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CrossFit training is characterized by repeated intense efforts including high-volume and/or heavy weightlifting, as well as running, jumping, and gymnastics movements. A CrossFitter needs a good pre-workout that can support all aspects of exercise performance, from strength to speed to muscular endurance. 

RELATED: A Beginner’s Guide to CrossFit Exercises

As a certified sports nutrition coach and CrossFit Level 1 trainer, I’m able to look at supplements through the distinct lens of whether or not they’re good for CrossFit. In this guide to the best pre-workout for CrossFit, I analyze nine of the best pre-workout options and explain how they can improve your WOD performance. 

Each of these pre-workouts has been personally tested by a member of our team at GGR, and rated with the following criteria in mind: 

  • Formula: What key pre-workout ingredients are present? Are they there in the clinically studied dosages? 
  • Third-party testing: Is the product tested for purity, potency, and/or banned substances? 
  • Transparency: Is the label clear, or is the product made up of proprietary blends? 
  • Side effects: Did our tester experience any problems, or do customer reviews indicate bad side effects?
  • Taste and texture: Was the pre-workout powder actually enjoyable to take? 
  • And more

RELATED: Best Crossfit Equipment for Home Gym

Medical disclaimer: This article is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. For health advice, contact a licensed healthcare provider.

Best Pre-Workout for CrossFit in 2024

Best Pre-Workout for CrossFit Overall: Transparent Labs Bulk

Good for: A boost in energy levels and athletic performance overall 

Best Overall

Transparent Labs BULK Pre-Workout

GGR Score: 4.5 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Formulated to help support muscle gain 
  • 20 grams of research-based active ingredients per serving 
  • 8 flavor variations are available
 

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Transparent ingredient list
  • No artificial sweetener or color
  • Moderate dose of caffeine
  • 8 flavor options
  • 60-day money-back assurance

Cons

  • No creatine
  • Some users report it tastes bad

Bottom Line

Transparent Labs’ BULK supplement is attractive to those whose primary focus is split between potential muscle gain and a pre-workout pump. While the taste is questionable, the product works well for most users.

Transparent Labs Bulk Pre-Workout is a fantastic all-in-one pre-workout supplement that supports energy, physical performance, and mental focus. This pre-workout earned 4.5 out of 5 points for the formulation category, because it features several key pre-workout ingredients and they’re all present in clinically supported doses. 

For instance, citrulline malate is present at a dose of 8 grams per serving, which is on the high end of the clinically recommended dose of 6 to 8 grams per day to achieve benefits like increased blood flow1 and increased endurance2.

Plus, Transparent Labs Bulk contains the branched-chain amino acids3 (BCAAs) isoleucine, leucine, and valine, three essential amino acids that play critical roles in muscle protein synthesis (the process that drives muscle growth) and post-workout muscle recovery. 

transparent labs bulk product bottle by plant on table

This is a great addition for CrossFitters, because supplementing with BCAAs may help you get a jumpstart on recovering from muscle soreness if you don’t consume enough protein, according to 2022 research in the journal Nutrients4.

RELATED: Best Whey Protein Powder

With 200 milligrams of caffeine per serving, product tester, certified nutrition coach, and GGR performance editor Anthony O’Reilly says this pre-workout is ideal for people with a lower caffeine tolerance, as 200 milligrams is unlikely to produce effects in a caffeine-tolerant person. 

Anthony tried the Blue Raspberry flavor and awarded Bulk 5 out of 5 points for taste, saying it tastes exactly like what blue raspberry should taste like. Additionally, Anthony says it mixes very clear and well with water, giving the powder 5 out of 5 points in this category also. 

Read our full Transparent Labs Bulk review for more details on this pre-workout powder.

Price per serving$1.66
Caffeine per serving200 mg
Key ingredientsCitrulline Malate, Beta-Alanine, Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs),
Taurine, Betaine Anhydrous (BetaPure), L-Tyrosine, L-Theanine,
Alpha GPC, Caffeine Anhydrous, Theobromine,
Infinergy (DiCaffeine Malate), AstraGin, Boron, Vitamin D 
Third-party testedYes

Best CrossFit Pre-Workout for Long WODs: Podium Fuse Pre-Workout 

Good for: Fending off muscle fatigue lactic acid build-up 

Best for Long WODs

Podium Fuse Pre-Workout

GGR Score: 4.4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Pre-workout with full transparency of ingredients
  • Free of banned substances
  • 200 mg of caffeine with 50 mg of theacrine
  • 3.2 g of beta alanine
  • Available in Blue Razz Slushie, Peach Mango, and Sour Watermelon

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Full disclosure of ingredients
  • Third-party tested
  • 200 mg of caffeine
  • Contains beta alanine and L-citrulline
  • Gluten-free
  • Dairy-free and soy-free

Cons

  • Contains artificial sweetener
  • L-citrulline is underdosed

Bottom Line

Created by 5-time CrossFit Games champion Mat Fraser, CrossFit media team alum Heber Cannon and Marston Sawyers, and Paul Haverland, Podium Nutrition brings their Fuse Pre-Workout with full transparency of key ingredients and dosage levels. Fuse contains beta-alanine, L-citrulline, and 200 milligrams of caffeine. The supplement is third-party tested and is available in three flavors.

