Gym Preworkout Review

The Best Preworkout Supplements 2018: The Definitive Buyer’s Guide

Pre-workouts are gaining popularity, giving you that extra boost to have a more intense workout and keep pushing yourself to achieving your goals.

You'll be pleased to know that we've tried and tested a range of the best pre-workout powders on the market to find out which ones actually work and deliver the performance they claim the do. 

When it comes to bodybuilding, weightlifting, weight loss, if we're going to be honest, we'd all like to get to our goals sooner rather than later.

And with the bodybuilding and weightlifting industries being as popular as they are, there a lot of companies out there that will tell you they have the best pre-workout (PWO), protein bars or their carb cutters will give the edge you're looking for.

It's hard to know who to believe and find which supplements will actually work well for you

We decided to take the guess work out of it for you and round up the best pre workout powder for all goals that actually work.

We're not endorsed by any of these products, so our reviews of the pre-workout supplements will be our honest reviews from our first hand experiences. 

More...

All of the products we have recommended in this article are what we consider to be the best safe & legal preworkouts. Please remember to never exceed the maximum recommended daily intake listed on the packaging of these products. 

Best Pre-Workout Supplements for 2018 Ratings

Mr Hyde Nitro-X

My Hyde Blue Razz Preworkout
  • The Most Popular PWO
  • Powerful Energy Boost
  • 400mg Caffeine
  • check
    2.5g Beta-Alanine
  • check
    2.5g  Creatine

Our Rating


Legion Pulse

Legion Pulse Pre-Workout Powder
  • Editor's Top Choice
  • Fewer Side Effects
  • check
    350mg Caffeine
  • check
    4.8g Beta-Alanine (highest on list)

Our Rating


BSN N.o. Xplode

BSN Pre-Workout Powder Review
  • Great All-Rounder
  • Minimal Side-Effects
  • 275mg Caffeine
  • check
    1.8g Beta-Alanine
  • check
    3g Creatine

Our Rating


PhD Nutrition VMX2

PhD Nutrition VMX Pre-Workout
  • Perfomance Boost
  • No Added Colouring
  • 225mg Caffeine
  • check
    2.2g Beta-Alanine
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    3g Creatine

Our Rating


MusclePharm Assault

Musclepharm Pre-Workout Review
  • Well Balanced Pre-Workout
  • 250mg Caffeine
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    1.75g Beta-Alanine
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    3g Creatine

Our Rating


GAT Nitraflex

GAT Nitraflex Pre-Workout Review
  • High Caffeine Content
  • Strong Muscle Pump
  • Increased Endurance
  • check
    325mg Caffeine
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    1.5g Beta-Alanine

Our Rating


CobraLabs The Curse

Cobra The Curse Pre-Workout Review
  • Great Taste
  • Extreme Muscle Pump
  • check
    155mg Caffeine
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    3g Beta-Alanine & Creatine Blend

Our Rating


Dr Jekyll

Dr Jekyll Pre Workout Review
  • Ideal Evening PWO
  • High Energy Buzz
  • 100mg Caffeine
  • check
    2g Beta-Alanine
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    2g Creatine

Our Rating


ON Gold Standard

Best Pre Workout Powder Reviews
  • Enhances Focus
  • Natural Caffeine Sources
  • 175mg Caffeine
  • check
    1.5g Beta-Alanine
  • check
    3.4g Creatine

Our Rating


Cellucor C4

Cellucor C4 Pre-Workout Powder Review
  • Beginner's Choice
  • Well Balanced PWO
  • 160mg Caffeine
  • check
    1.6g Beta-Alanine
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    1g Creatine

Our Rating


How Did We Rank The Best Pre-Workouts?

Above are the products that we believe to be the best preworkouts of 2018.

But how did we choose them? Well...

We wanted to ensure that we were giving the most balanced, unbiased (we all have our favourites!) review possible for these products.

That is why we worked on a ranking system to fairly order the products within the top 10. There were many other good gym energy boosters that we analysed that didn't make the list...

We considered four main things for these rankings:

We looked at the quantity and quality of the ingredients used in the product.

We included our own opinion of the product through using and testing them ourselves.

