10 Best Natural Pre-Workouts of 2024

The best pre-workout supplements can provide physical and cognitive benefits, but formulations tend to vary wildly, with many containing artificial sweeteners, colors, dyes, and additives that may blunt their overall impact. Since more and more athletes are looking for clean supplements, we tasked ourselves with curating a list of the best natural pre-workouts on the market. 

Over the years, our team of fitness professionals has tested over 65 pre-workouts, singling out their favorite formulations with naturally-sourced ingredients. During testing, the certified personal trainers, weightlifting coaches, nutrition coaches, and CrossFit trainers at BarBend rated each pre-workout on a scale of a 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest), taking into account factors such as formulation, taste, side effects, and more. Furthermore, our picks have been verified by a registered dietician to ensure each brand’s formulation is as natural as they claim. Here are our picks for the best natural pre-workouts.

10 Best Natural Pre-Workouts of 2024

Best Overall Natural Pre-Workout: Legion Athletics Pulse

Best Natural Pre-Workout for Focus: Onnit Alpha Brain

Best Natural Pre-Workout for Muscle Gain: Transparent Labs BULK

Best Natural Pre-Workout for a Pump: Naked Nutrition Pre-Workout

Best Non-Stim Natural Pre-Workout: Genius Pre

Best Budget Natural Pre-Workout: Garden of Life Sport Organic Plant-Based Energy + Focus

Best Organic Natural Pre-Workout: Ora Organic Pre-Workout Powder

Best Natural Pre-Workout With BCAAs: Truth Nutrition Pre-Workout

Best Vegan Natural Pre-Workout: Vega Sport Energizer

Best Tasting Natural Pre-Workout: Transparent Labs BULK BLACK

Editor’s note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended for the diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before beginning a new fitness, nutritional, and/or supplement routine.

How We Tested the Best Natural Pre-Workouts

Our testing team consists of competitive weightlifters, nutrition coaches, certified personal trainers, CrossFit trainers, endurance athletes, and weightlifting coaches. We have tested over 65 pre-workouts across several years, researching the ingredients and consulting registered dieticians. To help convey the benefits and drawbacks of each product, we’ve developed a rating methodology that takes into account factors such as value, formulation, taste, third-party testing, solubility, side effects, and even a brand’s customer service. 

Throughout our testing, we asked the same questions you’re asking. What’s the cost-to-value ratio? Does each pre-workout contain effective doses of each ingredient? How does it taste? What’s going on with that proprietary blend? Are there any side effects? The list below is the result of numerous workouts completed by actual fitness professionals to bring you the best information to choose the best natural pre-workout for you.

Best Overall Natural Pre-Workout: Legion Athletics Pulse 

Legion Pulse Pre-Workout

Legion Pulse Pre-Workout

This pre-workout supplement can come with or without caffeine and in 16 different flavors. Each serving provides 350 milligrams of L-theanine and eight grams of citrulline, which may facilitate better pumps. 

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Price Per Serving: $1.71

Servings Per Container: 20

Caffeine Per Serving: 350mg

Key Ingredients: L-citrulline malate, beta-alanine, betaine anhydrous, L-theanine, alpha-GPC, sodium, potassium, calcium

Flavors: Fruit Punch, Blue Raspberry, Green Apple, Tropical Punch


Its natural formulation is expertly balanced to promote muscle endurance, power, and energy.

The electrolytes in the formula — potassium, sodium, calcium — can boost hydration.

It is free from all artificial ingredients, including added sugars.


Pulse contains 350 milligrams of caffeine per serving, roughly 50 to 200 milligrams more than many pre-workouts. (1)

At $1.71 per serving, Pulse falls on the higher end of the $0.80 to $2 range of most pre-workouts.

Our tester noted that the natural sweeteners produced a bit of a bitter taste.

We chose Legion Athletics Pulse Pre-Workout as our best overall natural pre-workout because of its balanced mix of all-natural ingredients in clinically effective doses. Its formula contains zero artificial sweeteners, food dyes, or flavors, and Legion cites 54 peer-reviewed scientific studies in support of the formula’s ingredient and dose combination. Pulse has also been independently third-party tested and certified for purity. 

Registered Dietician Chelsea Rae Bourgeois was impressed by the formula when reviewing it for BarBend. “I was impressed to see all the clinical research backing a natural pre-workout like this.” she said. “Having no artificial sweeteners or dyes also stood out to me.”

While its 350-milligram caffeine count is high compared to the average range of 150 to 300 milligrams, it is balanced with a 1:1 ratio of L-theanine for a smooth energy boost, followed by a gentle comedown. (2) “I’m a huge fan of the 1:1 ratio of L-theanine to caffeine,” said Bourgeois. “However, a cup of coffee contains about 95 milligrams of caffeine, so 350 milligrams per serving could be intolerable for some people,” The good news? Legion also has a caffeine-free option.

Legion Athletics Pulse in the BarBend gym.

Pulse also contains 8 grams of L-citrulline malate, which — with its 2:1 ratio of L-citrulline to malate — is on the high end of the clinically-effective dose. (3) This ingredient is common in pre-workouts because it is known to boost nitric oxide production, which promotes the relaxation of vascular smooth muscle. (4) That means more relaxed blood vessels, allowing for improved blood flow and prolonged muscle endurance. (5

Bourgeois rated the overall formulation 3.75 out of 5, saying, “I love that this product is tested by a third-party lab. That way, I can be sure that I’m getting exactly what’s advertised. There is also total transparency in the formula.” To promote hydration, it has electrolytes, calcium, potassium and sodium. That said, Bourgeois also noted, “I noticed the sodium content — 400 milligrams per serving — was not alarmingly high, still could be too much for some people.”

For taste, it uses three natural sweeteners: stevia, monk fruit, and erythritol. Our tester, a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, rated its taste a 4 out of 5, but noted that it might take some getting used to. They said, “I thought it tasted pretty sweet, but there was also a slightly bitter taste. Not terrible, just a little weird.”

Research suggests an effective daily dose of 4 to 6 grams of beta-alanine can delay muscle fatigue and help you pump out a few more reps. (7)(8) Although Pulse contains just under that range — 3.6 grams — Bourgeois noted that may help avoid the common skin-tingling sensation known as paresthesia. She said, “I was glad to see the 3.6 grams of beta-alanine. That amount has been proven to help increase exercise capacity without the itchy or tingling skin.

The formula also features 2.5 grams of betaine anhydrous, which, when taken daily over 10 to 15 days, has been shown to increase power output and force production. (9) It also includes 300 milligrams of alpha-GPC, a derivative of choline that acts as a nootropic. Research has shown that some possible benefits of nootropics — also known as “smart drugs” — include improved learning and memory in humans, especially in stressful situations, like during an intense workout. (10)

Legion Athletics Pulse Pre-Workout only comes with 20 servings per container, and our tester rated it just a 2 out of 5 for price per serving. The average range is around $0.80 to $2.00 per serving, so while it’s not the most expensive pre-workout we have tested, it is on the pricier end.    However, it was still our pick for best overall natural pre-workout because we believe — even at $1.71 per serving — it gives you the best bang for your buck.

