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When you are up and ready to go workout, can you go straight from bed (or work, or any other activity) to full speed ahead? Or does it take your mind and body a bit of time to get into the swing of things during your workout?
Often, people turn to pre-workout supplements to help with this transition into active motion. Pre-workout supplements are available in powder, pills, or as a processed snack (such as a bar) that are to be taken about half an hour before exercising. These supplements are made to help give exercisers just enough energy to power through their workouts with adding any extra side effects. These supplements can help increase performance by improving energy and delaying fatigue.
In this article, we are going to talk about what pre-workout supplements do and factors you should consider when shopping for one of these products. Then we will look at the top 7 products that are on the market today in this category of products.
A Quick Look at Our Top Picks
If you don't have time to read the entire review, here's a quick look at our favorite pre-workout supplements for women:
|OPTIMUM NUTRITION Gold Standard||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|RARI Nutrition INFINITY Preworkout||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|Red Leaf Pre-Workout Energizer Powder||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|RSP AminoLean||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|Genius Pre Workout Powder||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|Legion Pulse||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
|OPTIMUM NUTRITION Amino Energy with Green Tea and Green Coffee Extract||CLICK HERE FOR PRICE|
Let’s get started.
What You Will Learn
- A Quick Look at Our Top Picks
- Why Take a Pre-Workout Supplement?
- Factors to Keep in Mind When Shopping for a Pre-Workout Supplement
- Best Pre-Workout Supplements for Women
- Final Thoughts
Why Take a Pre-Workout Supplement?
Pre-workout supplements are formulated to help users experience an increase in energy and focus just prior to working out. It also helps exercise-goers overcome any excuses that may run through their mind of why they may skip their workout because pre-workout supplements provide people with energy and the mental focus that is needed to hit the gym.
The small extra boosts that you can do as a result of taking a pre-workout supplement all add up in the future to big gains, and once you see the results of this hard work, you will be even more motivated to continue on your workout journey. The more motivated you are, the more work you will do, and the healthier you will become.
You may not realize that one reason you may struggle through some workout sessions has to do with your intake (or lack thereof) of certain nutrients prior to your workout. Rather than leaving things to chance, athletes turn to pre-workout supplements so they can make sure that they’re getting the most out of each session. Pre-workout supplements are specifically designed to address any common issues that happen during training, such as muscle breakdown, fatigue, inability to focus, etc.
In essence, pre-workout supplements are designed to:
Factors to Keep in Mind When Shopping for a Pre-Workout Supplement
The ingredients in your pre-workout supplement should be relevant to your training goals. For example, if your main goal is improved muscle growth, you will want a pre-workout supplement that contains whey, BCAAs, and high-glycemic carbohydrates. If you want to improve your endurance, look for supplements that offer citrulline malate or beta alanine.
Because your body will adapt to ingredients over time, the effectiveness of a pre-workout supplement can decline if you take it for too long. In order words, you can build a tolerance for a product. Because of this, it is best to cycle your supplements by taking them for six to eight weeks on a regular basis and then taking a few weeks off. Alternatively, you can buy a different supplement every time you run out so your body doesn’t get too used to one brand.
Stimulant or non-stimulant?
Pre-workout supplements that include stimulants almost always contain caffeine, but some may have other stimulants such as yohimbine, theacrine, guarana, and others. However, many companies have developed non-stimulant pre-workout supplements for people who prefer to avoid caffeine or who are sensitive to it.
If you want a pre-workout supplement that will amp you up and make you feel ready for action, there are a lot of options from which to choose. However, if you don’t want this, there are still products out there for you. And sometimes, a supplement will fall somewhere in between, with just a hint of caffeine, but nothing more than a cup of coffee.
What ingredients should be included?
While it’s true that different supplements are going to contain different ingredients, there are some key ingredients that should be universal among these products. First, BCAAs should be included, as these help you build muscle and recover from your workout. BCAAs also help reduce soreness after a workout so you will be able to get back to the gym sooner.
