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In order to conduct this El Jefe pre-workout review, we had to pull in Kate Meier, certified personal trainer and GGR senior director of content, who has tried over 20 pre-workout supplements. With several different stimulants, including plenty of caffeine from various sources, El Jefe is one of the strongest pre-workouts available. 

Along with stimulants, it also contains some nootropics for focus and compounds to help with the blood flow needed to chase that coveted pump. This pre-workout from Xtremis Cartel has been generating a lot of buzz in gyms all over the country, so we had to try it for ourselves—and according to Kate, there are plenty of things to say about it.

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.

From High Stim to Stim Free, We’ve Tried Dozens of Brands of Pre

Using our custom GGR supplement testing methodology, our team of fitness professionals, dietitians, and personal trainers personally order, open, and use the supplements we review and provide an honest rating to give you a comprehensive picture of the supplements we test. For fitness supplements, we give products a 1-5 rating based on:

  • Formulation
  • Taste
  • Solubility
  • Side Effects
  • Third-Party Testing
  • Price per Serving
  • Customer Reviews
  • Customer Service

These ratings are based on what research shows pertaining to a supplement’s ingredients, our testers’ expertise, and our honest, personal experience using the product. 

El Jefe

El Jefe Pre-Workout

GGR Score: 3.5 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • All-in-one high stim pre-workout 
  • Combines stim and pump ingredients 
  • Available in 4 flavors

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Flexible dosing: Can take 1 or 2 scoops
  • Combines stimulants and pump ingredients
  • Save when buying multiple

Cons

  • Contains sucralose
  • Limited reviews
  • Not third-party tested

Bottom Line

El Jefe Pre-Workout is a high stimulant pre-workout with limited but positive customer reviews for providing energy, focus, pump, and tasting good.

A Quick Look at El Jefe Pre-Workout

El Jefe is a pre-workout that is sold by Nutrition Cartel, a company that sells a high volume of different types of sports nutrition supplements. El Jefe is sold under the category of Xtremis Cartel & ASC Supplements, which also offers fat burners and Sicario pre-workout, which is a stim-free version of El Jefe. 

While El Jefe isn’t quite as intense as the likes of stronger supps like Crack Pre-workout by Dark Labs (over 500 milligrams of stimulants!), you should still not underestimate its potency. 

Before You Buy

  • Once the product is open, Nutri Cartel will not allow returns or refunds. 
  • The cocktail of stimulants can be intense for beginners. It may be wise to try a half scoop if it’s your first time taking a pre of its kind. 

Is El Jefe Worth It?

If you’re a fan of that skin-ripping, wired feeling, El Jefe is likely to give you just what you need with stimulants for great energy and blood flow enhancers for a nice pump. However, if you’re sensitive to caffeine or take pre-workout for simple motivation or focus, El Jefe may have an overwhelming effect. At $1.37 per serving, it’s not the most affordable option but it likely won’t break the bank.

RELATED: Best Pre-Workout for Beginners

Great for:

  • Caffeine junkies who are experienced with high-stim pre-workout
  • People with a high tolerance and looking for a top tier energy boost
  • Individuals who take pre-workout for pump

Not recommended for:

  • Beginners just starting out taking pre-workout supps
  • Athletes who submit to regular drug testing
  • Those who get jittery after too many stimulants

El Jefe Specs

Price per serving$1.37
Serving size1 scoop (11.42 g)
FlavorsOrange Creamsicle, Sour Gummy Bear, Peach Rings
Caffeine dosage230 mg
Beta-alanine dosage2 g
L-Citrulline dosage4 g
Other notable ingredientsBetaine Anhydrous, Choline Bitartrate, Sodium Chloride, Theobromine, Yohimbine, Bioperine
Third-party tested?No

Experience Using El Jefe

According to our tester, Kate Meier, NASM-CPT, USAW-L1, CF-L1, El Jefe has reached almost legendary status among bodybuilders and other weightlifters. “This pre-workout is now a running joke on my weightlifting team,” Kate says. “When the guys really want to get riled up, they start talking about taking El Jefe and going bonkers. It is very stimulating!”

A man is shown drinking a dose of El Jefe Pre-Workout.

Price Per Serving

We gave El Jefe a 3 out of 5 in this category. And that’s because if you go with one scoop as your chosen serving size, that comes out to about $1.37 per serving, which is slightly more expensive than other pre workouts. 

However, if you want to go “God Mode” and take two scoops before your workout, depending on your tolerance to high stim supps, it turns into a much more expensive habit. That said, this supplement is absolutely loaded with stimulants, nootropics, and other ingredients, so the value is dependent on what you’re trying to get out of it. 

RELATED: Best Stim-Free Pre-Workout

Formulation

We gave a rating of 3 out of 5 in formulation because, while it contains some of the most common, effective pre-workout ingredients (e.g., beta-alanine) some dosages are too low and there are some borderline problematic ingredients included. Let’s break down some key ingredients in the matrices found in El Jefe. 