A guide to the best pre-workout for CrossFit would not be complete without including a product from Podium, the supplements brand founded by five-time CrossFit Games Champion Mathew Fraser. While taking Fraser’s pre-workout won’t get you to the Games podium, it can definitely help you reach your personal fitness goals. 

Podium Fuse pre-workout contains 200 milligrams of caffeine for energy, 4 grams of L-citrulline (which is below the clinically recommended minimum of 6 grams), 1 gram of L-tyrosine, and 150 milligrams of elevATP, a patented ingredient that, according to research in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine5, helps the body produce more ATP to power muscle contraction. 

However, what a CrossFitter might be most interested in is the 3.2 grams of beta-alanine. This falls within the recommended dose of beta-alanine (3 to 6 grams), which has been shown to buffer lactic acid production in the muscles6, extending time to fatigue. When you’re exercising at high intensities, it’s really tough for your body to come back down from your lactate threshold when you keep moving. 

podium product photo

That’s why beta-alanine is an ideal ingredient in a CrossFit pre-workout: If you can extend the amount of time you’re able to exercise intensely without reaching lactate threshold—the point at which lactate builds up in your blood faster than your body can clear it—you can enhance your performance. 

According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine’s certified sports nutrition coach course7, beta-alanine is most effective for efforts lasting between 1 and 10 minutes, on par with the length of most CrossFit workouts. 

Jacob Penner, USAW-L2 and certified personal trainer, tried Podium Fuse and gave it 5 out of 5 points for taste and texture, and 4.5 out of 5 points for effectiveness. “This is a great product. It’s not perfect, but it’s great. I feel really energized and clear, optimistic, even,” he says. “ I think this is probably the best I have felt energy- and clarity-wise from a pre-workout that isn’t high-stim. I was only supposed to be testing this, but I will definitely use the entire tub.”

RELATED: Is CrossFit Bad For You? The Untold Truth

Price per serving$1.49
Caffeine per serving200 mg
Key ingredientsL-citrulline, beta-alanine, taurine, elevATP, L-tyrosine,
gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), N580 Coffeeberry®,
Theacrine (as Teacrine®), Astragin®, Huperzine A
Third-party testedNo

Best CrossFit Pre-Workout for Energy: Legion Athletics Pulse

Good for: An energy boost via an effective dose of caffeine

Best for Energy

Legion Athletics Pulse Pre-Workout

GGR Score: 3.825 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • 100% nature-based
  • Free from added sugar, food dyes, and other chemicals
  • Full refund if not satisfied
  • Can get with or without caffeine
  • 15 flavors available

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • All natural ingredients
  • Free from dye and chemicals
  • Naturally sweetened
  • Intended to avoid the dreaded crash
  • Full refund if not satisfied
  • Can get with or without caffeine
  • 15 flavors available

Cons

  • Natural sweeteners make for a different taste—it may not be your cup of tea
  • Only 21 servings per tub

Bottom Line

Formulated with all-natural ingredients, each of which are present at a high level, Pulse is a fan-favorite. If you’re trying to avoid artificial flavors and chemicals, this may be a good choice.

For caffeine-tolerant individuals or anyone who needs an extra boost to get in the gym sometimes, Legion Athletics Pulse is our recommendation. This pre-workout is high in caffeine, boasting 350 milligrams per serving. 

Additionally, it contains 3.6 grams of beta-alanine, 8 grams of L-citrulline, and 2.5 grams of betaine anhydrous, the latter of which has been studied for its potential effects on muscle mass and body composition8, sprint performance9, and more.

Present also is L-theanine in a dose of 350 milligrams, which may help offset some of the jitteriness from the punch of caffeine, but enhance the mental clarity effects and thus improve cognitive performance10—something that’s really important in a complex CrossFit workout that requires quick and smart decisions.

