9 Best Pre-Workout Supplements for Women (+ A Complete Guide)

Pre-workout supplements are boastfully business. While you might associate them merely with gymnasium regulars, more and more women are looking to pre-workout powders, ready-made drinks and shakes to enhance their workouts and help them achieve their goals – and the commercialize is making steady gains because of it. But can these nutritional add-ons and gymnasium supplements truly help level up your gym exercise ( or dwelling exercise ) – or is the use of a pre-workout pretty pointless ? WH called on nutriment and fitness experts to weigh in on the merits of pre-workout supplements and whether you should be factoring them into your routine. The general consensus on the best pre-workout might surprise you ! Know everything there is to know about pre-workout supplements ? Keep scroll for our top 9 .


What is a pre-workout?

First things first base : a pre-workout addendum is a powder, pill or processed nosh ( yes, a protein shingle or bar before a effort sesh counts excessively ) that you take around 30-45 minutes before you exercise. ‘Ideally, it should stimulate you sufficiently adequate to improve performance without any negative side effects, ‘ says Sarah Lindsay, three-time Olympian, dietician and trainer at Roar Fitness.

Pre-workout benefits

‘The benefits of taking a pre-workout append are to increase performance by both increasing energy and delaying tire so you can hit that PB more well, ‘ explains MyProtein ’ mho registered dietician Jennifer Blow. ‘They can be helpful for both anaerobic train such as weight-lift and resistance prepare and aerobic education like running, HIIT or cycling. ‘

Pre-workout caveats

however, registered dietician Katherine Kimber says there are caveats that may make a pre-workout less appeal. ‘Although they may play a function in enhancing the operation of well-trained athletes, for most people, a well-adjusted diet – particularly one which is timed appropriately – should be enough. At the end of the day, a insufficient eating form can not be out aim – or out supplemented. ‘ Got that ? Fill your diet with nutrient-dense foods largely and then plug the gaps where inevitably be.

Should you use pre-workout supplements?

Kimber is n’t the only nutrition adept doubting of gymnasium supplements. ‘For most people, even the high-performance athletes I work with, I ’ ve never recommended a pre-workout, ‘ explains Renee McGregor, sports and eating disorder specialist dietician and author of Orthorexia, Training Food and Fast Fuel. ‘Instead, we look at the time of caffeine, protein and carbs consumed before a exercise. ‘ In fact, many pre-workout supplements are basically a combination of protein and carbs, with some add caffeine for a boost of energy – all of which can be obtained through diet. If you do opt for a pre-workout drink ( they ‘re pretty practical, after all ), remember to keep the caffeine content in mind : ‘Caffeine can interfere with sleep if consumed after around 4 to 5 autopsy, ‘ says Blow. But despite the fact that they are basically formed of things we get from our diet, it ‘s not necessarily a good refilling if your diet is n’t in a dear place. ‘Pre-workout supplements are for person who already has their daily nutriment intake sorted and they are now striving to seek those belittled extra gains where they can, ‘ says Rebecca Dent, high-performance dietician .

What do pre-workout supplements do?

If you want to actually push yourself in a exercise or you ’ re about to do a class that requires some extra effort then you might want to look to a gymnasium supplement before your session for an add promote. Some studies have shown that certain ingredients in pre-workouts, most notably caffeine, can help boost both aerobic ( think survival cardio ) and anaerobic ( weightlifting or high saturation ) baron. They besides contain ingredients like amino acids and vitamins which could help with muscle growth and aid metabolism officiate and energy.
But – and this is a big but – supplements are absolutely not a prerequisite for an effective exercise, nor are they required for build seaworthiness and forte. ‘You can get most of the vitamins, minerals and macronutrients you need from your diet, ‘ says Blow. ‘However, nutritional supplements could act as a boost, quite than a substitute. ‘ Alan Kenny, performance dietician and head of science and education for Optimum Nutrition, agree. ‘We always promote a food first policy at Optimum Nutrition. Our starting point for any soundbox writing or training finish is to assess overall nutrition, exercise and life style behaviours. These factors will all play a much larger character than a pre-workout append will. ‘

Are pre-workout supplements safe?

As with most things, there are two sides to the story. Research published in The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that ‘pre-workout supplement for an extensive period of time in combination with exercise is safe and can lead to beneficial changes in potency and body composition. ‘ On the other hand, a pre-workout could bring about adverse reactions or side effects. It ‘s constantly a good idea to take a deep dive into the ingredients list ( scroll down for a search at the most common ones ) and consult a dietician if you have any concerns. You ‘ll besides want to make sure you do n’t overdo it. If it ‘s your first time taking a pre-workout, it ‘s credibly not wise to take on every one day for a 5-day exercise streak. alternatively, take one and give yourself a few days to see how your torso reacts. If all is well, you can consider taking another the adjacent time you work out .

