As a fitness trainer, my female clients often ask me for recommendations on pre-workout formulas to try. So, I've spent countless hours learning about the benefits of pre-workouts and how they help achieve an active lifestyle and healthy weight loss.
Together with a group of my clients, I've tested several pre-workout supplements over a period of six months. Today, I’ve compiled all my, and I'm going to share my top picks, so read on to figure out which pre-workout is the best for you.
The Best Pre-Workout Supplements for Women
- Best Overall Pre-Workout Supplement for Women: Cira
- Cheapest Pre-Workout Supplement for Women: Red Leaf
- Best Weight Loss Pre-Workout Supplement for Women: Powher
- Best Pre-Workout for Women’s Muscle Gain: 4 Gauge
- Best Pre-Workout for Female Runners: Transparent Labs
- Best Fat-Burning Pre-Workout Supplement for Women: Nitrosurge
- Best Endurance Pre-Workout Supplement for Females: RSP AminoLean
- Best Focus Enhancing Pre-Workout Supplement for Females: RARI Nutrition Infinity
- Best High-Caffeine Pre-Workout Supplement for Women: Legion Pulse Pre Workout
Our Top Pre-Workouts for Women (December 2023)
1 - Cira Pre-Game Pre-Workout (Best Overall)
Having tried various pre-workouts in the past, the experience with CIRA Pre-Game was distinct. Within weeks, not only did my energy levels soar, but my endurance during high-intensity workouts improved significantly.
Every session felt more productive, and the recovery was quicker, making it easier to stay consistent with my training routine.
Each ingredient in this pre-workout has been purposefully selected to provide you with a good supply of energy by enhancing your focus, strength, and endurance.
While beta-Alanine helps speed up your muscle recovery and muscle growth, Citrulline may help you increase stamina by boosting muscle oxygenation.
- All natural ingredients support more energy and lower fatigue
- Good dose of caffeine to boost motivation and metabolic rate
- Mixes very quickly with water without leaving a clumpy effect
- Available in tasty flavors that aren't too sweet or fake tasting
- Some consumers reported mild, short-term itchiness after consuming the supplement.
2 - Powher Pre-Workout for Women (Best Weight Loss)
Powher - literally pronounced “pow her” is a premium pre-workout explicitly designed for women.
I remember the first time I tried Powher; the energy was different - more sustained and without jitters. The blend of caffeine amplifier EnXtra and fatigue-crushing Oxyjun made each workout session feel less exhausting, and I could push myself a bit more each time.
Toning is the main objective of this pre-workout product and not muscle building. As a result, Powher pre-workout is a creatine-free pre-workout supplement, unlike other products on the market.
- Smooth, powerful boost of energy without the side effects
- 500mg of caffeine amplifier EnXtra
- Longer lasting energy
- Good choice to lose weight faster
- Not available on Amazon
The only downside we noted is that this pre-workout is only available on the official website, but at least you can take advantage of the 3+1 bundle and free shipping they offer.
3 - 4 Gauge Pre-Workout (Best Muscle Gain)
The 4 Gauge Pre-workout is designed to increase your stamina and make it easier for you to complete the type of workouts that lead to building muscle mass.
With 4Gauge as one of the best pre-workout supplements, you’ll enjoy more vigorous workouts, experience greater endurance, and push through those points in your workout when you used to crash.
- Boosts energy levels to enhance performance
- Contains no artificial ingredients or fillers
- Doesn't rely on sugar to provide the boost
- Low in calories
- May cause an upset stomach
In my journey to find the perfect balance of energy and focus, 4 Gauge became a game changer. The blend of L-theanine and caffeine offered a smooth, jitter-free energy boost. I noticed my focus sharpening, and workouts that used to feel grueling became more manageable and enjoyable.
However, it only comes in one flavor so you might not enjoy it with plain water.
4 - Transparent Labs PreSeries Bulk Pre-Workout (Best for Female Runners)
Bulk Pre-Workout from Transparent Labs PreSeries is loaded with branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) that stimulate protein synthesis and lay the foundations for powerful and bigger muscles.
For an extra boost, Bulk contains the natural stimulants caffeine and L-theanine, which are known to enhance attention, reduce jitters for sensitive individuals, and induce relaxation.
