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Although women are the strongest, most badass creatures to ever walk the earth, sometimes we need a little extra oomph to power through a workout. That’s where the best pre-workout can come in. These dietary supplements can help you crush a high-intensity sweat session, utilizing common ingredients like caffeine, l-citrulline, and beta-alanine. But with hundreds of pre-workouts on the market, how do you choose? 

The best pre-workout for women will support increased energy levels, exercise performance, and even muscle growth with (hopefully) few side effects.

Our team here at GGR knows pretty much everything you should know about home gym equipment, supplements included. And amongst our group of certified personal trainers, nutrition coaches, and former college athletes, we’ve tried our fair share of supplements both for personal and professional enjoyment. In the case of women’s pre-workouts, we looked at these five factors:

  • Formulation: Does it have effective ingredients backed by research?
  • Dosages: Are there clinically recommended doses of caffeine, citrulline malate, and other pre-workout ingredients?
  • Price per serving: Is it affordable?
  • Effects: Does it do what it promises to do?
  • Third-party testing: Is it safe for athletes?

We’ve teamed up with knowledgeable registered dietitians, too, to ensure we’re providing you with accurate information in our supplements content—Laila Ouldibbat, a New York City-based registered dietitian who’s pursuing a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences, weighed in on the best pre-workout supplements for women below. 

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. GGR also recommends choosing a product that has been third-party tested for quality.

13 Best Pre-Workouts for Women  

Best Pre-Workout for Women Overall: Legion Athletics Pulse Pre-Workout

Good for: Almost any woman who’s looking for a pick-me-up in the gym 

Best Pre-Workout Overall

Legion Athletics Pulse Pre-Workout

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.

There are a few reasons we like Legion Pulse as the best pre-workout for women. First, it’s because this is a good pre-workout for anyone, man or woman, because women don’t really need a specially-made pre-workout. In just one serving of Pulse, which is an all-natural product, you get clinically-backed dosages of l-citrulline, beta alanine, betaine anhydrous, and l-thenine.

We also love that Pulse gives you options: with caffeine and without caffeine, and there are multiple flavors in each option. If you go with the caffeinated option, we have to point out that one serving (which is two scoops) has 350 milligrams of caffiene; that’s a LOT. Kate Meier, GGR’s head of content and competitive weightlifter, says she takes just one scoop to get the energy she needs.

Jacob Penner, USA Weightlifting L-2 coach, also tested Legion Pulse and names it among his favorites. He says that the 1:1 ratio of caffeine to l-theanine provided him with a “balanced” experience, giving Pulse a 4 out of 5 for its overall effects. “Whenever I take Pulse, I feel energized, but not overstimulated.”

Legion-Pulse

It should be noted that there isn’t any creatine in this formulation, which has been shown to increase muscular performance1, so you’d have to take it separately if muscle growth is one of your goals. There is, however, betaine in this formula, which is known for its volumizing effects (AKA, it gives you a nice pump).

In terms of taste, I personally tried Blue Raspberry and thought it was superb, giving it a 5 out of 5. Jacob tested the Peach Ring flavor and said he liked it so much, he would drink this just for the taste.

All three of our testers noted that they didn’t experience any tingles or crashing after using Pulse, which is third-party tested through Labdoor to ensure that what’s on the label is what is actually inside.

One downside of Pulse is that it costs $2.25 per serving, though Legion does offer a subscribe-and-save option. There are also only about 20 servings per tub.

For more, check out our Legion Pulse pre-workout review.

Price per serving$2.25
Key ingredientsCitrulline, beta-alanine, caffeine
Flavors With caffeine: Apple Cider, Frosted Cranberry, Strawberry Margarita, Fruit Punch, Arctic Blast, Strawberry Kiwi, Blood Orange, Blue Raspberry, Blueberry Lemonade, Cherry Limeade, Grape, Green Apple, Mojito, Pink Lemonade, Sour Candy, Tropical Punch, Watermelon, Peach Ring
Without caffeine: Fruit Punch, Grape, Sour Candy, Blue Raspberry, Tropical Punch, Green Apple

Best Pre-Workout for Women for Weight Loss: Transparent Labs LEAN 

Good for: Those looking for lean muscle

Best Pre-Workout for Weight Loss

Transparent Labs LEAN Pre-Workout

Product Highlights

  • Formulated for those looking to lose weight but maintain muscle mass
  • 14 grams of evidence-based ingredients
  • Naturally flavored and sweetened with Stevia
  • Available in 9 different flavors
  • Backed by a 60-day money-back guarantee

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Includes vitamins/micronutrients to support thyroid production
  • High levels of citrulline to increase oxygen delivery to muscles
  • No artificial sweeteners
  • No artificial colors
  • 60-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Bitter and unpleasant taste for some consumers
  • Several reports of receiving wrong item

Bottom Line

Transparent Labs’ LEAN pre-workout supplement promises to deliver better endurance, power, alertness, and focus. The fat loss component is less of a guarantee with few reports of an actual change in body composition.