Pumps Matrix

L-citrulline (4 grams): L-citrulline boosts the production of nitric oxide in the body, which assists in improving blood flow to the muscles at doses of 3-5 grams per day1. Luckily, El Jefe has 4 grams. 

Beta-alanine (2 grams): Beta-alanine is a common pre-workout ingredient and it’s no mystery why. Research says it may help boost power output so you can pump out more reps2. The bad news? The dosages of 4 to 6 grams3 are needed to see benefits and El Jefe contains only 2 grams per serving. 

Betaine Anhydrous (1.5 grams): Researchers have observed improvement in muscular endurance and quality of reps in athletes supplementing with betaine anhydrous for 15 consecutive days4.

Focus and Stim Matrix

Eria Jarensis Extract (250 milligrams): This is one of those problematic ingredients we hinted at. Phenylethylamine (PEA) has a similar molecular structure to Eria Jarensis, a plant in the orchid family. Under the section “S6 Stimulants,” PEA (and its derivatives) is listed as a banned substance by WADA. 

A freshly mixed shaker of El Jefe Pre-Workout next to the container.

It is known to be a stronger stimulant than caffeine, a substance that is already a grey area for most college athletic departments. While its safety isn’t 100% established, elite athletes should approach with caution. 

Yohimbine (1.5 milligrams): This is one of those fat burners that actually has some science behind it5. Particularly, it may be effective at targeting your areas of “stubborn fat6” and even boosting athletic performance by delaying fatigue7

RELATED: Best Pre-Workout for Weight Loss

Taste and Solubility 

Kate gave this pre-workout a rating of 4 out of 5 for both solubility and taste. “Tried orange creamsicle, [the] taste is good—kind of like an orange smarty. Not too sweet or tangy,” Kate reports. But she had a slight issue with the mixing: “ Mixed pretty well, but there is a bit of a chalky aftertaste.

Side Effects

Kate gave El Jefe a rating of 4 out of 5 in side effects…and oh boy does it sound like she felt the effects of the ol’ El Jefe. “Felt like my sinuses cleared up—felt like my nostrils were huge! Felt like I could breathe better,” Kate notes. She also assures us that both the stim matrix and pumps matrix are indeed effective. 

A close up view of the side of an El Jefe Pre-Workout container. Don't worry, it's their good side.

“It definitely gives you a big pump—it’s quick to kick in. It kicked in almost right away. I didn’t feel like my skin was crawling, but still had that energy.” Finally, she affirms the effectiveness of the nootropics, agreeing with the customer reviews of the laser focus you get from El Jefe. “The biggest thing was the focus; this is one of the best feelings of being “locked in” compared to others I’ve tried (I’ve used 20-30 different ones),” she says.

Third-Party Testing 

We had to give El Jefe a 1 out of 5 rating in the third-party testing category because it is not third-party tested. Likely due to the presence of Eria Jarensis Extract. While the presence of the compound does not guarantee you will fail a drug test, it wouldn’t be the best pre-workout to take if you submit to drug testing. 

El Jefe vs Transparent Labs BULK Black 

Transparent Labs BULK Black

Transparent Labs Bulk Black Pre-Workout

GGR Score: 4.2 starstarstarstarstar

Product Highlights

  • Clinically dosed pre-workout 
  • Over 17 g of active ingredients 
  • Vegan 
  • No artificial, sweeteners, coloring, or preservatives

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • No artificial sweeteners, coloring, or preservatives
  • 3rd-party lab tested
  • Transparent ingredients
  • Subscribe and save 10%
  • Available in 5 flavors

Cons

  • Manufactured in a facility that also processes allergens
  • Limited reviews
  • Some flavors may be sold out

Bottom Line

Transparent Labs BULK BLACK is a step-up from the original BULK pre-workout with more stimulants for people looking for a bigger energy boost before their workout. It is also very positively reviewed by customers.

Transparent Labs BULK Black is another high-stim pre-workout we’ve tried and reviewed in the past. A great product from a reliable brand, BULK Black is a bit more expensive than El Jefe and has double the scoop size. However, it provides more caffeine, twice the l-citrulline, and has the effective dose of beta-alanine. Most importantly, it’s third-party tested by Informed Sport, so it’s a safer option for athletes. 

El JefeTransparent Labs BULK Black
Price per serving$1.37$1.83
Serving size1 scoop (11.42 g)1 scoop (21.4 g)
FlavorsOrange Creamsicle, Sour Gummy Bear, Peach RingsCherry Kiwi, Blue Raspberry, Sour Gummy, Black Cherry, Watermelon Peach, Blueberry Pomegranate, Peach Mango
Caffeine dosage230 mg275 mg
Beta-alanine dosage2 g4 g
L-Citrulline dosage4 g8 g
Other notable ingredientsBetaine Anhydrous, Choline Bitartrate, Sodium Chloride, Theobromine, Yohimbine, BioperineTaurine, Alpha Gpc, L-Theanine, Theobromine, Bioperine
Third-party tested?NoYes, Informed Choice

Customer Experience 

We gave a rating of 4 out of 5 here as there is plenty of information available on the company website to answer common questions and concerns. The contact page also has a query form, customer service email, and hours of operation available. However, there is no phone number or live chat option for immediate assistance.

