Creatine is one of the most popular and safe supplements in the industry. Despite this, not everyone is a fan of it.
Some people get side effects they blame on creatine, and others are simply not interested in the muscle growth benefits.
Luckily, there are a lot of creatine-free pre-workout supplements. It’s almost overwhelming how many options exist.
I did some research to find the best pre-workout supplements without creatine to share with you in this review.
The Best Pre-Workout Without Creatine
- Best Overall Pre-Workout Without Creatine: Transparent Labs PreSeries
- Cheapest Creatine-Free Pre-Workout: Cellucor C4 Ripped
- Best Tasting Pre-Workout Creatine-Free: Transparent Labs PreSeries
- Best Creatine-Free Pre Workout for Beginners: Jacked Factory NitroSurge
- Best Pre-Workout With No Creatine for Weight Loss: ALPHA GX7
- Best Pre Workout Without Creatine for Athletes: Transparent Labs PreSeries
- Best Creatine-Free Pre Workout Without Artificial Additives: CELSIUS Orange
- Best Creatine-Free Pre-Workout for Recovery: Vintage Blast
- Best Pre-Workout Without Creatine for Pump: Cellucor C4 Ripped
Our Top Pre-Workouts With No Creatine (December 2023)
1 - Transparent Labs PreSeries Bulk Pre-Workout (Best Overall & Best Tasting)
At the top of my list of best pre-workouts without creatine is Transparent Labs. It contains 19 active ingredients, including amino acids and vitamins, that increase nitric oxide, which claims to improve blood flow and pumps, enhancing performance.
My personal experience with this pre-workout is that it definitely delivers pumps and effectively deals with fatigue.
If you’re an athlete or bodybuilder, then it’s one of the best creatine-free pre-workout supplement options. It also contains a specialized ingredient called Testosterone Support complex, which may work for further increasing muscle mass.
- Great for bulking up
- Contains Testosterone Support
- Contains nitric oxide
- Not for you if you aren’t looking to mass build
I did a lot of researching prior to buying this pre-workout. Everyone had good things to say, I am another one with good things to say. This product gives you the energy you need but not the jitters you hate. After about 20 minutes, you can feel this product work. I highly recommend trying this for yourself.
- Nicholas T., Reviewer
I liked how there are no artificial colors, preservatives, or ingredients. The powder mixed well, and the tropical punch flavor tasted great.
Get 10% off using coupon code: TOTALSHAPE
2 - Jacked Factory NitroSurge Pre-Workout (Best for Beginners)
At 83 cents per serving, Nitrosurge stands out as a budget-friendly option, one of the more affordable pre-workouts on the market. Do you get what you pay, though? It's worth considering.
I didn’t experience any jitters from the caffeine when I was testing it, but I still got the energy boost to get me through my workout. It mixed well, and it got me the results I was looking for in a pre-workout supplement.
- Contains betaine anhydrous instead of creatine
- No caffeine jitters
- Some flavors don’t taste great
I did have a friend who tried the pineapple flavor and wasn’t impressed. I had the watermelon flavor, which tasted great. So the flavors are a little hit-and-miss.
Instead of creatine, this product has betaine anhydrous. Jacked Factory says this ingredient helps with your strength routine.
3 - CELSIUS Orange On-the-Go Powder Stick Packs (Best Without Artificial Additives)
The convenient packets of Celsius Pre-Workout Powder are designed to be user-friendly and help with
From my experience, I can say that having small packets is very helpful when you need to pack your gym bag in the morning for a training session later in the day.
The one downside with the ingredients is that it has a proprietary blend. It’s hard to say if the ingredient amount matches how much I need for it to be effective.
- On-the-go packets
- No artificial ingredients
- No sugar
- Boosts energy
- Contains a proprietary blend
One serving has 200mg of caffeine, so it provided an energy boost when I tried it.
4 - Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy Pre-Workout
Next on the list for pre-workouts without creatine is Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy. It has two proprietary blends; one for amino acids and the other for energy.
Even though the blends have a lot of the right ingredients, I’m not sure if I was getting enough for my needs. My test results were OK, but there are better products.
Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy also contained other ingredients that I wasn’t a fan of like artificial sweeteners, flavors, and colors.