While a supplement alone won’t be your magic answer to weight loss, Transparent Labs’ LEAN is marketed toward those who want to lose body fat. It contains a “fat-burning and thyroid support complex,” which includes some important vitamins and minerals like iodine, zinc, and selenium that can potentially support healthy thyroid function and thus support weight loss. 

RELATED: Best Cardio Machines for Weight Loss

And we say potentially, because the research is not conclusive. While these ingredients are generally safe to use, the benefits are usually only seen in individuals who are deficient in them. 

What this product does have going for it is its transparent label, which shows 180 milligrams of caffeine. Laila says this is a relatively lower dose, but that moderate doses of caffeine have been shown to not negatively interfere with natural thermoregulation like higher doses potentially can. 

You’ll also get 6 grams of citrulline, 2 grams of beta-alanine—a slightly low dose—and 2.5 grams of BCAAs in this formula. There are nine flavors to choose from, too.

I tried Tropical Punch and although it tasted slightly bitter to me, it’s not overly sweet, which I appreciate. Solubility is not the best, but that didn’t detract too much from the experience overall.

Price per serving$1.66
Key ingredientsCitrulline-malate, beta-alanine, caffeine 
Flavors Tropical Punch, Lemon Lime, Sour Peach, Sour Grape, Watermelon, Green Apple, Orange, Blue Raspberry, Strawberry Lemonade 

Best Caffeinated Pre-Workout for Women: Nutricost Pre-X Pre-Workout

Good for: Those who want an extra jolt of caffeine in their pre-workout

Best Caffeinated

Nutricost Pre-X Pre-Workout

GGR Score: 4.14 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Pre-workout formula with B vitamins
  • 300 mg of caffeine per serving
  • About $1 per serving
  • Third-party tested
  • 5 flavor options

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Contains B vitamins
  • Gluten-free and non-GMO
  • Affordable price per serving

Cons

  • Not enough research to support the ingredients that claim to support cognitive function
  • Caffeine content may be too much for some folks

Bottom Line

Nutricost Pre-X is an affordable pre-workout at about $1 per serving. There are five flavors to choose from, each with a light and refreshing taste. Each serving contains 300 milligrams of caffeine, which is equivalent to about 3 cups of coffee.

For those wanting just a bit more than the recommended dose of caffeine (200 milligrams) in their pre-workout, Nutricost Pre-X has you covered. With 300 milligrams of caffeine per scoop, you’re sure to get that energy boost you’re looking for, making it the clear winner for best caffeinated pre-workout for women. One cup of coffee has about 95 milligrams of caffeine, so you’re looking at the equivalent of about 3 cups in one serving of Pre-X—whoa.

Man mixing a scoop of Nutricost Pre-X Pre-Workout in water

GGR director of content Kate Meier, CPT, USAW-L1, and GGR expert panelist Jacob Penner, USAW-L2, tested this pre-workout, and were pleased to see an affordable price tag on a third-party tested supplement; Pre-X Pre-Workout is NSF-certified, which is great for any athletes worried about banned substances.

Kate rates the taste and solubility a 4 out of 5, saying, “It’s very drinkable, and for a pre-workout it’s refreshing, too. Plus, the Blue Raspberry flavor tastes exactly how you’d expect it to taste.” The pre-workout mostly mixes well, too, although it can leave behind some small granules at the bottom of your drink.

In addition to having a high level of caffeine, there is L-citrulline, beta-alanine and betaine. Perry Nix, MS, RD, notes that the L-citrulline comes in a recommended dose of 4 grams. Plus, the pre-workout has alpha-GPC, which can help with focus. Perry adds, “Alpha-GPC is recognized as a nootropic due to its ability to enhance cognitive function, potentially improving memory and learning abilities.”

Price per serving$1.09
Key ingredientsL-citrulline, beta-alanine, Nitrosigine, betaine, caffeine
FlavorsBlue Raspberry, Watermelon, Fruit Punch, Grape, Peach Mango

Best Pre-Workout for Women for Focus: Onnit Alpha Brain

Good for: Those who want an effective pre-workout with not too many stimulants

Editor's Choice

Onnit Alpha BRAIN Pre-Workout

Product Highlights

  • 200 mg of caffeine
  • Includes beta alanine and L-citrulline
  • Priced around $3/serving; subscribe-and-save option available
  • 2 flavors currently available

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 200 mg of caffeine
  • Tiger's Blood flavor tastes great
  • Includes 225 mg of ashwagandha extract
  • Contains beta alanine and L-citrulline
  • Subscribe-and-save option is available

Cons

  • Only 2 flavors available, and Yuzu Peach isn't popular among our product testers
  • $3/serving is expensive
  • Key ingredients like citrulline and beta-alanine are under-dosed

Bottom Line

Onnit's Alpha BRAIN Pre-Workout is a unique blend of ingredients that our testers enjoyed for workouts where they wanted to be focused and energized. It only comes in two flavors; the Tiger's Blood flavor is our preferred choice.