An image of Legion Pulse pre-workout in a shaker

Certified personal trainer, product tester, and GGR senior editor Nicole Davis used Legion Athletics Pulse pre-workout before several workouts. “I tried the Blue Raspberry version with caffeine, but admittedly have not taken a full dose in one sitting, as that much caffeine scares me,” Nicole writes in her full Legion Pulse review

“That said, I think Blue Raspberry Pulse is very sweet (and a touch bitter) with a slight aftertaste,” she continues. “This flavor isn’t my favorite—next time I might try something a bit sexier, like Sour Candy—but, I can get it down in a few minutes without any issue.” She ultimately awarded Legion Pulse 4 out of 5 points for taste, 5 out of 5 for solubility (no chunks or floaties, she says), and 4 out of 5 points for effectiveness.

RELATED: Guide to the Strongest Pre-Workouts

Price per serving$2.25
Caffeine per serving350 mg
Key ingredientsL-theanine, citrulline malate, beta-alanine, alpha-GPC, betaine
Third-party testedYes

Best CrossFit Pre-Workout for a Pump: 4 Gauge Pre-Workout

Good for: Increasing blood flow and achieving a muscle pump

4 Gauge Pre-Workout

4 Gauge Pre-Workout

GGR Score: 3.5 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • 4 claimed benefits in just one serving: “explosive power, improved focus, extra stamina, and an intense muscle pump” 
  • Third-party-tested 
  • Company emphasizes transparency in reporting accurate dosages of each ingredient

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Nature-based ingredients
  • No proprietary blends
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • No preservatives
  • Tastes good according to users
  • Third-party tested

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Lower dose of caffeine at 150mg (not a deal breaker but definitely an issue for some)
  • Only one flavor

Bottom Line

Although expensive, 4 Gauge pre-workout supplement provides research-backed doses of high-quality and nature-based ingredients to give users the best possible outcomes.

If you did a CrossFit workout, but didn’t rip off your shirt to show off a massive muscle pump, did you really do a CrossFit workout? Jokes aside, CrossFit is high-intensity exercise capable of producing a serious pump due to the high-volume weightlifting often included in training. 

Combine that with 4 Gauge pre-workout, and you’ve got a recipe for a bodybuilder-esque muscle pump. The 4 Gauge formula is designed to increase blood flow to the muscles, widen blood vessels, and produce that “full” feeling in your muscles. 

We enlisted three expert product testers—who are also certified personal trainers—to test and review the 4 Gauge pre-workout. All three of our GGR testers found that you will indeed get a muscle pump from taking 4 Gauge pre-workout. 

A person holds up a scoop of 4 Gauge Pre-Workout

The pump feeling mainly comes from nitric oxide boosters like L-citrulline and beetroot. L-citrulline is an amino acid that helps increase nitric oxide and dilate blood vessels (and may even support exercise performance and recovery1). Beetroot is a plant-derived extract that is also known to dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow, according to a systematic review published in Nutrients11

While you may get that pump feeling, we think it’s worth noting that the 4 Gauge flavors are quite intense. Our testers are used to candy-like flavors from pre-workouts. However, with 4 Gauge you’re going to get a nearly sour flavor, especially if you go for the Frozen Lemonade. That said, our testers rate the flavor 4 out of 5 stars. You can also expect excellent 5-out-of-5-star solubility with no clumps of pre-workout floating around in your shaker cup. 

You can read about our experience in our in-depth 4 Gauge pre-workout review.

Price per serving$1.77
Caffeine per serving150 mg
Key ingredientsBeta-alanine, L-citrulline, creatine, Acetyl L-Carnitine,
Red Beet Root Extract, Coconut Water Powder, L-Theanine,
Rhodiola Rosea Root Powder
Third-party testedNo

Best Budget Pre-Workout for CrossFit: Cellucor C4 Pre-Workout

Good for: A performance boost for high-intensity workouts without spending too much money

Best on a Budget

Cellucor C4 Pre-Workout

GGR Score: 3.75 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Powerful ingredients
  • Gives a solid boost of energy
  • Dissolves well
  • Affordable price per serving

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Powerful ingredients
  • Gives a solid boost of energy
  • Can aid in training performance
  • Dissolves well
  • Affordable price per serving

Cons

  • Some users report unpleasant aftertaste
  • Gives some people headaches
  • Some experience tingling in the face

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for an affordable pre-workout drink from a big-name supplement company, give C4 a look.

Cellucor C4 is perhaps the best-known pre-workout among CrossFitters. I remember stepping foot into the first CrossFit box I ever went to and seeing shelves lined with C4 pre-workout tubs and mini-fridges stocked with C4 Energy Drink, the popular pre-workout in a can. 

C4 pre-workout costs about $1 per serving, but you can get it for even less if you purchase the larger tub and keep your eye out for Amazon deals. C4 scored 5 out of 5 points for pricing according to our testing methodology. 

