In the past, it seemed that if you wanted to get the most from your workouts you simply had to eat right, drink plenty of water, and get enough sleep.
While those things are still vital to overall health and well-being, it's also come to the attention of nutritionists and trainers that providing yourself with a bit of a boost before you hit the gym or the track or the CrossFit box can work wonders.
Which is why pre-workout supplements for women are now quite popular.
Many pre-workout supplements are helping countless women push past performance barriers that used to stand in their way and enabling them to achieve the results they long imagined but could never before attain.
Different manufacturers take slightly different approaches for the formulation of pre-workout supplements for women. But, those on this list all achieve a level of effectiveness that makes them noteworthy.
Our Top Pre-Workouts for Women (2021)
1 - Cira Pre-Game Pre-Workout (Editor's Choice)
Our top product recommendation comes in the form of CIRA Pre-Game, which has been specifically formulated for women.
That means no more working out partial scoops of a supplement to avoid too strong doses and wasting money.
There are many positive reviews about the overall energy boost it may provide and that women seem to be dealing with muscle fatigue more effectively.
It mixes super easily, and both flavors (peach bellini and pink candy) are tasty and not too sweet. Online users agree with this.
- 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
- Limited bulk-order discounts but subscription offers available
The only thing we'd like to see more of is bulk-order discounts. But the standard price is affordable, and you can subscribe to save money as well.
2 - Powher Pre-Workout for Women
Powher - literally pronounced “pow her” is a premium pre-workout explicitly designed for women. It is focused on promoting stable energy and quicker weight loss.
Toning is the main objective of this pre-workout product and not muscle building. As a result, Powher is a creatine-free pre-workout supplement, unlike other products on the market.
Instead, it uses a range of natural energizers aimed at promoting greater stamina, motivation, and strength during exercise.
- 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 best ingredients in this supplement include the caffeine amplifier EnXtra and the fatigue crushing Oxyjun. On top of this, coconut water powder helps deliver much needed hydration to keep you feeling fit and healthy while you train.
The only downside? It's 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
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.
Workouts of any sort are certainly better than sitting around, but many women simply spin their health wheels year after year without making any real progress.
With 4Gauge as a pre-workout supplement, 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
- Has only one flavor
4 Gauge includes L-theanine, creatine, caffeine, L-citrulline, red beet extract, and other ingredients intended to help you burn fat and replace it with lean, resilient muscle.
However, it only comes in one flavor so you might not enjoy it with plain water. You can still mix it with juice or smoothies as it easily dissolves in liquid.
4 - Transparent Labs PreSeries Bulk Pre-Workout
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.
Before you can take advantage of the muscle building properties of BCAAs, you first need to engage in the kind of workout that produces them.
For an extra boost, Bulk contains the natural stimulants caffeine and L-theanine which combined is known to enhance attention, reduce jitters for sensitive individuals, and induce relaxation.
Both these ingredients, along with Lean's thermogenic complex, also helps enhance metabolic processes and promotes fat burning to enable your body to live up to the expectations your mind is establishing.
- 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
If you’re looking for a powerful balance of pre-workout energy from fat burners and muscle builders, then Bulk Pre-Workout should be on your list.
It might not be best to take this before sleep, especially for those who are sensitive to caffeine.
5 - Nitrosurge Pre-Workout Powder
When it comes to pre-workout supplements for women, you want one that is going to give you a jolt of energy without making you feel jittery, help you break through performance barriers that used to limit you, and allow your body to repair and rebuild your muscles into a stronger, more durable state.
And the best pre-workout supplements can do all of those, just like Nitrosurge which contains ingredients like betaine anhydrous, beta alanine, L-theanine, and caffeine that helps deliver the pre-workout energy you want.
Besides energizing you for the workout ahead and repairing your muscles afterward, Nitrosurge also boosts nitric oxide levels that help increase blood flow to optimize endurance and provide an impressive pump.
Instead of using creatine, the manufacturer chose to replace it with betaine anhydrous to effectively increases muscle strength and enhance muscle endurance.
- Boosts nitric oxide levels to increase 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.
Savings start from 10% this December
6 - RSP AminoLean
Amino acids are the building blocks of life and when it comes to human physiology, it is the building blocks of musculature.