Best Natural Pre-Workout for Focus: Onnit Alpha Brain 

Onnit Alpha Brain Pre-Workout

Onnit Alpha Brain Pre-Workout

Onnit’s pre-workout supplement offers focus-boosting ingredients, while giving your body a boost before you hit a tough training session. You can get this product in two unique flavors.

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Price Per Serving: $3.00

Servings Per Container: 20

Caffeine Per Serving: 200mg

Key Ingredients: Caffeine, L-citrulline, beta-alanine, ashwagandha extract, African palm oil

Flavors: Tiger’s Blood, Yuzu Peach


It contains 225 milligrams of ashwagandha extract to promote mental clarity and focus.

The 1:1 ratio of 2.4 grams of L-citrulline and 2.4 grams beta-alanine can give you a good pump. 

Its formula is completely sugar-free.


Each serving costs $3.00 — most pre-workouts range between $0.80 to $2.00 per serving.

It contains three proprietary blends, so we don’t know the exact amount of each ingredient in the blends.

It’s only available in two flavors: Tiger’s Blood and Yuzu Peach.

The Onnit Alpha Brain formula may look somewhat familiar because it includes common well-researched ingredients like L-citrulline, beta-alanine, and caffeine. However, what makes it our pick for the best natural pre-workout for focus is the 225 milligrams of ashwagandha extract. Here, it comes in a trademarked form called Noogandha that, according to Onnit, “supports mental agility, concentration, and mental processing speed.”

While research on ashwagandha is still relatively new, at least one study found it can improve physical performance. It can promote the mental clarity needed to power through tough workouts, and also act as an anti-stress agent. (11) This aligns with the experience our testers reported. One of those testers — a USA Weightlifting L-2 coach — said, “I thought that Alpha Brain brought great focus and clarity to my workout. Several people on my weightlifting team tried it with me and we were all in the zone.”

Chelsea Rae Bourgeois, R.D., also made note of the ashwagandha while reviewing it for BarBend. “Ashwagandha can help promote mental agility during stressful workouts, so I really like that this formula included it,” she said. While the 2.4 grams of L-citrulline is lower than the optimal research-backed level, Bourgeois pointed out, “If I was gearing up for an intense workout, the L-citrulline and beta-alanine combo would provide a great pump. Although, a lot of research indicates that you will see the most benefits from L-citrulline in doses of at least 3 grams.”

Our testers noted the mental clarity along with that pump she described. “I didn’t feel overly-stimulated — just a feeling of being present and ready to get to work,” one tester reported. “I didn’t feel any tingling with Onnit Alpha Brain, but another tester and I both got a great pump.” 

This combination of muscle endurance and mental dexterity benefits may explain the high price point, which starts at $3 per serving. This is the most expensive pre-workout we tested, and while it only comes in containers of 20 servings, you can save 15% if you subscribe. It was unsurprising that our tester rated the price a 1 out of 5, but the fact that its overall score was still 4 out 5 speaks to the high marks in the other categories. 

For taste — 4 out of 5 — our tester preferred the Tiger’s Blood flavor to Yuzu Peach, saying, “I thought the Tiger’s Blood flavor tasted like a coconut, watermelon, and strawberry mix. It was tropical.” We wish it came in more than two flavors, but for being a completely sugar-free pre-workout, we were pleasantly surprised by how much we liked the taste.

The formula earned a 3.25 out of 5 rating and the proprietary blends concerned Bourgeois. “I’m usually wary of supplements with proprietary blends, and Onnit Alpha Brain has three of them,” she explained. “Dietary supplements are not regulated by the FDA, so it gives me pause because, while we can see the ingredients in each blend, we don’t know the amount of each one.”

Alpha Brain’s inclusion of their trademarked form of ashwagandha extract — Noogandha — sets this natural pre-workout apart because of the mental boost our testers experienced. It’s our top pick for focus because it also includes ingredients that promote blood flow and muscle endurance, like L-citrulline and beta-alanine. 

Our testers agreed with Bourgeois when she summed it up, saying, “I think the combination of the mental benefits of ashwagandha with these well-known ingredients bodes well for rocking some tough workouts.”

Best Natural Pre-Workout for Muscle Gain: Transparent Labs BULK 

Transparent Labs BULK

Transparent Labs BULK

Transparent Labs BULK contains all-natural ingredients and big doses of L-citrulline malate and beta-alanine to promote muscle gain for your next workout.

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Price Per Serving: $1.67

Servings Per Container: 30

Caffeine Per Serving: 200mg

Key Ingredients: Citrulline malate, beta-alanine, taurine, L-tyrosine, caffeine 

Available Flavors: Cherry Kiwi, Blue Raspberry, Peach Mango, Sour Gummy, Black Cherry


The 2:1 ratio of 8 grams of L-citrulline malate and 4 grams of beta-alanine is a robust combo known to help promote muscle gain. (3)(12)

It contains powerful ingredients that promote focus — L-theanine and L-tyrosine — and hydration — vitamins B6 and B12. (13)(14)

All the ingredients in the formula are vegan-friendly. 


There are proprietary blends in the formula, so we can’t be sure how much of each ingredient it contains.

If you’re on a high-sodium diet, the 180 milligrams in this formulation might be a lot. (15)

Transparent Labs BULK is a no-brainer pick for the best natural pre-workout for muscle gain because it can help you do just that — bulk up. Its formula is turbocharged with high doses of ingredients known to promote muscle gain. 8 grams of L-citrulline malate is at the upper end of the clinically-backed range of 6 to 8 grams for improved exercise performance, strength and muscle recovery. (12)(16) Combine that with 4 grams of beta-alanine and you can expect a nice pump and prolonged endurance to support muscle gain.

BarBend tester, Nick English, noted the doses of key ingredients when he tried it out. “I’ve tried a ton of pre-workouts and BULK has extra strong doses of some of the best-researched ingredients available,” he said.

In addition to the L-citrulline malate and beta-alanine, Transparent Labs BULK offers an impressive lineup of nutrients. It has zinc, L-tyrosine, and vitamins B6 and B12, as well as 360 milligrams of L-theanine and 180 milligrams of caffeine — a 2 to 1 ratio that has been shown to promote increased energy and reaction time. (17) “Transparent Labs BULK contains a list of rockstar ingredients,” Chelsea Rae Bourgeois, R.D. pointed out when testing this product for BarBend

After using it for three workouts, our tester rated Transparent Labs BULK a 4 out of 5 overall, saying simply, “The pump was pumping.” The 4 grams of beta-alanine may cause a common pre-workout side effect: a skin-tingling sensation known as paresthesia. The average pre-workout contains around 3.6 grams — right in the middle of the research-backed daily range of 2 to 5 grams. You may feel some tingling like our tester did. (18) They said, “With other pre-workouts I’ve used, the tingles felt like I was burning on the inside, but not with BULK.”