Each workout session felt more empowered, and I started noticing changes in my physique. The thermogenic complex not only fueled my workouts but also supported my metabolism, making my weight loss journey more rewarding.
- Addresses and enhances all aspects of your workout
- 4 grams of essential BCAAs in every serving
- Ideal for those seeking to build more powerful physiques
- 30 mg of zinc per serving to stimulate muscle creation
- Best not used right before sleep
It might not be best to take this best pre-workout product before sleep, especially for those who are sensitive to caffeine.
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5 - Nitrosurge Pre-Workout Powder (Best Fat-Burning)
Nitrosurge contains ingredients like betaine anhydrous, beta-alanine, L-theanine, and caffeine that help deliver the pre-workout energy boost you want.
My experience with Nitrosurge was transformative. The initial energy boost was evident, but what stood out was the enhanced blood flow and the ‘pump’ during workouts. Each session felt more effective, and I saw visible results in muscle tone and definition.
Instead of using creatine supplementation, the manufacturer chose to replace it with betaine anhydrous to effectively increase muscle strength and enhance muscle endurance.
- Boosts nitric oxide levels to boost blood flow
- Provides the boost you need to get you going
- Promotes effective muscle repair and rejuvenation
- Made in the USA
- Has a mild fishy odor, though nothing serious
Produced in a Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP)-certified facility and backed with a 100% satisfaction guarantee, Nitrosurge is the ideal female pre-workout supplement and fat burner for those looking to build muscle and lose fat.
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6 - RSP AminoLean (Best Endurance)
There are 22 different amino acids, but the body cannot synthesize some of these by itself. In other words, it needs to obtain these from outside, typically dietary sources. These are called essential amino acids.
That’s where the best pre-workout supplements like RSP AminoLean come in. It helps provide the essential amino acids your body needs to effectively repair muscle tissue in the wake of a strenuous workout.
- Provides the full range of essential amino acids
- Helps build leaner, stronger muscles
- Includes the natural stimulant caffeine
- Helps initiate the fat breakdown
- Contains sucralose (Splenda) for flavoring
Integrating RSP AminoLean into my routine was a decision driven by curiosity, but the results made me a believer. The BCAAs not only supported my muscle recovery but also contributed to noticeable gains in strength and endurance.
7 - Red Leaf Pre-Workout Energizer (Cheapest Option)
Red Leaf Pre Workout Energizer might not be women-specific, but I didn’t let that stop me. I gave it a try and was pleasantly surprised.
The jitter-free energy boost it offered was exactly what I needed to power through my workouts. Each session felt more productive, and I was able to push myself a bit harder, thanks to the steady stream of energy Red Leaf provided.
However, with only 40 mg caffeine, this best pre-workout doesn't leave you jittering all over while working out.
Red Leaf is also rich in antioxidants that attack the free radicals in your system that cause cell death and includes plenty of BCAAs to promote muscle growth and recovery.
- Only a moderate amount of caffeine
- Plenty of the BCAAs your muscles need
- Rich in free-radical-fighting antioxidants
- Guaranteed and affordable
- If you're looking for a caffeine moon shot, you'll be disappointed
8 - RARI Nutrition Infinity Pre-Workout (Best Focus Enhancing)
I was initially skeptical about RARI Nutrition Infinity Pre-Workout due to its marketing that suggests that it uses alternative methods of getting you jacked up for a workout.
But curiosity got the better of me, and I decided to try it out. To my surprise, it delivered a solid performance boost without the jitters or a crash. Each workout session felt more intense, and my focus was sharper, proving that sometimes, products do live up to their hype.
I found that besides caffeine, the RARI Nutrition Infinity Pre-Workout supplement also contains L-tyrosine and citrulline malate which help improve focus and enhance the quality and size of your pumps.
- Provides the boost you need prior to working out
- Enhances the quality of your pump
- Stimulates focus and improves mental acuity
- Pretty heavy on the caffeine
9 - Legion Pulse Pre-Workout Drink (Best High-Caffeine)
Legion Pulse leans heavier on caffeine than most of the best pre-workout supplements for women on the market. I took the plunge, and the energy kick was intense. I was lifting heavier and running faster, all while staying in the zone.
If caffeine is not an issue for you, that's great, because it's going to provide you with an unparalleled jolt prior to hitting the gym.