Jacob Penner— USA Weightlifting Level-2 coach, GGR expert panel member, and coach of North Carolina-based Endless Strength Weightlifting—has seen many of his clients and weightlifting teammates excel when taking this pre-workout supplement, including women like Kate Meier, a competitive weightlifter and GGR’s head of content.

“This brings great focus and clarity to your workout. It’s not overly stimulating; it’s more of just feeling very present and ready to do the work,” says Kate, who’s tried dozens of women’s pre-workout supplements. “Also, no tingles from this one.”

Woman Drinking Alpha Brain Pre Workout

Unfortunately, Kate and Jacob’s weightlifting team found it more difficult to say nice things about its taste. “The Tiger’s Blood taste is tropical, but not pineapple; more coconutty/watermelon/strawberry. We much preferred this one to the Yuzu Peach; some of our testers really didn’t like the flavor at all, and others said they could drink it, but it wouldn’t be their go-to choice because it seemed bitter, not sweet or tart.”

As we note in our full Onnit Alpha Brain pre-workout review, this pre-workout comes with 200 milligrams of caffeine per scoop, which is roughly the same amount in two cups of coffee. As our testers can attest to, you’ll probably feel a little more wired than if you just went with the two cups of Joe since Alpha Brain contains Dynamine, a compound that can boost caffeine’s mental alertness and energy-boosting effects.

Dynamine has a longer half-life than caffeine, so it takes longer to leave your system and could cause any additional caffeine to disrupt your sleep cycle or cause cardiovascular issues.

Jacob says his weightlifting clients and teammates saw modest pumps with this pre-workout after an hour-long Olympic weightlifting training session.

Price per serving$3
Key ingredientsCitrulline malate, beta-alanine, Alpha-GPC, caffeine anhydrous, theobromine, African oil palm fruit  
Flavors Yuzu Peach, Tiger’s Blood

Best Non-Stim Pre-Workout for Women: Transparent Labs Stim-Free Pre-Workout 

Good for: Ladies who need a stimulant-free option 

Best Non-Stim Pre-Workout

Transparent Labs Stim-Free Pre-Workout

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.

If you’re sensitive or intolerant to stimulants, you can still take pre-workout, you’ll just need a stimulant-free version—yes, those exist! Consider Transparent Labs Stim-Free as a caffeine-free pre-workout option. 

We rated this product as a 4.5 out of 5 for formulation, and here’s why: Instead of a stimulant, there’s an added 150 grams of elevATP, an ingredient that supposedly increases the level of ATP in the system, which can support strength, power, and performance levels in athletes. 

In this formulation, you’ll get 8 grams of citrulline malate for increased blood flow, 4 grams of beta-alanine to buffer lactic acid buildup in the muscles, 2.5 grams of betaine anhydrous to help reduce fatigue, plus sodium and potassium for hydration.

An image of Transparent Labs Stim-Free pre-workout

Laila likes that this pre-workout can be taken any time, and still contains many crucial supporters of a good workout.

Amanda Capritto, CPT, endurance athlete and former GGR senior staff writer, tried the Cherry Limeade flavor and was pleasantly surprised. “It’s tart and not overly sweet like a lot of other Transparent Labs flavors, which I appreciate,” she says, leading her to rate it as a 3 out of 5 taste-wise.

Price per serving$1.67
Key ingredientsCitrulline-malate, beta-alanine, betaine anhydrous, taurine, l-tyrosine, elevATP, sodium, potassium 
Flavors Fruit Punch, Cherry Limeade, Sour Grape, Blue Raspberry, Green Apple, Lemon Lime, Orange, Peach Mango, Strawberry Lemonade, Tropical Punch

Best Pre-Workout for Women for Beginners: Jacked Factory Nitrosurge

Good for: Individuals who are new to pre-workout and need to start with smaller dosages of stimulants

Best for Beginners

Jacked Factory Nitrosurge Pre-Workout Powder

Product Highlights

  • Vegan pre-workout 
  • 180 mg of caffeine per scoop 
  • Manufactured in USA in cGMP certified facility

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Available in multiple sizes: 30 or 60 servings
  • Subscribe and save 15%
  • Available in 11 flavors
  • 100% money-back guarantee
  • Manufactured in USA in cGMP certified facility
  • Vegan
  • Affordable at under $1 per serving (1 scoop serving)

Cons

  • Mixed reviews on taste
  • Mixed reviews on effectiveness
  • Contains sucralose

Bottom Line

Jacked Factory Nitrosurge Pre-Workout is a generally positively reviewed pre-workout with 180 milligrams of caffeine and a large variety of flavor options.

Jacked Factory Nitrosurge is a great pre-workout option for beginners “because it won’t give you those wild tingles or insane feeling that some other pre-workouts on the market would,” says Kate Meier, GGR head of content and product tester.

