For some, there’s nothing quite like that pre-workout rush, when the caffeine buzz hits right as you press through the gym doors, jittery and ready for another day of hitting the weights and making gains. Most pre-workout supplements are loaded with caffeine, which certainly has a way of amping up your workout, but comes with its fair share of drawbacks as well. Folks who prefer working out in the evenings won’t want to intake all that caffeine just a few hours before bedtime. And anyone prone to anxiety knows caffeine is pretty much the worst possible pairing for a mind and heart that are already racing a million miles a minute.
This is where a caffeine-free pre-workout comes in handy. Often labeled stim-free, these supplements cut out caffeine in favor of other common pre-workout ingredients that aid with power, strength and recovery, all without sending a buzz to your brain. This makes caffeine-free pre-workouts a great choice for those who want to power up their workouts and avoid caffeine along the way.
What’s in a Caffeine-Free Pre-Workout?
Pre-workout supplements (with or without caffeine) are known for their lengthy lists of ingredients. If you’re looking to go the most natural route, a good rule of thumb is to avoid any supplements with ingredients you can’t pronounce or have never heard of before. A simple blend is often the better move. Here are some common ingredients you’ll find in caffeine-free pre-workouts, many of which are designed to increase nitric oxide production in the body, which aids in circulation and blood flow:
- Amino acids like l-citrulline, taurine, l-tyrosine, l-arginine (basically anything starting with l- and ending in “ine”) are often called the building blocks of protein, making them helpful for packing on muscle and recovering.
- Beta-alanine is another amino acid linked to muscle endurance and sports performance.
- Betaine is a chemical made in the body and often found in foods like beets. It’s been linked to improved athletic performance.
- Creatine is one of the most common strength training supplements. It’s a substance found in muscle cells that provides energy during intense lifting sessions.
There are other ingredients in caffeine-free pre-workouts, which we’ll discuss as they show up in the products we’ve sourced. In general, though, you should be looking for a blend of amino acids that will fuel your muscles during a heavy workout.
And as you’ll see throughout our list, the differences between products almost exclusively come down to ingredients, so your preference will ultimately come down to which ingredients offer the most benefits for your fitness journey.
1. Jacked Factory PUMPSURGE Caffeine-Free Pre-Workout
Jacked Factory’s relatively simple blend of ingredients is what makes it so compelling. PUMPSURGE predominately contains l-citrulline, taurine and betaine, all of which help with athletic performance. Lower down the ingredient list is the company’s proprietary blend of astragalus and ginseng root — two Chinese medicine fixtures with a variety of health benefits — and huperzine-a, a chemical used for memory function. PUMPSURGE comes in six delicious flavors and has the endorsement of more than 4,000 Amazon reviewers.
2. PEScience High Volume Nitric Oxide Booster Pre-Workout
BEST FLAVOR VARIETY
That first sip of pre-workout sets the tone before every lifting session at the gym. And choking down a flavor you loathe is never the right way to start a workout. This caffeine-free pre-workout from PEScience features seven different sugar rush flavors, from Cotton Candy and Melon Berry Twist to Paradise Cooler and Strawberry Peach Kiwi. Those options, combined with its simple ingredient list of amino acids and performance-improving compounds, make this a great caffeine-free pre-workout choice.
3. Bang Energy Caffeine Free Energy Drink (Pack of 12)
It’s funny to see “energy drink” and “caffeine-free” in the same product title, but that’s what you’re getting with Bang, one of the most popular energy drink companies on the market. This version trades its signature energy blend for a mix of amino acids, creatine and vitamins that are sure to power up your next workout. This is a pack of 12 16-oz cans.
4. Force Factor VolcanNO Pre-Workout Muscle Builder
For those who’d prefer not to deal with handling and mixing messy pre-workout powders, we recommend this nitric oxide booster from VolcanNO, available from GNC. The bottle comes with 120 capsules — and a recommended two-capsule serving size — that boast a blend of amino acids and creatine for the ultimate pre-workout pump.
5. Evlution Nutrition Pump Mode Nitric Oxide Booster
As you’ve probably gathered by now, pre-workout flavors tend to lean pretty heavily into the sugary, fruity camp. If flavors aren’t your thing, check out this caffeine-free pre-workout from Evlution Nutrition, which offers both an unflavored powder and capsule option in addition to its “Blue Raz” and “Furious Grape” flavor choices.
6. ProSupps Dr. Jekyll Signature Pre-Workout Powder
If you hit the gym every day, you’ll find that these 30-serving containers of pre-workout tend to evaporate pretty quickly. This stim-free pre-workout from ProSupps costs under $20 for its 30 servings, making it one of the more affordable options on this list. The powder includes a solid blend of amino acids, creatine and other beneficial supplements. It’s a great choice if you want a lower-cost introduction to a caffeine-free pre-workout supplement.
7. Nutricost Stim-Free Pre-Workout
BEST VITAMIN B SOURCE
Vitamin B — and its complex’s essential components — are critical to your overall health, from energy and brain function to appetite and eyesight. Though this caffeine-free pre-workout doesn’t feature all the various vitamin Bs, it does pack an impressive punch with B6 and B12, with much more than the allotted daily value. Fuel up for your workout with all of the key amino acids and benefit the rest of your body along the way.
8. Genius Pre Workout Powder
With more than 5,000 reviews and a 4.4-star rating on Amazon, this is definitely one of the best-reviewed caffeine-free pre-workout supplements out there. It’s available in two flavors — Sour Apple and Grape Limeade — and should fuel your workouts with its blend of core amino acids. At almost $40 for a 20-serving container, though, those glowing reviews do come at a higher cost.