There are literally hundreds of pre-workout supplements on the market, and it can be extremely confusing figuring out which one is right for you. Just about every single pre-workout out there will claim to be the “most powerful” or “revolutionary” and provide “explosive energy” and possibly “backed up by science” and blah blah blah. You can read pretty much any advertisement and think that it is the best one out there. So how do you really know which is best for YOU?
You see, our bodies are all different and will react differently to various pre-workouts. What works great for one person may not work at all for you. You may highly recommend a pre-workout to someone, and they think it’s completely worthless! We have different tolerances, metabolisms, caffeine sensitivity and many other factors that can change the way a pre-workout “hits” you.
First of all, it is imperative that you realize that a pre-workout is not designed to help you get big and strong. A pre-workout is designed to give you energy to boost your workout. Sure, there may be some ingredients that are “scientifically proven” to make you gain “6 pounds of lean muscle” or improve your 1-rep max or whatever they claim. Since supplements are not regulated by the FDA, they can literally almost claim anything on the bottle just so they put a little asterisk with fine print saying “These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA…”. Don’t be fooled and think that a pre-workout is going to get you big and ripped. What a pre-workout CAN do is give you the energy, motivation and possibly extra stamina to give you better workouts which could, in time, give you better strength and size or help you get ripped. I am sure some will disagree with this, but I have been working out for decades and taking pre-workouts for many of the years. Trust me when I say that there has never been a pre-workout that has done anything except boost my energy and motivation. This for sure does make my workouts better! It’s my better workouts that are improving my physique and strength, NOT the pre-workout itself. Point being is that you should pick a pre-workout that gives you the best energy, pump, mental clarity and motivation for the gym and forget about the other claims. Of course, that’s just my opinion but I firmly believe it!
Before you judge the pre-workouts by the reviews you read, you must know that a TON of the reviews are fake. Have you ever noticed a plethora of 5 star ratings or people giving the product raving reviews that are posted on the exact same date? Often this is a sign that the review is fake. Even if it says “Verified buyer”, who’s to say that people weren’t paid or promised something to leave high reviews? It could easily be the manufacturer making purchases of their own products, only to give it a five star review. There are some obvious fake reviews, though some are done very well where it is hard to tell. Trust me when I say that a high percentage of reviews are fake even on the most reputable sites. The best reviews come from people you know or absolutely trust that you know have actually tried the product.
Picking the right pre-workout for you is unfortunately usually a case of trial and error. Unlike most supplements, pre-workout is something that you can usually tell if it works for you from the first dose. This is why if a supplement company really believes in their pre-workout, they should provide sample sizes. Even if you have to pay a couple bucks, it would be well worth it so you don’t have to buy a whole tub of it only to waste $30-$50 on something that does little to nothing for you!
Before I start with my recommendations, please keep in mind that I am NOT sponsored, endorsed or getting paid to promote any particular products. I plan on keeping it this way as once a person gets endorsed, they lose all credibility in my opinion. This is why when I recommend something, it is my true and honest opinion. I don’t want you to think I am try to get you to buy something, because I am most definitely not!
With that being said, I have tried dozens of pre-workouts as well as dozens of different samples over the years. The right pre-workout for ME personally at the moment is EVL ENGN. I wake up early in the morning to workout, and I usually average about six hours of sleep. This is the only pre-workout that consistently gets me amped to hit the gym, and the energy carries throughout my marathon hour and a half workouts. It is lacking in ingredients a bit with only an 8.4 gram scoop size, so I add about 5g of BCAA’s, 6g of Citrulline Malate (for pump) along with about 2 grams of beta-alanine (for endurance) to bring it up to par. For the people that say “Scoop Size Matters”, this brings it up to over 21 grams, and still costs less than most of the more expensive pre-workouts, even with the added ingredients. Just for the record, my second favorite at this moment is GAT Nitraflex. It doesn’t quite ramp me up like ENGN does, but it works pretty well in my book and is nice for a change.
Now, just because that is the right workout for me doesn’t mean it is the right one for you. Some people don’t want a big surge of energy because it makes them feel jittery. Some people may be sensitive to beta-alanine and get the tingling sensation, of which I have never felt in my life. You may workout late at night and want one with no caffeine. As I mentioned previously, you may not even feel anything from this pre-workout!
There are so many different factors that it just comes down to sampling them, trying your buddies pre-workout along with trial and error to choose the pre-workout that’s best for you!