Best Pre-Workout for Athletes

Never tried pre-workout supplements? You’re missing out. The first time you mix up and drink a pre-workout, the result can feel phenomenal. These specialized supplements are optimized to ensure peak performance, build maximal muscle, and allow you to stay pumped for longer.


As the name suggests, “pre-workouts” refer to a multi-ingredient dietary formula consumed just before you work out. That could be hitting the gym, the track, or practicing your sport of choice. You’ll find amino acids, beta-alanine, caffeine, creatine, and other carefully selected ingredients. However, there’s no set formula for what a pre-workout supplement should contain.

Choosing the best pre-workout for athletes can be daunting. After all, the market is packed with dozens of options, and more are released daily.

We’ve found eight of the best pre-workouts for athletes, selected based on their specific benefits. If you’re a school or college athlete, these are the best pre-workouts for you.

8 Best Pre-Workouts for Athletes

1. Best for No Artificial Ingredients: SIXSTAR Pre-Workout Explosion


  • Increases energy: Contains ingredients like caffeine for an energy boost before workouts.
  • Builds muscle: Includes betaine and beta-alanine, which are known to aid in muscle development and endurance.
  • Enhances workout performance: Contains arginine AKG for increased blood flow and reduced muscle fatigue.
  • Affordable: Fairly priced at $16.99 with additional saving options available.


  • Only three flavors available: Fruit Punch, Icy Rocket Freeze, and Pink Lemonade.
  • Primarily designed for athletes: first and foremost, a supplement for athletes, not bodybuilders.

Specially formulated for athletic performance, SIXSTAR’s pre-workout Explosion aims to maximize energy, focus, and intensity. How? Well, each scoop contains 3 g of beta-alanine, 2.5 g of betaine, and 2.2 g of arginine AKG.

Beta-alanine is known to increase carnosine levels – a crucial lactic acid buffer. This ingredient, therefore, alleviates the burn you feel after substantial effort allowing you to train harder for longer.

Betaine, meanwhile, is a critical amino acid associated with strength, power, and mass. It helps support protein synthesis inside your muscle while protecting cells during dehydration.

Finally, arginine AKG is a potent vasodilator, meaning it’ll deliver more blood – alongside oxygen and essential nutrients – your body needs to perform at the highest level.

You also get a healthy dose of caffeine to keep you focused and give you the extra pump of energy required to deliver your best.

2. Best for Weight Loss: SIXSTAR Pre-Workout Ripped


  • Hybrid Formula: The product serves as both a pre-workout supplement and weight loss aid.
  • Scientifically Backed Ingredients: The use of caffeine, C. canephora robusta, beta-alanine, and arginine are all supported by scientific studies.
  • Subscription Discount: The subscribe & save option offers significant savings.
  • Positive Reviews: The product has a high average rating, with most users recommending it.
  • Secure Payment and Return Policy: The company offers secure payment options and a 30-day return policy.


  • Limited Flavor Options: The product currently comes in only two flavors.
  • Unclear Transition Packaging: Customers may be uncertain about which package they’ll receive during the transition to new packaging.

Last but not least, the best pre-workout for athletes wanting to get lean and get ripped. SIXSTAR’s pre-workout Ripped is formulated to maximize your endurance while shedding fat. It contains 400 mg C. canephora Robusta, which according to one study, led to an average weight loss of 10.96 lbs over 60 days.

But that’s not all; each scoop is also loaded with 1,500 mg beta-alanine, 1,100 mg L-Arginine AKG, an advanced amino acid complex, and a moderate dose of caffeine to keep you pumped without the jitters. Few pre-workout supplements are as scientifically backed or methodically formulated as Ripped.

3. Best for High Intensity: Transparent Labs BULK Black


  • High caffeine content: Provide an intense energy boost for high-level workouts.
  • Several active ingredients: Multiple ingredients work to improve strength, endurance, and muscle pumps.
  • No artificial ingredients: No artificial sweeteners, flavors, or colors.


  • Missing ingredients: Missing creatine and BCAAs, which many athletes might expect in this type of pre-workout supplement.
  • Requires tolerance testing: Individuals must assess their tolerance level to get the full intensity.

Transparent Labs prioritizes a 100% transparent ingredients list – no hidden substances. Their BULK Black supplement, containing 17 g of clinically dosed active ingredients, has an impressive list: 8 g citrulline malate, 4 g beta-alanine, 2.5 g of betaine, and over 300 g of caffeine.

If you’re hitting the gym to lift maximal loads or performing intense sprints, this is the pre-workout for you. However, athletes interested in repetitive high-intensity exercises may find the pump from this product overbearing. It’s also a little pricey at $54.95 for 30 servings. Overall, a suitable product that minimizes poor-quality ingredients.

4. Best for Runners: Cellucor C4 Sports


  • Budget-friendly: C4 Sport has a price point suitable for most athletes
  • Nutritional value: Comes with low calories and additional mineral supplements (vitamins B6, B12, calcium, and magnesium)
  • Energy boost: Fantastic for long-distance running with a substantial energy increase.


  • High in stimulants: Not all runners want an explosive dose of caffeine.
  • Artificial ingredients: Does include some artificial ingredients, including flavoring.