Beta-alanine is also a staple ingredient in these products. This ingredient helps you workout through any burning feeling so you can finish up all of your reps. It helps reduce muscle fatigue as acid is building up in your body while your muscles are at work. Finally, you want to make sure that your pre-workout supplement has nitric oxide boosters in it. These help boost your workout because they increase your blood flow directly to your muscles.
Watch out for products that contain a lot of ingredients
Pre-workout supplements that have a lot of ingredients in them often have very little of each ingredient, and are therefore largely ineffective. There is only so much room to put an amount of any ingredient into a supplement that will make it clinically effective, and correct doses of high quality ingredients is an expense that manufacturers don’t want to take on.
Learn which ingredients are the most important for your individual needs and focus on supplements with only those ingredients and possibly a few more.
Watch out for artificial ingredients
Especially if you take your pre-workout supplement every day (or multiple times a day), you may want to ensure that it is not loaded with artificial ingredients. The truth is, these ingredients are often not even necessary for the effectiveness of the product. They are just inexpensive for manufacturers to use in place of the natural alternative.
Now that you know what you should look for in a pre-workout supplement that can fit your individual needs, let’s look at the 7 best pre-workout supplements for women in 2021.
Best Pre-Workout Supplements for Women
Of all the pre-workout supplements for women that are on the market, this protein powder might be the most well-known and widely consumed. One of the reasons this may be true is because this is the best option for people who are looking for an accurate label on their product. While other products do share this quality, this pre-workout supplement in particular is unique because it also offers great macronutrients and has a decent price tag.
One serving provides women with 24 grams of protein, 3 grams of carbs, 1 gram of sugar, and just 1 gram of fat, which is perfect for both low fat and low carb diets. Optimum Nutrition has a good track record with third party testers as actually delivering the ingredients and nutrients that it promises to.
There are only a few ingredients in this pre-workout supplement, which is great for an option that is so inexpensive. Each flavor contains a protein blend of whey protein isolates, concentrate, and peptides. Whey peptides absorb quickly, so the body can start using the benefits right away before working out.
Users appreciate that there are three forms of whey protein in this supplement because each has its own pros and cons, so putting them all together in one creates a well-balanced protein. Further, the whey blend in this supplement is a high-quality protein that offers women branch chain amino acids and glutamine.
This supplement also has lecithin in it, which makes it easier to dissolve in liquid. This supplement can be used in either milk or water and will easily mix into both. It also has a mix of enzymes in it called Aminogen, which helps the body digest whey protein, as well as lactase, which makes digesting the lactose easier on the body as well. It does contain an artificial sweetener in the form of acesulfame potassium, but the amount is nearly negligible. All together, this whey supplement is easy to digest and easy to mix with any liquid you choose.
The vanilla flavor is good in that it is not too sweet and mild enough that you won’t be overwhelmed by the flavor and possibly get sick of it after a few weeks. However, because it does have a mild flavor, it is not too palatable when it is mixed in water. Try mixing it in almond milk if you don’t drink regular milk.
Consumers appreciate this reasonably-priced option because it has no frills and delivers its promise. This is a reliable option that many people default to buying.
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This might be the right pre-workout supplement for you if you are looking for something that can give you energy without containing creatine or any artificial ingredients. Rather, this supplement contains healthy ingredients that are proven to help women achieve maximum muscle building power and high performance workouts. The ingredients are scientifically dosed to create a ratio that will help women achieve the most benefits without adding unnecessary fillers like most pre-workout supplements do.
Users find that this supplement offers genuine energy along with stamina and endurance. The energy is sustainable and natural, which will help you complete even the toughest workouts without having side effects like feeling jittery or experiencing a crash later on. Plus, it is a perfect option for those who are looking for a vegan pre-workout supplement.
