What Really to Look for in a Pre-Workout

In a market flooded with products and promises, it’s hard to figure out what you should be spending your money on. Trust me, I’ve been there. I’ve tried countless pre-workouts to varying degrees of effectiveness. I’ve found what actually works for the human body and I’ve found what I specifically enjoy.

To be 100% honest with you, a good percentage of the reason I take a pre-workout is for the placebo effect – it gives me the feeling that I’ve just consumed the power to will myself through anything. But I choose to spend a little more money and buy ones that give me an actual performance boost along with that placebo effect.

So, if you’re going to take a pre-workout, don’t waste your money on a shitty one when you could spend a fraction of the cost on a cup of coffee with largely the same effect. Spend a little more and get one that’s actually going to do something besides make you feel like you’re the hulk.



WHAT: Citrulline Malate (6+ g)

WHY: Decreases muscle fatigue during aerobic and anaerobic exercise, decreases muscle soreness


WHAT: Betaine (1.5 – 2.5 g)

WHY: Increases strength and power, increases endurance, possibly increases in muscle mass


WHAT: Creatine  (2 – 4 g)

WHY: Increases strength, endurance, and lean muscle growth


  • BCAAs (optional – reduce muscle catabolism during fasted training and enhance recovery on a calorie-restricted diet)
    • Leucine (3+ g)
    • Isoleucine (1+ g)
    • Valine (1+ g)
  • Stimulants (optional – enhanced energy and focus)
    • Caffeine (100 – 400 mg)
    • Beta Alanine (1.5 – 5 g)
  • Fat Burners (optional – enhanced fat loss)
    • Caffeine (100 – 400mg)
    • EGCG
    • Cayenne
    • Carnitine (1 – 2 g)
    • Yohimbe
  • Other stuff
    • Dark Chocolate / Cocoa seed powder