Pre-workout supplements, Help power you through your workouts, Help you build muscle, Help keep your mind clear and focused, Help you recover between sets, and gives you a boost of energy, and don’t forget about that awesome shirt rippin pump. But most of the pre-workout supplements are LOADED with caffeine.
So what about those of us who workout at night, or don’t like the jitters when you’re working out, or the crash when it wears off. Well thankfully for us we have caffeine free pre-workout supplements. But do they work as well as the other supplements?
The simple answer to that question is some do and some don’t. That is because of the ingredients in them so let’s talk about what ingredients make up a good caffeine free pre-workout supplement.
Top 5 Muscle Building Ingredients
BCAA’s, Creatine, Beta-alanine, Citrulline Malate, and Betaine. These are the 5 major players in muscle building. These are the ingredients that make up good caffeine free pre-workout supplements or any pre-workout supplement.
If you’re wondering what makes them so great don’t worry I will explain without getting too scientific on you.
BCAA’s – Branched-Chained Amino Acids, AKA the building blocks of muscle. Bcaa’s are essential amino acids(your body can’t produce them) Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine. What do BCAA’s do for you?
Bcaa’s increase protein synthesis. Protein synthesis is the metabolic process of your body making new muscle protein(making your muscles bigger).
Bcaa’s decrease muscle soreness from exercise when taken pre-workout. Decrease fatigue when exercising, Improve mental focus. Bcaa’s also prevent muscle wasting.
Creatine – Creatine is one of the most studied supplements it can alter pathways that lead to new muscle growth, Increase the IGF-1 growth hormone in your body, Improves high-intensity performance, Improves strength, Speeds up muscle growth, saturates muscles with water and makes them look bigger.
You will gain more muscle mass when using creatine. Here is the deal with taking creatine. When you first start taking creatine you will not feel the full effects until around 30 days. The reason for that is your muscles need to be saturated and stay saturated with creatine for it to work.
What you can do is preload the creatine by taking 20 grams a day for 5 days. I would not recommend taking it all at once what I did was split it up into 4 servings morning, lunch, pre-workout, and after supper. When you preload creatine it may cause some bloating and stomach cramps.
Then after you preload, all you need is 3-5 grams a day for maintenance. If stomach cramps and bloating doesn’t sound like fun to you then you can just take the caffeine free pre-workout supplements and wait the 30 days for the full effect. You will still get a lot of benefits if you don’t preload.
Beta-Alanine – Raises muscle carnosine levels by 58% in four weeks and 80% in 10 weeks. Basically what that does is boost your muscle power output, strength, training volume, high-intensity exercise volume, and aerobic capacity.
Beta-Alanine is one of the most effective supplements to hit the market since creatine. Also Beta-Alanine has a battle with taurine and in time will lower your taurine levels. So if your caffeine free pre-workout supplements do not have taurine in them, I would recommend supplementing with taurine.
Just to warn you if you have never supplemented with Beta-Alanine before it will cause a non-harmful itchy sensation for about 10-20 minutes. Also if you are taking Beta-Alanine and you are not itchy then your dose is either too small or it is not high-quality Beta-Alanine.
Citrulline Malate 2:1 – It is not as popular as creatine, bcaa’s, and beta-alanine but in the past few years it has gained a lot of credibility in helping with strength, endurance, reducing muscle soreness, reducing muscular fatigue during exercise, and raise nitric oxide levels to give you a better pump.
What is citrulline malate? Well, citrulline is a non-essential amino acid, Malic acid(malate) is a salt compound found in fruit. When citrulline and malic acid are bonded together you get citrulline malate, the 2:1 means that it has a ratio of 2 parts citrulline and 1 part malate.
Betaine – supports fat loss and kidney health also serves as an antioxidant, promotes lean mass and ramps up protein synthesis (muscle building process).
Betaine is a vitamin derived from choline. Betaine can be found in foods such as sugar beets, spinach, seafood, and cereal grains. Betaine comes in different forms Betaine anhydrous and Betaine HCl it is also known as Trimethylglycine.
These are the Main ingredients you want to look for in caffeine free pre-workout supplements. Now let’s talk a little about what you Don’t want in your caffeine free pre-workout supplements.
We Don’t Like Proprietary Blends
What is a proprietary blend? Its a blend of ingredients so you know all the ingredients but not the amount of each ingredient.
Now you can see that the NO Enhancers has Beta-Alanine, L-Arginine Malate, L-Citrulline, L-Citrulline Malate, and L-Norvaline. We know that there is 3.125g of all of these supplements combined.
