Our top pick for the best caffeine free pre workout supplement for most people is NutraBio PRE Stim Free. NutraBio’s PRE Stim Free dosing, the quality of their ingredients, and the effect that Stim Free has on training give it a comfortable lead on any of their competition.
We’ve all been there, tired out and wasted before we even hit the gym. Lethargy hits you and you struggle to motivate yourself: it can be hard to even get to the gym sometimes, let alone putting in the level of intensity you want.
Even if you’re not feeling it, you might want a bit of a boost. You might want something a little extra to gee you up and spur you on as you train.
Either way, this is where pre-workout supplements come into their own.
Pre-workout supplements can significantly improve your athletic performance. When combined with high intensity interval style training (HIIT), they can help you increase your VO2 max, and on the gym floor you will be able to increase training volume to build more lean body mass.
For low- to moderately-trained athletes, pre-workout supplements can help with fat burning.
However, not all pre-workouts are created equal. Some of the products out there will light you up, exploding your brain and body so that you shake like you’re in an earthquake and have no choice but to throw all that excess energy at something… usually the barbell.
Whilst this may suit some people, such bursts of energy can have deleterious effects on your health, and the jitters you get from them can affect your sleep patterns and recovery (see below.) For this reason, we’ve compiled a list of supplements that can give you a boost in the gym without keeping you awake for days on end: caffeine-free pre-workout supplements.
We’ve given you some really strong picks with this list. Though some have a few minor flaws, focussing more on pumps or more on energy, they are all incredibly functional, well-designed formulas that will deliver you the highest standard in pre workout supplementation.
Our Top 6 Caffeine Free Pre-Workout Supplements
- NutraBio PRE Stim Free (Our Top Pick)
- RSP Nutrition Pump Boost
- BPI Sports Pump-HD
- Evogen EVP
- BSN N.O.-XPLODE Stim-Free
- MAN Pump Sports Powder
Our Top Pick
If you do decide to buy any of the products on our list, you will be making a good investment and getting a product that will help you to achieve your fitness goals.
There was always going to be a top candidate, though. For us, this has to be NutraBio PRE Stim Free.
This is based on a few things. Though it doesn’t give you as good a pump as some of the other offerings on this list, it does what is arguably the most important thing a pre workout can do: it primes you perfectly for your forthcoming training session, giving you the tools you need to push yourself to the max.
It’s the best at what it does.
Choosing the Best Caffeine-Free Pre-Workout
What makes a good pre-workout?
Without the proper fuel before you go into training, you’ll find your energy levels lacking and fatigue building up faster. You may even be weaker than you otherwise would. This is what pre-workout supplements are formulated to change: they are the energy you need, when you need it the most.
Most people mix their pre-workout supplements around a half hour before they begin training. In this way, they supply their bodies with all they need to keep themselves going: glucose for blood sugar, and whatever else the supplement blend offers. This is a must for usage: all those on the list can be used with great effect in this way.
Though they come in a variety of forms, flavours and styles, all pre-workouts should boost your energy levels and keep you zeroed in and able during training. The following list is made of supplements that achieve this to a high degree.
Though pre-workouts are fairly ubiquitous in gym and supplement circles these days, stimulant- and caffeine-free ones are much thinner on the ground: your selection suddenly constricts to just a few players.
Many of these aren’t worth the money. A majority of pre-workouts supplements fall down when you remove the caffeine. Caffeine- alongside other, similar stimulants- is so built into the recipe and concept of the pre-workout that they cannot function properly without it.
Supplements that go stimulant free but base their concept on the original, caffeine-heavy formulas are therefore a little lacklustre.
However, good quality caffeine-free pre-workout supplements can be found, and the following are guaranteed to do what you need them to do. This means that even though there are no stimulants present any of the following supplements, they will all still function well taken pre-workout.
They will all enhance your performance, which is what you should expect for the money.
What are we looking for?
There are a few things that we’re looking for in stimulant- and caffeine- free pre workouts with the above in mind.
