First off, I want to start this article by saying that you don’t need pre-workout supplements. Nope. You don’t need them.
You can still get good pumps without them, you can still have great workouts without them, and you can still build muscle without them.
That being said, having the right pre-workout can speed up your progress by a whole lot.
The right pre-workout will get you amped up to go to the gym. It’ll give you a huge surge of energy, and give you that mental focus that you need to aggressively attack the weights. Some pre-workouts will even help you build muscle faster.
As you guys know, I used to work at a supplement store—so I’ve tried dozens of pre-workouts (some of which have actually been banned, like Jack3d). I know what works and what doesn’t.
So, with that in mind, here’s the top 5 most effective pre-workouts on the market.
In general, there’s a few things that you want to look for in a pre-workout supplement. A lot of guys make the mistake of just viewing the claims that the container makes, or listening to their gym-buddy who heard a rumor about some pre-workout that works really well.
This is a huge mistake. You have to use science when you’re trying to determine the best pre-workout, and in general, there’s some key ingredients that you need to look for:
There’s a ton of potential ingredients that you could add to a pre-workout, but it’s going to depend on what you want the effects to be like.
For example, if you want crazy pumps, creatine, Beta-Alanine, and L-Citrulline are great.
If you want intense energy, caffeine, Rhodiola, and Guarana are phenomenal.
Or maybe you want laser focus? Then try Vinpocetine, N-Acetyl Tyrosine, and Dimethylamine.
Do you see the point, though? Different pre-workouts will give you different effects.
Sure, they’ll all give you more energy, strength, and focus…but depending on which one you want more of, you’ll have to take your pick. So, with that in mind, let’s get to it.
Ah, Jack3d. Some call it the holy grail of pre-workouts, others cower in fear of its awesome power, and the FDA? They banned it a few years back, because it was just that effective (just like they’re trying to ban SARMs like Ostarine right now).
Don’t worry—this isn’t the illegal version, it’s a newly formulated version that’s still extremely effective. This is personally one of my favorite pre-workouts for laser focus, tunnel vision, and good mood.
It’s got a highly bio-available form of creatine, which will lead to greater strength, a nice dose of beta-alanine, which will give you crazy pumps, and best of all? It tastes like Kool-aid.
But, my favorite effect of this pre-workout is its ability to put me into a hyper-focused state of mind. I’ve broken some of my best records after taking two scoops of this stuff; it makes me feel like I’m a fucking warrior, with one sole purpose: to annihilate the barbell.
This pre-workout has a good dose of caffeine, a large amount of Yohimbine, and best of all: two herbal extracts shown to enhance focus to an unnatural degree.
The first of which is Schisandra Chinensis, a vine native to Eastern Russia, which has been shown to effectively fight stress, fatigue, and depression, while simultaneously boosting your focus, mood, and energy levels.
The second of which, is Rhodiola Rosea, an arctic herb which has been proven to enhance endurance, mental clarity, and good emotions.
Overall, Jack3d is probably the best pre-workout supplement for sheer laser-focus on the market.
There’s a reason why Arnold Schwarzenegger said that feeling the pump is more satisfying than cumming.
Because it is.
Walking out of the gym, with your biceps literally 30% bigger from an enormous post-workout pump is incredibly satisfying. Not only does it feel great to have that nice tightness (you’ll know what I’m talking about if you’ve felt it before), but it looks amazing, too.
The first time that I took this stuff, I could literally not believe my eyes. I’d just finished a grueling 2 hour arm workout, and went to the locker room. As I put on my bathing suit, ready to go into the hot tub and ease my aching biceps, I caught a glance of myself in the mirror.
“What the fuck?” I murmured. I looked huge. I got closer to check out the mirror, because I honestly thought that it was bent or dented or something. There’s no way that my arms looked that big in real life.
