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The Best Pre-Workout Fat Burner
A Guide to Thermogenic Supplements

Supplements Considered 20
Supplements
Considered
Hours of Research 67
Hours
of Research
Reviews Examined 38
Reviews
Examined
Experts Interviewed 12
Experts
Interviewed
Tyler Sellers
Published by Tyler Sellers
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: August 28, 2021

Before I lose any readers who think I’ll be recommending some of those dodgy pre-workout pills from the ads that follow you around social media, let me tell you that is far from reality.

I can see how many crappy snake oil products are out there that all claim to be the best in helping you burn fat while sitting on the couch with a box of donuts.

But what I’m actually going to do is present you with fat burning pre-workout supplements that are designed to work with a healthy diet and effective exercise routine. Basically, no promise that taking these pre-workout supplements to lose weight won’t take effort and commitment.

Over the past few months, I’ve worked with my colleagues to research and test the highest-rated and best thermogenic pre-workout supplements. We’ve read through thousands of customer reviews, validated ingredients with dietitians, and tested them ourselves.

Let's now find out which ones made the cut.

Our Top Thermogenic Pre-Workouts

1 - Performance Lab Pre-Workout (Editor's Choice)

Performance Lab Sport Pre Workout Product Thermogenic PreWorkout

Out of all the thermogenic pre-workouts we tested, this seemed to be the one we were able to agree on most.

First of all comes a thumbs up to the makers for not hiding behind some proprietary blends. The exact amounts of ingredients are all stated, that's why we know it contains a decent amount of creatine, L-citrulline, as well as electrolytes.

This pre-workout will boost your performance at the gym, which will send your metabolism into overdrive to source more energy from fat.

Pros
  • Claims to raise nitric oxide levels for better blood flow
  • Suitable for daily use to support performance athletes
  • A good dose of creatine and L-citrulline
  • Suitable for vegans due to plant-based ingredients
Cons
  • Swallowing 4 pills can be a struggle

Overall, it gets a thumbs up from thousands of happy users, all of our team here, as well as my dietician. It’s very simple and effective with no hidden or proprietary blends.

Just prepare yourself to swallow 4 capsules at a time; I usually take 2 at home and then 2 when I get to the gym.

2 - Transparent Labs PreSeries LEAN Pre-Workout

Transparent Labs PreSeries LEAN Thermogenic Pre Workout

This thermogenic pre-workout is a product I started seeing a lot more at the gym, and what intrigued me most was that there didn’t seem to be any social media hype or advertising around it.

What stood out for me is that the makers took the approach of using only scientifically proven ingredients for increasing energy levels and rate of thermogenesis.

The results a lot of people are posting in reviews are very positive, with many of them also pointing to greater mental focus from the caffeine. Just make sure you don’t drink too much coffee, as it could test your tolerance of stimulants.

Pros
  • BCAAs support increased strength and muscle mass growth
  • A strong dose of caffeine
  • Many users say the flavors are quite nice
  • Based on average from reviews, it starts working within 15 minutes
  • Free from artificial sweeteners, colors, and preservatives
Cons
  • Not the cheapest option unless you bulk buy

But it also goes beyond what most pre-workouts do by having some BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) added in it. These have been shown to increase energy levels, as well as speed up muscle recovery times.

You can watch this video review to learn more about this thermogenic pre-workout supplement.

Get 10% off using coupon code:  TOTALSHAPE

3 - Nitrosurge Shred Pre-Workout Fat Burner

Nitrosurge Shred Thermogenic Pre Workout

Next, on our pre-workouts list is Nitrosurge Shred, which is another pre-workout supplement that keeps things very simple. By using a blend of caffeine and L-Theanine, it claims to trigger stronger thermogenic effects, so you lose more fat for losing weight and cutting phase.

The enhanced fat burning by your metabolism releases lots of energy, which then increases your endurance in long training and running sessions.

And with the mental focus a lot of people comment about in reviews, you should feel that your workouts are easier.

Pros
  • Combination of L-Theanine and caffeine promote fat loss
  • Many positive reports of better pumps
  • Claims to give you more focus
  • The flavors are quite nice tasting
Cons
  • Some extra minerals would be great

While the aim is to keep this thermogenic pre-workout simple, I would have liked to see some more minerals, especially zinc. This can help your body produce more testosterone, so it might be something you need to source from other supplements.

4 - Cellucor C4 Ripped Pre Workout

Cellucor Thermogenic Pre Workout Thermogenic

I’ve used quite a few different Cellucor supplements before, and while not all of them work as well as they are advertised, most of us did find some solid effects on thermogenic processes and muscle pumps from this pre-workout supplement.

