Pre-workout supplements are called various things in the world of fitness. Jolt juice, pre-pre, legal performance enhancers, swole supplements, and even workout shots.
Whatever you want to call them, pre-workouts can create a great effect on the quality of your exercise.
However, many people also overestimate their effects…
These supplements are used by many fitness enthusiasts and athletes to boost strength, speed, energy, endurance, or power before any exercise activities. But if you’re interested in trying out pre-workout supplements, you might become too overwhelmed with the sheer amount of options there are on the market.
In this article, we’ll explore our top picks for the best pre-workouts available today for energy and focus. Additionally, we’ll also outline the most common ingredients you can find inside a typical pre-workout formula. Knowing what’s inside the formulation can help you select what’s right for you and help you avoid unwanted side effects. Different pre-workout supplements can have different effects on each person.
With that said, let’s move on to our top picks and reviews of the best pre-workout supplements to heighten your mental focus.
Top 10 Focus Pre Workout Supplements
#1 – 4 Gauge
When it comes to supplements for an energy boost, the 4 Gauge is the best for energy and focus. You’ll see and hear it in most places where pre-workout supplements are a topic for discussion.
This is not without reason too, the 4 Gauge has plenty to offer when it comes to boosting your performance before it even starts. It is made using all-natural ingredients while also being a great tasting pre-workout (sweetened with Monk Fruit Extract). The Fruit Blast flavor is pretty good and it has only 5 calories per serving.
Particular ingredients that help with mental performance and focus include l-theanine, caffeine and acetyl l-carnitine. Citrulline malate is also added to help to fight off fatigue.
- Well priced
- Natural formulation
- Has plenty of scientific backing on its formula and ingredients
- Very positive reviews from thousands of customers
- Does not contain too much caffeine
- The countries they ship too is fairly limited in our opinion
- The dosage of creatine could be increased
- Only available on the official website
#2 – Gorilla Mode
True to its name, Gorilla Mode claims to let you experience the power and raw energy of a gorilla during your workout.
Gorilla Mode claims to pack more punch when used at half dosage compared to its competitors. We can personally vouch for this claim. Not only does it deliver on this claim, but it also does so at an affordable price. The company aims to disrupt the saturated market of pre-workout supplements by providing both high quality and quantity via the Gorilla Mode.
The formula includes L-citrulline that increases nitric oxide levels in the blood. An increase in nitric oxide has been known to improve cardiovascular health. Creatine monohydrate is also present in the formula, this helps you effectively develop muscle size and strength.
- Greatly helps in improving hydration
- Increases your energy
- Helps you concentrate on your workout
- Improves muscle endurance
- Lifts your mood
- The caffeine levels found in the formula may be too much for some people
- The formula is too gritty for our tastes
#3 – Transparent Labs BULK
We love Transparent Labs because they stay true to their name, they practice excellent transparency when it comes to their products. None of their products contain any proprietary blends. This means that you get what you see. You will know the exact amount of every ingredient per serving. On top of this, they also conduct rigorous testing through third-party labs and companies. Certificates of analysis and composition of their products are also available to view on their site.
Transparent Labs BULK heavily focuses on gaining muscle. They claim it does via increasing testosterone levels. The formula contains various ingredients that help increase testosterone.
The ingredients found in Transparent Labs BULK will improve various things during your workout. These include your focus, endurance, power, digestion, adrenaline, the main one, testosterone.
- Reasonably priced
- The dosage is clear and concise
- Dosage for every ingredient is available for full transparency
- Has plenty of third-party labs that back its benefits and claims
- The taste is pretty sour, which may be a turn off for some
- It claims to have adrenaline-inducing effects, however, there’s not any evidence for this
- The caffeine level may be too low for some
#4 – Cellucor C4 Original
Fourth on our list is the Cellucor C4 Original. We wouldn’t make a pre-workout supplement list without this very popular product. The C4 Original has all the necessary active ingredients that make up a very effective pre-workout supplement. These include the much-needed caffeine, beta-alanine, arginine, and creatine. We liked how the effects of the formula stay longer compared to other pre-workout supplements we’ve tried.
