Whether you want to blast out a new PB on the bench or tear up a mid-week workout, pre-workouts can boost your energy, focus and strength, helping you smash your fitness goals.
Pick the right pre-workout and you’ll be able to push out more reps, achieve a better pump and bounce back to full fitness faster.
Pick the wrong one, however, and you’ll crash half way through a workout and drag your ass all the way to the showers.
In this article, I’m sharing my 5 favourite budget pre-workouts.
While you might be able to find supplements that give you a more intense pump, there’s simply no beating these supplements on value.
Take a look and let me know what you think about my choices. And if I missed your favourite supplement, let me know about it in the comments.
What Should You Look For?
- Active ingredients: Any old supplement can call itself a pre-workout regardless of what’s actually in it. Do your research, read the labels and understand what the main ingredients are supposed to do.
- Open or closed label: Closed labels list proprietary blends instead of exact ingredient lists, which means you don’t know exactly how much of each ingredient is included. Open labels list everything individually and are better for the informed lifter.
- Mixability: Pre-workout has the texture of salt and is disgustingly gritty if it doesn’t mix properly. Get a supplement that mixes well in water and milk.
- Flavours: Let’s face it, most pre-workout tastes terrible. Pick a supplement with decent flavour options.
- Budget: Pre-workouts can get super expensive really quickly. However, for this roundup, I’ve tried to keep all pre-workouts around the £5-8 per 100g mark, which should suit the most budget-conscious lifters.
The Protein Works — Genesis
Price per 100g
iBCAA, Arginine Alpha Keto-glutarate, Beta-Alanine, Citrulline Malate, Siberian Ginseng, TPW™ Vitamin Blend, TPW™ Mineral Blend, Agmatine Sulphate
Orange Burst, Raspberry Lemonade, Tropical Punch
Genesis is one three pre-workouts from TPW with the trio completed by Nitro Works and Raze.
Genesis comes in three flavours (listed above) and they’re a little on the chemically side. It’s not unpleasant, though, and it’s definitely palatable enough to get down your neck.
Genesis is a bit of a slow burner, taking half an hour or so for to really kick in.
Once it finally rumbles to life, Genesis gives a proper, proper pump. My arms felt fuller and my legs felt stronger. I felt like I could eat thunder and crap lightning. Or some other Rocky-inspired sentiment.
I was impressed by how well my pump was lasting up until the 90-minute mark when my energy levels started to decline. However, it was still more than enough to get me to the end of my workout.
Optimum Nutrition — Gold Standard Pre-Workout
Price per 100g
Caffeine, Creatine, Vitamins B1, B3, B5, B6, B12, Beta Alanine and L-Citrulline
Watermelon, Green Apple, Blueberry Lemonade, Fruit Punch, Pineapple, Strawberry Lime
Optimum Nutrition is more known for producing higher end supplements but their Gold Standard Pre-Workout is actually pretty cheap when it’s on sale, which it nearly always is!
High doses of caffeine (175mg), Creatine (3g) and Beta Alanine (1.5g) produce a really powerful, long-lasting pump. Plus the creatine dose is high enough to use for maintenance, which means you can forget about a separate creatine supplement until your next cycle.
Gold Standard Pre-Workout even tastes pretty good, too!
Oh, if you can’t find it on a deal, it runs to about £8 per 100mg, which is way too expensive if you ask me!
BULK POWDERS — Elevate
Price per 100g
Vitargo, Beta Alanine, Citrulline Malate, Arginine Alpha Ketoglutarate, Trimethylglycine, Taurine, Glucuronolactone, Tyrosine, Grape Seed Extract, Caffeine, ACTINOS, Vitamin B6 and BioPerine
Summer Berry, Cherry Cola, Orange & Mango
When formulating Elevate, Bulk Powders decided to ignore the costs and just create the very best pre-workout supplement possible so it’s not the cheapest supplement on the list. Then again it’s definitely not the most expensive.
With 13 potently dosed active ingredients, I was really excited to try Elevate.
The Beta Alanine kicks in super early, giving an intense tingle, which helped snap me into a lifting mindset. The other stimulants land a couple minutes later building to a really good buzz and a solid energy boost.
The one problem I found with Elevate was that it was pretty difficult to mix with water. No matter how how mixing and shaking and stirring and whisking, there was always granules left at the bottom, making for a gritty final swig and a really tingley mouth.
Myprotein — Mypre
Price per 100g
Creatine, Caffeine, Amino Acids, Vitamins, Minerals, Beta Alanine, L-Citrulline Malate, L-Arginine, D Aspartic Acid, and Betaine.
Blue Raspberry, Lemon & Lime, Orange, Raspberry Lemonade, Sour Apple, Watermelon
Myprotein has a good reputation for pumping out awesome budget supplements, including their quality Impact Whey, which we featured on our budget protein round-up.
Launched back in 2015, Mypre was one of Myprotein’s first forays into the world outside of whey and it was super successful.
I think it’s fair to say that Mypre tries to cover all the bases. There’s four different types of creatine (Creatine HCl, Creatine 1H20, Creatine Monohydrate, Creatine Ethyl Ester HCl), a proprietary blend of caffeine, a scattering of vitamins and a handful of other ingredients, including beta-alanine, L-Arginine, D Aspartic Acid and Betaine.
When creating a supplement with so many ingredients, it’s pretty easy to spread everything too thin and create something that’s just meh. Thankfully, Mypre has just enough of everything to give you a really good buzz.
Maybe it’s the 200mg of caffeine in every single scoop but Mypre had me chomping at the bit to get into the gym. Plus, unlike a lot of cheaper pre-workouts, I felt a real mental alertness too.
The only negative is that I did feel my pump slipping away and I was bordering on sluggish by the end of my longer workouts.
BSN® — N.O.-XPLODE®
Price per 100g
Caffeine, Creatine Monohydrate, Beta-Alanine, L-arginine, Betaine
Blue Raz, Apple, Watermelon and Fruit Punch
N.O.-Xplode tends to divide opinions after BSN changed the formula a couple of years back. I still think it’s awesome, though, so it’s going on the list!
With just four core flavour — Blue Raz, Apple, Watermelon and Fruit Punch — there’s little chance you’ll stumble on a crappy experimental flavour. While some might complain that the core flavours are super sugary, I think they’re bang on.
After an easy mix, I drank the recommended dose before a Monday-morning workout. The beta-alanine kicked in super quick and the caffeine followed soon after. I was buzzing within ten minutes or so with bags of energy and pin-point focus..
As someone who can struggle to stay switched on during workouts, I was surprised with the longevity of my buzz, which kept me pumped for two solid hours.
The only negative I can think of is that I have a niggling feeling that the older formulations were a bit stronger. However, don’t think that the current version is missing much and it compares really well with other similarly priced supplements.