Supplements | Total Shape

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

Best Thermogenic Pre Workout Featured Image
Isaac Robertson
Written by Isaac Robertson

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

I completely understand how many crappy snake oil products are out there that all claim to be the best and help you burn fat while you sit on the couch with a box of donuts.

What I’m actually going to do is present fat burning pre workout supplements that are designed to work with a healthy diet and effective exercise routine. Basically, no promise that this 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 workouts. We’ve read through thousands of customer reviews, validated ingredients with dietitians, and tested them ourselves.

Let’s dive right in.

Our Top Thermogenic Pre Workouts


Supplement Facts​

Key Highlights

Performance Lab Thermogenic Pre Workout

#1 Performance Lab Pre Workout
​(Editor's Choice)

  • 1 g Creatine
  • 750 mg Cordyceps Sinensis
  • 500 mg L-Citrulline
  • 350 mg Himalayan Pink Salt
  • Boosts blood flow and oxygenation in muscles
  • Enhances performance and endurance
  • Promotes muscle recovery and targets excess fat
  • Safe, natural, and vegan-friendly
  • Get the BEST PRICE until the end of October
Transparent Labs

​#2 Transparent Labs PreSeries LEAN

  • 6 g Citrulline Malate 2:1
  • 2.5 g Betaine Anhydrous
  • 2 g BCAA 2:1:1
  • 1.5 g Beta-Alanine
  • Packed with clinically effective dosages of Citrulline Malate, BCAA, and more
  • Boosts energy and performance during workouts
  • Targets stubborn fat and prevents lean muscle loss
  • Vegan-friendly
Nitrosurge Shred

#3 Nitrosurge Shred

  • 2 g L-Citrulline
  • 1.6 g Beta-Alanine
  • 1 g Acetyl L-Carnitine HCL
  • Boosts energy, focus and strength
  • Burns fat and preserves lean muscles 
  • No artificial ingredients and fillers
Cellucor C4 Ripped

#4 Cellucor Pre Workout Thermogenic

  • 1.6 g Beta Alanine
  • 1 g Arginine AKG
  • 1 g C4 Ripped Blend
  • Burns fat while preserving lean muscle mass
  • Boosts energy during workouts
  • No jitters and crash
Battle Ready Fuel

#5 Battle Ready Fuel Fat Burner Pre Workout

  • 258 Capsimax Plus Blend
  • 50 mg L-Arginine
  • Increases intensity and power during workouts
  • Burns excess fats and calories
  • Effectively boosts metabolic rate

1. Editor's Choice: Performance Lab Pre Workout

Out of all the 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 BS. The exact amounts of all ingredients are published with a decent amount of creatine, L-citrulline, as well as electrolytes.

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

Performance Lab


  • 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
  • check
    Suitable for vegans due to plant-based ingredients


  • Swallowing 4 pills can be a struggle

Overall, it gets the 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

This 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 thermogenesis.

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

Transparent Labs PreSeries LEAN


  • BCAAs support increased strength and muscle growth
  • A strong dose of caffeine
  • Many users say the flavors are quite nice
  • check
    Based on average from reviews, it starts working within 15 minutes
  • Free from artificial sweeteners, colors, and preservatives


  • 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. These have been shown to increase energy levels, as well as speeding up muscle recovery times.

You can watch this video review to learn more about this supplement.

3. Nitrosurge Shred

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

That fat burning by your metabolism releases lots of energy, which increases your endurance in training. And with the mental focus a lot of people comment about in reviews, you should find that your workouts are easier.

Nitrosurge Shred


  • Combination of L-Theanine and caffeine promote fat loss
  • Many positive reports of better pumps
  • Claims to give you more focus
  • check
    The flavors are quite nice tasting


  • Some extra minerals would be great

While the aim is to keep this product simple, I would have liked to see some more mineral ingredients, especially zinc. This can help your body produce more testosterone, so it might be something you try to source from other supplements.

4. Cellucor Pre Workout Thermogenic

I’ve used quite a few different Cellucor supplement products, and while not all of them work as well as advertised, most of us did find some solid effects on thermogenic processes and muscle pumps.

We did like that it contains green coffee bean, which some studies have shown to be effective to reduce carb digestion and balancing blood sugar levels.

And who wouldn't want that?

Cellucor Pre Workout Thermogenic


  • 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
  • check
    Contains green coffee bean extract which can balance blood sugars


  • Exact amounts of ingredients are kept proprietary

Personally, I wouldn’t say this is the best pre workout with fat burners, 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

My initial concern with this 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 in that assumption and pleasantly surprised by all the positive reviews.

From a fat burning perspective, they really have gone all-out and loaded it with thermogenic ingredients like caffeine and black pepper extract. I haven’t been able to confirm this, but the company claims it will stimulate your metabolism to burn an extra 178 calories.

Battle Ready Fuel


  • 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
  • check
    Only requires one capsule to be taken once a day


  • Seems to be quite slow acting

In our testing, we did find it worked well as a fat burner, and reviews highlighted that it provides more energy for better muscle pumps.

The good thing is that it comes in capsules. If you’re sick of all the pre and post workout shakes, then that’s a bonus. However, keep in mind that this is one of the slower-acting options, and it can take 30 minutes or more for your body to show some signs it’s working.

Do Thermogenic Pre Workout Supplements Have Side Effects? 

man experiencing side effects

For the most part, people tend to tolerate thermogenic pre workouts without any side effects, and with all the above products, 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 fat burners.

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 else 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)

What’s The Best Time To Take Thermogenic Pre Workout? 

man drinking his supplement

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

When you first start taking a pre workout with thermogenics, 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.

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 effects of the pre workouts, e.g., increased energy and focus. 

How Do Thermogenic Pre Workout Supplements Work? 

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

man working out

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

What I mean by that is that a net negative diet will cause fat burning, as will your 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 supplements that boost metabolism or fat burning are considered thermogenic.

Erica JulsonRegistered Dietician

What Ingredients Should You Look Out For? 

ingredients in a thermogenic pre workout

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 thermogenics.

1. Caffeine

If you’re looking for pre workouts for weight loss, then caffeine is something that would really need to be on the label. It’s by far the best fat burner and has been proven so through very 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 GunnarsNutrition 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 it 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 workouts have this added these days because it is critical for the processing of stored body fat into fatty acids. It’s those fatty acids that are then transported to muscles to get them to their best performance. (5)



1. Do thermogenics really work?

2. Do Thermogenics give you energy?

3. Can PreWorkout help lose weight?

4. Are all fat burners thermogenic?

What Is The Best Pre Workout For Weight Loss? 

Between the team here at TotalShape, my dietician’s opinion and the online reviews, there is a clear favorite from all the products we tested. Performance Lab is fast working, has 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.

Performance Lab Pre Workout

Our #1 ​Best Thermogenic Pre Workout

  • Claims to raise nitric oxide levels for better blood flow
  • Suitable for daily use to support performance athletes
  • check
    A good dose of creatine and L-citrulline
  • check
    Suitable for vegans due to plant-based ingredients
  • Get the BEST PRICE until the end of October

About the author

Isaac Robertson

Isaac Robertson

I’m a personal fitness trainer and nutritionist living in sunny Indianapolis, IN. I’ve spent the last 8 years staying at the forefront of the health and fitness industry. In that time, I’ve helped hundreds of people shed the excess weight and get into shape, maintaining their healthy new lifestyle through proper training and eating habits. You can read more about me here​.