- Useful for small energy boosts
- Has no sugar
- Tastes great
- Contains proprietary blends
- Has artificial flavors and colors
Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy didn’t give me a crazy energy boost, but it did help with an afternoon pick-me-up without giving me jitters or insomnia.
5 - Vintage Blast Pre-Workout (Best for Recovery)
Another pre-workout supplement without creatine on the list is from Vintage Blast a reputable brand, and it claims to help with boosting energy levels and preventing muscle fatigue, ensuring a more productive training session.
It’s a good option for anyone that is either physically active or is bodybuilding. Vintage Blast says their product can help with getting more energy, more focus, faster recovery, and staying hydrated.
I like its transparent label. It clearly shows how much ingredients you are consuming so you can know if you are getting enough.
We recently did a full review of Vintage Blast.
- Good for any physical activity level
- No artificial sweeteners, flavor, or color
- Transparent label
- Powder a little hard to mix
I also am a fan that it uses stevia leaf extract to sweeten the formula, and there are no artificial sweeteners. Some people complain that the powder is hard to mix, but I found that you need to be a little vigorous for it to blend.
6 - Red Leaf Pre-Workout Energizer Powder
One of the pre-workouts without creatine is Red Leaf. This unique blend contains ingredients like green tea extract and cranberry to help with energy and overall health, offering a natural approach to fitness.
I appreciate that they had a clear label that listed everything in their product. It makes me trust the company more.
It doesn’t have a lot of caffeine. There's only 40mg in each serving, which is a good option if you are sensitive to caffeine or simply don’t want to risk getting jitters.
- Clear and transparent label
- Useful if you are caffeine-sensitive
- Contains ingredients like green tea and cranberry
- Low caffeine amount isn’t ideal for everyone
However, if you are looking for a massive energy boost, this product may not be for you.
7 - RARI Nutrition Infinity Pre-Workout Powder
RARI Nutrition is creatine-free because they don’t think it’s an excellent ingredient for everyone. Instead, they chose ingredients to help with power and strength like beta alanine and citrulline malate.
Even though RARI uses a proprietary blend, I was surprised that they still listed the exact ingredient amount anyway. And in my experience, it worked well enough for reducing fatigue.
They don't need to do this legally, so it makes me think they care about the ingredients and the people who take them.
- No caffeine jitters or crashes
- Transparent label
- Transparent label
I had a good experience, but I did get a small tingly feeling. Overall, I had great focus and long-lasting energy. The product tasted great, too.
8 - ALPHA GX7 Pre Workout (Best for Weight Loss)
I always check the ingredient list first when scooping out a new pre-workout supplement.
I immediately liked that it didn’t contain any proprietary blends, and there were no hidden ingredients. While I wasn’t a fan of the artificial flavors and colors, I appreciate that the core ingredients are still there.
In my experience, the powder mixed well, and there wasn’t any gritty texture. I had the watermelon flavor, and it tasted great.
- No hidden ingredients
- Provides a lot of energy
- Powder dissolves well
- Contains artificial flavors and colors
I had a friend who used this for fat loss and said it helped them get high energy during gym sessions.
9 - Cellucor C4 Ripped Pre-Workout (Cheapest & Best for Pump)
Cellucor C4 may be one of the most popular pre-workouts without creatine.
It contains CarnoSyn beta alanine, which makes it a premium supplement for building muscle and creating energy. It can also help with fat loss, and during one of my cutting phases, it seemed to work well for reducing my BMI.
Overall, it’s an excellent pre-workout supplement without creatine for a variety of physical goals.
- Has CarnoSyn beta alanine
- Good for fat burning
- Good for muscle gain
- Users report experiencing cramps, jitters, or tingling
10 - Legion Pulse Pre-Workout Supplement
Legion Pulse Pre-Workout is not for the faint of heart as a serving has 350mg of caffeine anhydrous.
If you are looking for a boost in energy, then you are definitely going to get it. And our testing experience showed that a few people did get a bit jittery.
Legion Pulse does offer caffeine-free versions, though.
Even though Legion Pulse pre-workout supplement recommends two scoops per day, I think one scoop is sufficient. Well, it all depends on how intense your workouts are going to be.
