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Finding a good pre workout could mean the difference between a regular session and the best training session you’ve ever had, which is why we’ve compiled this list of Best Pre Workout UK. Seriously, we are not understating this. Pre-workouts can banish fatigue, increase energy, improve endurance, and even help boost your mood and motivation. In this article, we are going to look at the best pre workout to buy in the UK in 2023.
QUICK SUMMARY: If you want to know our number one pick for the best pre workout UK, it’s Pre Lab Pro. It combines two nitric oxide boosters with antioxidants and smart caffeine to create a highly effective pre workout.
Table of Contents
Our Shortlist: Best Pre Workout UK
After reviewing dozens of supplements, we’ve narrowed our favourite pre workouts UK down to the below:
- Pre Lab Pro: Best Pre Workout Uk Overall.
- 4 Gauge: Best Safe Stimulant Pre Workout.
- Performance Lab Caffeine Plus: The Simple Pre Workout Hack.
- Grenade’s .50 Calibre Pre Workout: Packs a Hefty Stimulant Punch
- Bulk Millions Pre Workout: With additional BCAAs
Honourable mention: Pre-JYM
Each one of these offers something extra to deserve the title of best pre workout UK, so let’s look at them in more detail..
The Best Pre-Workouts to Buy in UK in 2023
There are some seriously good pre-workouts out there now, so it was difficult to pick out the best pre-workouts to buy in the UK in 2023. But these absolutely deserve to be here:
Our Top Choice for Best Pre Workout UK: Pre Lab Pro
Pre Lab Pro is a Next Gen Pre Workout with an updated formula that involves not just one but TWO nitric oxide boosters for sustained release, alongside smart caffeine. Throw in some potent antioxidants to help the body recover, and some much-appreciated vitamins and minerals, and you have the makings of an excellent pre workout. It truly deserves the title of best pre workout UK.
The first nitric oxide booster in Pre Lab Pro is Red Beet – a superb and natural nitrate source. NO helps to boost blood flow and oxygen to the muscles, helping you to push your muscles to the limit. Red Beet has been proven to:
- Provide more energy to the muscles.
- Improve neuromuscular performance.
- Aid with mental clarity and reaction time.
- Delay fatigue, maintaining muscle power.
- Support the cardiovascular system.
If Red Beets is the first NO booster, then Citrulline is the second. It’s another excellent nitric oxide booster that can help improve endurance and muscle pumps, among other things. Few formulas combine two different NO boosters in one – and it’s a genius move. Just when you’re starting to flag after the first NO boost, the citrulline gives you a second wind. The Pre Lab Pro formula can really promise to boost AND maintain NO levels.
Also in Pre Lab Pro is glutathione, a powerful antioxidant, and Smart Caffeine, a combination of Natural Caffeine and the nootropic L-Theanine. Caffeine, of course, helps to banish fatigue, enhance focus, boost fat burning, and improve physical performance, while L-Theanine helps to tackle potential side-effects, such as anxiety and jitters.
Other ingredients include B-vitamins for energy; L-tyrosine for motivation and stress reduction; vitamin D (strong bones); Himalayan Pink Salt and Potassium for hydration, and iron to aid endurance, strength, and muscle power
Pros of Pre Lab Pro:
- Two strong NO boosters for muscle and energy support.
- Should deliver a longer, more intensive and more rewarding workout.
- Super clean formula: Allergen-free, eco-friendly, non-GMO, and free of banned substances and artificial additives or colours.
- The moderate caffeine dose (80mg) allows you to control your dose (one scoop or two)
Cons of Pre Lab Pro:
- The moderate caffeine dose may not be enough for those wanting a stronger hit, though you can double scoop. You may want to try 4Gauge instead.
Named after a shotgun, designed to look like a shotgun shell, and some would say as effective as a shotgun in a zombie movie. 4Gauge is a great pre workout. Easily worthy of inclusion on our Best Pre Workout UK list.
