Recently, some parents asked me if pre-workout was safe for their teens. While my answer was yes, I added that choosing the right supplement is what matters the most.
Since many teens are getting into sports, I decided it’d be helpful to curate a list of the best pre-workouts for teens currently available.
As a fitness coach who’s tried many pre-workouts over the years, it’s safe to say some are better than others by a longshot.
So, I spent countless hours researching best pre-workouts for teenagers, and I consulted our dietician, to list down the best ones that we tested ourselves with the help of our youngest clients. Here's which ones made the cut.
The Best Pre-Workout for Teens
- Best Overall Pre-Workout for Teenagers: Gorilla Mode
- Cheapest Pre Workout for Teens: Naked Energy
- Best Organic Pre-Workout for Teenagers: Ora Organic
- Best Beginners Pre-Workout for Teens: Transparent Labs
- Best Natural Pre-Workout for Adolescents: Naked Energy
- Best Vegan Pre Workout for Teens: Do Vitamins PurePump
- Best Pre-Workout for Teen Weightlifters: Gorilla Mode
- Best Unflavored Pre Workout for Teens: Naked Energy
- Best Pump Pre-Workout for Teenage Boys: Gorilla Mode
- Best Pre-Workout for Teens: Pre-Kaged
Top 10 Pre-Workout Supplements for Teens (December 2023)
1 - Gorilla Mode Pre-Workout (Best Overall & for Weight Training)
After I personally guided some of my younger clients through a 30-day trial of Gorilla Mode, I saw their enthusiasm first-hand. The transformation in their energy levels and workout intensity was evident, making it an instant favorite.
They loved the taste, especially Tiger’s Blood; a mix of strawberry, watermelon, and coconut proved to be the winning combination that made them look forward to drinking it.
With 4,500 mg of pure L-citrulline, Gorilla Mode significantly reduced their post-workout muscle soreness, allowing them to focus on other activities the next day .
It’s packed with creatine monohydrate, agmatine, and betaine, which is enough to supply your muscles with blood flow to maximize pump and gym performance .
- L-Citrulline: 4500 mg
- Creatine Monohydrate: 2500 mg
- Caffeine: 175 mg
- Provides a relatively strong workout pump
- Effects come in after only 30 minutes of taking it
- Gives teens a gentle edge on heavy lifting days, allowing them to squeeze in extra reps
- Has one of the best post-workout recovery effects
- Some flavors are periodically out of stock as the demand is high
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2 - Transparent Labs PreSeries Bulk Pre-Workout (Best for Beginners)
Loaded with 200 mg of caffeine, BCAAs, vitamin D3, and zinc, BULK Pre-Workout is an excellent combination of caffeine and nutritional support.
Unlike most supplements on the market, BULK doesn’t skimp out on beta-alanine (4,000 mg), which is known to help increase muscle size and decrease fat .
I started our youngest clients on half a scoop due to its high caffeine content. I closely monitored their reactions and was impressed by the positive feedback and increased energy levels, making the gradual introduction a success.
Those who responded well to the supplement doubled their dosage in the second week and noticed a significant improvement in their mental focus and physical energy during workouts
- Citrulline Malate: 6000 mg
- Beta-Alanine: 4000 mg
- BCAA: 4000 mg
- Contains clinical doses of ingredients
- High in beta-alanine, making it a good choice for teens looking to shed fat
- Works as a great starter supplement for beginners
- Might be on the pricier side
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3 - Pre-Kaged Premium Pre-Workout (Tested for Banned Substances)
Kaged contains 188 mg of caffeine, a dosage that exceeds the 100 mg caffeine limit recommended by the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry for children aged 12–18 .
However, we didn’t seem to notice any side effects based on our Pre-Kaged pre-workout review when testing it out on our young athletes.
I noticed the combination of high caffeine dose and natural ingredients really worked wonders to improve athletic performance in users. We recommend taking it during morning or afternoon workouts.
With a low dollar-per-serving rate, Kaged was one of the most reasonably priced supplements.
- Betaine Anhydrous: 2500 mg
- L-Citrulline: 6500 mg
- Creatine Hydrochloride: 1500 mg
- High-caffeine levels for enhanced athletic performance
- Goes through third-party testing to ensure the absence of banned substances
- Very reasonably priced
- Not the best option for caffeine-sensitive teens
4 - Do Vitamins PurePump (Best Vegan-Friendly)
I recommended Do Vitamins PurePump to teenagers with specific dietary needs. I received positive feedback on its compatibility with keto and vegan diets, and its absence of common allergens.