We then trawled the internet gauging the opinion of users across review sites and social networks such as Reddit.

By gaining feedback and analysing sentiment from a wide variety of sources, we believe we truly have compiled the very best preworkout supplements list that you'll find anywhere around.

What is Beta-Alanine & Why is it Important?

Beta-Alanine is almost an essential when it comes to bodybuilding. It raises carnosine levels in the muscles which allows you to perform more work at a higher intensity. It is the ingredient that gives you a slight tingle - it may make you feel slightly weird the first time you try one!

Every single study including beta-alanine has demonstrated a significant increase in muscle carnosine levels within humans.


What Is Creatine?

Creatine is naturally produced by the body, as well as being found in red meats and fish, and is used for muscle recovery. It is also useful for helping you to perform high-intensity work. Unlike beta-alanine, it has mixed results based on the person taking it - although has been shown to work on a large range of people.

Creatine reduces inflammation and muscle cell damage following intense exercise. With greater intensity and better recovery, your muscles are able to grow larger and more efficiently, making you stronger as a result.


Mr Hyde Nitro-X Review Ratings

My Hyde Blue Razz Preworkout

Energy

Focus

Taste

Price

Mr Hyde Nitro-X Review Ratings

My Hyde Blue Razz Preworkout

Energy

Focus

Taste

Price


Mr Hyde by Pro Supps is the number one pick from many gym-goers and fitness fans across many social networking sites.

"No other pre-workout can match the intensity of Mr Hyde" - we've seen this comment a hundred times over across sites like Reddit and weightlifting forums. 

It will give you more energy and focus than you've ever had for your workout before, ensuring you can push out more reps at a higher weight than ever before.

With a mammoth 400mg of caffeine per serving - the highest caffeine content of any of our best preworkout list - it's easy to see how it gives you such an energy boost.

With many of these supplements you'll need to up your intake over time, but that is certainly not the case with Mr Hyde.

Your increase in energy, endurance capacity and concentration will be truly unrivalled with other gym pre-workouts or alternatives.

Also included in each serving is a healthy dose of beta-alanine and creatine, further helping to boost the intensity and effectiveness of your workouts and muscle recovery.

Take Mr Hyde approximately one hour before your workout and avoid other caffeine consumption for 12 hours before and after. It's also recommended that you don't take it within 4 hours of going to sleep - because you probably won't get to sleep!

This is an exceptional product for those training early in the morning, but will also be more than adequate for those working out later in the day too.

Here at Tubby Gorilla we've given Mr Hyde a 4.5/5 but taking into account feedback from users all over the world, it scored full marks. 

Pros

  • Highest caffeine preworkout on this list
  • Good balance of beta-alanine and creatine
  • Good balance of beta-alanine and creatine
  • check-circle
    Undeniable energy increase

Cons

  • Large amounts of caffeine can lead to sleep disruption
  • Can sometimes deliver large post-workout crash

Legion Pulse Review Ratings

Energy

Focus

Taste

Price

Legion Pulse Review Ratings

Energy

Focus

Taste

Price


This is the Editors Pick - hey, that's me! (and the other guys and girls at TubbyGorilla) - which we've awarded to the pre-workout that we feel deserves a notable mention.

It is the highest ranked product in this list that you can buy on Amazon in the UK - we appreciate that is something that a lot of our readers are looking for.

The product is the definition of 'no-frills', it knows what it wants to be and it does that extremely well.

It contains more beta-alanine than every other product in this list - in fact, it contains more than double the amount than every other supp in this post with the exception of Mr Hyde... and it still has 92% more than that!

Pulse, by Legion, contains zero creatine. Only one other product in this best gym preworkout shortlist opts to go with that approach.

However, they're completely content with this way of doing things.

On their site, this is what they have to say about why Pulse doesn't contain creatine:

"We don’t think a pre-workout supplement is the right place for it. One of the reasons for this is there’s evidence that co-ingesting caffeine with creatine may negate some of its muscle and strength benefits."

Now, there is evidence that does contradict their beliefs, but we appreciate their way of thinking... Why offer something they can't be assured works?

This approach extends as far as only including six ingredients in Pulse. Most of its competition contains a minimum of ten, if not substantially more.