You have the option to use one scoop or two scoops of Nitrosurge, and the supplements facts label clearly lays out the nutrition and dosages for every ingredient for both serving sizes.

A two-scoop serving contains 6 grams of L-citrulline, 3.2 grams of beta-alanine, 2.5 grams of betaine anhydrous, 360 milligrams of caffeine anhydrous, 180 milligrams of L-theanine, 100 milligrams of theobromine, and 50 milligrams of AstraGin.

jacked factory nitrosurge

Kate took one scoop of this pre-workout before morning workouts and is overall pleased with the experience. “One scoop really only gives you a half dosage of the active ingredients you’d find in other pre-workouts, aside from caffeine, so I don’t feel itchy or hype, because ingredients like beta-alanine are halved,” she explains.

“This is what makes it really good for a beginner who isn’t ready to get the mad-hype feeling you get with other pre-workouts,” she says. “I like that you still get 180 milligrams of caffeine with one scoop, so you get the energy, but without all the other effects.”

“If you do half a scoop of other pre-workouts, you don’t get all that caffeine still, so you might not feel as energized,” Kate explains.

One of the members of her Olympic weightlifting team took two scoops to get the full dosages of all the ingredients, and he said this one was mild compared to some other, stronger pre-workouts he has used.

Unfortunately, there is no creatine in this pre-workout, so you will need to get that supplement elsewhere if you want the muscle-building effects of creatine supplementation. (We happen to have a guide to the best creatine supplements.)

Price per serving$1
Key ingredientsCaffeine, beta-alanine, betaine anhydrous, L-citrulline
Flavors  Many flavors; they are different on Amazon and on the Jacked Factory website

Best Budget Pre-Workout for Women: Cellucor C4 

Good for: Those tight on cash 

Best Budget Pre-Workout

Cellucor C4 Pre-Workout

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 you want a pre-workout that won’t break the bank, we recommend Cellucor C4 to almost anyone. 

This cult-favorite has 1.6 grams of beta-alanine, which Laila says helps support endurance and mitigate muscle fatigue, plus 1 gram of creatine. Both are underdosed here, especially creatine —3 to 5 grams is the researched-backed maintenance dose2 for athletes—but you’ll often find that to be the case with less expensive supplement options. This lead to us rating C4 as a 1.5 out of 5 for formulation.

An image of Cellucor C4 pre-workout in a shaker

C4 does have an abundance of vitamins, including vitamin B12, C, B6, niacin, and folic acid, but Laila points out that this pre-workout formula is sweetened with sucralose and acesulfame potassium, plus colored with red food dye 40, which is something some women may be wary of. There will also be a “pump” effect from C4, from the nitric oxide boosters citrulline-malate and N03-T creatine nitrate.

C4 was the first pre-workout I ever tried, and I’ve had a few tubs over the years. I particularly like Icy Blue Razz. It gets the job done, and while I do get a little tingly from it, the sensation goes away quickly. Both taste and solubility get a 5 out of 5 rating for me.

All in all, this is an average pre-workout, particularly good for beginners, at 78 cents per serving—significantly cheaper than any other on our list.

Price per serving$0.78
Key ingredientsCaffeine, beta-alanine, creatine, nitrates
Flavors Icy Blue Razz, Cherry Limeade, Fruit Punch, Watermelon, Pink Lemonade, Strawberry Margarita 

Best Gluten-Free Pre-Workout for Women: Cira Pre-Game 

Good for: Anyone living a gluten-free lifestyle who needs a pick-me-up in the gym 

Best Pre-Workout Overall

Cira Pre-Game

Product Highlights

  • 8 notable ingredients including citrulline, beta-alanine, betaine anhydrous, tyrosine, caffeine, theanine, Theobromine, and AstraGin.
  • AstraGin helps with absorption and decreases bloating 
  • Each flavor has added vitamins
  • Subscribe-and-save option to save 15%

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • 8 effective ingredients
  • Each flavor has added vitamins
  • AstraGin may reduce bloating
  • Specifically marketed for women, not typical in pre-workout drinks
  • Subscribe-and-save option to save 15%

Cons

  • Flavors are unique
  • No creatine so not ideal for muscle building

Bottom Line

Made with eight quality yet common pre-workout ingredients, Cira Pre-Game pre-workout supplement is a viable option for men and women alike. So long as you are not on the hunt for a product that contains creatine, this may work for you.

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t love when products are marketed “for women”—especially when they have names like Pink Candy. However, I actually really like this pre-workout, and so does Laila. It’s a bonus that it’s gluten-free, perfect for those who try to avoid this ingredient.

Pre-Game contains 200 milligrams of caffeine per serving, which Laila says is on target, plus 6 milligrams of l-citrulline, which can support a longer workout and less fatigue. 

“All formulas of Pre-Game contain AstraGin, a synergistic compound used to facilitate absorption of all ingredients, and some formulations contain SenActiv, which is an extract that has been shown to support recovery and cell regeneration,” says Laila. 

