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Best Pre Workout Supplement Buyer’s Guide for 2018

APS Mesomorph

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Everyone loves to talk about their favorite pre workout supplement, but everyone is different. You probably want different effects or are doing a different workout than the next person.

We’ve upgraded this page from a mere Top 10 list to a total “Buyer’s Guide” tailored to what you want — not what some store wants.

In this guide, we’ll ask you a series of questions, explain things a bit, and suggest three or four pre workouts for you to consider.

Open Labels Rule

In general, we prefer products whose labels are 100% open and nonproprietary, a recent trend many companies have taken. No more hiding the expensive/good stuff at the bottom of the list!

No scams here

If this is your first time at PricePlow, we are a price comparison site affiliated with the stores so we stay as unbiased as possible. We take just one advertiser at a time, but our opinions are never for sale… and certainly won’t push BS that will get your Visa charged $70 every month, like many other awful, biased “Top 10” lists.

Instead, we send you to the best price from any of our dozens of partner stores (Amazon included), and let you go from there.

Each product also has links to sign up for PricePlow’s email price drop alerts so you never miss hot deals on your favorite supplements.

Let’s get started:

Choose how you’d like to get your recommendations:

  1. A buyer’s guide based upon your needs (recommended)

    The only true answer to the question, “What’s the best pre workout supplement?” is, “It depends…”

  2. Our top 10 list

    Based on our opinions.

We suggest the guide, since it’ll be tailored to your needs, not ours. But you’re free to see what we’ve been using – it moves around relatively frequently.

How do you want your product recommendations?

Disclosure: PricePlow has received free samples of nearly every product mentioned on this page, including various competitors that aren’t listed. Using a team-based approach, we judge each product on merits of value, efficacy, labeling disclosure, and quality, and our opinions are never swayed by free samples.

We’ll start with the “Choose your own adventure” Guide. The first question is simple enough:

Question 1: Do you want stimulants or stimulant-free?

This question is simple enough, but hugely important. The stimulant products (all of which are caffeine-based) will add a lot more energy, but they aren’t for everyone.

If you work out at night, don’t like caffeine, or are on a stimulant-break, choose the stim-free path. You could also look at this path for some powerful strength- and pump-inducing nitric oxide supplements to stack into your existing pre workout.

Everyone else will want to head into the stimulant section, where we’ll have things broken down in more detail.

  • The Best Pre Workouts with Stimulants

    Welcome all stim-lovers!

    Our next question is also simple yet important:

    Question 2a:  Do you want powder, pills, or Ready-to-Drink (RTD) Bottles?

    The majority of the best stuff is powder-based, so that’s where most readers will go. Pills just don’t typically have enough space to get you the energy, pumps, and focus enhancement that you want. There’s also a better selection of powders, which are more possible.

    Some of the pill products are crazy good though – just note that they’re mostly geared towards high-energy and focus. But if you want muscle-blasting pumps out of your pill-based pre workouts, you’ll need to head to the stimulant-free section and get pills there as well, though.

    • The Best Pre Workout Supplement Powders

      Welcome to the best pre workout supplement powders area – this is where most people want to be.

      The road forks in a big way here. Pick the option that best suits you – you can always come back and try a different path:

      Question 3a:  Do you most want high-energy, focus, Pumps, or balanced one-scoopers?

      Typically, the energy section is the most popular area – this is where you can get your stimulant fix, and then some.

      The focus area contains supplements that are marketed towards that tunnel-vision feeling. They have a higher ratio of nootropics (cognitive enhancing ingredients) but don’t necessarily have to have a ton of caffeine.

      To go after pumps, you’re looking for products that are geared more towards the pump than the stim (but aren’t stim-free).

      One scoop wonders are products that have everything you want in one scoop, including muscle-builders like creatine. But for that to happen, it depends on your caffeine tolerance, so we’ll have to break it down a bit further.

      Energy, Focus, Pumps, or One-Scoopers?

      Don’t forget to check our Supplement Deals page if you’re looking for a bargain!

      • The Best Pre Workout Supplements for Energy!

        Yes! The best high-energy pre workout supplements money can buy. There’s no shame in being a stim-junkie, so long as you’re healthy, know your limits, and take occasional stim-breaks.

        Next question, and this one is important:

        Question 4a:  Do you want DMAA / DMHA or No DMAA?

        That’s right, pre workout supplements with DMAA are still out there! However, it’s a bit of a long story, so if you don’t know much about this ingredient, click to read about DMAA down below first and then come back and decide what you want to do.

        Meanwhile, the hot new stimulant of 2016 is DMHA, which is kind of like “DMAA-lite”, and we get into below.

        Our quick take: if you’re conservative or new to pre workout supplements, skip the 1,3. If you know what’s going on, have cycled through a few other energy supplements, and are looking for that next level, then either of these ingredients — when used appropriately – is downright unbeatable.

        How do you take your high-energy?

        • High-Energy Pre Workouts with DMAA or DMHA

          Here we go! The next question is if you want DMAA or DMHA.

          The long story short is that DMAA is going to bring the most flat-out intensitystrong>, and our all-time favorite pre workout uses it. But it’s a bit much for some users, who want to take it down a notch, but still want a nice “extra” feel. In those cases, DMHA, which is more like a “DMAA-lite” stimulant, is the way to go.

          DMHA is also listed on labels as 2-amino-6-methylheptane yet is sometimes labeled as 2-aminoisoheptane. You can read way more about it in our detailed DMHA blog post.

          • High-Energy Pre Workouts with 1,3

            Starting with our favorite:

            1. APS Mesomorph
              APS Mesomorph

              Mesomorph from APS Nutrition is a high-energy, focus heavy pre workout that brings DMAA back to the masses! Hang on for the ride!

              The reason we love APS Mesomorph is because they’ve disclosed to us that the maximum serving size of one full scoop contains 65mg DMAA.

              So for us, we’re big fans of Mesomorph at around ¾ of a scoop, and you won’t really find a more intense energy supplement out there. It’s also a great deal.

              To top it off, there are the following other ingredients:

              • 6.5g of beta alanine (endurance), citrulline malate 2:1 (endurance and nitric oxide pumps), and AAKG (nitric oxide)
              • 4.5g total of creatine, taurine, creatine nitrate (the nitrate adds more pumps), creatinol-o-phosphate, and a bit of agmatine. If there’s enough agmatine, it will also keep nitric oxide around longer for additional pumps.
              • Glucuronolactone (added to various energy drinks), caffeine, theobromine, and of course, the 1,3 dimethyl.

              This is a no-joke product that is to be taken seriously. Start light and enjoy the ride, Mesomorph is here to stay.

              One last thing: try the Rocket Pop flavor – it’s just like those old blue bombsicle popsicles from childhood! Seriously enjoyable to drink from start to finish.

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              Mesomorph uses a potent combination of nitric oxide boosters and fatigue fighters alongside the powerful combo of DMAA + Caffeine to supercharge your workouts.

              Mesomorph uses a potent combination of nitric oxide boosters and fatigue fighters alongside the powerful combo of DMAA + Caffeine to supercharge your workouts.

              CJ and Amin’s Mesomorph Review

              CJ and Amin loved this stuff – CJ is higher-energy, and went full scoop. After a few more workouts, Amin decided he liked 2/3 to 3/4 scoop range more, like we typically suggest:

            2. Blackstone Labs Dust Extreme
              Blackstone Labs Dust Extreme 2017 DMAA Version

              DMAA is BACK in Dust Extreme from Blackstone Labs, restoring it to its former glory.

              Depending on the outcome of Hi-Tech Pharma’s lawsuit against the FDA, Dust Extreme may not be around much longer, but while it’s in stock, it’s absolutely very high energy!

              There was a brief hiatus when this was switched to DMHA, but the epic pre workout supplement from PJ Braun and company is back in the fold, and back on its rightful place on this page!!

              The energy blend is set with 350mg caffeine, 75mg DMAA, and 75mg higenamine, which is definitely no joke. In fact, this one is even higher energy than Mesomorph above, if you can handle it!

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              Blackstone Labs Dust Extreme 2017 DMAA Version Ingredients

              After a brief hiatus with DMHA, Dust Extreme came back to DMAA!

            3. Innovative Labs WICKED
              Innovative Labs Wicked

              DMAA is back with a vengeance in Wicked from Innovative Labs. 70mg DMAA + 300mg Caffeine will give you ALL the energy you can stand!

              Oh dear! If APS Mesomorph wasn’t enough energy for you, and you think you might need even a bit more, then Innovative Labs WICKED takes it up one extra notch, all the way to 70mg DMAA in a full two-scoop serving, paired with 300mg caffeine!

              The honest truth is that this is as intense of a supplement as we recommend. If you can’t going with this, then you are either extremely stimulant-resistant, or it’s seriously time to take a stim-break. This is where the train stops, in our opinions.

              What’s cool is that Wicked uses two silicate-based pump supplements — ingredients bound to silica have often shown a higher propensity for better absorption. In this case, we have citrulline silicate as well as agmatine silicate, and that’s not to mention the creatine nitrate which will also yield pumps.

              There’s a bunch more to it as shown in the label below, turning it into an explosive workout that lives up to its name – perhaps a bit much so. We personally stick with our Mesomorph, but many high-stim users who we trust have flat out loved this.

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              Innovative Labs Wicked Ingredients

              If you’re interested in pumps, energy, and focus, you’ve come to the right place!

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          • High-Energy Pre Workouts with DMHA

            This category’s was the big grower in 2016, but by the end of 2017 it started looking apparent that these products won’t be around forever, so if you’re a fan, jump in while you can:

            1. CT Fletcher’s Iron Addicts Sidewalk Kraka
              Iron Addicts Sidewalk Kraka

              Sidewalk Kraka is the DMHA and Eria Jarenesis fueled Pre Workout for CT Fletcher’s Iron Addicts Brand.

              With the crazy name (which means you’ll be cracking the sidewalk as you walk) comes the crazy energy pre workout. CT Fletcher’s Iron Addicts Brand did not disappoint!

              Not only is there 300mg caffeine and 125mg DMHA, but CT also added in 200mg Eria Jarensis Extract (as N,N-Dimethylphenylamine Citrate) and 50mg theacrine for good measure!

              But that’s not all – you get 2mg of alpha yohimbine and 500mg choline, for a well-rounded, insanely high-energy pre workout stack!

              This stuff just simply has an extra gear, and is a must-try for anyone who wants to be crackin sidewalks with true energy!

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              Iron Addicts Sidewalk Kraka Ingredients

              Sidewalk Kraka touts an open label and packs everything you need to work out like the man himself, CT Fletcher.

              Our Sidewalk Kraka Review
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            2. Condemned Labz Convict Stim
              Condemned Labz Convict Stim

              Jailhouse favorites Condemned Labs isn’t playing any games with its pre workout Convict Stim, which packs an amazing 225mg DMHA per serving!

              Now this pre workout is packin heat – literally!

              As if CT Fletcher wasn’t convict enough for you above, Convict Stim steps up the DMHA game with 225mg worth, alongside 300mg caffeine!

              There’s no eria jarensis like in the others, but it does have a crazy 50mg noopept, which will make many focus-lovers extremely excited.

              Then comes the yet – with 50mg higenamine, 3mg yohimbine HCl, and 15mg grains of paradise extract, it’s all but guaranteed that users will be feeling the heat with this one.

              The pump side is just as strong though, with 4g of straight citrulline. But we know you’re really here for that DMHA + Noopept, so here it is.

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              Convict Stim Ingredents

              We expect a lot from a product with the word “CONVICT” in it, and we got it! 225mg DMHA to go along with 300mg caffeine and 4g pure L-Cit for solid energy and pumps. Nice.

            3. Inspired Nutraceuticals DVST8 (“White Cut” Edition)
              DVST8

              DVST8 White Cut is a considerable upgrade of Inspired Nutra’s last version of DVST8, and now it has DMHA!

              This was easily 2016’s hottest pre workout supplement, and it’s still going strong! This is the first supplement to take the all-new DMHA stimulant and mix it into “one-scoop-wonder” mode, by adding a clinical dose of 4g L-Citrulline for pumps that can back up the energy!

              Now here’s where this one differs: The combination of the “smoother” DMHA and the three forms of caffeine really come on a bit more slowly and don’t hit you in the face hard. Some people want that, others don’t.

              Ultimately, you’re getting 162.5mg caffeine in each scoop, and we found that 1.5-2 scoops is our sweet spot. The caffeine blend consists of 100mg straight caffeine per serving, as well as 50mg dicaffeine malate (provides 37.5mg caffeine) and 50mg caffeine citrate (provides 25mg caffeine). Those two absorb slower than the straight caffeine, so you have more of a slow-roller with this one, but wow does it feel fantastic once you dial it in!!

              The muscle-building agents come from 2g of betaine, which functions similarly to creatine, and at our favorite 1.5 scoops, you get more than the clinical dose of 2.5g where gains were shown in study.

              Inspired Nutraceuticals is staying away from artificial colors, no need for that, and the flavors are fantastic – so far our favorite is California Gold, but if you like a strong Blueberry flavor, then check out Pacific Crush!

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              Our DVST8 White Cut YouTube Review
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              Inspired Nutraceuticals DVST8 White Cut Ingredients

              White Cut is a HUGE step up in intensity from its predecessor, somehow we didn’t think that was even possible.

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        • High-Energy Pre Workouts without 1,3

          Starting with the most intense energy:

          1. Performax Labs HyperMax
            HyperMax

            The newest version of HyperMax is a huge upgrade from its predecessor and Performax has made it bigger, badder, and better than ever!

            HyperMax was revamped in late 2017, and man is it a killer pre workout! When we tried it, we were simply floored — and it seems to get better every time we use it! This is a truly powerful energy supplement, but it’s also balanced. It’s so strong that that we don’t recommend full-scooping it until you’ve really figured out where you stand with it.

            The key is that it contains Eria Jarensis extract / N-Phenyldimethylamine, a popular non-DMAA stimulant that’s been in use since 2015. In our research, this PEA-like stimulant is a fantastic mood-booster that lasts longer than regular PEA, and about the strongest thing out there that isn’t “banned” or under legal fire (it has GRAS Status – Generally Regarded as Safe).

            Every scoop has 325mg caffeine, assisted with even more PEA for the initial hit of energy up front, and then the other stims come in to support. We’re not huge fans of the proprietary blend in energy and focus matrix, but the fact is that it flat out works.

            But it’s more than the energy – it’s also the mood support. If you’re just not feeling the motivation, or are having one of those “bad-time” workout slumps, HyperMax will turn that frown upside down right away. Thank the PEA blend for that one!

            And despite this being the energy section, we still get plenty of pumps and endurance too! To balance things out, you have a whopping 6g clinical nitric oxide boosting dose of L-Citrulline.

            We just can’t say enough good things about this supplement — you can see our review and full ingredient panel below the price links:

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            Our HyperMax Review
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            Performax HyperMax Ingredients

            The latest edition of HyperMax has the biggest dose yet of Eria Jarensis that you’ve seen in a supplement. Hold on to your horses everyone! It’s going to be a wild ride!

          2. Muscle Elements PreCre XS

            Muscle Elements PreCre XS Unmatched

            PreCre XS boasts a stim profiled unmatched by virtually all competitors on the market. But is it too much stims?

            You asked for energy… you got it!!

            Muscle Elements PreCre has long been one of our top pre workout supplements. There’s nothing not to like about these guys.

            But at 244mg caffeine, PreCre wasn’t enough for some. That’s where PreCre XS comes in, with a rocking 419mg caffeine!

            A full 5g of creatine

            The great thing about PreCre has always been the full 5g dose of creatine. That stays. In fact, everything from PreCre has stayed, including the 10g carbs for the carb pump:

            PTS-Surge – Shuttle those carbs into the muscles

            What we also like about the PreCre family is the use of their PTS-Surge ingredient that helps shuttle the 10g carbs into muscles. It’s enough to drive a serious pump, but not so much that you are feeling bloated!

            Overall, for those looking at huge caffeine and no DMAA/DMHA, this is the one that actually works.

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          3. MTS Ruckus
            MTS Ruckus

            Marc Lobliner and MTS Nutrition have revamped their high stim pre workout Ruckus with even more caffeine, focus, and pumps.

            Marc Lobliner at MTS Nutrition seriously stepped up the energy game in their latest version of Ruckus — it now has three forms of caffeine totaling 480mg caffeine!

            The additional stimulants are N-Methyltyramine and hordenine, both at 50mg, and 100mg of theobromine to take the edge off and give you a bit of vasodilation as well.

            That alone is there for a crazy high-energy “Machine-worthy” pre workout, but Lobliner’s also added in 1.5g L-Tyrosine for some fantastic dopamine-inducing focus effects!

            Finally, on the pump side, you’ll be getting 1.5g of betaine nitrate and some L-taurine for cell hydration to boot.

            End of the day, if you need closer to 500mg caffeine, then this is the one for you.

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            Our MTS Ruckus Review and Ingredients
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            MTS Ruckus Ingredients 2017

            The new version of Ruckus is for the serious stim heads out there as each serving packs an astounding 480mg total caffeine!

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      • FOCUS

        One last very important question to get you to the focus-driven pre workout supplements:

        Question 4b:  Do you want DMAA/DMHA or No DMAA/DMHA?

        Yes, DMAA (1,3 dimethylamylamine) supplements are still out there! This a relatively long story, so you can click here to head over to our DMAA section to read the updates, look at some research, and decide if you want to use a pre workout with the ingredient.

        Our quick take is that 1,3 is a great selection for those who are experienced with several other high-energy pre workout supplements and are ready for the next level, so long as you’re in healthy condition. But if you’re a rookie or more on the conservative side, go with the section without it focus pre’s.

        One note is that the supplements in the DMAA section aren’t marketed as focus enhancers, and don’t typically have a ton of other cognitive boosters. The DMAA just puts a lot of us in the zone all on its own.

        • Focus Pre Workouts with DMAA/DMHA

          The following pre workout supplements all contain DMAA. Although they’re not marketed as focus-enhancers, it’s in our opinion that there isn’t much of a better cognitive focus-boosting ingredient than DMAA itself.

          Starting with our favorite:

          1. APS Mesomorph
            APS Mesomorph

            Mesomorph from APS Nutrition is a high-energy, focus heavy pre workout that brings DMAA back to the masses! Hang on for the ride!

            We love Mesomorph for the main reason that we know there’s 65mg DMAA in one full 15.5g scoop (the max dose). This type of transparency that APS has provided to us is welcomed, and the reason why it’s our top DMAA-based pre workout supplement.

            Besides the DMAA, there honestly isn’t a ton in there with the sole purpose of cognitive effects. Caffeine is obviously a focus enhancer in its own right, but that’s everywhere. Agmatine sulfate has been linked to a mental boost, but it’s at the bottom of a 4.5g proprietary blend of six ingredients, so we’re not sure how much is in there.

            Point being, if you enjoy DMAA for focus, you can dose this one exactly as you wish. We stay between 25-50mg, which is roughly ½ to ¾ scoop.

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            Our Mesomorph Pre Workout Review
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            Mesomorph uses a potent combination of nitric oxide boosters and fatigue fighters alongside the powerful combo of DMAA + Caffeine to supercharge your workouts.

