What is Best Non-Stim Pre-Workout on the market right now? I break down the ingredient science, clinical doses, purity and my own experience.
Pre-workouts powders on the market right now often use very high levels of stimulants.
These stimulants almost always include caffeine (often just a bit lower than the FDA’s daily safe limit) but may include other stimulants including yohimbine, theacrine (Teacrine as the most common), guarana, and many others.
I’ve been using pre workouts for a LONG time now, but I have been noticing strange effects recently, that made me question how healthy these things are. Heart palpitations, panic attacks, anxiety and trouble sleeping are some things that I think are linked with powdered stims, specifically, and caffeine in general.
There has also been more and more reports about young, healthy people dying from pre-workouts, which was concerning.
After 2020, I decided to stop gambling with my health and no longer take powdered stimulants and instead use clean, pure and traceable workout supplements.
Unfortunately, most best selling pre workouts used *very* low quality ingredients. There are only a handful that I would recommend to friends and family.-Wes, author of this article and supplement tester.
What Is Stimulant-Free Pre-Workout?
I’ve heard certain people laugh when “caffeine free pre workouts” are mentioned, but the reality is that there are some very well researched, natural ingredients, that have been shown to improve energy production (ATP) for explosive movements, improve our blood flow and circulation as well as super hydrate our muscles so that they are able to work harder and longer.
Here are some of the most common ones:
- Alpha GPC
- Adaptogens (Cordyceps, Rhodiola, Ashwagandha etc)
- many, many more…
At the end of this article, I break down each one and show you specific studies that put these ingredients to the test.
Most of these can be found in everyday foods. Creatine, for example, is found in fish, chicken and beef. L-Citrulline is abundant in watermelons.
However, it’s nearly impossible to get the “full clinically effective dose” of these ingredients from eating everyday foods.
You would need to eat 2 lbs of steak everyday to get 5g of creatine, for example.
This is where supplementation comes in.
How Do Non-Stim Pre-Workouts Work?
The best caffeine pre workouts use ingredients that are generally aimed to improve the following aspects:
CELL ENERGY – The energy in our bodies is called ATP. Think of it like “money”. Each time you want to move, it costs money (ATP).
Big movements of large muscle groups are very “expensive” and consume a lot of ATP. Once you run low on ATP, your muscles can no longer “afford” to more with the same power and intensity.
Certain supplements, like Creatine, allow your body to generate and store more ATP in muscles, which improves their ability to generate explosive movements and increase endurance.
“THE PUMP” – when you lift weights, you might feel your large muscles swell up and feel “full”. This is often called the pump.
The pump is basically when a muscle is gorged in blood and extra intracellular water, a natural process that helps it move faster, contract harder and produce more energy.
BLOOD FLOW & CIRCULATION – our bodies ability to carry oxygen and nutrients around the body is critical for sports performance.
Some ingredients temporarily improve our circulation which helps oxygen, energy production and our ability to sustain a high output.
COGNITION & FOCUS – One thing that is often overlooked is the ability for our pre workout to “lock us in” on our workout. With caffeine and other stims, this is easy as we often feel like we have energy because of the stimulant’s effect.
There are other alternatives that help us feel focused, alert and present to help us fully engage in the workout.
Best Stimulant-Free Pre-workout Supplements
Here are the six best non-stim pre-workouts currently on the market. We’ll go through their specifications while also giving you some pros and cons for each product.
Dragon Slayer Labs is a small San Diego company that produces one of the purest products on the market. They follow the 80/20 approach, more of the science-backed effective stuff and less “fluff”.
Here you will find the largest servings sizes of Creatine, L-Citrulline, Alpha GPC and Betaine with no added colors, flavors or fillers that other products use. If you prefer a sweet, tasty pre-workout, this may not be for you.
Lifting weights felt great on this, I felt a strong pump, my muscles felt very hydrated and ready to keep going for a long time. My power improved and I felt that I had more energy reserves that ever before, even toward the end of my workout.
The company itself is smaller and not as commercial as the other ones on this list, but they have an impressive advisory board with ex-bodybuilders and biotech engineers that helped create the product. They seem less focused on “hype” and more and creating a solid, quality product.