You know that there are 2 of the top 5 ingredients in it but how much is the question. You have no way of knowing. It could be 3g of Norvaline and .125g of everything else.
Now there are a few on the top ten list that do have a proprietary blend in them. They are not #1 and they will never be #1. The #1 caffeine free pre-workout supplement is loaded with all the top 5 ingredients. But before we get to #1 let’s start off with #10 on the list of top 10 caffeine free pre-workout supplements.
As I was writing this top ten list some people kept asking what about the people who are doing the keto diet. Is there anything made just for the people doing the keto diet. So for those of you who are on the keto diet, this one is just for you.
Now For The Top 10 Caffeine Free Pre-Workout Supplements
#10 – 100% Keto Plus
A ketogenic diet is high in fat with a moderate protein intake and extremely low in carbohydrates. 100% Keto Plus has zero carbohydrates.
The researchers at MuscleTech® have developed 100% Keto Plus with a macronutrient profile to support a low-carb ketogenic diet while fueling your body with aminos to help optimize your workouts.* Together, the goBHB™ salts and aminos help keep low-carb and ketogenic dieters with their goals by delivering exogenous ketones and by helping the body produce ketones.
As you can see by the supplement facts above there are not any proprietary blends. Muscletech is completely transparent about the ingredients. What does the goBHB Matrix and the Amino Blend do for you?
Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) can improve performance during endurance exercises, increase fat loss, replenish glycogen store and accelerate recovery.
Amino Blend – raise plasma ketone levels during and after exercise.
I have never used this product because I have never been on the keto diet. But the reviews on it seem pretty good. It seems like the effects you will notice right away are a boost of energy along with a good pump.
You will get 35 servings for $59.99 (price may vary)
- Made just for people on the keto diet
- Good energy
- Good pump
- Zero carbs
- No proprietary blends
- Doesn’t have any of the top 5 muscle building ingredients
#9 – Megatron
Megatron will give you a good pump, Support mental clarity and give you more focus.
Let’s take a look at the Supplemental Facts
As you can see there are no proprietary blends +1 for Megatron, and it has 3 of the top 5 Muscle Building Ingredients. The problem is that the dose of those 3 ingredients is too small.
3g of Citrulline Malate (the recommended dose is 6g). 2.6g of Beta-Alanine (the recommended dose is 3.2g). 1.5g of Betaine Anhydrous (the recommended dose is between 2.5g and 3g). So in order to get the recommended dose, you would have to buy more supplements. Also, there is not any Creatine or Bcaa’s in Megatron.
I do like the fact that it does have taurine in it to go with the beta-alanine. And it does have some good benefits like a good pump and helping with mental clarity and focus. But it’s not the total package.
When it comes to taste it’s not very good. The price is $29.98 (price may vary) for 30 servings which isn’t too bad.
#8 – Opus
Opus made it to #8 on the caffeine free pre-workout supplements list because it does have 2 and part of a 3rd of the top 5 muscle building ingredients. Opus does have Citrulline Malate, Beta-alanine, and leucine which is one of the bcaa’s.
Opus says that it has 48 servings with one scoop but you are not going to get much benefit out of one scoop you will need to use two scoops. With two scoops it does give you the recommended dosage of Beta-Alanine. The dosage for Citrulline is only 3g that is half of the recommended dosage.
You will notice some decent results when using 2 scoops the pump was good the energy was ok the taste wasn’t bad and it mixed well. You get 4g of leucine to help with recovery and muscle building.
- A full dose of Beta-Alanine
- Good pump
- Only 2 of the top 5 muscle building ingredients
- Some of the dosages are low
- You need 2 scoops to get any benefits
- Artificial flavors
#7 – EVP
EVP was made famous because of the great pump it gives anyone that takes it. Including professional bodybuilders before they compete. When it comes to the pump EVP is one of the best and it does give you a little boost in energy.
EVP also has 3 of the Top 5 muscle building ingredients in it Creatine, Beta-alanine, and Citrulline Malate. It also has 1 of the Bcaa’s in it Leucine. The problem is its all in a proprietary blend and they put everything under 1 blend 9.22g of their Evopoietin 1-Alpha Proprietary Blend.
At 9.22g you are not going to get the recommended dosages for everything. The price is $49.99 for 40 servings (price may vary).
- Great pump
- 9.22g of Proprietary Blend
#6 – Purple Wrath
With Purple Wrath you are going to get a good pump a little energy and better recovery. Purple Wrath has 4 of the Top 5 muscle building ingredients. Bcaa’s, Beta-Alanine, Citrulline Malate, and Betaine anhydrous. But once again it has proprietary blends so you don’t know how much of each ingredient your getting.