            Mesomorph uses a potent combination of nitric oxide boosters and fatigue fighters alongside the powerful combo of DMAA + Caffeine to supercharge your workouts.

          2. InnovaPharm LIMITLESS
            InnovaPharm Limitless

            Need Focus for a Bit and you’ve never tried phenylpiracetam? Then get in here!

            As its name would imply, LIMITLESS is a DMHA-based focus supplement that, quite frankly, is nearly cheating!

            Inside of LIMITLESS is a nootropic named phenylpiracetam, which isn’t exactly a “supplement”, but it flat out works.

            Phenylpiracetam is made by combining a molecule of the nootropic piracetam with PEA. This gives you a stimulating burst of focus and motivating mood-enhancement that is unparalleled in the racetam world!

            But that’s not all for focus, there’s also N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine with some CDP-Choline, although they’re in a proprietary blend so we don’t know the dosing.

            This isn’t a focus-only supplement though. There’s also 4g citrulline malate and some agmatine for the pumps — but yes, this does lean more towards that focus.

            The issue: Adaptation to the Phenylpiracetam

            The drawback with LIMITLESS is that phenylpiracetam isn’t a daily compound to take. It loses effectiveness when used like that, as many people gain tolerance to it relatively quickly. This means that this is a great product to have around, but it’s likely not going to be your only one — just when you need a superb workout say 1-3x/week. We’d not recommend it months on end.

            Either way, if you haven’t tried phenylpiracetam yet, then get in here! We’ve had no jitters or sides with this, just straight focus when used sparingly:

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            InnovaPharm LIMITLESS Ingredients

            Limitless includes a partially transparent label that hides its neural-stim complex but fully discloses the nitric oxide boosting complex.

          3. Condemned Labz Convict Stim
            Condemned Labz Convict Stim

            Outside of the massive 225mg DMHA, each serving of Convict Stim has a monster 50mg noopept!

            This is an intense pre workout, and the main reason it’s in here, outside of its 225mg DMHA content, is the 50mg noopept that’s inside!

            This is a throwback to older versions of Blackstone Labs Dust Extreme that did the same thing… so note that it’s not a beginners pre workout.

            In fact, since the standard dose of noopept is 30mg, you can even go with 3/4 scoop and still be very good to go (and still have more DMHA than most other supps!)

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            Convict Stim Ingredents

            We expect a lot from a product with the word “CONVICT” in it, and we got it! 225mg DMHA to go along with 300mg caffeine and 4g pure L-Cit for solid energy and pumps. Nice.

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        • Best pre workout supplements for focus without DM*A

          These products are marketed as focus-enhancing supplements, and come through in full force:

          1. Special Consideration: Performax Labs HyperMax
            HyperMax

            The newest version of HyperMax is a huge upgrade from its predecessor and Performax has made it bigger, badder, and better than ever!

            First, we need to make a special consideration. This is a DM*A-Free supplement, but it does contain an “advanced” stimulant in Eria Jarensis (200mg) standardized for its N-methyl-phenethylamine, N-phenethyldimethylamine, and PEA alkaloids. If that’s okay with you, then you may just love the way this one feels – but if you want no “exotic” stims, then you can skip to the next one.

            HyperMax was reformulated in late 2017, and on top of the fantastic mood- and focus-boosting PEA profile alongside hordenine to make them last longer, it also has a full gram of L-Tyrosine.

            The energy supply is brought by 325mg caffeine per scoop.

            In general, this is the option if you’re looking for a “mood-enhancement” style of focus. It works well for us, but it’s not the standard old choline-based supplement like the others you may see below.

            But if you’re down for these new forms of PEA, then this is the one we choose as our top non-DMAA/non-DMHA focus pre workout supplement.

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            Performax HyperMax Ingredients

            The latest edition of HyperMax has the biggest dose yet of Eria Jarensis that you’ve seen in a supplement. Hold on to your horses everyone! It’s going to be a wild ride!

            PricePlow’s New HyperMax Review
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          2. Northbound Nutrition Pinnacle

            Now here’s a great way to get focus without any exotic stimulants!

            To start it off, you get 325mg caffeine from natural natural sources of green coffee bean extract. Most say that this type of caffeine feels cleaner, hits less hard up front, and doesn’t leave you crashing.

            Northbound Pinnacle

            Pinnacle from Northbound Nutrition is a premium pre workout that combines clinically dosed ergogenics with a powerful focus matrix, all transparently dosed.

            But if you came here for the focus, it’s mainly the one-two punch of 1.5g L-Tyrosine and 300mg AlphaSize Alpha-GPC. The 1.5g L-Tyrosine will almost definitely get felt, and 300mg Alpha-GPC is a great choice in choline supplementation.

            Crazy clinical doses!

            Need one-scoop action? You got it — the bulging 27.3g scoop throws down 8g citrulline malate (giving pumps and endurance), 4g beta alanine (endurance and tingles), plus a a clinical 3.2g creatine on top of a clinical 2.5g betaine!!

            So nothing is underdosed here!! You have a smashing amount of nitric oxide boosters, endurance, and ergogenics. Done and done.

            Yet the pumps aren’t over yet — now you get relatively high amounts of pine bark extract and grape seed extract — 200mg each. Not cheap, but worth it for these pumps.

            And the focus isn’t low-dosed either! 1.5g of L-Tyrosine is well above average, as is the 300mg Alpha GPC. That 300mg dose is getting close to the study where they had gains in leg strength, but it’s mostly here for focus.

            Even two pump ingredients add focus

            Even better, two of the pump ingredients — grape seed extract and pine bark extract have been shown to improve cognition a bit too – and creatine won’t hurt for that either.

            Long story short, this is a wonderful way to get focus from a product without exotic stims, and it’s naturally colored too.

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            Northbound Pinnacle Ingredients

            HUGE doses here, and with natural colors and flavors too!

          3. Magnum Nutraceuticals LIMITLESS
            Magnum Limitless reviews

            This stuff is fantastic, but it costs.

            This is a fantastic pre workout formula that was very well-devised in its quest for focus. For most users, it will be a true one-scooper, with a caffeine dose is somewhere in the 225mg range (unfortunate that it’s a proprietary formula) and enough pumps to balance it out, unlike most other focus-based pre workouts.

            The focus enhancers come with a 1.42g “HAPPY BRAIN” proprietary formula, front-loaded with L-Tyrosine and then caffeine. After that, you get a serious 30:1 bacopa monnieri extract and choline.

            One thing that we love is the use of whey protein isolate as an “anti-caking agent” – instead of getting extra silica like many other products use, Magnum added whey isolate, which is a far more beneficial ingredient anyway. This adds a bit of powdery-ness to the formula, but is a great idea for those who don’t want too much silica or other emulsifiers.

            To top it off, the dual-phase flavor systems are incredible – for instance, you get a hit of fruit punch followed with a kick of delicious peach.

            The point is, LIMITLESS definitely lives up to its name, but you gotta be a fan of the high-dose L-Tyrosine and bacopa next to the caffeine – those are the main drivers here, with a bit less choline riding shotgun.

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            Magnum Nutraceutical Limitless Ingredients

            Limitless has a rather unique blend of ingredients designed to provide a unique and unparalleled sensory and focus experience.

          4. Transparent Labs PreSeries BULK

            Transparent Labs PreSeries Bulk

            We’ve got an intense focus-driven pre workout in store for you with Transparent Labs PreSeries Bulk. Massive doses of everything you’d want in a pre workout.

            Transparent Labs has seemingly come out of nowhere and is surging all over this industry online — and for great reason too! Their success started with this hugely popular pre workout, PreSeries Bulk!

            BULK has a monstrous non-proprietary label that brings the focus in a new way — 2x as much L-theanine than caffeine (360mg l-theanine vs. 180mg caffeine). These two are quite synergistic, but you never see this kind of dose because, quite frankly, L-Theanine is expensive!

            But… it gives an exceptionally focused workout effect… without needing to double-scoop or have to take a ton of caffeine in its place.

            No artificial sweeteners / colors / flavors!

            Transparent Labs started things fresh with a 100% commitment to natural sweeteners (like stevia) — and no artificial colors! While stevia isn’t as delicious as sucralose, the users have responded that it’s worth it! No more worries about whatever the next negative sucralose study is going to say – you’re already ahead of the curve with Transparent Labs.

            Customize your strength with STIM-FREE
            Transparent Labs PreSeries

            Transparent Labs is doing things right, no fillers, no dyes or fake sweeteners. Just more natural products to enhance your physique and performance.

            A good idea to go along with it: to keep your focus high but stimulants low: Transparent Labs also has a stimulant-free pre workout, PreSeries STIM-FREE, also artificial color/sweetener-free. So you can half-scoop each for even less caffeine, but keep the focus high!

            Cost is a concern, but we have some of the best Transparent Labs coupons around…

            The worst part of Transparent Labs’ supplements are the high price tags if paying full retail price. The good news is that we negotiated an internet-leading coupon, so that you can find our lowest prices with us! See the final prices in the links below:

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            Transparent Labs PreSeries Bulk Ingredients

            PreSeries Bulk is transparently dosed and in amounts documented by research to improve all aspects of your workout.

            Our PreSeries Bulk Review on YouTube

            The guys on PricePlow’s YouTube reviewed PreSeries Bulk, and were blown away its strength:

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      • Best PUMP Pre Workouts

        This is an interesting area here, because there’s not as many pre workout supplements that balance in a ton of pumps without getting you over-stimmed.

        Perhaps companies figure that you can always just add some stimulant-free pump pre workout powder to a half-dose of an energy pre workout, but the reality is that stimulants are cheap, while pump ingredients are less so.

        Point being, things have definitely skewed towards the energy side of the equation over the years, but there are some products that deliver some pretty stupid pumps without overwhelming you with stimulants to get you there:

        1. NutraBio PRE Extreme
          NutraBio PRE Extreme

          NutraBio’s PRE Extreme is another in a wave of high quality effectively dosed pre workouts hitting the market in 2015.

          What a pre workout this is. NutraBio is an industry veteran whom we couldn’t respect more. Their formulas are so open that they even disclose the amount of coloring, flavoring, and sweetener inside! (The colors are always natural, by the way.)

          PRE Extreme took the scene by storm, not only because it has a fantastic array of pump ingredients, but also because it has 15g of carbs from high-end cluster dextrin – which provide fantastic pumps!!

          It comes with a caveat though — you need to be able to handle the 350mg caffeine in order to get that full serving of pump action. The good news is that it’s a caffeine blend that has some caffeine from caffeine malate, which causes it to last longer and doesn’t hit as “hard” as 350mg of straight caffeine anhydrous.

          NutraBio

          Pure Supplements. Pure Results. And they’ll back those supplements up with third party lab tests. Watch out for these guys in 2016!

          There are four different pump ingredients (five if you count betaine!), all of them are hugely dosed, and that’s why it’s here. Starting with 6g citrulline malate (2:1 ratio), which is 4g of actual citrulline. That’s enough on its own, but there’s also Nitrosigine arginine silicate and agmatine too!

          Meanwhile, the ergogenics are fully loaded – 3g worth of creatine and 2.5g worth of betaine!

          To top it off, there’s extra electrolytes, vitamins, minerals, etc… which we’ve seen get removed from pre workouts. Did we say it’s loaded? It is! You just can’t go wrong with this stuff!

          Note on the carbs: Pre EXTREME contains 15g carbs, but if you don’t want the carbs, go with NutraBio PRE (without the Extreme). It’s carb-free and has no yohimbine.

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          NutraBio PRE Extreme V4 Ingredients

          V3 was a monster of a pre workout, V4 keeps everything you loved about V3 and makes it that much better.

        2. Granite Supplements Arc Reactor
          Granite Supplements Arc Reactor

          The Mountain Dog John Meadows has launched a new supplement brand titled Granite Supplements headlined by their dynamite pre workout Arc Reactor.

          The mountain dog himself, John Meadows, came out with one hell of a pumped up pre workout that you should not ignore this year!

          First, let’s start with the “basics” — a total of 6g citrulline from both L-Citrulline and Citrulline Malate sources. So we’re already off to an amazing start.

          Second, 1.5g of HydroMax. Drink lots of water and watch your “waterpumps” swell up in size!

          Third, 750mg Nitrosigine, which is arginine bonded with silica, and it works fantastically well for nitric oxide production – especially with these other ingredients!

          And last but definitely not least, the Mountain Dog included VasoDrive-AP, a new ingredient that inhibits an enzyme that leads to blood vessel constriction, so the pumps get even wilder!

          And if that weren’t enough, you also have full doses of creatine (3g) and betaine (2.5g) to aid in muscle growth. Finally, theobromine helps bring up the rear with a dash more vasodilation as well.

          Fantastic blend, topped off with 250mg caffeine and 100mg TeaCrine for a great stim blend, all-around one scoop wonder pre workout!

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          Granite Supplements Arc Reactor Ingredients

          Arc Reactor is incredibly well dosed and provides all you need to power through even the most daunting workouts.

          Our Arc Reactor Pre Workout Review and Ingredients
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        3. Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged

          Oh yeah!!! There’s three pump ingredients in here, but they combine for 10.5g worth of powder, so you know it’s going to be big.

          Kaged Muscle is Kris Gethin’s supplement company, and it picked up right where where Pre-JYM left off.

          Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged

          Pre-Kaged is the much anticipated pre workout from Kris Gethin and Kaged Muscle. It has shattered expectations.

          Let’s cut to the chase – the 6.5g of fermented L-Citrulline is simply unheard of, and it’s everything you’d imagine it to be. One scoop yields about 250mg caffeine, and more pumps than three scoops of the competition!

          The secondary pumps come from the 2g of taurine, but make sure you get plenty of water for that to activate.

          And finally, the third “pump” ingredient is actually an ergogenic muscle-builder, betaine. 2g here is just 500mg short of the clinical dose for muscle gains, but it still provides quite the pump.

          If you enjoy BCAAs, you’re in luck here too, as you’ll get 3.5g of fermented BCAAs that mix great.

          Is this beet root doing something more??

          This product leans more towards the natural side, with mostly stevia for sweetening, and beet root extract for the coloring. Our question is this – is this beet root providing a bunch of nitrates for even more pumps? Because it almost feels like it!

          We’ve seen pictures of Kaged Muscle’s beet root extract vs the competition, and it’s clearly a deeper, “danker” purple color. We’ll publish those soon on this blog, but it makes us wonder how much else is in there besides just the coloring.

          Anyway, come for the 6.5g of L-Citrulline, stay for everything else!

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          Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged Ingredients

          Pre-Kaged packs a hefty 32g dose of ingredients in each scoop. This provides all the pre workout power you will need for 20 grueling gym sessions.

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      • ONE SCOOP PRE WORKOUT WONDERS

        NutraBio PRE Extreme

        GOOD NIGHT CONCENTRATES!

        This is the new section here that we’re most excited about. Our faithful followers on Facebook are always interested in legit “one-scoopers” – products where “30 servings” actually means 30 serious workouts, and it’s balanced across energy, pumps, ergogenics, and focus. No fuss, no games, no need to stack in extra stuff.

        The major issue is that we all have different caffeine tolerances, so we need to break it down a bit more. The key is to find something with balance at your personal stimulant tolerance.

        So let us know how much caffeine you want pre workout:

        • Caffeine <= 200mg

          Below are the “lower stim” pre workouts that are heavier in pumps. They’d cost too much for someone who needs 400mg caffeine to get going, but they’re perfect for those of us who hate those high-caffeine pre workouts that you need to half-scoop, but then only get you half-pumped.

          Instead, here’s what we love on the lower end of the energy side:

          1. Transparent Labs PreSeries BULK

            Transparent Labs PreSeries Bulk

            At only 180mg caffeine per scoop, you are going to get a TON of pumps and focus with this one!

            Look out for Transparent Labs, their one-scoop-wonder here, PreSeries Bulk, has taken the industry online by storm!

            The caffeine rests at 180mg for a full scoop, which is actually doubled by a generous serving of the expensive focus and calming ingredient, L-Theanine. If you haven’t had this before, you must try the combination – it makes for a very very smooth pre workout that we can’t stop raving about!

            The pumps come from a generous dose of citrulline malate, and aside from the l-theanine, you’re also getting nice doses of N-Acetyl Tyrosine and Choline for the focus boosters.

            No artificial sweeteners or colors!

            On top of that, Transparent Labs has kept up with the trend to go with natural sweeteners – this is a stevia-based product. While the flavoring is admittedly not as good as others on this page, many users believe that it’s well worth it.. one less thing to worry about. You’ll also see no nasty colors either.

            It gets better though, if you want to go even lower-stim:

            Customize the stim strength with STIM-FREE

            Transparent Labs PreSeries

            Transparent Labs is doing things right, no fillers, no dyes or fake sweeteners. Just more natural products to enhance your physique and performance.

            Transparent Labs also has a stim-free pre workout aptly named PreSeries STIM-FREE. You can then mix and match these two products to get just the right amount of caffeine, while keeping the pumps and focus at full strength!

            The biggest problem with the products from Transparent Labs is that they’re quite expensive. The good news is that PricePlow has negotiated the best coupon on the web with Transparent Labs – less money for everyone is always better.

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            Transparent Labs PreSeries Bulk Ingredients

            PreSeries Bulk is transparently dosed and in amounts documented by research to improve all aspects of your workout.

            PricePlow’s Transparent Labs Pre Workout Review

            CJ and Amin reviewed it on PricePlow’s YouTube channel, and were just all about it:

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          2. NutraBio Fighter Fuel

            NutraBio Fighter Fuel V3

            Fighter Fuel V3 from NutraBio is the next evolution in crafting the ideal formula to get you ready to hit the Octagon!

            Now this is an interesting low-stim pre workout that’s really caught our attention!

            Marketed towards anyone doing extreme HIIT style workouts — MMA fighters, CrossFitters, sprinters, etc… NutraBio’s Fighter Fuel has just 100mg caffeine but fully-loaded doses of everything high-end athletes need, including 19g carbohydrates from top-quality cluster dextrin!

            With Fighter Fuel, you’ll get 3g creatine and 2.5g betaine, but also a large dose of citrulline malate (6g, the malate is the best form for endurance) and 3.5g leucine.

            There are other aminos added to the mix, and a sweet amount of N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine at 1.5g for the focus.

            Athletes like this also need electrolytes and vitamins, which Fighter Fuel brings as well. But what they don’t want are proprietary blends or artificial colors – and you won’t get either of those here. If this is your first time seeing NutraBio, note that their products are “110% open formula” — even the amount of natural coloring and flavoring is disclosed!

            It’s got everything a fighter / crossfitter would want, but anyone wanting low-stims should be interested.

            Note: This comes in a Men’s and Women’s version where the women’s is even lower in stims (80mg caffeine) and carbs, so anyone can try either one – see Fighter Fuel Women’s if interested.

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            NutraBio Fighter Fuel Ingredients

            Notable upgrades to V3 include 4 more grams of Cluster Dextrin and a full clinical dose of betaine! Note that there is a separate women’s formula with a bit less inside (and for less money).