“What the hell?” I couldn’t believe it. My arms looked ginormous. What could it have been? I always did that workout on Saturdays! I ate the same food, did the same training…but, then it hit me: this was the first time that I’d used SuperPump Max.
I didn’t even think twice, because I always use pre-workouts, but this one was different.
The pump that it gave me was amazing; my arms felt SO tight, like my muscles were about to burst out of my skin! This may sound painful if you’ve never experienced a crazy pump, but it actually feels amazing.
The reason why this pre-workout is so effective is due to its all star lineup of ingredients; it has over a dozen super-powerful amino acids, herbal extracts, and chemicals that have been proven to swell your muscles up to a ridiculous extent.
2 grams of L-Citrulline, another 2 grams of L-Leucine…some beet root extract, various Nitric Oxide precursors…what’s not to love?
In my opinion, Gaspari Nutrition’s SuperPump Max is the most effective pre-workout on the market for getting those vein-swelling pumps.
Over the past year or two, pharmaceutical companies have been starting to hop on the pre-workout bandwagon, which is definitely a good thing for us lifters.
Basically, what this means, is that there’s a ton of clinically proven, scientifically verified, and thoroughly studied pre-workouts that contain pharmaceutical grade ingredients and doses that have come out recently. GAT NitraFlex is one of them.
To be honest, I hadn’t even heard of this one until a buddy recommended it. After hearing his claim that it helped increase his strength by 20% in a month, I was pretty skeptical—but I decided to do some research.
I found out that not only was GAT NitraFlex tested in a whopping 6 different clinical studies, but it’s also been proven to increase your testosterone levels by a massive 29%. Okay—this was a pre-workout that I had to try.
Upon receiving it in the mail a couple of months ago, I read the label: “Do not exceed 1 scoop in a single 24-hour period.” This was kind of surprising, seeing that most pre-workouts allow you to take 2, or even 3 scoops. “Shit, this stuff must be effective,” I thought.
I chugged down one scoop mixed with a cup of water, and waited a few minutes. I like to time taking my pre-workouts so that they hit me right when I get to the gym. I hopped in my car, started driving down the road, and looked at my watch; it’d been 10 minutes since I took this stuff, and I could already feel it.
As I drove down a winding road, on the way to my local gym, I started to feel an intense surge of aggression. “FUCK! I NEED TO LIFT SOME WEIGHTS,” I yelled. I turned on some aggressive music, and amped myself up on the way to the gym.
As I pulled into the parking lot, I could feel it really starting to kick in. I grabbed my gym bag, bolted through the front door, checked in, and headed for the locker room.
When I emerged, I had one of the best workouts of my entire life. I broke every single personal record to date.
To be honest, I’m not exactly sure how this stuff works. I’m familiar with a lot of the ingredients in it, but there’s a bunch that I’ve never seen.
All I know is that GAT NitraFlex is one of the most insanely effective pre-workouts that I’ve ever tried, and that I HIGHLY recommend it.
But, a word of caution—DO NOT take an entire scoop your first time. Take half a scoop to see how you react, because this shit is fucking STRONG.
This is hands down my favorite pre-workout for having a crazy workout in the gym, and then getting shit done afterwards.
Due to its 7-hour, timed release caffeine complex, I find that this pre-workout not only gives me sustained energy, but shoots my productivity through the ROOF!
I love waking up early in the morning, doing my Morning Routine for Zen-Like Focus and Massive Motivation, chugging down a delicious blue raspberry scoop of Hypershock Rage, and hitting the gym like an animal.
But it doesn’t stop there. The sustained energy carries me through the day. I get home, have a huge meal to nourish my broken down muscles, and then churn out blog articles for another solid 4-5 hours.
That’s how effective this stuff is—not only will the sustained energy release formula give you energy in the gym, but it’ll carry you through the rest of the day. If you workout early in the morning, I HIGHLY recommend Hypershock Rage.