Is a pre-workout a good idea for fasted training?

Pre-workouts can give you more department of energy, certain, but to interpret this as a mean to smash fast cardio when you would otherwise find yourself struggling without food could have repercussions, says McGregor .
‘Some people might say training first thing without fuel will help cut into more fatty, but you ’ re actually preventing the hormonal cascades that you need to occur in order to get tend muscle mass gains. It ’ s a real area of misconception—too many fast sessions can actually put your body under tension and you can actually end up holding onto fatty. ‘
McGregor suggests that for casual runners and gymnasium exercise lovers, a commodity combination of carbohydrates, protein and caffeine, such as porridge with nuts or eggs on pledge will do the trick, but concedes ‘it ’ s your choice ‘. If you do, however, punt for a pre-workout ( with or without food ), Lindsay adds that you should ‘avoid any with artificial sweeteners. Always think about optimum health first gear ! ‘

What is in a pre-workout supplement?

A pre-workout is typically formulated with very specific ingredients. Blow says these admit : B vitamins such as niacin and vitamin B12 – both of which are used in the consistency during energy production. other pre-workout blends may besides contain beta-alanine and L-citrulline, which Blow adds ‘have both been shown to improve energy during survival exercise ‘. hera ‘s a close look at some of the most common pre-workout ingredients .

BCAAs: Branched Chain Amino Acids

Benefits of a BCAA pre-workout supplement according to Blow :

  • Prevent fatigue
  • Prevent muscle damage

    EAAs: Essential Amino Acids

    Benefits of an EAA pre-workout append :

    • Kickstart muscle protein synthesis (muscle building)
    • Provide amino acids to build and repair muscle

      BCAA vs. EAA pre-workout supplements

      ‘The biggest dispute between BCAA and EAA is that BCAA contains a 4:1:1 proportion of three necessity amino acids ( leucine, isoleucine and valine ), whereas EAAs deliver a blend of all nine Essential Amino Acids ( leucine, lysine, isoleucine, valine, threonine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, methionine and histidine ) that your body can ’ metric ton make itself, ‘ Blow tells us. Supplementing with BCAA and EAA supplements could be worthwhile if you ’ rhenium lifting heavy in the gymnasium or doing endurance sports, but McGregor only recommends this for her athlete clients, specifically in the subject of BCAA pre-workouts. ‘If they are injure and can ’ t exercise out to the electric potential that they need to during a build phase, ‘ she explains. ‘And a BCAA pre-workout could preserve brawn mass if you need to reduce prepare. ‘


      Benefits of carbohydrates in a pre-workout :

      • Retain energy levels

        boast explains : ‘Your body relies on its carbohydrate stores ( glycogen ) for fuel during a exercise so, along with a regular feed traffic pattern and balanced diet, consuming carbohydrates pre-workout would be a good means to ensure energy levels remain topped improving. ‘ She recommends consuming 15g carbohydrate at least 30 minutes before you work out .


        Benefits of caffeine in a pre-workout :

        • Prevent fatigue
        • Energy boost

          caffeine is in about all pre-workout supplements, and there ‘s a reason. ‘Caffeine is a stimulant that has been shown in research to support maintaining high-intensity exert of 20-60 minutes for longer, with reduce feelings of fatigue, ‘ Blow explains. ‘Doses arsenic first gear as 1.5mg/kg ( around an 85-100mg cup ) have been shown to be effective. ‘ Whether in a pre-workout or not, have caffeine 15 – 60 minutes before you start exercising for a boost, preferably before 4-5 autopsy. Caffeine belated in the day will affect your sleep – and you ca n’t replace a adept night ‘s kip when it comes to workout performance, can you ?


          Benefits of creatine in a pre-workout :

          • Supports ATP production – the energy source used during high-intensity exercise

            When it ‘s not in pre-workout form, Kenny says creatine is a substance that occurs naturally in our bodies and can be found in some food such as crimson meat and fish. ‘It can support department of energy production for repeated bouts of high-intensity exercise, ‘ Kenny adds. How, you ask ? ‘It does so by supporting ATP production, which is the energy source used during explosive, high-intensity movements. ‘ Despite the pros that it promises, and the fact that it ‘s a coarse pre-workout ingredient, it often gets a bad rep for being ‘steroids ‘ ( nope ) or ‘only for bodybuilders ‘ ( besides nope ). In world, after an analysis of the growing body of research into creatine, the International Society of Sports Nutrition ( ISSN ) declared that ‘creatine monohydrate is the most effective ergogenic nutritional addendum presently available to athletes with the intent of increasing high-intensity exercise capacity and lean body aggregate during prepare. ‘ That ‘s a adult statement, we know. For it to come into fruition, Dent says that a pre-workout accessory containing creatine needs to be taken regularly, ‘and not as a one-off shake ‘. She suggests that it might be better to supplement creatine individually, preferably than within a pre-workout blend. ‘Add supplements [ like creatine and BCAAs ] into your nutrition plan individually in order to determine if they are having a cocksure influence on your exert performance. ‘ You can buy supplements like creatine and BCAAs individually in the same forms as most pre-workout blends : pills or powder .