It includes some of the strongest pre workout ingredients known to man (or woman!) on the market – and combines them well. We’re talking a bumper 6,000mg of L-citrulline, a highly effective vasodilator and NO booster, which helps to supply the muscles with oxygen and fuel.
Added to that we have creatine monohydrate – helping to boost ATP levels for more muscle energy and help with muscle size and strength.
And smart caffeine — a combo of caffeine anhydrous (150mg) and L-Theanine (200mg). We all know the boost that caffeine can give, helping us to feel stronger, more aware, more focused and less tired. This applies in pre workouts too. A quality pre workout will also include L-Theanine, as here in 4Gauge, to temper any negative side effects from the caffeine, preventing the buzz and crash that many inferior products cause.
It also includes red beet for another NO boost and rhodiola rosea, an adaptogen nootropic for enhanced motivation. It also includes ALCAR (Acetyl L-Carnitine), a multi-spectrum ingredient with benefits ranging from a nootropic to post-exercise recovery, testosterone production, and bone/ muscle growth. The final ingredient is coconut water for hydration and electrolytes.
The Pros of 4Gauge:
- Combines some pretty effective standalone pre workout ingredients.
- No artificial sweeteners included, and only 5 calories per serving.
- Made in cGMP facilities in the UK and the U.S.
- Also contains two recognised nootropics in ALCAR and rhodiola rosea. Together they should boost motivation and focus, tackle stress, and enhance mental alertness.
The Cons of 4Gauge:
- The recommended maintenance dosage of creatine is between 3-5g. The 1g of creatine in 4Gauge may help contribute to that, but won’t be enough to enjoy the full benefits of creatine on its own.
Performance Lab Caffeine Plus
One of the best pre-workout hacks out there is to just take a caffeine pill. But what if you could get even more out of a caffeine pill? Caffeine Plus by Performance Lab looks to answer that question.
Not only does it contain a standardised dosage of caffeine, but it also offers L-Theanine and L-Tyrosine which can remove any of the side effects without affecting performance.
Performance Lab Caffeine Plus offers a gentle dose of caffeine — with 50mg per capsule — and combines it with 100mg of L-theanine to make ‘smart caffeine’. This means that you get the boost of energy and mental focus from the caffeine without the crash that often comes from traditional caffeine pills or pre-workouts based on caffeine. The beauty of the 50mg dose, of course, is that you can choose to double or even triple it (we wouldn’t advise anything more) to get a strong hit of stimulant — allowing you to set your own dosage day by day. Something built-in pre-workouts often don’t allow.
We’d recommend Performance Lab Caffeine Plus as a stand-alone product but it also provides another option for people taking non-stim or low-stim pre-workouts, allowing you to add a boost of caffeine (equivalent to a cup of coffee) on those days when you just need a little extra. Again, putting you in control.
Pros of Performance Lab Caffeine-Plus
- Flexible caffeine source – allows you to choose your own dose
- One of the safest crash-free caffeine pills around.
- Includes L-theanine, L-tyrosine and B-vitamins to tackle any negative side effects from the caffeine.
- Boasts an ultra-clean formula
Cons of Performance Lab Caffeine-Plus
- While caffeine is a highly effective pre workout ingredient, you won’t enjoy any of the other benefits of recognised pre workout ingredients (NO boost, ATP boost etc…) if using this product alone.
Grenade .50 Calibre Pre Workout
Grenade has a strong reputation in the sports supplement field for releasing products that pack a punch (or should that be products that are explosive?) Grenade describes its .50 Calibre pre workout as a ‘pre workout devastator.’ (Humble, much?)
But there’s reason to be confident. .50 calibre is a popular choice among gym-goers and combines some heavy hitters.
- Citrulline malate to boost NO
- Beta alanine to reduce muscle fatigue and improve endurance
- Caffeine for a mental and physical burst of energy
- Creatine to improve muscle mass, strength, and recovery.