While it’s not the most potent pre-workout, it’s definitely worth a try for CrossFitters who are on a budget (because, let’s be honest—most of our CrossFit budget goes to membership dues and, of course, new CrossFit shoes…) 

Anthony O’Reilly, certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, says in his full C4 pre-workout review, “I was pleasantly surprised by how well C4 pre-workout boosted my energy and muscular endurance. I say ‘pleasantly surprised’ because several of its ingredients are under-dosed, meaning the amount is less than the clinically-recommended doses usually required to boost athletic performance.” 

C4 pre-workout review

For starters, this pre-workout contains a gentle 150 milligrams of caffeine, which coffee guzzlers and pre-workout slingers probably won’t feel at all. However, for our caffeine-sensitive friends, C4’s 150-milligram serving might be the perfect amount. 

C4 contains beta-alanine, but it’s under-dosed at just 1.6 grams. On the plus side, this means you’re less likely to experience paresthesia, the pins-and-needles feeling that comes along with beta-alanine. (It’s harmless and typically only lasts a few minutes). 

It also contains citrulline malate, but at just 1 gram in contrast to the clinically recommended dose of 6 to 8 grams; and creatine nitrate, at 1 gram in contrast to the recommended 3-to-5-gram dose. 

Based on all of the above points, C4 earned just 1.5 out of 5 points in the formulation category. Luckily, it excels in taste and texture, earning 5 out of 5 points in each of those categories. 

And despite the under-dosed formula, Anthony would still recommend C4, particularly to beginners and athletes who may not be able to afford top-of-the-line, clinically-dosed pre-workouts such as Transparent Labs Bulk or Legion Pulse. 

RELATED: The Fran Workout: CrossFit Coach Tips

Price per serving$0.83 to $0.99
Caffeine per serving150 mg
Key ingredientsCarnoSyn beta-alanine, creatine nitrate, citrulline malate, vitamin C, B vitamins
Third-party testedNo

Best CrossFit Pre-Workout for Building Muscle: Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout

Good for: The boost you need to crush tough CrossFit workouts to stimulate muscle growth

ON Gold Standard Pre-Workout

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout

GGR Score: 3.5 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Reputable brand 
  • Combines 175 milligrams of caffeine with 3 grams of creatine monohydrate and 1.5 grams beta-alanine
  • Available in 4 flavors
  • Mixes well
  • Tastes good

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Contains creatine
  • A slew of vitamins in this formula
  • Reputable brand
  • Tastes good
  • Affordable
  • Mixes well

Cons

  • Some flavors reported to have a synthetic aftertaste

Bottom Line

Made with simple yet effective ingredients, Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout provides users with a good boost of energy, improved focus, and enhanced performance.

Optimum Nutrition is a pretty standard no-fail option when you’re shopping for supplements. We particularly like the fact that Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout is Informed Choice-certified, meaning it’s free from banned substances in sport as imposed by the World Anti-Doping Agency. 

Besides the Informed Choice certification, here’s what makes it great for building muscle and for CrossFit: It contains about 175 milligrams of caffeine per serving, which gives you just enough energy and focus necessary to push hard in the gym (but not too much for the jitters). Plus it contains 7.5 grams of L-citrulline for vasodilation and 3 grams of creatine to aid in building muscle12

It’s also worth noting you may get the tingles with a small 1.5-gram dosage of beta-alanine. Kate Meier, GGR senior director of content and certified personal trainer says, “You may get a little tingly, but overall, great focus, great energy level from this. It may not provide the strongest pump, but this is always a reliable choice for pre-workout.”

RELATED: Best Pre-Workout for Muscle Gain

You may also like knowing taste and solubility received 5-star rating from our testers for the Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout. The pre-workout powder dissolves completely in just 8 ounces of water in a shaker cup. 

Plus, you’ll have four flavors to choose from including Blueberry Lemonade, Fruit Punch, Green Apple, and Watermelon. “The flavors are delicious; sweet, but not too sweet,” says Kate. 

Price per serving$1.09
Caffeine per serving175 mg
Key ingredientsCreatine, beta-alanine, citrulline
Third-party testedYes

Best Clean CrossFit Pre-Workout: Truth Nutrition Pre-Workout

Good for: knowing what you’re taking is free from artificial ingredients

Best Clean Pre

Truth Pre-Workout

GGR Score: 4.25 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Plant-based pre-workout 
  • Non-GMO ingredients 
  • Vegan 
  • Third-party tested

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Includes BCAAs
  • No synthetic flavors, colors, or sweeteners
  • Subscribe and save 15%
  • Made in the USA
  • Also includes ingredients for hydration

Cons

  • Limited reviews
  • Mixed reviews on energy provided
  • Customers disagree on taste

Bottom Line

Truth Pre-Workout is a plant-based product with added ingredients for strength and hydration. Customer reviews for the product are mixed for both taste and effectiveness.