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            3 pre-workout supplement ingredients to avoid

            First things, beginning, take Kimber ‘s words of wisdom : ‘As the research into these is limited, they should only be taken under professional guidance. ‘


            Beta-alanine is a naturally occurring non-essential amino acid that gets converted to the chemical called carnosine. Why is this useful in a pre-workout accessory ? ‘Carnosine plays an important role in maintaining your cells ‘ ph, ‘ says Kimber. ‘Too much acid collection by muscles is thought to contribute to fatigue. clinical trials into its benefits as a pre-supplement, however, have produced conflicting results. It may besides trigger feelings of pins and needles. ‘


            Glutamine is a ‘conditionally all-important amino acid ‘, which basically means it can be made by the body – except during times of tension or illness. When it comes to its benefits as a pre-workout, ‘Glutamine is necessary for building muscle, ‘ Kimber says. ‘It is consequently believed to enhance performance ( although the current attest is inconclusive ). ‘

            L-Citrulline and L-Arginine

            These pre-workout addendum ingredients are said to maximise blood flow – and energy and oxygen stream – around your body and to your muscles during your exercise. Do they actually work ? ‘Very little research has been conducted in humans, ‘ Kimber says. ‘At introduce, there is no attest to support a performance-enhancing effect.

            9 best pre-workout supplements

            The products below have been tested by the WH team, but it ‘s important to remember that everyone ‘s body is singular and may react in different ways to sealed ingredients, specially if taken in high quantities. To that goal, we ‘ve recruited the advice of the experts on finding the best pre-workout for women. If you ‘re still diffident and want more accurate guidance tailored to you, we ‘d recommend chatting to a dietician .

            1. Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre Workout

            Best pre-workout all-rounder

            not only does it contain 175mg caffeine for a serious shoot of department of energy, but it besides boasts 3.4g of creatine per serve, and we truly noticed a dispute in performance with this one. The watermelon season is besides a darling .

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            2. Women’s Best Pre Workout Booster

            Best pre-workout for women

            Granted, the more masculine look of most pre-workout supplements can be off-putting for some ( despite the ingredients being a lot of the lapp ), and this is what we love about Women ‘s Best Pre Workout Booster. It contains 100mg per service of the brand ‘s very own creatine monohydrate, Creapure®, a good as L-arginine alpha-ketoglutarate, beta-alanine and caffeine .

            Women ‘s Best Pre Workout Booster


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            3. Alani Nu Pre-Workout

            Best tasting pre-workout

            Alani Nu ‘s pre-workout – specially the hawaiian Shaved Ice flavour – tastes like a virgo cocktail you ‘d drink from a coconut on a beach somewhere. For real. It besides packs a 200mg-caffeine punch per suffice, so you ‘ll be about as hyped for your exercise as you would be at that beach party. Sun is not included, sadly .

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            4. PE+ Nutrition Performance Pre Workout

            Best pre-workout if you’re caffeine-sensitive

            caffeine can do crazy things for some people ( think the jitters x100 ), but we found PE+ Nutrition Performance Pre Workout is best for fair the right boost – it contains a fair 80mg per serving which means you ‘ll silent feel nicely energised without needing to sit in a dark room and take some trench breaths, plus vitamin C, B6 and B12 .

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            5. Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy

            Best for pre-workout newbies

            Optimum Nutrition ‘s Amino Energy does n’t pack quite ampere much of a caffeine punch as the Pre Workout product from the brand ( it has 100mg of caffeine, which FYI is plenty for most – a standard Pret espresso contains 65mg, according to a report by Caffeine Informer ), but it still works wonders as an energy-boosting pre-workout .

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            6. Innermost’s The Energy Booster

            Best vegan pre-workout

            Innermost ‘s The Energy Booster does literally everything you could ask for in a pre-workout : it ‘s GMO-free, low-sugar, lactose-free, gluten-free, soy-free, creatine-free and vegan, plus it contains 7g protein and 71g caffeine per serve .

