Are you serious about building bulk and endurance? Sooner or later, you’ll stop being someone who “goes to the gym”, and you’ll be a true fitness enthusiast who’s obsessed with finding ways to get better. Somewhere along that road, you’ll learn that pre-workout supplements are an essential part of your regimen that can boost your performance and increase your mental concentration.
Most pre-workouts on the market today are packed full of caffeine. By “full”, we mean that a single scoop can contain several times the amount of caffeine you’d find in a regular old cup of coffee. Although caffeine-laden pre-workout supplements will definitely keep you on edge, they can also have side effects that not every fitness enthusiast wants.
If caffeine simply doesn’t agree with you, you can absolutely still give your athletic performance a little something extra with high-quality low-caffeine pre-workout formulas.
Why Choose a Pre Workout With Low Caffeine?
Dietary guidelines have long reflected the findings that most adults can safely consume around 400 milligrams of caffeine a day. For the record, your average cup of Joe features around 200 milligrams. Some pre-workout powders contain more caffeine than recommended in a single serving — and while that doesn’t bother some athletes at all, others will end up feeling jittery, suffering from heart palpitations, and coming down from their caffeine-fueled high points like mindless, and extremely exhausted, zombies.
Low-caffeine pre-workout supplements are perfect for those folks. These formulas don’t necessarily contain zero caffeine, but they’ll keep the dose you get in a single serving to 100 mg or less. (That way, you can get all the benefits of a great pre-workout while still being able to wake up with a at morning coffee, too.)
Features of Quality Low Stim Pre Workouts
- Offer you the extra fuel you need to have a successful workout, especially when you use them half an hour before you hit the gym.
- Get you past annoying plateaus by making sure that you have the stamina to get through your entire workout with razor-sharp focus.
- Continue to benefit you after your workout is done, with the help of ingredients that aid your muscle recovery.
Caffeine can be a part of that picture, but a good pre-workout supplement doesn’t have to contain nearly as much caffeine as many of the most popular pre-workouts actually do. All-natural ingredients like huperzia serrata, cordyceps, arginine , rhodiola rosea, sodium bicarbonate, and essential amino acids and vitamins can help you make the gains you’re after without relying on caffeine.
Benefits of Moderate Caffeine Consumption
By staying well within that recommended upper daily limit of 400 mg of caffeine a day, you’ll not only not harm your health, but also reap some tangible benefits. Although the scientific community isn’t yet sure why, people who regularly consume some caffeine were found to have a lower risk of dying prematurely. That undeniable benefit is accompanied by smaller odds of developing diverse kinds of chronic health conditions like cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, liver disease, and even Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia later in life.
On the other hand, if you’ve always been on the heavier end of the caffeine consumption scale, you can very much reap health benefits from slashing your caffeine intake, as you’ll have a lower risk of:
- Anxiety and irritability.
- Insomnia and daytime fatigue.
- All sorts of ailments related to the digestive system.
- Because caffeine has a diuretic effect, overly frequent trips to the bathroom.
- Heart palpitations.
- Feeling “on edge” all the time.
Because athletes who rely on pre-workout supplements can easily get too much caffeine, it’s easy to see why you might want to try stim-free or low-caffeine pre-workouts. Which are the best on the market today?
- The Original Pre-Workout Igniter; Re-Engineered
1. BSN N.O.-XPLODE Pre Workout to Stimulate Brains
N.O.-XPLODE Pre Workout is brought to you by BSN, one of the top manufacturers in the field. This unique pre-workout contains far too many ingredients to list — including beta-alanine and taurine — but it’s moderate-caffeine (275 mg per serving) to boost your endurance and concentration in an all-natural way.
- Skin-Tearing Pumps, No Caffeine: Pumpsurge is a one of a kind scientifically dosed pre workout without caffeine. This unique formula is different from most pre-workouts because it relies exclusively on fully dosed ergogenic boosters and brain enhancing...
2. PUMPSURGE Caffeine-Free Pump & Nootropic Pre Workout Supplement
This caffeine-free pre-workout from Jacked Factory packs plenty of potent ingredients to maximize your performance at the gym, including taurine, huperzine, and L-citrulline. Instead of caffeine, it contains the alternative betaine. If you’re after those pumps and want a high-quality supplement to help you recover after your workout, PUMPSURGE caffeine-free is it.
- SYNERGISTIC MIND TO MUSCLE FORMULA – Unlock strength & power that will take you beyond raw capabilities and push you to new levels of excellence; Genius Pre is the World’s 1st Clinically Dosed Nootropics Based Pre Workout; Your physical capabilities...