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        • 200mg < Caffeine < 300mg

          We assume that most people will end up here, and it’s the most common place to find the top well-balanced pre workout supplements. Interestingly… it’s where the least new pre workouts have been created lately!

          1. Muscle Elements PreCre
            Muscle Elements PreCre

            What a great carb-based pre workout!

            Starting with the stimulants of this PricePlow favorite supplement, you’re going to get a total of ~244mg caffeine, which comes from 200mg caffeine that’s assisted by 44mg caffeine from the natural guarana extract.

            PreCre is a true one-scooper in terms of the creatine inside – you get a full 5g dose (4g from monohydrate, 1g from creatine HCl), so on your workout days, your creatine needs are completely taken care of.

            On top of that creatine dose, one of the keystones of PreCre is how you get the pumps – a combination of 10g of fast-acting carbs, combined with the insulin-boosting ingredient PTS-SURGE gives you the long-forgotten carb pump that too few companies promote anymore.

            10g carbs doesn’t sound too serious, but when mixed with the nutrient partitioning effect of PTS-SURGE, which helps drives the carbs into your muscle cells, you get a serious (and different) kind of pump that brings serious strength along with it.

            This contains 1.2g of beta alanine, however, so if you want your clinical dose of 3.2g, you’ll need to add more later on in the day.

            To match the focus with the stims, a solid 500mg of N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine has been added to 150mg DMAE.

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            PreCre Ingredients

            PreCre breaks from traditional pre workouts and includes 10g of carbs to give your body a quick source of energy to power through your workouts while saving your glycogen stores for later on in your session.

          2. MTS Clash
            MTS Clash Coming Soon

            MTS Clash is out NOW! Grab some quick before it sells out!

            This pre workout has been on quite the ride over the course of its life, but it’s finally landed to where we’re all about it for one-scoop-wonder territory.

            Squeaking in at just under 300mg caffeine (299.65mg to be exact!), you are greated with everything you’re going to want in a pre:

            • Full 6g dose of citrulline
            • Full 1.5g dose agmatine
            • Full 5g dose creatine

            And of course the caffeine, but also the “bonus stims” in TeaCrine, N-Methyl Tyramine (NMT), and Hordenine!

            Meanwhile, the rainbow sherbet flavor is downright unstoppable, so if you’re worried about those earlier TeaCrine versions of Clash that tasted awful (and that’s putting it nicely), then you no longer need to worry!

            Welcome to one-scoop-wonder territory, Lobliner, you finally made it!

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            MTS Clash Ingredients 2017

            The newly revamped Clash is a true MONSTER among pre workouts. Each scoop packs nothing but clinically dosed ingredients.

          3. Granite Supplements Arc Reactor
            Granite Supplements Arc Reactor

            The Mountain Dog John Meadows has launched a new supplement brand titled Granite Supplements with a one-scoop wonder pre workout Arc Reactor.

            Yes, the “Mountain Dog”, John Meadows, is back in the supplement game, and he’s playing for keeps!

            This is easily one of our top pump pre workouts, given the huge amoutns of citrulline, HydroMax, Nitrosigine, and the new ingredient VasoDrive-AP.

            But the reason we moved Arc Reactor here (and kicked out Pre-Kaged) is because this one has full doses of creatine (3g) and betaine (2.5g) to aid in muscle growth.

            The “bonus” stimulant is 100mg TeaCrine, which is a super dose, and may make this product feel a bit stronger than the label lets you believe with that 250mg caffeine.

            Overall, we can’t say enough great things about Arc Reactor – it’s just expensive.

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            Granite Supplements Arc Reactor Ingredients

            Arc Reactor is incredibly well dosed and provides all you need to power through even the most daunting workouts.

            Our Arc Reactor Pre Workout Review
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        • Caffeine >= 300mg

          Allright stim-junkies – what’s out there with more than 300mg of caffeine that isn’t just a glorified energy drink?! Who’s got enough pumps and muscle-builders to balance all that stim without blowing your entire supp budget?

          1. APS Mesomorph
            APS Mesomorph

            Mesomorph from APS Nutrition is a high-energy, focus heavy pre workout that brings DMAA back to the masses! Hang on for the ride!

            Mesomorph has it all, and when we say “all”, we mean full doses of creatine, beta alanine, caffeine… and DMAA!

            So before we begin, beware that this is an advanced, hardcore supplement whose ~300mg caffeine is matched by 65mg DMAA – not a beginner’s dose by any means.

            In fact, it’s probably still worth starting at ½ to ¾ of a scoop if you’ve never combined DMAA and caffeine before – the energy is extremely intense!

            As for everything else that makes it a one-scoop wonder:

            • 6.5g blend that includes a full 3.2g of beta alanine (endurance), citrulline malate 2:1 (endurance and nitric oxide pumps), and AAKG (nitric oxide)
            • 4.5g blend that leads to 3g creatine from creatine monohydrate, taurine, creatine nitrate (the nitrate adds more pumps), creatinol-o-phosphate, and a bit of agmatine. If there’s enough agmatine, it will also keep nitric oxide around longer for additional pumps.
            • Then there’s still more energy — glucuronolactone (added to various energy drinks), caffeine, theobromine, and of course, the 1,3 dimethyl.

            There’s a reason why this has been our #1 product for so long. It’s no joke! So start light and let it rip, once you get to the full one scoop status you will not have a bad workout.

            Flavor to go with? Rocket pop – just like the blue bombsicle popsicles you’d eat as a kid back in the day. The tub actually comes in three colors of powder. Pretty cool!

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            Mesomorph uses a potent combination of nitric oxide boosters and fatigue fighters alongside the powerful combo of DMAA + Caffeine to supercharge your workouts.

            Mesomorph uses a potent combination of nitric oxide boosters and fatigue fighters alongside the powerful combo of DMAA + Caffeine to supercharge your workouts.

            CJ and Amin’s Mesomorph Review

            CJ and Amin reviewed it, and they were done with this tub before they even knew it! Amin ended up settling on 2/3 to 3/4 scoop (admittedly not getting the full doses of creatine or beta alanine), but CJ was all about the full scoop:

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          2. NutraBio Pre-Extreme (or NutraBio PRE Workout for carb-free / yohimbine-free)
            NutraBio PRE Extreme V4

            NutraBio’s PRE Extreme is another in a wave of high quality effectively dosed pre workouts hitting the market in 2016.

            We loved NutraBio’s PRE Extreme v3.0 when we first made this list, and the new v4.0 is even better! So it definitely keeps this spot here.

            If you need a one-scooper without DMAA/DMHA, this is the choice. End of story.

            Take a look at the formula below to see how loaded this stuff is!! It has a high-energy balance of pumps, stimulants, focus factors, and 15g carbs so you never bonk!

            What’s cool about this energy blend is that it has 350mg caffeine spread from 250mg caffeine anhydrous, but also 133mg dicaffeine malate (providing an extra 100mg caffeine). The dicaffeine malate (tradenamed Infinergy) is a slower-releasing form, so you get a way better stim-feel than just 350mg hitting you all at once.

            That blend not only makes it last longer, it makes it easier to handle and prevents a crash.

            Note: NutraBio PRE contains no carbs, whereas PRE Extreme has 15g carbs from cluster dextrin. It will depend on what your goals are and if you like training fasted, but you definitely get better pumps with the Extreme version and its carbs!

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            NutraBio PRE Extreme - Deals and Price Drop Alerts

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            NutraBio PRE Extreme V4 Ingredients

            V3 was a monster of a pre workout, V4 keeps everything you loved about V3 and makes it that much better.

            Our PRE-Extreme Review on YouTube

            You can see our review of the brand new v4.0 below:

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          3. Northbound Nutrition Pinnacle

            Let us tell you about these newcomers, Northbound Nutrition: We’ve loved everything they’ve thrown our way!

            To start it off, you get 325mg caffeine from natural natural sources of green coffee bean extract. The consensus on this form of caffeine is that it just feels better and has less of a crash, so big plus there.

            Northbound Pinnacle

            Pinnacle from Northbound Nutrition is a premium pre workout that combines clinically dosed ergogenics with a powerful focus matrix, all transparently dosed.

            This was one of the products that started to “disappear” at the gym — trainers took a liking to it, and we had to fight to get our review run finished. This usually only happens with the DMAA kind of pre workouts, but not in this case – everyone’s just loved this one, no DMAA needed!

            Crazy clinical doses!

            Need one-scoop action? You got it — the bulging 27.3g scoop throws down 8g citrulline malate (giving pumps and endurance), 4g beta alanine (endurance and tingles), plus a a clinical 3.2g creatine on top of a clinical 2.5g betaine!!

            So nothing is underdosed here!! You have a smashing amount of nitric oxide boosters, endurance, and ergogenics. Done and done.

            Yet the pumps aren’t over yet — now you get relatively high amounts of pine bark extract and grape seed extract — 200mg each. Not cheap, but worth it for these pumps.

            And the focus isn’t low-dosed either! 1.5g of L-Tyrosine is well above average, as is the 300mg Alpha GPC. That 300mg dose is getting close to the study where they had gains in leg strength, but it’s mostly here for focus.

            Natural Colors and Antioxidants included!

            Then there’s the extras, with antioxidants via Spectra’s Total ORAC, a few carbs packed in from the natural colors of fruit juice powder and beet root, as well as rice concentrate for a more natural emulsifier.

            Northbound is clearly on to something here, so add this to your list this year!

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            Northbound Pinnacle Ingredients

            HUGE doses here, and with natural colors and flavors too!

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    • The Best Pre Workout Pills (with stims)

      The stimulant-based pre workout supplements definitely bring the energy, but not always as much on the pump side. If you need that, you can always stack in pills from our stimulant-free section.

      We have one more very important question:

      You can read our DMAA explainer and come back.

      The simple rule is that if you’re new to energy supplements, a conservative user, or aren’t sure, you should start DMAA-free.

      But if you know what you’re doing and want to take things to the next level, the DMAA selection can definitely get you there. Use it responsibly and follow the label instructions exactly as stated.

      • Energy Pills with DMAA

        Get ready to get your socks blown off:

        1. Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals Stimerex Hardcore
          Stimerex Hardcore

          If you want energy, then you’ve come to the right place. WOW.

          If you need to get rocked with stims in order to rock your workout, then Stimerex Hardcore is about as intense as it comes.

          As requested, there’s 1,3 dimethylamylamine (DMAA), but that’s just the start. Hi-Tech Pharma brings 25mg of their industry-secret ephedra extract, which adds some fat burning.

          Now, note that ephedra is only legal because the ephedrine alkaloids have been removed per the FDA’s 2004 ruling. However, to make up for this, Hi-Tech added in acacia rigidula extract, which provides various PEA alkaloids and methylsynephrine that burn fat as good (or better) than the ephedra alkaloids removed in the first place!

          For more energy, theobromine, green tea extract, and just a dash of yohimbe are included to burn more of your fat for sheer energy.

          Stimerex Hardcore contains 150mg caffeine per capsule, and one cap is really all it takes for a great workout. We honestly don’t recommend two capsules at a time (the label states one at a time) unless you really really know what you’re doing.

          This stuff is no joke. Treat it as such and have a good time with one!

          Stimerex Hardcore Links to Use
          • Click Here to go to our lowest price (coupon included)
          • Read more on our Stimerex Hardcore page and get price alerts with PricePlow
          • You may also be interested in Stimerex-ES (less intense, better for general users, but still quite potent)
          Stimerex-ES Ingredients

          The Stimerex-ES Ingredients

        2. APS White Lightning
          APS White Lightning

          White Lightning is strong, but far more simple

          White Lightning is a bit simpler than Stimerex Hardcore, so if you want to take it slightly easier, this is your DMAA-based option.

          It contains a simple mix of caffeine, DMAA, and coleus forskohlii extract (our favorite stimulant-free fat burning ingredient that boosts energy in your system via cAMP). There’s no ephedra or PEA alkaloids, so the ingredient label is a bit less intense here.

          We unfortunately don’t know the dosing inside of the blends, but like Stimerex Hardcore, you only want to take one capsule at first. Experienced users can try two capsules, but don’t do this if you’re not ready.

          APS White Lightning Deal Links

          APS White Lightning Ingredients

          This label is a bit more simple, but definitely effective for a great workout or diet support!

        3. Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals HydroxyElite
          HydroxyElite Review

          Yes, we love it too!

          Do you remember the original OxyELITE Pro? This is quite nearly a clone of USPLabs’ old best-selling fat burner, but with one added ingredient (garcinia cambogia for hydroxycitric acid).

          Yes, this is marketed as a fat burner for weight loss dieters, but there’s no doubt that it functions as an absolutely fantastic pre workout pill as well. We can’t say enough good things about this formula.

          At just 100mg caffeine per capsule, you can dose one or two caps (always start with one), and let the DMAA, yohimbe, and thyroid boosters do the rest of the work in terms of getting some serious focus on.

          HydroxyElite has been selling like crazy, and the reviews have been downright fantastic. Even if you’re not dieting, one or two caps pre workout will seriously get you going.

          Just remember to eat accordingly – the appetite suppression system works ridiculously well with HydroxyElite, and if you’re in muscle-building mode, you have to remember to eat on schedule!

          HydroxyElite Prices and Information
          • Click Here to go to our lowest price (coupon included)
          • Read more on our HydroxyElite page and get price alerts with PricePlow
          HydroxyElite Ingredients

          Look familiar? It’s nearly an exact clone / replacement of Oxy Elite, except an added 250mg of garcinia.

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      • Energy Pills without DMAA

        Just because there’s no DMAA here doesn’t mean these aren’t seriously intense… but first, we have to tell you about a nitric oxide pill that has a bit of energy:

        1. Gaspari Nutrition PlasmaJet
          Gaspari PlasmaJet

          Gaspari Nutrition’s epic return to the world of supplements continues with the release of a revamped PlasmaJet Nitric Oxide Maximizer.

          If you are in this section looking for pumps, then this is where you belong. The rest of the supplements below are pure energy.

          Gaspari Nutrition is back, and they are bringing it bigtime.

          The new version of PlasmaJet, the long-awaited nitric oxide pill with purpose, is unlike anything we’ve ever tried.

          It’s in this section because there’s 40-50mg caffeine – not much on the energy side, but just enough for an evening workout and to get a dash of vasodilation going (caffeine only becomes vasoconstrictive when the doses are way higher).

          But the key ingredients are the new arginase inhibitors that actually prevent your nitric oxide from breaking down – so it’s a bit different compared to most other nitric oxide pills that only focus on producing more NO — which this one does too.

          The two ingredients that do this are N(omega)-hydroxy-nor-L-Arginine & Boron amino acid chelate, and you can read about them in the blog post linked above.

          Even crazier, you have Cnidium Monnieri Extract, standardized for osthole. This actually functions like many of the ED drugs do out there!! However, there’s one crazy catch: it smells really… “skunky”!

          Ultimately, the pumps and strength increases are through the roof. If you want that, then sign on up here. If you’re looking for just energy, then see the next product. Our review is below!

          PlasmaJet Deals and Information
          • Click Here to go to our lowest price (coupon included)
          • Read more on our PlasmaJet article and get price alerts with PricePlow
          Gaspari PlasmaJet Ingredients

          The new PlasmaJet has a TON of new ingredients you probably wouldn’t expect in a pump pre workout. Should make for some EPIC arm days!

          Our PlasmaJet Review on YouTube
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        2. Magnum Nutraceuticals Rocket Science
          Magnum Rocket Science

          Rocket Science lives up to its name with a safe and effective blend of incredible stimulants to get your rocket going

          Rocket Science is a fantastically-named energy pill with just about everything you’d want in terms of energy and focus.

          First off, each capsule contains 100mg of caffeine, from a mix of the fast-acting caffeine anhydrous and slower-digesting dicaffeine malate. This means you can get anywhere from 100-300mg caffeine from 1-3 capsules, allowing for some nice customization.

          In the 605mg proprietary blend, the PEA will quickly jump-start you, and it’s enhanced by hordenine, which can make its effects last longer. The tyrosine can increase focus alongside the citicoline and vinpocetine.

          L-theanine is included, which we like a lot – it’s not only a cognitive enhancer, it also helps take the edge off of all of the stimulants by inducing a slightly calming effect that goes well with high-stim products like this one.

          Finally, for mood support, dendrobium has been added.

          The biggest question is the dosing – this is a proprietary blend, so we don’t know what we’re getting in terms of the mood and focus enhancers, but at two capsules, things really start cooking. 3 capsules is for advanced users only – per Magnum, you shouldn’t exceed more than three in a day.

          Magnum Rocket Science Best Prices and Info Links
          Magnum Rocket Science

          We love the caffeine / dicaffeine malate combo. Longer, smoother, crash-free buzz!

        3. ALR Industries Viper Hyperdrive
          Viper Hyperdrive

          There are many versions of Viper Hyperdrive – this one relies mostly on acacia alkaloids and not 1,3 or ephedra (for more intensity, see Viper Hyperdrive 5.0+)

          ALR Industries, a subsidiary of Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals, has been running the Hyperdrive series for a decade, if not longer, and is now in the fifth generation. In Viper Hyperdrive, you get one of the strongest DMAA-free capsule formulas on the market.

          It all starts with a solid dose of the popular acacia rigidula alkaloids, which yield all kinds of fast-acting PEA alkaloids — the energy and mood enhancement from them is intense!

          Those are then followed by synephrine, which is a relative of ephedrine and helps to activate your “flight or fight” adrenaline system, energy-smoothing theobromine, mood-enhancing 5-HTP, and a dash of yohimbine HCl for good measure.

          With 150mg caffeine per capsule, one cap is normally all it takes, but serious users can get quite a lot of stimulation out of two capsules.

          This is a clear choice for dieters (as is nearly everything from the Hi-Tech Pharma family), but you definitely don’t need to be a dieter to enjoy the mood enhancement you’ll get from Viper Hyperdrive!

          Viper Hyperdrive Best Prices and Info Links
          ALR Viper Hyperdrive Ingredients

          ALR Viper Hyperdrive Ingredients – This is the version free of 1,3 or ephedra. If you want even more intensity, see the Viper Hyperdrive 5.0+ link above!

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    • Best RTD (Ready-to-Drink) Pre Workout Bottles

      The honest truth is that none of these are “good deals” compared to the powders and pills out there. But when in a pinch or during travel, you can’t beat having one around or in the car.

      1. Pro Supps Mr. Hyde RTD
        Mr. Hyde RTD

        ProSupps Mr. Hyde RTD

        The great part about ProSupps’ Mr. Hyde RTD is that it is 100% open formula – you know exactly what you’re getting here, and that’s ultimately why it’s our #1 RTD.

        What might come as bad news (but maybe not) is that it’s blasted with a total of 419mg of caffeine in the bottle, just like the powdered version of Mr. Hyde!

        This means that we’d literally only drink half of it or so. The cool part is that 69mg of that is with dicaffeine malate, and 50mg is caffeine citrate, both of which take a bit longer to kick in. Either way, it’s going to kick strong and hard.

        So if you’re a responsible stimulant-junkie, this one might be your choice since you know how to dose it. And at a full bottle, you’ll also get a near-clinical-dose of beta alanine (2.5g).