This vegan pre-workout supplement features — as its name suggests — a variety of vitamins. Some of these include vitamins C, B12, and B6. Vitamin B6 is especially important for proper muscle growth, which is crucial for developing teens .
Another great feature of this supplement is that it contains carnitine, which is known to reduce blood sugar . So, one client edging on prediabetes responded quite well to it.
- L-Citrulline: 2000 mg
- Beta-Alanine: 2000 mg
- Niacin: 20 mg
- Perfect option for teens on a keto or vegan diet
- Contains a blend of various vitamins for proper development
- May be the best option for teenagers with prediabetes
- Some users have complained about the bitter taste
5 - Naked Energy – Pure Pre-Workout (Cheapest & Best Natural Option)
Naked Energy was specifically designed for those looking to gain quick results with their strength and hypertrophy. It contains top-quality ingredients to ensure these and other benefits.
Naked also contains a powerful dose of vitamins B6, B12, and C, folate, as well as calcium. Calcium and B vitamins are some of the most important and essential micronutrients for teenagers' growth and development .
To top it off, Naked contains beta-alanine and arginine, two essential amino acids used for protein synthesis, which help build muscle .
We usually recommend this to clients who are specifically looking to build muscle quickly, and in the majority of cases, we observed noticeable changes in muscle building within one to two months of use.
- Caffeine: 200 mg
- Beta-Alanine: 2000 mg
- L-Arginine: 1000 mg
- Unflavored option available for teens with sensitive palates
- Formulated with nutrients beneficial for teens, like calcium and B vitamins
- 100% natural and free from banned substances
- Doesn’t give the same workout pump as other supplements on the list
6 - Legion Pulse Pre-Workout
Mike Matthews, a fitness enthusiast who was tired of seeing low-quality pre-workouts on the market found Legion Athletics. So Pulse, his brainchild, was born as a result.
He put together all the ingredients that worked and significantly upped the dosage. Pulse has a whopping 350 mg of caffeine per serving.
I was initially hesitant about the high caffeine content of Legion Pulse. But I started with a half dose. The energy surge was undeniable, turning my usual low-energy days into some of my most productive gym sessions.
It wasn't just my observation; it was a personal transformation that echoed the positive feedback of the two nineteen-year-olds we worked with.
- Caffeine: 350 mg
- Citrulline Malate: 8000 mg
- L-Theanine: 350 mg
- Few to none caffeine crashes for first-time users
- Great for low-energy days
- Contains high doses of premium ingredients
- May give first-timers a very jittery feeling
7 - Genius Pre-Workout
Genius pre-workout contains high doses of effective ingredients like citrulline malate, beta-alanine, and betaine, which can increase exercise performance . These make up for the lack of caffeine.
I’ve always been sensitive to caffeine, so finding a pre-workout that wouldn’t keep me up all night was a challenge. Then came Genius Pre-Workout. It was a revelation. The energy boost without the jitters or sleepless nights? It felt like I hit the jackpot.
I wasn’t alone; many teenagers with similar issues shared how this product became their go-to for balanced energy.
It’s one of the best pre-workout powders that contains no caffeine.
- L-Citrulline: 6000 mg
- L-Tyrosine: 1000 mg
- Taurine: 1000 mg
- Best pre-workout for teens who don’t want to consume caffeine
- Contains many nootropics to naturally increase focus
- Allows teens to get a pure pump in their workout
- Flavors might be too mild for some tastes
8 - Redcon1 Total War
Redcon1 is one of our most trusted brands on account of its full label transparency.
Their Redcon1 Total War pre-workout has been a favorite among many young athletes who’ve just begun using pre-workouts.
I was skeptical at first. Another award-winning product? But my teenage clinet had one session with Redcon1 Total War and changed my perspective. He said the endurance he felt during cardio was something he hadn’t experienced before. It wasn’t just an extra boost; it was like unlocking a new level of stamina.
One little drawback with Redcon1 was that it didn’t give the same mental boost as the other supplements on our list. The physical boost was nonetheless incredible and crash-free.