If caffeine does tend to get under your skin, you'll need to be careful to use less than the recommended amount. Our dietitian recommends using half a scoop rather than a full scoop.
Thankfully, it also contains plenty of BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) to improve recovery times and enable the building of larger, stronger muscles.
- One of the most potent doses of caffeine you’ll find
- No artificial ingredients or fillers
- Includes electrolytes that help fight muscle fatigue
- L-citrulline for improved blood flow
- No getting around the size of the caffeine dose
How We Tested Pre-Workout Supplements for Women
Here's how we chose the best pre-workout supplements for women.
We sampled the pre-workout in all available flavors, assessing each for its palatability, aftertaste, and whether it was enjoyable or tolerable when consumed regularly.
We noted the sweetness, tartness, and any artificial flavor profiles, and we also considered the mixability of the powder with water, as clumps or residue could affect the overall taste experience.
We looked for pre-workouts that contained scientifically-backed ingredients known to enhance performance, such as caffeine, beta-alanine, and BCAAs.
We also checked for the presence of any fillers or potentially harmful additives. The ingredient transparency was important; we preferred products that clearly listed the amounts of each ingredient rather than hiding them behind proprietary blends.
We compared the cost per serving across various brands and sizes to determine the value offered. We also considered the number of servings per container, the dosage of key active ingredients, and whether the product was competitively priced in comparison to similar formulations on the market.
The goal was to find a product that offered a balance between cost-effectiveness and high-quality ingredients.
Other Important Factors
We took note of any side effects, such as jitters or crashes, that could detract from the overall benefits. Additionally, we considered the brand's reputation, customer reviews, and any third-party testing or certifications that could attest to the product's safety and efficacy.
Finally, we looked at the packaging convenience, such as the ease of opening, scooping, and storing, as well as the availability of the product both online and in retail stores.
What is a Pre-Workout?
A pre-workout is a dietary supplement that contains ingredients designed to increase the energy levels, endurance, and strength of active individuals as they pursue their fitness goals.
While the pre-workout formula may vary depending on the brand, some of the usual pre-workout ingredients include caffeine, creatine monohydrate, beta-alanine, and BCAAs. It may also include nitric oxide boosters, vitamins, and antioxidants.
The best pre-workout supplement for women is intended to enhance these three things:
Energy - Women eventually need an energy boost during workouts, especially when trying to push through the remaining minutes of an intense session.
Focus - Pre-workouts may provide a slight stimulant to the brain, which may aid in mood and concentration enhancement, as well as anxiety reduction, resulting in improved workout performance.
Endurance - Pre-workout supplements may help women exercise for longer periods and finish more reps by enhancing the body’s natural energy levels.
What Are the Most Essential Ingredients in Pre-workout for Women?
Here are the essential ingredients that a pre-workout for women should have:
- Caffeine - Caffeine consumed approximately 60 minutes before exercise provides the best pre-workout boost . Also, it can intensify muscle endurance, which can help you work harder and longer during your sessions.
- BCAAs - Branched-chain amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine play a vital role in protein synthesis, and strengthen endurance to finish through more intense workouts. According to one study, BCAAs may help you perform longer after a pre-workout containing BCAAs .
- Creatine - Aside from caffeine, creatine is one of the most researched ergogenic aids that helps the body create power during muscle recovery and rejuvenation. It is believed to play a critical role in the production of healthy muscle fibers during muscle recovery and rejuvenation. A study found that creatine may contribute to longer workout durations as well .
- Nitric Oxide (NO) boosters - NO boosters, such as L-arginine, L-citrulline, and L-norvaline, increase blood flow and oxygen supply to the muscles, which is critical for maintaining stamina during high-intensity workouts .
- Beta-alanine - This amino acid helps in the production of carnosine, a compound that helps control the accumulation of lactic acid in the muscles to push through the toughest routines. Researchers believe beta-alanine may assist in preventing the buildup of acid in muscle tissue, which helps your muscles function better  .
- Taurine - Like beta-alanine, taurine is a naturally occurring amino acid associated with better physical and mental performance. It maintains a healthy balance of electrolytes, leading to enhanced muscle recovery and reduced muscle cramps .
What are the Benefits of a Pre-Workout?