        While there’s only 1g of creatine, that’s 1g more than any of the other products listed in this section, so it gets you ⅓ of the way to your creatine goals for the day.

        Any pumps? More than the competition…

        In terms of pumps, it’s basically going to come down to 500mg of agmatine sulfate, the ingredient that keeps nitric oxide around longer. There’s also 500mg L-Citruline Aspartate 1:1, meaning 250mg L-Citrulline. Not sure if you’ll be feeling that at all, since it usually takes us at least 1.5g of it to start feeling the pump. We won’t complain though, this is more pump and ergogenics than the other products.

        The energy is smoothed out by Picamilon and Hordenine, then augmented further by adrenaline-boosting N-Methyl Tyramine.

        Aggressive yohimbe blend?

        The one thing to watch out for is the 2mg yohimbe bark extract coupled with 2mg rauwolscine – these are more aggressive ingredients, and while they’re dosed small, they still might affect a few people who are yohimbe-sensitive.

        Overall, this is as close as we’ll currently come to a “real” pre workout supplement and less of an energy drink, but just like powdered Mr. Hyde, if you can’t handle all of that caffeine, you’re going to need to be smart about drinking ½ to ¾ bottle.

        Mr. Hyde RTD Deal and Information Links
        • Click Here to go to our lowest price (includes coupons)
        • Read more on our Mr. Hyde RTD page and get deal alerts with PricePlow

        Mr. Hyde RTD Ingredients

        Without a doubt the best RTD formula. Open and pretty well-loaded, considering the circumstances!

      2. VPX Redline Xtreme RTD
        VPX Redline Xtreme

        Redline Xtreme has an RTD version (here) and even a shot version. We choose the RTD!

        Leave it to VPX and their insanely popular Redline family to have the best-in-class pre workout RTD. Redline Xtreme comes in both RTD and “Shot” forms – we’re talking about the RTD here.

        The bottles are almost completely proprietary blends, which we’re not fans of, but the ingredients inside stand out amongst the competition. You’re led off with endurance-boosting beta alanine, and then an undisclosed amount of caffeine. It’s suggested that you drink half a bottle to assess dose.

        You’ll get great focus and mood support from the N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine, sulbutiamine, and vinpocetine, mixed with hordenine and 5-HTP and even some St. John’s Wort. These are some ingredients rarely used together and definitely not in many pre workouts, so if you’re looking for a mood kick, you have to try this!

        There’s also an extra blast of energy from some N-Methyl Tyramine and yohimbine HCl.

        The entire Redline family always brings strong, powerful products, but this might just be our favorite one because it’s so different from anything else out there. It feels good – so long as you don’t drink too much!

        Redline Xtreme RTD Prices and Links to Know
        VPX Redline Xtreme RTD Ingredients

        Note that each serving of Redline Xtreme RTD is half a bottle!

      3. VPX Bang
        VPX Bang

        Best energy drink ever! But how good is it for workouts?

        Following the ever-popular Redline family is the even more popular Bang family! This is easily our favorite energy drink ever, especially if you watch CJ on our YouTube Channel!

        The question is, is it really that great for workouts?

        It’s not specifically a pre workout drink, but there’s so many people using these for workouts, that it’s clearly doing something right!

        So if you just want some energy that’s absolutely delicious and will get you going, then it’s all about the VPX bang. Just note that the other drinks on this list provide a few more actual ingredients for hte workouts themselves.

        We often see crazy price drops on Speed Stack, so sign up for deals below:

        VPX Bang Deals
        • Click Here to go to our lowest price (includes coupons)
        • Compare all prices on our VPX Bang page and get price alerts with PricePlow

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  • Stimulant Free

    Welcome to the stim-free section. Normally we’re looking for serious pumps here, but some products also add great focus, so keep your eyes peeled.

    Next question:

    Question 2b:  Do you want powder or pills?

    The pills section all target pumps or muscle-building, but there are some focus-based options in the powder section.

    • Stimulant-Free Pre Workout Powder

      No doubt, this is one of the most fun areas of this page. Where else can you get pumped to the gills without worry of getting over-stimmed?

      Last question – choose what’s most important to you:

      Question 3b:  Do you most want Pumps, Focus, or Value?

      Most will choose pumps, but also see what’s cooking in the other two sections, since there’s some very interesting products and a few great deals there.

      The value area also contains some pre workout additives that are unflavored, and you can easily add them to your existing energy-based pre workout or energy drink for extra-powered workouts.

      • Stimulant-Free Pre Workout Pump Powders
        1. PES High Volume
          PES High Volume

          Loaded loaded loaded!

          When we first looked at the label for High Volume, we simply laughed out loud. This has basically every last thing we could want in a stim-free pump pre workout supplement, and then some!

          The first thing to note is that there are 36 scoops, but 18 servings per container. You can easily get away with 1 scoop, but 1.5 scoops is where we normally hang out (two scoops for special occasion arm days, though).

          Each full serving has a ridiculous 4g of L-Citrulline, more than the clinical dose, 2g of arginine nitrate – our favorite form of nitric-oxide boosting nitrate – and a full 1g of agmatine sulfate. That’s 7g of pump ingredients – and we’re not talking about citrulline malate in there either – it’s straight up citrulline.

          This alone is fantastic – you get additional nitric oxide from three pathways! They’re supported by a solid 250mg vitamin C too.

          But on top of that come the water pumps and strength boosters! The water pump is a mix of taurine and HydroMax glycerol, which front-load a 3.75g proprietary blend.

          To top it off, Amentoflavone has been added, and this may work as a serious strength booster as well as mood enhancer.

          Make no mistake, High Volume lives up to its name – this stuff is the real deal and will have you swollen in no time. It’s almost not even fair.

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          PES High Volume Ingredients

          The New PES High Volume Label is out, and it looks KILLER!

        2. Sparta Nutrition Kraken Pump
          Sparta Nutrition Kraken Pump

          Sparta Nutrition is releasing the pumps with the release of its stimulant-free pre workout supplement, Kraken Pump.

          It’s once again time to Release the Kraken!

          Sparta Nutrition took the industry by storm in 2017 with their hit energy-based pre workout, Kraken. It was only a matter of time before they put together a fantastic stim-free pump supplement too, aptly named Kraken Pump.

          You get your choice of 20 or 40 servings, but the sweet spot between value and effectiveness is probably right around 1.5 scoops.

          In each scoop (you get 40 of them), your nitric oxide enhancers will come from 3g L-citrulline, 750mg Nitrosigine (arginine inositol silicate), and 500mg beet root extract which should add some nitrates.

          On top of that, they’ve also added 1g HydroMax for the water-based pumps, so take it down with plenty of fluids.

          Things will really get interesting at 1.5 scoops, but if it’s an epic arm day, you’ll want to dust off the two-scooper and get after it.

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          Sparta Nutrition Kraken Pump Ingredients

          Kraken Pump is extremely well dosed at one scoop, but going full bore with 2 scoops is what the arm days of legend are made of.

        3. Performax Labs VasoMAX
          Performax Labs VasoMax

          Performax Labs continues their re-branding effort by opening up the formula for VasoMax and including an industry-first ingredient in GlycerPump

          If you’re looking for something new and different, then Performax Labs is where you need to be. They rebranded in the fall of 2017, and did it in proper fashion.

          We love the upgraded HyperMax, but on the stim-free side, VasoMax is where you really get some interesting ingredients.

          For instance, we have 3g of a new glycerol powder named GlycerPump, which has 65% glycerol by weight. Then there’s an ingredient named GSNO, which is S-Nitrosoglutathione, an ingredient that’s a mediator of nitric oxide in the body.

          On top of that is 810mg of potassium nitrate, which will provide a sick and long-lasting pump.

          This is also one of our favorite focus-based stim-free pre workotus, with 300mg alpha GPC, 25mg of the mood-enhancing sceletium tortuosum, and 100mcg Huperzine A, which should add some pop to your workout plan.

          Don’t snooze Performax Labs – in an era of me-too supplements, they are definitely doing it different.

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          Performax Labs VasoMax Ingredients

          VasoMax keeps all of the stellar features from the original formula, but now you know exactly what you’re getting in each and every scoop.

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      • Stimulant-Free Focus Powders

        This is a relatively thin category, but the few products out there are definitely well-formulated:

        1. RedCon1 BIG NOISE
          RedCon1 Big Noise

          Big Noise is the perfect stim-free complement to Total War that amps up focus AND pumps!

          A newcomer to the field in late 2016, RedCon1 is a brand that’s doing things differently. Standing for the “Ultimate State of Readiness”, RedCon1 is a Special Forces themed brand that is big on focus.

          And with their stim-free pre workout, BIG NOISE, they bring the focus in spaces, using not only 300mg Alpha GPC, but also 250mg citicoline! These are the two best forms of choline, and when other brands are arguing over which one is best, RedCon1 decides to use BOTH of them!

          On top of that, you get a feel-good 200mg rhodiola rosea extract, and a large 200mcg of Huperzine A as well. Even one of the pump ingredients, agmatine sulfate, increases neurotransmitter activity!!

          That’s not all, as there’s also glycerol for pumps (drink plenty of water), and betaine anhydrous which aids in muscle growth but gives a pump in its own right.

          Without a doubt, this is the best-feeling stim-free pre workout supplement on the market right now. If you’re a focus junkie but don’t want the stims, you gotta try the BIG NOISE!

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          RedCon1 Big Noise Ingredients

          Big Noise is very different from your typical stim free pump product. Big Noise brings the pumps, but also a HUGE helping of strength and focus boosting ingredients.

        2. Performax Labs VasoMAX
          Performax Labs VasoMax

          Performax Labs continues their re-branding effort by opening up the formula for VasoMax, and now there’s focus ingredients!

          When Performax Labs rebranded in the fall of 2017, they put everyone on notice. HyperMax is their amazing stim-based pre workout nearly guaranteed to put you in the mood for ferocious lifts.

          But on the stim-free side, VasoMax was put together with some unique pump and focus powers.

          To get you focused, you’ll have 300mg alpha GPC, 25mg of the mood-enhancing sceletium tortuosum, and 100mcg Huperzine A, which should add some pop.

          For pumps, you’ll see some new ingredients, including GlycerPump (65% glycerol powder) and GSNO, which is S-Nitrosoglutathione, an ingredient that’s a mediator of nitric oxide in the body.

          Performax Labs is a brand to keep an eye on, and if you’re not into the stims and HyperMax, you should consider the stim-free side with VasoMax!

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          Performax Labs VasoMax Ingredients

          VasoMax keeps all of the stellar features from the original formula, but now you know exactly what you’re getting in each and every scoop.

        3. The Genius Brand Genius Pre
          Genius Pre

          Genius Pre is a clinically dosed, stimulant free pre workout that enhances cognitive function but won’t leave you feeling bottomed out from a rush of caffeine.

          The Genius Brand has been taking the web by storm, and for good reason – insanely unique formulas!

          They opted to go stimulant-free on their pre workout supplement, but true to their name, they dove into focus-enhancing ingredients, on top of the typical pump and endurance boosters seen in other pre-workouts.

          Those focus boosters come with an epic combination of 1g L-Tyrosine + 300mg Alpha GPC (from 600mg AlphaSize), topped off by 100mcg of Huperzine A.

          For gains, you have 2g betaine (just short of the 2.5g clinical dose we like best), and 150mg ElevATP may help with strength as well.

          Finally, on the pump side, 4g of citrulline will come from 6g of 2:1 citrulline malate.

          This makes Genius Pre basically a regular pre workout, but without caffeine, and it’s also a natural colored, naturally sweetened option too.

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          Genius Pre Ingredients

          Genius packs a punch in terms of nootropics and ergogenics without the worry of being over stimmed.

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      • Stimulant-Free Pre Workout Powder DEALS

        First off, you can check out our popular Supplement Deals page, but we unfortunately don’t usually see any epic deals on pre workout powders.

        So with that said, here’s our list of best general values:

        1. 360CUT 360PUMP
          360PUMP is the newest pre workout formula from 360CUT Supplements designed to stack perfectly with any pre to increase pumps and endurance!

          360PUMP is the newest pre workout formula from 360CUT Supplements designed to stack perfectly with any pre to increase pumps and endurance!

          In late 2015, 360CUT announced 360PUMP, which is a pre workout additive that you add to your existing pre workout supplement, energy drink, or other flavored beverage.

          It’s unflavored and color-free, which allows it to remain extremely low-cost. If you’re adding it to a pre workout, you probably only need one scoop, but can go with two scoops if you want to have a field day.

          There are four ingredients in this simple formula:

          • 1.5g HydroMax Glycerol
          • 500mg Agmatine Sulfate
          • 100mg L-Norvaline
          • 125mg Vitamin C

          This makes it the perfect addition to several of those cheap, high-energy pre workout supplements that sometimes only come with a dash of agmatine or citrulline.

          The HydroMax brings the water and cell hydration pumps to your muscles, while the agmatine keeps nitric oxide around longer.

          L-Norvaline indirectly boosts NO production by preventing the breakdown of arginine, and we like it here because it’s not included in most pre workouts, so you’ll get additional benefits with nearly anything you stack this with.

          We’re very excited about the upcoming line-up at 360CUT, so sign up for their alerts below and stay tuned to what they’re up to:

          360PUMP Best Prices and Info Links
          360PUMP has a simple, straightforward, transparently dosed, formula that will deliver some strong pumps and better endurance.

          360PUMP has a simple, straightforward, transparently dosed, formula that will deliver some strong pumps and better endurance.

        2. Controlled Labs White Pipes
          Controlled Labs White Pipes

          White Pipes replaces White Pump as Controlled Labs non-stim pump enhancing pre workout option. Also a great addition to White Rapids.

          There’s a decent chance that this is going to be enough for you at one scoop:

          • 3g Citrulline Malate
          • 1g HydroMax Glycerol
          • 1g Taurine
          • 500mg Agmatine Sulfate

          Each individual ingredient works best at two scoops, but together, one might just be enough. And in that case, you’re looking quite a bit of value considering what we’re seeing in the price comparisons below:

          Controlled Labs White Pipes Price Links
          • Click Here to go to our lowest price (includes coupons)
          Controlled Labs White Pipes Ingredients

          White Pipes uses a combination of ingredients that not only enhances pumps in a variety of ways, but also increases your endurance and focus.

        3. MTS Nutrition Vasky
          MTS Nutrition Vasky

          MTS Vasky is here, it’s cheap, and it’s effective!

          Much like 360 PUMP, Vasky is Marc Lobliner’s flavorless stimulant-free pre workout supplement that combines a large 3g of taurine with 2g HydroMax for the famed water muscle pumps.

          On top of that is 1.5g of Nitrosigine arginine silicate, a nitric oxide booster that’s gaining more and more steam lately.

          In terms of value, however, this is still on the pricey side, so you can either use a bit less or stick with 360PUMP up above.

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          MTS Nutrition Vasky Ingredients

          Vasky’s ingredient label is short and straight to the point, packing big doses of proven ingredients.

        4. Bulk Agmatine or Citrulline

          Have you ever just taken 1-1.5g of agmatine sulfate? Sometimes, that’s all you need for a serious stim-free pump. The feeling we get from high-dose agmatine is that of the “skin-splitting” pumps that are so often advertised in pre workouts. Agmatine is a “sharper” pump for us, and works extremely well if we stretch our joints first.

          It’s typically available for 50 cents per gram, so if you like the feeling of an agmatine pump, you can get a solid blast in for well under a dollar.

          Citrulline, on the other hand, will induce a great nitric oxide pump. You can either go with 4-6g of citrulline malate (which tastes far better) or 2-3g of straight l-citrulline (which tastes quite bad).

          Both of these, at full dose, will also leave you with roughly 50 cents per workout, and can be added into any flavored beverage, included a low cost energy pre workout off of our supplement deals page.

          Since the taste isn’t always that great, you can stick with capsules too, but this is the powder section and powders are far better values.

          Build Your Own Stim-Free Pre Workout:
          PricePlow Links to Use

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    • Stimulant-Free Pre Workout Pills

      First, be warned: stimulant-free pre workout “nitric oxide pills” are where the most scamming is going on throughout the Internet.

      Being the stubborn mules at PricePlow, we stay away from all of the money-grubbing scammers, and have four fantastic products from four highly-trusted brands.

      1. Magnum Nutraceuticals Volume
        Magnum Volume

        Magnum’s capsule-based stimulant free pre workout, VOLUME, will enhance nitric oxide production and pumps with multiple methods.

        Magnum Nutraceuticals, who has their LIMITLESS pre workout supplement on our stimulant-based top 10, also has a lesser-known nitric oxide pill known as VOLUME. Like all of their other products, this one is quite unique, and hits multiple pathways.

        They use the more stable form of arginine, arginine pyroglutamate, and pair it with a solid dose of citrulline malate to enhance nitric oxide production and increase blood flow.

        But then, in order to get the nitrate effect for monstrous vasodilation and endurance, they’ve added a large amount of beet root extract, which provides the nitrates. Normally we see about half this dose.

        Then they top it off with 500mg worth of agmatine sulfate, which is decent on its own, but will keep the NO from arginine/citrulline around longer – so it’s best combined with those!

        Supporting ingredients of french pine bark extract and L-norvaline round it out, where these ingredients support circulating blood flow and reduce arginase, so your arginine and nitric oxide levels stay high.

        Knockout formula with literally EVERYTHING we love, and that’s why it’s tops here.

        Magnum VOLUME Prices and Info Links
        • Click Here to go to our lowest price (includes coupons)
        • Read more on our Magnum Volume page and get price alerts with PricePlow
        Magnum's newest supplement is a capsule-based stimulant free pre workout titled Volume that will enhance nitric oxide production and pumps.

        Volume uses an interesting mix of Nitric Oxide boosters and extenders to give you a comprehensive approach to better N.O. production and bigger, badder pumps.

      2. Condemned Labz DNA Dispatch
        Condemned Labz DNA Dispatch

        Condemned Labz has created a novel non-stimulant pre workout add-on in DNA Dispatch that enhances oxygen delivery and nitric oxide production for better performance.

        Looking for something way different and unique?

        Well if you’re willing to take down six capsules, you’re going to get it!

        The idea behind DNA Dispatch is an improved “hemoglobin transport” system. Using PeakO2 Cordyceps extract, the hope is that you’ll have better oxygen utilization, and this is definitely what’s happened with us on other PeakO2 supps.

        But the pumps are there as well, with a whole smattering of ingredients, including a gram of agmatine sulfate (where we start feeling it), the underrated form of L-Carnitine in Glycine Propionyl L-Carnitine (GPLC), and beet root powder for nitrates.

        The “supporting” ingredients are L-Norvaline and Grape Seed Extract, two that are often paired together, but usually often in slightly smaller doses… so this is great news from Condemned!

        Meanwhile, CoQ10 is a welcome addition to anyone who’s ever researched it, and the vanadyl sulfate may help you drive more carbs into your muscle tissue as well.

        Overall, a very unique take on the “nitric oxide pill”, but this one’s really an oxygen + nitric oxide pill!

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        Condemned Labz DNA Dispatch Ingredients

        DNA Dispatch uses a mix of nitric oxide boosters, vasodilators, and cardiovascular support ingredients to enhance oxygen and nutrient delivery to your muscles.