Redcon1 packs a lot of value per serving. So, it's an excellent money-saver option for teens looking for quality and fair prices.
- Beta-Alanine: 3200 mg
- Agmatine Sulfate: 1000 mg
- Taurine: 1000 mg
- Full label transparency
- Speeds weight loss and increases muscle endurance
- Highly cost-effective
- Doesn’t contain the best ingredients for boosting mental focus
9 - Ora Organic Natural Pre-Workout (Best Organic)
My teen clients who suffer from dairy or gluten allergies really benefited from this high-quality organic pre-workout. All its ingredients are natural, non-GMO, and vegan, making it the perfect option for vegan lifters or those teens who live an organic lifestyle.
Ora is a rich source of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which is known for its antioxidant effects, improving cardiovascular health, enhancing weight loss, with many other benefits .
While perfect in almost every way, Ora’s only drawback is its 90 mg caffeine content. While it can give you a small energy boost before working out, in our experience, it has the same effect as a pre-workout meal.
- Organic Energy and Electrolyte Blend: 6240 mg
- Organic Nitric Oxide Blend: 1500 mg
- Organic Focus and Endurance Adaptogens: 385 mg
- Best for teens living an organic lifestyle or on a vegan diet
- Contains EGCG for added health and weight loss benefits
- Comes in three delicious flavors
- Caffeine dosage is a little low compared to other pre-workouts
10 - Red Leaf Pre-Workout
Red Leaf became the secret weapon of my teenage clients. The BCAAs weren’t just a supplement; they were a ticket to prolonged endurance and energy.
The teenagers who used this supplement noticed they were competing at another level, all thanks to Red Leaf. It contains 1,500 mg of BCAAs to boost endurance levels throughout practice .
It’s also excellent for putting on muscle mass. Read Leaf contains 500 mg of arginine, which plays a major role in muscle growth and development .
The best part about Red Leaf is the price. It’s one of the cheapest options that delivers good value. So, it’s perfect for those of you on a tight budget.
- L-Glutamine: 1000 mg
- Beta-Alanine: 1000 mg
- L-Arginine: 500 mg
- One of the most cost-effective options
- Contains nitric oxide booster and choline for muscle pump
- Great for long sports practices and events
- Ingredient list could be better overall
How We Chose the Products
We understand that when it comes to health and fitness, trust is paramount. That's why we want to be transparent about how we select the best supplements for teenagers.
1. Extensive Research
Our journey to finding the best pre-workout supplements for teenagers began with extensive research. We scoured the market for options, taking into account the latest trends and developments in the fitness and supplement industry. Our team of experts delved deep into the scientific literature to understand the ingredients and their impact on teenage fitness.
2. Expert Opinions
To ensure the highest level of expertise, we consulted with fitness professionals, certified trainers, and nutritionists who specialize in teenage health and fitness. Their insights and recommendations were invaluable in shaping our selection criteria and final choices.
We looked for products that offer a variety of flavors to cater to different preferences. The taste must be pleasant without being overly sweet or artificial, as this can be off-putting and may suggest unnecessary additives.
We consider feedbacked from teenage users regarding the taste, aftertaste, and mixability of the product, as a good-tasting supplement can encourage regular use and contribute to a consistent workout routine.
In terms of effectiveness, we evaluated how the pre-workout supports energy levels, focus, and endurance during exercise. It should provide a noticeable boost in performance without causing jitters or a crash afterward.
We assessed user testimonials, clinical studies, and expert opinions to determine if the product delivers on its promises.
The effectiveness is also measured by the absence of negative side effects, which is particularly important for teenagers whose bodies might react differently to certain ingredients compared to adults.
5. Ingredient Analysis
Our team conducted a thorough analysis of the ingredients used in each pre-workout supplement. We scrutinized the formulation, dosages, and potential benefits. Safety was a top priority, and we considered the appropriateness of each ingredient for teenage users.
6. Price and Value for Money
Lastly, we assessed the pricing of the products in relation to their quality and effectiveness. We wanted to ensure that our recommendations offered not only great results but also good value for money.
While we strongly recommend starting teenage athletes with pre-workouts from this list, we also suggest you do some research before making a purchase.
We’ve put together a buyer’s guide for parents and teens so they can make the best and safest purchase.
What Should Teens Look For in a Pre-Workout Supplement?
