We test and review fitness products based on an independent, multi-point methodology. If you use our links to purchase something, we may earn a commission. Read our disclosures.

Most people have probably never considered looking into the best pre-workout for teens. However, if you have a teen or are a teen who participates in sports and other forms of high-intensity exercise, it’s likely a fair bet that you’ve thought about taking pre-workout to boost energy levels, improve athletic performance and even help with muscle growth. 

Now, any sports nutritionist or professional in sports medicine will tell you that even the best pre-workout is by no means vital to have optimal exercise performance. A well-planned diet with plenty of healthy carbohydrates for fuel, high-quality protein with branched chain amino acids, and produce can do that just fine. 

However, teenagers, just like their adult counterparts, might crave just a little extra from time to time. That’s where pre-workout comes in. That said, in the case of adolescents, you want to be extra careful with which ones you choose and particularly want to pay attention to the caffeine content. 

RELATED: How Much Caffeine Is in Pre-Workout?

If your child is considering taking a sports nutrition supplement, talk to your pediatrician first and always look over the supplement yourself before allowing them to take it daily. With that in mind, here are our picks for the best pre-workout for teens.

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 Teens

Best Pre-Workout for Teens Overall: Transparent Labs Stim-Free Pre-Workout

Good for: Teens with a higher supplement budget who want an evidence-based pre-workout

Best Overall

Transparent Labs Stim-Free Pre-Workout

GGR Score: 4.08 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Stim-free pre-workout
  • No caffeine
  • 7 flavors available
  • Easily mix with water
  • Good for people who work out at night
  • Won't give you the jitters or tingling sensations

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Free of artificial colors, sweeteners, and other additives
  • Non-stim (no caffeine)
  • Won't give you the jitters
  • Designed to increase nitric oxide uptake in the muscle cells
  • Can subscribe and save

Cons

  • Those who want caffeine should look elsewhere
  • Doesn't contain creatine or BCAAs

Bottom Line

Transparent Labs Stim-Free Pre-Workout is an uncaffeinated pre-workout powder that will not give you the jitters or tingling commonly associated with pre-workout supplements. This pre-workout contains a blend of citrulline malate, beta-alanine, L-tyrosine, taurine, and elevATP, a compound claimed to increase ATP activity in muscle cells.

Transparent Labs is known for committing themselves to providing third-party-tested, high-quality sports supplements that are devoid of extra junk and fillers and full of science-backed ingredients, which is why it gets our vote for best overall. 

We had Amanda Capritto, former GGR senior staff writer and CPT, try the cherry limeade version of this pre-workout. “Some Transparent Labs flavors are really sweet, but not this one,” Amanda says. “Usually I have to intentionally dilute supps from Transparent Labs, but this one has a tart flavor that I actually enjoyed.” Thus, we gave a 4.5 out of 5 rating for taste. 

For solubility we gave it a 4 out of 5 after talking to a couple of our other testers, Jacob Penner, USAW-L2 and owner of a weightlifting gym, and GGR Performance Editor Anthony O’Reilly. While Jacob thought it mixed great, Anthony says, “It definitely clumps pretty consistently, but the formula is so great it doesn’t really bother me.”

A woman can be seen smiling behind a shake and container of Transparent Labs Stim-Free Pre-Workout.

We also gave it a 4.5 out of 5 for formulation as Transparent Labs Stim-Free Pre-Workout contains the typical pre-workout ingredients like citrulline and taurine, but all at clinically-effective doses. “Prepare yourself for intense tingles, though,” Amanda warns. “That said, I love the pump it produces.”

Now, for the price. We gave it a rating of 2.85 out of 5 for its price of $1.66 per serving, which is relatively high for a pre-workout with a pretty simple formulation, so committing to this would require a teen with a more generous budget for supps. 

To learn more, read our full Transparent Labs Stim-Free Pre-Workout Review

Price Per Serving$1.66
FlavorsBlue Raspberry, Strawberry Lemonade, Peach Mango, Tropical Punch, Orange, Sour Grape, Cherry Limeade
Caffeine Content0 mg
Contains Beta-Alanine?Yes, 4 g

Best Natural Pre-Workout for Teens: Legion Pulse Caffeine-Free

Good for: Those who want a pre-workout that’s both clean and great tasting

Best Natural

Legion Athletics Pulse Pre-Workout

GGR Score: 3.8 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.