- Contains a lot of caffeine
- Caffeine-free versions available
- Get high energy levels
- No artificial sweeteners
- Not suitable for caffeine-sensitive people
I got a kick of energy with one scoop, and I didn’t get a crash afterward. I was happy with the taste, and I like how Legion Pulse pre-workout supplement sweetened it with stevia leaf extract to offset the bitter taste of the amino acids.
Why Do People Take Creatine?
People take creatine because it helps produce more energy for lifting and high-intensity workouts. I remember when I first started working out, a gym buddy recommended creatine for that extra energy boost during lifting and high-intensity sessions.
The promise of increased muscle growth was tempting, especially as I was aiming to bulk up at the time.
One study from the American Physiological Society even names creatine as the most beneficial pre-workout supplement that helps with muscle gain .
Creatine can also help you physically perform better in strength and exercise. A study  showed that a creatine pre-workout supplement had the following effect on their study group:
- Increased strength by 8%
- Increased weightlifting performance by 14%
- Increased bench press one-rep max by up to 43%
What Are The Side Effects Of Creatine?
The potential side effects of creatine are dehydration, cramps, weight gain, and digestive issues.
A lot of research claims that creatine is one of the safest natural ingredients on the market . Despite this, the reported side effects can be worrisome, so let’s take a further look into what causes them.
Creatine can move water stored in your body to the muscle cells. It’s most likely where the popular theory that creatine causes dehydration originated.
Even though this shift occurs, it happens on a minor scale. Your dehydration may stem from not drinking enough water. However, choosing a creatine-free pre-workout can help with feelings of dehydration.
Cramping is one of the common side effects that lead people to choose a pre-workout without creatine. Even though it gets reported occasionally, studies show that creatine is rarely the cause of cramping .
Creatine can cause weight gain due to the body’s stored water content moving to the muscles. Studies show that weight gain is from increased muscle and not increased body fat .
If you’re not looking to gain muscle, then choosing a pre-workout supplement with no creatine content may be a better option for you.
Digestive issues can occur if you don’t follow the recommended guidelines. One study showed that taking 10 grams of creatine led to an increased risk of diarrhea by 37% .
You want to choose a pre-workout supplement with the appropriate creatine amount or choose a pre-workout to avoid it.
Why Should I Take Pre Workout Supplements Without Creatine?
You should take pre-workout supplements without creatine if you are looking to avoid muscle building while enjoying amino acids. Creatine can cause water to move to the muscles, making them look bigger while also supporting your body with muscle growth.
But if you are want to pump and get muscle mass, then you should look at these 11 best pre-workout supplements with creatine.
Are They More Healthy For You?
Pre-workouts without creatine are healthy for you. As long as you take the recommended dosage with amino acids, you shouldn’t experience any adverse side effects. It can still help you boost your energy, increase blood flow, and help with fatigue.
Is Creatine-Free Pre-workout As Effective As Regular Pre-workout?
Creatine-free pre-workout is as effective as a regular pre-workout supplement, depending on your physical goals. A good pre-workout with no creatine will still give you an energy boost, support your body, and prevent muscle fatigue.
The only difference might be that it won’t increase your muscle mass as much, even with the increased blood flow.
What’s In Creatine-Free Pre-Workout Supplement Products?
The best creatine-free pre-workout supplements will have ingredients like citrulline malate, beta-alanine, and caffeine.
Pre-workouts without creatine commonly have
It shouldn’t be confused with L-citrulline, which is a different version of the amino acids. Citrulline malate may be superior because it boosts energy production more .
The best pre-workouts will always have beta-alanine. It has amino acids that have a lot of studies to back up their results.
It can reduce fatigue, increase endurance, and support your muscles for high-intensity exercises.
The benefits of caffeine are well-known. It can give you a huge energy boost.
Unlike energy drinks or even cups of coffee, combining caffeine with other ingredients found in pre-workouts can have a more significant impact on muscle growth and workout performance.
However, this might not be a good choice if you have caffeine sensitivity since it could cause some jitters and sleeplessness at night. Consider getting a caffeine-free pre-workout supplement if you don't think you can handle caffeine.
Related Article: Pre-Workout Supplements With No Caffeine
What Ingredients Should I Avoid If I Don’t Want Creatine?
