If you are looking to intensify your training performance, there has never been a better time than now to buy sports nutrition supplements. The best pre-workout supplements 2018 has to offer are unprecedented in terms of their formulation strategies, quality, and effectiveness.
In this guide, we break down some of the top ranked pre-workouts we’ve reviewed to reveal the best on the market right now.
Table of Contents
Quick List: Best Pre-Workout Supplements 2018 Edition
|#1. Performance Lab SPORT Pre-Workout – Most advanced pre-workout design on the market, it supercharges workout intensity without stimulants for massive healthy gains. Performance Lab website
|#2. 4 Gauge – Driven by “smart caffeine,” this shotgun-shell pre-workout also supplies hefty doses of some of the greatest muscle-builders and strength-enhancers. 4 Gauge website
|#3. ALTIUS – Backed by a strong reputation and whopping eight grams of citrulline malate, altius is a pro-grade pre-workout for serious bodybuilders. ALTIUS website
|#4. Ghost Legend – More stimulant-driven that other pre-workouts, with an exotic blend for energy and intensity to power through any workout. Ghost website
|#5. Beyond Raw LIT – This in-demand GNC stack supplies advanced ingredients for muscle pumps, nitric oxide, energy and mental intensity. GNC website
Or, read on to learn about the ingredients, features and stacking strategies behind the Pre-Workout Supplements – 2018 Edition.
2018’s Pre-Workout Developments
Pre-workout supplements are taken prior to training sessions to enhance performance in many ways. They target muscle, endurance, mental focus, motivation, and more to max out your potential in the gym.
In 2018, the pre-workout nutritional supplement category is bigger than ever. It is also more confusing than ever. Since there are many ways to increase workout intensity, pre-workout formulas can be complex.
They can also come in a lot of different forms. For example, pre-workouts can be pills, capsules, softgels, powders and drinks.
While preferences are always changing, in 2018 it seems like clean, stimulant-free, and streamlined pre-workout formulas are trending up.
However, due to the popularity of the category, stimulant-driven pre-workouts with exotic ingredients and crazy flavors remain popular. Some manufacturers are now elevating this “stim” format to greater effectiveness and training results than ever before.
So, what kind of benefits can you get from today’s best pre-workout supplements?
What Pre-Workout Benefits are People Looking for in 2018?
Boosting energy is one of the main reasons why people take pre-workout supplements. More energy means better performance during your workout, whatever it may be.
Caffeine and other stimulants are still the most popular way for pre-workout supplements to increase vitality and give you the energy you need to smash through your workout goals.
However, the strongest stimulants aren’t for everybody. They may be followed by a crash that makes it hard to swing back into action after your training session.
Some of our top-rated pre-workout energy ingredients for 2018 are stimulant-free formulas.
This matches a rising demand for stim-free products in general. In 2018 this is truer than ever before, given our rampant stimulant intake. People are increasingly aware that there are healthier, more effective ways to increase energy naturally.
Some of the most advanced pre-workout supplements of 2018 include nootropic brain-boosters. These can bring a new angle of support to pre-workout supplements. Nootropics can boost training by sharpening focus, motivation and even strategic thinking for competitive athletics.
Pumps are never going out of style. That’s is why you will see in the best 2018 pre-workout supplements ingredients that effectively enhance blood flow to the muscles — for that supercharged vascularity many bodybuilders and athletes are looking for.
Most pre-workout supplements boost blood flow to muscles by increasing levels of Nitric Oxide.
Nitric Oxide, in turn, relaxes blood vessels for healthier circulation to muscle tissues. While the look and feel of muscle pumps is great for motivation, the improved circulation to muscles can also do a lot more:
- Oxygenating and energizing muscle tissue
- Clearing away wastes like fatigue-inducing lactic acid
- Nourishing muscle tissue with all that other great sports nutrition you may be taking, for healthier, faster recovery from training
Circulation support nutrients have been shown to help encourage and improve healthy blood flow to the muscles (as well as to the brain!). Because of this, enhanced blood flow is one of the most sought-after benefits that the best pre-workout supplements of 2018 can deliver.
