How to Make Pre Workout Taste Better? (8 Simple Ways)

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Published by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: March 20, 2024
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As a fitness coach, I've tried numerous pre-workout supplements over the years together with my clients.

While many boost performance, some don't taste great. To address this, I conducted 53 hours of research together with my colleagues, including other fitness coaches and dietitians, to explore various strategies and ingredients to enhance the flavor.

Here's a summary of what I found.

Quick Summary

  • To make pre-workouts taste better, incorporate natural ingredients like frozen fruits, lemon water, and Greek yogurt.
  • Pre-workouts often taste off due to ingredients like beta-alanine, creatine, caffeine, and nitric oxide, which can range from tasteless to bitter.
  • Since about 70% of ice cream is derived from milk, incorporating low-fat, calcium-fortified ice cream into your workout drink might not just uplift your mood but could also energize you and aid in bone strengthening.
  • While enhancing the taste of pre-workouts can make them more palatable, I always make sure that the added ingredients don't compromise the supplement's primary benefits.

How Can I Make My Pre-workout Taste Better?

A woman holding pre workout drink

To make your pre-workout taste better, add ingredients and masking agents to your supplement powder.

Based on my previous experience with pre-workouts, you can make them taste better by adding natural flavors or sweeteners. Also, according to a study found on the National Center for Biotechnology (NCBI) website, Stevia, Splenda, and monk fruit extract may naturally enhance the taste of pre-workouts [1].

Below are the 8 ingredients you can add to your pre-workout to make it taste better, or have a take at some of the best-tasting pre-workouts we had an opportunity to try.


8 Ingredients to Make It Taste Better

Based on our tests, some ingredients can improve the taste of pre-workout drinks that are flavorless and hard to drink.

But, before you start modifying the taste of your pre-workouts, you need to know which ingredients may work for each type of flavor.

1. Frozen Fruits or Natural Sweeteners

Frozen Berries

I found through my tests that frozen fruits such as cherries, berries, bananas, and watermelons can be blended into your bland, bitter, or spicy pre-workout powder.

Also, according to another study found on WebMD, adding berries and cherries to your supplement will not only improve its taste and sweetness but also boost your levels of antioxidants, which will help you stay healthy [2].

Furthermore, another study found on the National Library of Medicine (NIH) website proved that watermelon naturally contains citrulline, an amino acid beneficial to relieving sore muscles and boosting athletic performance making your pre-workout taste and perform better [3].

In addition, bananas added to sweeten pre-workout may help control appetite due to their high fiber content.

2. Fresh Lemon, Lime, Orange Juice

You can squeeze some fresh citrus fruits like lemon or lime into sweet and flavorless pre-workout and add orange to a spicy pre-workout.

Citrus fruits contain potent antioxidants and phytonutrients that offer protection against oxidative damage [4].

Also, another study found on the National Library of Medicine website found that adding freshly squeezed lemon juice to your pre-workout not only makes it taste better but also speeds up recovery from muscular fatigue [5].

I can also tell from my personal experience with different pre-workouts that if your pre-workout already tastes sour, you don't need to add these ingredients.

3. Coconut Water

Coconut water inside a bottle glass

Coconut water tastes significantly sweeter than plain water, and it can be effective for turning your bitter or sour pre-workout taste better.

According to one of the Cleveland Clinic's articles, Drinking coconut water before a workout has been shown to help people maintain their health and hydration due to the essential nutrients and electrolytes [6].

Keeping hydrated and healthy can improve one's performance during high-intensity workouts.

Based on my observations, I believe this is a better alternative to flavored beverages and commercialized sports drinks, which contain artificial flavors.

4. Regular, Soy, and Coconut Milk

I also concluded, based on our testing phase, that using coconut or soy milk as the base for pre-workout can help improve the bitterness of the product.

Furthermore, adding milk does not only make your pre-workout taste better, but it also provides minerals, vitamins, and fats to keep your body energized throughout the day.

Also, milk naturally contains two types of proteins, such as casein and whey, which can help to improve muscle recovery after cardio and strength exercises.

Related Article: Is Coconut Milk Good for Weight Loss

5. Flavored Water

A flavored water with berries inside

Another way I found through my tests to sweeten a pre-workout that tastes bland is by mixing the powder with flavored water or water infused with citrus, berries, melons, fresh ginger, or mint.

The article found on WebMD titled "Health Benefits of Mint Leaves" and medically reviewed by Kathleen M. Zelman, RD, LD, MPH, showed that there are several health benefits of infused water with green tea, mint, and lime, including fat-burning and an immediate relief from headaches and nasal congestion [7].

"Proper hydration is critical for maintaining health on a cellular level. Every cell in the human body is reliant on water for proper function."

- Dr. Robert Parker, BS, DC, Parker Health Solutions

Moreover, infused water with strawberries and kiwi improves heart health, immunity, and blood sugar regulation.