They want to focus their efforts on providing ingredients in their supplements that definitely work. Rather than going for a greater variety of ingredients, they opt for less range with greater quantity of each. We like that.

Pros

  • Highest beta-alanine pre-workout on this list by far
  • No 'filler' ingredients - it sticks to the basics
  • Developed solely on proven scientific studies

Cons

  • Not the best tasting pre-workout (by some way)
  • Lacks some ingredients that may benefit certain individuals


Although Pulse does come in at a higher price than most of the others, we still think it offers good value for money with the performance it delivers. 


BSN N.o. Xplode Review Ratings

BSN No Xplode Review

Energy

Focus

Taste

Price

BSN N.o. Xplode Review Ratings

BSN No Xplode Review

Energy

Focus

Taste

Price


BSN N.o. Xplode is a big favourite on bodybuilding forums across the internet.

With a delicious taste in all flavours, it comes down to the quality of the ingredients and the effect they have on your body as to what defines this PWO.

Whilst this is a re-engineered mix of their original 'pre-workout igniter', we believe it's less effective than the previous version. This is a common occurrence with these supplements, as some high-power ingredients do get banned for being a little too effective on the body.

However, we can't knock a company too hard for coming back fighting with new formulas that meet regulations and still help to give you an exceptional workout. Especially when it's now a lot tastier than it used to be.

As well as giving you a serious boost physically, the focus and motivation you get with BSN N.o. Xplode is seriously effective.

This supplement ticks all of the boxes, with a great amount of caffeine, beta-alanine and a whole load of creatine. 3 grams to be precise!

In fact, there's only one drink on this list with more creatine.

Pros

  • High amount of creatine
  • Improved taste
  • Great all-rounder for beginners and higher levels
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    Minimal side effects

Cons

  • Nicer taste, but not as high performing as their old recipe
  • Some users find themselves increasing their intake which we do not recommend

PhD Nutrition VMX2 Review Ratings

PhD Nutrition VMX Preworkout Powder

Energy

Focus

Taste

Price

PhD Nutrition VMX2 Review Rating

PhD Nutrition VMX Preworkout Powder

Energy

Focus

Taste

Price


We were all quite impressed with the VMX2 pre-workout here at Tubby Gorilla, it gave great energy boosts to us all, we all said we were focused during the workouts we used it and we all agreed it didn't taste very nice. 

The taste isn't great, it's very medicinal, but a pre-workout for us is about the results, so we got it down us and complained. Then we stopped complaining and got to work. 

This product is so pure. It has concentrated, super strength formula with no added colouring.

No added crap...

With such low carbs per serving, 1.2g, it is an all-rounder.

It is known to boost your overall performance, which is what we need. Right?

The blend of B vitamins, creatine, caffeine and beta-alanine work great together. You can expect for tiredness to be reduced, increased focus, a huge energy boost and a push in performance for a prolonged workout.

They suggest taking this before any intense workout to help maximise those muscle gains.

Phd Nutrition recommends taking this pre workout in the morning or afternoon, that way you will avoid a sleepless night. The best thing about this product is the pre-workout crash doesn't exist.

Taste doesn't matter when you find a pre-workout that does what it says on the tin. This pre workout is definitely up there with the pre workouts that actually do work. The price is quite reasonable too. 

Pros

  • Ultra concentrated ingredients
  • Delivers a huge performance boost
  • No added colouring

Cons

  • The taste isn't that nice

MusclePharm Assault Review Ratings

Musclepharm Assault Review

Energy

Focus

Taste

Price

MusclePharm Assault Review Ratings

Musclepharm Assault Review

Energy

Focus

Taste

Price


Specifically designed for the modern-day athlete, we firmly believe that MusclePharm is one of the best pre-workouts around on paper.

In terms of the ingredients they've included; the variety, the quality and the balance, they tick absolutely every box.

250mg of caffeine should keep you highly energised, and with reasonable quantities of beta-alanine and creatine included too, you know your muscles are really going to feel the benefit.

When a product has been on the market as long as this one has and is still selling, you know that the creators are doing something right.

It boosts your strength and power during workouts or before competing in high-energy sports.