Many CrossFit athletes are concerned with eating a whole-food diet and prioritizing natural ingredients over processed foods in their diet. A nutrient-dense diet high in protein, complex carbohydrates, fiber, and health fats is what drives physical performance, after all. 

If this resonates with you, you should check out Truth Nutrition Pre-Workout, which is stacked with some of the best pre-workout ingredients, yet free from artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors or dyes, and other artificial ingredients. We think it’s one of the best natural pre-workouts.

In addition to typical pre-workout inclusions such as caffeine (150 milligrams per serving), BCAAs, and BioPerine (black pepper extract), Truth Nutrition Pre-Workout also contains coconut water powder and Himalayan sea salt for hydration, as well as antioxidants from tart cherry, Jerusalem artichoke extract, and quercetin anhydrous. 

Another key ingredient in the formula is elevATP5, a relatively new patented ingredient that is thought to help the body produce more adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the “energy currency” of the body that powers muscle contraction. 

Truth Pre Workout

You’ll notice the complete lack of typical inclusions like citrulline, beta-alanine, and betaine anhydrous in this formula. It’s not clear why Truth Nutrition left these out, but in spite of that, our product tester still really enjoyed the experience, rating it with 4 out of 5 points for effectiveness. 

“I normally just take coffee before workouts, but I have played around with several pre-workouts. I didn’t love the taste of this one, but I like the effects,” says Agnes, a member of the weightlifting team that GGR head of content Kate Meier competes with. 

“I feel really good on this pre-workout,” she says. “I definitely feel energy from it; I don’t have any tingles like I would get with other pre-workouts, which makes sense because there is no beta alanine, but I definitely get an energy boost.”

Price per serving$1.52
Caffeine per serving150 mg
Key ingredientsJerusalem artichoke extract, BCAAs, coconut water powder,
N-acetyl L-tyrosine, L-tyrosine, whole tart cherry, organic green coffee bean
(as Purcaf), elevATP, quercetin anhydrous, organic coffee fruit extract
(as NeuroFactor), BioPerine
Third-party testedYes

Best CrossFit Pre-Workout with Creatine: Gorilla Mode

Good for: Training sessions including short, high-intensity efforts like sprints and one-rep maxes

Best with Creatine

Gorilla Mode Pre-Workout

GGR Score: 4.1 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Ingredients shown to improve mental focus, muscle endurance, and energy
  • 11 flavors
  • Can be bought in bulk for discount

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Ingredients shown to improve mental focus, muscle endurance, and energy
  • 11 flavors
  • Can be bought in bulk for discount

Cons

  • A bunch of reviewers did not feel its effect
  • Expensive at $2.50 about per serving
  • Contains stimulants

Bottom Line

While Gorilla Mode receives mixed reviews, it is formulated with all the key ingredients you want in a pre-workout drink to improve performance in the gym. However, if you are sensitive or want to avoid stimulants, this may not be the supplement for you.

Creatine supplementation is shown to result in a number of performance improvements, from maximal strength to repeat sprint performance to muscular endurance. In fact, the benefits of creatine in the strength arena are so profound that researchers are beginning to look into the effects of creatine for cardio and endurance training. 

RELATED: Best Creatine Supplements

Gorilla Mode Pre-Workout from Gorilla Mind is one of the best pre-workouts with creatine. You have the option to take one or two scoops of Gorilla Mode pre-workout. In a one-scoop serving, things are slightly under-dosed, with 2.5 grams of creatine, 4.5 grams of citrulline, 1.25 grams of betaine anhydrous, and 500 milligrams of agmatine sulfate, a compound derived from the amino acid arginine. 

Gorilla Mode Pre Workout Scoop

All of that doubles with a two-scoop serving, which then means the dosing of all ingredients is at the high end of the clinically recommended range. But if you double the dose, you’re also doubling the caffeine, increasing that dose to 350 milligrams. That’s all fine and dandy if you’re a caffeine-tolerant person, but caffeine-sensitive individuals should take caution. Additionally, the FDA-recommended maximum for caffeine is 400 milligrams per day, so pay attention to your other sources of caffeine. 

Jacob Penner, USAW Level 2 coach and certified personal trainer, says of Gorilla Mode, “Two hours later, I still feel pumped up like I did while I was working out, and I am not crashing the way you sometimes do after taking a strong pre-workout. I still feel focused. I’ve taken 50-plus pre-workouts, and this is one of my favorites. I’ll definitely be using this in my workout routine.”

