Top 3 Pre Workout Supplements

Best Pre Workout Supps

LAST UPDATED: October 2018.

Author: Ben has been reviewing and using supplements for over 10 years when he first started going to the gym with the aim of getting stronger after graduating from university.

He was so underwhelmed by those first products he was exposed to that he decided to look deeper in to the nutrients that are included in supplements to understand how they work, if at all.

This review has cited references to studies regarding the ingredients which are found at the bottom of the page.

These are the most effective supplements

Do you find it increasingly difficult to motivate yourself to hit the gym at 5am or when you have finished work, eaten, put the kids to sleep and trying to grab the last remnants of the day?

If you said “yes” to either of those two questions, then you are in the same boat as not only me, but lots of other people all vying to squeeze more time from the standard issue 24 hours.

What greater feeling is there when you’ve been in the gym for an hour and you blast through your workout feeling energetic, pumped and stronger.

Of course you want to leave the gym feeling like a hero and knowing you have worked your body to the max to reap the benefits.

An effective pre workout supplement contains a number of natural ingredients that can:

  • Increased energy – feeling alert and fighting fatigue
  • Increased focus – zero in on your target and smash it
  • Get a pump – feel you veins want to explode through your skin
  • Power – explode through your set

These pre workout supplements can help you take control, focus and power through that workout, thesis, game or long drive home!​

Top 3 Pre Workouts

#1. 4GAUGE

#2. Iron Horse Show Time Sting 3.0

#3. Optimum Nutrition Pre Workout

My Results

Supplement Website

Visit Site & BUY

Visit Site & BUY

Visit Site & BUY

Dose 2 scoops – 14g 1 scoop – 10g 1 scoop – 11g
Shipping Global
(From USA & UK)
Via Amazon Global via third party channels
Manufacture location USA Unknown Global manufacturing facilities
Taste Sour fruit with hints of cherry – amazing! Pleasant fruit punch – wish it had more of a hit though. Mixed fruit – wish it was sharper but nice all the same.
Ordering process Direct from manufacturer Third party From ON or 3rd party outside USA.
Natural & Legal Yes Yes Yes
Proprietary Blend No No No
Price & Payment $45.00 (multi-buy offers available) Pay via paypal or 4 currencies $41.00 $61.99 payment in 5 currencies
Personal view Had a great experience using this, my favorite! This gave me an instant and intense hit that I wasn’t expecting. I first used this with  a hangover which it cured!
Full Review  Read Review Read Review Read review

 


#1 4GAUGE

4 gauge shell pre workout

Put simply, I love 4 GAUGE.

Why I use 4GAUGE

The pump – This will help create that much sought after muscle pump

Focus – Ingredients help improve cognitive function

Endless energy – Ensure you can get through your gym session

Strength – Make substantial progress with your weight lifting

Safe – This is free from unwanted side effects

It contains 11 proven ingredients in a large dose of 14g! Many pre workout supplements I trial contain less than half of that figure.

It contains ingredients such as Caffeine which is a stimulant controlling your central nervous system. [1]

This helps you to smash your workout or reach your next personal best.

Caffeine is very common but it is a good stimulant that works well.

Beet is also included, this was very popular among athletes at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

This is because it can increase nitric oxide levels, this dilates the blood vessels meaning more blood and oxygen is pumped to the organs and muscles. [2]

We have Sodium too.

We have to be slightly careful with our Sodium levels because too much over a prolonged period of time is bad for your health.

Unfortunately Western diets are full of salt.

However, if you are sweating lots you will lose vital salts through sweat which can hinder your performance and water balance.

Lost sodium can also make you feel nauseous and cause muscle cramps. [3]

Coconut water is included yet doesn’t get the publicity it should – when combined with Sodium it is as effective as an isotonic sports drink due to including natural occurring potassium, carbohydrates, sodium and chlorides. [4]

Carnitine is often found in pre workout supplements, it is great for energy and improved overall bodily function. [5]

With the correct dose of Citrulline you will experience less fatigue as well as an improved level of performance which will be helped by the increase of nitric oxide plus the increase in growth hormone. [6]

Creatine is also included..

Known as one of the most effective plus it seems safe supplements on the market, Creatine is able to improve muscular strength and size. [7]

It is found naturally in beef.

Potassium is key to keep your muscles working effectively. [8]

I would cramp up while playing rugby if my Potassium levels were reduced.

Drinking this pre workout is much easier and thirst quenching than eating a banana.

Calcium, again, a bit like salt/sodium, too much over a prolonged period of time can cause some issues.

However, if supplemented safely, it can increase testosterone levels and prevent muscle cramps while improving muscle contraction. [9]

Now there’s also a couple of ingredients to assist with cognitive function, this is essentially brain function.