We did like that it contains green coffee bean extract, which some studies have shown to be effective in slowing down carbohydrate digestion and balancing blood sugar levels.

And who wouldn't want that?

Pros
  • A good dose of caffeine for thermogenic effect and mental boost
  • Many people say the flavors are refreshing
  • Comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee
  • Contains green coffee bean extract which can balance blood sugar levels
Cons
  • Exact amounts of ingredients are kept proprietary

Personally, I wouldn’t say this is the best fat burning pre-workout because the company hides behind proprietary blends. But it’s still worth a try, as it comes with a money-back guarantee.

5 - Battle Ready Fuel Fat Burner Pre-Workout

Battle Ready Fuel Fat Burner Thermogenic Pre Workout for fat loss

My initial concern with this pre-workout supplement was the name and branding as it seemed to be one of those pre-workouts that has a higher marketing than research budget.

However, I was quite wrong with that assumption and pleasantly surprised by all the positive reviews I saw online.

From a fat burning perspective, they really have gone all-out and loaded it with thermogenic ingredients like caffeine and black pepper extract. The only bad thing is that it does not contain creatine which is something I like in my supplements.

I haven’t been able to confirm this, but the company claims this pre-workout will stimulate your metabolism to burn an extra 278 calories daily.

Pros
  • Claims to help your body burn an extra 278 calories a day
  • Good blend of proven ingredients that help burn fat
  • Many positive comments about better muscle pumps
  • Only requires one capsule to be taken once a day
Cons
  • Seems to be quite slow acting

loss

How Do They Thermogenic Pre-Workouts Work?

man working out using thermogenic pre workout

Thermogenic pre-workout supplements work by increasing your core body temperature slightly, which is achieved by your metabolism burning more energy.

It sounds simple, but it’s actually quite complicated what happens in your body. Don’t worry, I won’t bore you with a lecture on physiology.

When these thermogenic ingredients are combined with exercise, then you can trigger some effective fat oxidation, as your body struggles to source enough energy. (3)

The best thing about thermogenic fat loss is that once you get into the habit of healthy nutrition, exercising, and taking supplements, you’ll eventually create a positive feedback loop.

What I mean by that is that a net negative diet will cause fat burning, as will your regular exercising. And when you add thermogenics on top of that, then you’ll have more energy for your muscles to perform.

The word “thermogenic” literally means heat-producing. When your body burns calories, it generates more heat, so the supplements that boost metabolism or fat burning are considered thermogenic.

- Erica Julson, Registered Dietician

Do Thermogenic Pre-Workouts Have Side Effects?

side effects

For the most part, people tend to tolerate thermogenic or fat-burning pre-workouts without any side effects, and with all the products above, we’ve picked ones that contain natural stuff, rather than dodgy chemicals.

That being said, some people do have reactions, and it’s important to know what to look out for. In my experience, these usually happen when people start to take higher than recommended doses.

Or, if you unknowingly take other supplements that contain thermogenic or fat-burning ingredients too.

1. Nausea

With some of the stronger and more potent products, it can happen that you start feeling a bit sick after taking it. If this happens, make sure you reduce the dose or use a different product altogether.

2. Cramps

Cramping is another side effect that sometimes can happen, but I’ve really only seen this with people who decide to take more than one dose at a time. If you’re new to these thermogenic metabolism boosters, then take it easy at the start.

3. Jitters

Stimulants like caffeine can make you feel very anxious and jittery if you take too much of them. This can quickly happen if you also drink a few cups of coffee a day. (1)

4. Insomnia

While you will get extra focus and mental energy from caffeine, if you take these supplements late in the day, you can end up staring at the ceiling for a few hours before you can get to sleep. (2)

When's The Best Time To Take Thermogenic Pre-Workouts?

Man drinking

The best time to take thermogenic pre workouts is about 20 to 30 minutes before your training starts.

When you first start taking a pre-workout with thermogenic ingredients, then I generally advise people to best take it 30 minutes before you start your warm-up routine.

This gives your metabolism enough time to respond.

As you go along, you can then fine-tune this to figure out what works best for you. Keep notes of the time it takes for you to start noticing the positive effects of the pre workouts, e.g., increased energy and focus.

Meanwhile, on days when you are not working out, you can take a thermogenic pre-workout 30 minutes upon waking up to increase metabolism throughout the day.