Natural muscle circulation-boosters are also great for pre-workouts because they match many fitness buffs’ desire to build muscle in a healthier, more sustainable way this year and in the future.
This is one of the greatest benefits associated with the best pre-workout supplements: increasing strength and power in muscle for more intense, results-driven physical performance in the gym, on the field, or wherever.
In 2018, the best pre-workout manufacturers are targeting strength in new ways, including pathways like cell energy, muscle hydration, and more.
Anything that supports faster muscle growth and bigger gains is always going to be a welcome addition in a good pre-workout formula.
In 2018, there are a lot of great options to include in pre-workouts for muscle growth – including advanced and patented pre-workout ingredients that have enhanced potency or some other unique advantage.
Due to recent trends of high intensity interval training (HIIT), cross-training and others, some of today’s top pre-workout supplements place a little extra importance on nutrients that can help to improve aerobic capacity and time of exertion until muscle failure.
Some formulas are better than others for improving endurance, and for enhancing performance at endurance-related exercise.
For example, check out our Best 5 Pre-Workout Supplements for Runners to get an idea what sports nutrition ingredients and stacks may be best suited to endurance athletes’ unique needs.
Convenience is King in 2018. In addition, the importance of proper hydration to muscle function and safe, healthy training is at an all-time high.
- As a result, hydration-factors in pre-workout supplements will continue to emerge in 2018.
These could be as powders that mixed into a supplement drink, or as hydrating factors supplied in pre-workout capsules.
Pre-workout ingredients to look for in 2018
Creatine is one of the most popular ingredients found in pre-workout supplements with good reason. It can help with energizing muscles, improving stamina, boosting muscle power and more. All of this adds up to superior training performance, for better ultimate muscle-building and overall fitness results.
In 2018 you have some better options in terms of creatine forms and brands. Plain creatine can be harsh on the stomach, leading to bloating and other side effects.
Some of today’s advanced supplements instead use higher quality creatine that eliminates those bloats. In some cases the use patented technology to produce clean, pure creatine supplements. Advanced creatine reduces side effects.
This amino acid is best known as a nitric oxide booster – it widens blood vessels for peak flow to muscles during your training sessions.
It also helps with cardiovascular exercise endurance, muscle power, muscle efficiency, protein synthesis, and muscle endurance. Citrulline also brings some post-work out benefits by reducing muscle aches after workouts.
This amino acid is a mainstay of superior sports nutrition supplements. Glutamine plays many different roles in maxing out your training intensity. It can also max out the rate at which you pack on lean muscle mass.
L-Glutamine’s muscle-protective activity fits well with 2018 trends of healthy anabolic growth.
Glutamine also works in a similar way to baking soda, as a pre-workout. It brings alkaline activity to the party. This helps to neutralize lactic acid, thereby extending your endurance no matter what exercise you are doing.
This fungus is an ideal pre-workout ingredient for 2018 because it fits modern demands for stim-free energy boosting activity. In the case of Cordyceps, this energy boost occurs in muscle tissue.
- Cordyceps also appears to be helpful for boosting stamina, by regulating the way muscle uses up oxygen.
With this ingredient, fitness-minded consumers can get powerful sports nutrition support that helps with both strength training for bigger muscles and cardiovascular exercise for superior endurance.
This pre-workout ingredient offers special benefits for athletes. It supplies broad-spectrum muscle support and protection, which also seems to improve physical endurance during intense training.
In addition to its support for endurance, carnosine also appears to have a muscle-energizing effect — it powers fast twitch muscle fibers, making it a favorite among bodybuilders in 2018.
Beta alanine is an amino acid related to carnosine. It is included in pre-workout supplements for its potential to lengthen intense training sessions to new personal bests.
Beta alanine is believed to produce these benefits by protecting muscles against the lactic acid that signals for muscle fatigue. As a result, beta alanine’s best benefits appear to be associated with resistance training and other muscle-building exercises.
Himalayan pink salt
Whether you find it in a supplement stack or put a pinch in your water, this natural form of salt is one of the greatest hydrating compounds. It naturally supplies electrolytes and trace minerals, just like you find in sports drinks — but without all the artificial colors and other garbage.
