What to Mix Pre-workout With? (4 Unexpected Options)

Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Published by Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: January 26, 2024
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As a fitness coach, I've seen firsthand how pre-workout supplements can significantly enhance workout quality and performance. They're key in helping my clients and myself squeeze every bit of benefit from our exercise routines.

But the real question is, what should you mix with your pre-workout to maximize its effectiveness?

Drawing from my extensive experience and collaborations with dietitians, I've compiled a list of the best mixes to add to your pre-workout. These are based on solid, research-backed information that I've seen work wonders in real-life training scenarios.

Quick Summary

  • Caffeine, green tea, and beta-alanine are some of the most popular ingredients in most pre-workout supplements.
  • Beetroot extract and Black Pepper Produce are some great pre-workout mixes to boost energy and constant temperature.
  • A study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information reveals that Bioperine can enhance nutrient absorption by up to 20%.
  • Personally, I find that mixing Citrulline with pre-workouts offers the most noticeable boost in performance and post-workout recovery.

4 Ingredients to Mix with Your Pre-workout

Top view of beetroot extract

To get more and better results from your pre-workout, consider mixing your pre-workout with the following ingredients:

Black Pepper Produce (Bioperine)

Yes, the very same black pepper used in seasoning your meals produces Bioperine, the marketing term for it.

According to a study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), this chemical boosts energy and constant temperature by increasing absorption rate by up to 20% and improving thermogenesis properties when you’re working out [1].

Bioperine can contribute to an energy boost and improved thermogenesis during your workouts when incorporated into pre-workout supplements.

Beetroot Extract

Per a 2017 study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), Beetroot extract, which enhances blood flow and boosts strength and endurance during workouts, is not typically found in pre-workout supplements.

However, you can buy it separately in capsule form and add it to your own homemade pre-workout blend [2].

Cyclic Dextrin

A woman drinking supplement drink

According to insights from the study published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), cyclic Dextrin is easily absorbed through the intestinal lining, where it is converted into glucose and supplies the muscle sustainably, boosting your energy levels during high-intensity workouts [3].

As this compound is slowly absorbed the insulin somehow doesn't jump as much, and your blood glucose concentrations do not plummet throughout your exercise.

This guarantees that energy concentrations remain high, allowing productivity to stay high.


Mixing your pre-workouts with Citrulline aids in the improvement of blood flow and tolerance. It also widens blood arteries and increases the quantity of oxygen and nutrients delivered to the exercising muscles.

This promotes improved performance, increased cellular energy generation, improved post-workout recuperation, and pumps following your exercise.

Citrulline intake may also aid in improving the circulation of the blood to your brain [4]. As a result, you may feel sharper, extra energetic, and stay focused throughout your exercise.

Pre-workout Components

Taking a scoop of supplement powder inside the tumbler

In my journey, I've found that pre-workouts can seriously boost your exercise regime by ramping up metabolic activity and promoting muscle growth.

These supplements are typically available in pill or liquid form and work by increasing metabolic activity and providing essential nutrients to support optimal muscle growth.

With dozens of pre-workout products claiming to be the greatest and containing only scientifically proven components, it's easy to get wrapped up in all these marketing languages, scientific jargon, and outrageous promises.

Here are the most popular components found in pre-workout supplements and how they work:

  • Caffeine: Caffeine boosts your energy levels. I've noticed a significant improvement in my attention span and quicker response times during workouts. But if you are sensitive to caffeine you might want to try a caffeine-free pre-workout.
  • Beta-Alanine: Some pre-workout stimulants contain beta-alanine, an organic compound that aids in muscular endurance during strenuous exercises. You can avoid beta-alanine from these products by checking our list of the best pre-workouts without beta-alanine.
  • Creatine: Because of its relationship with muscular strength and toughness, Creatine is frequently advertised as a standalone exercise supplement. Creatine can be highly beneficial in the gym, particularly during quick-burst exercises [5], that's why we often recommend using a pre-workout that contains creatine.
  • Green Tea: Green tea essence is commonly used as a pre-workout drink to help burn fat.
  • B Vitamins: B vitamins are commonly present in fish, poultry, and milk. Vitamin B in pre-workouts aid in the production of energy, which can, in turn, help you perform better and burn more throughout a workout.

“Beta-alanine raises muscle carnosine levels and increases the amount of work you can perform at high intensities."

- Chris Lockwood, Nutritionist

Different Types Of Pre-workouts

Bowl of supplement powder

Pre-workout supplements are available in various brands, quantities, and tastes. With the wide variety of pre-workouts that have varied functions most of them only help certain forms of workouts. Here’s a rundown of the different pre-workouts.

  • Non-stimulant Pre-workout: I've found these to be a lifesaver for my late-night training sessions. They boost my strength, stamina, and focus without the jitters or sleeplessness. Mixing them with cyclic dextrin, as I often do, seems to enhance their absorption, making the effects even more pronounced.
  • The Endurance Pre-Workout: As far as performance is concerned, this pre-workout is intended to enable you to exercise harder and for more extended periods. A longer performance means less exhaustion, allowing you to complete more repetitions and sets and gain more remarkable results. Adding a pinch of black pepper to these pre-workouts for constant body temperature during longer exercise sets would be best.
  • Combination Pre-workout: This type of pre-workout contains the majority of ingredients found in most pre-workouts. They’re best mixed with a little citrulline and can help boost mental focus, physical strength, and aerobic endurance.
  • Strength and Size Pre-workout: These pre-workout stimulants combine caffeine, citrulline, l-arginine, and beta-alanine, which help improve your strength levels when working out. It makes use of natural substances to enable you to gain the most out of your workouts. The product taken with some beetroot extract can boost your blood flow, efficiency, and endurance levels.

But with the majority of pre-workouts being manufactured and having several synthetic additives, it would be best to keep things healthy and natural by going for these best organic pre-workout supplements on your intensive gym days.


Should I Take A Pre-workout Every Day?

You should take a pre-workout every day especially if you exercise all through the week. Otherwise a couple of times a week is sufficient.

Do You Have To Mix Pre-workout With Water?

You do not have to mix pre-workout with water even though most powder products instruct users to do so.

Does Pre-workout Dehydrate You?

Pre-workout can dehydrate you, as certain ingredients in the supplements can absorb water and excrete it.

Can I Take Half A Scoop Of Pre-workout?

Yes, you can take half a scoop of pre-workout when you're geared up for some low-intensity training.

What Is The Best Way To Take A Pre-workout?

The best way to take a pre-workout is to mix it with water or your favorite juice and drink a few minutes before your exercise.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2714833/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5295087/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25080121/
  4. https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/36/4/282
  5. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/pre-workout-supplements
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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. 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
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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