This supplement includes a wide variety of B vitamins in addition to the “infinity” blend, which is caffeine, agmatine sulfate, N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine, Bioperine, Beta Alanine, and L-Citrulline Malate. These ingredients help ensure that not only will this supplement give you more energy for your workouts, but it also helps improve mental focus with its safe nitric oxide enhancing ingredients.
This product is GMP lab certified for safety and purity, making this product a safe and high-quality option. Finally, it comes with a 100% money-back guarantee, meaning you can get your money back if you’re not satisfied with the product.
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This is going to be your best option in terms of flavor for a pre-workout supplement. It offers a fresh, citrusy taste, as it’s naturally flavored with genuine citrus crystals to provide users with a refreshing cranberry lime flavor. Users enjoy the unique flavor without finding it so unusual that it gets boring. Unlike some other fruity pre-workout supplements, this option tastes both authentic and balanced. It’s easy to mix in with water, dissolves quickly, and offers users a refreshing drink before going to work out. Because this product does not have a chalky aftertaste or harsh flavor, and it will not make you jittery, some users opt to drink this instead of coffee in the morning to get their day going.
The formula used in this product is transparent in the sense that the manufacturers list each ingredient and quantities on the label. Some companies are resistant to expose their recipe in this manner, one reason being that oftentimes, “proprietary blends” contain a negligible amount of the ingredients that are expensive and highly-sought after. This supplement does not include the vague “blend” ingredients that can often be found on labels. Rather, it offers only proven ingredients in ideal ratios, and does not include fillers or stimulants. It also contains antioxidants from real, natural superfoods.
This product is unique in that it contains vaccinium macrocarpon, which is a cranberry extract that is known to be a powerful antioxidant that can help protect consumers from free radical damage and diseases. It also contains ingredients such as green tea extract to support health and energy, pure caffeine to provide natural energy, and beta alanine to reduce muscle fatigue and keep your energy high while you’re working out. Finally, this option has amino acids in it such as BCAAs, L-glutamine, and AAKG to help your muscles keep up and recover after a tough workout. Finally, it contains raspberry ketones, which are effective at burning fat and fueling even your toughest workouts.
This product is made in a GMP-certified facility to make sure that its potency and quality are up to standards.
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This is the best option for women who are focused on building muscle. RSP Nutrition makes their products for those who are interested in bodybuilding and burning fat. This is an inexpensive option, yet it offers a comprehensive amino acid supplement that combines both BCAAs and EAAs with a mental clarity and energy blend in addition to natural weight management ingredients to create an ideal pre-workout supplement.
Each serving provides users with 5 grams of amino acids. However, these are not all branch chain amino acids, as this serving is a blend of fourteen amino acids. BCAAs are present in this blend, but so are some others such as glutamine and tyrosine that are not considered to be “branch chain”. But, this amino acid blend does work to help muscles recover faster and build themselves up.
This pre-workout supplement also contains a weight management blend that is comprised of CLA powder, green tea (and green coffee) extract, and l-carnitine l-tartrate, which is sometimes used to reduce muscle soreness and increase the impacts of growth hormones, which can, in turn, reduce body fat.
The natural focus and energy blend is comprised of caffeine, and a stimulant that is similar to caffeine called theobromine. Together, these give users about as much caffeine as one and a half cups of coffee. Because of this, some people choose to drink this in the morning instead of coffee.
This is a gluten-free option that is free from sugar, carbohydrates, and calories. It is a good option for people who are on a “clean” diet as well. It is neither too sweet, nor too sour, making it a palatable pre-workout supplement.
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This is the best option for those who are looking for a nootropic supplement, meaning supplements that can improve cognitive function as well as physical ability. This pre-workout supplement is unusual in that it does not contain caffeine, but it does offer a variety of ingredients that have been linked to improving focus, power, and athletic endurance. The idea behind this is that users’ physical abilities will increase as your brain is engaged with the nutrition that is found in this supplement and your muscles are also activated by a scientifically proven blend.