A word of warning: while it’s not easy to find the full ingredients and dosage list of .50 Calibre (it’s not listed on Grenade’s official site), its sale on Holland & Barrett tells us that it is *super* high in caffeine – 275mg caffeine per serving, combined with additional caffeine from the 125mg green tea also included. (Caffeine content of the green tea is not disclosed). Unfortunately, there is no L-theanine to counteract any negative side- effects. We did debate whether to include .50 Calibre on our best pre workout UK list because of this, but it is a popular product so it appears useful for many.
.50 Calibre also contains taurine (a component of energy drinks). As such, make sure you take it according to instructions (one serving is half a scoop) and be careful if you’re not used to high-stimulant pre workouts. If you’d prefer a more modest hit of stimulants, or like your caffeine elsewhere (can’t give up your coffee, for instance), this product probably isn’t for you.
- Contains some heavy hitters in the sports supplement pre-workout world
- Different flavours available
- Option to increase your serving to one scoop for a bigger hit if you’re used to stimulants. (We’d advise you to begin with half a scoop)
- From a reputable company.
- Best for taste
- Very high caffeine and stimulant content
- Do not consume within 4-6 hours of sleep
The benefits you experience with .50 Calibre will be mostly down to its stimulants. It contains just 1.5g of citrulline malate, for instance, compared to 4Gauge’s 6g. Likewise, it contains 250mg of beetroot extract compared to Pre Lab Pro’s 1,500mg of red beet.
Bulk Millions Pre Workout
OK, its packaging may look like something for children, but ignore that: Bulk Millions is a decent pre workout. From a respected sports supplement manufacturer (formerly known as Bulk Powders), Millions contains 5g of BCAAs in a ratio of 3:1:1, a clinically effective dosage to help with muscle strength and build. It’s the only pre workout on our best pre workout UK list that includes such a generous dose of BCAAs.
Millions also includes generous doses of beta alanine (3g) and 2g of citrulline malate, boosting NO and enhancing endurance. It also has 2g of AAKG which can increase blood flow and energy and reduce fatigue.
It also includes 200mg of caffeine, a high caffeine content. Other ingredients are vitamin D, L-tyrosine, and L-taurine.
- Includes a generous dose of BCAAs, not something you find in all pre workouts
- Includes decent doses of some heavy hitters
- From a respected sports manufacturer
- High caffeine content
- 3g of beta alanine may cause a tingly feeling in your hands and face, but this is harmless.
Made by Bodybuilding.com legend Jim Stoppani, this stimulant pre-workout gives a high dosage of caffeine (300mg), ably supported by citrulline malate, betaine, taurine, tyrosine, choline, and some BCAAs (great for banishing fatigue).
So, Which Pre Workout Should You Choose?
Which pre workout you choose should depend on your personal preferences and your targets. All of the above are decent pre workouts, though Pre Lab Pro and 4 Gauge are our choices for best pre workout UK.
Pre Lab Pro offers a moderate hit of caffeine that allows you to double down without side effects whilst also providing clinically effective dosages of other big hitter pre workout ingredients. Providing two separate NO boosters means that this pre workout will deliver big NO gains and maintain them.
4 Gauge goes big on citrulline malate and offers nootropics to address the mental aspect of working out, as well as ingredients for the physical side.
If you don’t much care where your energy boost comes from and you’re not shy of your stimulants, Bulk Millions or Grenade’s .50 Calibre might be an option – but note that the caffeine is high in both (so don’t mix with other stimulant products) and they don’t include L-theanine to ease side effects. Likewise, the latter has sacrificed clinical dosage of some of its traditional pre workout ingredients to make room for the stimulants.
Our Guide to Pre Workouts
What Is the Purpose of Pre Workouts?
To Boost Energy
Pre-workouts serve several functions, the most obvious being to increase the amount of energy that you have available to you. There are several ways that this can be achieved, though the most common method is to not actually increase your energy at all (bear with us here).
