Best Pre-Workout for Women in 2023

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Dr. Jennifer Hughes, MD
Medical Reviewer

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Pre-workouts are notorious for their masculine marketing and claims for massive muscle growth—but what about women who want to reap these fitness-related benefits? 

Fortunately, there are plenty of pre-workout powders on the market that are suitable for women to reach their fitness goals—and we’ve got you covered with eight healthy options.  

Most pre-workout powders contain hefty doses of artificial sweeteners or food dyes, but you won’t find any of those ingredients on this list. 

In this article, learn more about our top eight women’s pre-workout powders for every occasion, with options ranging from caffeine-free and pregnancy-safe to joint-supporting or all-organic.

Top 8 Best Pre-Workouts for Women

Pre WorkoutBenefits Key Ingredients Cost
4 Gauge Fights fatigue; Reduces muscle damage; Hydrating electrolytes; Calm and focused energy  L-theanine; L-Citrulline DL-Malate; Creatine monohydrate; Coconut water powder; Red beet; Rhodiola Rosea; Caffeine anhydrous; Acetyl-L-carnitine$45 for 30 servings ($1.50 per serving)
Garden of Life Sport Organic Plant-Based Energy + FocusAll-natural ingredients; Antioxidant energy blend; Vasodilating nitric oxide blend from organic veggies; For optimized energy levels and reduced fatigueVitamins B12, C, and K1; Baobab fruit; Coffee fruit extract; Amla fruit; Spinach; Beetroot; Kale$30.09 for 40 servings ($0.75 per serving)
Ora OrganicAdaptogenic herbs for endurance and energy; Vasodilating compounds; Low caffeine; All organicAshwagandha, ginseng, Rhodiola, and maca; Coconut water; Yerba mate, green coffee bean, and matcha; Beetroot and pomegranate juice$29.12 for 20 servings ($1.46 per serving)
Legion PulseHigh caffeine balanced with L-theanine; Vasodilation; Relieves muscle sorenessL-Citruline DL-Malate; Beta-alanine; Betaine anhydrous; Alpha GPC; Caffeine anhydrous; L-Theanine$39.97 for 20 servings ($1.99 per serving)
Zhou Nutrition Lite UpCaffeine- and stimulant-free;  Improved endurance and vasodilation. Citrulline malate; Nitrosigine® (Arginine silicate); Malic acid; Acacia gum; Tart cherry extract; Bilberry fruit; Hawthorn berry; Grape seed extract$28.99 for 30 servings ($0.96 per serving)
Momsanity BCAAsSuitable for pregnancy and lactation; Caffeine- and stimulant-free; Builds muscle; Reduce soreness and fatigueBranched chain amino acids (BCAAs): L-leucine; L-isoleucine; L-valine$34.99 for 40 servings ($0.87 per serving)
Naked EnergyUnflavored; Designed to enhance athletic performance; Higher amounts of caffeineVitamins B3, B6, B12, and C; Folate; Calcium; Beta alanine; Creatine monohydrate; L-Arginine; Caffeine
$44.99 for 50 servings ($0.90 per serving)
ATHIncreases endurance and VO2max; Reduces joint pain; Increases time to fatigue; Natural energy blendCordcyeps, reishi, lion’s mane, king trumpet, shitake, and turkey tail mushrooms; Beetroot; Panax ginseng; Rhodiola; Yerba mate; Green tea; Devil’s claw; Turmeric; Ginger; Black pepper$44.95 for 30 servings ($1.50 per serving)

Best Overall With Caffeine: 4 Gauge

4 gauge pre workout for women
  • Pros
  • Clean ingredients
  • Science-based ingredient formulation
  • Cons
  • May be too high in caffeine for some
  • On the expensive side

Best for: Vasodilation and reduced muscle damage with a balanced caffeine boost. 

Despite its hypermasculine packaging loaded with gun puns, 4 Gauge is an ideal pre-workout for women based on its clean ingredients and science-based formulation designed to support you both during and after exercise. 