If you workout late at night, I definitely don’t recommend this one—you don’t want to be up all night. But, I’ve taken this pre-workout plenty of times in the afternoon and don’t have any problem falling asleep around 10 or 11.
In my opinion, Hypershock Rage is hands down the most effective pre-workout for sustained energy in the gym, and in the office afterwards.
I realize that some of you may not like to put a whole bunch of stimulants in your body, for whatever reason. Or maybe you enjoy having your strong-ass morning coffee, and don’t want to double your daily caffeine intake by adding another source of caffeine into your body.
I totally get that. When I’m in a period of immersion in the gym (aka getting jacked is my number one priority), I always take pre-workouts. But, when I’m in a period of immersion for work (like I am currently), I would rather have my morning coffee and not bother with a stimulant based pre-workout.
That’s where this stuff comes in. Onnit’s 1-2 punch combo of T+ and Shroomtech Sport is absolutely incredible; hell, even though this stuff doesn’t even have any stimulants in it, I feel like it’s stronger than a lot of pre-workouts like C4 and ON Gold Standard (no joke, that stuff did very little for me).
T+ has a shit ton of ingredients that have been clinically proven to enhance strength by up to 36%, and Shroomtech Sport has a mega-dose of B vitamins and Cordyceps Mushrooms to give you one hell of an energy rush.
The first time I heard about this stuff, I did a little bit of research and found out that Cordyceps, the main ingredient in Shroomtech Sport, is this weird mushroom that grows on the backs of caterpillars in the Andes or some shit like that.
Okay. As a supplement guru, I had to fucking try this stuff. There was no way I couldn’t.
In fact, I still vividly remember the first time I did. It was about 3 years ago. I’d just come back from grabbing breakfast with a friend, and decided to take a few pills along with one scoop of T+. According to the package, I was to wait 45 minutes before working out (this is longer than most pre-workouts).
Whatever, that’s cool – I just sat at my computer and watched some motivational YouTube videos to get myself pumped up. Then, suddenly, it hit me.
I shit you not, I felt the single greatest surge of energy that I’ve ever felt. I literally got so much energy that I had to jump up and down and swing my fists in the air for a solid three minutes before getting my shit together and heading to the gym.
I then went on to have one of the craziest, most intensely focused workouts that I’ve ever had in my life.
I honestly don’t know how this stuff works, aside from it boosting testosterone and enhancing ATP production. But, what matters is that it fucking works.
If you’re looking for a non-stimulant pre-workout, I cannot recommend Onnit’s T+ and Shroomtech Sport combo enough. It’s by far the best non-stimulant pre-workout on the market.
In summary, these are some of the best pre-workouts that I’ve ever taken. Like I said though, you don’t need pre-workouts to gain muscle or have a great workout.
But, with that in mind, they certainly help a ton. Pre-workouts will give you that extra motivation to keep going to the gym, even if you don’t want to. Pre-workouts will give you sustained energy throughout the day.
They’ll enhance your pumps, decrease recovery time, and some will even boost your testosterone. If you guys have any pre-workout recommendations for me, shoot me an email or leave a comment down below. I always love experimenting with new supplements (like SARMs, which are basically legal steroids).
Protip: if you’re a REAL stimulant junkie, consider taking some modafinil along with your pre-workout. This is NOT for the faint of heart, but I’ve done it plenty of times before and I feel like a fucking Greek God on Heisenberg’s meth, cruising down the freeway going 185mph.
I hope you all enjoyed the article, and gained some useful knowledge from it. Remember to hit the gym hard, but to also recover just as hard. I’ll see you guys next time.
Jon Anthony is a world renowned dating coach and the founder of Masculine Development, a website specifically dedicated to helping men improve their personal, dating, and financial lives. After years of training men how to attract women, build muscle, and make more money, Jon created the "7 Strategies" program to help kickstart your journey to success. Jon firmly believes that every man should have control over his own life, and he created Masculine Development to share his passion with men who want success in all areas.