How To Pick The Right Pre-Workout Supplement For You

October 5, 2021

If you have been to the gym or fitness pages on social media, chances are that you have seen, what feels like millions of different pre-workout supplements all claiming to be the ‘one you need’. However, how do you know which ones are actually good? In this article, we’re going to discuss some simple ways to get started with picking out the pre-workout supplement that is designed for your specific goals. 

Are you looking for a stimulant?

In the world of pre-workout, the first question most will ask when searching for a new product is, does it contain caffeine or an ingredient similar? Most people use pre-workouts for stimulant effects but this isn’t needed. If you are a morning coffee drinker and workout mornings, another caffeine drink might not be needed. Additionally, if you workout at night and then go to bed after, having some caffeine might make it harder to sleep. This is why there are non-stimulant pre-workout. For some, they have their go-to stimulant pre-workout when they need the extra motivation, energy, or drive. With a separate product without stimulants for when the extra caffeine push is not needed. 

Using a powder pre-workout or your favorite energy drink before a workout can help give you the stimulant you are looking for. Why would someone use an energy drink over a powder pre-workout? We get this question ask to us daily. Powder pre-workout is going to be the better per serving when it comes to cost and there is a good argument on they might have more supplements than a pre-made drink. However, the confidante of an energy drink when we are on the go is very helpful. If stimulant is your main focus, using a powder pre-workout and energy drink both can work well.

Are You Looking for a Pump?

When looking at stimulants, both powdered pre-workout and using an energy drink both work well for most people. If we were to look at the main difference between these two it would be that the powder pre-workout normally has a significant dose of ingredients for blood flow. We can refer to these products are pump enhancers or nitric oxide (NO) supplements. These supplements could allow the muscle to do more reps (6) and may decrease muscle soreness (11). Many people enjoy the feeling caused by the extra blood flow and it is referred to as “The Pump”, the muscles can feel as if they are ready to explode. 

What kind of supplements on the ingredient list would you be looking for this effect? The most popular ingredient by far is L-Citrulline (often combined with malate to create Citrulline Malate) and works to help widen your blood vessel (1). We recommend a dose of 6-10 grams of L-Citrulline to maximize its potential in your body. You can find a full list of these products under our pump enhancers list with other ingredients to feel the pump.

Are You Looking for More Strength?

It is no secret that strength gains come from hard work and progressive overload. This means putting your muscles under increasingly higher stress, either by increasing resistance (can be with weight, bodyweight exercises, etc) or the number of reps you do. However, if you have been training for a while you know, this does not keep going up forever like when we first start training. The stretch plateau can be frustrating, but we have good news. Certain ingredients in pre-workouts could help you break through those plateaus.

Let’s talk Creatine and Beta-Alanine

Creatine is arguably the most important ingredient for strength. Creatine improves strength by increasing ATP energy production (5) and is extremely convenient to use. 5-10g (based on your body weight) of Creatine is the ideal dose and it can be taken within your pre-workout or by itself in pill or powder form. It is taken daily for 4-6 weeks for optimal results (2) and can be taken in cycles throughout the year. 

Beta-Alanine improves strength by delaying fatigue and increasing time to exhaustion (TTE)  (10) and improving muscle endurance (3). Thrust helps your workouts by allowing you to do more volume, which could lead to greater hypertrophy.

Are You Looking for Focus?

The last topic we will cover mental focus. This might not be the reason you are looking at a pre-work supplement, however, there are some of its main benefits. If you are someone who gets distracted during a workout (small talk and smartphone problems), getting your mind focused could be hard. Luckily there are some ingredients you might have seen but did not know what they did that can help with focus. these ingredients include Tyrosine, Taurine, Choline, and not surprisingly, Caffeine (full discourse, caffeine is not a pure cognitive enhancer (7) ). 

Here is the quick:

Taurine helps with mental focus by reducing stress and anxiety (9). Tyrosine helps with focus by supporting adrenaline and dopamine (4). Choline helps with focus by making sure you have enough acetylcholine and reducing inflammation (8). Caffeine supports focus by enhancing alertness (7).

Final Words

While all the above is important, always be sure to use a product with a flavor that you will enjoy. That is why Patriot Supplements carries so many products and work to keep adding more. If you don’t even want to drink it, you will not use it. When picking out a product, remember to choose based on your individual goal. From there you can narrow down a list of products. If you are someone who wants to use pre-workout every workout, try to change your pre-workout to let your body have a chance. High-stimulant pre-workouts can be amazing, however, use them smartly and remember to read the labels on every supplement you use. Keep training hard and stay smart with your pre-workout supplements. 



  1. Figueroa A, Wong A, Jaime SJ, Gonzales JU. Influence of L-citrulline and watermelon supplementation on vascular function and exercise performance. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2017 Jan;20(1):92-98. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000340. PMID: 27749691.
  2. Hall M, Trojian TH. Creatine supplementation. Curr Sports Med Rep. 2013 Jul-Aug;12(4):240-4. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0b013e31829cdff2. PMID: 23851411.
  3. Hobson, R. M., Saunders, B., Ball, G., Harris, R. C., & Sale, C. (2012). Effects of β-alanine supplementation on exercise performance: a meta-analysis. Amino acids, 43(1), 25–37.
  4. Jongkees BJ, Hommel B, Kühn S, Colzato LS. Effect of tyrosine supplementation on clinical and healthy populations under stress or cognitive demands--A review. J Psychiatr Res. 2015 Nov;70:50-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2015.08.014. Epub 2015 Aug 25. PMID: 26424423.
  5. Kurosawa Y, Hamaoka T, Katsumura T, Kuwamori M, Kimura N, Sako T, Chance B. Creatine supplementation enhances anaerobic ATP synthesis during a single 10 sec maximal handgrip exercise. Mol Cell Biochem. 2003 Feb;244(1-2):105-12. PMID: 12701817.
  6. Mosher SL, Sparks SA, Williams EL, Bentley DJ, Mc Naughton LR. Ingestion of a Nitric Oxide Enhancing Supplement Improves Resistance Exercise Performance. J Strength Cond Res. 2016 Dec;30(12):3520-3524. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001437. PMID: 27050244.
  7. Nehlig A. Is caffeine a cognitive enhancer? J Alzheimers Dis. 2010;20 Suppl 1:S85-94. doi: 10.3233/JAD-2010-091315. PMID: 20182035.
  8. Rosas-Ballina, M., & Tracey, K. J. (2009). Cholinergic control of inflammation. Journal of internal medicine, 265(6), 663–679.
  9. Schaffer, S., & Kim, H. W. (2018). Effects and Mechanisms of Taurine as a Therapeutic Agent. Biomolecules & therapeutics, 26(3), 225–241.
  10. Stout JR, Cramer JT, Zoeller RF, Torok D, Costa P, Hoffman JR, Harris RC, O'Kroy J. Effects of beta-alanine supplementation on the onset of neuromuscular fatigue and ventilatory threshold in women. Amino Acids. 2007;32(3):381-6. doi: 10.1007/s00726-006-0474-z. Epub 2006 Nov 30. PMID: 17136505.
  11. Pérez-Guisado J, Jakeman PM. Citrulline malate enhances athletic anaerobic performance and relieves muscle soreness. J Strength Cond Res. 2010 May;24(5):1215-22. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181cb28e0. PMID: 20386132.

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