Firstly, public opinion matters: all of the following have a plethora of positive reviews and feedback from across the web. With so many people attesting to their efficacy, each one is sure to give you the help you need. Other than this, expert feedback is vital. We have reviewed each of these products and deliver honest feedback based on professional experience.
Finally, with these two conditions met- with the public at large satisfied and our own feedback in place- the most important thing is results. Can a formula deliver a heightened, energised workout, with decreased fatigue, increased workload and more of a fat burn? All of the items on our list can, to a greater or lesser degree.
Basically, these really are the best caffeine free pre workout supplements on today’s market, proven to work, proven to give you the benefits that you’re after. You will not be disappointed when you hit the gym floor if you take any of the following.
Our Top Pick
NutraBio PRE Stim Free stim-free option is a hands down winner.
NutraBio PRE Stim Free are trying to feed your muscles to train harder and go longer. In this, they have aced it. NutraBio PRE Stim Free turned out to be a real heavyweight in ramping up a typical workout.
The pump, whilst not the best, is decent enough. This is thanks to a combination of nitrosigine, agmatine sulphate and citrulline malate. You also get an impressive 3,200 mg of beta-alanine alongside 3 g of creatine monohydrate.
The choline and agmatine that NutraBio PRE Stim Free’s recipe includes will give you a bit of a boost. It’s not a stimulant, but it gets you there. It’s just enough to give you better focus and drive in the gym, without any of the side effects expected of caffeine and other stims. It’s perfect for hypertrophy and pushing through barriers.
Just because NutraBio PRE Stim Free topped our list, it doesn’t mean there aren’t a host of good options. Any one of the following five caffeine free pre workouts could benefit you:
For our first stimulant free pre workout, we have Pump Boost by RSP Nutrition. The main focus of Pump Boost is increasing your workout pump- unsurprisingly, given its name. It certainly does what it says on the tin, which is great news for those of you looking to maximise your vascularity during training.
However, whilst it is undoubtedly good at giving you this pump, it does little else. There is nothing with regards increasing energy, boosting endurance or enhancing strength, as some others on this list will do for you.
Pump Boost is good for a couple of things. First, it’s a good beginner’s product. If you haven’t tried a pre workout before and want to start out with something that isn’t too ferocious, it will serve as a good introduction. Second, if you do only want a pump- or if you struggle with any kind of blood flow/vascularity- it will serve you well.
When Pump-HD first started out many years ago, it was loaded with stimulants to really bring the buzz. It would almost light you up. These days it has been mercifully toned down, with all the stimulants removed in a new formula.
As with Pump Boost, its primary goal is to help you chase that pump. You get 6g of the amino acid L-Citrulline per serving, boosting vasodilation nicely. This means that your muscles will have greater blood flow, and thus more energy to play with as you train. More nutrients will be forced into your muscles, aiding recovery (and making you look pretty swole after training, which is quite nice.) It’s often recommended that you take two servings in one go to really make the most of Pump-HD’s new iteration.
Evogen’s EVP formula was one of the first and best stimulant free pre workout supplements. Though it has since been a little swamped, there was a time when the non-stim pre workout world was almost dominated by this offering.
It still holds it own today.
It gives you a great pump while you’re training, is well-beloved by bodybuilders for its ability to fuel large rep ranges, especially when they’re competition ready and flagging a little, and comes with a very well-constructed formula for longer lasting energy. Make sure you don’t confuse it with EVP Plus- the caffeinated version.
N.O.-Xplode is one of the most well-respected names on the pre workout circuit, and their stim-free version lives up to their reputation. It’s gone through several revisions since it first came out as they have worked and re-worked the initial formula, bringing the best of modern science to bear.
N.O.-Xplode Stim-Free is a large formula that is very popular. It tastes really nice, is easily found in most supplement shops and online, and gives you a healthy serving of creatine, bringing lots of energy into your workouts.