As a sports nutritionist, I have a deep appreciation for Legion’s lack of dyes, artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners. Their product page details also cite research for each ingredient in their sports supplements. Members of our team (me, especially) are also huge fans of Legion’s whey protein powders

Four of our testers have tried Legion’s pre-workout supplement and they rated it an average of 4 out of 5 for taste. Everyone agreed that there’s a tad bit of bitterness to the flavor, but it’s sweet with pink lemonade winning the vote for favorite flavor (Author’s note: this is my favorite flavor of their pre-workout, too!).

We also gave it a 5 out of 5 for solubility, according to feedback specifically from Nicole Davis, GGR head of content and CPT. “No clumps or grit,” Nicole says. “Several shakes are all that’s needed to mix it well.”

Legion Pulse Scooper

For formulation, we also gave it a 5 out of 5 with one of our testers commenting, “It’s third-party tested with zero artificial junk, which no one who is health and fitness-conscious wants to put in their body. So, it’s a great option.”

RELATED: Legion Genesis Greens Review

We do have to say, though, that without caffeine or other ingredients to boost energy levels, there are only four active ingredients in this pre-workout. So if you’re looking for a pre-workout that’s a huge cocktail of pump-inducing compounds, this may be a bit too mild for your needs. 

Price Per Serving$1.57
FlavorsFruit Punch, Blue Raspberry, Arctic Blast, Tropical Punch, Grape, Green Apple, Sour Candy, Strawberry Kiwi
Caffeine Content0 mg
Contains Beta-Alanine?Yes, 3.6 g

Best Pre-Workout for Teens for Cardio: 1st Phorm Endura-formance

Good for: High school athletes who do endurance sports like cross country, swimming, or cycling

Best for Cardio

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.

1st Phorm Endura-Formance is one of the company’s best-selling products, with ingredients designed to work synergistically to boost endurance sports performance. For example, even though there is no caffeine, there are plenty of other compounds to keep you going. 

“An oxygen-boosting compound known as PeakO2 is patented and claims to increase work capacity by increasing oxygen utilization and decreasing lactate,” our tester Amanda Capritto, a certified sports nutrition coach, reports. “Clinical studies show that S7, a blend of 7 nutraceuticals, increases nitric oxide production by up to 230%!” 

RELATED: Muscular Endurance Exercises

Amanda is a triathlete, you see, so delaying fatigue is absolutely critical to her athletic performance. “It may just be the placebo of knowing the formulation or it could actually work. Either way, I can totally feel the difference when doing my training for triathlons,” Amanda reports. Thus, we gave it a 3.75 out of 5 for formulation. 

A scoop and tub of 1st-Phorm Endura-formance.

Though it contains 5 grams of creatine monohydrate, which is super great for a pre-workout, the only big highlight is the PeakO2 compound as there are only 50 milligrams of the S7 blend, despite how much 1st Phorm hypes it up. 

Amanda also gave it a 4.5 out of 5 for taste with an impressive endorsement. “I have tried many supplements, and this is the best tasting one I have ever had. Neither too sweet nor too tart, and there is no funky aftertaste.” 

For side effects, she rated it a full 5 out of 5. “Another reason I love this for my workouts, particularly the endurance ones, is because of the sodium for hydration,” says Amanda. “I’m really glad to have added it to my stack.”

Read our full 1st Phorm Endura-Formance Review to learn more about Amanda’s experience.

Price Per Serving$1.50
FlavorsStrawberry Pineapple, Peach Ring, Black Cherry, Berry Lemonade
Caffeine Content0 mg
Contains Beta-Alanine?Yes, 3.2 g

Best Budget Pre-Workout for Teens: RAW Nutrition Pump

Good for: Teens on a budget who are trying pre-workout for the first time

Best Budget

Raw Nutrition Pump

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Stimulant-free pre-workout powder
  • Designed to increase blood flow to your muscles
  • Claimed to deliver improved endurance
  • Added sodium to support hydration
  • Comes in 5 flavors
  • Third-party tested

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Taste is popular
  • Includes Lion's Mane extract
  • Reportedly effective
  • Supports hydration
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Contains sucralose
  • Artificial flavors

Bottom Line

Raw Nutrition’s Pump is a stimulant-free pre-workout formula designed to enhance your next workout with ingredients like l-citrulline and Lion's Mane extract.