Our tester mixing up a serving of Transparent Labs BULK in the BarBend gym.

There was some disagreement among our testers about the flavors and they rated the two they tried a 3.5 out of 5. One said, “There is a tame sweetness to the flavor, but I don’t really think it tastes like Strawberry Lemonade.” The other tried Blue Raspberry, saying, “I tried the Blue Raspberry it was spot on — delicious.”

Transparent Labs BULK is slightly high in sodium — 180 milligrams — compared to the daily recommended amount, but Bourgeois explained, “That much sodium isn’t a ton, but for anyone already on a high-sodium diet, I think it’s something to be aware of.” For comparison, the average sodium per serving across 25 popular brands — including Legion and Kaged — is only 50 mg. (19

It’s common for pre-workouts to use proprietary blends of ingredients, but, as Bourgeois said, “Proprietary blends always give me a little pause because you don’t know exactly how much of each ingredient is in there.” One of those blends contains caffeine and L-theanine — a combination shown to promote an increase in energy and reaction time. (17

That blend also includes tyrosine and Alpha-GPC to help promote mental focus. (13)(20) While more research is needed on tyrosine, it has been suggested that it may slow the depletion of adrenaline and dopamine during physical stress — like intense exercise. (21) Alpha-GPC has been shown to have cognitive benefits for exercise. One study suggests that in addition to increasing alertness, it may have a positive effect on motivation in humans. (20)

The $1.67 price per serving is slightly above the average range of $0.80 to $2.00, but we think it’s a great value. “Of all the pre-workouts I’ve used, this is my favorite so far,” our tester raved. “The focus was extreme, the tingles were minimal, and the flavor was good, too. I’ll definitely continue using it to push my workouts to the next level.”

Best Natural Pre-Workout for a Pump: Naked Nutrition Pre-Workout 

Naked Nutrition Naked Energy

Naked Nutrition Naked Energy

Naked Nutrition Naked Energy is a simple, powerful formula that is vegan-friendly. It comes in several flavors as well as options for a non-stimulant version. 

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Price Per Serving: $0.90

Servings Per Container: 50

Caffeine Per Serving: 200 mg

Key Ingredients: Creatine monohydrate, beta-alanine, L-arginine, vitamin C, vitamin B complex, calcium

Available Flavors: Plain, Fruit Punch, Citrus


Naked only contains ten total ingredients — all GMO-free, and vegan-friendly.

Despite its simple formula, it still contains creatine, beta-alanine, and L-arginine for muscle pumps.

At $0.90 per serving, it’s on the lower end of the average range of $0.80 to $2 price of most pre-workouts.


The formula is independently third-party tested, but only for heavy metals.

It’s only available in three flavors.

Even among natural pre-workouts, Naked Nutrition is renowned for its trim list of all-natural ingredients. Despite containing just ten ingredients, the trifecta of beta-alanine (2 grams), L-arginine (1 gram), and creatine (1 gram) combine to make this pre-workout our pick for the best natural pre-workout for a pump. 

The 1 gram dose of L-arginine in the formula can be a boost to what your body gets naturally from protein-rich foods — like meat, dairy, or nuts. The average daily intake from food is around 4 to 6 grams. (22)  While creatine can be most effective when taken consistently over time, beta-alanine and arginine are well-known pre-workout ingredients for a pump because they promote increased blood flow. (23)

What is a pump? Well, in response to your muscles contracting, your heart begins to pump more blood to them to provide more oxygen and nutrients. Lactic acid also starts to build up in those working muscles, drawing water into them. The rush of fluids causes your muscles to look and feel “full,” but the reason these ingredients are important is that they promote blood flow, which can lead to increased muscular endurance.

Naked Energy Pre-Workout in the BarBend gym.

It packs a decent energy boost with 200 milligrams of natural caffeine anhydrous. Our tester — a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach — said, “I got a nice pick me up! It felt like drinking a large cup of coffee.” Outside of the caffeine, its bounty of vitamins can help ward off the crash when the effects of the caffeine start to wear off. 

B vitamins have also been shown to play an important role in optimal physiological and neurological function, and this formula includes vitamins B3, B6, B12. (14) When reviewing the product for BarBend, Chelsea Rae Bourgeois, R.D. highlighted the overall formula, saying, “All ten ingredients — with no sugar or carbs — are vegan-friendly and gluten-, GMO-, dairy-, and soy-free. I also loved the hefty dose of vitamin C and the 200 milligrams of caffeine.” 

Even though it contains all-natural ingredients and was third-party tested for heavy metals, Bourgeois said, “In order to verify potency and ensure safety, I would love to see some more extensive testing.”

Of all 66 pre-workouts our team has personally tested, this is one of the most affordable. In fact, our tester rated it a perfect 5 out of 5 for that reason. You can expect to pay anywhere from $0.80 to $3 per serving for a pre-workout, so $0.90 per serving is very reasonable considering the pump you can get. One container also includes a whopping 50 servings — 20 more than what you’ll find in many pre-workouts.

Another area our testers rated Naked Energy Pre-Workout a 5 out of 5 was taste. One tester tried the Citrus flavor and noted, “I did enjoy the flavor. It wasn’t too sweet, either.” Another tester mixed the Plain flavor with water and reported, “I think it would taste a little better mixed with a sports drink or something. With just water, I thought it tasted slightly bitter, but it was still good.” Unfortunately, though, it’s only available in three flavors: Fruit Punch, Citrus, and Plain. 

Overall, Bourgeois rated the formula a 3.75 out of 5, saying, “I wasn’t too impressed with the low dose of L-arginine.” The three major ingredients for a pump — L-arginine, beta-alanine, and creatine — are lower than other pre-workouts we have tested. “I saw that they included a small dose of creatine, which was good. That will boost exercise performance even more,” she added. Considering how clean the formula is, we picked Naked Energy Pre-Workout as the best natural pre-workout for a pump.

Best Non-Stim Natural Pre-Workout: Genius Pre 

Genius Pre Workout

Genius Pre Workout

Genius Pre Workout uses all-natural ingredients to deliver a boost of mental and physical energy, pump, and endurance.

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Price Per Serving: $1.89 for a one-time purchase; $1.52 with subscribe-and-save

Servings Per Container: 20

Caffeine Per Serving: None

Key Ingredients: L-citrulline malate, betaine anhydrous, CarnoSyn beta-alanine, AstraGin, ElevATP, L-tyrosine, L-arginine, taurine, AlphaSize, rhodiola rosea, theobromine, HICA, Huperzine A

Available Flavors: Grape Limeade, Sour Apple, Blue Raspberry, Sour Cherry


For those sensitive to stimulants like caffeine, it is completely stim-free.