An image of Cira Pre-Game pre-workout

Pre-Game also contains theobromine, which, when used in conjunction with caffeine, helps to avoid that abrupt caffeine crash, Laila says. 

It should be noted that there isn’t any creatine in this formulation, which has been shown to increase muscular performance, so you’d have to take it separately if muscle growth is one of your goals. And all in all, the formulation of this product only earned a 2 out of 5 since it’s missing beta-alanine as well, an important pre-workout ingredient. 

Where Pre-Game did shine is in taste and solubility, earning a 4 out of 5 and a 5 out of 5 respectively. I tried the aforementioned Pink Candy and while it’s sweet, I enjoyed the flavor. It also had a bit thicker consistency than most pre-workouts, but I didn’t mind it. 

Price per serving$1.16
Key ingredientsCitrulline, beta-alanine, caffeine
Flavors Pink Candy, Strawberry Margarita, Glow-Jito, Peach Bellini 

Best Medium Stim Pre-Workout for Women: Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard  

Good for: Women who want a bit of oomph but don’t want the typical pre-workout buzz

Best Pre-Workout for Muscle Gain

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout

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.

If you’re looking for a good pre-workout that can give you a bit of energy but won’t turn you into a crazed gymrat, consider Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard. It contains a modest 175 grams of caffeine, which is about 1.5 to two cups of coffee, depending on how strong they’re brewed.

It also contains 3 grams of creatine, which Laila calls a “relatively high provision,” but with creatine’s proven track record of positive effects on strength and performance3, this formulation could help you build muscle. 

Gold Standard also contains 750 milligrams of citrulline, and several vitamins and minerals—all appropriate doses. AstraGin, a synergistic compound that helps facilitate the absorption of ingredients, is also included. 

All in all, Laila likes the creatine in this formulation and the AstraGin only sweetens the deal. 

GGR Head of Content Kate Meier and her weightlifting team tested this pre-workout. In fact, one of the members of her team has been using this as his go-to pre-workout for years.

“The flavors are absolutely delicious,” he says. “In terms of how it makes you feel, you will feel a little tingly. I like it for giving me great focus and great energy levels. Not the strongest pump, but this is always a reliable choice for pre-workout.”

Price per serving$1.00
Key ingredientsCaffeine, beta-alanine, creatine, citrulline
Flavors Blueberry Lemonade, Fruit Punch, Watermelon, Green Apple 

Best-Tasting Pre-Workout for Women: JYM Pre JYM High-Performance Pre-Workout  

Good for: Exciting flavor options 

Best-Tasting Pre-Workout

JYM Supplement Science Pre JYM Pre-Workout

Product Highlights

  • A pre-workout powder powerhouse
  • Packed with lab- and gym-tested ingredients
  • 9 different flavors to pick from
  • Boosts strength, energy, endurance, mindset, and muscle growth
  • 14 active ingredients and a nutritional supplement
  • Higher potency with 26-gram scoops
  • Award-winning brand and pre-workout supplement

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Helps boost your energy for any workout
  • Supports mental focus with caffeine, alpha-GPC, and huperzine A
  • Includes amino acids to promote muscular strength and endurance
  • Great for men and women

Cons

  • Do not take up to 6 hours before bed
  • Some reviewers don’t love the flavors
  • Reviewer complaints about high sucralose and sugar levels
  • Shares equipment that handles eggs, milk, soy, tree nuts, and wheat
  • Not third-party tested

Bottom Line

Fuel your body with a delicious pre-workout supplement with nutrients and 14 active ingredients for an energy-boosting workout.

While we know taste is subjective, JYM pre-workout has a wide array of flavors that get great acclaim among users, including Anthony O’Reilly, GGR performance editor, as well as Kate Meier, GGR head of content, and many members of her weightlifting team.

After a couple weeks of using it, Kate says, “This is now our team’s favorite pre-workout: It’s the one the athletes grab and go to every time.”

jym-supplement-stack

In our full JYM Pre-Workout review, GGR writer and product tester Amanda Capritto explains that this pre-workout contains a LOT of ingredients, which is great news for your fitness goals. One serving of JYM Pre-Workout contains:

  • 6 grams of Citrulline malate
  • 6 grams of BCAAs in the 2:1:1 ratio (leucine, isoleucine, and valine)
  • 2 grams of Con-Cret® patented creatine HCl
  • 2 grams of beta-alanine
  • 1.5 grams of betaine
  • 1.5 grams of l-tyrosine
  • 1.5 grams of l-valine
  • 1 gram of taurine
  • 500 milligrams of beet root extract
  • 300 milligrams of caffeine anhydrous
  • 150 milligrams of alpha-GPC (from 300 mg of AlphaSize®)
  • 50 micrograms of Huperzine A
  • 5 milligrams of BioPerine® Black Pepper Extract

Anthony says of the pre-workout: ““When it comes to pumps, move over Michelin man. My ego was through the roof after working out with this.”