Raw Nutrition was founded by Canadian athlete Chris Bumstead, affectionately known by fans as CBum, who is an IFBB Pro League bodybuilding competitor. We had Lauren Strong, a GGR senior staff editor and certified personal trainer, try his stim-free pre-workout Raw Nutrition Pump.

“I get really turned off by supplements that taste artificial or way too sweet,” Lauren shares. “Luckily, Raw Nutrition Pump doesn’t have either of these problems, so you don’t have to worry about gagging to get it down.” So, we gave the supplement a rating of 4 out of 5 for taste. 

RELATED: Best Protein Powder 

We did give it a 5 out of 5 rating for price as each serving is about $0.90 each, which is great for those on a tight budget. Big asterisk, though—this is if you only plan on having one scoop. The problem with Raw Nutrition Pump is that you will need to take two scoops in order to get the effective dosages of many active ingredients. 

A woman drinking RAW Nutrition Pump Pre-Workout.

That is why we gave it a 3 out of 5 for formulation. For example, the nitric oxide booster l-citrulline has been shown to give a better pump and increase blood flow1, but studies used 3 to 5 grams of l-citrulline to achieve this effect and this supplement only has 2.5 grams in one scoop. 

Research has also shown that, in order to achieve the muscular endurance effects of beta-alanine to squeeze out more reps, you must supplement with 3-5 grams daily2. Raw Nutrition Pump doesn’t even reach that with two scoops. 

Finally, tyrosine has been shown to improve cognitive function in athletes, especially when training in hot weather3. However, you need at least 2 grams of tyrosine to see benefits, and this pre only has 1 gram per serving. 

You get the picture. All of that said, Lauren gave the product a 4 out of 5 for effects. She says, “I didn’t find it was the greatest to take on an empty stomach, but when taking it before strength training I definitely get a pump. My husband also took it before his powerlifting and was a big fan.”

Price Per Serving$0.90
FlavorsLemonade, Raspberry Lemonade, Strawberry Lemonade, Watermelon, Pineapple
Caffeine Content0 mg
Contains Beta-Alanine?Yes, 1 g

Best-Tasting Pre-Workout for Teens: Genius Pre

Good for: People who want more of a nootropic-focused pre-workout

Best-Tasting

The Genius Brand Genius Pre

GGR Score: 4 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Caffeine-free nootropics-based pre-workout 
  • Doubles as a productivity booster 
  • No artificial sweeteners or flavors

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Subscribe and save 20%
  • 30-day satisfaction guarantee (from the ship date)
  • Available in 4 flavors

Cons

  • Only available in 20 serving containers
  • No 3rd-party certifications
  • May cause skin tingling

Bottom Line

The Genius Brand Genius Pre is a stimulant-free, nootropic-based pre-workout designed to help improve your focus and performance in the gym. It has very positive reviews, although customers do wish they could buy containers with more than 20 servings so they didn’t have to purchase as often.

The Genius Brand specializes in making sports medicine supplements that use nootropics and adaptogens to cater to those trying to improve their focus and mental sharpness during high-intensity exercise. We had their pre-workout tested by Jacob Penner, USAW-L2 and weightlifting coach, who just raved about the taste.

RELATED: Best Pre-Workout Without Beta-Alanine

“I’ve tasted dozens and dozens of pre-workout supplements and this is among the best,” Jacob says after trying the Blue Raspberry. “The taste is just like blue icee.” So, we gave it a perfect 5-out-of-5 rating for taste as well as solubility, as Jacob had no issues with the mixing. 

As far as formulation, we gave it a 4.85 out of 5 rating based on Jacob’s feedback. “You don’t really get super jacked,” Jacob cautions. “But there was a nearly euphoric feeling I had after taking it that came with a super calm focus.” He really took note of the mental effects of the pre-workout as the supplement is packed with ingredients that affect the body and mind in equal measure.

Genius Pre Workout 4

“I didn’t feel stimulated, but more so relaxed with a clear mind and ready to go,” Jacob comments. “The best way I guess to describe the effect was almost like a mood stabilizer.” He wasn’t 100% impressed though, continuing on to say, “I got a pretty good pump as well, but it was short lived.”

