If you make working out a top priority each week, then you likely take all the necessary steps to support your progress and end game. Sure, much of that takes place at the actual gym, but a lot of it also has to do with your habits outside the gym. This includes following a healthy diet of lean proteins, fresh fruits, and veggies, along with getting sufficient rest and recovery time. This may also mean taking supplements to boost your fitness and promote fast results. We spoke with the experts to hear what they have to say about the best pre-workout supplements for men, along with their top recommendations.
According to Marissa West, CPT and nutrition specialist, and founder of West Kept Secret Fitness Studio, the power of taking supplements before working out is real. West tells us, “Taking a pre-workout supplement (in a nutritious spread, drink, gummy, or pill form) can enhance muscular and cardio endurance, deliver results quicker, and assist with faster recovery times.”
Brittany Dunn, MS, RDN, CD, a registered dietitian and chef specializing in sports nutrition who sits on our Medical Expert Board, adds that supplements can enhance your training capacity, boost muscle synthesis and recovery, and lessen the lead time for “fatigue activation.” Overall, these benefits can make your training sessions much more productive. So what are you waiting for? Keep reading to learn Dunn’s and West’s top-recommended pre-workout supplements for men.
Stoke Nut Butter is an all-time favorite brand of West’s. She tells Eat This, Not That!, “Many of our male clients appreciate this natural, sustained energy pre-workout choice, with a low GI distress risk, which is a common issue when taking synthetic energy-based pre-workouts. These nut butter spreads include selenium, magnesium, vitamin B, and curcumin to support cardiovascular health, muscle recovery, and immune function.”
Whether you’re training for a marathon or an ultramarathon, West dubs Stoke Nut Butter an “A-plus choice” of a pre-workout supplement.
“Kaged has a pre-workout called Pre-Kaged, which comes in seven flavors and is an award-winning pre-workout that includes clean ingredients optimizing energy, strength, and performance,” West tells us.
Pre-Kaged comes with just one gram of sugar, and it’s non-GMO, gluten-free, and vegan-friendly. One scoop is only 20 calories and has all the right ingredients so you’re totally prepped to “attack your workout,” as the brand puts it.
With over 4,000 five-star reviews, you know “Flight” is a pre-workout worth trying. “This pre-workout is known to boost power output, improve focus, and increase energy without a crash,” West explains. “Their caffeine complex is unique because it is derived from two sources—the first being caffeine anhydrous, which stimulates the nervous system by blocking adenosine, a neurotransmitter, which has a calming effect on the body. The second caffeine they add is ‘infinergy,’ which is a di-caffeine malate and is easier to digest, which helps minimize the post-workout jitters. It comes in a powder, so you can easily add it to water.”
L-Arginine Nitric Oxide Precursor is a pill-based supplement that’s another one of West’s recommendations, which offers an essential amino acid that supports protein synthesis. “In addition,” West adds, “it includes nitric oxide, which directly improves blood flow and aerobic output during a workout.”
AALPHA is another supplement in pill form that contains essential amino acids (BCAAs) which speed up muscle growth, lessen fatigue from workouts, decrease muscle soreness, and protect your supply of lean muscle. “During exercise it is common for a serum decline in BCAAs to occur, followed by serotonin production, which results in fatigue,” West explains. “Taking a BCAAs supplement outcompetes the serotonin uptake to the brain, resulting in longer endurance periods.”
If you like taking supplements in gummy form, consider OLLY Pre-Game Energize, which comes in a berry lime burst flavor. “[This] gummy-based pre-workout includes a plant-based blend of green coffee bean, green tea, turmeric, tart, cherry, blueberry, broccoli, and kale, which supports nitric oxide and overall athletic endurance,” West explains. “It also includes B12 and B6 vitamins to support cellular production. This is a great choice if you prefer a gummy over a drink or pill.”
You likely associate collagen with its skincare benefits, but did you know it can also boost your workout game? According to Dunn, “Collagen can aid in joint and ligament protection. Its protein content can help with increased muscle mass, stimulating muscle growth, and recovery.”
Consuming caffeine before you begin working out can help increase how long you’re able to perform an exercise, and it can boost your concentration and reaction time. “Caffeine consumption can cause a decrease in pain and feelings of fatigue, leading to increased training intensity,” Dunn adds.
Last but not least on our list of the best pre-workout supplements for men is creatine monohydrate. Dunn explains, “Creatine supplementation helps increase the muscles’ creatine supply and in turn helps them tolerate heavier exercise loads. This allows for a greater opportunity for muscle growth and development.”