You should know that because B-Alanine (CarnoSyn) is present in the formula, you may experience some tingles in your ears or fingers. Don’t be alarmed as this is a normal reaction by your body. It’s not a bad side effect. Another thing we liked is that the powder is very mixable. We tried larger dosages and the power really mixed well with the water. You won’t be experiencing clumped up powder.
- The effects stay longer than expected
- We definitely felt a boost after taking the supplements
- It’s designed and built to be used by everyone
- The tingly sensation can be frightening at first or at best, mildly annoying
- This product isn’t for those looking for specific effects as its made to be general use
#5 – Nitro Surge Black
Another affordable yet very powerful pre-workout supplement is the Nitro Surge Black. This supplement is manufactured in a CGMP certified facility located in the USA. Nitro Surge Black claims to have revolutionary ingredients that can take your work out to the next level. These are TeaCrine and Dynamine. It helps to maximize muscle pumps and blood flow while you do your reps.
These ingredients are scientifically-backed by multiple third-party agencies. You can be confident that the benefits are already proven through rigorous testing. These benefits can include increased strength and stamina, improve muscle growth, and most importantly, enhance your focus. These include their trademark Dynamine and Teacrine, L-Citrulline, and Beta-Alanine, among many others. The presence of beta-alanine will also result in a tingling sensation which is very normal. Nitro Surge Black contains zero fillers or dyes, so you don’t have to worry about that.
- Ingredients and dosages are scientifically-backed by a third-party
- Very affordable
- Highly detailed and transparent labeling
- The amount of citrulline in the formula could be improved
- Has artificial flavoring or sweeteners
#6 – ProSupps Mr. Hyde Signature Series
Making it to our top 10 list is the ProSupps, Mr. Hyde Signature Series. This pre-workout supplement delivers excellent exercise performance at very affordable prices. ProSupps includes TeaCrine to help sustain energy and keep focus from the start of your workout to finish. The formula also includes Nitrosigine, which increases blood flow. The other ingredients found in the formula will also increase endurance, power, and muscle strength.
We’re happy to inform you that the effects ProSupps provides last quite a long time, compared to other pre-workout supplements. You should schedule what time you take this supplement. Taking it too late may lead to a sleepless night. For transparency, the ProSupps passes with flying colors. It has been Informed Choice certified and rigorously tested for banned substances. The formula has been conducted for multiple tests and research.
- A great increase in aerobic endurance
- Help in performing better pumps
- Plenty of caffeine
- The effects last long
- The formula mixes quite easily
- The amount of caffeine may be too much for some people
- Also has a tingly sensation due to Beta-Alanine, which can be mildly annoying.
7. Alpha GX7 Pre-Workout
Made by a small supplement company based in Florida, the Alpha GX7 Pre-Workout packs a large punch. The GX7 comes in two flavors, watermelon, and raspberry. Each serving of the GX7 contains 250 milligrams of caffeine; this is just over 2.5 times the amount of caffeine you can find in a cup of coffee. The formula also includes various other ingredients that will help boost strength and focus, such as l-carnitine and beta-alanine.
You’ll experience benefits to your training session such as improved muscle growth, an increase in strength, and a decrease in muscle soreness. Our experience with the Alpha GX7 Pre-Workout has been great so far. Within a few minutes, we’ve started to experience an increase in energy, focus, and strength. The effects do last long enough, however, not as long as the other pre-workout supplements on this list.
8. Tier 1 Plus Pre-Workout
Made by Citadel Nutrition, a company that specializes in producing premium sports supplements; the Tier 1 Plus Pre-Workout is one of their best products available today.
The Tier 1 “Plus” differs from the normal Tier 1 with the former having 100mg more caffeine per serving. This results in a better boost in energy before a workout. The formula contains very high-quality ingredients that will hype you up for the day’s workout. These include the must-haves such as creatine, beta-alanine, nitric oxide enhancers, and more.