He feels that the focus-related effects could’ve been more pronounced or longer-lasting, but that he’d “buy this for the pump alone” and the Pineapple Strawberry flavor is “very tropical.”

“I want to drink this while on a beach, but without the caffeine,” he says.

Price per serving$1.83 or $2.24 depending on size bought
Key ingredientsCitrulline malate, BCAAs, creatine HCl, beta-alanine, betaine
Flavors Orange Mango, Rainbow Sherbet, Tangerine, Grape Candy, Pink Lemonade, Pineapple Strawberry, Black Cherry, Strawberry Kiwi, Cherry Limeade, Raspberry Lemonade

Best Natural Pre-Workout for Women: Naked Energy

Good for: Those who don’t want additives and artificial ingredients in their pre-workout

Best Natural Pre-Workout

Naked Nutrition Naked Energy Pre-Workout

Product Highlights

  • Naked Energy is a vegan pre-workout supplement formulated with just 10 ingredients and nothing artificial. 
  • Three flavors are available: Fruit Punch, Citrus, and Unflavored.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Formulated with just 10 ingredients
  • Affordable at less than $1 per serving
  • Available in unflavored option
  • Vegan

Cons

  • Small dose of creatine
  • No nitric oxide boosters, so don’t expect a muscle pump

Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a vegan pre-workout supplement, Naked Energy may be a good choice. Made with just 10 ingredients and nothing artificial, it was designed to support increased energy without the fillers.

If you’re looking for a “clean” pre-workout, Naked Energy is probably your best bet. With only 10 ingredients and no additives, fillers, or artificial sweeteners, you’re getting a product with a super-transparent label. 

Instead of citrulline, Laila says, Naked Energy uses l-arginine for the same nitric oxide effects. Also, 2 grams of beta-alanine mitigates lactic acid buildup while 1 gram of creatine—while underdosed—can support more power and less fatigue. You’ll also get 200 milligrams of caffeine from purely sourced coffee beans. 

There’s also an abundance of B vitamins and minerals, says Laila, and the flavored options are sweetened with cane sugar. “Overall, Naked Energy has a great transparent label and clean ingredients, while still containing many of the necessary components—even creatine,” Laila says. 

Despite this, the ingredients are underdosed, leading us to rate Naked Energy a 2 out of 5 in formulation. However, it scored a 5 out of 5 in price because of its affordability, and we also liked the taste, particularly of the Citrus flavor, which led to a 5 out of 5 rating.

Price per serving$0.90
Key ingredientsBeta-alanine, caffeine, creatine, vitamins B3, B6, B9, and B12
Flavors Unflavored, Citrus, Fruit Punch

Best Pre-Workout for Women for Muscle Gain: BlackWolf Pre-Workout

Good for: Women looking to build muscle

Best for Muscle Gain

BlackWolf Pre-Workout

GGR Score: 3.5 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Stimulant-free 
  • Backed by over 25 clinical trials
  • Available in 3 flavors
  • Mixes well
  • One flavor is caffeine-free

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Stimulant-free
  • Tastes great
  • Mixes well
  • No post-workout crash
  • Caffeine-free option
  • 11 scientifically backed ingredients
  • Free 10-week training program and cookbook included with purchase

Cons

  • The dosage of beta-alanine can cause tingling and itching of the skin
  • No user reviews on their website

Bottom Line

BlackWolf Pre-Workout contains 11 scientifically proven ingredients designed to improve energy, focus, and performance without any unwanted side effects.

If you’re looking to pack on some new muscle mass, you’ll love the 11 active ingredients in BlackWolf Pre-Workout, which include L-citrulline malate, beta-alanine, creatine monohydrate, betaine anhydrous, L-arginine, caffeine anhydrous, taurine, L-tyrosine, dynamine, coconut water powder, BioPerine, dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE), and Huperzine.

While our product tester, GGR editor Nicole Davis, wasn’t a superfan of the taste or solubility of BlackWolf Pre-Workout, she says that stomaching the “just OK” taste is worth it for people who want a load of active ingredients at clinically studied dosages.

An image of BlackWolf pre-workout in a shaker

There’s also a version of BlackWolf Pre-Workout sans caffeine, which is the one that Nicole tried. She likes that it’s stimulant-free, since there are already so many other ingredients that can give you that hyped-up feeling.

BlackWolf is a good choice for women who want to build muscle due to its clinical dosing of creatine monohydrate (3 grams). It’s also likely to give you a fantastic pump due to the 3.2 grams of beta-alanine. Even if you get the caffeine-free version, the DMAE6 and Huperzine5 are nootropics that can support mental acuity and focus.