The compounds found in 4 Gauge can be split into four categories: 

  • Nitric oxide boosters: L-Citrulline-DL-Malate and red beetroot extract
  • Energy boosters: Caffeine, L-theanine, and Rhodiola rosea 
  • Muscle strength and recovery: Creatine monohydrate and acetyl-L-carnitine
  • Hydration and electrolyte balance: Coconut water powder

Nitric oxide boosters are vasodilating compounds—meaning they widen blood vessels to increase blood flow—which balances out the vasoconstriction that often accompanies caffeine intake. 

With this combination of ingredients, 4 Gauge provides a scientifically supported approach to pre-workout powder—and it doesn’t contain artificial sweeteners, ingredients, or dyes. 

Although it does have 150mg of caffeine—which may be excessive for some people—the addition of L-theanine can balance out any jitters and provide a calm, focused energy for your workout. 

Plus, the adaptogenic herb Rhodiola rosea helps to increase energy, stamina, and strength, which improves performance while allowing your body to resist the effects of stress.

Lastly, the coconut water powder boosts hydration and provides electrolytes, while acetyl-L-carnitine is thought to prevent Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) and reduce post-workout fatigue.

Best Budget Choice: Garden of Life Sport Organic Plant-Based Energy + Focus

garden of life pre workout for women
  • Pros
  • All-natural ingredients
  • 40 servings per container
  • Nitric oxide blend from organic veggies
  • Affordable
  • Cons
  • No amino acids or typical pre-workout compounds

Best for: Women on a budget who want an all-natural pre-workout that still tastes good. 

The Garden of Life Sport Organic Plant-Based Energy + Focus pre-workout powder is a blend of organic vegetables, food- or bacteria-derived vitamins, and antioxidants designed to support energy production. 

However, this pre-workout doesn’t contain many of the “typical” pre-workout compounds, like creatine monohydrate, beta-alanine, or L-Citrulline. 

But that doesn’t mean it’s not a good pre-workout supplement, as it does provide 85mg of caffeine from organic coffeeberry and natural nitric oxide boosters like organic spinach, kale, and beetroot. 

Plus, this pre-workout contains vitamin B12 to optimize energy production and reduce fatigue along with superfoods like amla berry and baobab fruit.

Best Overall Caffeine-Free: Zhou Nutrition Lite Up

zhou lite up pre-workout for women
  • Pros
  • Caffeine- and stimulant-free
  • Affordable
  • Ingredients for endurance and recovery
  • No added sugar
  • Cons
  • Contains natural flavors

Best for: Women who don’t want caffeine in their pre-workout.

As women tend to be more sensitive to caffeine than men, the Zhou Nutrition Lite Up pre-workout powder is the perfect option for those wanting to boost their workout without the caffeine-induced jitters.

Natural and antioxidant-rich ingredients like tart cherry concentrate, hawthorn berry, and bilberry extract help to reduce muscle soreness, increase vasodilation, and lower post-exercise inflammation.

This pre-workout also delivers nitric oxide boosters in the form of citrulline malate and Nitrosigine®, a patented complex of bonded arginine silicate that promotes healthy blood flow. 

Zhou Nutrition Lite Up is stevia-sweetened and only contains 15 calories per serving in a tasty berry lemonade flavor.

Best All-Organic Pre-Workout: Ora Organic Renewable Energy

ora pre workout for women
  • Pros
  • All-organic ingredients
  • Blend of adaptogenic herbs to support endurance and focus
  • Moderate caffeine blend (90mg) of organic yerba mate, matcha, and green coffee bean
  • Cons
  • Contains 5g added sugars per serving
  • Only 20 servings per container

Best for: Women looking for an organic pre-workout with a moderate caffeine boost.

This pre-workout from Ora Organic contains a healthy proprietary blend of organic ingredients and moderate caffeine from antioxidant-rich sources for a jitter-free workout experience. 

The 90mg of caffeine per serving from organic yerba mate, matcha, and green coffee bean extract combined with four adaptogenic herbs—organic ashwagandha, Rhodiola, Panax ginseng, and maca root—create a balanced and focused energy without the crash. 