6. Cocoa Powders and Vanilla Extracts

Mixing pre-workout with cocoa powder and vanilla extract can help to mask the bitterness of pre-workout supplements.

Some pre-workout supplement manufacturers are already using cocoa powder in their chocolate-flavored pre-workout. However, they are often far too sweet.

While I found through my research that flavorless pre-workout may appear to be an excellent way to avoid too much sweetness, you can add your flavor to your flavorless pre-workout with cocoa powder and vanilla extract as well.

That way, you can customize and balance the flavor of your drink.

7. Low-Fat Ice Cream and Yogurt

Top view of yogurt

Our tests showed that a single scoop of low-fat vanilla ice cream and fat-free plain Greek yogurt can be a fun and tasty way to sweeten up your bland or spicy pre-workout.

Because 70 percent of ice cream comes from milk, adding low-fat, calcium-fortified ice cream to your workout drink may not only make you happier but may also give you more energy and help strengthen your bones [8].

Also, plain Greek yogurt has a lot of protein, which could be why so many people who work out find it to be the best snack.

You can use a low-fat version and add sliced fruit or granola to give yourself more energy for your workout.

8. Regular, Soy, and Coconut Milk

Using coconut or soy milk as the base for pre-workout can help you improve the bitterness of the product.

Furthermore, I noticed during the testing phase that adding milk does not only make your pre-workout taste better, but it also provides minerals, vitamins, and fats to keep your body energized throughout the day.

According to BioMed Central's study titled "International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: protein and exercise," milk naturally contains two types of proteins, such as casein and whey, which can help to improve muscle recovery after cardio and strength exercises [9].

Why Does Pre-workout Taste Bad?

Pouring pre-workout inside tumbler

Pre-workout tastes bad because the taste ranges from sweet and sour to bitter, salty, or spicy. Some are even tasteless.

From my past experiments, here's what impacts pre-workout flavor:

  • Beta-Alanine - Beta-alanine in pre-workout is perceived as a tasteless powder that, when mixed with water, adds no flavor, smell, or taste.
  • Creatine Monohydrate - According to another study found on Oxford Academic, creatine was described by four out of five people as tasteless, while one considers it to be bitter tasting [10].
  • Caffeine - Researchers, including Rachel L. Poole and Michael G. Tordoff, found that caffeine itself is naturally tasteless. The bitter taste receptors in the tongue's taste buds initiate the perception of having the taste [11]. However, there are some great options for pre-workout supplements without caffeine that we tested and really enjoyed.
  • Nitric Oxide - Some people describe the taste of supplements containing nitric oxide as being somewhat acidic or metallic, while others say that the supplements have a more sweet flavor.
  • Casein and Whey Protein - Casein and whey protein's natural bland taste makes some muscle-building supplements hard to drink. Also, an additional study found on WebMD found that whey powder appears to have a better texture and flavor, while casein can sometimes feel lumpy and thick in the mouth [12].
  • Artificial Flavors - Other ingredients that make the supplement sour are artificial flavors that include citric acid and malic acid. In contrast, substances that mimic sugary tastes like saccharin and sucralose can make pre-workout overly sweet.

Pros And Cons Of Making Your Pre-Workout Taste Better

Scooping Pre-workout supplement powder

Based on my personal experience, below are the pros and cons of making your pre-workout taste better:

  • Pros: Enhancing the taste of your pre-workout can increase the likelihood of consistent consumption, leading to better workout performance. A palatable flavor can also make the overall fitness experience more enjoyable.
  • Cons: Adding sweeteners or flavorings might introduce unnecessary calories or artificial ingredients. Altering the taste could also mask the presence of essential but bitter ingredients, potentially reducing the supplement's effectiveness.


What's the Best Pre-workout Flavor?

Fruit punch is the best pre-workout flavor. It received more than 40 percent of the votes in social media groups and forums. Watermelon punch, on the other hand, came in second, and bubblegum ice cream flavor came in third.

What Should You Not Mix With Pre-workout?

You should not mix alcohol with pre-workout because the caffeine in it could react with the depressant effects of the alcohol, which can have negative effects on your heart and workout performance. Also, there are health risks associated with adding carbonated drinks like sparkling water and Coca-Cola to pre-workout particularly those with a proprietary blend.

Are There Any DIY Pre-workout Recipes?

Yes, there are DIY pre-workout recipes that allow you to mix natural ingredients tailored to your needs. Common ingredients include green tea, honey, L-citrulline, and beta-alanine.

What Is the Impact of Temperature on the Taste of a Pre-workout?

The impact of temperature on the taste of pre-workout is that it influences its taste and palatability. Cold temperatures might mask bitterness, while room temperature can enhance certain flavors.


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About The Author

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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