Best pre-workout supplements for muscle gain

Pre-workout supplements are the new “rocket fuel” for gym and fitness enthusiasts, providing enough energy to supercharge their exercise session. 

Image of a bodybuilder with well-built biceps and triceps muscles

Pre-workout supplements, sometimes simply referred to as “pre-workouts,” are usually taken some minutes before exercise, usually within 30–60 minutes before exercise. 

There are several reasons why people use pre-workouts, including to achieve weight loss goals. However, one of the main reasons people use pre-workouts is to get a surge of energy during exercises, such as running.

This is why most pre-workouts contain caffeine which allows you to work out longer and harder. However, pre-workouts may also contain other ingredients to promote muscle growth, reduce fatigue, increase pumps, etc.

Aside from caffeine, some pre-workouts may contain multiple ingredients such as creatine, caffeine, beta-alanine, amino acids, and nitric oxide to produce an even stronger effect on exercise.

Round up of the best pre-workout supplements for muscle gain

There are thousands of pre-work supplements on the market, and it can get so confusing figuring out which is right for you. 

Here is a round-up of some of the best pre-workout supplements for muscle gain on the market today: 

  1. Best  pre-workout supplements for muscle gain with BCAA’s: Kaged Muscle pre-workout powder
  2. Best pre-workout supplements for muscle gain  for caffeine Lover: Nutrex Research Outlift
  3. Best pre-workout supplements for muscle gain for intense workout: Nitrosurge
  4. Best Natural pre-workout supplements for muscle gain : Genius pre-workout
  5. Best calorie-free pre-workout supplements for muscle gain: Cellucor C4 
  6. Best Stimulant-Free pre-workout supplements for muscle gain: Swolverine Pre
  7. Best creatine-free pre-workout supplements for muscle gain: Transparent labs bulk
  8. Best pre-workout supplements for muscle gain for vegans: Jacked factory bulk XT. 

1. Kaged Muscle Pre-Workout Powder

Kaged muscle pre-workout powder is a highly caffeinated supplement that aims to deliver intense energy during exercise, with approximately 274 mg of caffeine per scoop.

In addition to its high caffeine content, the Kaged powder is packed with plant-based branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) like leucine, isoleucine, and valine, known to fuel muscles, as well as citrulline, creatine, and antioxidants for additional training needs.

Kaged muscle pre-workout powder comes in various delicious flavors such as berry blast, pink lemonade, and grape. It is advertised as gluten-free, non-GMO, and free from artificial colors and flavors. However, it does contain about 1g of sugar, which may not be suitable for those seeking a sugar-free option or people living with diabetes.

In addition, its high caffeine content may not be suitable for those who want to avoid excessive caffeine intake.

Here is what a happy customer had to say “Great taste, good focus plus pump, minus the caffeine.”

2. Nutrex Research Outlift

The Nutrex Research Outlift is the pre-workout supplement of choice for people who want very high caffeine, with one scoop providing 350 mg of caffeine.

It also contains ingredients such as citrulline malate, beta-alanine, and creatine, known for their benefits in improving muscle pumps and performance. In addition, it features taurine, which is believed to help reduce muscle soreness, allowing for longer workout sessions to build muscle.

The Nutrex Research Outlift comes in various delicious flavors like blackberry lemonade, fruit punch, Italian ice, gummy bear, and more, and it is easy to mix without clumping. 

This product is also advertised as being free from artificial colors or fillers. However, it does contain artificial flavors, which may not be suitable for those seeking a more natural option. However, it is a good choice for those looking for a sugar-free option. 

It’s important to note that this supplement has an allergen warning and may not be suitable for individuals with soybean, fish, or wheat allergies.

It’s worth mentioning that if you are sensitive to caffeine or consume a lot of caffeinated beverages, this product may not be suitable for you.

“I’ve used this pre-workout for over a year. Excellent pump, energy, and focus.“ a customer raved. 

3. Nitrosurge Build Pre-Workout

If you want a pre-workout supplement that uses creatine to build muscle and has a moderate amount of caffeine for energy, Nitrosurge might be right for you.

Each serving of Nitrosurge has 1g of creatine and about 180mg of caffeine. It also contains ElevATP, which helps you stay strong and last longer during workouts.

Nitrosurge also has other ingredients like citrulline, betaine, and B-alanine that work together to increase muscle mass. Citrulline and betaine may also improve pumps by boosting nitric oxide levels.

Unlike other pre-workout supplements that may clump and require a blender, Nitrosurge mixes easily with water. 

Another green flag for Nitrosurge is that it’s free from artificial fillers and dyes, though some flavors may have natural and artificial ingredients mixed.

One downside to using this supplement might be the presence of a tingling effect. Some users have reported tingling sensations while using this product. However, many happy customers have praised Nitrosurge's moderate caffeine levels that don’t cause a crash.

4. The Genius Brand Pre-workout

While caffeine is a popular ingredient in many pre-workout supplements, not everyone wants or can tolerate it. For those who prefer a caffeine-free option, the Genius brand pre-workout supplement may be worth considering.

The genius pre-workout supplement contains ancient peat and apple fruit extract (ElevATP) that can boost energy levels, hence replacing the use of caffeine. It also contains Alpha-hydroxyisocaproic acid, believed to increase muscle gain. However, more research is needed to confirm this.

The genius pre-workout is naturally flavored and sweetened. It is also vegan-friendly, making it suitable for those who prefer plant-based options.

5. Cellucor C4 Original Pre-Workout Powder

If you want to maintain a healthy weight and prefer a sugar- and calorie-free pre-workout supplement, the Cellucor C4 pre-workout powder is worth a try.

