A Deep Dive Into Pre-Workout Ingredients & Why They Matter

pre-workout ingredients

The right ingredients can make or break your pre-workout supplement.

Pre-workouts and pre-workout ingredients have long been talked about. As a supplement, pre-workouts can elevate our energy levels, give us serious boosts to push through fatigue, and provide for serious muscle pumps so we get the most out of our lifts.

But finding the right pre-workout products can be difficult and ultimately, so many supplements are full of nonsense ingredients. Premium products are what you deserve and if you know what to look for, then you are on your way to serious gains.

Let’s jump into this and talk pre-workouts. A product is all about the ingredients inside and each supplement has its own formula that separates it from the next. For you, knowing what you are taking is imperative, for while your gains matter, so too does your overall health.

Let’s Talk Pre-Workouts

We’ve all probably heard of pre-workout supplements and what they can do for us. Our busy schedules sometimes require us to find that energy somehow and while some of us can drink a cup of coffee and be fine, others like the added ingredients of this supplement to assist with their gains. However, there is a way to get benefits from caffeine in smaller doses which can be done through caffeine pills.

Of course, the question of money and necessity come into play, but for those who feel a pre-workout is helpful, they reap the rewards that come with it.

What you will get out of a pre-workout supplement is increased energy and focus as a result of certain ingredients, like caffeine. This will get you moving and give you energy to tackle any challenge.

A good pre-workout will also work to reduce fatigue to keep you going through any workout, offer muscle pumps by increasing blood flow for a real increase in strength and size, and enhance recovery to promote more efficient growth and faster turn around time (1,2).

While pre-workouts on the whole are safe to take, it is important to know that the ingredients in your formula dictate how safe and effective it will be. Don’t let a company put some nonsense ingredients in your product just so it can sell. Really push to have the best, most premium products on your shelf. For those sensitive to caffeine, pre- workouts may come with unwanted side effects so that is something to aware of. Thankfully, stimulant-free pre-workouts exist so you can get the same benefits, if not better.

Check out our Best Pre-Workout Supplements list here!

Key Pre-Workout Ingredients To Look For

When it comes to ingredients, you deserve to have the best quality in the formula. Plus, companies should fully disclose what ingredients are in the product and how much of each ingredient the supplement contains.

Let’s take a look at some key ingredients to look for in a pre- workout supplement.

  • Caffeine Anhydrous: Caffeine will work to elevate energy and increase focus and reaction time. That pre-workout urge you feel to get moving is most likely the result of the caffeine and how it affects you. It will also work to increase your metabolism as well (3).
  • Creatine: Creatine is great for increasing strength and size and helping to restore those ATP levels to keep you going in those grueling workouts. It also has properties to assist cognitive functioning (4).
  • BCAAs: The three BCAAs, being leucine, isoleucine, and valine, are perfect for pushing through fatigue, delaying soreness for more efficient workouts, and aiding in muscle growth for the best gains (5).
  • Beta-Alanine: Beta-alanine can help boost athletic performance, delay fatigue and really reduce lactic acid in your muscle for less soreness, and aid in muscle building.
  • L-Citrulline: L-citrulline is great for increasing exercise capacity and athletic performance, as well as reducing fatigue and post-workout soreness.
  • Betaine Anhydrous: Betaine is useful for building strength and peak power output, but also for those looking to change their body composition around for that desired physique (6).
  • L-Theanine: L-theanine is good for mental assistance and can ease stress and anxiety while taking away the jitters of caffeine. So, you get the energy without the dreaded crashes (7).
  • L-Tyrosine: L-tyrosine also acts a stress reliever and can improve memory and cognitive functioning for better alertness and workouts (8).
  • Green Tea Extract: Green tea extract is another source of caffeine, so in turn energy. It will also boost your metabolism for added weight loss benefits and give you a nice boost to carry you through any workout.


Best Pre-Workout Supplements For A Pre-Workout Boost

Now that you know exactly what to look for in a pre-workout, and you know the key ingredients to make sure are on the label, knowing what pre-workout supplements are out there can greatly affect the quality of your product. Some companies just pump out quantity over quality. However, with our Best Pre-Workout Supplements top review, we’ve narrowed a list of the best pre-workouts to make this choice a little easier for you.

On this list, you will find reputable and popular brands like Transparent Labs, Swolverine and Kaged Muscle. But newer companies have come to the fold and have really made a dent in the supplements game. Brands like National Bodybuilding Co., Pre Lab Pro, and Redcon1’s Total War are definitely worth checking out. This list will have everything you need to find the best product for you.

Check out our Best Pre-Workout Supplements list here!

Wrap Up

Pre-workout supplements have the ability to really elevate your performance and take it to the next level. It is important, however, to take note of the formula and make sure your pre-workout ingredients are quality and made with you in mind. Don’t settle for a brand that pumps out quantity over quality and really put an emphasis on you, your body, and your gains. The right pre-workout supplement will work wonders for you and can take your bodybuilding and fitness goals to new levels. Be in charge of your training and overall health and only use the best pre-workout supplements around.

Let us know what you think in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. 

*Images courtesy of Envato


  1. Ellerbroek, Anya C.; Antonio, Jose (2019). “Effects of Pre-Workout Supplements on Strength, Endurance, and Mood”. (source)
  2. Kedia, A.; Hofheins, J.; Habowski, S.; Ferrando, Arny; et al. (2014). “Effects of a Pre workout Supplement on Lean Mass, Muscular Performance, Subjective Workout Experience and Biomarkers of Safety”. (source)
  3. McLellan, Tom M.; Caldwell, John A.; Lieberman, Harris R. (2016). “A review of caffeine’s effects on cognitive, physical and occupational performance”. (source)
  4. Kreider, Richard B. (2003). “Effects of creatine supplementation on performance and training adaptations”. (source)
  5. Negro, M.; Giardina, S.; Marzani, B.; Marzatico, F. (2008). “Branched-chain amino acid supplementation does not enhance athletic performance but affects muscle recovery and the immune system”. (source)
  6. Cholewa, J.; et al. (2013). “Effects of betaine on body composition, performance, and homocysteine thiolactone”. (source)
  7. Nobre, A.; et al. (2008). “L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state”. (source)
  8. Coull, N.; et al. (2016). “Tyrosine Ingestion and Its Effects on Cognitive and Physical Performance in the Heat”. (source)
Austin Letorney
Austin Letorney is a writer, actor, and fitness enthusiast. As a former rower, he has shifted his focus to sharing his knowledge of the fitness world and strength sports with others.