Jacob rated Gorilla Mode pre-workout with a 4.5-out-of-5-star rating for effectiveness, saying, “I took this about 15 minutes before my workout; I felt very calm but energetic; I felt confident. I got a pump almost immediately. I also noticed I felt very warm; my skin felt warm. I didn’t notice tingling at all with this one, which makes sense, because there is no beta alanine.”

Price per serving$1.25 or $1.17 with a 3-tub discount
Caffeine per serving175 mg (350 mg for 2 scoops)
Key ingredientsL-citrulline, creatine monohydrate, GlycerPump, betaine anhydrous,
L-tyrosine, caffeine anhydrous, bioperine, kanna, agmatine sulfate,
Huperzine-A, N-phenethyl dimethylamine citrate, and malic acid
Third-party testedYes

Best Caffeine-Free Pre-Workout for CrossFit: 1st Phorm Endura-Formance

Good for: A performance boost without the jitters

Best Caffeine-Free

1st Phorm Endura-Formance

GGR Score: 4.2 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Combines creatine and beta-alanine 
  • Enhances strength, power, and endurance
  • Increases muscle hydration 
  • Promotes oxygen and nutrient delivery to muscles
  • Available in four flavors

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Added creatine
  • Reportedly effective
  • No caffeine
  • No jitters or post-workout crash
  • Includes PeakO2 adaptogen blend

Cons

  • Taste is not for everyone
  • Sucralose included

Bottom Line

Endura-Formance is formulated with all the key ingredients one would look for in a pre-workout drink. While the taste is not for everyone, most users experienced improved performance at the gym.

For a caffeine-free pre-workout that still packs a punch, 1st Phorm Endura-Formance takes first place, in my opinion. This pre-workout is designed to increase stamina, and the formula shows it. With almost 200 milligrams of sodium per serving, plus 72 milligrams of potassium, Endura-Formance helps to keep you hydrated, which is critical for exercise performance. 

RELATED: Best Stim-Free Pre-Workout

Additionally, one serving contains 5 grams of creatine monohydrate, a supplement known for its performance-enhancing effects on strength and power. There’s also 3.2 grams of beta-alanine, a lactic acid buffering agent, and 2.5 grams of betaine anhydrous, which may help improve endurance. 

On top of all of that, this blend contains two patented ingredients: PeakO2 and S7. The former, PeakO213, is thought to increase work capacity (aka stamina) by increasing oxygen uptake and reducing lactic acid buildup. The latter, S7, is a nitric oxide booster, so it widens the blood vessels and increases blood circulation. 

1st phorm endura-formance pre-workout

I personally tested this pre-workout, and I went through the entire tub faster than I’ve gone through any other supplements. My only complaint is that it’s sweetened with sucralose, but that’s a personal preference. 

When I was in the middle of an intense (very, very intense) training block for half-Ironman preparation, this pre-workout got me through many tough sessions. It’s one of few pre-workouts that earned a score of 5 out of 5 for effectiveness. It also scored highly for taste and texture, earning 4.5 and 4 out of 5 points, respectively. 

I liked the Berry Lemonade flavor a lot; it was certainly sweet due to the sucralose, but not in an overpowering way. This pre-workout powder mixes well, with no noticeable chunks, although it does settle at the bottom of the shaker bottle if you don’t drink it right away. 

Price per serving$1.50
Caffeine per serving0 mg
Key ingredientsSodium, potassium, creatine monohydrate, beta-alanine, betaine anhydrous,
L-tyrosine, PeakO2, S7
Third-party testedYes

More Than 50 Other CrossFit Pre-Workouts Researched and Tested

The nine products featured above represent a tiny sampling of the pre-workout supplements we have tested across our time. As certified personal trainers, nutrition coaches, and athletes, we think it’s critical to fairly evaluate pre-workouts and provide honest reviews, so we’ve personally tested more than 50 options. Below are some additional pre-workouts we considered for this guide. 

Transparent Labs Bulk Black: Another Transparent Labs favorite, Bulk Black is a high-end pre-workout that builds upon the Bulk formula. They’re similar, but Bulk Black contains more caffeine (275 milligrams per serving), as well as B vitamins and vitamin D. Honestly, either is a good choice for CrossFit athletes; the choice really comes down to the caffeine content. 

Transparent Labs LEAN: As discussed in our Transparent Labs LEAN review, this could be a good alternative to Transparent Labs Bulk for people who have weight-loss goals. In addition to typical pre-workout ingredients, Transparent Labs LEAN contains three ingredients thought to stimulate weight loss in a variety of ways: choline bitartrate, acetyl-L-carnitine, and chromium picolinate. However, as discussed in our guide to weight loss pills that don’t work, the verdict is still out on how effective these ingredients are for weight loss, if at all.

