In the age of social media where fitness influencers fill Instagram feeds around the world, pre-workout supplements have gained a lot of new exposure. These are supplements designed to get you amped up for your workout while providing increased strength, endurance, and accelerated burning of body fat. But with so many choices out there, it is imperative that you find the right supplement to complement your specific fitness journey. In this article, we will cover the basics of pre workout supplements and their ingredients, plus we’ll review the top 10 contenders on the market today.
Don’t feel like reading the whole article? Our research concluded that these are the 10 best pre workout supplements for women:
- Legion Pulse Pre Workout Supplement
- Fitmiss Ignite – Women’s Pre-Workout + Energy Booster
- ALPHA Gx7 Pre-Workout
- Uplift Pre-Workout Energy
- RSP AminoLean Energy Formula
- Muscle Pharm Assault Pre-Workout
- Optimum Nutrition Essential Amino Energy
- Neon Sport Volt Creatine Free Preworkout
- Controlled Labs White Rapids Powder
- HIT Supplements Igniter Pre-Workout
Why Should Women Use a Pre Workout?
Before we delve into the meat of the matter, let’s take a quick look at some of the benefits offered by pre-workout supplements. Besides helping you make it through your workout on days when you’d rather be on the couch, some key benefits include building muscle faster, facilitating fat loss, and amping up your fast twitch muscles helping you generate more power during your lifts.
When it comes to muscle building, the most notable biologically active ingredients are BCAAs, particularly leucine, isoleucine and valine. As for fat loss, pre-workout supplements help through the addition of caffeine. It enables you to stay amped and alert so you can sustain intense and prolonged workouts. You get to burn more calories and hence, you get rid of unwanted fat. Just bear in mind that pre-workout supplements with caffeine must be taken at least 6 hours before bedtime so it doesn’t interfere with your normal sleep-wake cycle.
Another key ingredient that’s worth mentioning is nitric oxide. It is a molecule that plays a number of important roles in human health. Many pre workout supplements aim to increase the levels of nitric oxide in the body which can provide remarkable benefits for your health and performance. They usually contain compounds like nitrate or the amino acids L-arginine and L-citrulline. Studies show that nitric oxide helps in improving recovery rate; reduces exhaustion and levels of fatigue during intense workouts. It also enhances glucose utilization and provides additional energy so you can complete your routine.
The 10 Best Pre Workout Supplements for Women
My team test nearly 2 dozen of the leading pre-workout supplements on the market and compiled the top options for female athletes below (in no particular order).
- Servings per container: 21
- Cost per serving: $1.80
This is one of the best nitric oxide pre-workouts on the market for women. It offers a ton of features that blow the competition away. It includes all the heavy hitters in the pre workout world in just the right quantities, including:
- anhydrous caffeine
- beta alanine
- & a pretty serious nitric oxide boosting formula
Some of the products on this list are exclusively for women, but this one is all inclusive. Legion Pulse has a ton of active ingredients that boost performance as well as recovery of the body post-workout. The combination of the ingredients eliminates the “comedown” effect and allows the body to function normally even after an intense routine.
The nitric oxide formula provides insane pumps which keeps blood flowing to the muscles and allows you to lift more and work out longer with the help of beta alanine. The manufacturer is well respected so you know you are getting top quality (and all natural) ingredients.
All that said, those looking for a creatine-based supplement may have to search elsewhere. Perhaps the only drawback of Legion Pulse, (for some anyway) is that it is creatine-free. Creatine can further boost your workout by pulling more water into your muscles and increasing your strength, but it also adds unslightly bloat, making it less popular among women. If you’re looking for intense workouts without looking puffy, this is your choice.
- Servings per container: 30
- Cost per serving: $0.77
With a delicious (IMO) strawberry margarita flavor and a ton of punch for the price, FitMiss Ignite is a strong contender in our list. It claims to deliver the following:
- Increased energy level during your workout
- Faster fat burning (hence the “Ignite”)
- Tailored specifically for women
With a minimal number of scoops required, FitMiss Ignite gets the job done without the awful comedown and other dreaded side effects. A lot of women deal with hormonal imbalances and find it difficult to properly burn fat. Fortunately, this pre-workout supplement was specifically designed to do just that: burn fat. Regardless of any hormonal imbalance and no matter what type of workout you’re doing, you’ll burn a considerable amount of fat by taking FitMiss Ignite.