Teens should look for a pre-workout supplement that has fairly low caffeine and contains little to no artificial ingredients and sugar.
Let’s go through these in some more detail:
- Lower caffeine content: Supplements with less than 250 mg of caffeine are ideal for teens. They don’t overload your system with caffeine leading to high caffeine tolerance.
- No artificial ingredients or harmful ingredients: Avoid supplements that contain artificial ingredients like fillers, artificial food coloring, or any banned substances (like 1,3-DMAA, 1,3-DMBA, octodrine, oxilofrine, and DEPEA). Studies show that artificial food coloring may lead to ADHD in younger people .
- Little to no sugar: Sugar isn’t the best dietary choice for adolescents. Studies show that it may impair brain development in some cases . You’re more likely to suffer a sugar crash if your supplement has high sugar content.
“Whether or not a pre-workout supplement is unhealthy will depend on its formulation. Pre-workout supplements containing added sugars, artificial flavoring, or artificial sweeteners are likely unhealthy, and I would recommend avoiding products containing these additives.”
- Andrea Paul, MD
Teens should use pre-workout supplements that contain the following ingredients:
- Branched-chain amino acids
- Other amino acids
- L-citrulline malate
We’ve noticed that all the best pre-workout supplements with these ingredients heavily contribute to muscle growth in many teenagers.
“The main ingredients include taurine, arginine, caffeine, creatine, and beta-alanine. These mainly give you energy and increase muscle strength during your workout.”
- Dr. Jennifer Schlette, Registered Dietician
Who Should Take Pre-Workout?
Healthy teenagers who participate in sports or go to the gym regularly can take pre-workouts. As we previously mentioned, it can be highly beneficial for them, allowing teens to get the best out of their workouts.
Also, teenagers engaged in diverse sports and physical activities have unique needs that demand tailored pre-workout plans. The intensity, duration, and nature of exercises vary, influencing the type and amount of pre-workout supplements required.
For instance, a young swimmer might benefit from supplements that enhance endurance and breathing efficiency, while a teenage football player may prioritize strength and agility.
Finally, teenagers on special diets should take pre-workout. The synergy between diet, nutrition, and pre-workout supplements is pivotal in amplifying the benefits teenagers derive from their fitness routines.
A balanced diet enriched with essential nutrients not only complements the efficacy of pre-workout supplements but also fosters overall physical wellness and athletic performance.
Who Shouldn’t Take Pre-Workout?
Teenagers who have heart-related problems shouldn’t be taking pre-workout because they could do further damage.
Additionally, teenagers with a history of sleep problems should also avoid taking pre-workout. Sleep is a crucial factor that often gets overlooked.
Teenagers are at an age where their bodies are undergoing significant growth and development. During sleep, the body repairs and rejuvenates itself. This includes muscle recovery and growth, hormone regulation, and overall energy restoration. Without adequate sleep, the body cannot function optimally, which can impact the benefits of pre-workout supplements.
Finally, teenagers with sensitivity to any of the common ingredients should avoid pre-workouts.
Is Pre-Workout Safe for Teens?
Yes, pre-workout is safe for teens. However, teens should be careful by following the supplement dosages very closely. Also, teens with certain pre-existing medical conditions (especially heart-related) shouldn’t consume pre-workout.
Are Energy Drinks a Safe Pre-Workout for Teens?
Yes, some energy drinks may be a safe pre-workout for teens. However, many energy drinks contain sugar and unwanted chemicals that don’t have the same effect as a high-quality pre-workout supplement.
Can Protein Powder Be Used for a Pre-Workout Drink?
Yes, some protein powders can be used as a pre-workout drink. If you also add beta-alanine, creatine monohydrate, or a small amount of caffeine anhydrous, you can make a good DIY pre-workout supplement. However, they won’t be as effective as a well-established pre-workout supplement.
Our Verdict on the Best Pre-Workout Supplement For Teens
We voted Gorilla Mode as our best pre-workout because both the testing data and the subjective client reports placed it at the very top.
Excellent workout pump, minimal soreness, and great taste made it a favorite among our younger clients.
In fact, most of our test subjects, regardless of age and gym experience, seemed to prefer Gorilla Mode over other supplements, which also aligns with the dietitian’s assessment.
Try it out for yourself and see where it takes your fitness goals.
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