RELATED: Best Weight Loss Supplements

Kaged Pre-Kaged Sport: Is a good pre-workout for beginners with a low caffeine content of 188 milligrams per serving. It’s also lower in some of the pump ingredients like citrulline.

Onnit Total Strength + Performance: This is one of the best pre-workouts with BCAAs, although it’s on the expensive side at about $2 per serving. Total Strength + Performance is high in herbal ingredients due to the focus on mental performance in this blend.

Klean Athlete Klean Pre-Workout: Klean Pre-Workout doesn’t contain much at all. The formula includes beet root extract and 75 milligrams of caffeine per serving, along with some sodium and vitamin C, but that’s really it. Our testers didn’t notice an effect after taking it. 

How We Picked and Tested the Best Pre-Workout Supplements for CrossFit

Our ratings are not random. Each of the pre-workouts featured in this guide was tested by a GGR editorial team member or a member of our broader product testing team. We rate every pre-workout according to a predetermined testing methodology that covers the most important factors in pre-workout quality. (Here’s our full supplement testing methodology.)

RELATED: What to Look for in Pre-Workout 

Price Per Serving

Pre-workout pricing can range from $0.80 per serving on the low end to upwards of $2 per serving on the high end. We score pre-workout in this category as follows:

  • To get a 1-2, price falls above $2
  • To get a 3, price falls around $1.50 
  • To get a 4-5, price falls less around $1.00 or less

Formulation 

We look for key pre-workout ingredients that are known to make a difference in physical performance—and we look for the clinically recommended dosing. For instance, we evaluate supplements facts labels to look for: 

  • Caffeine: about 200 milligrams 
  • Creatine: 3 to 5 grams
  • Citrulline: 6 to 8 grams 
  • Beta-alanine: 3 to 6 grams 
  • Betaine: 2.5 grams 

We also look for proprietary blends, which do not disclose the amount of each ingredient in the blend. Proprietary blends result in reduced scores. Additionally, inclusion of questionable and/or banned ingredients brings scores down and results in an editor’s note warning of potential side effects. Such ingredients include extremely high doses of caffeine per serving (more than 400 milligrams), dendrobium, synephrine, DMAE, rauwolfia vomitoria, and yohimbe extract.

RELATED: Best Pre-Workout for Women

Taste and Texture

While entirely subjective, we think it’s important to let readers know if the product tastes good (or not) and dissolves well (or not). In addition to using our own experiences to score this category, we look at customer reviews to find any recurring complaints regarding taste and solubility. 

To score 3 out of 5 points (an average score) in these categories, a pre-workout must taste OK—not stellar, but not gross—and dissolve acceptably well, meaning no major chunks or graininess. Worse experiences result in lower scores; better experiences result in higher scores. 

Effectiveness

Our product testers take note of whether they feel an energy boost, get a muscle pump, or otherwise feel different and/or better during their training session when they take a certain pre-workout. This, too, is subjective, but is a good indicator of whether or not a pre-workout actually does anything. 

RELATED: Best Pre-Workout for Men

Side Effects

Any reported side effects from our product testers or customer reviews influence the product’s score in this category. If our tester feels terrible after taking it and it seems that many customers also do, the product earns only 1 out of 5 points. A few minor complaints from our tester or customers results in a score of 3 out of 5 points. And a product earns the full 5 points if neither our tester nor any customers seem to have had any side effects at all. 

Third-Party Testing

Third-party testing is very important, especially for pre-workout supplements, which have a history of not disclosing the amount of caffeine or other stimulants. At GGR, we prioritize independently tested supplements and label transparency, rating pre-workouts according to this scale: 

  • To get a 1, this product is suspicious. It’s definitely not third-party tested, and the company doesn’t seem very transparent either. There are high levels of stimulants that have been shown to have detrimental effects. 
  • To get a 3, the company seems fairly transparent but the product is not certified by a major organization like NSF, Informed Choice/Sport, or Banned Substance Control Group (BSCG).
  • To get a 4-5, the company is fully transparent and the product is third-party tested by one of the above organizations.

Customer Reviews

We spend a lot of time looking at customer reviews, particularly searching for recurring customer complaints or any comments about severe side effects. The score a product earns in this category is the average rating on the company website, Amazon, or a third-party site like TrustPilot. 