It contains strong doses of ingredients — huperzia serrata and rhodiola rosea — that may improve focus and cognition.

There is a big dose of L-citrulline malate to promote increased blood flow during your workout, which can produce a good muscle pump.


Some users may experience some skin tingling.

While it uses common proprietary blends, we can’t be completely sure how much of each ingredient is in those blends.

Stimulants like caffeine can help promote mental clarity, but they may also result in anxiety or jitters. Genius PRE’s formula eschews stimulants entirely, relying instead on nootropic ingredients — huperzine A and rhodiola rosea — that research has suggested may help to improve focus and mental agility. (24)(25) Muscle endurance, meanwhile, comes via solid doses of other important ingredients, including L-citrulline malate and betaine anhydrous. 

In fact, our tester rated the overall formula a 4 out of 5 and raved about how they felt during their workouts. “I would honestly describe the effects as euphoric, like I took a mood stabilizer,” they said. “Since there’s no caffeine, I felt relaxed instead of stimulated.” Chelsea Rae Bourgeois, R.D. also praised Genius PRE’s formulation when reviewing it for BarBend. “I think it’s a great stimulant-free option. For those sensitive to caffeine, you can avoid the jitters during your workout and recovery.”

BarBend tester Nick English trying out Genius Pre.

The lineup of ingredients in its formula makes it one of the best non-stim pre-workouts we’ve tested. In addition to the ingredients that promote focus and mental clarity, its 6 grams of L-citrulline malate is in line with the optimum research-backed amounts. The 2 grams of beta-alanine is at the lower end of the recommended 2 to 5 gram range, but, as our tester noted, “I liked that it was a small dose because the tingling was minimal.” (8)

This lower dose of beta-alanine also plays a role in the pump you can get from Genius PRE. “My shoulders were pumped from it and I did a lot of upper back work. The pump didn’t last very long, but it was really good,” our tester noted. “The pump was fading right as I was finishing up lifting.” 

Bourgeois attributed this to one specific ingredient. “I like that Genius prioritizes L-citrulline malate in this pre-workout. The 6 grams in each serving is at the upper end of what research has found to be beneficial.”

When it comes to taste, there are four flavor options — Grape Limeade, Sour Apple, Blue Raspberry, and Sour Cherry — and our tester scored it a perfect 5 out of 5. “I tried that Blue Raspberry and it was like a blue Icee. I absolutely loved it,”  he said. “I’ve tried at least 50 different pre-workouts and this is one of the best in terms of taste.” Another tester pointed out, “I think it’s not bitter or anything because it’s naturally-sweetened. It just has a nice, mild flavor.”

Our tester rated Genius PRE just 2 out of 5 for price and servings per container. A typical pre-workout will include around 30 servings — about a month’s supply — so with just 20 servings, you’ll be reupping more often. At $1.89 per serving, it’s also on the higher end of the average range for a pre-workout, which is around $0.80 to $2.00. There is, however, a subscribe-and-save option that lowers the per serving cost to $1.52.

We did see some proprietary blends in the ingredients and Bourgeois called those out. “I know that a bunch of the proprietary blends in Genius PRE are common in pre-workouts,” she explained, “but I still prefer to know exactly what’s in any supplement I’m taking.” 

She rated the overall formulation 4 out of 5, singling out the L-citrulline malate. “Genius PRE is marketed as a super-charged natural pre-workout and, with a whopping 6 grams of L-citrulline malate per serving, I’d definitely agree.”

Best Budget Natural Pre-Workout: Garden of Life Sport Organic Plant-Based Energy + Focus 

Garden of Life Sport Organic Plant-Based Energy + Focus

Garden of Life Sport Organic Plant-Based Energy + Focus

Garden of Life Sport Organic Plant-Based Energy + Focus is an all-natural pre-workout supplement to help sharpen your mental focus ahead of a workout. The caffeine and unique nitric oxide blend consisting of organic ingredients can provide the quick energy boost you need.

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Price Per Serving: $1.14

Servings Per Container: 30

Caffeine Per Serving: 85mg

Key Ingredients: Plant-based antioxidant blend and nitrate blend

Flavors: Blackberry, Blackberry-Cherry


At $1.14 per serving, it’s on the lower end of the average $0.80 to $2.00 pre-workout cost. 

This plant-based option is loaded with powerful nutrients, like vitamins C and B12.

The caffeine comes from natural sources and is about the same amount as a cup of coffee.


It lacks typical pre-workout ingredients intended to promote muscular endurance, like L-citrulline malate, creatine, or beta-alanine.

It can provide an energy boost, but it’s not intended for intense workouts.

The amount of its organic blend of nitric oxide boosters is pretty small — just 1 gram.

If you’re looking to save a few bucks with your workout boost, Garden of Life Sport Organic Energy + Focus may be a good option. It’s our choice for the best budget natural pre-workout because its $1.14 per serving cost is between $0.50 and $1.75 cheaper than pre-workouts from brands like Onnit, Genius, or Transparent Labs. 

We also like its formulation, which consists of plant-based ingredients, vitamins C and B12, and about the same caffeine content as a cup of coffee — around 95 milligrams. Mix up a serving before a workout and you can expect a quick burst of energy and improved focus.

While it doesn’t include common nitric oxide boosters like L-citrulline or L-arginine, it does include an organic nitric oxide blend of beetroot, spinach, and kale. You won’t feel a big pump, but if affordable and plant-based are your main criteria, look no further. Our tester commented, “I don’t think this is really a gymgoers’ pre-workout. If you need to shake out the cobwebs or have a cardio session on tap, it’s fine. It won’t push you to a PR or anything, though.”

When reviewing the product for BarBend, Chelsea Rae Bourgeois, R.D. said, “I loved the lineup of vitamins and nutrients, which will support the energy and focus needed to rock a great workout. It’s also vegan-friendly and Informed Choice Certified.” 

The organic antioxidant energy blend contains cane sugar, baobab fruit, coffeeberry, whole coffee fruit extract, and emblic fruit extract. Bourgeois also said, “The ingredients in the blends are impressive, but I just don’t like that the amounts are not disclosed.”

She also mentioned that, while it’s good for avoiding the jitters and a crash, it may feel similar to drinking a cup of coffee before a workout. “I’m not sure that 85 milligrams of caffeine would be enough for most people taking a pre-workout.” Compared to the average caffeine content in pre-workouts — around 150 milligrams to 300 milligrams — this is low, but that may be preferable for those with caffeine sensitivities. (1)

While our tester rated the taste a 4 out of 5, they thought the Blackberry flavor was a little too close to candy. They said, “I thought it tasted a little like candy. I didn’t hate that, but it was definitely my first thought.” It did mix very well — 5 out of 5 for solubility — but Bourgeois also remarked, “I wish there were more than just two flavors.”