Ingredients you should avoid if you don’t want creatine include:
- Creatine Monohydrate
- Creatine Ethyl Ester
- Creatine Gum
- Creatine Anhydrous
- Creatine Citrate
- Creatine Malate
- Creatine Phosphate
- Creatine Hydrochloride (HCL)
- Kre-Alkalyn Creatine
- Creatine Tartrate
What Are The Benefits Of Creatine-Free Pre-Workouts?
The benefits of creatine-free pre-workouts include:
- Increased energy
- Improved strength
- More endurance
- Better “pumps”
- Weight loss
Transparent Labs says that their pre-workout without creatine is an excellent option because the massive amounts of caffeine can affect its ability to work.
If you are looking solely for a supplement that can boost your energy and support your muscles, then this pre-workout is a good option.
What Are The Side Effects?
The side effects of a pre-workout with no creatine are minimal as long as you follow the recommended serving amount.
If you don’t follow the serving recommendation of most pre-workout supplements, then you might get side effects like insomnia, high blood pressure, diarrhea, and nausea.
What Should I Look Out For?
You want to make sure that you get the right dosage for you. Sometimes, pre workouts will have too little or too much of an ingredient per serving. For best results, take the time to figure out what nutrients you need
I would also advise that you avoid proprietary blends if you can. Since they don’t reveal the exact ingredient amount, it can be challenging to determine if you are getting the correct dosage.
Related: When To Take Pre-Workouts?
The Role of Hydration in Enhancing Performance
Hydration plays a pivotal role in optimizing athletic performance. Water regulates body temperature, lubricates joints, and aids muscle function. When adequately hydrated, the body can efficiently transport nutrients, including those from pre-workout supplements, to muscles, amplifying their effects .
Conversely, dehydration can diminish the benefits of these supplements. It reduces blood volume, making the heart work harder and causing fatigue.
Consuming pre-workout supplements while dehydrated can exacerbate dehydration symptoms, as some ingredients, like caffeine, have diuretic effects. Thus, while pre-workouts boost energy, it's essential to pair them with adequate water intake to ensure peak performance and safety.
Understanding the Dos and Don'ts of Pre-Workout Timing
Timing is crucial when taking pre-workout supplements. Consuming them 20-30 minutes before exercise allows the body to absorb and utilize the ingredients effectively, maximizing energy, focus, and endurance.
Taking them too close to a workout might not give the ingredients enough time to take effect, potentially hindering performance. Conversely, consuming them too far in advance can cause the peak effects to dissipate before the workout begins.
Additionally, late consumption might lead to discomfort during exercise or insomnia if taken close to bedtime, especially with caffeine-rich supplements. Thus, understanding timing ensures the best results and minimizes potential drawbacks.
The Psychological Impact of Pre-Workout Supplements
Pre-workout supplements, beyond their physical benefits, can significantly influence one's mental state during exercise. Ingredients like caffeine can heighten alertness, sharpen focus, and elevate mood, driving motivation and enhancing the overall workout experience.
However, there's a flip side.
Over-reliance can lead to anxiety, jitteriness, or even a false sense of invincibility, pushing individuals beyond safe limits . Some users might misinterpret this heightened state as an unlimited reservoir of energy, risking overexertion or injury.
It's essential for users to recognize these psychological effects, harnessing the positive boosts for motivation while staying grounded in the realities of their physical capabilities.
How We Selected Optimal Pre-Workouts Without Creatine
To evaluate and research pre-workout supplements, particularly those without creatine, we considered several essential factors.
Understanding that fitness goals vary, our selection process aimed to address a wide range of requirements, emphasizing the enhancement of workout performance.
The effectiveness of pre-workouts can be subjective, but certain universal qualities (cost-effectiveness, high-quality ingredients, and palatability) were pivotal in our assessment. We assigned a rating to each product based on our findings and research.
The ingredient composition in pre-workouts without creatine can be diverse. We concentrated on both innovative and trusted ingredients.
Our method ensured that all ingredients, whether novel or established, were examined for their verified influence on workout performance. And a dietitian helped us with the scientific research of each ingredient.
Most pre-workouts without creatine generally range from $1.50 to $2.50 per serving. Those with a mix of specialized ingredients might be priced higher.
Our recommendations gravitate towards the $1.50 to $2.00 bracket, guaranteeing a combination of powerful, top-tier ingredients without sacrificing cost-effectiveness. We believe that a dependable pre-workout merits a minor financial commitment.