Assault makes use of powerful amino acids, creatine, strong stimulants and a nitrate delivery pathway for a solid, unquestionable power boost.

We only wish it gave you more of a pump, but that does make it a more suitable option for PWO beginners.

Pros

  • One of the best tasting pre-workouts we've tried
  • Good balance of ingredients
  • Less crash than other PWOs 

Cons

  • Won't give you a huge pump
  • Not as effective as old formula, but isn't the only one on the list like this

GAT Nitraflex Review Ratings

Energy

Focus

Taste

Price

GAT Nitraflex Review Ratings

Energy

Focus

Taste

Price


This is only one of two products in this best preworkout review that does not contain creatine.

Some scientific studies suggest that by simultaneously consuming caffeine and creatine, you can weaken the muscle building effects that the latter has to offer.

That is why GAT recommend that you take a separate creatine supplement and leave the preworkout to do what it was born to do - give you that killer energy boost and muscle endurance that really lasts for your entire session.

There are natural testosterone boosters which help you to maximise your strength and muscle gains.

Considering GAT Nitraflex has the lowest beta-alanine levels in this review (1.5g per serving) we were blown away with how much energy and endurance it gave us to see us through our workouts from start to finish.

We actually found the post-workout crash to be surprisingly strong, although that may be mostly down to the 325mg of caffeine per serving. Even though you're having an energy crash, you won't sleep after taking this pre.

The packaging does not recommend taking this before sleep, so late night workouts probably aren't an option unless you're a night owl. 5 hours latest before bed time is the recommended timing from GAT.

It's not the cheapest on our list, knocking its overall score down slightly. 

Pros

  • Second highest caffeine contents on our list
  • Great taste, easy to drink
  • Increased endurance levels
  • check-circle
    Strong muscle pump

Cons

  • Large amounts of caffeine - can't take in the evening
  • More expensive than other pre-workouts that are just as good, if not better


This is another tasty preworkout, which is perfect if you can't stomach something that isn't as nice in flavour, such as Legion Pulse. 

Cobra Labs The Curse Review Ratings

Cobra The Curse Pre-Workout Review

Energy

Focus

Taste

Price

Cobra Labs The Curse Review Ratings

Cobra The Curse Pre-Workout Review

Energy

Focus

Taste

Price

Personally speaking, this is one of my favourite pre-workouts on the list, if not my favourite pre-workout. It's definitely the one I've used the most, I keep going back to it.

If these scores were based on my opinion alone I'd be giving The Curse full marks, especially for the price. The price definitely plays a part in why I like it so much.

However others who tested The Curse here at Tubby Gorilla don't seem so keen on it, and that seems to be the general trend when you research this pre-workout. People either love it, or they're really not fussed by it. 

One of the first things I noticed about The Curse was how well it mixes. After one stir you're left with no lumps or residue.

The taste is quite good too, the 'apple envy' flavour is quite strong, but it's not overpowering at all. It's fairly nice (for a pre-workout).

After a workout the pump is definitely there and is quite strong. Granted it's not as strong as some of the 5 star scoring PWOs, but again for the price (half the price of the GAT Nitraflex) it's well worth looking into.

Pros

  • Price - one of the cheapest on our list
  • Great texture and taste
  • Delivers a good muscle pump

Cons

  • Some users find the taste strong
  • Can cause a lot of tingling and itchiness


We like The Curse, some of us more than others, we'd definitely say it's the best of the cheaper options. 


Dr Jekyll Review Ratings

Dr Jekyll Best Pre-Workout Review

Energy

Focus

Taste

Price

Dr Jekyll Review Ratings

Dr Jekyll Best Pre-Workout Review

Energy

Focus

Taste

Price


Dr Jekyll defies the logic of our ranking system. It is an anomaly - but it's one that we're delighted makes its way into this post.

With just 2g of beta-alanine and creatine, you'd think it seems a fairly average pick of the bunch.

Then you look at the caffeine content - or lack of it - with just 100mg; the lowest in this list so far.

So how exactly does it makes its place in this 'best of' post?

Well, Dr Jekyll focuses less on an outright energy buzz and more on giving you a pump for increased endurance, making it a seriously effective anabolic preworkout.