Bourgeois rated the formulation a 3.5 out of 5, saying, “I don’t see anything alarming to call out in this pre-workout.” The lineup of vitamins, natural caffeine, and plant-based ingredients are just enough for a good focus and energy boost. Garden of Life Sport Organic Energy + Focus may not be ideal for competitive weightlifters, but at a very affordable $1.14 per serving, we think it’s the best budget natural pre-workout. 

Best Organic Natural Pre-Workout: Ora Organic Pre-Workout Powder

Ora Organic Pre-Workout Powder

Ora Organic Pre-Workout Powder

Ora Organic Pre-Workout Powder provides an energy boost using organic and whole-food ingredients. You’ll find no artificial sweeteners, colors, or flavors.

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Price Per Serving: $1.84

Servings Per Container: 30

Caffeine Per Serving: 90mg

Key Ingredients: Ashwagandha, rhodiola root, maca, pomegranate juice powder, beetroot powder, calcium, sodium, potassium, yerba mate, matcha

Available Flavors: Raspberry Lemonade, Beet Pomegranate, Ceremonial Matcha


The formula eschews artificial junk for organic and whole-food ingredients.

It contains 9 grams of carbohydrates and no added sugar.

It’s vegan and non-GMO, as well as dairy-, gluten-, and soy-free.

It has been third-party tested for purity and safety.


Despite its organic nitric oxide blend, it doesn’t provide much of a pump.

Ora lists the ingredients in each of its blends, but we can’t be sure how much of each ingredient is present.

For people who need a boost, but only want organic ingredients with no added sugars, we picked Ora Organic Pre-Workout Powder. It’s the best organic natural pre-workout because all of the ingredients used are USDA certified organic, which means its formula is made of whole foods and zero artificial ingredients. While it doesn’t contain some classic pre-workout ingredients — L-citrulline, beta-alanine, or L-arginine — its organic nitric oxide blend can help promote blood flow and muscle endurance.

Our tester, who is certified as both a nutrition coach and personal trainer, appreciated the whole food ingredients. However, the total amount of the organic nitric oxide blend wasn’t quite enough for a sizable boost for an intense workout. They said, “I don’t see any typical pre-workout ingredients except caffeine. In the nitric oxide blend, it has beetroot powder extract, but I didn’t really feel a muscle pump since there was so little of it.” 

Another of its blends — Organic Focus and Endurance Adaptogens — is a cocktail of completely organic ingredients intended to keep you focused during your workout. In this blend you’ll find well-researched ingredients that support cognition — ashwagandha, rhodiola root, ginseng, maca root, cordyceps mushroom, and eleuthero root. These natural ingredients promote mental clarity, memory, and have shown neuroprotective properties. Some studies have even shown these ingredients to ease pain and muscle damage after exercise. (11)(26)(27)(28)(29)(30)(31)

Ora Organic Pre-Workout Powder is going to be for those who want to increase their focus and get a quick energy boost from the 90 milligrams of caffeine. As Chelsea Rae Bourgeois, R.D. summed it up for BarBend, “I think with the power of these whole-food ingredients, this formula should provide a moderate energy boost. The amount of caffeine is about as much as a cup of coffee, so that can help improve athletic performance without the jitters.”

Since all its ingredients are certified organic, it’s perfect for athletes who need vegan and non-GMO products. It’s also dairy-, gluten-, and soy-free for anyone with those sensitivities. The 9 grams of carbohydrates are enough to provide your muscles with some energy. 

Bourgeois pointed that out, specifically, saying, “I love that the Ora Organic Pre-Workout Powder formula has a small amount of carbohydrates without any added sugar. The fact that it’s third-party tested for purity and safety is also a huge plus.”

Our tester only rated the taste a 2 out of 5, saying, “I tried the Raspberry Lemonade and it certainly tasted ‘natural’ and very earthy. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but the aftertaste was not good at all.” It comes in three flavors — Raspberry Lemonade, Beet Pomegranate, and Ceremonial Matcha. She also rated the solubility a 3 out of 5, and said, “I thought it mixed up just OK — not super grainy, but not super smooth.”

Bourgeois’s final word on Ora Organic Pre-Workout Powder was that, while she was happy to see its organic blends contain all-natural ingredients, the fact that they are proprietary blends means we don’t know exactly how much of each is in it. “While Ora Organic is transparent about the ingredients in each blend, since it’s a proprietary blend, I still can’t be 100% sure about the amounts,” she said.

Ora Organic Pre-Workout Powder is our top pick for best organic pre-workout because its target demographic will find a natural boost for moderate-to-low-intensity workouts. It is a great option for anyone with dietary restrictions like gluten or soy, or anyone committed to eating whole food ingredients. While we don’t think you’ll see it floating around powerlifting gyms, Bourgeois rated its formula 3.75 out of 5 because, as she said, “I’m fully confident that the whole foods and natural ingredients can help improve your performance.”

Best Natural Pre-Workout With BCAAs: Truth Nutrition Pre-Workout 

Truth Nutrition Pre-Workout

Truth Nutrition Pre-Workout

Truth Nutrition Pre-Workout contains all-natural ingredients, including a BCAA combination of L-leucine, L-isoleucine, and L-valine, which can promote muscle growth and prevent muscle fatigue.

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Price Per Serving: $1.52

Servings Per Container: 25

Caffeine Per Serving: 150mg

Key Ingredients: BioPerine, elevATP, quercetin, NeuroFactor, L-tyrosine, coconut water powder, whole tart cherry

Available Flavors: Lemonade, Orange Tangerine, Fruit Punch


It includes a 1-gram BCAA combination of L-leucine, L-isoleucine, and L-valine in a 2:1:1 ratio, which can promote muscle growth and prevent muscle fatigue.

It contains no synthetic flavors, dyes, or sweeteners.

There are several ingredients — coconut water powder, Himalayan salt, and potassium — that support hydration.


You won’t find any ingredients that promote muscle endurance, like L-citrulline or beta-alanine.

Reviews are mixed regarding the taste. 

The best BCAA supplements contain L-leucine, L-isoleucine, and L-valine, three amino acids that are essential for those looking to build muscle. Truth Nutrition Pre-Workout is our pick for best natural pre-workout with BCAAs because its formula includes those three essential amino acids in the optimal clinically-indicated 2:1:1 ratio. Despite the need for more research in this area, one study suggested that the combination of leucine, isoleucine and valine increased protein synthesis even better than leucine on its own. (32)

“Overall, BCAAs reduced the level of muscle damage biomarkers and muscle soreness following muscle-damaging exercises,” per one meta-analysis. (33) As far as recovery goes, BCAAs are indicated to lessen the muscle damage symptoms that slow recovery. Chelsea Rae Bourgeois, R.D. singled out the BCAAs in her BarBend assessment, saying, “I’d give Truth Nutrition Pre-Workout high marks for including BCAAs in its formulation.”