As anyone who exercises regularly knows, adding anything that gives your workout an extra level of intensity is a good thing. That’s why Pulse came up with their formula to help people who don’t like caffeine but still need that boost.
Pulse Caffeine-Free pre-workout uses an all-natural formula that helps get the most out of your body. Not only is their formula all-natural, but they also go through a rigorous check in a Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) facility in the United States.
The standard package of Pulse has 20 servings. Each serving contains 8,000 mg of Citrulline Malate, 3,600 mg of Beta-Alanine, 2,500 mg of Betaine, and 300 mg of alpha glyceryl-phosphoryl-choline (Alpha GPC).
Pulse Caffeine-Free pre-workout supplements contain the same ingredients as many other pre-workouts, but they have a range of flavors. Gym enthusiasts can choose between fruit punch, blue raspberry, strawberry kiwi, blueberry lemonade, grape, cherry limeade, and watermelon.
Pulse designed their caffeine-free pre-workout to support physical activities. That means more than just increasing your energy. The pre-workout also includes Beta-Alanine, which reduces fatigue and helps you gain muscle mass.
Made with 100% all-natural ingredients, Pulse’s Caffeine-Free Pre-Workout uses four clinically-tested active ingredients known to give your workout a boost. Pulse’s pre-workout boosts mental focus while not giving you any nasty side effects.
- Made in the USA
- Every ingredient is naturally sourced
- Third-party lab tested
- Contains Beta-Alanine, Citrulline Malate, Betaine, and Alpha-GPC
- Money-back guarantee
- Must be kept in low humidity to prevent clumping
- Creatine sold separately
Let’s be honest, when you take pre-workout, you want to increase your power. That’s why Transparent Labs came out with their stim-free formula. They wanted people to have an option to increase their workout intensity without having to take caffeine.
The standard package of Transparent’s pre-workout has 30 servings. Each serving contains 6,000 mg of Citrulline Malate, 4,000 mg of Beta-Alanine, 4,000 mg of BCAA’s, 2,500 mg of Betaine, 1,300 mg of Taurine, and 1,000 mg of Tyrosine.
Tyrosine and Taurine both help you focus. Some scientists have also linked Taurine to an improved recovery time because it can help more water enter your cells. Creatine has very similar actions, causing your muscles to absorb more water, which gives them a better chance to recover.
Beta-Alanine is a pre-workout must-have that some think helps build your endurance. Another addition to their formula, choline bitartrate, helps improve endurance in short, high-intensity workouts.
Aside from the general ingredients, Transparent Labs also uses some less-than-common ingredients. But that doesn’t mean they won’t help your workouts! They use Norvaline to help increase vasodilation and Mucuna Pruriens (velvet bean extract), which some scientists think helps increase adrenaline and testosterone.
If you’re looking for a gluten-free and non-GMO pre-workout, make sure you take a look at Transparent Labs. It contains all the ingredients every stim-free pre-workout needs, and Transparent goes a step further by ensuring its product has an optimal mixture of supplements.
- Ideal for people with caffeine intolerance or sensitivity
- Contains Taurine for quick energy
- Contains Citrulline Malate and Beta-Alanine to increase endurance
- Includes BCAAs that help muscle growth and repair
- No artificial colors, sweeteners, or preservatives
- Doesn’t contain any Creatine
Genius embraces its nootropics-based formula. Nootropics are chemicals or compounds that scientists think may increase cognitive brain function. These products can act very similarly to caffeine by increasing your energy.
Increased energy is perfect for anyone who wants to increase the intensity of their workout. Aside from nootropics, Genius also filled their pre-workout with other products that help you make the most of your workouts.
The standard package of Genius Pre has 20 servings. Each serving contains 6,000 mg of Citrulline Malate, 2,000 mg of Beta-Alanine, 2,000 mg of Betaine, 1,000 mg of Tyrosine, 1,000 mg of L-arginine, 1,000 mg of Taurine, and 600 mg of Alpha-GPC.