However, just because it’s caffeine free, this doesn’t mean it’s completely stim-free, despite its name. It contains DMAE, which is a stimulant. This may be good as it will give you a buzz even as you keep your caffeine levels down: however, if you’re looking to go stim-free entirely for better sleep, pass this one over. In addition, the active ingredients are all quite lightly dosed, so you may need a few servings in one to feel much of a benefit.
MAN’s Pump Powder is a very intelligently designed, useful supplement. It’s very simply designed, with its formula revolving around just a handful of main ingredients, all of which are very well dosed (far more so than some of the other entries on this list.) A serving is a serving, giving you everything you need to hit your workout hard.
It’s also very well flavoured- though artificially so- and will bring you one of the best pumps you’ve ever felt. However, as with a couple of other entries on this list, it won’t do a whole lot more than simply giving you a good pump- a worthy aim in itself, but more could be made of a pre workout.
Why Would You Want To Go Caffeine Free With Your Supplements?
Caffeinated pre-workout supplements are great. As mentioned above, they can give you the energy boost you need to stay focused and active, to get the most out of your time on the gym floor. So, if they’re so good, why would you try any of the above: why would you choose to go caffeine free?
We all see coffee every day: most of us drink it. Billions do. It perks us up, wakes us up in the morning, keeps us going all day long. However, whilst it is pretty safe in moderation, there are a great many benefits to either cutting down consumption, or even cutting it out altogether.
There are many health reasons why you might want to keep your caffeine intake down, which is why caffeine free pre workouts might be for you. Here are 8 reasons why going caffeine free could benefit your health and fitness goals.
8 Benefits of Going Caffeine Free
1. Caffeine is Addictive
Though we may not think of it as addictive in the same way that smoking, drugs and alcohol can be, caffeine is actually quite an addictive substance. Many people depend on it to function normally, to keep themselves going, to get through long, stressful days in the office.
Many people depend on it to get them through a workout, too. Rather than giving you an edge in the gym, it becomes a baseline. Rather than boosting you, you find that you can’t train without caffeine.
This is a vicious cycle that it’s well worth avoiding as your brain’s chemistry changes to necessitate ever increasing doses just to feel a buzz. Cutting down on caffeine- or even going cold turkey- will allow you to break this cycle.
2. Your Mood Will improve
Caffeine is a mood-altering drug, even if it might not seem obviously so. It’s common enough for people to feel grumpy before their morning espresso, at which point they begin to buzz: it’s common to see people cheer up visibly after a mug of Joe.
The flip side is true. A caffeine deficit, when you’re used to it, can and often will leave you depressed. Quitting caffeine can bring a halt to these mood swings, re-establishing a baseline at which your normal mood cycles can occur.
In addition, caffeine is well-known for its ability to induce heightened anxiety levels. Caffeine stimulates the adrenal glands- which is one of the reasons it gives you energy. This also inspires fight or flight, which is a state in which your body places itself under duress.
Many people have found their anxiety levels falling when cutting down on caffeine.
3. Your Blood Pressure Will Lower
Caffeine can raise the blood pressure and resting heart rate to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the person and the amount taken. However, everyone can benefit from cutting down or quitting: it can lower your blood pressure and keep your heart from working so hard at rest.
As well as this, you will find that the jitters- a common side-effect of excessive caffeine consumption- will go away as you cut down. Aside from being borderline debilitating at times, the jitters also speaks of decreased motor control- motor control that is vital in executing lifts with proper form.
Cut out the caffeine and you’ll be able to have steady hands and breathing to go with your lower blood pressure: all of this will combine to make your lifts better, stricter and more fluid in the gym.
4. You Will Sleep Better
It wakes you up: this is caffeine’s main use to most people. The trouble is that you don’t always want to be awake. If you take in caffeine too late in the day, you may not be able to sleep: caffeine has a half-life of up to six hours, meaning that its results linger long after the initial buzz fades.
If you like to train much after midday, it may well be worth cutting out pre workouts loaded with stimulants and opt for something from our list above. This way, when you go to bed, you’ll be able to shut off properly.