While you won’t find L-citrulline, beta-alanine, or other ingredients that promote muscle endurance, our tester, a competitive weightlifter, rated its formula a 4 out 5. “Since there is no beta-alanine, I didn’t have any tingles like I might feel with other pre-workouts,” they said. “I definitely felt a good energy boost, though.” The 150 milligrams of caffeine is at the low end of the average range of caffeine in pre-workouts — 150 milligrams to 300 milligrams — but may be plenty to feel the same boost our tester did.  

Its plant-based ingredients are all vegan-friendly and non-GMO, and there are no synthetic flavors, colors, or sweeteners. Bourgeois also highlighted the ingredients that support hydration. “I was glad they included components like coconut water powder, Himalayan salt, and potassium because these will all support hydration,” she noted. “I was honestly impressed to see bioperine. It helps your body absorb nutrients better.”

It comes in three flavors — Lemonade, Orange Tangerine, and Fruit Punch — and our tester rated the taste 4 out 5. She tried the Lemonade flavor and pointed out, “For me, it was a little sour, but it tasted just like lemonade.” She also rated the solubility a 5 out of 5 and mentioned, “I was able to get it to completely dissolve in 16 oz. of water.” The taste seemed to be an issue in the customer reviews, but Truth offers a 30-day money back or exchange guarantee, so you could swap it out after you try it.

The price tag of $1.52 per serving is around the average for a pre-workout, so if you like the ingredients and need a plant-based boost with BCAAs, we think Truth Nutrition Pre-Workout is the best natural pre-workout with BCAAs. You can also subscribe for recurring orders and get a 15% discount on your first order, then 20% off any subsequent orders.

Bourgeois was impressed with the overall formula, rating it 4 out of 5. “Many of the factors that I know make a good pre-workout are addressed in the formula by the plant-based ingredients,” she said. Like many natural pre-workouts that use plant-based or organic ingredients, it will be difficult to get a muscle pump for an intense workout. 

However, Bourgeois pointed out other benefits of its formula, saying, “In my opinion, with this dose of caffeine, mix of electrolytes and its nutrient-dense ingredients, you can get a good boost with Truth Nutrition Pre-Workout.”

Best Vegan Natural Pre-Workout: Vega Sport Energizer

Vega Sport Pre-Workout

Vega Sport Pre-Workout

Vega Sport Pre-Workout’s all-natural ingredients and sugar-free formula can provide the boost you need for your workout with no artificial sweeteners, colors, or flavors.

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Price Per Serving: $1.21

Servings Per Container: 35

Caffeine Per Serving: 100mg

Key Ingredients: Caffeine, calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, coffeeberry, green tea extract, rhodiola rosea extract

Available Flavors: Berry, Strawberry Lemonade


The formula contains a plant-based energy and focus blend, featuring green tea extract, rhodiola, and coffeeberry.

It offers a moderate dose of caffeine to get you energized for your workout.

It provides 50% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin B12, which is key to red blood cell formation.


We think it’s better suited for a run, as opposed to an intense workout.

It contains 15 grams of added sugar, which is high, even though it’s from a natural source — stevia leaf extract.

There are no components like L-citrulline or beta-alanine to promote muscle endurance.

With its plant-based and certified vegan formulation, Vega Sport Energizer was an easy choice for best vegan natural pre-workout. Assessing the product for BarBend, Chelsea Rae Bourgeois, R.D. pointed out, “While it’s not a typical pre-workout formula, I see lots of ingredients that support mental focus and hydration.” The 100 milligrams of caffeine from natural sources like coffee fruit and green tea will give you an energy boost for your workout. Considering the average cup of coffee contains around 95 milligrams of caffeine, this amount is unlikely to produce many jitters.

Another element of the formulation Bourgeois liked was the amount of vitamin B12. “You’ll get around 50% of your B12 daily recommended value in every serving, and I’ve always thought B12 was underrated in supplements like these,” she highlighted. “The role B12 plays in red blood cell formation is just one of its essential roles.” 

The formula also includes 69% of your daily value for vitamin C — 62 milligrams — which is sourced from an ingredient we loved seeing: acerola cherry extract. This powerful antioxidant has been shown to reduce muscle damage, oxidative stress/inflammation, and muscle soreness in athletes. (34)

Even though our tester — a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach — decided they wouldn’t use it for an intense workout in the gym, they said, “I would take this if I had a run or even for yoga. But for weights? Probably not.” Since it is lacking some of the widely-used components for muscle endurance or a pump — L-citrulline, beta-alanine, or L-arginine — we would recommend it for light day in the weight room or cardio workouts at home

Despite coming from stevia leaf extract, the 15 grams of added sugar may be a bit much. Bourgeois commented, “I’m not totally anti-sugar, but before a workout, I would probably just grab a banana for a more cost-effective way to get some carbs in.” 

The added sugar was part of the reason our tester said the flavor had a unique profile. “I had the Berry flavor and it reminded me of cotton candy. It was as if someone mixed cotton candy powder with water,” he described. “That was not a bad thing, but it’s just a flavor I’ve never come across in a pre-workout.” The taste and solubility both earned a 4 out 5 rating, although we didn’t get a chance to try the Strawberry Lemonade flavor.

For all its premium ingredients, Vega Sport Energizer costs just $1.21 per serving, which is on the lower end of the $0.80 to $2 average for pre-workouts. If you’re in the market for a vegan-friendly boost for a run or elliptical session, this pre-workout may hit the spot. Those looking to pump iron, however, will want a pre-workout with ingredients like citrulline and beta-alanine.  

Our tester and Bourgeois both rated the overall formulation a 4 out 5 because, for the athlete looking for all-natural, plant-based ingredients, this pre-workout gets the job done. “With its moderate dose of caffeine and lineup of vitamins, I’d give Vega Sport Energizer’s formulation a 4 out of 5,” she said. 

Best Tasting Natural Pre-Workout: Transparent Labs BULK BLACK

Transparent Labs BULK Black

Transparent Labs BULK Black

Transparent Labs BULK Black is one of the strongest pre-workout supplements on the market. This product comes in five delicious flavors and has high levels of must-have pre-workout ingredients, like caffeine, citrulline, and beta-alanine.

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Price Per Serving: $1.83

Servings Per Container: 30

Caffeine Per Serving: 275mg

Key Ingredients: Citrulline, beta-alanine, betaine, taurine, L-tyrosine, Alpha-GPC, caffeine, L-theanine, theobromine

Available Flavors: Cherry Kiwi, Blue Raspberry, Peach Mango, Sour Gummy, Black Cherry


BULK BLACK comes in five flavors and Peach Mango earned a 5 out of 5 from our tester.

It contains 8 grams of L-citrulline malate and 4 grams of beta-alanine for a serious pump and prolonged endurance.

It’s geared toward strength athletes looking for a high stimulant dose — 275 milligrams of caffeine.


The high amount of beta-alanine may cause some tingling.

It’s not intended for casual lifters.