      3. Cellucor NO3 Chrome
        Cellucor NO3 Chrome

        NO3 Chrome: Hugely underrated!

        Cellucor takes a straight nitric oxide approach with their popular NO3 Chrome, and while it’s a bit more expensive per serving, it’s seriously one of their best products.

        Another nitrate-based product, you get 1.25g of arginine nitrate in three capsules. This ingredient plays a double effect, as arginine helps lengthen the nitrate effect, and can potentially boost nitric oxide on its own as well.

        As if that weren’t enough, there’s a 750mg proprietary blend of Nitrosigine arginine silicate, citrulline malate, and grape seed extract – all which further boost nitric oxide levels to induce a sick pump.

        Over the years, the most hardcore users have slowly moved away from C4 Extreme, but they shouldn’t overlook NO3 Chrome – Cellucor has done well by keeping it strong and powerful.

        NO3 Chrome Links to Know
        • Click Here to go to our lowest price (includes coupons)
        • Read more on our NO3 Chrome page and get price alerts with PricePlow
        NO3 Chrome Ingredients

        The latest NO3 Chrome Ingredients, as of December 2014

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Our Top 10 Pre Workout Supplements List

APS Mesomorph

Still best of the exotic stims!

Due to the massive flux that the sports nutrition market is in, PricePlow’s top ten pre workout supplement list is now split into three areas:

  1. Pre workouts without next-generation stimulants
  2. The DMAA area. We’ve covered the Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals DMAA lawsuit against the FDA in detail on this blog, but as we write this, Hi-Tech cannot produce or sell it, so it’s on its way out.

  3. Pre workouts with “exotic stimulants” (like DMHA and Eria Jarensis extract)

What do I choose?

NutraBio PRE Extreme

Top of the non-exotics!

If you’re a beginner, a drug-tested athlete, are a conservative supplement user, or have a lower stimulant tolerance, choose the the without next-level stimulants. Note that these products still could have high caffeine doses or other banned substances, so check the labels!

If you’re an advanced supplement user, are not drug tested, and are looking for that next level, consider the pre workouts with “exotic stimulants” or those with DMAA still on the market.

How do you want your top 10?

Reminder: PricePlow has received free samples of nearly all products mentioned on this page, including several competitors not listed. Using a team-based approach, we judge each product on merits of value, efficacy, labeling disclosure, and quality, and our opinions are never swayed by free samples.

  • The Best Remaining DMAA Pre Workouts

    We have no clue how long these will be around, so for now, they get their own area:

    1. 6. Jack’d Up

      Jack'd Up

      Miss Jack3d? Hi-Tech is simultaneously bringing it back to consumers and suing the FDA in the process. Hold on to your hats…

      Jack’d Up was one of the original re-releases Hi-Tech Pharma put out when they sued the FDA over DMAA.

      It was meant to be a Jack3d clone, but honestly doesn’t have as much “pop” as the original versions of DMAA-based Jack3d. When they disclosed the doses in each scoop, we can now see why:

      • DMAA: 25mg

      • Caffeine: 100mg

      • Beta Alanine: 1.3g

      • Creatine: 2g

      This is a great starter DMAA supplement, but the reason it doesn’t have as much pop as the original Jack3d is because the original Jack3d versions turned out to have a lot more DMAA than 25mg – one study showed 142mg!

      But either way, if you two-scoop it, you should have quite a nice workout, and get your day’s supply of creatine in while at it!

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      Jack'd Up Formula Disclosed!

      Hi-Tech has finally allowed us to disclose the Jack’d Up formula – at least the most important stuff we care about!

    2. 5. Hi-Tech Pharma Off the Chain

      Hi-Tech Off the Chain

      Off the Chain is a brand new energy amino supplement from Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals that combines aminos with caffeine AND a nice little dose of 20mg DMAA!

      This is a unique selection on this list because technically, it’s not a true “pre workout supplement” — it’s actually an “energy aminos” product — basically a BCAA supplement with some energy. And on paper, Jack’d Up is better.

      But for whatever, reason, this stuff is hitting us better and simply has a more enjoyable feel.

      The secret is that alongside its 100mg caffeine (standard for the energy-aminos category), it has 20mg DMAA — the perfect amount! If you’re a first-time DMAA user, this is easily our recommendation to help get your feet wet.

      What it’s made us realize is that we don’t need a ton of the ingredient to get going – just enough to provide the extra energy, focus, endurance, and overall pop that it provides.

      If it’s been a while since you’ve used DMAA, note that our #1 pre workout on this list, APS Mesomorph, has far more punch at 65mg DMAA.

      We thank Hi-Tech for disclosing the doses so we know how much we can handle. Definitely worth signing up for price drop alerts:

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      Off the Chain Ingredients

      Off the Chain’s Ingredients – This is the version with DMAA. It includes 100mg of caffeine and 20mg of DMAA per scoop.

      Our Off the Chain Review
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    3. 4. Prime Nutrition PWO-Max

      Prime Nutrition PWO-MAX 2016

      Prime Nutrition is returning to greatness with Hi-Tech’s manufacturing at the helm and it’s first re-release is a charged up version of its pre workout PWO-MAX.

      When Jared Wheat bought shares of Prime Nutrition, he brought with it Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals and his battle for DMAA.

      They reintroduced their pre workout, PWO-MAX, with a total of 200mg caffeine yet 75mg DMAA.

      The caffeine comes from two different forms – 100mg straight caffeine anhydrous, and 100mg caffeine coming from 200mg caffeine citrate (which is a 50/50 blend). This gives you a longer-lasting, more sustained caffeine, and will work best for those who want the lowest caffeine-to-DMAA ratio on this list.

      The pumps are powered by sodium nitrate, which may help to negate any increase in blood pressure that 75mg DMAA may provide.

      In addition, this is the option you’ll want if you want no artificial colors, sweeteners, or flavors!

      Prime Nutrition PWO-Max - Deals and Price Drop Alerts

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      Prime Nutrition PWO-MAX 2016 Ingredients

      The 2016 version of PWO-MAX has been considerably upgraded from its predecessor and now boasts a powerful 75mg of DMAA along with 2 forms of caffeine!

    4. 3. Innovative Labs WICKED

      Innovative Labs Wicked

      DMAA is back with a vengeance in Wicked from Innovative Labs. 70mg DMAA + 300mg Caffeine will give you ALL the energy you can stand!

      Here we go! If APS Mesomorph doesn’t enough energy for you, then it could be time to take it up another notch with Innovative Labs WICKED:

      Here there’s 70mg DMAA in a full two-scoop serving, paired with 300mg caffeine!

      This is about as much as you’re ever going to need (unless it’s definitely time for a stimulant break). But on top of that, there’s some fancy new pump ingredients.

      These are two silica-based pump supplements — ingredients bound to silica have often better absorption. With Wicked, we have citrulline silicate as well as agmatine silicate, and that’s on top of nitrate-bound creatine, which will also yield pumps.

      The label is pretty wild, and it also includes rauwolscine (alpha-yohimbine), so check it on out below:

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      Innovative Labs Wicked Ingredients

      If you’re interested in pumps, energy, and focus, you’ve come to the right place!

    5. 2. Blackstone Labs Dust Extreme

      Blackstone Labs Dust Extreme 2017 DMAA Version

      DMAA is BACK in Dust Extreme from Blackstone Labs, restoring it to its former glory.

      Similar story as above, except this time Jared Wheat invested in PJ Braun’s Blackstone Labs.

      For a short amount of time, this product was switched over to DMHA, but the epic pre workout from PJ and the crew went back to their DMAA setup, and some of that is still around to be snagged up.

      The energy blend has 350mg caffeine, 75mg DMAA, and 75mg higenamine, which is no joke on any of those doses. In fact, this one is even higher energy than Mesomorph next, if you can handle it!

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      Blackstone Labs Dust Extreme 2017 DMAA Version Ingredients

      After a brief hiatus with DMHA, Dust Extreme came back to DMAA!

    6. 1. APS Mesomorph

      APS Mesomorph

      Mesomorph from APS Nutrition is a high-energy, focus heavy pre workout that brings DMAA back to the masses! Hang on for the ride!

      Let’s be honest here: Mesomorph is here for one huge reason: it has 65mg DMAA per scoop (the max serving dose). If you know us, we’re still huge fans of DMAA (1,3 dimethylamylamine) when we need an occasional blast of true tunnel-vision focus.

      We’re happy that they’ve allowed us to disclose this dose, as it makes us much more comfortable with the product – we prefer 25-50mg DMAA, so we’re going to be on ½ to ¾ scoop when the time arises.

      This is the “GAME OVER” supplement

      Mesomorph is so absolutely intense, quite frankly… it’s not even fair fight right now entering 2016 2017 (yes, this has stayed up top all year long).

      We don’t recommend Mesomorph for total rookies or stim-sensitive individuals – you need to be ready for next-level stimulants and understand that this is not something to be toyed with. But when you think you’re ready, be prepared to have freakish workouts.

      It’s tough to totally figure out what else is going on in Mesomorph, because there’s a lot of proprietary blending, but we now know there’s a full 3.2g dose of beta alanine and a decent dose of 2:1 Citrulline malate, as they lead two of the three ingredients in a large 6.5g prop blend. Those will go lower if you’re using only ¾ scoop or so like us, but let’s not lie… we’re not here for “skin-splitting vascularity and pumps” that are advertised… we’re here for the energy and focus!

      Clinical doses of beta alanine and creatine!

      Yet over time, we’ve learned that you do get a clinical 3.2g beta alanine dose with Mesomorph, as well as 3g creatine from the blend of creatines! That is, of course, at a full scoop.

      If your tolerance is high enough, rumor has it that at that full scoop, this is “downright insane”, but we’re sticking to our plan and keeping it civil at ¾.

      It’s really pretty simple. Anytime someone asks, “What’s the best pre workout on the market?”, the answer is always “It depends”…. as in, “It depends if you like DMAA. If you do, then it’s undoubtedly MESOMORPH.

      So if you like DMAA like we do, then this is THE pre workout to get you over the hump. Especially now that you know how much DMAA you’re getting, so you can dose it appropriately for your needs. Game over, folks.

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      Mesomorph uses a potent combination of nitric oxide boosters and fatigue fighters alongside the powerful combo of DMAA + Caffeine to supercharge your workouts.

      PS: Get the Rocket Pop Flavor!

      CJ and Amin’s Mesomorph Review

      CJ and Amin loved this stuff – CJ is higher-energy, and went full scoop. After a few more workouts, Amin decided he liked 2/3 to 3/4 scoop range more, like we typically suggest:

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  • Top 10 Pre Workout Supplements with non-DMAA Exotic Stimulants

    With the fate of DMHA in question, many of these pre workouts will shift throughout the beginning of the year, so we’ve thrown in some fun temporary picks. Haters gon hate!

    1. 10. MAN Sports GAME DAY

      Note: This product is discontinued / slated for reformulation, check store labels and subscribe to PricePlow’s alerts and on social media for updates.

      MAN Sports Game Day v2

      True 2-amino-6 inside… until it’s gone!

      Our honorary mention, MAN Sports GAME DAY was one of the first DMHA pre workouts, and in a recent study where six DMHA-based supplements were tested, this was the only one that actually contained true DMHA!

      Because of that study and the scrutiny on the ingredient, many of the products in this section will be removing DMHA in case the FDA targets them, thanks to the fraudulent Chinese raw material suppliers and non-compliant contract manufacturers who ruined it for everyone else.

      MAN Sports is one of them, and this product is no longer even listed on their website.

      But for the meantime, if you can find Game Day with the 2-amino-6-methylheptane ingredient below (this is the one actually found in nature), then you are getting the real deal!

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    2. 9. Clinical Labs Galvanize

      Clinical Labs Galvanize Girl

      All you need is one scoop of Galvanize to get the job done.

      A newcomer to the DMHA scene (just as many are getting out) at the end of 2017, Galvanize brings all the goods, fueled by a total of 279.75mg caffeine (from two different forms) and a serious dose of DMHA (as 2-amino-6-methylheptane).

      Alongside, you’re getting plenty of pumps, focus, and endurance too.

      The pumps are led by 4g citrulline (via 6g 2:1 citrulline malate), with another 1.5 grams of Nitrosigine and a gram of agmatine – a near perfect blend! But on top of that, you’ll have supporting ingredients L-Norvaline.

      We’re still busy testing this pre workout, but it may move higher up the list if it keeps giving CJ amazing workouts, so keep your eyes open!

    3. 8. Condemned Labz Convict Stim

      Condemned Labz Convict Stim

      Jailhouse favorites Condemned Labs isn’t playing any games with its pre workout Convict Stim, which packs an amazing 225mg DMHA per serving!

      Now this pre workout means business!

      If the one above wasn’t enough for you, Convict Stim steps up the DMHA game with 225mg worth, alongside 300mg caffeine!

      But the real head-turner here is the 50mg noopept, a focus enhancer that we normally don’t see dosed over 30mg – so be ready, this one’s for the advanced users!

      Yohimbine lovers are required, though, since there’s 3mg yohimbine HCl – enough to get those who are sensitive to it.

      On top of that yohimbine, there’s some other thermogenic ingredients, including 50mg higenamine and 15mg grains of paradise extract, so you will probably feel some heat here.

      The pump side is just as strong though, with 4g of straight citrulline.

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      Convict Stim Ingredents

      We expect a lot from a product with the word “CONVICT” in it, and we got it! 225mg DMHA to go along with 300mg caffeine and 4g pure L-Cit for solid energy and pumps. Nice.

    4. 7. Inspired Nutraceuticals DVST8 (“White Cut” Version)

      Note: This product is slated for reformulation, check store labels and subscribe to PricePlow’s alerts and on social media for updates.

      During the summer of 2016, Inspired Nutraceuticals was the first brand to mix clinical pump doses with the smooth energy of DMHA in DVST8!

      Pronounced “Devastate”, this pre workout offers quite a contrast to other aggressive pre’s. It’s got a less harsh hit of energy, thanks to DMHA being a bit smoother, and the three-caffeine blend that takes longer to absorb. It really depends on what effect you like, but on a day-to-day basis, it’s tough to beat this supplement in the 2016 batch.

      DVST8

      DVST8 White Cut is a considerable upgrade of Inspired Nutra’s last version of DVST8, and now it has DMHA!

      In each scoop, you’re getting a total of 162.5mg caffeine, but it absorbs slower, so we found that 1.5-2 scoops is our sweet spot. That does put cost into concern, unfortunately, so consider that when checking prices below.

      The caffeine breakdown

      The math works out that you get 100mg straight caffeine anhydrous per serving, with 50mg dicaffeine malate (yields 37.5mg caffeine) plus 50mg caffeine citrate (yields 25mg caffeine). Since those two absorb slower than the straight caffeine anhydrous, so you have more of a slow-roller with this one.

      As such, it takes some work to dial in the preferred dose, but once you get it down, look out!!

      On to the pumps, ergogenics, and endurance

      The pumps come from 4g of L-Citrulline per scoop – so if you got the cash and tolerance to two-scoop this, you’re going to get 2x the clinical dose for proven nitric oxide gains!

      On the muscle-building side, you have 2g of betaine (functions similarly to creatine), which has clinical benefits at 2.5g – easy to get at 1.5 scoops of DVST8.

      No artificial colors, ridiculous flavors

      Then there’s the colors: there are none! It mixes clear/white, so don’t worry about any Blue #1 allergies or whatever nonsense fake colors may cause.

      The taste is next-level too: our favorite is California Gold, but if you like a strong Blueberry flavor, then check out Pacific Crush! California Gold has a mango type of flavor, and Inspired Nutra did a fantastic job in covering up L-Citrulline, which is tough. This flavor is so good that you might need to grab their California Gold flavored BCAA too.

      Welcome back to the Top 10 list, Inspired Nutraceuticals. Get ready to get devastated with this bad boy. The biggest issue? The price per workout:

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      Our DVST8 White Cut Review
      Inspired Nutraceuticals DVST8 White Cut Ingredients

      White Cut is a HUGE step up in intensity from its predecessor, somehow we didn’t think that was even possible.

    5. 6. InnovaPharm LIMITLESS

      InnovaPharm Limitless

      Need Focus for a Bit and you’ve never tried phenylpiracetam? Then get in here!

      Need insane amounts of focus for a couple key workouts per week? Then you’ve found your product right here.

      Let’s be real here – this pre workout is nearly cheating. The aptly-named LIMITLESS contains a nootropic known as phenylpiracetam, which isn’t necessarily a “supplement”, but it works like crazy.

      Phenylpiracetam is a combination of PEA and piracetam, and it gives a solid motivating pop to the non-stimulating focus that you’d get from piracetam.

      On top of that, you get a proprietary blend of N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine as well as some CDP-Choline, but the driving force stimulant is 2-Amino-6-Methylheptane, or DMHA.

      For pumps, you get a solid dose of 4g citrulline malate combined with a gram of agmatine, so the product leans more towards focus, but isn’t completely empty on the pump side. There are no ergogenics like creatine or betaine.

      The drawback: Adaptation to the Phenyl

      The issue is that phenylpiracetam loses its effectiveness when used every day – most users gain tolerance to it quickly. So this is a great product to have around if you need to get out of a “focus funk” or use 1-2x/week, but it’s not going to be your day-in, day-out pre workout for months on end.

      But if you’ve never tried phenylpiracetam, then hold on to your hat, because this is a fun one and it brings no anxiety or jitters.

      InnovaPharm Limitless - Deals and Price Drop Alerts

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      InnovaPharm LIMITLESS Ingredients

      Limitless includes a partially transparent label that hides its neural-stim complex but fully discloses the nitric oxide boosting complex.

    6. 5. Outbreak Nutrition Pathogen

      The zombie apocalypse is upon us, and there’s only one brand that can save you now — Outbreak Nutrition!

      If you’re tired of the same old fitness supplement brand marketing, then take a look at these guys. This is a brand literally marketed towards an “end of the world” type situation, where they’ve drawn up their own alternate storyline. And they have some aggressive supplements.

      CJ’s had several face-melting workouts with OUTBREAK, and it’s because there’s a stim-blend full of 350mg caffeine, 100mg Juglans Regia (a form of “DMHA” likely targeting 2-amino-5-methylheptane), and 125mg Teacrine.

      It’s strong, and it has a full dose of beta alanine (3.2g) so you’ll probably get the tingles too.

      And to make matters better, there’s also 500mg choline bitartrate in there – not too bad.

      On the pump side, 5g of 2:1 citrulline malate means you’ll get 3.33g L-citrulline, next to 1g of agmatine – nothing insane by today’s standards (unlike the stim blend), but nothing weak either.

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    7. 4. Performax Labs HyperMax

      Note: Our top-rated *non-DMHA* supplement on this list! When the other DMHA supplements are gone, this one will be left standing.

      HyperMax

      The newest version of HyperMax is a huge upgrade from its predecessor and Performax has made it bigger, badder, and better than ever!

      Looking for an in-your-face, fast-acting energy supplement that will motivate you into a great mood? But still need it balanced with energy and pumps? Then HyperMax is for you.