You can learn more with our full Genius Pre-Workout review

Price Per Serving$1.90
FlavorsBlue Raspberry, Grape Limeade, Sour Apple, Sour Cherry
Caffeine Content0 mg
Contains Beta-Alanine?No

Best Organic Pre-Workout for Teens: Garden of Life Sport Organic Plant-Based Energy

Good for: Someone looking for a more gentle pre-workout made from all organic ingredients

Best Organic

Garden of Life Sport Organic Plant-Based Energy + Focus

GGR Score: 3.9 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Vegan pre-workout 
  • Gluten and dairy free 
  • USDA organic and non-GMO 
  • Certified B Corp and Carbonfree certified

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Caffeine from natural sources
  • No artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners
  • NSF-Certified for Sport and Informed-Choice Certified
  • Company is a Certified B Corp and Carbonfree certified

Cons

  • Only available in 2 flavors
  • Mixed reviews on taste
  • Number of servings per container differs by flavor

Bottom Line

Garden of Life Sport Organic Energy + Focus is a vegan pre-workout with a large number of certifications attesting to quality and accuracy of ingredients. Customer reviews for the taste were mixed, although reviews are mostly positive.

We’ve tried Garden of Life’s pre-workout in the past as it was featured on our list for the Best Natural Pre-Workouts, so if clean and organic is what you’re looking for in your pre-workout, this is a good place to start. It’s certified vegan, certified gluten-free, and it’s third-party tested by Informed Choice, so it’s excellent for athletes. 

We rated this one a 4 out of 5 for taste. There is only one flavor to choose from, so be wary if you like a variety of flavors to cycle through with your pre-workout. “This stuff is sweet; tastes just like candy,” our tester remarked. “It was generally pleasant to drink, though. It also mixed well!”

For price, we gave it 4 out of 5 as each serving of Garden of Life is $1.15 per serving. Not bad, especially when you compare it to some others on our list. And considering how most organic, plant-based products have an inflated price tag, it’s pretty reasonable.

Now the thing about this pre-workout is it does contain a significant amount of carbs, about 13 grams per serving, so skip this one if you’re keto or low carb. It also stings to see that 10 of those grams are added sugars. 

Honestly, some of this formulation is straight up confusing. There are some vitamins like vitamin K and B12 added, which is mindful when you consider that many vegans are deficient in vitamin B12 due to it being exclusively present in animal products. However, their “antioxidant energy blend” includes organic cane sugar? A very odd inclusion for an otherwise wholesome supplement. 

It also doesn’t have some of the key ingredients many would expect to find in a pre-workout such as tyrosine, BCAAs, arginine and carnosine. With spinach and kale included as nitric oxide boosters, it seems more like a greens powder than a pre-workout.

RELATED: BCAAs vs Pre-Workout

This is likely why our testers had this to say about its effects: “If you’re a very serious gym-goer, this ain’t the pre for you unless you’re just doing some light sprinting or a super short bout of physical activity. Does it raise energy levels? Some, but you’re not gonna PR while taking it. That said, if you didn’t have time for your morning cup of coffee, this will work.”

Price Per Serving$1.15
FlavorsBlackberry
Caffeine Content0 mg
Contains Beta-Alanine?No

Best High-Caffeine Pre-Workout for Teens: Cellucor C4

Good for: Older teens who are more in touch with their caffeine tolerance

Best High-Caffeine

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.

If your teen is super into physical activity and they’ve snuck an energy drink or two, you can probably also bet they’ve had one or several scoops of Cellucor C4, otherwise known as just C4. It consistently ranks as the top-selling pre-workout on Amazon, and is an insanely popular brand in the world of weightlifting in general due to its affordable price and effectiveness.  

GGR Head of Content Nicole Davis, CPT, CNC, was excited to test C4, as it was the first pre-workout she’s ever used back in the day. After having the Icy Blue Razz, she said, “What a classic! Definitely sweet, but it’s still really good.” So, it gets a 5 out of 5 in taste for us. At only 78 cents per serving, we had to give C4 a 5 out of 5 for price as it makes the supplement very accessible for teens and adults alike to take consistently. 

That said, you get what you pay for in terms of some aspects of C4’s formulation. There are only 2 grams of beta-alanine, which doesn’t quite crack what’s needed to actually boost exercise performance and, although the efficacious dose of l-citrulline is 3 to 6 grams, C4 only has 1.2 grams per serving.

Cellucor C4 Pre-Workout and shaker.

That said, what could be called a “lite” formulation may be just right for young athletes who probably don’t need to get jacked out of their minds for the type of physical activity they are doing. In that vein, C4 does have 200 milligrams of caffeine. 