Transparent Labs BULK BLACK is one of our highest-rated pre-workouts. One reason our testing team loves it? The taste. The 5 out of 5 flavor rating and five delicious options made it a no-brainer for our best-tasting natural pre-workout. “The Peach Mango made me feel like I was sipping a tropical drink on the beach — just from my shaker bottle,” our tester raved, “It was totally unlike other pre-workouts I’ve had to just gulp down.”

They’ve tested 18 pre-workouts for us and this is their highest-rated for taste. Between Cherry Kiwi, Blue Raspberry, Peach Mango, Sour Gummy, and Black Cherry, we felt most people can find a flavor they love, too. It also earned a 5 out of 5 for solubility and had our tester saying, “I got it blended right up — easy like Sunday morning.” 

The good times won’t stop after your first sip, either. Its formula is loaded with research-backed effective doses for important ingredients that promote muscle endurance and performance: 8 grams of L-citrulline malate, 4 grams of beta-alanine, 2.5 grams of betaine anhydrous, and 1.3 grams of taurine. (12)(8)(35

Our BarBend tester mixing up Transparent Labs BULK BLACK.

Chelsea Rae Bourgeois, R.D. called out two features of the formula when reviewing the product for BarBend. “Since BULK BLACK is a fairly high stimulant pre-workout formula, I love that it is third-party tested,” she explained. An average cup of coffee contains around 95 milligrams of caffeine, so the 275-milligram dose of caffeine in Transparent Labs BULK BLACK certainly qualifies as high-stim. “I’d also give a gold star for that whopping dose of 8 grams of L-citrulline malate,” she raved. “That’s at the high end of the range proven to promote improved strength, muscle endurance, and aerobic performance.”  

Another thoughtful inclusion she noted was the taurine to offset the big dose of beta-alanine. “When I saw the 4 grams of beta-alanine, I immediately looked for the taurine content,” she said. “I was glad to see that Transparent Labs included 1.3 grams of taurine per serving to help stave off taurine deficiency from the high dose of beta-alanine.” Doses of beta-alanine this high can result in some skin tingling, but our tester noted, “For me, the face tingles were very minimal. What was noticeable were the strength gains.”

With the combination of L-citrulline malate, beta-alanine, and betaine anhydrous, you may have some big pumps coming your way. That was the case for our tester. “On my first day using Transparent Labs BULK BLACK, I hit personal records on two lifts. I felt so ‘locked-in,’” he said.

At $1.83 per serving, Transparent Labs BULK BLACK is on the higher end of the average for pre-workouts  — around $0.80 to $2.00 — but our tester was adamant that it is worth it. “I know the elephant in the room is the price, but this is 100% worth it,” he said. “I honestly felt so focused. All I could think about was crushing my next set.”

Bourgeois emphasized that this pre-workout is not for those just starting a beginner workout plan. “I think this would be geared towards avid lifters and athletes who are used to the effects of these ingredients,” she said. She was encouraged by the fact that Transparent Labs is exactly that — transparent — about its ingredients, as well as being third-party tested. 

However, she did bring her overall rating — 4.25 out of 5 — down because we don’t know for sure how much of each ingredient is in its proprietary blends. “At least for me, I like to know exactly what I’m putting in my body.”

How We Chose the Best Natural Pre-Workouts

Whether you are powerlifting, going for a run, or rolling out your yoga mat, there’s plenty to consider when choosing a pre-workout. We rated each of them on a scale of 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest) and calculated an overall score. As we tested over 65 pre-workouts, we considered the ingredients, value, dose, and taste when putting together our picks for the best natural options.


What makes any pre-workout effective is the ingredients. There are well-researched, go-to ingredients that many pre-workouts contain, so knowing what to expect from each one is vital to making the right choice for you. Our testers evaluated each natural pre-workout looking for five key ingredients: caffeine, creatine, beta-alanine, citrulline, citrulline-malate. 

Credit: maruco / Shutterstock

Another important component is the inclusion of electrolytes — like calcium, sodium, and potassium — that support hydration to keep your muscles contracting. We also sought to include natural pre-workouts with unique ingredients like nootropics and BCAAs. There is a wide variety of products on the market, and we aimed to provide you with a diverse range of options.


When you’re deciding whether a natural pre-workout is worth your hard-earned cash, pay attention to the price per serving, not just the price of a tub. The servings per container can vary and can be confusing when comparing options. The value of your pre-workout depends on your goals, but in terms of price, products that use all-natural ingredients or whole foods tend to be more expensive. 

The impact on your workout is another element of the value. The price per serving is not indicative of the quality of the product. It was important to us to include a wide range of price options to accommodate different types of consumers. We intentionally provided budget options that still checked a lot of boxes, as well as pricier options. Each pick was rated on the same criteria using the same methodology, so no matter the price, each natural pre-workout earned its place on our list.


Since you will be using your natural pre-workout often, it’s important that you actually enjoy — or can at least tolerate — the taste. All of our picks were personally tested, and while personal tastes can vary, our testers rated the flavor of each one. Since these all use natural sweeteners like stevia or monk fruit extract, it’s also important to consider how those differ from artificial sweeteners you may be used to in other foods and drinks you consume.


The stimulant used in all of these picks — except for the non-stim option — is caffeine. If you have been living on Earth for a while, chances are you have consumed some caffeine. It’s the most accessible stimulant on the planet, but some athletes can tolerate more than others. To feel the same energy and awareness boost, some people may need wildly different doses. 

For comparison, consider how a typical cup of coffee or energy drink makes you feel and check the amount of caffeine on the label. Heavy doses of caffeine can give some people jitters or increase post-training anxiety. We made sure to include options that contain the highest recommended amount — or even beyond it — as well as a completely stimulant-free option for those who avoid caffeine altogether.

Key Ingredients in the Best Natural Pre-Workouts

What makes any pre-workout effective is the ingredients. There are well-researched, go-to ingredients that many pre-workouts contain, like caffeine, citrulline, beta-alanine, and betaine anhydrous. Also, in a natural pre-workout, you should not see artificial sweeteners, flavors, or dyes. Knowing what to expect from each ingredient is vital to making the right choice for you.  


One of the most common stimulants in pre-workouts — and on Earth, actually — is caffeine. A typical cup of coffee has about 95 milligrams of caffeine. The average range for caffeine content in available pre-workouts is around 150 milligrams to 300 milligrams. Caffeine is very much a drug, so it’s important to know how your body reacts to it and your tolerance for it.  


Citrulline and citrulline-malate — citrulline combined with malic acid — are amino acids that are nitric oxide precursors. Nitric oxide promotes the relaxation of vascular smooth muscle, which leads to increased blood flow during workouts. (36) What does that mean? Increased blood flow can increase muscular endurance to help you get those last few reps in or hit one more set. 