Theanine and Rhodiola can help reduce anxiety, stress, insomnia, improve cardiovascular function and even raise IQ scores. [10] [11]

You can find out even more benefits of 4 GAUGE when you head to their site and see what multi-buy offers they have on:

montage of a rugby player running

 

>READ MORE ABOUT 4 GAUGE< 

It also keeps me awake, I have taken a pre workout before driving a long distance and I have been known to use one for a hangover, it genuinely works.

The Benefits: Cures a hangover! Provides a nice sustainable surge of energy. Heightens focus and concentration. Fights fatigue. Increases blood flow and Nitric Oxide production.


#2 Iron Horse Show Time Sting v3.0

 

Reasons to buy

Intense – strong feelings of energy

Focus – went in to the gym session like a beast

Stimulate – ready to take on anything

Including up to 16 ingredient, this pre workout supplement surpassed the performance of its sister product which didn’t fair particularly wel in tests.

This is a different breed though, and while the overall dose is not that high, the performance of this pre workout eclipses many other products available today, so much so that this is ranked in at number 2!

Cons

There are a few ingredients contained that lack a wide body of proof for their effectiveness.

The dose is not that high compared to some and it might be worth double dosing for best effects.

Also Beta-Alanine has been linked to causing a tingling sensation in the face and hands known as paraesthesia – harmless, but distracting, something my girlfriend wasn’t too keen on when she tried this.

>READ MY IRON HORSE SHOW TIME REVIEW<

#3 Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard

Reasons to buy

Power – this helped me power through my gym session

Energized – instead of spending my evening on the sofa I nailed the weights

Focus – less time looking at the phone and more time lifting

With so many other pre workout supplements on the market being ill-researched and ineffective it was pleasing to find another than really helped me get through the fatigue experienced after a long drive home from work.

Optimum Nutrition is a large company so we expect the best and this doesn’t disappoint.

With 17 ingredients it would be hard pushed not to find some benefit in this which was demonstrated when I used it.

Cons

This is quite expensive, for that we expect no half hearted attempts, that said, this does omit a nitric oxide booster.

Then there’s also beta-alanine and AstraGin which are neither particularly proven performance enhancing ingredients. [12]

>READ MY OPTIMUM NUTRITION REVIEW<

collection of pre workout supplements


The Best Pre Workout Supplements Used By Myself

Yes, being a worn out old fruit with many tasks to juggle including the sole dependent named Molly (my rescue cat) I need a pre workout before I hit the gym or play rugby.

A pre workout helps me focus – my mind can wander too easily, the next thing I know I have been sat just thinking or daydreaming for 20 minutes.

A pre workout also can help me continue to hit the gym with the ferocity of a 25 year old…unfortunately my joints don’t seem to recover quite as quickly!

My Story…

Like me you may work long hours, or spend much of your day just driving to work and back.

Much of my day was spent rushing from home to work then after a two hour commute I was at work for the full day working with clients and ensuring the business was profitable.

After a full day at work it was a case of a return two hour commute and then attempting to work on the website when I was home, eat and then try to hit the weights.

Then there was a past relationship which involved me driving another one hour and thirty minutes away, in the opposite direction from work plus playing rugby and trying to commit to training two evenings per week.

Something had to give and it almost became my sanity.

I was continually exhausted. However, I just felt like I should keep plugging on.

This was difficult when it came to hitting the gym at 10pm in the evenings or even playing rugby.

The Struggle Is Real

By the time I return home it is usually past 8pm and I left for work at 6:30am.

After driving home for a monotonous 2 hours on the freeway it is all too tempting to skip the gym and hit the couch.

If only there was something that we could take that would kick us up the ass and focus our attention of smashing up the gym and strong arming your way through that bastard of a plateau you’ve been suffering for the past month.

Well there is a solution…

The Solution

Well, if you have been living your life as a hermit in a cave over the past 10 odd years you will not likely know about pre workout supplements.pre workout supplements

These set themselves far apart from regular energy drinks by the likes of Red Bull or Monster.

Nope, these extreme pre workout supplements blaze their own trail in terms of performance enhancing, focus and energy.

We all suffer from fatigue; be it mental or physical exhaustion, in fact it can be a killer due to accidents caused by a deterioration of attention and focus.

However, there is hope.

I, your guinea pig, have been smashing through lots of these pre workout supplements in order to find the best one, considering as I am myself a prime candidate for such products.

It is no lie nor secret that I am absolutely shattered when I arrive home from work.

As much as I love lifting weights and playing rugby I would be lying if when I returned home or on a Saturday morning I didn’t just want a rest.

A lay down, a snooze…anything other than putting my body through stress and massive exertion.

Prevention Is Better Than Cure

However, idleness and a lack of physical activity can lead to chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity plus the ones you can not see such as mental illnesses.

Now, all of that may seems like a bit of dramatization for a pre workout supplement.