Himalayan Pink Salt is a simple, straightforward ingredient that can make a big difference in the overall design of the best pre-workout supplements 2018 has brought us.
And, its clean and natural profile fits in very well with “clean label” trends of today’s health-conscious consumers.
Pine Bark Extract
This antioxidant-rich complex made from bark functions as a great natural nitric oxide booster. As a bonus, its potent antioxidant activity helps to protect blood vessels and muscle tissues.
The end result is a muscle circulation booster plus strong support for overall muscle health, function and protection.
Like Pine bark extract, this natural herb is known for its ability to boost blood flow to muscle tissues, for great performance and pumps. It doesn’t supply the same antioxidant activity as Pine bark extract, but is more evidence-backed as a circulation booster.
Beet root is also suggested to make muscles work more efficiently, possibly due to its role in supplying muscles with oxygen. Its active ingredients, known as nitrates, are linked to performance enhancements in both cardiovascular exercise and strength training.
This golden root is a legendary traditional herb for boosting performance in many ways. In fact, it is great for boost strength, power, endurance, cognitive performance and more. Its ability to help the body adapt to stress makes it one of the best pre-workout ingredients to look for in 2018’s best stacks.
- Some early evidence has suggested that Rhodiola appears to significantly improve mental performance and physical performance under stressful situations. This would seem to support Rhodiola’s reputation as a great performance-enhancer for competitive sports and games.
Rhodiola’s active ingredients are called rosavins and salidrosides. Some of the highest quality pre-workout supplements that use this traditional herbal tonic will standardized their roots to supply an exact levels of these performance-enhancing actives.
It’s last on our list of 2018 ingredients to look for, but caffeine as a pre-workout is undeniable. That’s why it’s so popular.
We downplay caffeine a bit here at Best5, mainly because there may be better energy supplements that work on a cellular level these days. But for those who like the rush of a caffeinated workout, this legendary stimulant remains on the list.
- L-Theanine + Caffeine in Pre-Workouts: If you see a caffeinated pre-workout supplement with L-Theanine, it is a sign of smart formulation — L-Theanine helps to smooth out caffeine’s energy spike and reduce its jittery side effects.
How Best 5 Supplements Rates and Ranks the Best Pre-Workout Supplements of 2018
In addition to the above consumer demands and ingredient recommendations, we use the following guidelines in choosing the Best 5 Supplements in the pre-workout category this year:
- Combinations: Pre-workouts that use smart stacking strategies can deliver maximum benefits in the gym
- Healthy: The best pre-workout supplements of 2018 keep their customers’ long-term health in mind.
- Quality: High quality pre-workout ingredients and delivery forms deliver better results with fewer side effects
- Research: Research-backed pre-workout supplements are more important than ever in 2018’s demanding market
- Service: Excellent customer service (customer service hotlines, return policy, etc.) count a lot towards being the best.
- Value: Not just “price”, but the muscle and performance-enhancing return on your supplement investment
In this Best Pre-Workout Supplements 2018 guide, we also take into account which nutritional supplement companies have a strong online presence and good reputation. These manufacturers are fare more likely to stand behind their products.
Best Pre-Workout Supplements 2018 Edition
#1 – Performance Lab SPORT Pre-Workout
Performance Lab SPORT Pre-Workout is a clean, stim-free formula that supercharges intensity across all types of training and athletics. The secret: An advanced stacking strategy that combines great ingredients for muscle, growth hormone, pumps, endurance, energy, hydration and more.
By presenting this stack with several enhanced, patented forms in vegan Plantcaps, Performance Lab SPORT Pre-Workout sets a new standard in quality and ultimate training performance and results.