The benefits you can enjoy from taking a pre-workout are increased energy production and endurance and enhanced athletic performance. Its common ingredients—natural caffeine, creatine, and beta-alanine—may help you further maximize your time at the gym.
We explain this in more detail below.
Enhanced energy, strength, and endurance
This is probably the most common reason why people take pre-workouts. Ingredients like caffeine, creatine, and beta-alanine contribute to increased energy levels and enhance strength and endurance to help you maximize your time at the gym .
Better focus and concentration
Even a small dose of caffeine can help you improve your focus and alertness. It can also help enhance memory and increase metabolic rate .
Increased lean muscle mass
While the main role of creatine is to provide constant energy during exercise, it is also associated with higher lean muscle mass, improved endurance, and better muscle recovery .
Faster recovery time
It's normal to experience muscle soreness and fatigue after a strenuous workout, but with ingredients like caffeine, creatine, and beta-alanine, your muscles can heal and recover quickly so you can have more efficient workout sessions each time .
Pre-workouts with added B vitamins may help increase metabolism by aiding the transport and breakdown of fats and carbohydrates . Aside from this, B vitamins like B6 and B12 are also known to help build muscles and increase strength.
Related: Leanbean Fat Burner Full Review
Mental Health Benefits
Using these supplements can lead to improved mood and reduced anxiety, improving the overall workout experience. Imagine a scenario where you're not just witnessing physical transformations but also experiencing a mental upliftment that leaves you invigorated, focused, and ready to tackle life's challenges with renewed vigor.
What are the Potential Side Effects of a Pre-Workout?
The potential side effects of most pre-workout supplements for women include:
- Trouble sleeping - Too much caffeine may disrupt your sleep patterns.
- Dehydration - Other pre-workout supplements often include diuretics, so always drink plenty of water.
- Renal failure - If you already suffer kidney ailments, even the best pre-workout supplement options may aggravate them.
- Paresthesia (tingling on the skin) - It's a temporary sensation caused by beta-alanine, and although it's harmless. Some people might feel weird when they first start taking pre-workout.
Remember to stick to the recommended dosage on the pre-workout product label to avoid any adverse side effects. It's best to consult with a doctor first before taking any supplement, especially if you have pre-existing conditions.
Read our full article for all the potential pre-workout dangers and side effects. Take time to read the article about everything you need to know about bodybuilding and workout supplements.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Pre-Workout?
To get the most out of your high-quality pre-workout, you need to make the necessary changes in your diet and lifestyle. The frequency and timing of intake also matter, but there are many other techniques you can use to maximize the results of your pre-workout supplement.
Here are a few tips to improve exercise performance.
Take it 20 to 30 minutes before working out – It's best to drink your pre-workout before physical activity to allow the body to process the key ingredients properly so you can take full advantage of the benefits from start to finish.
Spring-clean your diet – Eat more healthy and nutrient-dense foods like fruits and veggies, fish and seafood, and whole grains. And of course, it's still advisable to stay away from processed foods, sweets, and refined carbs.
Hydrate with water (or tea) – Water is essential to carry out the reactions and processes inside our body to keep us alive and healthy. So it's never a good idea to wait until you feel thirsty before you hydrate. Have a small bottle or tumbler with you, especially after an intense workout.
Customize pre-workout supplements based on your needs - Some women may need a caffeine boost to kickstart their energy levels, while others might be sensitive to caffeine and opt for stimulant-free options. Pay attention to how your body reacts to different supplements and use this information as a foundation for customization.
Know how hormones affect pre-workout effectiveness - Estrogen and progesterone have an impact on energy levels, metabolism, and overall workout performance. As these hormone levels fluctuate throughout the menstrual cycle, you may experience varying degrees of energy, strength, and endurance. Tailor your pre-workout routines to align with your hormonal cycles to maximize effectiveness.
Pre-Workout Supplement FAQs
Are pre-workouts for women safe?
Yes, pre-workouts for women are safe due to natural ingredients like green tea extract. A healthy woman using pre-workout supplements as directed should not experience any problems other than perhaps one or two of the mentioned side effects above.
Since these kinds of supplements are not regulated by the FDA, manufacturers have third-party testing companies verify the safety and purity of their products. You can either see a seal from NSF or Informed Choice on the product label.