      Every use of HyperMax is just flat-out fun. The two-PEA ingredient blend hits heavy, fast, and hard — so much that we cannot recommend a full scoop to most people.

      Two PEA blend hits quickly but doesn’t let up

      The key is the Eria Jarensis extract, often standardized for N-Phenyldimethylamine. This was 2015’s popular non-DMAA stimulant, and we think Performax nailed the dose by front-loading it with some regular PEA so that you get two shots to the dome – once the standard PEA wears off, the eria and caffeine are ready to rock.

      Every scoop has 325mg caffeine – but many of us can easily make ~35 workouts out of this 25 serving tub if you want to go lighter.

      What’s awesome is that the blend makes for incredible mood support too – so if you haven’t been feeling the flow lately, and need something to kick you in the head, HyperMax is here for you.

      Meanwhile, 6g of L-Citrulline and a full gram of agmatine brings pumps that simply don’t mess around!

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      Performax HyperMax Ingredients

      The latest edition of HyperMax has the biggest dose yet of Eria Jarensis that you’ve seen in a supplement. Hold on to your horses everyone! It’s going to be a wild ride!

    8. 3. RedCon1 Total War

      Note: This product is slated for reformulation, check store labels and subscribe to PricePlow’s alerts and on social media for updates.

      RedCon1 was easily the coolest and best-branded launch of 2016, and there’s no sign of stopping. Total War is the DMHA-based pre workout supplement from the Special Forces styled brand, and it’s got a great blend of stimulants and pump.

      RedCon1 Total War

      Declare TOTAL WAR on the Weights. We love this pre workout. One and done scooper!

      First, each scoop has 250mg caffeine – right up our alley.

      Then, the one-two primary stim punch comes from 125mg N-Phenyl Dimethylamine (which is the PEA found in eria jarensis extract) alongside 100mg DMHA — this combo brings a quick mood-enhancing PEA punch plus the longer-lasting euphoric buzz of DMHA.

      Then the supporting stimulants of Theobromine, Higenamine, and a dash of Rauwolscine come up and finish the job.

      Well-Dosed Pumps in one scoop

      6g of citrulline malate, 1g agmatine, and 1g taurine provide the pumps. With that taurine, you’ll want to drink enough water to get the water-based pump.

      No artificial colors!

      One that that we’re loving about the entire RedCon1 line is that there are no artificial colors, so you don’t have to worry about your teeth (and insides) turning colors. This has been a trend we’ve enjoyed.

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      RedCon1 Total War Ingredients

      Total War contains complete doses of powerful ergogenics like CItrulline Malate, Beta Alanine, and Agamatine for a true performance-enhancing pre workout experience.

    9. 2. Sparta Nutrition KRAKEN

      Note: This product is slated for reformulation, check store labels and subscribe to PricePlow’s alerts and on social media for updates.

      WOW! Normally we post a picture of the bottle first, but this time, you need to just look at the label first:

      Sparta Nutrition Kraken Ingredients

      Kraken is LOADED with all the right pump ingredients and a robust energy blend that’ll have you feeling amped up and really good!

      So here’s what you’re getting: an absolutely LOADED pre workout that has only 200mg caffeine yet higher doses of DMHA and Eria Jarensis extract than we’ve ever seen. The feeling is quite unreal – and nearly everyone gets an amazing mood boost from it.

      If you’re the kind of person who likes these cool stims, but don’t want them with 300mg caffeine, this could be your product.

      Kraken Review

      The PricePlow team offer their thoughts on the hot new pre workout Kraken from Sparta Nutrition. It delivers all it promises and then some!

      On the pump side of things, you’ll have a full 4g dose of L-Citrulline, the HydroMax + Taurine water pump combination (both dosed well!), a full gram of agmatine, and even L-Norvaline.

      That is insane – yesterday’s pre workouts had maybe 1/5 the amount of pump as Kraken. Your arms will literally be ruined.

      The flavors are also interesting, with Sour Gummy Bears and Sex on the Beach, but the high doses of Hydromax definitely have it a bit chalky, but it’s light and sweet.

      Worthy of the #2 spot, but held back on value

      So why isn’t this our #2 or #1 product? Cost. This is PricePlow, and while it’s providing better pumps and more ingredients than the next pre workout, it’s a bit pricey and not as amazing of a value – and it’s not a great “half-scooper” because then you’re down to 100mg caffeine.

      End of story — if you like the 200mg caffeine idea and have budget, this is a must-try product in 2017. And if you don’t have the budget, then find a way to make room one month, you will NOT regret it!

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    10. 1. CT Fletcher’s Iron Addicts Sidewalk Kraka

      Note: This product is slated for reformulation, check store labels and subscribe to PricePlow’s alerts and on social media for updates.

      Iron Addicts Sidewalk Kraka

      Sidewalk Kraka is the DMHA and Eria Jarenesis fueled Pre Workout for CT Fletcher’s Iron Addicts Brand.

      YES! That’s damn right, the best DMHA pre workout is none other than CT Fletcher’s Sidewalk Kraka!

      There is just something magical about this energy blend. It just pops.

      Unfortunately, there’s bad news to go along with it – CT needs a heart transplant, and he’s gone vegan… so we encourage you to support the man and his brand, but we’re not sure if this product will live on.

      So while we have no clue what’s going to happen to this brand or the Sidewalk Kraka, those of you who are in CT’s corner may want to get it while you can, because once it’s gone, it’s gone.

      And if you like your energy, we don’t think you’ll regret that decision.

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      Iron Addicts Sidewalk Kraka Ingredients

      Sidewalk Kraka touts an open label and packs everything you need to work out like the man himself, CT Fletcher.

      Our Sidewalk Kraka Review

    [This marks the end of the Best Pre Workouts *with* Exotic Stimulants Section. You can click the back button to go back, or keep reading to see the best pre workouts *without* exotic stims!]

    Stop! This marks the end of your selection section!

  • Top 10 Pre Workout Supplements without Exotic Stimulants

    Just because you don’t want the hardcore stuff doesn’t mean these products don’t bring it. We have all kinds of pre’s for all kind of folks in this list.

    Note: These products may still contain banned substances for drug-tested athletes. The banned lists are always changing, so if you’re tested, do your due diligence.

    1. 10. HAK Nutrition PreHAK

      PreHak

      HAKNutrition is a new company that has burst onto the scene with PreHAK, an incredibly well dosed pre workout that will provides the perfect “hack” for endless gains during your workout!

      HAK Nutrition is a lesser-known brand that snuck into the Top 10 list due to Robert’s favorable review of it, and a very well-rounded pre workout that cost just a bit less per serving/workout than a few others we were considering.

      There’s 275mg caffeine and a full dose of betaine, but creatine falls just a touch short with 2g, so you’ll need to add another gram if you go for it.

      On the amino acid side, if you’re a fan of BCAAs, you’ll enjoy the 6g dose here, and it won’t tingle you too hard thanks to 2g beta alanine.

      The rhodiola rosea brings an appreciated feel-good to it, alongside a small but helpful 25mg Theacrine.

      But where this really shines is for the focus fiends, 1.5g N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine and 300mg AlphaSize Alpha GPC, which yields 150mg of the choline cognitive booster.

      Note that this product just edged out a couple others to get in here because it has 25 servings, where many others are down to 20.

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      HAKNutrition PreHAK Ingredients

      PreHAK is transparently dosed and provides solid doses of everything you could want in a pre workout from energy to performance boosters to pump aids and focus enhancers.

    2. 9. Jacked Factory ALTIUS

      Jacked Factory Altius

      Jacked Factory Altius is a clinically dosed pre-workout using only proven ingredients.

      Popularly sold on Amazon, ALTIUS is simple in that it balances seriously effective doses of the following ingredients with 325mg caffeine:

      • 8g 2:1 Citrulline Malate
      • 3.2g beta alanine
      • 3g creatine
      • 2.5g betaine
      • 150mg Alpha-GPC (focus)

      You don’t get too much more “one-scoop” than that. This takes care of many of your needs in one fell swoop, and it works – clean and simply.

      Additionally, it’s sweetened naturally with stevia, and uses beet root powder for color, so it sports natural ingredients as well. Don’t let that scare you, because the natural flavors work incredibly well and it’s not bitter like many other stevia-sweetened products.

      The only place it’s slightly lacking is in the focus department, with just 150mg of alpha GPC, but as far as one-scoopers go for energy, pumps, and proven ergogenics, we downright love ALTIUS, and this one just keeps hanging on in this list.

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      Jacked Factory Altius Ingredients

      Altius has a completely open label using ONLY scientifically proven ingredients fully dosed to ensure maximum potency.

    3. 8. Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged

      Kris Gethin’s Kaged Muscle is one of the biggest losers for the Q1-2018 round. They exploded on the scene in a big way a couple years back, but other products are beginning to dose better and for less money.

      Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged

      Pre-Kaged is the much anticipated pre workout from Kris Gethin and Kaged Muscle. It has shattered expectations.

      However, if you’re looking for quality and banned-substance free tests, this one is still a trusted one to go with.

      Kaged Muscle picked up where JYM left off (and this isn’t surprising, given that it’s the same formulator who’s picked up a few new tricks along the way).

      First things first — the 274mg of PurCaf organic coffee is 91% pure, so it provides ~250mg caffeine. Which leads us to the major point of this product:

      Nearly all Natural Sources

      When it comes to supplements, Kris Gethin likes to keep it as natural as possible. This monster of a tub brings 6.5g of fermented straight L-citrulline, fermented BCAAs, 250mg caffeine from 274mg PurCaf green coffee bean extract), and the same Spectra Total ORAC antioxidants.

      They use the same natural betaine that has studies on it – BetaPower – and the hydration blend of taurine and coconut water powder keeps it natural too. The beet root extract also brings a realistic color.

      In terms of flavoring and sweetening, Pre-Kaged uses mostly stevia, so that the sucralose stays as low as possible. Rumor has it that they’re trying to get rid of that sucralose so it’s 100% natural, so stay tuned to that!

      Kris Gethin

      Looking for sick pumps like KG? One scoop of Pre-Kaged will take care of any and all pump enhancement you could want!

      Unlike some of the pre workouts above and below, the beta alanine is dosed at 1.6g, so you don’t tingle your ears off. The biggest drawback to us is the 1.5g of Patented Creatine HCl, which falls short of the 3g clinical dose. Just one too many “half-doses” here.

      The focus combination uses both N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine and L-Tyrosine, so those who argue about which one they like best can just all be happy here.

      If you haven’t tried a supplement with PurCaf caffeine, it’s time to give it a shot. It genuinely feels better than straight caffeine anhydrous. At about 91% caffeine from green coffee beans, this makes for a 250mg caffeine dose.

      But we’re due for a new flavor, bit of extra creatine, or something new from the brand in 2018.

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      Kaged Muscle Pre-Kaged Ingredients

      Pre-Kaged packs a hefty 32g dose of ingredients in each scoop. This provides all the pre workout power you will need for 20 grueling gym sessions.

    4. 7. Northbound Nutrition Pinnacle

      When we wrote about Northbound Nutrition’s Pinnacle, we asked if it was the pinnacle of pre workouts. If it’s not, it’s damn close!

      First things first, there’s 325mg caffeine here from natural sources (green coffee beans). Many believe these hit a bit better with less crash than others.

      Northbound Pinnacle

      Pinnacle from Northbound Nutrition is a premium pre workout that combines clinically dosed ergogenics with a powerful focus matrix, all transparently dosed.

      Northbound Nutrition is a young brand we’ve taken a fancy to – they load the doses. We often joke on our YouTube channel when certain pre workouts tend to “disappear” from the gym because a couple trainers take a liking to them. That normally happens with DMAA-based products… but in this case, it happened with Pinnacle here too!

      Mass clinical doses!

      This pre workout is truly a one-scooper, with a 27.3g scoop consisting of 8g citrulline malate (pumps and endurance), 4g beta alanine (bigtime tingles), a clinical 3.2g creatine, and a clinical 2.5g betaine.

      So all in one fell swoop, you have clinically-dosed nitric oxide boosters, endurance, and ergogenics. Great start!

      To amplify the pumps, 200mg of both pine bark extract and grape seed extract are used, which are higher doses than we normally see (pine bark extract is awesome, but expensive).

      For focus, a huge 1.5g of L-Tyrosine and 300mg Alpha GPC, which is getting closer to the point where Alpha GPC has made strength gains.

      Natural Colors and Antioxidants included!

      Finally, antioxidants are included from Spectra’s Total ORAC, and there’s a few carbs packed in from the natural colors of fruit juice powder and beet root, as well as rice concentrate for a more natural emulsifier.

      Powerful pre workout – everyone’s loved this one!

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      Northbound Pinnacle Ingredients

      HUGE doses here, and with natural colors and flavors too!

    5. 6. Scivation Quake 10.0

      Scivation Quake

      Scivation Quake 10.0 is back. Who here remembers Marc Lobliner’s original version?!

      Just before Mike McCandless sold Scivation to NutraBolt (the company that owns Cellucor and FitJoy), they put out this epic pre workout.

      The good news is that not only is it loaded with pump ingredients, but it’s also got a serious dose of PeakO2 mushroom blend for VO2 Max / oxygen utilization / endurance!

      The bad news is the PeakO2 definitely brought the taste down for us.

      As you’d expect from a Scivation pre workout, there’s 7g BCAA, the same amount in their hit amino drink, Xtend.

      But the best part of this all are the deals we’re seeing on this product – this is one of the highest-value pre workouts on this list at the time of writing. But it comes down to the deals you see on our list below, which includes stim-free options:

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      Don’t be confused by the confusing sizes. 20 servings = 40 scoops!

      Scivation Quake Ingredients

      Scivation Quake Ingredients

    6. 5. MTS Clash

      MTS Clash Coming Soon

      MTS Clash is out NOW! Grab some quick before it sells out!

      Not to be outdone by his old company (Scivation) relaunching his old pre workout (Quake 10.0), Marc Lobliner’s gone through a few versions of Clash, and this last one finally got it right.

      When he first re-launched with Theacrine, it was the worst thing we ever tasted. But now that it’s fixed (Rainbow Sherbert flavor is simply insane!), this is truly one epic pre workout.

      Let’s count the ways:

      • Full 6g dose of citrulline
      • Full 1.5g dose agmatine
      • Full 5g dose creatine
      • Full 300mg caffeine (299.65mg to be exact)

      Plus, you have some “bonus stims” in TeaCrine, N-Methyl Tyramine (NMT), and Hordenine!

      Need more stims? Then there’s MTS RUCKUS

      And if 300mg caffeine and these stims isn’t enough for you, then there’s 480mg total caffeine in MTS Ruckus – advanced users only!

      But back to Clash – here’s our price comparisons:

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      MTS Clash Ingredients 2017

      The newly revamped Clash is a true MONSTER among pre workouts. Each scoop packs nothing but clinically dosed ingredients.

    7. 4. Transparent Labs PreSeries BULK

      Transparent Labs PreSeries Bulk

      We’ve got a serious pre workout in store for you with Transparent Labs PreSeries Bulk. Efficacious doses of everything you’d want in a pre workout.

      Transparent Labs is taking the industry by storm, and it all started with their hit open-formula pre workout supplement, PreSeries Bulk!

      BULK provides a massive open label that’s unique in that it has twice as much L-theanine than caffeine – 360mg vs. 180mg. This creates a very smooth and “confident” effect during your workout, and is fantastic for those of you who don’t want 300mg caffeine but do want absurd amounts of pump and focus ingredients.

      No artificial colors, sweeteners, or flavors!

      One thing we’re loving about Transparent Labs is their commitment to natural sweeteners and no artificial coloring. This is where the trend’s been moving, but many larger/slower companies can’t afford to take the risk in removing their dyes and sucralose — but Transparent Labs can.

      Admittedly, the stevia-based PreSeries BULK is less tasty, but for those of you who are sick of ingesting unknown amounts of sucralose, this is the product for you.

      Customize your strength with Transparent Labs STIM-FREE

      Transparent Labs also has a stimulant-free pre workout, PreSeries STIM-FREE, which is also free of artificial colors/sweeteners. This allows for some cool customization.

      These become cheaper as you buy in bulk, thanks to our industry-leading Transparent Labs Coupons:

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      Transparent Labs PreSeries

      Transparent Labs is doing things right, no fillers, no dyes or fake sweeteners. Just more natural products to enhance your physique and performance.

      PreSeries Bulk Workout Review

      CJ and Amin reviewed it on our YouTube channel, and were floored by the amount of strength this stuff has:

      Subscribe to PricePlow on YouTube!

      Also – let’s say it’s late at night and you only want say 90mg caffeine just to get the engine started, but not keep you up all night.

      In that case, use half a serving of PreSeries Bulk alongside half a serving of STIM-FREE and you’ll have full-strength focus and pumps, but only half-strength on the caffeine! We’ve done this multiple times and it works better than you’d expect!

      The biggest issue with these products is that there’s a hefty price tag associated with them. Thankfully, PricePlow has negotiated the Internet’s best coupon with Transparent Labs so that we make less money and you save more!

    8. 3. Primeval Labs Adrenal Rush v2

      Primeval Labs Adrenal Rush V2

      Primeval Labs has recently tweaked Adrenal Rush V2 to improve the flavoring but kept the profile the same.

      This year’s “newcomer”, we realized that this was the epic value play on the list, especially with some of the BOGOs going on!

      Adrenal Rush V2 is for those who are looking for a solid stimmed pre-workout with all kinds of “bonus stims” (the non-controversial ones, at least), but don’t need as much in the way of pumps. If that’s you, this one brings the best deal out of any product mentioned on this entire page!

      The energy comes from:

      • 250mg caffeine
      • 50mg N-Methyltyramine
      • 50mg Advantra-Z Synephrine
      • 50mg Hordenine
      • 25mg Higenamine

      The tingle-effect will be strong at 3g too, just short of the 3.2g clinical dose.

      Early 2017 saw way improved flavors, which was a welcomed move. However, we’re sorry to say that this one may lose higenamine eventually, which may drop it down a point or two.

      On the pump side, we hope you like agamtine, because there’s 1.5g of it and no citrulline or arginine, which some (such as keto dieters or some with certain viral conditions) may appreciate.

      Need More Pumps? Then Stack in MEGA PRE

      If the agmatine pumps aren’t enough for you but you still want to get in on these Adrenal Rush stims and deals, then consider adding in Primeval Labs Mega Pre, which is a very well-rounded stim-free pre workout that’ll take your blood flow, strength, and workout energy to the next level. This includes a big dose of D-Ribose, which isn’t in many of the supplements discussed on this page!

      Back to the Primeval family stim pre workouts, Where Robert disagrees with Mike and CJ on the Adrenal Rush pick is that he likes Primeval’s other sub-brand’s pre workout better, the APE SH*T pre workout!! But the deals on this one are just too good to pass up for us stim-lovers.

      Overall, when this is on BOGO, we’re especially excited:

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      Primeval Labs Adrenal Rush V2 Ingredients

      The updated Adrenal Rush V2 kept the same high energy profile, all that’s updated is the flavoring.