Performance Lab SPORT Pre-Workout Summary
|Full ingredient list: Creatine (Creapure® pH10) 1000 mg, Cordyceps Super™ (50% polysaccharides, 15% 1,3-1,6 beta glucan, 5% alpha glucan) 750 mg, L-Citrulline 500 mg, L-Glutamine (Ajinomoto®) 250 mg, L-carnosine 300 mg, Himalayan pink salt 350 mg, Maritime Pine bark (95% proanthocyanidins) 100 mg
|Clean Label: Yes. Performance Lab SPORT Pre-Workout is probably the cleanest pre-workout supplement on the market in 2018.
|Advanced Delivery: Yes. Plantcaps®, vegetarian capsules from pullulan (fermented tapioca) which are infused with prebiotics and have top-notch bioavailability.
|Stimulant-free? Yes. You won’t find any stimulants in Performance Lab SPORT Pre-Workout. It revs up your engine via non-stimulatory pathways.
|Price: $45 for one box (12o capsules; 30 servings)
|Any Deals? Yes. $85.50 for two boxes (five percent savings) and $121.50 for three boxes (10 percent savings)
|Service: 24/7 customer support (which sends a response within 30 minutes), 30-day money-back guarantee
|Official Website: www.performancelab.com
|Read our in-depth Performance Lab SPORT Pre-Workout review
#2 – 4 Gauge
4 Gauge pre-workout supplies some of our top recommended performance-oriented ingredients like citrulline, creatine, beat root, caffeine and Rhodiola. It also includes the nootropic and muscle-energizing power of acetyl l-carnitine, as well as a hydrating properties of coconut water powder.
It is a stimulant-driven formula. However, it intelligently balances that out with a big 200 mg dose of l-theanine to reduce jittery side effects. Finally, 4 Gauge pre-workout supplement meets the demands of 2018 consumers. It uses only natural flavors, including monk fruit and no-calorie natural sweeteners.
4 Gauge Summary
|Ingredients: L-citrulline DL malate 6000 mg, Creatine monohydrate 1000 mg, Acetyl l-carnitine 500 mg, Red beet root extract 300 mg, Coconut water powder 300 mg, L-theanine 200 mg, Caffeine anhydrous 150 mg, Rhodiola rosea powder 100 mg
|Clean Label: Yes. 4 Gauge is not only unique, but it’s also a clean pre-workout
|Advanced Delivery: No. 4 Gauge utilizes regular pre-workout powder, although it is naturally sweetned.
|Stimulant-free? No. This pre-workout has 150 mg of caffeine anhydrous per serving.
|Price: $45 for one 4 Gauge shell (280 grams; 20 servings)
|Any Deals? Yes. $90 for two shells (plus free U.K. and U.S. shipping) and $135 for three shells (plus a fourth shell free and free U.K. and U.S. shipping)
|Service: Online customer service inquiry form and returns
|Official Website: www.4gauge.com
|Read our in-depth 4 Gauge review
#3 – ALTIUS
Made by Jacked Factory, Altius pre-workout is a powerful, straightforward design that delivers a lot of bang for the buck. It includes several of our best ingredients to look for, notably delivered in some super-strength dosages. However, among them is a 325 mg dose of caffeine, so be wary of this one if you are sensitive to stimulants.
The 150 mg of Alpha GPC adds some welcome nootropic support. Its BioPerine takes all of this potency and amps it up even more. Natural Stevia sweetener, other natural flavors and colors are a nice finishing touch on this high quality pre-workout formula for 2018.
|Full ingredient list: Vitamin B12 500 mcg, L-citrulline malate 2:1 8000 mg, Beta-alanine 3200 mg, Creatine monohydrate 3000 mg, Betaine anhydrous 2500 mg, Caffeine anhydrous 325 mg, alpha-GPC (alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine) 150 mg, BioPerine 5 mg
|Clean Label: Yes. This is one clinically-dosed pre-workout of 2018 which is clean from top to bottom.
|Advanced Delivery: Yes. The manufacturer includes five milligrams of black pepper fruit extract (BioPerine) per 20.33-gram scoop for improved nutrient absorption.
|Stimulant-free? No. ALTIUS has 325 mg of caffeine anhydrous per serving.
|Price: $35.99 for one 406.6-gram container (20 servings)
|Any Deals? Yes. Subscribing to the manufacturer’s messenger list entitles the customer to a 10 percent discount on his or her order.
|Service: Online customer service inquiry form
|Official Website: https://shop.jackedfactory.com/products/altius
|Read our in-depth ALTIUS review
#4 – Ghost Legend
Ghost Legend not only looks awesome. It is awesome. This is a skillful stack of muscle energizers and performance enhancers, with many of these pre-workout ingredients in premium form. It also targets focus, intensity and stimulation, all while providing key muscle support.