Genius put Citrulline Malate in their formula, which helps build endurance and strength by increasing blood flow. They also put in L-arginine, another nitric oxide (NO) precursor, which increases blood flow like citrulline.
Two of the many nootropics they included in their formula include Betaine and L-Tyrosine. These two products will help you focus during your workout. When you focus intently on your workout, exercises will seem less tiring, and you will feel like you have more energy.
Genius has a lot going on in their pre-workout, but all the ingredients have research supporting their positive results. And not only that, but their product doesn’t contain any caffeine, so people that don’t want stimulants can take this product without worrying.
Genius Pre contains all the essential ingredients every gym enthusiast is looking for. Whether you want to boost your nitric oxide or you want something to give you a small boost before your workout, Genius is a solid option.
- High doses of active ingredients
- Contains Citrulline Malate, Betaine, and alpha GPC to increase endurance
- Has ingredients that help heal your muscles after a workout
- Uses Taurine to give you a boost before your workout
- Uses nootropics for better focus
- Can cause itchiness in some people
Gorilla Mode released their Nitric formula to fill a gap they saw in the pre-workout market—the lack of a solid non-stim pre-workout. That’s why they released Nitric, a pre-workout packed with workout enhancers but still stimulant-free.
Gorilla Mode Nitric advertises itself as a comprehensive formula that increases nitric oxide (NO) levels, vasodilation, and hyper-hydration. Not only does their formula help you have more powerful and explosive workouts, but it also helps you recover faster.
To get these results, Gorilla Mode included the highest clinical dose of L-Citrulline, a precursor that causes your body to produce more NO. NO allows your blood vessels to move blood around faster. More blood flow means more oxygen, which gives you a better workout!
The standard package of Gorilla Mode has 40 servings. Each serving contains 5,000 mg of Citrulline Malate, 2,500 mg of Creatine, 2,000 mg of Betaine, 1,300 mg of Glycerol Powder, 1,500 mg of Malic Acid, and 127 mg of VasoDrive-AP.
Aside from L-Citrulline, Nitric also includes VasoDrive-AP, a newly developed vasodilator. Vasodilators cause your blood vessels to relax, which allows them to pump more oxygen through your body.
Nitric also comes in 10 different flavors for any of you picky gym nuts out there. Some of their flavors include:
- Lemon lime
- Mango peach
Focusing on increasing your nitric oxide levels, Gorilla Mode stimulant-free pre-workout is about getting the maximum out of every workout. Their formula has the highest amount of nitric oxide precursor, which means it’s packed with ingredients that boost strength.
- Highest clinical dose of L-Citrulline
- A large dose of Creatine
- Uses VasoDrive-AP to increase vasodilation, which allows more blood to flow
- High dose of malic acid to increase endurance
- Comes in more than 10 flavors
- Contains no energy enhancers such as Taurine or guarana
Naked Energy advertises itself as a non-stim pre-workout with a clean boost in energy and power. With ingredients like Creatine, vitamin B12, and Beta-Alanine, this pre-workout will help you perform at your best while also recovering with optimal results.
So, does Naked Energy also improve recovery? Naked Energy certainly advertises itself that way! Creatine and Beta-Alanine help your muscles heal faster. In particular, Creatine helps your body recover from lean muscle injuries and everyday fatigue.
Naked Energy only contains a few ingredients, and most of them are built-in to help your workout. Naked Energy’s active ingredients include:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin B12
The standard package of Naked Energy has 50 servings. Each serving contains 2,000 mg of Beta-Alanine, 1,000 mg of L-Citrulline, 500 mg of L-arginine, 30 mg of Calcium, 1 mg of vitamin B6, 333 micrograms of vitamin C and 333 micrograms of Folate.
Naked Energy also advertises that its product improves mental focus and motivation, which helps ensure you get the most out of your workout. No more going to the gym and talking with friends—you’re going to want to work out every second after taking this pre-workout.
On top of all of this, Naked Energy is a proudly vegan product, making it a great choice for those with dietary restrictions. Naked Energy gets all the benefits of other conventional pre-workout formulas by only using plant-based products.