The only drawback of this product is that you should stop using it consistently after a few months. An assessment by your physician will dictate whether or not you can take Fitmiss for long-term use. All in all, we recommend it to those who wish to jumpstart their workout without any adverse effects to their hormones.
One of the most powerful products on the market, Alpha Gx7 is another leading contender in the realm of pre-workout supplements. Designed for those who don’t like to wait and wish to experience the benefits from their first workout, Alpha Gx7 boasts the following:
- 1500mg of citrulline for energy boost
- Increased strength and kick plateaus
- Science based ingredients
Note: 30 servings per container / $1 cost per serving
There’s nothing worse than feeling duped after a workout because a product failed to deliver its claims. The manufacturers of Alpha Gx7 guarantee that it won’t happen because all their ingredients have been lab-tested and scientifically proven effective. There are no fillers and other kinds of junk included, making Alpha Gx7 arguably one of the best and one that we highly recommend.
Aside from the 1500mg of citrulline, there’s also beta alanine. In having these two combined, you can rest assured that you’ll remain focused and dedicated to give your body the best workout possible. Moreover, you’ll be able to hurdle those plateaus where you’ve been stuck on for months. This would give you an immediate confidence boost as well as the motivation to take on the next challenge.
There aren’t many downsides to this supplement, but there is a lack of flavors. It comes in Cherry, Watermelon, and Blue Raspberry, but I’ve only found the Watermelon flavor to taste good. This is obviously somewhat subjective and doesn’t impact the performance of the product whatsoever, so don’t let this stop you from giving Alpha Gx7 a try. You won’t regret it.
- Servings per container: 40
- Cost per serving: $0.70
Simple in terms of name and what it does, this supplement is deliciously flavored and provides energy and improved performance. Some of the benefits include the following:
- Sustainable energy levels
- Activation of fast twitch muscle fibers
- Improved overall performance
UPLift has been formulated to increase a woman’s energy level while working out. It is also designed to increase the activation of fast twitch muscle fibers during intense exercise. To give you an idea, there are two types of skeletal muscle fibers: slow twitch and fast twitch. The former helps enable long-endurance feats like distance running, while the latter fatigue faster but are used in powerful bursts of movements such as sprinting.
Note that this supplement must be taken 20-30 minutes before your workout.
UPLift contains the following: carnitine, glycine, arginine, valine, beta alanine, among others. If you recall, these are considered ‘essentials’ when scouting for a good pre-workout supplement. With these ingredients present, you’ll be able to level up your performance while avoiding the awful withdrawal and comedown effect. Having said that, we recommend UPLift to women who want to get the most bang for their buck – that means a high-intensity, satisfaction guaranteed workout.
One of the best things about AminoLean is that you don’t have to take it a certain time each day for it to work. This is an easy to make drink mix that you can use when you need a little boost of energy. You’re getting energy from the green tea extract in the mix, which provides a more natural and sustainable energy boost.
AminoLean contains 5 grams of EAAs, Essential Amino Acids, which helps your body carry out various functions. In his mix, EAAs help you recover faster after a workout and help build lean muscle. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and your body has to have them, so this is a huge benefit. Some other key features:
- Helps build lean muscle
- Increased mental focus
- Aids in weight loss and muscle recovery
- Zero calories and sugars
- Wide variety of flavors available; blackberry pomegranate, blue raspberry, kiwi strawberry, watermelon, fruit punch, and more
- GMP certified
AminoLean is offering a boost of energy in the form on a great tasting drink mix, what’s not to love? On top of it being sugar free and zero cal, AminoLean is just super convenient. It’s easy to mix and take on the go, and you can use it whenever you need. Also, thanks to the green tea, BCAAs, essential amino acids, and CLA, this drink mix also promotes weight loss and can help with weight management. What really makes this mix stand out though, is the fact that it contains 125 mg of caffeine per serving but doesn’t give you the jitters. For those reasons, and more, I highly recommend trying AminoLean.
- Servings per container: 30
- Cost per serving: $0.90
This one is receiving a lot of hype because of its delectable flavors, especially the Blue Raspberry (my personal favorite). It also delivers remarkable results, thanks to some amazing features including the following:
- Ion-3 nitrate technology
- Explosive energy; increased focus, strength and endurance
- No artificial dyes and fillers
Ion-3 nitrate technology allows nutrients to be properly absorbed and utilized by your body. This is in fact one of the main selling points of Muscle Pharm. Explosive energy allows you to have 8 times the normal amount that you get from caffeine, while eliminating the possibility of a “comedown” effect that bursts of caffeine normally give.
