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Legion Pulse might be the best pre-workout option for people who are hyper-conscious about what they put in their bodies. It’s one of the highest quality supplements available – In fact, Legion Pulse got a 90.2 score from Labdoor, an independent supplement rating service, in regards to quality. It’s always important to make sure the supplements you are taking come from reputable sources. If you want more information regarding supplement certifications, check out an article by Ameri-Kal – they do a good job of breaking down what being cGMP, FDA registered and certified organic mean. Back to Legion Pulse – there are no fillers, artificial sweeteners, or dyes. It is flavored with stevia and erythritol (natural sugar alcohol). It contains no creatine and its only stimulants are caffeine and theanine (amino acid found in green tea). Legion Pulse does a good job of providing sustained energy – we aren’t aware of any significant crash and jitters seem to be minimal. Taste is average – some of the others on this list taste better – but there are five different flavors to choose from so hopefully you can find one you like. The only downside is price – each serving will run you about $1.80, which is a little on the high side. Still, this pre-workout is one of the cleanest and most effective options out there.
Vintage Blast has been rapidly gaining in popularity as of late – you may have seen some of their ads. It is flavored with stevia and contains no artificial flavors or additives. It does not contain any ‘proprietary blends’, which is basically just an excuse some supplement companies use so they can mix a bunch of different ingredients and fillers and avoid ingredient transparency. Vintage’s big thing is their two-stage delivery system to give you a smooth, consistent energy level throughout your workout. The second stage provides 100mg of micro encapsulated caffeine to make sure you have enough juice to finish your workout strong. The hit/activation time is about 10-15 minutes and you will feel a little bit of that tingly sensation. But I did feel I had great stamina throughout my workout and was able to recover quickly in-between sets. The taste is a little bitter but hey, who’s buying pre-workout simply for the taste anyways. Like Legion Pulse, it’s a little on the pricey side at around $1.90 per serving.
Developed by Jim Stoppani (bodybuilder and PhD), Pre JYM has become one of the most widely used pre-workouts on the market and for good reason. It contains no fillers or any of those pesky ‘propriety blends’ discussed above. In fact, Pre JYM only contains 13 ingredients and the company is very transparent in discussing each ingredient individually. Each serving contains 6 grams of BCAAs in the preferred 2:1:1 ratio to help promote muscle growth. Hit/activation time is about 15-20 minutes and I didn’t experience any crash during my workout. It mixes well, although I would recommend mixing with it more than 16 ounces of water due to the scoop size. Each scoop is rather large – kind of reminds me of a whey protein scoop almost. I would recommend going with black cherry flavor – tastes great and does a good job masking that supplement taste you get with some powders. Pre JYM is also a little more affordable than others on this list coming in around $1.50 per serving.
You’ve probably heard of C4 before or at least seen the tubs around. It’s been one of the best selling pre-workouts over the past couple years. It tastes great and there are several different flavors to choose from. I personally really like icy blue razz but have heard good things about green apple as well. Just make sure you order the fourth generation – some of the past generations didn’t taste as good. You will feel a little bit of a tingly sensation at first but C4 does do a good job of keeping you energized throughout your workout. But perhaps the best part about C4 is that it’s much more affordable than other pre-workouts on the list at around $0.85-$0.90 per serving. Overall, it’s a solid mid-range option – I can see why this product line has done so well for Cellucor.
Jeff absolutely loves this pre-workout and uses it almost every day. Each serving has only 100mg of caffeine, which is quite a bit less than others on this list. Yet, it still gives you enough energy to power through your workout without any of the jitters or tingly sensations. It also contains five grams of free form amino acids for muscle growth support. It mixes well and there are several delicious flavors available. Jeff likes the blue raspberry. But what’s especially great about ON Amino Energy is its versatility. You can use it post workout or just as a late afternoon pick-me-up as well. In addition, it’s one of the cheapest options available at around $0.55-$0.60 per serving. Kind of surprising considering it’s an Optimum Nutrition product. It’s definitely worth a look.
For all you that are apprehensive about taking supplements but still want a little energy boost to get you going, Starbucks VIA instant coffee is a nice option. They come in convenient stick pouches so you can easily carry them with you all day. They mix well and taste decent – of course, fresh brewed coffee would be better but still the taste is nothing to sneeze at. Studies have shown that consuming a cup of black coffee before a workout causes fat cells to be used as an energy source, increases your metabolism and helps with muscle pain. With that said, it might be worth giving coffee a go before running out and buying a traditional pre-workout powder.