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 pre-workouts 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 fat breakdown
- Contains sucralose (Splenda) for flavoring
But, it doesn’t stop there. It also provides the BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) necessary to build new, stronger muscles the body wants to create now that it knows you’re going to need them.
If you're looking to lose weight, RSP also have fat burners that you can try.
7 - Red Leaf Pre-Workout Energizer
Red Leaf Pre Workout Energizer is not made specifically for women, but there is no reason you should let that prevent you from taking advantage of its many benefits.
It provides a jitter-free jolt so that you can readily hit the gym. Like most similar supplements, Red Leaf uses caffeine to create that jolt.
However, with only 40 mg caffeine, it 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
It's a safe, effective pre-workout supplement for both men and women.
8 - RARI Nutrition Infinity Pre-Workout
The marketing for RARI Nutrition pre-workout supplement is a bit disingenuous, implying that it somehow uses alternative methods of getting you jacked for a workout.
However, these methods won't leave you jittering or cause you to ‘crash.'
The fact is, it uses caffeine, just like all the best female pre-workout supplements out there.
But, just because the ads are of questionable value doesn't mean the supplement itself doesn't work.
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
It’s also made in a GMP-certified facility and backed by a generous money-back guarantee.
9 - Legion Pulse Pre-Workout Drink
Legion Pulse leans heavier on caffeine than most of the best pre-workout supplements for women on the market.
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. Perhaps it is better to use 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
- No getting around the size of the caffeine dose
It also has the highest dose of L-citrulline which helps improve blood flow. This is crucial to enabling your muscles to answer the call as you attempt to push through and establish new personal bests.
What is a Pre-Workout?
Usually in a form of powder and sometimes as a capsule, a pre-workout is a supplement that claims to boost physical performance by increasing energy levels and enhancing muscle endurance.
While the formula varies depending on the brand, some of the usual pre-workout ingredients are caffeine, creatine, beta-alanine, and BCAAs. It may include other ingredients like taurine, tyrosine, nitric oxide boosters, and B vitamins.
There is no general definition for a pre-workout but it's a supplement that aims to boost energy, endurance, and strength through the pre-workout ingredients mentioned as well as antioxidants and carbohydrates.
The best pre-workout supplement are intended to enhance these four things:
Energy - You'll eventually need an energy boost during workouts, especially when you're trying to push through the remaining minutes of an intense session. This is where the caffeine in your pre-workout kicks in.
Focus - This is another area where caffeine shines it brightest. As a mild stimulant to the central nervous system, the right dose of caffeine can help not only in improving focus and attention, but also in reducing anxiety and increasing metabolic rate.
Endurance - You know your routines are working if you can do exercises at a longer time or finish more reps. This is partly due to the creatine produced by the body that helps in energy production. But there isn't always enough creatine in the body to use during intense workouts so athletes, bodybuilders, and exercise enthusiasts can benefit from pre-workout supplementation.
Essential Pre-Workout Ingredients
As mentioned, different producers take slightly different routes to reach the qualifications of optimum female pre-workout supplements.
Some ingredients, however, are more important than others. As such, here are the most highly recommended pre-workout ingredients:
- Caffeine - Let’s be real here and admit there are only so many safe and legal ways to provide the energy boost you want from a pre-workout for women. The best and easiest method is caffeine as it enhances both your physical and mental performance. It also intensifies muscle endurance which can help you work harder and longer during your sessions. As such, you'll want a pre-workout supplement that includes just enough caffeine.
- BCAAs - Branched-chain amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine play a vital role in protein synthesis. Without adequate supplies of BCAAs, your muscles cannot properly repair themselves after a strenuous workout, nor will your muscle growth and building efforts produce the results you want. It also improves endurance to finish through more intense sessions.
- Creatine - Besides caffeine, creatine is one of the most researched ergogenic aids as it 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 and, as such, is a fairly common ingredient.
- Nitric Oxide (NO) boosters - NO boosters include L-arginine, L-citrulline and L-norvaline. These compounds promote blood flow and, therefore, oxygen delivery to the muscles, which is important in maintaining stamina during the most difficult parts of your workout.