Price per serving$2.05
Key ingredientsCitrulline malate, beta-alanine, creatine, caffeine, DMAE, Huperzine
FlavorsGreen Apple, Blue Raspberry, Fruit Punch

Best Pre-Workout for Endurance Athletes: 1st Phorm Endura-Formance

Good for: Women who perform endurance sports like running and cycling, or those who work out for more than 90 minutes

Best for Endurance

1st Phorm Endura-Formance

GGR Score: 4.75 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 should get an award for name accuracy. Amanda Capritto, GGR senior staff writer and our resident triathlete, is a huge fan of this pre-workout for its ability to keep her powering through long endurance workouts, especially on the bike.

“I love Endura-Formance for high-wattage bike sessions, long runs, and even my support strength training, which typically lasts about an hour and 15 minutes,” Amanda says. “Between the 5 grams of creatine and the endurance-specific ingredients, this pre-workout may be my new lifetime pre.”

Those aforementioned endurance-specific ingredients are PeakO2 and S7.

endura formance

PeakO26 is a patented compound that is said to increase oxygen utilization while decreasing lactate, a combo that results in greater work capacity, Amanda explains, while S7 is a blend of seven nutraceuticals that has been clinically shown to increase nitric oxide production by up to 230%7!

“I don’t know if it’s placebo from knowing what’s in the powder or if it’s actually working, but I definitely feel like this helps with my triathlon training sessions,” Amanda enthuses, noting that Endura-Formance is also quite tasty in the Berry Lemonade flavor and mixes relatively well.

Additionally, Endura-Formance contains more sodium than most pre-workouts, and this mineral is absolutely crucial for endurance athletic performance. How’s that for an all-rounder supplement?

Price per serving$1.50
Key ingredientsCreatine, beta-alanine, sodium, PeakO2, S7
FlavorsBerry Lemonade, Grape, Green Apple, Orange

Other Pre-Workout We Tried and Researched 

We researched quite a few pre-workouts for women to narrow down our list. Here are a few that almost made the cut:

Huge Supplements Wrecked: This product is loaded with stimulants—four to be exact—so we opted for Kaged Pre-Kaged as Best Caffeinated instead.  

Powher Pre-Workout: This is marketed specifically to women, and while it does contain Enxtra, a caffeine amplifier, plus beet root extract and vitamin B6, its ingredients are underdosed. 

Alani-Nu Pre-Workout: We like that Alani-Nu contains the research-backed dose of l-citrulline malate and beta-alanine, plus 200 milligrams of caffeine, although our tester said it tastes a bit too sweet.

Cira Pump Caffeine-Free Pre-Workout: We like Cira in general, and we are fans of Pump. We chose Cira Pre-Game for the best overall pre-workout for women because we’ve found that most people enjoy the caffeine.

Transparent Labs BULK: This one is geared toward those looking to put on mass, so it’s another good option for women who want to build muscle.

Muscle Tech Vapor X5: The flavor “doesn’t smack you in the face as being overly strong and tastes like your standard berry-flavored drink,” according to product tester Jacob. He felt more awake pretty soon after taking this, and likes that it gives him energy but no intense tingles.

Gorilla Mode: Although this one “smells like Hawaiian Punch and tastes like it too,” it has a “weird mouthfeel, almost powdery.”

Bucked Up Woke AF: This pre-workout simply contains too many stimulants in too-high doses for us to ethically mass-recommend it. Read our Woke AF review for more details.

Ghost PreWorkout: Our tester Jacob, who has tried more than 50 different pre-workouts, says he feels “pretty cracked out” on Ghost and he “definitely feels a bit of a crash coming off of this.” Not a dealbreaker, he says, but worth noting. Read our ghost pre-workout review for more details.

Kaged Pre-Kaged: Pre-Kaged has a large dose of natural caffeine in each serving—274 milligrams, to be exact…unless you’re looking at the stim-free version. However, the beta-alanine and creatine amounts aren’t quite at research-backed doses.

Swolverine PRE: This one is “Stim-free so there’s no energy,” according to product tester Anthony O’Reilly, “but the pump is decent and you get some focus.”

Legion Athletics Pulse Pre-Workout: While the ingredients and dosages in this pre-workout are on par with what’s considered good, our product tester wasn’t a fan of the bitter taste and aftertaste. Read our full Legion Pulse Pre-Workout review.

XWERKS Ignite: We like XWERKS overall, and Ignite is a good pre-workout. For our tester, though, the tingling was too intense.

Check out or picks for the best pre-workout for men.

pre-workout supplements stacked in a gym

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

Not only did we ask the women on our team what pre-workouts they liked, we did hours of research and taste-testing to narrow down our list of the nine best pre-workouts for women. Some criteria we evaluated to curate this list included:

  • Price: Is this a budget pre-workout, an expensive pre-workout, or does it fall in the  middle? We wanted something for every price point, and options that were available on the manufacturer’s websites and retailers like Amazon
  • Serving size: How many servings do you get in a container? If you take pre-workout frequently, this is especially important because you may end up needing to restock monthly. 
  • Ingredients: What active ingredients are in this pre-workout? Does it include the important ones like caffeine, citrulline, citrulline malate, beta-alanine, and potentially creatine?
  • Formulation: Of the pre-workout ingredients, are they present in researched-backed dosages?
  • Flavors: Is there a wide range of flavor options available for different palates?