Benefits of Pre-Workout for CrossFit Athletes

The benefits of pre-workout for CrossFit are the same as the benefits of pre-workout for any physical endeavor: enhanced performance. In particular, pre-workout can help with the following components of exercise: 

  • Energy: Caffeine provides energy and has well-documented benefits on athletic performance. 
  • Strength and power: Some ingredients in pre-workout, specifically creatine monohydrate and elevATP, interact with the anaerobic energy systems in the body and can help your body produce greater amounts of power. 
  • Endurance and stamina: Ingredients such as beta-alanine and betaine anhydrous act as buffers against fatigue, helping you to work out harder for longer. 
  • Blood flow: Citrulline and various nitric oxide boosters, such as beet root extract and pomegranate extract, increase blood flow by widening the blood vessels. This results in a muscle pump and greater delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the working muscles. 
  • Mental acuity: Caffeine, L-theanine, theobromine, and other ingredients can help you stay focused during your workout. 

Dosing and Interactions 

Pre-workout formulas contain many different ingredients, so it’s important to carefully read the ingredients label and, if you take prescription medications, double-check with your healthcare provider that it’s safe for you to take. If you don’t take prescription medications, you likely don’t need to worry, but it never hurts to consult a professional. 

Best Pre-Workout for CrossFit: FAQs

What do Crossfitters use for pre-workout?

CrossFitters use many different pre-workouts. Among the most popular are Cellucor products, Podium products, and energy drinks like FITAID, NOCCO, and Red Bull. 

What protein powder do Crossfitters use?

Popular protein powders among CrossFitters include whey and casein protein powders from 1st Phorm, Impact, MyProtein, Ascent, and Dymatize.

What is the best post-workout drink for CrossFit?

A good post-workout drink for CrossFit is anything that includes at least 20 grams of protein and at least 30 grams of carbs. 

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases.

References

  1. Gough LA, Sparks SA, McNaughton LR, et al. A critical review of citrulline malate supplementation and exercise performance. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2021;121(12):3283-3295. doi:10.1007/s00421-021-04774-6
  2. Stanelle ST, McLaughlin KL, Crouse SF. One Week of L-Citrulline Supplementation Improves Performance in Trained Cyclists. J Strength Cond Res. 2020;34(3):647-652. doi:10.1519/JSC.0000000000003418
  3. Neinast M, Murashige D, Arany Z. Branched Chain Amino Acids. Annu Rev Physiol. 2019;81:139-164. doi:10.1146/annurev-physiol-020518-114455
  4. VanDusseldorp TA, Escobar KA, Johnson KE, et al. Effect of Branched-Chain Amino Acid Supplementation on Recovery Following Acute Eccentric Exercise. Nutrients. 2018;10(10):1389. Published 2018 Oct 1. doi:10.3390/nu10101389
  5. Joy JM, Vogel RM, Moon JR, et al. Ancient peat and apple extracts supplementation may improve strength and power adaptations in resistance trained men. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2016;16:224. Published 2016 Jul 18. doi:10.1186/s12906-016-1222-x
  6. Hobson RM, Saunders B, Ball G, Harris RC, Sale C. Effects of β-alanine supplementation on exercise performance: a meta-analysis. Amino Acids. 2012;43(1):25-37. doi:10.1007/s00726-011-1200-z
  7. Sutton, Brian, et. al. Certified Sports Nutrition Coach Certification. National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). 2021(22);4.
  8. Cholewa, J.M., Hudson, A., Cicholski, T. et al. The effects of chronic betaine supplementation on body composition and performance in collegiate females: a double-blind, randomized, placebo controlled trial. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 15, 37 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12970-018-0243-x
  9. Pryor, J.L., Craig, S.A. & Swensen, T. Effect of betaine supplementation on cycling sprint performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 9, 12 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-9-12
  10. Owen GN, Parnell H, De Bruin EA, Rycroft JA. The combined effects of L-theanine and caffeine on cognitive performance and mood. Nutr Neurosci. 2008;11(4):193-198. doi:10.1179/147683008X301513
  11. Domínguez R, Cuenca E, Maté-Muñoz JL, et al. Effects of Beetroot Juice Supplementation on Cardiorespiratory Endurance in Athletes. A Systematic Review. Nutrients. 2017;9(1):43. Published 2017 Jan 6. doi:10.3390/nu9010043
  12. Wu SH, Chen KL, Hsu C, et al. Creatine Supplementation for Muscle Growth: A Scoping Review of Randomized Clinical Trials from 2012 to 2021. Nutrients. 2022;14(6):1255. Published 2022 Mar 16. doi:10.3390/nu14061255
  13. Hirsch KR, Mock MG, Roelofs EJ, Trexler ET, Smith-Ryan AE. Chronic supplementation of a mushroom blend on oxygen kinetics, peak power, and time to exhaustion. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015;12(Suppl 1):P45. Published 2015 Sep 21. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-12-S1-P45

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