    9. 2. Muscle Elements PreCre XS (or PreCre for “normal” stims)

      If there was ever a product (and brand in general) that we could recommend to anyone, anytime, anywhere, it’s Muscle Elements’ PreCre… and for the higher-stim users, PreCre XS!

      Muscle Elements PreCre

      This is without a doubt our favorite carb-based pre workout!

      Muscle Elements was new to the scene in 2014, but definitely not new to the industry. This team of veterans has spun off and created one of the best new product campaigns we’ve ever seen.

      With open formulas, educational product labels, and unique ingredient combinations, “Me” is a company to look out for.

      But how does PreCre perform? Unbelievably well. This is the pre workout for GAINS.

      In our review below, Chris, Amin, and Mike all loved the stuff. Amin states that it’s the best product we’ve ever reviewed with him! After messing around with so many concentrates, it’s great to feel a nitric oxide pump backed up with a carb pump – something we’ve forgotten about too much over the years!

      Put simply, this is one hell of a non-concentrated / carb-containing pre workout, and Muscle Elements did it in a way that’s great for the mass market – no dangerous overabundance of stimulants even necessary here!

      A full 5g of creatine

      This is the one product on this chart with a decent dosage of carbohydrates – 10g – and it has a legit 5g of creatine per serving, giving it its name. No more confusion as to whether or not you need more creatine post workout – this handles it all right here right now.

      To top off the gains, you also get 1.5g betaine, which is yet another muscle builder that works like creatine. Finally, you also have the much underrated creatinol-o-phosphate, which some users report even deeper pumps from.

      With a hefty scoop that contains all of this and 244mg caffeine, it’s a true one-scoop workout. 30 servings means 30 workouts! And if that’s not enough, then check out PreCre XS, which has 419mg caffeine!

      PTS-Surge – Shuttle those carbs into the muscles

      Where PreCre really differentiates is how it treats those 10 carbohydrates. Keystone ingredient, PTS-Surge (vitis vinifera) is a nutrient partitioner, which assists your body in shuttling the carbohydrates into your muscle tissue, not into your fat cells.

      Prices for PreCre and PreCre XS are split into two different areas below, and note how great the value per true serving is:

      Muscle Elements PreCre XS - Deals and Price Drop Alerts

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      PreCre Ingredients

      PreCre breaks from traditional pre workouts and includes 10g of carbs to give your body a quick source of energy to power through your workouts while saving your glycogen stores for later on in your session.

      It works, and the pumps are incredible. Just see for yourself with the boys’ review below:

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    10. 1. NutraBio PRE Workout (or NutraBio PRE Extreme for Carbs and Yohimbine)

      NutraBio PRE Extreme

      NutraBio’s PRE Extreme is another in a wave of high quality effectively dosed pre workouts hitting the market in 2015.

      What a pre workout this is. NutraBio is an industry veteran whom we couldn’t respect more. Their formulas are so open that they even disclose the amount of coloring, flavoring, and sweetener inside! (The colors are always natural, by the way.)

      PRE Extreme took the scene by storm, not only because it has a fantastic array of pump ingredients, but also because it has 15g of carbs from high-end cluster dextrin – which provide fantastic pumps!!

      It comes with a caveat though — you need to be able to handle the 350mg caffeine in order to get that full serving of pump action. The good news is that it’s a caffeine blend that has some caffeine from caffeine malate, which causes it to last longer and doesn’t hit as “hard” as 350mg of straight caffeine anhydrous.

      There are four different pump ingredients (five if you count betaine!), all of them are hugely dosed, and that’s why it’s here. Starting with 6g citrulline malate (2:1 ratio), which is 4g of actual citrulline. That’s enough on its own, but there’s also Nitrosigine arginine silicate and agmatine too!

      NutraBio

      Pure Supplements. Pure Results. And they’ll back those supplements up with third party lab tests. Keep watching out for these guys in 2017!

      Also important for a #1 pre — the ergogenics are fully loaded – 3g worth of creatine and 2.5g worth of betaine!

      To top it off, there’s extra electrolytes, vitamins, minerals, etc… which we’ve seen get removed from pre workouts. Did we say it’s loaded? It is! You just can’t go wrong with this stuff!

      Note on the carbs: Pre EXTREME contains 15g carbs, but if you don’t want the carbs, go with NutraBio PRE (without the Extreme). It’s carb-free and yohimbine-free as well.

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      NutraBio PRE Extreme V4 Ingredients

      V3 was a monster of a pre workout, V4 keeps everything you loved about V3 and makes it that much better.

      PricePlow’s PRE Extreme Review
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References

Common Pre Workout Ingredients

  • Caffeine

    Next to creatine, there isn’t a more common, or proven, ingredient that caffeine. It’s far and away the most frequently used stimulant in a pre workout. It’s that little compound that puts some extra pep in your step and gives you the energy you need to get in the gym and get the job done!

    Aside from energy, caffeine helps to improve mood, focus, endurance, power, and overall athletic performance.[1,2,3,4] After these intense workouts, you’ll undoubtedly be sore. Fortunately, caffeine also helps speed recovery by delaying the onset of muscle soreness.[4]

    More is not always better when it comes to caffeine. Once the dose starts to exceed 400mg, the performance enhancing qualities are negated and can actually have a negative impact on performance.[5,6]

    Our personal dose:

    We typically like to see caffeine in the 225-250mg range and if possible, have a combination of caffeine anhydrous and dicaffeine malate (Infinergy). This provides the best of both worlds as you get an immediate surge of energy from the anhydrous and then a longer, smoother, sustained released of energy throughout your workout without any crash. Note that this is personal preference.

    Cycling Caffeine

    It’s often suggested that you take a break from caffeine after eight weeks of use. This will help in terms of “feeling” it when you’re using it for workout purposes. However, long-term coffee-drinkers do happen to live longer,[122] so there may be a connection between daily caffeine use and health.

  • Beta Alanine

    Do you feel that tingling sensation all over? No, that’s not your Spidey-sense warning you about the Green Goblin, it’s the paresthesia you’re feeling from Beta Alanine (BA). Over the last 10+ years, this ingredient has become synonymous with pre workouts as creatine and caffeine.

    What’s it do?

    Beta alanine binds to histidine in the muscle cells to form carnosine.[31] This helps buffer the accumulation of lactic acid in your muscles helping to offset the “burn” that you feel when doing high volume training or endurance type events.

    Beta alanine has proven particularly effective for athletes across a wide range of sports including boxing, rowing, football, sprinting, powerlifting, and swimming.

    Similar to creatine, BA boosts your power output, strength, muscular growth, but most importantly, BA vastly improves your endurance and stamina through the lactic acid buffering we previously mentioned.[32,33,34]

    Effective dose:

    3.2g per day or more.

    Again, just like creatine, BA doesn’t need to be dosed pre workout to be effective, so long as you get a total of 3.2g/day. To avoid those “tingles” it’s advised split the dosages. Therefore, we’d like to see at least 1.6-2g of beta alanine as part of the formula if it’s going to be included. Otherwise, don’t bother.

    Point being, if you’re an athlete, you should be getting in at least 3.2g of beta alanine per day – preferably in split doses at different points in the day – or else you’re selling your muscular endurance short for no good reason.

  • L-Citrulline / Citrulline Malate

    Citrulline has become one of the more popular ingredients in pre workout over the past year. While most of its fame comes as a superior arginine/nitric oxide (NO) booster, that only scratches the surface of its benefits.[7]

    Aside from contributing to some serious pumps, citrulline reduces fatigue and soreness while enhancing your training capacity.[8,9] This will allow you to exercise for longer bouts with greater intensity before fatigue sets in leading to more gains.

    Take note that when we are just after pumps, we opt for pure L-Citrulline. However, when we want to boost athletic endurance, we’re going to veer more towards Citrulline Malate for the additional fatigue-fighting benefits malic acid has to offer.

    On top of that, the primary reason you frequently see citrulline malate instead of L-citrulline is because L-Citrulline tastes quite bad, and is difficult to flavor over.

    Effective Dose:

    The clinical doses for boosting nitric oxide: – 6g or more for citrulline malate – 3g or more for l-citrulline

    However, to start “feeling it”, you can probably get away with half of those doses, but the doses above are where it really starts getting interesting.

  • Agmatine

    Agmatine sulfate is another favorite nitric oxide booster we like to see included in pre workouts. It’s a derivative of the amino acid Arginine, and has been dubbed by some as a “super arginine.” Opposed to citrulline which directly boosts NO levels, Agmatine actually prevents the body from breaking it down.[10]

    Agmatine actually functions as a neuromodulator/neurotransmitter in the body. As such, it possess a number of other benefits including improving focus and cognition.[11] Additionally, agmatine can improve insulin control[12] and alleviate symptoms of pain[13], allowing you to exercise with greater intensity before giving into any sort of muscle ache or pain.

    Dosing:

    500mg is where most pre workouts start. But where it really gets interesting is at 1000mg, and 1500mg gets pretty crazy (and doesn’t really need anything else stacked with it at that dose, in our opinions).

    When in doubt, men should start at 500mg and try 1000mg after assessing.

  • Nitrates

    Nitrate supplements have taken the industry by storm the past few years as more and more research has been published. There are quite a few human studies showing beneficial effects on athletic performance with nitrate supplementation.

    Nitrate molecules are typically “packaged” with another beneficial compound so they’ll have a synergistic effect. For instance, here are the following common nitrate molecules:

    • Arginine Nitrate
    • Creatine Nitrate
    • Betaine Nitrate
    • Glutamine Nitrate
    • Potassium Nitrate

    Nitrates first and foremost help improve vasodilation[14,15] which improve blood flow and give some very strong pumps. Nitrates also increase nitric oxide levels which reduces blood pressure[16] and protect against endothelial dysfunction.[17]

    Lastly, nitrates improve your exercise performance by decreasing the oxygen cost and increasing your energy efficiency during workouts.[18,19]

    Beet Root Extract

    Beet root extract also provides nitrates, but the labels unfortunately don’t really tell us how much there is. Raw beet roots yield anywhere from 600mg-1800mg nitrate per kilogram of root,[123,124] so you have to hope it’s extracted well to feel it.

    Timing and drawbacks

    There is one drawback to nitrate use though, they take far longer to get working in your system. So, if you’re planning to use them pre workout, plan on taking them at least 45-60 minutes before your workout otherwise you won’t see their effects until long after you’ve completed your last set.

    One successful strategy to take them directly pre workout is to use agmatine and/or citrulline alongside the nitrate. This gives you a three-headed attack, as the first two take effect quicker, and then the nitrate activates to power you through the tail end of your workout (and keep you pumped well after it’s over so you continue looking swole!)

    Effective Doses:

    It depends on the compound. A quality pump can be felt with as little as 300mg potassium nitrate, but doses as high as 1250mg – 2000mg arginine nitrate (Cellucor’s NO3 Chrome or PES High Volume) can be downright explosive.

    It’s important to never mix nitrate-based supplements unless suggested by a single manufacturer’s stack, and definitely to never mix them with erectile dysfunction drugs. The drop in blood pressure can be dramatic and dangerous.[125]

  • HydroMax™ / Glycerol

    Glycerol has long been used in pre workouts as a way to improve hydration and provide “water-based” pumps.

    Typically, glycerol monostearate (GMS) was the chosen form. Now while not bad, it only contains at most 25% glycerol, with the remainder being composed of saturated fat from stearic acid.

    HydroMax™ turned up the volume and has become the superior choice when looking to use glycerol in pre workouts. This patented ingredient is highly concentrated form of powdered glycerol and silica that contains 65% glycerol by volume.[21] This increases its potency and function resulting in exceptional hydration and superior pumps compared to traditional GMS.

    Glycerol acts as a sponge in the body helping to draw water into the muscles. This can lead to a state of “hyperhydration” enabling an athlete’s muscles to absorb and retain more water.[22,23] Endurance athletes stand to benefits from this increase most as it will help sustain them during their multi-hour competitions.

    Bodybuilders also stand to benefit from the extra hydration as it will give the muscles a fuller and more pronounced look when on stage due to the extra water being stored in the muscle cells.

    The major thing to remember here is that when you take glycerol / HydroMax pre workout, you need to drink plenty of water for it to take effect.

  • Nitrosigine® / Arginine Silicate

    Nitrosigine® (Inositol-stabilized Arginine Silicate) is a combination of arginine, inositol, and potassium silicate. This rather unique form of arginine combines the cardiac-improving benefits of both arginine and silicate in an inositol-stabilized form. This results in higher bioavailability of both arginine and silicate which makes for a potent Nitric Oxide and silicon booster ideal for bodybuilders, athletes, and everyone in between.

    Clinical research shows Nitrosigine® relaxes blood vessels (vasodilation), which improves blood flow, 500% more effectively than supplementing with Arginine HCI![20] Additionally, Nitrosigine® boosted plasma arginine levels within 30 minutes after ingestion and sustained these increases up to 3 hours post-ingestion.

“Ergogenic” Ingredients

  • Creatine

    When it comes to proven, effective ingredients in supplements, creatine is always at the top of the list. Volumes of research have been conducted on this organic acid and its beneficial effects on strength, power, lean mass gains, and cellular hydration.[24,25,26,27]

    Creatine doesn’t just help you get bigger and badder though. It also helps improve your endurance by helping delay the onset of fatigue.[28] Plus, creatine allows you to train more consistently and frequently as it reduces soreness and markers of skeletal muscle damage brought on by intense workouts.[29,30]

    It doesn’t matter what age. It doesn’t matter what sex. It doesn’t matter what sport. Creatine works, it works in the long-term, and it is safe. It’s undisputed at this point, so we typically just recommend you get it in.

    Now, creatine doesn’t have to be dosed pre workout to be effective, but if it’s going to be included we expect to see the proven efficacious dose of 3-5g. “Do it right or don’t do it at all”. Otherwise, pixie-dusted creatine in pre workouts causes too much label confusion, and beginners may not be getting the simple and inexpensive 3-5g dose (yet think that they are).

  • Betaine

    No other ingredient gained popularity more over the last year and half than betaine, a.k.a. trimethylglycine. There’s been a significant amount of clinical data supporting this ingredient’s usefulness in terms of enhancing your workout performance. Specifically, betaine can increase your lean muscle mass, strength, power, and endurance.[35,36,37]

    That’s not all though, there’s some preliminary research indicating betaine works synergistically with creatine to support its synthesis in the body and enhance the body’s own natural production of ATP.[38,39]

    Better energy production leads to better performance during your workouts which ultimately produces MORE GAINS, which is what we’re all after anyway.

    Effective dose:

    To reap the benefits of betaine supplementation the research shows you need about 2.5g per day. Again this doesn’t have to be dosed pre workout, but based off our own experience we can definitely tell a difference in our workouts when dosing the full 2.5g pre workout.

  • Carbs

    Yes, the much beleaguered and maligned macronutrient IS an ergogenic (performance-enhancing) ingredient you want in a pre workout. While many eschew it in fear that “carbs make them fat,” it’s been shown time and again the carbohydrates before a workout improve your performance, not detract from it.[40,41]

    Additionally, if you’re working out twice a day or have multiple competitions separated by only a few hours, carbs before and after your workout will help replenish glycogen stores and speed recovery,[42,43] allowing you to get back on the field or in the gym quicker and continue to dominate the competition.

    Basically if you want to last through a long workout or need to be prepared for a second workout in a day, you definitely need to have some source of carbs included in your pre workout supplement.

    Effective Dose:

    This is up to you and your diet. We believe carbs are best taken surrounding your workout. Even if you’re a low-carber, pre/intra/post workout time is the best time to get them in.

    Currently, we’re using 30-40g carbs pre workout. The bad news is that this means we have to add additional carbs to everything on this list, even Muscle Elements’ PreCre (which has 10g). The good news is that we can sometimes use candy for these purposes!

Other Stimulant Ingredients

  • DMAA

    That’s right,DMAA supplements are still around! Not only that, but there’s a few pre workouts that you should certainly check out if you miss the original Jack3d from circa 2010.

    The current legal state of DMAA: Still Pending

    The short story is that Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals is suing the FDA over their right to use DMAA, the FDA resisted, but a federal judge is making it go to court. The FDA sent warning letters to various manufacturers stating that DMAA was not natural nor was it DSHEA compliant. Thanks to court documents revealed in the case, Hi-Tech has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that DMAA is naturally occurring in geranium plants,[78,79,80] and claims that the FDA’s warning letters do not constitute “final agency action”.[81]

    So until the court case is over, Hi-Tech Pharma and their subsidiaries are producing DMAA supplements, and they’re growing in popularity each day. Two such supplements that get a lot of attention on this page are Hi-Tech Jack’d Up and APS Mesomorph.

    The research

    As to whether you’ll want to try DMAA, it’s really up to you. There is plenty of research showing its safety with healthy individuals using reasonable doses,[82,83,84,85,86,87,88] and many (if not all) accidents that occurred with it was due to misuse and not following the label. This was certainly the case in the Department of Defense’s findings when they investigated DMAA.[90]

    On the other hand, 75mg DMAA has been shown to increase blood pressure,[89] so it’s definitely not for anyone who has any type of cardiovascular condition or has not received approval from their physician. This is also why we don’t ever use that high of a dose. For instance, 25mg DMAA provides some excellent cognitive benefits, but research shows that “a single 25 mg dose of DMAA does not meaningfully impact resting heart rate, blood pressure, or body temperature.”[88]

    Make an informed choice

    Our personal stance is that if you’re medically cleared, you should do with your body as you choose, so long as you do the research. We’re huge fans of 25-50mg DMAA, but never mix these pre workouts with other stimulants under any condition whatsoever. In our humble opinions, when mixed with about 200mg caffeine, the energy, focus, and endurance from 25-50mg DMAA is nearly unparalleled.

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  • Synephrine

    Also known as bitter orange, Citrus Aurantium or the trademarked form AdvantraZ®, synephrine is an alkaloid the possesses stimulative properties (similar to, but weaker than ephedrine) and is wildly popular in fat burners for its ability to induce lipolysis and suppress appetite.[45,46]

    Helping reduce the sludge around your midsection is great and all, but we’re concerned about its benefits in regards to your workouts. Luckily, synephrine also possesses some additional benefits aside from aiding weight loss.

    Synephrine acts as a CNS stimulant helping to give you the energy to crush a workout. More importantly though, it’ll help you last longer during your workout as it reduces the onset of fatigue and decreases the rate of perceived exertion.[47]

    Effective dose:

    25mg is typically a safe spot, with ~50mg being more common. We don’t like to go above 75mg.

  • Yohimbe / Yohimbine

    Seen in many different forms and standardizations, nearly all “Y” products come from one of two sources: the Pausinystalia yohimbe tree or the Rauwolfia Serpentina plant. Similar to Synephrine, Yohimbe extracts are alkaloids commonly found in thermogenic fat burners due to their ability to curb hunger cravings and inhibit fat storage.[48] The appetite suppression effects are especially useful when taken on an empty stomach.

    When taken pre workout though, yohimbe helps to improve cognition, focus, and energy levels.[49,50,51] The only concern or question surrounding yohimbe in products is that the extract are highly variable in quality.