Another huge selling point is the absence of artificial dyes, fillers, and other chemicals. This reduces the likelihood of having an adverse reaction if you try out the product. With Muscle Pharm Assault you can dominate the gym and achieve optimum results. The only drawback of this product is that it had a formula change recently. Some liked the old formula better, even if the new one trumps the competition. With any product change, there will always be some naysayers, but nonetheless, we highly recommend this one because of its packaging, price, and performance.
This mix can be used at any time of day and makes a great pre and post workout drink. Used as a pre workout, Essential Amino Energy gives you the energy you need to power through your workout. Used as a post workout, it can help speed up the muscle recovery process. You can also use it in the morning or between meals for a little extra energy and to help with cravings.
Not only does this mix provide energy, it can actually increase mental focus as well. If you have a hard time staying on task at work or getting things done, a serving of this mix in the morning may do the trick. The enhanced mental focus is the result of each serving being packed with 5 grams of their special amino blend.
- Can be used any time
- Over 10 flavors to choose from
- Packed with amino acids; 5 g per serving
- 160 mg of special energy blend in each serving
- Low cal and carb
- GMP certified
When you need a big boost of energy to power through your workout, or just a little one to make it through the rest of the work day, you can get it with Essential Amino Energy. I recommend this mix to anyone who is looking to take their fitness to the next level and power through some tougher workouts.
- Servings per container: 36
- Cost per serving: $1.57
Although on the expensive side, this is a leader when it comes to sheer performance. Notable features of this potent pre-workout supplement include:
- Stimulant and nootropic complex
- High levels of beta alanine
- Agmatine Sulfate that promotes blood flow to muscles
Powered by a nootropic and stimulant complex, you’ll be able to have a streamlined focus and significant improvement on your energy level. The incorporation of high levels of beta alanine enables your body to sustain extended physical activity, while agmatine sulfate facilitates better blood flow to working muscles so they get ample supply of oxygen.
There’s only one minor drawback to this product, and it may lie with certain distributors instead of the manufacturers per se. It’s the fact that it can be clumpy, due to distributor sealing issues during shipping. Nonetheless, the performance is still top-notch, and the product is easy to work with physically once in your system.
- Servings per container: 50
- Cost per serving: $0.74
It’s not the highest rated or the most sought-after pre workout supplement, but Controlled Labs White Rapids Powder is a cult classic among the hardcore bodybuilding community. Features of this product include:
- Fast absorption and action
- Noticeable increase in strength
- Heightened endurance and extreme pumps
One of the major benefits of this product is that it’s fast absorbing and fast acting – attributes that those on the go dream of having in a pre-workout supplement. You’ll get quick boosts in strength and endurance that allows for more extreme pumps. This is definitely a good choice, particularly for those on a budget.
The primary drawback of this one is that it comes in only one flavor and it is a bit chalky. This isn’t a supplement you choose for the taste, you choose it for the results.
- Servings per container: 30
- Cost per serving: $0.92
Last on my list is HIT Supplements Igniter Extreme. It is a powdered pre workout offered in the popular “tropical punch” flavor. Some of the benefits offered by this supplement include the following:
- Improved concentration and focus
- Energy boost and increased stamina
- Better and faster recovery time
Overall, this is a solid option. It provides a sustained release of energy during your workout without a big crash, and the price is reasonable. It contains all the usual suspects as far as ingredients; BCAAs, caffeine, B vitamins, etc. The only drawback of this product is that it feels slightly underdosed compared to some others. Larger women may want to take extra scoop if you’re not getting the result you want (obviously, start small). Increasing the dose makes it less cost effective, but still, it’s a recommended buy.
Common Pre Workout Ingredients
There are six types of pre-workout supplements and they include the following:
Creatine – Most commonly taken for improving exercise performance and increasing muscle mass in athletes and older adults. There are a ton of variations and hybrids because of the remarkable improvements in performance.
Amino Acids – Providing your body with amino acids, particularly BCAAs, before resistance training or an endurance event helps you to stay in an anabolic state. This means your muscles continue to grow instead of breaking down. Amino acid supplementation floods your body with essential compounds so they can immediately be used for muscle repair during exercise.