The blue raspberry and fruit punch flavors are a bonus for anybody who wants a taste sensation when taking their pre-workout, but the formula does include some artificial colors and flavors, so take note in case that is something you are tryng to avoid.
Ghost Legend Summary
|Ingredients: L-Citrulline 4000 mg, CarnoSyn® Beta-Alanine 2000 mg, Agmatine Sulfate 500 mg, Norvaline 100 mg, Taurine 1000 mg, Caffeine Anhydrous 165 mg, Alpha-GPC (Alpha-Glyceryl Phosphoryl Choline 50%) 150 mg, Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea) Root extract 50 mg, DiCaffeine Malate (delivering 37mg Caffeine) 50 mg, Theobromine 50 mg, Olive (Olea europaea) Leaf extract (40% Oleuropein) 50 mg, NADH 10% 2.5 mg, Rauwolfia (Rauwolfia vomitoria) Root extract
|Clean Label: No. contains some artificial colors and flavors
|Advanced Delivery: No. The company uses regular pre-workout powder.
|Stimulant-free? No. 165 mg caffeine anhydrous
|Price: $44.99 for 30 servings
|Any Deals? No. At least not from the manufacturer, but possibly from 3rd party retailers
|Service: GHOST Support is available weekdays 9AM-5PM central time at 1-844-GHOST-88 (446-7888) or anytime at [email protected]
|Official Website: www.ghostlifestyle.com
|Read our in-depth Ghost Legend review
#5: BEYOND RAW LIT
Beyond Raw Lit is a GNC-affiliated pre-workout powder. It combines great ingredients for muscle pumps, nitric oxide, energy and mental intensity. While not all of the doses hit the mark, most all of these ingredients are in top-quality forms, including some reputable patented and branded ingredients.
This is a pre-workout supplement you will feel in terms of energy, strength, power and even sensory. Although the ingredients are overall very high quality, the label isn’t totally clean – it has some artificial colors and soy oil, so be advised if you are following a clean lifestyle.
BEYOND RAW LIT Summary
|Full ingredient list: CarnoSyn® Beta-Alanine 3.2 g, micronized creatine (as creatine monohydrate) 1.5 g, caffeine anhydrous 250 mg, elevATP® (ancient peat & apple extract) 150 mg, NeuroFactor™ Coffee Fruit Extract 100 mg, l-citrulline 3 g, Nitrosigine® (arginine silicate inositol) 1.5 g
|Clean Label: No. Contains sucralose, FD&C Red No. 40, and potassium sorbate.
|Advanced Delivery: No. Manufacturer utilizes regular pre-workout powder.
|Stimulant Free: No. 250 mg caffeine anhydrous and 100 mg NeuroFactor™ Coffee Fruit Extract
|Price: $39.99 for one container (412.8 grams; 30 servings)
|Any Deals? Yes. Ten percent discount for every order under the auto-deliver promotion
|Service: live online chat with customer service agent (Mon-Fri 12:01 a.m.- 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. – 12 a.m.; Saturdays 12:01 a.m.-6:30 a.m. and 10 a.m.-12 a.m.; Sundays 12:01 a.m.-4:30 a.m. and 10 a.m.-12 a.m.), 24-hour customer service hotline, free shipping site-wide, 30-day money-back guarantee
|Official Website: www.gnc.com
|Read our in-depth BEYOND RAW LIT review
Conclusion on the Best Pre-Workout Supplements of 2018
Pre-workout supplements are reaching a new pinnacle in 2018. There are still some junky formulas on the market. However, due to increased emphasis on research and quality, the best pre-workout supplements 2018 has to offer are cleaner, more powerful, more dynamic and more effective than ever before.
Any of the 5 advanced pre-workout supplements on this list are a good choice. But be sure to check out our full reviews that go into greater detail to help you choose the pre-workout supplement that is perfect for you to take this year.