Ingredients such as caffeine, for instance, don’t boost your energy but instead temporarily block fatigue, giving you the impression that you’ve had an increase in vigour. If you’ve had a bad night’s sleep or have been working for ten hours straight before a workout, tiredness and exhaustion can ruin a workout, but a decent pre-workout can help to banish your fatigue for an hour or so while you train.
Some pre-workouts, of course, do boost energy. Ingredients such as carbohydrates, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), or creatine can boost energy levels (or improve energy transfer which amounts to the same thing).
More energy equals a better workout, allowing you to lift heavier weights for more repetitions, or to run faster, or to grind out an extra 30 seconds on that damn rower when every part of your body wants you to give up. At moments like this a good pre workout may feel Heaven sent!
To Improve Focus
But the best pre workout UK can do more than that; some can even improve your cognition. Ingredients such as caffeine and creatine have been shown to help you concentrate better, make quicker and more decisive choices during stressful times (such as in the middle of a football match), and generally help you learn better. They can also boost your motivation.
There is a reason why students and caffeine are rarely parted during exam time. This can be true of many of the ingredients in a pre-workout, and some companies have really concentrated on this over the last few years.
Tell Me about Stim vs Non-Stimulant Pre Workouts
You can split pre-workouts into two types, stim and non-stim. Stim pre-workouts contain ingredients that act upon your central nervous system. The most common stim pre-workout ingredient is caffeine, as it is mostly safe (when taken in sensible amounts) and very effective. There are many other ingredients that can stimulate your CNS, and they all work in a similar way, banishing fatigue, boosting adrenaline, and increasing focus.
If you want to cut down on your stimulants for a few weeks but don’t want your workouts to suffer – or you’d rather avoid stimulants altogether – then you can take a non-stim pre-workout. These are pre-workouts that don’t contain stimulants but work in a more subtle way.
There’s no denying, however, that many athletes find non-stim workouts to be less effective than stimulant ones, so you may want to opt for a product that contains caffeine for an extra mental and physical boost. If so, we’d recommend that you choose products that also contain L-theanine — a nootropic that helps to dial down the side effects of caffeine.
What Should I Look For in a Top Pre Workout UK?
There are many good ingredients that can be found in pre-workouts, but remember, it is all about the dosage! Some unreputable supplement companies will look to cut costs by including great ingredients but only in very small dosages (luckily, we are highlighting some excellent pre-workout supplements below that absolutely do NOT do that). But here are some good ingredients to look out for:
- Caffeine – there is a reason why every stim pre-workout on the market seems to contain caffeine of some description, it works. Increases in muscular endurance, strength, power, focus, improved mood, and increased fat loss too. An excellent stim pre-workout ingredient.
- Creatine – Increased muscular endurance, improved energy, increased focus, and increases in strength and power.
- Betaine – An up-and-coming pre-workout staple, betaine is an amino acid that can help boost power output, increase muscle gain, and improves the way your muscle cells use energy. More and more research is coming out in favour of betaine every day.
- Beta-Alanine – An excellent non-stim supplement ingredient that can reduce fatigue and allow you to train harder and for longer.
- L-Citrulline – Combines well with creatine, but that’s not all. L-Citrulline enhances nitric oxide production (allowing for a greater pump), increases power, and can increase the time it takes for your muscles to fatigue (by clearing ammonia).
When Is the Best Time to Take a Pre Workout?
The standard advice is to take your pre workout about an hour before your session, but we think that there is an issue with this. When you go to the gym do you immediately walk up to a heavy barbell and deadlift it? Or instead, do you place your bag in a locker, talk to a friend, climb onto an exercise bike for five minutes, and then spend ten minutes waiting for the barbell to become free? For most people it is the latter.
If you had taken your pre workout one hour before your gym session the benefits would have peaked while you were putting your bag in the locker! We say take the pre workout about 30 minutes before a workout, that way you should see the results while you are lifting the heaviest weights, rather than while you’re warming up.