The price is $69.99 for 45 servings and $104 for 90 servings (price may vary) so you can save a little cash by buying in bulk.
- Save when you buy in bulk
- Good pump and recovery
- Proprietary Blends
#5 – Storm
Storm has 4 of the Top 5 muscle building ingredients Creatine, Citrulline Malate, Betaine Anhydrous, and Beta-Alanine. But they are all in proprietary blends. I will say one good thing about their Hypervol Complex even though it is a proprietary blend it is all Creatine, so you will be getting a full dose of creatine.
The main benefit you will get from storm is a strength gain after some time. The pump wasn’t very good, The energy wasn’t very good.
The price for Storm is $29.50 for 80 servings.
- Full dose of creatine
- Good strength gains
- Proprietary Blends
- Pump and energy wasn’t very good
#4 – 360 Nitro Drive
360 Nitro Drive has 4 of the Top 5 muscle building ingredients with NO proprietary blends. But you would have to take 2 servings to get the recommended doses for Citrulline Malate and Beta-Alanine everything else would still be too low.
- No Proprietary Blends
- Doses are too low
#3 – Labrada Super Charge
Stim-free Super Charge has 3 of the top 5 muscle building ingredients Bcaa’s, Beta-Alanine, and Creatine. It does have Citrulline but not Malate. You do get a full dose of Creatine and Bcaa’s but everything else is a little low.
With Stim Free Super Charge you will get a boost of energy a boost of strength and the pump was ok. I do like the mental focus it gives you. It also helps you replace electrolytes that you have lost during your workout.
- No Proprietary Blends
- Full dose of creatine and Bcaa’s
- Good energy
- Good focus
- Replaces Electrolytes
- Has Citrulline but not Citrulline Malate
- Not enough Beta-Alanine
- No Betaine
#2 – Pre Stim Free
Pre Stim Free has 4 of the top 5 muscle building ingredients in it Citrulline Malate, Betaine, Beta-Alanine, and Creatine. It does have 1 of the Bcaa’s Leucine in it as well. So it almost has all 5 ingredients in it but not quite.
You will get a full dose of Citrulline, Betaine Anhydrous, Creatine and Beta-Alanine. You will get some strength and endurance, a good pump, and better focus with pre stim free.
. The Leucine is a good ingredient but it would be a lot better with the rest of the Bcaa’s.
Overall I think that pre stim free is a good pre-workout supplement with good benefits, it’s just not the total package like our #1 caffeine free pre-workout supplement is.
The price is $39.99 for 20 servings that seems a little expensive to me.
- No Propriatary Blends
- Full dose of Citrulline, Betaine Anhydrous, and Beta-Alanine
- Good pump, endurance, and better focus
- Not enough Bcaa’s
Stim-Free has all of the Top 5 muscle building supplements and It has a Full Recommended Dose of everything. Citrulline Malate 6,000mg(6g), Bcaa’s 4,000mg(4g), Beta-Alanine 4000mg(4g), Creatine HCL 3,000(3g), and Betaine Anhydrous 2,500(2.5g) Transparent Labs hit the mark with this one.
I have tried a lot of different stim/caffeine free pre-workout supplements and none of them compare to Stim-Free. My pump, energy, strength, and focus were great.
I had hit some plateaus before I started taking Stim-Free and not too long after I started taking Stim-Free I smashed through all of those plateaus.
I had some problems with my energy level towards the end of my workouts but not anymore I can workout longer and harder.
With Stim-Free my body fat percentage went down and I gained some muscle. I am able to focus more now.
The pump was awesome and I can recover a lot faster between sets and workouts.
The bottom line is that Stim-Free is the best stim free pre-workout supplement on the market. It is loaded with all of the ingredients you need to power through your workouts and build muscle and lose fat.
The price is $49.99 for 30 servings. When you buy in bulk (2 or 3) you save money.
- No Proprietary Blends
- A full dose of all ingredients
- No need to stack
- Great pump, energy, strength, and focus
- Shipping is a little slow
The Final Stretch
We covered the Top 5 muscle building ingredients and looked at the Top 10 caffeine free pre-workout supplements. I only recommend the best and I recommend Stim-Free. I know that I won’t use any other pre-workout until something better comes along.
I will be keeping an eye out on the pre-workouts and updating this list as needed. I found Stim-Free a couple of years ago and its still #1 and I look for it to stay there.
If you have any questions or comments please leave them below.
Best of luck in reaching your fitness goals.