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            7. Grenade .50 Calibre Pre-workout

            Best pre-workout for going hard

            already accustomed to a pre-workout or two and looking to up the ante ? The Grenade .50 bore pre-workout is guaranteed to give you a hike pre-heavy pilfer sessions. Be warned though, this one is acute, with a whopping 200mg caffeine per service .

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            8. Bulk Complete Pre-Workout

            Best caffeine-free pre-workout

            Bulk ‘s Caffeine-Free Pre-Workout is ideal for anyone not keen on the theme of caffeine, or those who ca n’t tolerate it, since it contains nothing. It does feature all the usual suspects, though : BCAAs, arginine alpha-ketoglutarate, creatine and citrulline malate, so you ‘ll silent reap the rewards .

            9. The Pump by MyProtein

            Best low-caffeine pre-workout

            MyProtein ‘s The Pump pre-workout addendum is not entirely loose of caffeine, but it ‘s close up, with good 7.5mg per serving. That might be barely enough .

            How to choose the best pre-workout supplement for you

            If you ‘ve got this far in the article, chances are you ‘re lament to see what a pre-workout can do for you and your training. Be sure to keep the pursuit top tips from Kimber in mind before loading up your basket, and you ‘ll be right on your way to making serious gains :

            1. Keep things simple

            It ‘s not always the subject that the fancier the pre-workout ingredients there are, the better. In fact, you might want to opt for a single ingredient intersection alternatively. Think of it like skin care : your body may well get overwhelmed, much like our complexion does if we confuse it with excessively many ingredients. ‘Many pre-workout formulas contain a mystery mix of ingredients, some of which have no evidence to support their benefit and others, which may flush be harmful, ‘ says Kimber. ‘Remember that pre-workouts are not regulated for guard. ‘ That magic trick blend might besides only contain decipher elements of what it is you ‘re after – deoxyadenosine monophosphate well as lots of what you ‘re not ( read : artificial sweeteners ) .

            2. Read the label

            With that in mind, always check for an indication that the pre-workout product you ‘re bargaining for has been tested for quality and base hit ( Kimber says a mention of NSF International is a good start ), and/or bears the Informed-Choice logo. ‘Or go to the arrangement web site for a list of the supplements they approve of, ‘ Kimber says .

            3. Try a sachet before you buy in bulk

            Pre-workout supplements are n’t inevitably cheap, and Kimber adds that trying a sachet will allow you to check for both permissiveness and taste .

            4. Get expert advice

            ‘Some dietary supplements used to enhance drill and athletic operation can have side effects and might interact with prescription and over-the-counter medications, ‘ Kimber says. If you ‘re worry, talk to a healthcare pro who can evaluate your individual shell .

            5. Make sure your choice is legit

            not all pre-workout supplements will be accepted by sports governing bodies thus if you ‘re training for a particular competition, get clued up, Kimber says. And remember : ‘Nutrition does n’t come in a tub. ‘

            Ok, I’m clued up on the best pre-workouts but what do I need to do after my workout?

            similarly to your pre-workout, the suggestions for what you do after your session is rooted in focusing on whole foods and prioritising certain macronutrients .


            First things, get some protein and carbohydrates in. This does n’t have to be immediately after you finish a exercise – looking at you, eager-beaver gymnasium goers shaking up your protein drink before your final fit – but aim to make the future meal you eat one that sets you well on the road to convalescence. Protein will help your broken down muscleman weave haunt and recover – this is how you build new brawn. Carbohydrates re-fill your muscle tissue with glycogen ( aka a character of sugar that the body uses for energy/fuel ) that will have been depleted during your exercise. Both these macronutrients are essential for post-workout recovery. ( This macro counting cheat sheet breaks down what each macronutrient does and how to manipulate them based on your finish, btw. ) If you ‘re very on the fail or find it difficult to hit your protein requirements, a great protein powder can be a good investing. here are some that the WH team loves :


            then, water should be a precedence. You lose precious minerals through your sweat when you exercise, american samoa well as increase your prospect of becoming dehydrated. Buy a reclaimable water bottle and try to keep it topped up during the day. It ‘ll lessen the luck of any mid-afternoon headache slumps .


            finally, it ‘s not something you can swallow, but it ‘s precisely arsenic important – adequate recovery. From foam roller exercises to stretching, mobility ferment, NEAT exercise, active convalescence or using a muscleman gunman, making time for proper R & R will expedite how cursorily your body returns to baseline post-exercise. It ‘ll besides help mitigate any delay attack muscleman tenderness ( aka DOMS pains ) you may experience, as well .
            Kirsti Buick
            Kirsti is a health and fitness journalist, a personal flight simulator and technical school addict .
            Emma Pritchard
            Contributing Health Editor
            Emma interviews the earth ’ s leading sportswomen, top health experts, and women who have turned their lives around through fitness – women like you.

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