Nitric Oxide – In order to achieve maximum muscle growth, a pump is of utmost importance, and the only way that you can achieve this is by training properly with the right energy intake. This will allow ample blood flow to working muscles that require blood to supply them with oxygen and nutrients, while eliminating waste products like carbon dioxide and lactic acid.
B Vitamins – There are different types of B vitamins in pre-workout supplements. In general, they promote metabolism and energy production. Hence, you’ll have a much more effective workout.
Stimulants – This is basically the packed punch in your supplement. Stimulants usually include caffeine, beta-alanine or something similar.
Now that you’ve got the basic run down on what’s in your pre-workout supplement, what you should look for and what it should do, the next thing to consider is the price. Shelling out a ton of money doesn’t necessarily translate to the best purchase because the price doesn’t equate to a perfect product. You should also look at the cost versus the servings per container. Knowing this will help you save hundreds or even thousands in the long run.
Lastly, you must never take multiple pre-workout supplements at the same time. Do so and you run the risk of hypertension and cardiac problems. You should also never consume any type of energy drink alongside your pre-workout supplement. It’s recommended not to consume any at all, regardless of when you took the supplement.
Health Effects of Nitric Oxide Supplements
Nearly all types of cell in the human body produces nitric oxide, a gas that is considered as one of the most important compounds for blood vessel health. It is a vasodilator, which means it causes the smooth muscles of your blood vessels to relax, causing the vessels to widen. As such, nitric oxide increases blood flow, which plays a crucial role in multiple body functions, including controlling blood pressure, maintaining erection, among others.
Supplements that increase the levels of nitric oxide are among the most sought after supplement categories in the market today. They don’t contain nitric oxide itself, but they do contain substances that your body can utilize to synthesize nitric oxide. They have been reported to provide a number of benefits for health and performance, including the following:
Lower Blood Pressure
People suffering from hypertension are believed to have an impaired capability to utilize nitric oxide. Over time, hypertension can cause health issues like cardiac and kidney disease.
Recent studies reveal that a diet that’s high in fruits and vegetables helps in lowering blood pressure and therefore reduces the risk of disease. This has prompted scientists to test the beneficial effects of compounds like nitrate and flavanoids. The results are promising as both may help control blood pressure by increasing nitric oxide levels.
Boost Exercise Performance
As aforementioned, nitric oxide induces vasodilation which helps in facilitating the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to working muscles, thus enhancing performance during exercise. This made nitric oxide supplements extremely popular among athletes and fitness enthusiasts.
Such supplements usually contain ingredients that increase nitric oxide levels, such as nitrate or the amino acid L-citrulline. In several tests, both have been shown to improve exercise performance in cyclists, kayakers, runners, and swimmers.
Help Manage Type 2 Diabetes
It has been established that people with Type 2 diabetes have impaired nitric oxide production. Over time, this results in poor blood vessel health, which can cause hypertension, cardiac and kidney disease. Hence, supplements that boost nitric oxide levels in the body may have key implications when it comes to diabetes treatment and prevention.
A study discovered that when Type 2 diabetes patients took L-arginine, it increased their rate of nitric oxide production. The subsequent increase in nitric oxide level led to an increase in insulin sensitivity, which allowed for better control of blood sugar level.
Help Alleviate Muscle Soreness
Muscle soreness refers to the discomfort that tends to occur after strenuous exercise. Citrulline malate, a form of L-citrulline, boosts nitric oxide synthesis and reduces muscle soreness. Remember that nitric oxide synthesis increases blood flow to working muscles. This means citrulline malate speeds up nutrient delivery and elimination of metabolic wastes like ammonia and lactic acid, both of which are associated to muscle fatigue. Note, however, that it has been found that the citrulline malate’s ability to alleviate muscle soreness depends on the dose and type of exercise involved.
The Final Verdict
There are dozens of pre-workout supplements on the market today, and it may seem like a daunting task to try and find one that works best for you. This is precisely the reason why we rounded up the best with the most reasonable price tags. Our favorite on this list is the Legion Athletics’ Legion Pulse because it comes with quite a punch in a little pack. It’s one we highly recommend, as it’s for both men and women and has a lot of proven ingredients that aid performance before, during, and after working out.