Also, if you want to make a return or get a refund on NutriCartel’s ASC supplements, the company permits neither if the product has been opened.  

Ordering El Jefe

El Jefe is not available on Amazon, so you’ll need to order from the website where there is plenty of opportunity to get discounts on ASC supplements. For example, you can get 10% off your order for ordering two products and 15% off for ordering three.

A scoop of El Jefe Pre-Workout is about to be poured into a shaker cup.

U.S. shipping is free on orders over $60. Otherwise, shipping is a flat rate of $5.95. International shipping is available, but pricing is based on location and will take 10 to 15  business days to be delivered. Orders are done by Shopify and follow the same flow as typical online orders. 

RELATED: Does Pre-Workout Help Build Muscle?

Customer Reviews

There are 331 customer reviews on the NutriCartel website with an average rating of 4.89 out of 5 stars, which is why we gave a 4.9 rating in this category. Most reviews marvel at how hardcore the energy rush is and how effectively they gain laser focus from the pre-workout. Some reviews also note they experience mood elevation after supplementing. 

Final Verdict of Our El Jefe Pre-Workout Review

Whether you’re into hardcore bodybuilding or powerlifting, or just need a major pick-me-up before an intense lift, El Jefe is one of the best pre-workouts to do the job. NutriCartel promises the pumps you will get are “top tier” and reviews praise the laser focus it also provides. However, if you have any sort of medical condition, consult your healthcare provider before taking supps like El Jefe due to the sheer number of ingredients that have an intense effect on the heart and body. 

  • It holds a high rating among customer reviews and received praise from our testers for its effects.
  • Not recommended for beginners. Do a half scoop if taking a high stim pre for the first time. 
  • It does not contain branched-chain amino acids, creatine, or the efficacious dose of beta-alanine.
  • Returns and refunds are not allowed if the product is opened.

Full Rating

El Jefe Pre-Workout

El Jefe Pre-Workout is a high stimulant pre-workout with limited but positive customer reviews for providing energy, focus, pump, and tasting good.

Product Brand: Nutricartel

Product Currency: $

Product Price: 54.95

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:
3.5

El Jefe Rating

Price per serving – 3
Formulation – 3
Taste – 4
Solubility – 4
Side effects – 4
Third-party testing – 1
Customer service – 4
Customer reviews – 4.9
Buy Now

El Jefe Pre-Workout: FAQs

Is El Jefe a good pre-workout?

El Jefe is a high stim pre-workout with many reviewers naming it their favorite pre workout because of the great energy they get from it. Be warned, however, it contains more stimulants than most other pre workout supplements.

How much caffeine is in El Jefe pre-workout?

There are about 230 milligrams of caffeine in 1 scoop of El Jefe pre-workout. 

What is the healthiest brand of pre-workout?

The healthiest brand of pre-workout is likely one that has science-backed ingredients, is naturally sweetened, and has minimal additives, artificial fillers, and proprietary blends. 

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 L-citrulline boosts the production of nitric oxide in the body, which assists in improving blood flow to the muscles.L-citrulline boosts the production of nitric oxide in the body, which assists in improving blood flow to the muscles.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. Trexler ET, Smith-Ryan AE, Stout JR, et al. International society of sports nutrition position stand: Beta-Alanine. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015;12:30. Published 2015 Jul 15. doi:10.1186/s12970-015-0090-y
  4. Hoffman JR, Ratamess NA, Kang J, Rashti SL, Faigenbaum AD. Effect of betaine supplementation on power performance and fatigue. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2009;6:7. Published 2009 Feb 27. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-6-7
  5. McCarty MF. Pre-exercise administration of yohimbine may enhance the efficacy of exercise training as a fat loss strategy by boosting lipolysis. Med Hypotheses. 2002;58(6):491-495. doi:10.1054/mehy.2001.1459
  6. Lafontan M, Berlan M, Galitzky J, Montastruc JL. Alpha-2 adrenoceptors in lipolysis: alpha 2 antagonists and lipid-mobilizing strategies. Am J Clin Nutr. 1992;55(1 Suppl):219S-227S. doi:10.1093/ajcn/55.1.219s
  7. Al-kuraishy H, Et Al. (PDF) ergogenic effects of yohimbine: Standardized cycling. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/273061682_Ergogenic_Effects_of_Yohimbine_Standardized_Cycling_Ergogenic_Effects_of_Yohimbine_Standardized_Cycling_Clinical_Study.

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