The Tier 1 Plus Pre-workout supplement is admittedly pricier compared to the others in this list; even so, the price difference is there for a reason. The quality of the ingredients dictates performance and value. Tier 1 Plus delivers on this quite well.
- Contains zero proprietary blends
- Thoroughly tested by third-party quality assurance
- Contains high-quality ingredients that will further enhance your workout
- It tastes really great in our opinion
- The formula contains sucralose, this might not be ideal for some individuals
- It is pricey compared to its competitors
9. Pre JYM Pre-Workout
A pre-workout supplement top list isn’t complete without the Pre JYM pre-workout supplement. This product ushered the age of transparency in the pre-workout supplement industry. Introduced in 2013, Pre JYM was considered as one of the first high-performance pre-workout supplements in the industry. It was designed by Dr. Jim Stoppani, a world-renowned nutrition and exercise scientist.
He specifically designed this formula to provide athletes a way to boost their fitness and gains during a workout. Pre JYM is a complete, all-around pre-workout supplement consisting of 13 high-quality ingredients that will boost your workout to the next level.
You can be sure that the formula does not include any proprietary blends. This means that you won’t have a vague idea of what the ingredients are. Each ingredient and dosage will be specifically listed for full transparency.
- Hand-picked, high-quality ingredients
- Zero proprietary blends
- Full transparent labels with specific dosages
- No energy crash after a workout
- Pricey compared to competitors
- The taste may be too strong for some people
10. Myth Journey Pre Workout
Last on our list is the Myth Journey Pre-Workout supplement. This formula is designed and made by Myth labs, a fairly popular name in the industry. It contains all the needed ingredients that make up a high-performing pre-workout supplement. It has taurine, caffeine, and also vitamin B12 among others. These ingredients will ensure that you get the best workout possible without experiencing an energy crash afterward.
Myth Journey Pre Workout contains a perfect balance of L-citrulline, beta-alanine, and arginine amino acids. All of these contribute to help your body perform at its top level. The formula also contains Alpha GPC, which promotes healthy brain chemistry and improves cognitive functions such as alertness, memory, and learning. Alpha GPC will help you improve your focus during your workouts.
- Locally made in Texas, USA
- High-quality ingredients
- Contains Alpha GPC for improved focus
- No energy crash after the effects wore off
- The aftertaste can be off-putting for some people
- The effects may not be as pronounced for some people
Ingredients For Focus In Pre Workout Supplements
Even though there are numerous brands and flavors of pre-workout supplements out there; one constant that they all share is the ingredients that improve focus during your workout. Here are some of the most common ingredients you will find in pre-workout supplements and some information about them.
Caffeine Anhydrous & Di-Caffeine Malate
Caffeine is a major ingredient in all pre-workout supplements. It is one of the main reasons for that spike in energy. However, when it comes to pre-workout supplements, there are types of caffeine that you should know about. Caffeine Anhydrous and Di-Caffeine Malate
Caffeine anhydrous is derived from the leaves and seeds of coffee plants. The term “anhydrous” means “without water”. Caffeine anhydrous pretty much means caffeine made from coffee plant seeds and leaves that are dehydrated. This dehydration process produces very potent caffeine powder. Even though caffeine anhydrous and natural caffeine are different forms, they still share the same chemical structure.
Di-Caffeine Malate, also known as Inifnergy, is another form of caffeine. It is used with malic acid (malate) which helps prevent side effects from natural caffeine or caffeine anhydrous. These side effects include digestive stress and energy crash. Di-Caffeine Malate has plenty of benefits that are perfect for pre-workout supplements. Benefits such as replenishing energy, lower caffeine tolerance, and long-lasting caffeine effects.