Credit: Kitreel / Shutterstock

While assessing pre-workouts for BarBend, Chelsea Rae Bourgeois, R.D. pointed out, “Most of the research I’ve seen points to training benefits in doses of at least 3 grams.” Depending on your needs, look for amounts around the average of 4 to 6 grams per serving for citrulline and 6 to 8 grams for citrulline malate. (3)  


Another common ingredient you’ll see in pre-workout supplements is beta-alanine, which is also linked to improved muscular endurance. (8) Because of that, using it in a pre-workout helps promote hypertrophy. This amino acid can also cause a common tingling sensation known as paresthesia. You’ll see doses in our picks up to 4 grams per serving, as well as some with no beta-alanine at all. 

Betaine Anhydrous

With its link to improved power output, blood flow and muscular endurance, betaine anhydrous — containing no water — is common on our list of the best natural pre-workouts because it is found in beets and leafy greens. (9) It has also been linked to a possible decrease in post-exercise cortisol, the body’s main stress hormone. An effective dose is around 2.5 grams per day. (37)

Natural Sweeteners

With so many artificial sweeteners in common foods and beverages, it’s important to know how to spot them on a label. When searching for a natural pre-workout supplement, look for ingredients like sucralose, aspartame, acesulfame-K, sorbitol, mannitol, or neotame. A natural pre-workout will use — you guessed it — natural sweeteners like stevia, erythritol, organic cane sugar, monk fruit, and other fruit-derived sweeteners.

Benefits of Natural Pre-Workouts

Pre-workouts can give you a boost for grueling powerlifting sets, or simply increase your focus for a long run. Whatever the reason you are considering a pre-workout, it’s important to know as much as possible about the ingredients. The best natural pre-workouts will avoid using artificial sweeteners, flavors, or dyes, while still helping you hit your goals for individual workouts. 

Increased Muscle Endurance and Focus

Depending on the formula, natural pre-workouts can provide the same benefits as other pre-workouts — increased endurance, focus, performance, and energy levels. The best natural pre-workouts often contain the same crucial ingredients for muscle endurance — citrulline, beta-alanine, arginine, or creatine. Beta-alanine may also help reduce lactate concentrations, which may also improve performance. (38)

No Artificial Sweeteners

Like many accessible foods and beverages, pre-workouts can contain added sugars and artificial sweeteners. When you see some of these common sweeteners — like sucralose, aspartame, or acesulfame-K — you know that sweet taste was cooked up in a lab somewhere. Natural sweeteners — monk fruit, stevia, or erythritol —  are derived from natural sources like stevia or fruit. 

Billion Photos/Shutterstock

The lack of artificial sweeteners caters to consumers who try to embrace clean diets, as well as avoid empty or unnecessary calories. Also, natural pre-workouts generally do not contain the gums or thickening agents typically used to improve the texture or solubility of the powder. 

Increased Energy

Caffeine has been linked to increased power, perceived exertion, and endurance for athletes. (39)(40)(41) One study found that using caffeine as a supplement helped athletes improve their speed, reaction time, and decision-making. (42) The amount of caffeine in natural pre-workouts can vary wildly. An average cup of coffee will contain around 95 milligrams, but a serving of a highly caffeinated pre-workout can contain up to 350 milligrams.

What To Consider Before Buying a Natural Pre-Workout 

With so many ingredients and doses, trying to make the connection between pre-workout and intended effect can be confusing. That’s where we come in. Here are some considerations for choosing which natural pre-workout can help you reach your goals.

Dietary Needs

Natural pre-workouts are free from artificial ingredients, so they’re ideal for those who adopt plant-based or vegan diets. However, some of these ingredients can have acute effects that you need to consider. For instance, If you have tried a pre-workout with beta-alanine and you didn’t like the tingling sensation it caused, look for a formula with a lower dose or that excludes it completely.

One of the benefits of natural pre-workouts is that they’re more likely to be free of common allergens, but those with soy, gluten, or lactose sensitivities will still want to scan the label before purchasing. The same goes for those with caffeine sensitivities. Even natural options tend to contain around 150 milligrams to 300 milligrams of caffeine, so those prone to jitters may want to seek out non-stim or low-dose options. 

Fitness Goals

Keep in mind that the natural pre-workout you choose should have one purpose: supporting your personal fitness goals. Depending on what your goals are, you may need a pre-workout with specific ingredients to get you there. 

Credit: Mangkorn Danggura / Shutterstock

For example, if your primary concern is how to build muscle, it might be best to search for ingredients like citrulline that promote muscle endurance to allow you to get in a few more reps. If you are just looking for a quick energy boost for your daily run, focus on the caffeine content.


When you’re considering which natural pre-workout to invest your money in, it’s important to first establish your own budget. Many products on the market are similar, so remember to compare the price per serving to the amount of servings in each container. One serving is typically the amount you’ll use for one workout, so if you are completing four workouts per week, calculate how much four servings would cost to start to plan which pre-workout is best suited to your budget. 

Final Word

If you are looking for a good muscle pump, increased focus, or a jolt of energy for that early morning or post-work training session, natural pre-workouts can check all of those boxes without artificial ingredients. For increased blood flow that promotes muscle endurance, look for citrulline, citrulline-malate, beta-alanine, or arginine. For an energy boost and mental clarity, check for the amount of caffeine or the inclusion of nootropics like ashwagandha and rhodiola rosea.  

After testing over 65 pre-workouts and studying the formulas of each one, we have compiled our top picks for any athlete needing a pre-workout boost. In addition to the ingredients, we evaluated the cost, taste, side effects, and more so you can make an informed decision. Whether you are trying to PR, are sensitive to stimulants like caffeine, or only want Cherry Kiwi flavors in your life, our team of fitness experts singled out the best natural pre-workouts to help you meet your fitness goals.


What is the best natural pre-workout?

Our pick for the best overall natural pre-workout is Legion Athletics Pulse because it remains all natural while providing the perfect doses of everything you’d want in a well-rounded natural pre-workout: citrulline, beta-alanine, betaine anhydrous for a pump; sodium, potassium, calcium to support hydration; and 350 milligrams of caffeine to help get you in the zone. Our registered dietician and testers agreed that it was the most balanced formula of the natural pre-workouts we tested.

What makes a pre-workout “natural”?

A natural pre-workout will include a lot of the same ingredients that regular pre-workouts do. You’ll see caffeine, citrulline, beta-alanine, and maybe even creatine or arginine. The difference is the extra stuff. In a natural pre-workout, you won’t see any dyes, artificial flavors, or artificial sweeteners — like sucralose or aspartame — on the label.

Which pre-workout has the most natural ingredients?

The most natural ingredient formula in our list belongs to Ora Organic. It uses only whole foods, contains USDA certified organic ingredients, and nothing artificial. The downside is that it doesn’t contain typical pre-workout ingredients you might see for muscle endurance, but its nitric oxide blend can still promote the blood flow necessary to pound out an extra rep or two. Add in the 95 milligrams of caffeine and this all-natural pre-workout can still provide the boost you need.


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