve performance in endurance and perception of fatigue during exercise. The blend also includes EnXtra, which is thought to heighten the effects of caffeine, and L-theanine, which helps to reduce the unwanted side effects of caffeine, such as the jitters.

Protein Works has also packed in several micronutrients, including vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant and helps to support immunity, as well as B vitamins, which are involved in energy metabolism and promoting a healthy nervous system. Whether these are needed in a pre-workout is debatable, as they’re not directly associated with performance.

Protein Works Raze Extreme flavour

The manufacturer recommends mixing four scoops (12g) with 350ml water 30 minutes before exercise. The powder mixes well, and the blue raspberry we tested tastes good – quite fruity but a little synthetic, but not dissimilar to other pre-workouts on test. Fortunately there’s no lingering aftertaste here.

Servings work out about £1.25 each which is one of the cheaper powders on test, though not quite as cheap as the Myprotein Alpha Pre-Workout. You can only buy Raze Extreme online, in three flavours – watermelon, fruit punch and blue raspberry, as well as two caffeine-free flavours.

Overall, this is a decent pre-workout with a good blend of active ingredients at a good price, but doses of some active ingredients are a little too low to be effective.