What Ingredients Should You Look Out For In A Thermogenic Pre-Workout?

thermogenic pre workout ingredientsPepper, coffee beans, green tea powder, and white powder in green bowl

The good news is that weight loss is a hot topic in the medical industry, and fat burning ingredients are constantly being scientifically tested for the most effective combinations.

As a result, many supplement producers rely on those actual test results to come up with better formulas. But there are a few tried and trusted things that are usually a good indication that you’ve found a good product.

And it’s the following items that you will find in some of the best thermogenic pre-workout supplements.

1. Caffeine

If you’re looking for fat-burning pre-workouts to lose weight, then caffeine is something that would really need to be on the label. It’s by far the best natural fat burner and has been proven so through carefully planned clinical trials.

In the short term, caffeine can boost the metabolic rate and increase fat burning, but after a while, people become tolerant to the effects, and it stops working.

- Kris Gunnars, Nutrition Researcher

2. Green Tea Extract

One of the reasons this is an important ingredient is due to the caffeine it contains, which I’ve already covered above. But green tea extract also contains antioxidants that have been shown to enhance your body’s ability to process fat.

And because it works wonders for detox, you can really improve the way you feel in your skin. (4)

3. Capsicum/Cayenne

Before you worry about having to chew through some hot chili peppers, these are usually provided in extract form and will not actually leave a burning sensation in your mouth.

It can work well to suppress hunger, but more importantly, it will help you liquify some of those stubborn fat reserves.

4. L-Carnitine

A lot of pre-workout supplements have this added these days because it is critical for the processing of stored body fat into fatty acids. Those fatty acids are then transported to muscles to get them to their best performance. (5)

 

FAQs

Do thermogenics really work?

Yes, thermogenic pre-workouts work, and there have been countless clinical trials and scientific studies to back up their effects. This doesn’t mean you can sit on the couch all day watching Love Island and making your way through bags of chips. With the proper diet and training, thermogenics will work great for fat loss.

Do thermogenics give you energy?

Yes, thermogenic pre-workouts may give you energy as the processing of stored body fat releases a lot of energy. Some of that is used for metabolic processes, but you’ll also notice a difference during training.

Can a pre-workout help lose weight?

Yes, a pre-workout can help you lose weight because many of these products will include fat burners and energy boosters. The increased energy will allow you to work harder, which burns more calories and sheds flabby stuff.

Are all fat burners thermogenic?

No, not all fat burners are thermogenic, but all of those available in over-the-counter supplements fall into this category. There are some experimental and prescription products available, but I would suggest you stay away from them.

Should I take cycles with my thermogenic pre-workout?

Yes, you should take cycles with your thermogenic pre-workout to give your body some time away from stimulants like caffeine. This prevents your body from building up a tolerance to these stimulants, making the pre-workout less effective.
Generally, you can cycle off thermogenic pre-workouts and fat burners for 6 to 8 weeks after 8 to 10 weeks of taking them. Others also recommended to stop taking thermogenic pre-workouts when you can no longer feel that "tingly buzz."
However, you can also alternate a stimulant-based and non-stimulant based pre-workout to get the same results.

Are thermogenic pre-workouts dangerous?

It depends. Most thermogenic pre-workouts available in the market are safe, but there are also some dangerous ones lurking around. However, it mainly depends on how they are taken so make sure to stick with the recommended dosage to prevent any side effects.

Is taking more thermogenics better?

No, taking more thermogenics is not better. In fact, it may actually be more dangerous. Always follow the recommended dosage and never attempt to take double the recommended servings of various products in the hopes of getting more benefits.

Among our team here at TotalShape, my dietician’s opinion, and the online reviews, there is a clear favorite from all the pre-workout supplements we tested.

The best thermogenic pre-workout for us is Performance Lab Sport.

Performance Lab is fast-working with the bonus of some L-citrulline for improved blood flow, and I like that it contains some creatine.

I’ll let you decide if it’s the best thermogenic pre-workout fat burner for your needs, but definitely give it a try for yourself. And remember to post your experience on our Facebook as well.

Our #1 Best Thermogenic Pre Workout

Performance Lab Pre-Workout

Performance Lab Sport Pre Workout Product Thermogenic PreWorkout
Taste
N/A (Capsule)
Ingredient Quality
5.0
Price
4.5
Overall Score
4.8
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Pros
  • Claims to raise nitric oxide levels for better blood flow
  • Suitable for daily use to support performance athletes
  • A good dose of creatine and L-citrulline
  • Suitable for vegans due to plant-based ingredients
Cons
  • Swallowing 4 pills can be a struggle

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