Though some sources will tell you those under the age of 18 shouldn’t have more than 100 milligrams of caffeine per day, public health guidelines5 based caffeine intake more so on body weight rather than age, as adolescents can be the same age with vastly different body sizes. 

Generally, you want to aim for 2.5 milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day, which means that if you have an athletic teen who is 175 pounds or more, it’s likely they can handle a scoop of C4. However, always check with a dietitian or your pediatrician if you want to be sure. 

Check out our full C4 pre-workout review for more info.

Price Per Serving$0.78
FlavorsIcy Blue Razz, Hawaiian Punch
Caffeine Content200 mg
Contains Beta-Alanine?Yes, 2 g

Other Pre-Workouts for Teens We Researched

Here are some other pre-workouts we ordered and tried, but they either didn’t work well enough for us to recommend them or the caffeine content was a bit too intense for most teenagers. 

How We Picked and Tested the Best Pre-Workout for Teens

As is the case with all dietary supplements, pre-workout is not regulated by the FDA, so there is always some risk. If you are a teen or have a teen considering taking pre-workout, we totally get the trepidation that might come with choosing one and we took that into account. So, this is the criteria we considered when making our list:

Stim vs Non-Stim

As you could probably recognize, most of the products on this list don’t contain any caffeine and that’s because it’s now well known that the compound may not have the best effect on some teens. Excessive caffeine intake in adolescents can have side effects of mood changes, nausea, heart symptoms, sleep disturbance and even osteoporosis6

RELATED: Stim Vs Non Stim Pre-Workout: Which One Should You Take?

Legion-Pulse

However, this intake is mostly a concern as it pertains to energy drinks. Either way, caffeine intake should be monitored in young athletes for safety, and sometimes just choosing a non-stim pre-workout can take out the worry about risk and safety associated with caffeine. 

Third-Party Tested

In the sports supplements industry, pre-workout supplements are notorious for having formulations contaminated with unsafe ingredients and banned substances that aren’t listed on the label due to lack of FDA regulation. Usually, this is a concern for adult athletes who must submit to drug testing.

However, when talking about a teen who wants to take pre-workout, third-party testing that focuses on safety and purity could be best to ensure they aren’t ingesting anything that their young metabolism can’t handle. 

Price

Whether your teen is using their allowance to build their supplement stack or you’re a parent digging into your own pockets, price is key. To be honest, is pre-workout even necessary? Especially with teens? 

Not really, but it can make them feel better during workouts. That alone, though, isn’t enough to justify paying an arm and a leg for a pre-workout supplement, so we tried to select brands where the value is congruent to the price. 

Benefits of Pre-Workout for Teens

So, why even consider giving a teen a pre-workout supplement? Is there a case to be made for why a teen would beg to carry one around in their backpack? Let’s investigate the potential benefits of pre-workout for the younger population. 

Help With Focus and Concentration

Pre-workouts that contain nootropics may help to improve your focus during workouts. That said, studies have shown that adolescents may have more trouble concentrating7 in general when compared to adults. 

An image of Transparent Labs Stim-Free pre-workout

So, taking a pre-workout may help to make their exercise bouts more efficient when they can dial in. This means less time goofing around in the gym and more time for studying. Yay?

Supports Muscle Recovery

Most pre-workouts contain nitric oxide boosters to help improve blood flow in muscle mass. To assist in the healing process, the body supplies antibodies and other healing compounds by pumping blood toward and around the injured area. The same idea applies to your muscle mass and how blood flow can help with recovery. When blood flow is improved, it may help your muscles recover faster from the damage induced by exercise. 

RELATED: Do Massage Guns Work?

Dosing and Interactions 

Pre-workout often contains a cocktail of many ingredients from branched-chain amino acids to creatine monohydrate to therapeutic mushrooms. It’s totally understandable to be concerned about the safe dosing of these products for those who are not yet adults. If this is the case, consult with a pediatrician about specific dosing of certain ingredients. As far as creatine goes, there’s only been one study done on those under 188 and they found no negative side effects. 

In terms of caffeine, the International Society of Sports Nutrition has established9 that 3 to 6 milligrams per kilogram of body weight can improve sports performance, but this amount may not be available even for active teens, as we mentioned, so verify what individual needs your teen may have. 