The Cellucor C4 comes in plenty of mouth-watering flavors like cherry, strawberry, grape, and mango to choose from. In addition, Cellucor C4 is formulated with CarnoSyn Beta-Alanine, which has been found to improve muscle endurance in high-intensity exercise. This way, you can increase your rep count to “beef up” those muscles. 

With a moderate amount of caffeine (150mg per serving), the Cellucor C4 pre-workout powder is an excellent choice for those who prefer mild to intermediate stimulants in their supplement. 

“This pre-workout formula definitely helps me with my pumps in the gym,” one customer wrote. 

6. Swolverine PRE

Wolverine Pre is a great choice for those who prefer to avoid caffeine or are sensitive to stimulants. If you’re seeking a stimulant-free workout supplement, Swolverine Pre is definitely worth considering.

Unlike caffeine-based pre-workouts, Swolverine Pre is formulated with 1000 mg of Siberian ginseng, a natural energy source that can also enhance muscular endurance.

In addition to ginseng, this supplement contains a range of other effective ingredients like citrulline, beta-alanine, carnitine, and taurine, all of which can help increase workout intensity and promote muscle growth.

But that’s not all—Swoolverine Pre is also loaded with antioxidants and nitrate-rich ingredients like pomegranate, betaine, and citrulline, all of which can help support overall health and well-being.

7. Transparent Labs Bulk

The Transparent Labs bulk pre-workout is a great addition to your workout routine. This supplement is a good choice for people looking to crush their workout and build up that muscle.

This supplement is loaded with a range of ingredients designed to enhance your performance and help you build muscle mass. From beta-alanine and caffeine to BCAAs, vitamins, and electrolytes, this supplement has enough ingredients to fuel your workouts and optimize your results.

Transparent Labs bulk contains a moderate caffeine content of around 210 mg; this formula provides a solid energy boost without leaving you jittery or overstimulated. 

And with the addition of compounds like astragalin and alpha-G, you can also expect improved nutrient absorption and enhanced focus during your workouts.

Best of all, the transparent bulk pre-workout is said to be free from artificial colorings, preservatives, or sweeteners.

8. Jacked Factory Build XT

If you prefer capsules over pre-workout powders, then you may want to try out the Jacked Factory Bulk XT. 

Jacked Factory Bulk X contains veggie capsules, with a recommended dosage of two capsules per day to be taken before your workout.

According to the manufacturer, this product can help you build lean muscle mass, increase strength, and improve endurance during your workout.

Here is what one user had to say: “At first I thought this product didn’t work, But after taking the 2nd bottle, I started to see my arms transform, looking fuller and pump”.

Unlike some pre-workout powders, Jacked Factory Bulk XT doesn’t contain any fillers or dyes. It’s also stimulant-free, making it a great option for those who prefer to avoid caffeine or other stimulants. 

It is also formulated with special ingredients like PEAK02 and ElevATP, which are believed to support muscle growth. 

The addition of astragin is also believed to help boost the absorption of these key ingredients so that you can get the most out of every dose.

Do pre-workout supplements truly help with muscle gain?

One question probably on your mind as you think about using a pre-workout is, "Do pre-workouts work? Or are they just a case of successful advertisement and just all hype?

Here is the thing: 

There is evidence that pre-workout may help improve energy levels and recovery during exercise. Still, it is not clear whether taking these supplements can help you build muscle or increase performance.

Does this mean pre-workouts are a bad idea and a total waste of your money? Definitely not.

When looking at the individual ingredients in pre-workout supplements, there is evidence to support the use of these ingredients to promote muscle growth and improve performance. 

For example, a review published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition shows that creatine is effective for muscle gain. Other studies have also found citrulline and beta-alanine to be effective in promoting muscle growth. 

In conclusion, while pre-workout supplements may show promise in aiding muscle growth for active individuals, they should not be considered the holy grail for building more muscles. They cannot replace the importance of consistent workouts as part of a well-rounded fitness routine.

How to choose the right pre-workout supplement

There are thousands of pre-workout supplements in malls, pharmacies, and online; here are some tips to help you choose the best pre-workout supplement for you.

  1. Determine the aim of your workout: Several pre-workout supplements are available, and knowing why you are using a supplement can help you narrow down your choices. For example, if your goal is to build your body mass, then prioritize supplements containing ingredients that can help build up your muscle mass.
  2. Look at the ingredients: Before choosing a pre-workout supplement, look at the ingredients and rule out any ingredients you want to avoid. For example, if you are caffeine sensitive, you may want to opt for something that is caffeine-free or has a low caffeine content. You also want to make sure that the supplement doesn’t contain any ingredients that are dangerous to your health.
  3. Consider any existing health condition: If you have any existing health condition, consider talking to your doctor before taking any supplement. For example, some pre-workouts contain sugar, which can quickly add up and may not be good for people with diabetes. Some pre-workouts also contain allergen warnings. Ensure you read the warnings carefully before buying to avoid any potential allergic reactions.
  4. Your budget: The truth is, you don’t need to exceed your budget to find high-quality pre-workout supplements. Start by setting a budget, and then consider other factors like ingredients and health conditions. From there, choose the best option that fits your budget without sacrificing quality.

How to use pre-workout supplements for increased muscle gain

Pre-workout supplements are available in various forms, including powders and capsules. They are typically consumed 15–30 minutes before a workout, although some can also be taken during exercise.

It’s important to carefully read the instructions on the label and use the supplement as the manufacturer recommends.