Can I Combine Pre-Workout Products?
You can combine pre-workout products, but it’s not necessary if you’re already taking the proper dosage. But if you really want to, you can stack them with nitric oxide production boosters or BCAA supplements.
Check out: How To Make Your Own Pre-Workout
How Long Before My Workout Should I Take Pre-Workout?
It's recommended to take a pre-workout somewhere between 20 to 40 minutes before your workout. Since people can react differently to pre-workout, you should experiment and see how long it takes for ingredients to kick in. I also want to point out that you could build a tolerance to the ingredients, affecting how long it takes to work.
Should I Eat Before Taking A Pre-Workout?
Some people say you shouldn't eat before taking pre-workout drinks because they quickly absorb on an empty stomach, while others say you shouldn't work out on an empty stomach. In the end, no one knows your body better than you do, so pick an option that matches your fitness goals best.
Should I Take Pre-Workout On My Rest Days?
No, it’s not necessary to take pre-workout on your muscle-building rest days. Some people take pre-workout on their rest days to aid in recovery, but a proper diet may be enough for healing.
We have to stop thinking about nutrition as something that comes in a tub and start looking at our body’s natural fuel: food.
Jessica Crandall, Registered Dietician
If you want to use pre-workout as a pick-me-up, that’s certainly an option.
What Ingredients Should I Look For In A Creatine-Free Pre-Workout?
The ingredients you should look for in a creatine-free pre-workout include citrulline, caffeine, and beta-alanine. These ingredients can help boost your energy, increase your metabolism, and support your muscles.
Other possible ingredients to include in a pre-workout are:
- B Vitamins: It is crucial to have enough B Vitamins in your diet since they naturally aid in energy production. You should ensure that you don’t have a vitamin B deficiency since it can affect your overall energy.
- Betaine: It’s one of the modified amino acids that has recently been studied to have a good potential in improving endurance and strength.
Is Pre-Workout Without Creatine A Good Option For Weight Loss?
A pre-workout with no creatine can be a good option for weight loss when combined with a calorie-reduced diet and physical activity. A lot of pre-workouts have ingredients that can help with fat loss. It can use stored fat to help fuel workouts. You should consider those fat-burning ingredients when choosing a supplement without creatine.
Who Can Take Pre-Workout?
Almost everyone can take pre-workout, except for young children, caffeine-sensitive people, and pregnant women. If you’re on the fence about the best pre-workout powder option for you, you should consider talking to a health professional or nutritionist.
Should I Take Pre-Workout With Milk Or Water?
You can take pre-workout with either milk or water. Milk can add protein and carbohydrates, but it’s slower to digest and can lead to reduced gym performance. It’s up to you which choice is better.
Do I Need to Change My Post-Workout Supplementation?
No, taking a pre-workout with no creatine supplements does not require changing your post-work supplementation. But if you want to avoid creatine supplements, it's good to eliminate it from your post-workout and other supplements.
Does Creatine Affect Sleep?
Creatine affects sleep by increasing the amount of energy available in your muscles and brain. A study on creatine supplementation suggests that creatine has similar effects as caffeine in improving the sports performance of sleep-deprived athletes. It implies that creatine may reduce the amount of sleep needed to feel well-rested.
Is a Pre-Workout Without Creatine Safe for Pregnant Women?
No, a pre-workout without creatine is not safe for pregnant women. Pre-workouts with no creatine usually contain high amounts of caffeine which is not recommended for pregnant women. It's best to consult your doctor to choose the right pre-workout supplement for your pregnancy.
Does Creatine Make Muscles Look Bigger?
Yes, creatine makes muscles look bigger, as it can cause the body’s stored water to move to the muscle cells. The muscles will retain this water which will result to bloating or puffiness around the arms and legs.
Our Verdict: What's The Best Creatine-Free Pre-Workout Supplement?
Even though creatine is standard in the best pre-workout products, it’s not a product that everyone wants to consume.
After all of this research and testing, I’m a fan of Transparent Labs Pre Workout.
There’s no creatine, but it doesn’t stop your ability to pack on some serious muscle gain. It has a unique testosterone support formula that increases your muscle mass.
Better yet, it has the correct dosage you need for each ingredient to be active. It also doesn’t have any artificial sweeteners, flavors, dyes, or additives.
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