1. Neon Sport Volt
Now a MusclePharm subsidiary, I tried Neon Sport Volt several years ago as a sample in my bodybuilding.com order and it quickly became one of my favorite pre-workouts. It has a modest amount of caffeine, beta-alanine, amino acids, agmatine sulfate and l-citrulline. It’s roughly $20 for 36 servings but I’ve been able to get it on Amazon for as little as $15. I stack Neon Sport Volt with Xtend Perform for a ridiculous pump, long lasting energy, and decreased fatigue time. So far this is my favorite pre-workout stack, definitely give it a try.
2. Cellucor C4
Coming in second is Cellucor’s C4 Pre-Workout. While it’s not nearly as stimulating as Neon Sport Volt (due to it’s lower concentration proprietary blend), it’s a great Pre-Workout for beginners, weekend warriors or just anyone looking for an extra boost. C4 comes in a wide variety of flavors including Mojito, Strawberry Margarita, and then your staple flavors (watermelon, blue raspberry, etc.).
3. MusclePharm Assault
Barely behind C4 is MusclePharm Assault. Assault is another low intensity Pre-Workout that provides just enough stimulation to power through an intense workout but because of its three proprietary blends it’s hard to know exactly how much of each ingredient you’re getting. I’ve also found it easier to get great deals on C4 than Assault and at the end of the day I look for the best deals on quality products.
4. BSN N.O Xplode
BSN N.O Xplode is another great option for beginners and regulars alike. My first time taking N.O Xplode was INTENSE but I’ve noticed that after a week or so I get little to no stimulation out of a single serving (unlike Volt where I feel a jolt of energy every time I take it) and I have to double up on scoops which means my pre-workout only lasts half as long. N.O Xplode has sodium bicarbonate in it which makes it a fizzy cocktail that delivers the nutrients to your bloodstream faster. I personally love the “fizz” effect and wish more companies followed suit. A typical 30 serving container goes for roughly $30, more or less and again, at the end of the day if I can get 30 servings of a quality pre-workout for $15-20 I’ll ALWAYS choose the latter. Every single time.
5. Pro Supps Dr. Jekyll
I jumped on the Pro Supps bandwagon very briefly a year ago when Mr. Hyde was dominating the pre-workout market. The amount of caffeine in Mr. Hyde is absurd though and I would never recommend it to anyone without knowing that they could handle 300 mg of caffeine in a single serving. I generally recommend closer to 100-150 mg of caffeine for a pre-workout which is roughly the amount in the pre-workouts above. Dr. Jekyll, on the other hand, is a much less intense Pro Supps pre-workout that has 100mg of caffeine, 2 g of beta alanine, and an amino acid blend. It’s much better suited to beginner/novice level trainees. If none of the products above meet your needs then Dr. Jekyll is definitely a pre-workout that should be on your bucket-list.
What You Should Eat 2 Hours Before Your Workout
Ones to Look Out For…
1) JYM Pre-Jym
I’ve heard raving reviews of Pre-JYM but have never tried it. At $35/30 servings it doesn’t fit in my monthly supplement budget, especially when I don’t think pre-workout mixes are a necessity. Definitely worth a try though!
2) MyProtein MyPRE
MyProtein sent me their pre-workout MyPRE and I LOVED it. The flavor was a 7/10, the mixibility was closer to a 6/10 but the results were fantastic. Great pump, razor sharp focus, and long lasting energy.
3) Scivation Xtend Go
With 7g of BCAAs and 100 mg of caffeine, Xtend Go is a great option for those of you just looking for a pick me up without worrying about any ingredients that make you feel uncomfortable. It’s very subtle, natural energy and a cost effective approach to pre-workout.
4) Amino Energy
Just after Xtend Go is Optimum Nutrition’s Amino Energy. With 5g of amino acids and 100 mg of caffeine it’s another great option if you’re looking for a subtle, natural energy boost that you can drink any time.
The Natural Approach
Black Coffee (10-12 oz.), preferably iced to reduce the risk of mid-workout heartburn.
Black Tea (12 oz.) with lemon or honey on ice.
Complex Carbohydrates (1-2 servings) including fruit, oatmeal, whole grains, etc.