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Best Natural Pre-Workout Supplements to Buy or Make Yourself

Pre-workout supplements are far from a fraud. The right natural ingredients can help you build lean muscle, boost stamina and performance, and even help you stay energized throughout the day. Sadly, sugar-laden drink mixes and dangerous ingredients dominate much of the pre-workout supplement market. Just because you can buy a workout supplement on Amazon or at GNC that doesn't mean it's safe or healthy. Pre-workout supplement ingredients are pulled from the market and banned all the time -- after things go bad. Here's the good news. You can buy plenty of ingredients to make your own natural pre-workout supplements at home!

13 Best Natural Pre-Workout Supplements and Powders

The key to finding the best natural pre-workout is understanding how to read the ingredient list. You can also buy these powders individually to make your own natural pre-workout drink mix, depending on your workout style and goals. You might notice that we haven't mentioned much about whey and vegan protein powders below. Instead, you can check out this list for finding or creating your own complete vegan protein powder to fuel your workouts.

1. Creatine

Creatine is one of the most well-researched substances on this list for both safety and effectiveness. Although creatine is found naturally in muscles, you can also find vegan varieties. Studies show that creatine can boost muscle mass gains by up to 10% on average and strength up to 45%. (1) Many people don't realize that this muscle-building supplement can also defend against neurological diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, especially in vegetarians who may lack adequate creatine in their diet. (2) Creatine is generally safe to take on a daily basis for up to five years.

2. Caffeine

Caffeine can improve your power potential, so it's perfect for high-intensity training, running, and weightlifting. Monitor your caffeine intake closely: count milligrams in coffee, sodas, other drinks, and your pre- workout supplements. If you buy pure caffeine powder, use a scale to measure doses carefully, and avoid jitters. Grabbing the wrong measuring spoon could be a fatal mistake.

3. BCAAs

Branch chain amino acids or BCAAs are excellent alternatives to caffeine for boosting energy levels. Studies show that BCAAs can improve physical endurance, reduce physical and mental fatigue, and may also assist muscle recovery. (3, 4, 5) BCAAs are great for energy levels, running, and power but they don't appear to increase muscle mass.

4. Green Tea Extract

If weight loss is your goal, include green tea extract in your natural pre-workout supplement. Studies show that the special antioxidants in green tea extract, catechins, can reduce muscle fatigue, improve cardio performance, and assist the metabolism by boosting thermogenesis. (6) In other words, the substances in green tea extract can push your body to burn more belly fat.

5. Acai Powder

Acai berries are packed with nutrients and antioxidants, so they're already off to a great start as a pre-workout ingredient. Running and high-intensity interval training enthusiasts will love acai because it can make your cardio feel easier and improve cardiovascular function. (7, 8) Several studies show that acai helps balance cholesterol levels and boost fat-burning potential. (9) Acai powder is perfect for adding natural flavor to your homemade healthy energy drink.

6. Green Coffee Bean Extract Powder

Some research shows that the chlorogenic acid (which is destroyed during heat from roasting in regular coffee beans) in green coffee beans may support weight loss efforts. (10) Since green coffee bean contains caffeine, you get those benefits as well. Green coffee bean extract powder may be a better alternative to pure caffeine powder for anyone concerned about overdosing caffeine in their homemade drinks.
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7. Ginseng

The USSR and China extensively studied ginseng and other adaptogens like Rhodiola and ashwagandha as natural energy boosters. Their research shows that Panax ginseng can increase physical workload capacity and improve cognitive function. (11) Meanwhile, the antioxidants in ginseng reduce inflammation and aid muscle recovery. Did we mention that ginseng can also protect your liver and defend against cancer?

8. Taurine

You'll often find taurine in energy drinks, but you may not realize it's a conditionally essential amino acid. As a natural energy booster, taurine helps your cells remove waste to reduce fatigue. (12) Studies show that taurine can also increase fat loss, reduce muscle soreness, and make your high-intensity workouts feel easier. (13, 14)

9. L-Theanine

Aside from supporting healthy blood flow, the amino acid l-theanine can help you focus and concentrate. Look for l-theanine in your workout supplements with caffeine. It can help your body metabolize caffeine and reduce jitters.

10. L-Citrulline Malate

Citrulline malate is another amino acid that encourages healthy blood flow to your muscles and brain. By helping your muscles use oxygen, l-citrulline malate can make high-intensity workouts feel easier: strength training, endurance training, and cardio! One study found that lifters taking l-citrulline could perform 53% more reps and experienced less muscle soreness. (15)

11. Beta-Alanine

Yes, another amino acid. Beta-alanine is an important addition to your natural pre-workout supplement mix because it reduces acid build-up during exercise. (16) Not only does beta-alanine fight muscle fatigue, but it may also have energy-boosting potential to improve endurance.

12. L-Arginine

Many workout supplements on store shelves are bad for heart health but l-arginine, an amino acid, can protect your heart against disease. L-arginine helps your body synthesize nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels and supports healthy blood flow. While l-arginine doesn't do much to boost workout potential on its own, it can help your body absorb and process other nutrients.

13. Medicinal Mushroom Powders

Medicinal mushrooms like cordyceps, chaga, and lion's mane each hold unique and powerful antioxidants and polysaccharides that can boost oxygen uptake and fuel your workouts. Mushrooms like cordyceps, function as natural energy boosters by stimulating ATP production in your body and boosting blood flow as a vasodilator.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to the best natural pre-workout supplements, natural is better. At the same time, caffeine is 100% natural and fatal in large amounts so you should always pay close attention to natural ingredients on each bottle and their amounts. Research your organic ingredients, side effects, and potential interactions before taking anything. Each natural pre-workout supplement mix here contains a unique blend of plant-based ingredients, amino acids, and vitamins. Try a few out and see what fits your style best!
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