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We use “men’s” and “women’s” in this article to align with how products are sold on retail sites. But your gender identity may not align with how the products are marketed. Choose the product with the features that work best for you!
So you’re ready to take your sweat sessions to the next level with a pre-workout supplement. Sweet! The catch? There are about a million of these boosters on store shelves, and a lot of them have oddly aggressive packaging that might make you wonder if you’re even shopping for the right thing.
The truth is, women don’t necessarily need a specially branded pre-workout supplement. The best ones will work well for all bodies. (One less thing to think about when you shop — NICE.)
Here are the best 10 options to help you reach your fitness goals A-S-A-P.
A well-chosen snack before exercising can def give you an edge in the performance dept, especially if you were hungry or dragging before getting going. Pre-workout supplements are kinda like that, but better.
Usually sold as powdered drink mixes that can be added to water, they’re specially formulated with ingredients like caffeine, B vitamins, and amino acids to give you an energy boost and help you go longer and harder.
And before you ask: No, it’s not all a marketing ploy. Some research has found that pre-workouts can improve athletic performance.
On the other hand, not all experts agree that pre-workouts are 100 percent necessary. And like any other dietary supplement, some pre-workouts could definitely contain sketchy ingredients or have misleading info on their labels. So it’s always really important to do your research before buying.
Most studies on pre-workout supplements that include men and women show that both can benefit from these products. With that in mind, we sought out the best supps *period* — not necessarily the ones that claimed to be made just for women.
Some other important criteria: Because pre-workout supplements aren’t closely regulated, we stuck with products that were verified by a third-party organization like NSF or Informed Choice. A seal of approval from one of these orgs means you can trust that the product contains what the label says.
Beyond that, we generally looked for pre-workouts made with clean ingredients and free of artificial sweeteners. Last but not least, everything on this list was approved by our vetting team of medical and brand integrity experts. In other words, we’ve got you.
- $ = under $20
- $$ = $20–$30
- $$$ = $31–$40
- $$$$ = over $40
Get ready to no longer sit staring at your screen confused by the vast array of pre-workout options. (Ooh, think of all the time you’ll save.)
Best for women overall
Nearly 30,000 Amazon reviews and an average 4.5/5-star rating say it all. This stuff will give you the boost you need, for real, at a price that’s sustainable for regular use.
The manufacturer says this product has a specially designed matrix to boost muscle function, performance, energy, and focus, giving you max support for explosive moves and helping you push yourself for longer.
With just 3 grams of carbs and 0 grams of added sugar, this pre-workout is keto-friendly. And it comes in four fruity flavors that go down easy without any weird aftertastes.
Best for HIIT or CrossFit
Sprints or triple-unders are never actually, uh, easy. But you’ll be able to go a little longer without feeling the burn thanks to C4’s proprietary form of beta-alanine, an amino acid that supports endurance and helps keep fatigue at bay.
It’s got a special compound that the brand says could help prolong your caffeine tolerance, so you won’t feel like you need to keep upping your dose to get the same jolt.
Best for strength training
OK, so the name kinda sounds like an early-2000s metal band. But don’t let that deter you. Pre-Kaged serves up loads of L-citrulline, a natural vasodilator (an ingredient that increases blood flow), to keep your muscles supplied with oxygen so you can pump longer and harder.
It also contains a patented blend of creatine and amino acids that’s designed to fuel muscles.
Best for runners
This plant-based formula relies on pomegranate and beets to enhance endurance and boost blood flow, green tea and coffee for better focus, and sweet potato for a carb-rich energy hit that’ll start your run on the right foot — and keep you going for the long haul without hitting a wall.
It’s got 45 calories per serving, which is a little more than most other pre-workout supplements. But when you’re logging serious mileage, you can always use the extra fuel.
Best to aid in recovery
Having to deal with a pre-workout supplement and a post-workout supplement is kind of a lot. This option covers both, thanks to the addition of collagen peptides to keep your joints feeling good and branched-chain amino acids to support muscle growth.
There’s also citrulline, arginine, and creatine to enhance blood flow so you can push harder during your sweat session. And let’s not forget the ancient peat and apple polyphenols — the brand says these can support increased power output.