Also, if it's your first time taking a pre-workout, you want to give yourself some time to see how your body reacts to the supplement. Don't take one serving every single workout day because it may do more harm than good.
Will pre-workouts cause insomnia?
Pre-workouts may cause insomnia if you are sensitive to the effects of caffeine. You can try decreasing your dosage or switching to a brand with less caffeine or none at all when this happens.
Should I take a pre-workout with food?
No, you shouldn't take a pre-workout with food. Most manufacturers recommend taking pre-workout supplements on an empty stomach.
This does not preclude you from eating, but eating may neutralize the effectiveness to some degree.
How long before working out should I take it?
You can take your pre-workout supplement 20 to 30 minutes before exercising. However, each supplement will have varying instructions, so make sure to follow what's recommended on the label.
Should I use pre-workout supplements in the evening?
Yes, you can use pre-workout supplements in the evening. However, make sure to take them 5 or 6 hours before you normally turn in. It's not recommended to take it in the evening because its caffeine content can mess up your sleep.
If your pre-workout is caffeine-free though, you're free to take it anytime. However, it's still best to take it on an empty stomach 20 to 30 minutes before your workout to get optimal results.
Can I have coffee as a pre-workout drink?
Yes, you can drink coffee as a pre-workout drink. Apart from being a good source of caffeine, it also has tons of fat-burning properties, especially if you drink it without sugar or cream.
How much caffeine is in a pre-workout?
The best pre-workout contains around 50 to 200 mg of caffeine on average. That's about 2 cups of coffee with around 100 mg of caffeine each.
However, some pre-workouts may go as high as 400 mg of caffeine per serving which is considered a safe and healthy daily limit. Other pre-workouts for women can go as low as 50 mg though. It's best to check the nutrition facts label to know how much you're getting per serving.
What does a pre-workout do?
The best pre-workout with caffeine, beta-alanine, and betaine anhydrous improves your exercise performance, increases energy levels, and enhances muscle endurance.
A pre-workout may also help improve focus if it contains ingredients such as taurine and tyrosine.
Should you take a pre-workout pill or drink?
Choosing between taking a pre-workout pill or a drink will be based on your preference. If you like to feel hydrated, then it's best to take a pre-workout drink. But if you want to save time, you can opt for a pre-workout pill that you can simply swallow.
However, you might need to take more pills or capsules to get the same dosage from a pre-workout powder.
Are pre-workouts vegan-friendly?
Most pre-workouts aren't vegan-friendly, but there are a few brands that manufacture products that vegans can use.
If you're vegan, avoid pre-workouts with ingredients derived from animals such as collagen, gelatin, whey, casein, lactose, cysteine, tyrosine, and fish liver.
It's still best to look for a vegan-friendly seal to be sure that none of the other ingredients are sourced from animal sources.
Can I drink coffee while using a pre-workout?
Yes, you can drink coffee while using a pre-workout. But since most pre-workouts contain a certain amount of caffeine, you might want to lower your coffee intake to avoid jitters, insomnia, and anxiety.
Since caffeine tolerance varies from person to person, it's hard to give a one-size-fits-all answer. Make sure to check the amount of caffeine on your pre-workout before you drink a cup of coffee, which typically contains around 100 mg of caffeine. Never go beyond the 400 mg limit per day to prevent adverse side effects.
Can I stack a pre-workout with other supplements?
Some pre-workouts are designed to be stacked with other supplements made by the same brand. Manufacturers ensure that stacking these supplements won't exceed the daily limits for each ingredient so as not to cause mild or serious side effects.
It's more risky to stack supplements from different manufacturers so make sure to check the amounts of each ingredient first before taking anything. It's still best to consult with a doctor if you’re planning to stack supplements to make sure that nothing goes wrong.
Our Verdict on the Best Pre-Workout for Women
The best pre-workout for women will enable you to get more from your exercise routines and achieve a higher level of overall fitness and health. While many of the ones on our list may serve you well, CIRA Pre-Game Pre-Workout is the one that provided the best results on our tests.
I have seen my clients improve their performance exponentially, most likely as a result of the combination of essential amino acids that support muscle function. And with the addition of caffeine, CIRA has provided them with increased focus and a motivational boost to get them through every workout.
Try it out and you'll notice a difference to your training routine.
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