3. Genius Pre Workout Powder
The Genius Brand is famous for offering wonderfully-balanced pre-workout supplements that also happen to be vegan and environmentally-sustainable. This mix, which comes in a variety of cool flavors like sour apple, depends on ingredients like huperzine A, taurine and L-tyrosine to help you take your workouts to the next level. Caffeine very much not included.
This is actually one of our favorite non-stim PWOs and have ordered at least a half dozen jars of it over the years. Read our full Genius review to learn why we love the brand so much and why it’s one of the best values out there in terms of bang-for-buck ingredients and dosages.
- STIMULANT-FREE PRE-WORKOUT PUMP ENHANCER - RSP Pump Boost was designed to be the versatile, stimulant-free nitric oxide booster to enhance pumps, increase blood flow, boost energy, and promote endurance. The ingredients in Pump Boost pre workout powder...
4. RSP Pump Boost Stimulant Free Pre Workout
Forget about the caffeine-free market. This stim-free pre-workout was designed with athletes who want to boil their pre-workout formulas down to basics by choosing only the most effective ingredients in mind. Citrulline and HydroMax are among the top ingredients, and RSP Nutrition’s stim-free pre-workout will help you get those pumps and recover faster. It was formulated to boost your blood flow for better performance and reduced soreness.
- A NATURAL BOOST OF ENERGY: Maintain healthy stamina, motivation, and mental focus with 150mg of organic caffeine derived from 20 adaptogenic herbs, superfoods, green coffee extract, yerba mate, and ginseng for sustained energy without the crash.
5. Organic Muscle Pre-Workout Powder
Athletes who are committed to choosing an organic, vegan, and preservative-free pre-workout to nurture their own wellbeing and look after the planet at the same time can’t go wrong with Organic Muscle Pre-Workout Powder. This pre-workout falls into the low-caffeine category because it’s got a modest 125 mg of caffeine, sources from from yerba mate and green tea. These super-clean ingredients will help you reach your full potential without the unwanted side effects.
As more and more athletes are after low-caffeine or entirely stim-free pre-workout formulas, the market is happy to oblige. These five pre-workouts aren’t the only excellent low-caf options around, but they’re among the best for athletes who want to maximize their performance, concentration, and recovery without the jitters.
Skinny Yoked Summary
Personally we like to keep one highly caffeinated pre workout and one zero-caffeinated pre workout on hand at all times. Generally speaking the high-stim is reserved for workouts that occur before 4pm so as not to interfere with sleep (critical recovery time in which muscle growth actually happens) and workouts in which we’re not quite feeling up to the intensity required (like leg days).
Pump-enhancing and stamina-focused non-stim blends are great for workouts in the evening as they don’t impact sleep and they’re also great for days in which you’ve already consumed a couple cups of coffee or an energy drink or two and don’t want to blast your system with too much caffeine.
Remember, the human body adapts to caffeine intake quite quickly and then it normalizes, requiring more and more to have the same effect, which is why we try to moderate our caffeine intake to around the equivalent to 2-3 cups of coffee’s worth each day, which medically speaking, is actually considered “healthy”.
Some great high-stim preworkouts we’ve reviewed first hand include:
- Cellucore C4 Variants: Too Many To Count
- Performance Lab Pre-Workout Pills: Convenience in Capsules
- Winner of Coolest Packaging & Also Kick Ass Intensity: 4 Gauge PWO
- Performance Lab STIM: Caffeine to the Dome
- Best Clinically Dosed Pre Workouts for Bodybuilders Sure to GET ER DONE!
- Bodybuilding.com’s Signature Series: Not That Bad Actually
- Best Pre Workout For Ultimate Intensity & Utter Destruction of your Muscles: Nitraflex by GAT
- B-Nox Androrush: The Multivitamin, ZMA, and Pre Workout All-in-one
Some great low-stim or non-stim supplements we’ve enjoyed:
- PEScience High Volume Pump Enhancer: Best Tasting Non-Stim PWO
- Genius Non-Stim: Best Nootropic PWO for Caffeine-Free Laser Focus
- Workout Boosting Caffeine Free Intraworkouts: Fueling Long Workouts
- Best Sleep Recovery & Nighttime Growth Supporting Supplements (Caffeine-free)
Ultimately there is a time and a place for everything and if you’re serious about your fitness goals and are in this for the long haul then investing in formulas designed specifically for the myriad of different use cases you find yourself in as a bodybuilder or weightlifter is a no-brainer in our opinion.
Last update on 2022-03-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API