RELATED: Best Creatine for Teens

If your teen takes prescription medication, it’s important to make sure they don’t interact negatively with supplements like pre-workout. Teens are also known to go overboard when they try something new, so it’s critical to ensure they are taking pre-workout supplements as directed in only the dosages that are recommended. 

Third-Party Testing

Normally at GGR when we talk about third-party testing, we talk about it in the context of being certified by bodies like Informed Choice and NSF for Sport as these bodies can verify if supplements contain banned substances that can cause failure of a drug test. 

However, there aren’t very many teenagers who are playing sports at the level that would make this standard widely relevant when choosing a pre-workout powder. In this case, third-party testing by companies like ConsumerLabs, U.S. Pharmacopeia, and NSF International would be more appropriate. 

These labs focus more on testing products for purity and safety to ensure there aren’t compounds that have intentionally or unintentionally made its way into sports nutrition supplements like pre-workout. 

RELATED: Best Protein Powder Without Artificial Sweeteners

To get a better idea, one large analysis that was done in 202010 found that over a dozen brands of protein powders not only tested positive for the presence of heavy metals like lead, but exceeded the limits of what is recommended as safe. This is exactly why third-party testing with supplements is so important, especially with vulnerable populations like children and adolescents.

Buying Guide: What to Look for in Pre-Workout for Teens

Alright, so we’ve convinced you. It’s time to go out window shopping for a new pre-workout, so what should you have top of mind when searching labels on the sprawling shelves of options? Here’s what to look for:

Price Per Serving

For a pre-workout, it’s ideal to choose one that is $1 or less per serving. Unlike supplements like creatine monohydrate or protein powder, pre-workout isn’t super necessary from a functional standpoint and the ingredients don’t have as much science behind them in terms of effectiveness. 

RELATED: Protein Requirements By Age: How Much Do You Need?

Genius Pre Pre Workout

Thus, it doesn’t make a ton of sense to blow your budget on a pre-workout supplement (especially when carbohydrates are generally cheaper). Finally, young athletes don’t exactly need a huge pump or enough energy to exercise for 2+ hours like elite athletes, so an economical pre-workout with a simple formulation is the most sensible thing to look for. 

Caffeine Content

Excessive caffeine intake among teens is a real concern and, although teens are hardly known to have a cup of coffee in the morning, they are known to have soda and energy drinks. So, even if you carefully watch how much caffeine they are getting from these sources, pre-workout with too much caffeine can put them at risk.

Thus, it’s wise to look for one that either has no caffeine or has a dosage that’s appropriate for your child’s age and weight. 

Lack of Proprietary Blends

As mentioned, safety is of the utmost importance when talking about adolescents taking supplements. With bodies that are still developing, proper nutrition and shielding from potentially harmful ingredients in food and supplements is critical to protect their overall wellness. 

RELATED: Supplement Trends Study

Proprietary blends in supplements describe blends in which the amounts and quality of certain ingredients is unclear in the labeling. In the fitness world, this is a huge red flag as it often means the product may be including fillers, harmful ingredients, or just doesn’t have the potency it claims to have—hence the lack of transparency in labeling. 

Presence of Beta-Alanine

Now, this one is based purely on personal preference. However, it’s something to consider, especially for beginners to pre-workout or parents who aren’t aware. For the latter type of person, you should know that beta-alanine is a compound that’s responsible for the pins and needles sensation, also known as “the tingles,” you may get after taking pre-workout.

RELATED: What Is Beta-Alanine?

Although it affects everyone differently depending on their metabolism, this sensation can range from a mild tingling to outright burning all over. Parents and teens, don’t call 911 if this happens as it’s harmless and will go away once the pre-workout works its way out of your system. That said, it can be a bit scary for a young person to experience. 

So, if you’d rather just avoid this phenomenon altogether, it’s best to choose a pre without this ingredient which is why we included this detail in the pre-workouts on our list. If its use is relevant to the young athlete’s sport or the sensation doesn’t really bother them, then go for it. Potential side effects have not been studied in those under 18, though, so run this ingredient by your pediatrician if you have concerns. 

FAQs About Pre-Workout for Teens

Is pre-workout safe for teens?

Some pre-workout supplements may be safe for those of adolescent age who are very active, but parents should verify safety with a dietitian or primary care provider. 

What’s the best pre-workout for a 14-year-old?