5. You Will Likely Suffer Fewer Headaches
It’s quite common for those who take in excessive amounts of caffeine to suffer with headaches. As mentioned above, caffeine can contribute a great deal to anxiety, stress and sleeplessness, all of which are causes of headaches. In addition, caffeine can vary the size of the blood vessels around your brain, causing additional stress.
Caffeine can also trigger migraines.
Fasting from caffeine can cause withdrawal headaches at first, but with a little time, you will find that your head will feel better as these symptoms die down.
6. You May Reduce Your Risk of Suffering Cardiac Events
As caffeine stimulates the heart muscle, it forces it to contract more forcefully. Over a sustained period, this can become an issue. Though caffeine should be safe for most people, for those with underlying cardiac conditions, or for those with a weak heart, it can be dangerous.
Cardiac conditions can be triggered or exacerbated by excessive caffeine intake: decreasing your caffeine intake may lead to a healthier heart. However, the research consensus on how much caffeine may affect your heart remains unclear.
7. You will enjoy better hydration (and fewer bathroom trips)
Caffeine has a couple of unpleasant side effects on several of the body’s waste disposal mechanisms.
Firstly, it is a diuretic, meaning that it will cause you to produce more urine. This will lead to dehydration and an often greatly increased number of trips to the bathroom- this can be both dangerous and embarrassing.
Secondly, caffeine stimulates the smooth muscle tissue in the colon, causing it to contract. This can lead to incontinence and similar conditions.
In the gym, this will lead to decreased performance due to dehydration alongside a decrease in nutrient uptake. You will not be able to train as hard or recover as efficiently as you might like.
Cutting caffeine out can reverse these symptoms quite quickly. However, it must be noted that more recent thought suggests that the effect of this dehydration is milder than previously thought.
8. Your Muscles Will Gain From Cutting Caffeine
This is the big one, especially where sports application comes into play. There are some fantastic reasons for skipping caffeinated pre workout formulas in order to maximise your muscle gains.
Caffeine’s main job within the body is to aid in prolonging the rise of blood glucose levels. Glucose is basically fuel for your muscles, so in theory this should be a good thing. It’s part of why caffeine works so well as a pre workout supplement, and why your muscles are able to go on for longer after taking it.
However, there is quite a bit more to it than this. The main way in which your body triggers blood glucose to rise is through the release of the hormone glucagon. Your body initiates a process called gluconeogenesis– the replenishment of glucose levels by converting non-carbohydrates into carbs.
This includes amino acids- proteins.
When you lift weights, you need this protein to aid in recovery and hypertrophy. When you’re undertaking any athletic endeavour, for that matter, protein is vital for getting over training and powering adaptation.
However, there is also evidence to suggest that mild amounts of caffeine can actually lead to improved muscle gains. Realistically, it’s up to you to work out how much is appropriate. If you feel good, and are making gains, you’re OK. If not, cut the caffeine down.
These are eight solid reasons why keeping your caffeine levels low- or excluding caffeine altogether- might be actively beneficial for your training, whatever athletic discipline you’re involved with. We’ve tried to keep it relatively simple above, just outlining a few broad reasons.
Here are many more reasons, and there is a lot of detail backing up the above claims. The main thing you need to know is that if you’re struggling with training in any of the above ways, less caffeine could be much more beneficial than more.
One of the caffeine free pre workouts we’ve shown you may be the perfect addition to your supplement regime.
Hopefully, you now know a little bit more about caffeine free pre workouts than you did before reading this article: you should know their uses, their pros and cons, and the benefits of either going caffeine free or at least cutting down caffeine intake.
By now, you should have a fairly good idea of the kinds of caffeine free pre workouts available to you, their potential pitfalls, and what others have said about some of the top products out there. You should know that NutraBio PRE Stim Free tops the list, but that the list still contains other fantastic products.
You know our favourite, but do you have a preference? Have you tried out a few, or indeed any, from our list? Let us know in the comments below: which caffeine free pre workout would you recommend?