It does this through beta-alanine, but also through anabolic compounds such as L-Leucine and L-Norvaline that focus on targeting your senses. The inclusion of creatine should also gives you a further increase in your workout ability, whilst aiding and improving muscle recovery too.

Some say that the effects can be even stronger than Mr Hyde, with less of the tingles.

Due to the lower caffeine content, this product can be taken at any time of the day - perfect for those that work out in the evening.

You can also stack Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde; 1 scoop of Dr Jekyll with half a scoop of Mr Hyde.

The added benefit of this supplement is Pro Supps ability to provide pre-workouts that taste really good, although avoid the cotton candy flavour.

Pros

  • Low caffeine quantity makes it great for evening workouts
  • Gives you an incredible energy buzz
  • Can be stacked with Mr Hyde

Cons

  • If you put all of your faith in ingredient quantities, you will be put off by this one
  • Cotton Candy flavour is one of the worst-tasting supps we have tried

ON Gold Standard Review Ratings

Optimum Nutrition Pre workout

Energy

Focus

Taste

Price

ON Gold Standard Review Ratings

Optimum Nutrition Pre workout

Energy

Focus

Taste

Price


With the lowest amount of beta-alanine in this review, and on the extremely low scale when it comes to caffeine, there's no surprise when we say that the Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard PWO does not give you a massive muscle pump. However...

One thing we noticed with this product was an increase in energy that really lasts.

Even better still?

It doesn't seem to affect you later in the day, with no noticeable energy crash after your workout. This is surprising given the level of alertness it can help you achieve.

Because of the low caffeine levels, you're also able to take this product for evening workouts. This is great for those that don't get time either in the morning or the afternoon, or for those that actually like to get to sleep at night.

If you're prone to getting the shakes or the jitters then you should also be safe with this product - it's the beta-alanine that often does that to people. You either love the feeling or you hate it, there's no in-between!

But it's fine if you fall on the fence of not enjoying that feeling in your body. No two bodies are the same, and that's why so many different variations of preworkout supplements are out there performing for so many different people.

Gold Standard Preworkout is something we'd recommend to many lifters, but also to those taking part in high-energy sports such as martial arts. Especially at it comes in as the lowest priced pre-workout on our list.

Lack of pump does lose it a mark from us though. We like the sense of feeling massive after a session, even if we really don't look it. If a pump doesn't bother you, give this one a try for sure.

Pros

  • Cheapest pre-workout on our list
  • Great energy boost despite lack of caffeine
  • No post-workout crash
  • check-circle
    Ideal evening supplement

Cons

  • Much lesser muscle pump than others in this list
  • Taste isn't good

Cellucor C4 Pre-Workout Review Ratings

Cellucor C4 Review

Energy

Focus

Taste

Price

Cellucor C4 Pre-Workout Review Ratings

Cellucor C4 Review

Energy

Focus

Taste

Price


If you are looking for a product that you can use daily without any risk of ill side effects (or worse – a lessened or compromised effect on your body) then this is a good choice for you.

C4 is good all-rounder and in our opinion is the best pre workout for women.

Its nitrate-enhanced delivery makes it easy to absorb in the body, getting all of the other ingredients right into the muscle where you want them.

You can expect mental focus, good energy levels and decent gains with a manageable bit of pump on the side.

The level of energy boost you get is not massive, but this makes it a benefit if you're on the lookout for your first ever pre workout supplement - some products can take users by surprise with the tingles and the pump!

We joke about it there, but it's a serious point to consider. You may actually feel worse if you head straight in for a scoop of Mr Hyde or similar if you're a small individual that's never tried a preworkout before.

It’s got low levels of all of the basic ingredients you could ask for before heading to the gym, from beta-alanine and creatine to L-arginine to get the blood flowing through the muscles at optimum levels for your workout.

Pros

  • Solid, reliable pre workout drink with no crash
  • Dissolves well with no lumps
  • Can be taken in the evening for late workouts
  • check-circle
    Great for beginners or low-tolerance individuals

Cons

  • Pump isn't overly powerful and doesn't last that long
  • Mid-level energy boost compared to some other products in this post

If you have any question about which pre-workout would be best for you, or you want to know more about our independent supplement test, please feel free to get in touch with us. 


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