Though individuals under 18 should have an adult review any supplements they decide to take, our team of fitness and nutrition professionals believe the following pre-workout supplements are best for teens to try:

-Best Pre-Workout for Teens Overall: Transparent Labs Stim-Free Pre-Workout
-Best Natural Pre-Workout for Teens: Legion Pulse Caffeine-Free
-Best Pre-Workout for Teens for Cardio: 1st Phorm Endura-Formance
-Best Budget Pre-Workout for Teens: RAW Nutrition Pump
-Best-Tasting Pre-Workout for Teens: Genius Pre
-Best Organic Pre-Workout for Teens: Garden of Life Sport Organic Plant-Based Energy
-Best High-Caffeine Pre-Workout for Teens: Cellucor C4

At what age can you take pre-workout?

Pre-workout for anyone under the age of 18 should first be cleared with a pediatrician to ensure the risk of harmful effects is minimized, the child’s tolerance to caffeine is assessed, and appropriateness of supplementation is established. 

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. Rogers JM, Gills J, Gray M. Acute effects of Nitrosigine® and citrulline malate on vasodilation in young adults. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2020;17(1):12. Published 2020 Feb 24. doi:10.1186/s12970-020-00343-y
  2. Hoffman J, Ratamess NA, Ross R, et al. Beta-alanine and the hormonal response to exercise. Int J Sports Med. 2008;29(12):952-958. doi:10.1055/s-2008-1038678
  3. Coull NA, Watkins SL, Aldous JW, et al. Effect of tyrosine ingestion on cognitive and physical performance utilising an intermittent soccer performance test (iSPT) in a warm environment. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2015;115(2):373-386. doi:10.1007/s00421-014-3022-7
  4. Young SN. L-tyrosine to alleviate the effects of stress?. J Psychiatry Neurosci. 2007;32(3):224.
  5. Cho HW. How Much Caffeine is Too Much for Young Adolescents?. Osong Public Health Res Perspect. 2018;9(6):287-288. doi:10.24171/j.phrp.2018.9.6.01
  6. Orbeta RL, Overpeck MD, Ramcharran D, Kogan MD, Ledsky R. High caffeine intake in adolescents: associations with difficulty sleeping and feeling tired in the morning. J Adolesc Health. 2006;38(4):451-453. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2005.05.014
  7. Burns RD, Pfledderer CD, Fu Y. Adolescent Health Behaviors and Difficulty Concentrating, Remembering, and Making Decisions. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2019;15(6):664-672. Published 2019 Jul 9. doi:10.1177/1559827619860067
  8. Grindstaff PD, Kreider R, Bishop R, et al. Effects of creatine supplementation on repetitive sprinting performance and body composition in competitive swimmers. Int J Sport Nutr. 1997;7(4):330-346. doi:10.1123/ijsn.7.4.330
  9. Guest NS, VanDusseldorp TA, Nelson MT, et al. International society of sports nutrition position stand: caffeine and exercise performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2021;18(1):1. Published 2021 Jan 2. doi:10.1186/s12970-020-00383-4
  10. Bandara SB, Towle KM, Monnot AD. A human health risk assessment of heavy metal ingestion among consumers of protein powders supplements. Toxicology Reports. 2020;7:1255-1262. doi:10.1016/j.toxrep.2020.08.001

Further reading

Sole F63 vs Horizon 7.0 (2024): The Clash of Two Affordable Treadmills Cover Image
Sole F63 vs Horizon 7.0 (2024): The Clash of Two Affordable Treadmills

Which treadmill will come out on top in this showdown between the Sole F63 vs Horizon 7.0 AT? Read more

Are BCAAs Worth It? Insight From a Registered Dietitian  Cover Image
Are BCAAs Worth It? Insight From a Registered Dietitian 

BCAAs get a lot of hype from folks in the gym, but are BCAAs worth it? A registered dietitian weighs in. Read more

Why Do I Have Knee Pain From Treadmills? Cover Image
Why Do I Have Knee Pain From Treadmills?

Poor posture and/or wearing the wrong shoes are the most common causes of knee pain from treadmills, but there are some other contributing factors too. Read more

Nutritionist Certification vs Degree: What’s the Difference? Cover Image
Nutritionist Certification vs Degree: What’s the Difference?

Wondering what the difference is between a nutritionist certification vs degree? Here, we’ll break down costs, length of schooling, and job scope. Read more