Unlike supplements that rely on caffeine to get you ready for your workout, Genius Pre-Workout Powder has 6 grams of l-citrulline malate, beta alanine, and ATP, which will provide you with a slow and steady elevation to a high-energy state rather than a quick boost that is followed by a crash.
While this option does have a lot of ingredients, most are scientifically proven to be effective, and they are offered in a ratio that is backed by research. Let’s take a look at them.
Ingredients for a Mental Boost
Ingredients for a Physical Boost
Ingredients for Both Mental and Physical Boost
While this option is pricier than others, it is all natural and most of its competitors have significantly fewer active ingredients in them. Users find the flavors to be impressive, especially considering the fact that they are flavored with all natural ingredients.
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6. Legion Pulse
This is the best option if you’re looking for a natural pre-workout supplement that is free from excessive and unnecessary additives. It comes in a variety of flavors that are all naturally sweetened and colored. In fact, the bluish tint this pre-workout supplement comes from its contents of spirulina, which is a nutrient-dense algae.
One serving of this supplement, which is two scoops, contains 5 calories. It has 350 mg of caffeine, which is equivalent to three and a half cups of coffee, making this a relatively strong pre-workout supplement. In addition to caffeine, this supplement has beta alanine, taurine, theanine, betaine, l-citrulline, DL-malate, and l-ornithine, which all help improve power and circulation. While many pre-workout supplements contain these ingredients, many only do so in negligible amounts, meaning they don’t really offer the intended effects. However, there is a substantial dose of every ingredient in each serving of this supplement, which makes this product stand out. It also contains a high dose of electrolytes when compared to other sports-related drinks.
While this pre-workout supplement does contain a significant amount of caffeine, it also has taurine and theanine in it, which mitigate the possible jittery side effects that can come along with consuming caffeine. The powder mixes and dissolves easily into water and tastes really good, despite the fact it has no artificial ingredients.
This option comes with a money-back guarantee, so if you are not completely satisfied with this pre-workout supplement, you can inform the company and get a full refund. Legion stands strongly behind their products.
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Best for: people who want an amino blend, a cognitive boost, and an energy burst all in one
This pre-workout supplement offers a unified blend of amino acids to help in muscle recovery after a workout. This is the best option for those who want an amino blend, a boost of mental focus, and an energy burst all in one tasty drink. Each 9 gram serving contains 10 calories and 2g of carbs, which is relatively high when compared to other BCAA supplements. The five gram mix of amino acids contains taurine, glutamine, citrulline (increases blood flow), l-arginine, beta alanine (helps delay fatigue), l-leucine, l-isoleucine, l-threonine, l-methionine (improves bone strength), l-phenylalanine (improves nervous system function), HCl, l-histidine, l-lysine, l-valine, and l-tyrosine (works as a stimulant). These ingredients make up a proprietary blend of amino acids, and it is unknown whether or not they are in the standard ratio that is typically considered to be ideal.
This option offers the amount of caffeine that would be equal to about one and a half cups of coffee. The caffeine is derived from green tea extract and green coffee extract. The green tea extract retains a lot of its natural phytonutrients, as it’s been standardized for EGCG.
The unique formula offered in this product will provide you with the mental focus you need to get through your workout. With 18 calories per serving and no sugar, many people choose to use this supplement on a daily basis to simply help them improve they focus at work or school.
When using this pre-workout supplement, it’s best to start with a small dose to assess your tolerance and build up from there.
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Each of these pre-workout supplements for women is the best in its class. However, OPTIMUM NUTRITION GOLD STANDARD is the clear overall winner.
Taking into account that this product has become the industry standard for quality, reliability, and cost, it is the option that is the most likely to fulfill the needs of the most people.
Connie Mathers is a professional editor and freelance writer. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Marketing and a Master’s Degree in Social Work. When she is not writing, Connie is either spending time with her daughter and two dogs, running, or working at her full-time job as a social worker in Richmond, VA.