L-Theanine is another common ingredient found in pre-workout supplements. It is an amino acid that is naturally found in tea leaves. Even though all types of tea contain L-theanine, it’s mostly associated with green tea; which was the first source of L-theanine discovered. It is popular for providing relaxation, focus, and attention without a drowsiness side effect.
You may wonder why a relaxing compound is present in pre-workout supplements, where the goal is to pump you up. This is because L-theanine synergizes well with stimulants. Combining L-theanine and caffeine will produce a valuable effect called the nootropic effect; which greatly boosts a person’s cognitive ability.
Tyrosine or n-acetyl l-tyrosine is so common that it is unusual to see a pre-workout supplement without it listed as an ingredient. Tyrosine is an amino acid that is naturally found in meat, nuts, dairy, and other protein-rich foods. This compound is known to help your body produce adrenaline and dopamine. These two hormones may help in reducing stress during very stressful activities such as a rigorous workout.
The research around tyrosine and its effects on your workout aren’t the most solid. However, in theory, the presence of tyrosine may help improve your focus and endurance during high-stress situations such as a difficult workout.
Acetyl L-carnitine is made from L-carnitine, a derivative of amino acid, in our bodies. Both of these compounds are primarily used to help our body burn extra fat into usable energy.
For people who are taking acetyl L-carnitine for their workouts, they may also enjoy benefits such as improved thinking skills, memory, and focus. Although, the scientific research behind these benefits isn’t the most solid. What we do know is that it is important for a healthy brain and heart function, better muscle movement, producing energy, and other essential body processes.
Because acetyl L-carnitine turns fat into energy, it is a great ingredient to have when your goal is losing weight and building muscle.
You’ll see Teacrine in many pre-workout supplements, especially in our list above. It is also known as Theacrine, this compound increases your energy levels by stimulating your central nervous system when taken in high dosages. On the other hand, it decreases the activities of your central nervous system when taken in a small dosage.
Teacrine is excellent for athletes or workout enthusiasts because it offers various benefits that are vital to a great workout. It provides increased energy levels before a tough workout and helps improve cognitive functions such as focus and clarity. You don’t have to worry about building up Teacrine tolerance as the body seems to be unable to. This means you don’t need to increase your dosages over time.
Alpha Glyceryl Phosphoryl Choline, or Alpha GPC for short, is a staple when it comes to high-quality pre-workout supplements. It is a powerful nootropic compound that offers different benefits for gym-goers and athletes. It is relatively new in the industry but it is becoming even more popular as of late.
When it comes to the brain, Alpha GPC improves cognitive functions. In the muscle, it helps in better muscle contraction, leading to a higher quality workout. Alpha GPC is a very potent neural-energizer. You’ll be laser-focused from start to finish. It is also extremely effective at enhancing one’s memory, mood, general feelings of wellbeing.
Huperzine A is a plant compound found commonly in club moss or firmoss. This plant thrives in colder climates such as Canada and other cooler parts of the world. Huperzine A is widely known for its positive effects on our cognitive functions. Aside from increasing focus through pre-workout supplements, huperzine A has been used for traditional medicines for hundreds of years. It focuses on reducing inflammation and improving a person’s memory.
Can Drinking Coffee Have The Same Benefits?
Drinking coffee before a strenuous workout is nothing compared to taking a pre-workout supplement. A cup of natural coffee may have a little bit more caffeine compared to a dosage of a pre-workout supplement drink; however, the extra compounds found in these pre-workout supplements will go a long way. A cup of coffee lacks the other extra ingredients that make up high-quality pre-workout supplements.
What exactly is a pre-workout supplement?
In short, it’s basically a dietary supplement that contains the necessary ingredients that give you that extra boost before a full workout. Pre-workout supplements are commonly found in powder form which is then mixed with water. It is advisable to drink the mixture 30 minutes before your workout.
In conclusion, pre-workout supplements are a great way to boost your workout performance. Whether it be muscle strength, endurance, or focus; a pre-workout supplement is your best friend when it comes to gains. We hope that these reviews will help you narrow down the right supplement for you and your routine.