However, when you skip one session per week it can soon snowball…next thing you know you have bed sores and you are 2 months away from eating yourself to death!

Okay…that was a bit extreme.

Yet, if you can find a little something to just give you that edge and drag your sorry ass to the gym or even improve your sporting performance it is worth it…hence my devotion to such a task.


How Do The Best Pre Workout Supplements Work?

They work on multiple levels; the best products do not just work like a cup of coffee and be left at that.

No, they have more depth than what a quick espresso can offer your performance. [13]

Here’s a few benefits they provide:

Stimulation

Certain ingredients help stimulate the central nervous system as well as the heart and muscles.

Increase Strength

Some pre workout supplements will include ingredients to their profile that will help increase muscle strength and size.

Vascular

When your blood vessels open up this allows more oxygen and nutrients to get to your muscles and organs. They also make you look more pumped.

Brain Function

To ensure sheer focus and concentration so you can power through your sets and hit a PB. Mental strength counts as much as physical.

Which Ingredients To Look For?

Caffeine

Stimulates the central nervous system (CNS), heart, muscles, and the centers that control blood pressure to give you an extra boost and hit that PB.

Caffeine Anhydrous is the purest form of caffeine so always look out for it. Caffeine is also a thermogenic so can help you lose unwanted fat too.

Creatine

– Supplementation increases creatine storage and promotes a faster regeneration of adenosine triphosphate between high intensity exercises.

These improved outcomes will increase performance and promote greater training adaptations.

Beta Vulgaris

 – Beet can also increase nitric oxide in the body. This chemical can dilate blood vessels and was popular with athletes at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Dilated blood vessels means more nutrients and oxygen is delivered to the muscles and waste carbon dioxide is transport away quicker and in larger quantities.

L-Theanine

–  Beneficial for stress reduction, decreasing generalized anxiety, and reducing the severity of insomnia. If caffeine is present too, IQ scores have known to increase.

There are of course other, notable ingredients worth looking out for, but always ensure there are the reputable and reliable scientific references available for each ingredients present in a pre workout supplement so you know that what you are buying is legit.

However, the hard and confusing work has been taken out of it, because I have found the best and most effective pre workout supplements available!


 

amateur rugby player from chesterfield running with ball in hand

So, through thorough research and my own real life physical testing I have found out which ones actually perform and what are worth you hard earned cash.


References

[1] Caffeine and the central nervous system: mechanisms of action, biochemical, metabolic and psychostimulant effects. Nehlig A, Daval JL, Debry G. Brain Res Brain Res Rev. 1992 May-Aug;17(2):139-70. Review. PMID: 1356551

[2] Beetroot juice increase nitric oxide metabolites in both men and women regardless of body mass. Baião Ddos S, Conte-Junior CA, Paschoalin VM, Alvares TS. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2016;67(1):40-6. doi: 10.3109/09637486.2015.1121469. Epub 2015 Dec 13. PMID: 26653541

[3] https://www.rice.edu/~jenky/sports/salt.html

[4] Electrolytes, sugar, calories, osmolarity and pH of beverages and coconut water. Chavalittamrong B, Pidatcha P, Thavisri U. Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health. 1982 Sep;13(3):427-31. PMID: 7163850

[5] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK209052/

[6] Oral L-citrulline supplementation enhances cycling time trial performance in healthy trained men: Double-blind randomized placebo-controlled 2-way crossover study. Suzuki T, Morita M, Kobayashi Y, Kamimura A. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2016 Feb 19;13:6. doi: 10.1186/s12970-016-0117-z. eCollection 2016. PMID: 26900386

[7] Effect of creatine supplementation on body composition and performance: a meta-analysis. Branch JD. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2003 Jun;13(2):198-226. PMID: 12945830

[8] Effect of potassium phosphate supplementation on perceptual and physiological responses to maximal graded exercise. Goss F, Robertson R, Riechman S, Zoeller R, Dabayebeh ID, Moyna N, Boer N, Peoples J, Metz K. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. 2001 Mar;11(1):53-62. PMID: 11255136

[9] https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hn-3864002

[10] L-Theanine: properties, synthesis and isolation from tea. Vuong QV, Bowyer MC, Roach PD. J Sci Food Agric. 2011 Aug 30;91(11):1931-9. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.4373. Epub 2011 Mar 29. Review. PMID: 21735448

[11] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29902887

[12] https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1222/beta-alanine

[13] Effects of a pre-workout supplement on lean mass, muscular performance, subjective workout experience and biomarkers of safety. Kedia AW, Hofheins JE, Habowski SM, Ferrando AA, Gothard MD, Lopez HL. Int J Med Sci. 2014 Jan 2;11(2):116-26. doi: 10.7150/ijms.7073. eCollection 2014. PMID: 24465156