Are Pre-Workout Supplements a Waste of Money? 10 Pre-Workout Supplements Analysed

Posted on 24/01/2020 last updated 08/07/2020

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Pre-workout products are among the most popular additions to a sports supplementation regime. Gym goers around the world are very familiar with the infamous pink drinks, the effects of which are so well documented that they have been immortalised in memes across the internet.

The trouble is that many popular brands use either un-proven ingredients or ineffective doses, and then these are hidden amongst cheap bulking agents within a ‘proprietary blend’ with a catchy name. The not-so-well hidden secret is that these ‘proprietary blends’ tend to contain some of the evidence based ingredients and a number of other less efficacious ingredients, and you never really know the dose of anything. This means you can’t assess whether a company is putting into the product what they should, so how do you know it’s not just a strong dose of caffeine?

We know what ingredients are ergogenic (performance enhancing) and what aren’t, so a pre-workout supplement should be the easiest product in the world to make. Despite this there is still a TON of BS products on the market relying on bold claims to sell you on their magic workout elixir, most likely because dosing things properly is expensive and there are profit margins to consider. Caffeine is cheap, after all, and you’ll get a good tingle from ¼ of the beta alanine you need in order for anything else to happen

We looked at 10 popular pre-workout products currently on the market. We’re not directly bashing these brands, we are merely outlining the facts which are feely available on their website and product label. You can then decide how you feel about this information, and which product (if any) you are drawn towards….

Effective Dose from and product GlyceroMax™:2g pre-workout Creatine: Avg. 5g per day Beta Alanine: 2-5g per day L-Tyrosine: 500-2000mg pre-workout Betaine: 0.5-2g per day VitaCholine®: 0.3g pre-workout Caffeine: 1-700mg pre-workout
My Protein THE Pre Workout None None 3.2g 1g 1.5g 150mg Alpha GPC 300mg
C4 Original None 1.5g 1.6g 200mg None None 150mg
EVL ENGN None 2g 1.6g Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown
Pre Kaged None 1.5g 1.6g 1g 2g None 274mg
NO Xplode None 6.4g 2.6g 1g 1.5g 400mg of choline 300mg
The Curse Cobra None 1g 1.6g None None None 155mg
Mr Hyde Nitrox 0.75g 1g 2.5g 50mg None None 410mg
Gold Standard PW None 6.4g 1.5g 250mg None None 175mg
PhD None 3g 2.2g 700mg 0.5g None 225mg
Grenade .50 calibre 0.5g 1.5g 1.5g 0.08g None None 275mg
Awesome Pre-Workout 2g 3g 3g 3g 2.5g 0.3g None

Just to show you again, in clearer terms, here’s what our pre-workout contains compared to what is advised from the meta research done on

Ingredient Effective Dose (taken from Our dose per serving
GlyceroMax 2g 2g
Creatine 0.03g -0.3g per kg/day 3g
Beta Alanine 2-5g 3g
Tyrosine 500-2000mg 3g
Betaine 2.5g 2.5g
VitaCholine® 0.3g 0.3g

As you can see, the doses differ between companies, often wildly, and few compare with our Awesome Pre-Workout #JustSayin. We are confident that our product has the best blend for the purpose that it’s designed for, maximum physical performance – adding caffeine from our Caffeine Tabs if you choose. If you are caffeine sensitive or already have a high habitual caffeine intake that you don’t wish to increase you can take our product and still get the benefits of all the ergogenic ingredients. Plus, as with all our products, it comes with our Awesome taste guarantee.

Many of the ingredients found in popular pre-workout supplements, beyond the proven ergogenic aids include BCAAs (read this blog ( to see why BCAAs are overrated), green tea extract, green coffee extract, black pepper, cayenne pepper extract, olive leaf extract, ginseng and few others. None of these are bad for you, especially at the doses generally used, but how they are contributing to your workout is mostly unclear – if they are at all

So if a company wasn’t spinning you a yarn, wasn’t making bold claims, or didn’t put a super swoled guy on the front clearly taking steroids, what should you see in a pre-workout product that is legitimately ergogenic?

Now viewing that above table you might be asking yourself a few questions. Why not more beta alanine and creatine? We don’t have more in our Pre-Workout because it needs to be taken daily to have maximum results (which are observed in the research), and this is why we have a product called Performance Blend, which you take twice daily. Then after the ‘loading phase’ you can just take a single serving per day on rest days, replaced by a serving of our pre-workout on training days. It’s got roughly half of the loading dose because it’s only half of the picture, and a full maintenance dose for when you need it – simple and effective!

You might then be asking “Where is the caffeine?” Good question.

Most companies throw in a high dose of caffeine. This is partly because caffeine is a known ergogenic but, in our opinion at least, it’s usually because putting 250-400mg of caffeine in something will make you feel like the product as a whole is working – even if nothing else in it serves a purpose (kinda like putting a token 1g of beta alanine in a pre-workout, it’s not doing anything significant at all but it’ll certainly make you tingle!). Now 250-400mg of caffeine is great if you need that much, but for many it’s too much for their weight, the time of day, or overall sensitivity. Because of this we created Awesome Caffeine tabs to sit alongside our Awesome Pre-Workout; allowing you to dose caffeine exactly how you want, for maximum effect, for you.

For example, if you train in the evening after a 250mg dose of caffeine from one of these drinks the chances of you getting a restful night’s sleep afterwards are greatly reduced, and how big a problem is a lack of sleep, or high quality sleep for a lot of people?

Overall we feel that our pre-workout balances the precise amount of the effective compounds with a great taste, and thanks to being caffeine free it is useful for anyone. Gone are the days of ineffective products – the game has changed. But then again, we don’t have a super swole guy on the front who’s taken steroids to promote it and say it’s awesome…

Order your Awesome Supplements Pre-Workout supplement and get effective doses for your money, or if you want to learn more about pre-workout supplements read our pre-workout effective compounds blog according to the research HERE.


  1. Frank, K., Patel, K., Lopez, G. and Willis, B. (2018). Creatine Research Analysis. [online] Available at: Examine [Accessed 6 Jan. 2018].
  2. Frank, K., Patel, K., Lopez, G. and Willis, B. (2018). Beta-Alanine Research Analysis. [online] Available at: Examine [Accessed 6 Jan. 2018].
  3. Frank, K., Patel, K., Lopez, G. and Willis, B. (2018). L-Tyrosine Research Analysis. [online] Available at: Examine [Accessed 6 Jan. 2018].
  4. Frank, K., Patel, K., Lopez, G. and Willis, B. (2018). L-Carnitine Research Analysis. [online] Available at: Examine [Accessed 6 Jan. 2018].
  5. Frank, K., Patel, K., Lopez, G. and Willis, B. (2018). Trimethylglycine Research Analysis. [online] Available at: Examine [Accessed 6 Jan. 2018].
  6. Frank, K., Patel, K., Lopez, G. and Willis, B. (2018). Caffeine Research Analysis. [online] Available at: Examine [Accessed 6 Jan. 2018].
Ben Coomber and Tom Bainbridge
Ben Coomber & Tom Bainbridge

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