Are you looking for a pre-workout without the crash? Naked Energy’s stimulant-free pre-workout promises the energy of a caffeinated pre-workout without the tired feeling that comes afterward. And with the added benefits of Citrulline Malate and niacin, your muscles will be thanking you too!
- GMO, dairy, and soy free
- Promotes faster recovery
- Improves performance and mental focus
- Independent third-party ingredient quality testing
- No artificial ingredients
- Packed with vitamins to help recovery
- Energy doesn’t last as long as other stimulant-free pre-workouts
Jacked factory says that their product gives you explosive workouts, but there’s a lot more to it. Pump Surge’s stimulant-free pre-workout uses nutrients like Alpha GPC, Betaine, L-Citrulline, Taurine, astragin, and a few other critical nutrients.
The standard package of Pump Surge has 20 servings. Each serving contains 5,000 mg of L-Citrulline, 2,500 mg of Betaine, 2,000 mg of Taurine, 150 mg of Alpha-GPC, and 50 micrograms of Huperzine A.
These nutrients increase nitric oxide production and blood flow to the muscles when you work out. Blood flow helps promote muscle growth and vascularity by increasing nutrition delivery throughout your body.
Jacked Factory is a stickler for packaging, which is a good thing for all of us. They promise that their ingredients come from reputable sources and that their labels display all the ingredients you’ll be drinking. That way, you know what you’re consuming.
Every single batch of supplements Jacked Factory makes has to undergo a Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) review in the United States. That helps ensure they only deliver the highest quality products to all the gym enthusiasts who trust their products.
Finally, everyone wants to be able to add a little spice to their lives. So, if you appreciate options, Jacked Factory has six flavors: cherry limeade, blue raspberry, cucumber lime, raspberry peach, watermelon, and strawberry lemonade.
Chock full of vitamin E and other antioxidants, Pump Surge stimulant-free pre-workout is ideal for anyone looking to increase their intensity without all that caffeine. Instead of containing this like Creatine, Pump Surge only contains ingredients that will give your mind and body a new edge.
- Boosts nitric acid levels through its nootropics
- Available in multiple flavors
- Includes L-Citrulline and Betaine to enhance endurance
- Contains Taurine to give a caffeine-like boost to the start of your workout
- Uses ingredients to increase mental focus
- It may take longer to feel the effects
best caffeine free pre Workout Ingredients
Although not all these ingredients are included in all the pre-workouts we listed, the following are the most common non-stim pre-workout ingredients.
Creatine is found in many pre-workouts, both conventional and stimulant-free. Creatine helps build muscle, but it also helps you retain energy while working out by providing your muscles with adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the energy your cells need to function.
L-Citrulline is nitric oxide (NO) precursor. It causes your body to produce more NO, which is a vasodilator. Vasodilators help your workout by increasing blood flow and lower blood pressure by relaxing your blood vessels.
Often this group of supplements will be referred to as “Nitric Oxide Boosters” or “Nitric Oxide Supplements”.
Nitric oxide supplements are a category of supplements that commonly includes L-citrulline and L-arginine.
Beta-Alanine is an amino acid that helps produce carnosine. In your body, carnosine helps regulate acid buildup, especially in your muscles. By regulating acid buildup, your muscles will be able to perform longer with fatigue. Lower acid levels can help your muscles resist fatigue while performing high-intensity workouts.
Alpha GPC increases your body’s natural release of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, a nootropic that assists in cognition. Not only does it help cognitively, but it also increases endurance and muscle growth.
Betaine has many functions, but for gym-goers, its primary positive effect concerns your muscular endurance levels. Betaine helps build muscle, and since muscular strength is key to endurance, it will build your muscles and endurance at the same time.
Studies show that Tyrosine helps increase energy. It does so by releasing more neurotransmitters like dopamine and epinephrine, which is adrenaline. These compounds help keep your body energized while also regulating other body functions.
So, if you’re looking for the best non-stim pre-workout, you’ve got a lot of options to try! Whether you’re looking for a caffeine-free pre-workout because you hate the jitters or just because you don’t enjoy caffeine, you’ll find an amazing substitute on this list!
Always speak to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about pre-workout ingredients.