- Beta-alanine - This amino acid, a modified version of alanine, is a pretty common ingredient in a lot of workout supplements. It is used to create carnosine, a compound that helps control the amount of acid in muscles during workouts. The burn you feel during workouts is lactic acid, and taking beta-alanine can provide power to push through the toughest routines.
- Taurine - Like beta-alanine, taurine is a naturally occurring amino acid associated with better physical and mental performance. It keeps you hydrated by drawing water into cells, as well as maintain a healthy balance of electrolytes which leads to enhanced muscle recovery and reduced muscle cramps.
Benefits of a Pre-Workout
Pre-workouts are known to boost energy and endurance for enhancing physical performance. With the essential ingredients mentioned above, it sure does work to help you get more out of your workouts.
But there's more to that. Sometimes, added ingredients and their reaction with other ingredients can give rise to more positive outcomes.
Here's a list of the overall health benefits of pre-workouts:
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 increase 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 as it is known as a mild stimulant to the central nervous system. With the right dosage, it can also help reduce anxiety, 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 in 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.
Potential Side Effects of a Pre-Workout
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.
- Anxiety - Mostly a side effect of excessive amounts of caffeine.
- Elevated blood pressure - While elevated blood pressure is not common, it can happen.
- Jitters - Again, a side effect of excessive caffeine.
- Renal failure - If you already suffer kidney ailments, even the best pre-workout supplements 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
Once you've chosen a pre-workout supplement that aligns with your fitness needs and goals, you would want to make the necessary changes in your diet and lifestyle to get the desired benefits from your pre-workout.
Here are a few tips to level up your exercise performance with the help of your newly-purchased pre-workout:
Take it 20 to 30 minutes before working out – As the name suggests, it's best to drink your pre-workout before a physical activity to allow the body to process the ingredients properly so you can take full advantage of the benefits from start to finish.
Spring-clean your diet – Eat more of the 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.
Pre-Workout Supplement FAQs
Are pre-workouts for women safe?
Yes, pre-workouts for women are safe. A healthy woman using the best 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 harm than good.
Will pre-workouts cause insomnia?
It depends. If you are sensitive to the effects of caffeine, you may find your sleep disrupted. If this happens, either cut down on the amount of the supplement you’re using or switch to a brand that includes less caffeine or none at all.
Should I take a pre-workout with food?
No, 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?
Although each supplement is slightly different, as a general rule, you'll want to take the best female pre-workout supplement approximately 20 to 30 minutes before you exercise.
Should I use pre-workout supplements in the evening?
It will depend to some degree on the time. If it’s 5 or 6 hours before you normally turn in, it may be fine. However, if it's late in the evening, you may want to take a pass because caffeine can mess up with 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 before working out. 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. Drink it at least 30 minutes before your workout for optimum boost. You may also take some green tea extract as a pre-workout drink.
How much caffeine is in a pre-workout?
It depends, but on average, a pre-workout contains around 50 to 200 mg of caffeine. 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?
Generally, a pre-workout with caffeine, beta-alanine, and betaine anhydrous helps with better physical performance by increasing energy and power levels and enhanced muscle endurance.
With added ingredients like taurine and tyrosine, a pre-workout may help improve focus.
Should you take a pre-workout pill or drink?
It depends on your personal preference. If you enjoy drinking juices or smoothies, then it's a perfect way to add in your pre-workout while hydrating.
Otherwise, you can easily buy a pre-workout pill and simply swallow it before you leave for the gym.
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?
Only a few pre-workouts are considered organic and vegan-friendly.
So if you're a vegan, make sure to check for ingredients with animal origin like 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. But since most pre-workouts contain a certain amount of caffeine, you might want to lower your coffee intake as too much caffeine may cause jitters, insomnia, and anxiety, among others.
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 that 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?
It depends as some pre-workouts are formulated to stack with other supplements within the brand. Manufacturers ensure that stacking these supplements won't exceed the daily limits for each ingredient, enough 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 #1 Recommended Pre-Workout for Women Is...
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 we all thought provided the best results.
It has a great combination of essential amino acids to support muscle function. And with the added caffeine, CIRA may also give you that focus and motivational boost to get you through every workout.
Order yours today and see how much of a difference it will make to your training routine.