Benefits of Pre-Workout  

Wondering why you might want to take a pre-workout? Here are the main reasons. 

Supports Increased Energy

This is where pre-workout shines, boosting energy and focus in intense workouts through ingredients like caffeine. Nitric oxide boosters like citrulline and beetroot also promote blood flow, which may result in better athletic performance via more nutrients being transported to your muscles.  

Supports Muscle Strength

Not only do pre-workouts give you the energy to be able to work out harder and longer, some also contain creatine, which has been shown by numerous studies to support increased strength when combined with resistance training. 

Supports Better Cognition

Nootropics like L-Theanine and L-Tyrosine have been shown to enhance memory and concentration. 

How to Choose the Best Pre-Workout for You 

Make sure to evaluate the following criteria before choosing a pre-workout.

Ingredients 

Make sure whatever pre-workout you choose contains the clinically proven, high-quality ingredients that make a difference, including caffeine, l-citrulline, beta-alanine, and potentially creatine monohydrate or HCL, depending on your fitness goals. BCAAs, which are a group of three essential amino acids—leucine, isoleucine, and valine—are not as integral. 

RELATED: Best Pre-Workout With BCAAs

That said, our picks for the best BCAA for women may help with things like muscle fatigue and holding onto lean muscle mass.

Look for Third-Party Testing

Because the supplements industry is unregulated, it’s best to look for pre-workouts that have been tested to ensure there are no banned substances in them. This is especially important if you’re an athlete. Logos from Informed Choice, NSF, or Banned Substance Control Group (BSCG) on the label can give you peace of mind. 

Budget

Pre-workout supplements range in price from less than $1 per serving to nearly $3 per serving, so decide how much you want to spend. The less expensive products generally have smaller doses of the researched-backed ingredients we like to see, but they can still be effective. 

FAQs on the Best Pre-Workout for Women 

Is pre-workout good for females?

While there are specific populations, like pregnant people and children, who should not take pre-workout, if you take it as directed, pre-workout is considered safe for women. It being “good for you” is subjective—can it help you reach your fitness goals? Maybe, yes. Is it the healthiest thing you can consume? Probably not.  

What is the healthiest pre-workout for you?

In general, the healthiest pre-workouts don’t contain artificial ingredients or a large amount of stimulants. Our choice for the best natural pre-workout is Naked Energy.

What is the best pre-workout for beginners?

Our pick for the best pre-workout for beginners is Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard. Not only is it super affordable, this product has all the important ingredients present at slightly ower doses, which is suitable for someone who’s never tried a pre-workout before. 

Is pre-workout good for losing weight?

The most sustainable way to lose weight is with a proper diet and exercise plan. Pre-workout can supplement this plan to give you an energy boost during your workouts, but it shouldn’t be used as a primary strategy alone. 

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

References

  1. Hall, Matthew DO; Trojian, Thomas H. MD, FACSM. Creatine Supplementation. Current Sports Medicine Reports: July/August 2013 – Volume 12 – Issue 4 – p 240-244 doi: 10.1249/JSR.0b013e31829cdff2 
  2. Naderi A, de Oliveira EP, Ziegenfuss TN, Willems MT. Timing, Optimal Dose and Intake Duration of Dietary Supplements with Evidence-Based Use in Sports Nutrition. J Exerc Nutrition Biochem. 2016 Dec 31;20(4):1-12. doi: 10.20463/jenb.2016.0031. PMID: 28150472; PMCID: PMC5545206.
  3. Arciero PJ, Hannibal NS 3rd, Nindl BC, Gentile CL, Hamed J, Vukovich MD. Comparison of creatine ingestion and resistance training on energy expenditure and limb blood flow. Metabolism. 2001 Dec;50(12):1429-34. doi: 10.1053/meta.2001.28159. PMID: 11735088.
  4. Malanga G, Aguiar MB, Martinez HD, Puntarulo S. New insights on dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE) features as a free radical scavengerDrug Metab Lett. 2012;6(1):54-59. doi:10.2174/187231212800229282
  5. Wang BS, Wang H, Wei ZH, Song YY, Zhang L, Chen HZ. Efficacy and safety of natural acetylcholinesterase inhibitor huperzine A in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease: an updated meta-analysisJ Neural Transm (Vienna). 2009;116(4):457-465. doi:10.1007/s00702-009-0189-x
  6. 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 exhaustionJ Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015;12(Suppl 1):P45. Published 2015 Sep 21. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-12-S1-P45
  7. Nemzer BV, Centner C, Zdzieblik D, Fink B, Hunter JM, König D. Oxidative stress or redox signalling – new insights into the effects of a proprietary multifunctional botanical dietary supplementFree Radic Res. 2018;52(3):362-372. doi:10.1080/10715762.2017.1390228

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