However, this pre-workout does contain some added sugar (5g of organic coconut sugar), which is part of their “Organic Energy and Electrolyte Blend” that also includes coconut water and the “clean caffeine” sources. 

You’ll also find natural nitric oxide boosters in this pre-workout in the form of organic beetroot juice and pomegranate juice powders. 

Lastly, this pre-workout is one of the few not to utilize the general term “natural flavors”—Ora Organic uses organic raspberry and lemon flavors for their fruity and tart tastes.

Best Splurge Pre Workout: Legion Pulse

legion pulse pre workout for women
  • Pros
  • 56 scientific studies support their ingredient formulation
  • Sweetened and colored with natural ingredients
  • Cons
  • Expensive
  • High amounts of caffeine (350mg) may be excessive to some
  • Only 20 servings per container

Best for: People wanting to splurge on a pre-workout; People not sensitive to caffeine.

The Legion Pulse pre-workout is likely not for everyone—at 350mg of caffeine per two-scoop serving, this supplement would put some of us into a jittery, anxious spiral.

However, Legion Pulse does add in L-theanine, a compound that helps balance out caffeine jitters by providing calm and focused energy. 

Plus, Legion has done the research on the best ingredients and doses to boost athletic performance and recovery, with 56 peer-reviewed clinical studies backing up their ingredient formulation. 

This extensive research is how they ended up with compounds like beta-alanine to boost muscle growth, betaine to increase muscle strength, alpha-GPC to improve power, and citrulline malate to support healthy blood flow.

While the Blue Raspberry version seems to be a fan favorite, you can choose from 17 flavors, ranging from Sour Candy and Strawberry Kiwi to Pink Lemonade—plus, they also have two caffeine-free flavors (Caffeine-Free Sour Candy and Grape) if you want these benefits without the jolt.

Best for Pregnancy or Lactation: Momsanity BCAAs

momsanity pre workout for women
  • Pros
  • Suitable for pregnancy and lactation
  • No caffeine or stimulants
  • Zero calories
  • Affordable
  • Cons
  • Just contains branched-chain amino acids
  • Reviewers don’t love the taste

Best for: Pregnant women or new moms.

It can be difficult to find a pre-workout supplement that is safe for pregnant or lactating women—but Momsanity BCAAs does the trick.

This pre-workout is simpler than most, as it just contains a blend of three branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs)—leucine, isoleucine, and valine—with natural sweeteners like stevia and monk fruit. 

Research shows that BCAA intake may increase muscle growth, reduce muscle soreness and fatigue, and may suppress appetite and help with weight loss—goals that many postpartum women are aiming to achieve. 

Best Unflavored Pre-Workout: Naked Energy

naked energy pre workout for women
  • Pros
  • No sweeteners, coloring, dyes, or flavorings
  • Contains several vitamins and minerals
  • 50 servings per container
  • Cons
  • Lack of flavoring does not taste good
  • May be too high in caffeine for some (200mg)

Best for: Women wanting a pre-workout without flavors or sweeteners. 

Although many people enjoy a super sweet-tasting pre-workout drink with flavors that could be found in a candy store, others prefer a more natural approach. 

For those wanting a completely unflavored pre-workout powder, Naked Energy is the one for you. 

However, keep in mind that amino acids and exercise-enhancing compounds have flavors of their own that are, well, not too tasty—one reviewer even likened it to fish tank water (not sure how he knows what that tastes like)—but others state that adding it to a smoothie or other beverage of choice can do the trick. 

But if minimal and clean ingredients are important to you, Naked Energy’s unflavored pre-workout will get the job done. 
This pre-workout contains muscle-supporting compounds like beta-alanine, creatine monohydrate, and L-arginine, plus 200mg of caffeine and vitamins B3, B6, B12, and C, folate, and calcium for an additional nutrient boost.

Best for Joint Support: ATH PRE

ath pre workout for women
  • Pros
  • Moderate caffeine amount (100mg)
  • Lots of adaptogens and functional mushrooms
  • Joint support blend
  • Cons
  • 3g of sugar per serving
  • On the expensive side

Best for: Women with joint problems who also want a natural pre workout.