    It’s these lesser quality extracts that often cause adverse reactions for some individuals, and has led to their avoidance of certain pre workouts that contain yohimbe. If you can find a product that lists the standardization and you’re comfortable with the brand, then you should be fine.

    The drawbacks: Anxiety

    The biggest issue with yohimbe / yohimbine is that too much of it can cause anxiety, especially in yohimbe-sensitive users.

    At some point, you’ll start to discover whether or not you like yohimbe pre workout. Yohimbine is the compound extracted out of yohimbe, and with direct yohimbine HCl, you should know exactly what you’re getting.

    Dosing:

    Most everyone seems to be able to handle 1.5mg of yohimbine HCl. After that, it’s really a personal thing. Yohimbe extract not standardized for yohimbine is too variable, and too tough to give a dosing recommendation.

    Our preference is actually a bit different than most — it’s seasonal. When the weather is cold, yohimbe is a welcomed addition to our pre workouts (but still in relatively small doses). But when it gets hot outside and in the gym, the yohimbe becomes too much, and we prefer it out.

    In 2016, the trend seems to be against having yohimbe / yohimbine / rauwolscine in pre workouts.

  • Higenamine

    When looking for alternatives to ephedrine (which is now banned by the FDA), companies scoured through the literature to find something that could still give a decent kick but not send you over the top. Higenamine, a.k.a. norcoclaurine, was the result all the digging!

    It’s a beta adrenergic agonist often considered to be a “weaker ephedrine.”[52] When used by itself, Higenamine has a mild stimulatory effect on the body. However, it’s often paired with caffeine and other stimulants which increases its potency.

    Dosing:

    When supplementing with it, we’ve had good experiences using up to 50mg of Higenamine, but anything in the 25-50mg range should add a little something “extra” to your workout energy.

    This is considered an alternative to synephrine with slightly less side effects. We don’t really see the need to have both higenamine and synephrine in a product – choose one if you want to get the beta-2 adrenergic reaction going.

  • Theobromine

    Think of theobromine as caffeine’s little brother. Derived from the cocoa plant, theobromine gives that “feel-good” sensation when eating big amounts of dark chocolate. In addition to giving you a pleasant mood boost, theobromine also exerts stimulatory effects similar to caffeine, but smoother and longer lasting.[53]

    Theobromine is all well and good on its own, but it really shines when used alongside caffeine. It helps to smooth out the harsh kick some users experiences when using higher doses of caffeine in pre workouts and offset any “crash” that may ensue in the hours after your workout.

    At the end of the day, this doesn’t really seem to be a difference-maker in any supplement, but is fine to see.

  • Dicaffeine Malate

    One of the ingredients garnering serious success in pre workouts is dicaffeine malate. Here, we have a combination of caffeine and malic acid that offers all the same ergogenic benefits that caffeine has plus the buffering qualities often attributed to malate.[54]

    More and more pre workouts hitting the market are using a combination of pure caffeine anhydrous and dicaffeine malate, and we couldn’t be happier. The combination of these two ingredients has become one of our favorite stim combinations due to its ability to provide a quick surge of energy to get you going, but keeps that smooth energy hanging around throughout the workout and long after.

    Another great thing about dicaffeine malate is that there is absolutely no crash when using it, just a long, smooth ride down that keeps you feeling upbeat and never exhausted as you’ve no doubt experienced when loading up on too much anhydrous.

    The product most well-known for dicaffeine malate is Infinergy, by Creative Compounds.

  • PEA

    PEA, often displayed as Phenethylamine, operates as a neuromodulator in the central nervous system. It’s naturally-occurring, but more frequently supplemented for therapeutic mood-boosting benefits (it boosts the “feel good” neurotransmitter dopamine levels).[55]

    The only drawback to PEA is that its effects last for about five minutes, as it’s quickly broken down by your MAO enzymes.[56,57] One trick is to mix the PEA molecules with natural MAO inhibitors like hordenine.

    But often, that wasn’t enough, so this led to the hunt for a better, longer lasting PEA derivative that could still boost mood and help with energy levels. The result is the new Eria Jarenesis extract that’s shown up in a few new pre workouts in 2015, and several of the ones listed on this page from 2016.

    Acacia rigidula extract often supplies a vast number of PEA alkaloids. While these are more common in fat burners (the ones from Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals are quite intense and enjoyable for stimulant-lovers), they’re a bit less common in pre workout supplements. iForce Nutrition has some extremely good ones, though.

    Effective Dosing:

    Various PEA molecules differ too much to make a recommendation. In addition, what they’re stacked with makes a huge difference. 150mg is a typical starting point.

    To date, not much research has been done on PEA in terms of improving exercise performance, but the increase in catecholamines should give you an extra hit of motivation to get in the gym (before the other stims kick in) and crush your workouts once they do.

    Do not take PEA molecules if you’re on prescription drugs such as MAO inhibitors. As always, see your doctor before taking any new supplement.

  • N-Methyl Tyramine

    NMT is a lesser known stimulant that’s not widely used by most companies manufacturing pre workouts. Basically, NMT is a beta-2 adrenergic agonist that ignites the “flight or fight” response. This helps the body utilize fatty acids for energy and increases adrenaline production.

    Research has even shown that NMT is roughly 1/140th as potent as adrenaline.[58] Furthermore, NMT also acts as a weaker alpha-2 adrenergic agonist which prevents the breakdown of adrenergic, dopaminergic and serotonergic neurotransmitters.[59] Having more of these neurotransmitters available leads to more energy and improved mood during your workout.

    Lastly, NMT stimulates the release of insulin in the body and can help further reduce blood glucose levels.[60] This benefits the bodybuilder who likes to spike insulin levels in an attempt to drive nutrients into the muscles at the most opportune times.

  • Hordenine

    Hordenine is another compound found in Citrus Aurantium, a.k.a. Bitter Orange, where you’ll also find other adrenergic amines like tyramine and synephrine. Similar to its Bitter Orange brethren, hordenine functions a beta-2 adrenergic agonist, boosting production of adrenaline and noradrenaline in the body. Users will experience an elevated heart rate and breathing rate[63] which increases metabolic output, and thus greater fat-burning.

    Additionally, hordenine also operates as a noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor. Basically, this ensures that noradrenaline stays in your system longer leading to prolonged feeling of focus, attentiveness and overall energy.[61,62]

    As mentioned above, you’ll often see this stacked with PEA molecules. Again, you do not want to mix this combination if you’re already on prescription drugs such as MAO inhibitors.

  • Rauwolscine

    Also known as alpha-yohimbine, rauwolscine is very similar to yohimbine and exerts all the same effects as Y, but without many of the nasty side effects typically attributed to the former.

    Rauwolscine acts as an antagonist on the alpha-2 adrenoceptors in the body,[71] the ones responsible for holding onto that “stubborn fat” that never seems to go away no matter how much you diet or exercise. Blocking these receptors allows more noradrenaline to be released leading to improved fat oxidation and “burning fat for fuel.”

    Alpha-Y also acts as a strong CNS stimulant leading to increased heart rate, blood pressure, and focus.[72,73] Improved energy and focus are a great combination, but there’s more still, as rauwolscine also reduces anxiety and cortisol levels.[74]

    Basically, you have an ingredient that gets you amped up for your workouts without making your feel over stimulated or edgy, which we’ll take any day in a pre workout!

  • Theacrine

    Structurally similar to caffeine, theacrine also acts as a powerful CNS stimulant in the body. As many of the other compounds on this list, theacrine is a naturally occurring alkaloid compound found most often in the Chinese tea known as Kucha.[75]

    Much like dicaffeine malate, theacrine is experiencing a surge in popularity among newer pre workouts. The biggest upside to theacrine is that it gives lots of energy with no tolerance build up like you’ve no doubt experienced with caffeine.[76] This gives you lots of energy that’s smooth and long lasting without needing to continually up the dosage like you will with caffeine.

    Finally, theacrine also greatly improves your mood due its actions on the dopamine and adenosine receptors in the body.[77] This increases the levels of dopamine and other feel good neurotransmitters in the body helping mellow you out and reduce any stress or anxiety you may be feeling.

    But is it legit in actual reviews?

    Unfortunately, despite the science sounding good, we’re not having a ton of “effect” from theacrine-containing supplements. Nothing bad… just nothing really noticeable. To lengthen our caffeine effects, dicaffeine malate seems to be working better for us.

Cognitive Focus-Enhancers / Nootropics

  • Choline

    Choline is perhaps the most well-known of the cognitive boosters often found in pre workouts. This compound found in most frequently found in eggs and forms the basis of the “learning transmitter” acetylcholine. It’s also a great ingredient for improving cognition and focus during your workouts, or any other time really.[64]

    Citicoline and Alpha-GPC are best

    Now, there’s not just one type of choline companies use when adding it to their pre workout formulas, that’d be too simple. The best, and most expensive form is CDP-Choline, a.k.a. citicoline.

    The reason it’s the best is that it easily crosses the blood-brain barrier and has the highest bioavailability compared to other forms of choline supplements. 250mg of citicoline should be a great amount to give you the desired cognitive boost you’re seeking and help foster a strong “mind-muscle connection” during your working sets.

    If we can’t have CDP-Choline, we opt for Alpha-GPC, which also crosses the blood-brain barrier in good amounts. Aside from improving mood and focus, Alpha-GPC also increases power output, endurance and post workout Growth Hormone (GH) levels.[65,66,67]

    Choline Bitartrate is less expensive

    Lastly, we have Choline Bitartrate which is less bioavailable, and cheaper, compared to the other forms of choline supplements already mentioned. While still effective, you just need more of it to see the same benefits as with a smaller amount of CDP-Choline or Alpha-GPC.

    Choline citrate is cheap, less effective, and tastes miserably sour, so we avoid it when possible.

    Effective Dosing:

    250mg is most common, but 500mg is where things get interesting.

  • L-Tyrosine / N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine

    Almost as popular as choline is for aiding focus is the amino acid L-Tyrosine or the acetylated variation N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT). Tyrosine is an amino acid used by the body in the production of the neurotransmitters dopamine and noradrenaline. Higher levels of these molecules help alleviate stress and anxiety that you may feel from the course of everyday life.[91]

    More important in terms of workout performance, tyrosine improves your cognition and focus keeping you “in the zone” while grinding through endless sets of squats, deadlifts, and presses.[92,93]

    Both forms are effective, but NALT is better absorbed by the body and typically more effective, thus you’ll need a lower dose to see that same benefit you will with a higher dose of regular L-Tyrosine.

    Effective Dosing:

    750mg is where we start noticing effects. Anything over 1g starts to enter “awesome territory”.

  • Acetyl L-Carnitine (ALCAR)

    ALCAR works in conjunction with Choline work together to create our favorite “learning neurotransmitter” Acetylcholine. The acetyl group of ALCAR is severed from the carnitine salt, transferred to Acetyl-COA, then finally joined to Choline (via Choline Acetyltransferase) to produce more acetylcholine.[94]

    As you’re probably aware, we’re HUGE fans of ALCAR here on PricePlow, particularly in pre workouts for its strong focus-enhancing effects.[95] That’s not all though, ALCAR also functions as a mild stimulant and when paired with caffeine helps with “fatty acid dumping” whereby the body excretes fatty acids when cells are in “fat burning” mode.[96]

    Dosing:

    A good dose to look for is anything in the 500-1000mg range, but we’ve seen incredible endurance athletic results going as high as 1500mg pre workout on occasion.

  • DMAE

    DMAE (Dimethylaminoethanol or dimethylethanolamine) is a precursor to choline and shown some promise to enhance cognitive function.[97] DMAE works by building preventing the accumulation of the “age pigment” in the brain that can lead to cognitive decline.[98]

    As a precursor to choline, DMAE can also boosts the production of acetylcholine in the body which should help to improve focus during your workout and memory formation.

    However, we’ve never felt much from this ingredient when it’s been included in any pre workouts we’ve tried. Maybe there just hasn’t been enough of it in any pre workout to really “notice” its effects.

  • Noopept

    We’ve written extensively about noopept, a powerful nootropic also known as N-phenylacetyl-L-prolylglycine. Noopept is a proline-containing dipeptide that is an amino acid analogue originally created as an analog to another well known nootropic, piracetam.[99]

    Noopept is really one of the most potent and effective “smart drugs” you can have in a pre workout. It’s benefits are wide ranging and numerous spanning from improved memory and learning[100,101] to increased acetylcholine production[99] to anxiety reduction.[102]

    One thing to watch out for in particular with this nootropic is that it can often lead to headaches as a result of choline-depletion. To help offset this, it’s best to often pair Noopept with a Choline product to avoid any sort of headache or “brain fog” that may set in when taking standard doses of Noopept.

    Dosing:

    We suggest starting with 10mg, combined with about 250mg choline. 20mg is often the best sweet spot, and some expert userse go with 30mg (we’ve not yet gone that high though).

    Several pre workouts contain 20mg in a full dose.

    Again, read our entire noopept article linked above if you’re interested in the research behind this extremely useful nootropic.

  • Picamilon / Pikatropin

    Picamilon is the combination of GABA and niacin. Little research exists on the ingredient itself, but both parent compounds have volumes of research expounding their benefits.

    GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid) is the “downer” neurotransmitter in the body that helps suppress or “depress” activity in the central nervous system. However, since supplemental GABA can’t readily cross the blood-brain barrier,[103] it must be paired with another compound like niacin to improve bioavailability and facilitate the transition.

    Niacin is an essential B-Vitamin that when supplemented can improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels. In a workout context, niacin can actually improve Nitric Oxide production through improved vasodilation and blood flow.[105]

    Since picamilon is derived from GABA it can improve cognition, focus, mood, and help individuals reduce stress.[104]

    You’ll often see this in high-stimulant pre workouts to help take the “edge” off of the stim effect – and it works incredibly well for those purposes.

  • Vinpocetine

    Vinpocetine is an alkaloid compound found in the Periwinkle plant that holds promise as a neuroprotectant ingredient. It’s generally considered a de facto nootropic due to its ability to improve both short and long-term memory, as well as increase alertness.

    Vinpocetine owes its cognitive-enhancing effects to its ability to enhance blood flow to the brain.[106,107,108,109] It’s even been described as “Viagra for the brain” in one study.[107]

    Increased blood flow not only improves focus and awareness, but with it more nutrients which can enhance reaction speed.[110]

  • Huperzine A

    You’ll sometimes see this as referred to as “toothed clubmoss extract” or Chinese Club moss on various products, but it’s the same thing. Huperzine A is a great nootropic compound that prevents the breakdown of acetylcholine in the brain, thereby indirectly increasing levels of this rather potent neurotransmitter.[68]

    That’s not all though, huperzine acts as a neuroprotective compound in the brain against glutamine,[69] a.k.a. “the neuron death molecule” and it can possibly help generate new brain cells (making it neurogenerative).[70]

    Dosing:

    50mcg is the most common dose, as it’s an extremely expensive ingredient. However, once you start getting into 100-200mcg doses, things get a lot more interesting. Side effects can start occurring at higher doses though, so it’s one of those ingredients that not everyone ends up loving. Most people do, though.

  • Bacopa Monnieri

    Bacopa monnieri is an Ayurvedic herb traditionally used for enhancing cognitive function and longevity. In Hindu medicine, it’s referred to as Brahmi, and used to treat a number of conditions ranging from depression to insomnia to schizophrenia.[112]

    Numerous studies demonstrate that Bacopa Monnieri improves memory and attention.[113,114,115] It’s been suggested that Bacopa works synergistically with caffeine to control spikes in dopamine levels, but this has yet to be verified through research in humans or animals.

    A supplement that successfully uses a great amount of bacopa is Magnum Nutraceuticals’ LIMITLESS.

Adaptogens

Adaptogens are “regulators” – they help bring things up that have been down, and help bring down things that have been too high up. The best of the bunch nearly seem magical, and they’re great to take when trying to get over stimulants during a stim-break.

Our favorites:

  • Rhodiola Rosea

    Rhodiola Rosea is a rather unique plant that grows in Sweden and Russia. It has a long history as an adaptogen, helping the body deal with physical and emotional stressors.

    Adaptogens like Rhodiola “Increase the availability of energy during the day, reduce stressed feelings, increase endurance, and increase mental alertness.”[116] Furthermore, rhodiola stimulates the neurotransmitter systems for norepinephrine, dopamine, serotonin and short-term acetylcholine production thereby enhancing cognitive functioning and memory storage.[117]

    Put simply, rhodiola is our favorite herb, and is great to take (especially alongside ashwagandha below) when you’re a bit down. However, we never really notice it pre workout when stacked with a ton of stimulants. Some users do, others don’t.

    Regardless, we downright love this stuff on a slow, dumpy day.

  • Ashwagandha

    Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is another popular Ayurvedic herb that’s also known as “Smell of Horse.” Much like Rhodiola rosea, it’s a powerful adaptogen frequently used to reduce anxiety and stress.[118]

    Aside from mellowing you out, Ashwagandha has been shown to increase VO2 max in cyclists. This leads to increased aerobic capacity, thus allowing you to exercise at a greater intensity for a longer amount of time.[119]

    One last tidbit about Ashwagandha is that it can lower cortisol levels in the body.[120] As you’re well aware, cortisol is a notoriously catabolic hormone that can drain your gains like nothing else. Having some Ashwagandha in a pre workout will help keep cortisol levels in check allowing for greater anabolism to occur in the post workout window.

    You’ll also notice certain Ashwagandha extracts, such as KSM-66, in natural testosterone boosters and fat burners. It’s quite an overall beneficial compound, especially when well-extracted.

  • Schisandra

    Popular from the original Jack3d (where it was originally labeled as “Schizandrol A”), Schisandra chinensis has traditionally been used in Chinese medicine for treating an assortment of respiratory illnesses. But more pertinent to this list is its role as an adaptogen in the body.[44]

    Schisandra has more offer though than just lowering stress levels. It also acts as a vasodilator in the body, leading to increased blood flow and nutrient transport to your skeletal muscles.[121]

    Greater vasodilation and blood flow yield more nitric oxide availability in the body helping set the stage for better pumps and improved oxygen transport to your muscles. Furthermore, the improved blood flow will also help remove any accumulated metabolic waste products in the muscles which could hamper endurance and cause premature fatigue.

    Basically, very few pre workouts include this ingredient, but we wish more did!

What about L-arginine?

L-arginine shows mixed[126] success in increasing nitric oxide levels, and is the pump supplement ingredient of the past decade. Most common was l-arginine alpha ketoglutarate, or AAKG.

However, it’s been replaced by L-citrulline because L-citrulline simply works better: L-citrulline gets converted into L-arginine, but at a better time… whereas L-arginine supplemented itself gets broken down too quickly.

In addition, to get real-deal NO-boosting effects, the dose has to be quite high, which may lead to gastrointestinal distress – something L-citrulline nearly never causes.

At this point, we’re still fans of L-arginine, but it’s a bit overrated. If you see it as a supporting ingredient, then that’s fine… but if it’s the NO booster in a supplement, you should pass.

Arginine nitrate, on the other hand… is quite possibly our favorite ingredient on this entire page. That’s the best of both worlds.

[This marks the end of the pre workout supplement ingredient listing. You can click the back button to go back to your last option, or see the sources cited below.]

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