Few of the best pre-workouts for athletes work well for runners. That’s where Cellucor C4 Sports comes in. Formulated to support muscle endurance and explosive energy, it’s ideal for runners and other explosive sports. The supplement comes with an impressive ingredient list, including several key minerals and nutrients: vitamins B6 and B12, calcium, and magnesium, as well as beta-alanine, L-Arginine, and creatine.

You’ll find C4 Sports a brilliant supplement for beginners. While the caffeine content is too high for some, it’s a somewhat low dose relative to other explosive supplements.

5. Best for Female Athletes: Transparent Labs LEAN


  • Female-friendly: Ideal for women who want to maintain size while improving strength.
  • Low calories: Contains only 5 calories per serving.
  • Weight maintenance: Great for individuals aiming to maintain or slightly reduce their weight.


  • Lack of nutrients: No additional electrolytes or vitamins are included.
  • Clumping issue: Requires additional shaking to prevent the powder from clumping.

Gaining muscle and losing weight is a tricky balancing act. Enter Transparent Labs LEAN: the ideal solution for ergogenic training and fat loss. Containing 6 g of citrulline malate and 2 g of beta-alanine: the former boosts strength and endurance, while the latter is all about delaying muscular fatigue. Meanwhile, its fat-burning and thyroid support complex includes acetyl-L-carnitine, chromium picolinate, and zinc.

Like all Transparent Labs products, there are no sweeteners, coloring, or artificial preservatives. Even its caffeine content comes from organic green coffee beans.

With many women concerned about bulking up from pre-workouts, this is a fantastic option. And its caffeine content isn’t too high to induce jitters or other ill effects.

6. Best for Taste: XWerks Ignite


  • Flavorful: Highly praised for its taste and variety of flavors.
  • Nutrient-enriched: Contains additional vitamins and minerals like calcium, magnesium, and vitamins B6 and B12.
  • Subscription discount: Offers a 5% discount for subscribe-and-save orders.


  • Costly: High price point considering the dosage levels and quantity of ingredients.
  • Artificial components: Contains artificial flavoring and sweetener (sucralose).

Harnessing the power of caffeine and nootropics, XWerks Ignite promises a “smooth, refreshing, and sustainable energy with absolutely no crash.” How? Nootropics, such as Rhodiola Rosea and DMAE, work on both physical and mental performance. DMAE, in particular, improves memory, concentration, and intellectual function.

Other ingredients include l-Tyrosine, which helps relieve burnout and mental fatigue, and CarnoSyn Beta-alanine, which, as established, enhances muscular endurance.

However, it’s not just the incredible mental properties customers rave about. The flavors – Green Apple, Orange, Blue Raspberry, and Watermelon – are reportedly some of the best around. Albeit, this is achieved through some artificial flavoring and sweeteners.

7. Best for Pump: Kaged Pre-Kaged Elite


  • High L-Citrulline dosage: Contains a significant amount of pure L-citrulline (10,000 milligrams) per serving for intense muscle pumps.
  • Varied flavors: Offers five unique and reportedly delicious flavor options.
  • High value: Despite its high price ($59.99), it offers high value considering the high concentration of ingredients. There’s also a 10% discount on subscriptions.


  • Contains artificial sweeteners: Includes sucralose, an artificial sweetener.
  • Not for beginners: The high concentration of ingredients may not be suitable for beginner athletes.

One of the more renowned pre-workouts for athletes, Kaged Pre-Kaged Elite, is among the most concentrated powers you’ll encounter. With a potent 10,000 mg of L-citrulline (for max pumps), 388 mg of caffeine, 3,200 mg of beta-alanine, and 5,000 mg of creatine, it’s got almost everything you could need – plus the kitchen sink.

Due to this overload of ingredients, it’s only suitable for advanced bodybuilders and strength athletes pushing their absolute limits. If you’re a sports athlete or runner, we advise using a different supplement.

8. Best for Budget: Jacked Factory Altius


  • Cost-effective: Offers similar benefits as more expensive brands.
  • Clean ingredients: No artificial fillers, dyes, or sweeteners.
  • Beginner-friendly: Suitable for those new to pre-workout supplements.


  • Lower intensity: Effects may be less potent compared to others.
  • Limited flavor: Only available in Mixed Berry, which might not cater to all taste preferences.

For school and college athletes, the best pre-workouts can get expensive, especially if you’re frequently training or hitting the gym. Altius Pre-Workout is a good balance of affordability without sacrificing the key benefits of a pre-workout supplement.

Inside each scoop, you’ll find 8 mg L-Citrulline Malate, 2.5 mg Betaine Anhydrous, 3.2 mg Beta-Alanine, and 3 mg of creatine. There’s also a large dose of 325 mg of caffeine to boost energy and cognitive function. It’s a little more calorie-dense than some supplements, with 25 calories per serving. However, it’s also fortified with vitamin B12, sodium, and potassium – helpful for sweat-inducing workouts.

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Mir Saaeid
Mir Saaeid

Seasonal feature writer, a British educated Marketer with 7+ years of experience in Online Marketing, Communications, and Branding. Also the Co-Founder of Srinagar-based e-commerce startup Kashmirica. Blogs at Mir Saeid

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