The ATH PRE pre-workout powder has a wide-ranging blend of ingredients to support muscle strength, endurance, recovery, and energy. 

With six functional mushrooms (cordyceps, reishi, lion’s mane, king trumpet, shitake, and turkey tail), the adaptogens Panax ginseng and Rhodiola, and 100mg of natural caffeine from yerba mate and green tea, this pre-workout is designed to provide a focused and jitter-free energy without the crash. 

Plus, this pre-workout is unique in that it contains a “Joint Support Blend” of devil’s claw extract, turmeric, ginger, and black pepper (to increase absorption), which can help prevent joint pain and promote recovery after exercise. 

And while it does contain 3g of sugar per serving, it’s natural sugar from the beetroot, which is used to increase nitric oxide production and improve blood flow.

What Is Pre-Workout?

Pre-workouts are dietary supplements—typically powders—that have a combination of ingredients to increase energy, muscle growth or strength, athletic performance, and recovery.

They are commonly mixed with water or another liquid and consumed 30-60 minutes before a workout. 

Common ingredients in pre-workout powders include: 

  • Caffeine
  • Creatine monohydrate
  • Acetyl-L-carnitine
  • Beetroot extract 
  • Branched-chain amino acids
  • L-theanine
  • L-Citrulline 
  • Adaptogens 

If you are sensitive to caffeine, look for pre-workouts that have “stim-free” or “caffeine-free” on the label. 

You may also want to avoid pre-workout powders with artificial sweeteners and artificial colors, looking for ones sweetened with stevia or monk fruit and dyed with natural foods or not at all. 

Be sure to double-check the ingredient label if you have a food allergy or intolerance, as some pre-workout powders may contain gluten, dairy, soy, or other common allergens.

Lastly, pre-workouts are generally considered safe for healthy adults, but some ingredients are not suitable for pregnant or lactating women (except specially formulated ones like Momsanity). 

If you’re unsure if an ingredient in a pre-workout is safe for you and your specific health status, check with your doctor or healthcare provider before taking the supplement. 

FAQs About Pre-Workout for Women

Is Pre-Workout Good for Females?

Yes, pre-workout powders can be beneficial for females who are looking to improve their athletic performance. 

Compounds in pre-workout supplements vary, but most are thought to increase muscle strength or power, support post-exercise recovery, reduce stress and inflammation, and increase healthy blood flow. 

Does Pre-Workout Help You Lose Weight?

Pre-workout powders are not designed to help you lose weight, but your body composition might positively change due to increased lean body mass. 

Some pre-workout powder ingredients, like branched-chain amino acids, may suppress appetite and help with fat loss.

What Is the Healthiest Brand of Pre-Workout?

Healthy brands of pre-workout will not use artificial sweeteners, dyes, or preservatives. 

There are many healthy brands of pre-workout, including 4 Gauge, Ora Organic, Zhou Nutrition, Legion Pulse, Momsanity, Naked Energy, Garden of Life, and ATH

What Are the Negatives of Pre-Workout?

Pre-workout tends to have more side effects when it contains high levels of caffeine, which can cause anxiety, jitters, restlessness, increased heart rate, and insomnia. 

A study from 2019 found that over half of people who take pre-workout supplements experience some side effects, with the most common being nausea, skin reactions, and heart abnormalities. 

However, these effects are much more common when people take more than the recommended dosage.

How Long Does Pre-Workout Take to Kick In?

It depends on the ingredient formulation and body size, but generally speaking, a pre-workout powder may take anywhere from 20-90 minutes to kick in, based on manufacturer recommendations. 

The maximum effects of caffeine are typically felt 45-60 minutes after consumption, but some people metabolize caffeine quicker than others. 

It’s typically recommended to take your pre-workout 30-60 minutes before your workout is set to begin.

Key Takeaways

  • Pre-workout powders are designed to increase energy, muscle strength, power, endurance, blood flow, and recovery. 
  • Healthy pre-workout powders do not contain artificial sweeteners, colors, flavors, or preservatives. 
  • Some pre-workout powders contain caffeine; others are stimulant-free—choose the type that is right for you and your health status.


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