When preparing to workout, you have a few goals to keep in mind. One is to fuel your body to endure the rigors you are about to put it through. Another is to prevent damage if possible by supplementing with nutrients that repair your muscle tissue. Third is to consume only supplements that will not leave you feeling too full to workout.

We will look at the best pre-workout supplements but also discuss a little of what they offer. One word of caution: most of the products available from your average gym were designed for men. Women might approach workout powders differently. For instance, they don’t usually advertise testosterone-releasing components.

Technical Attributes of a Workout Supplement

Your body is going to sweat a lot and, when that happens, you will lose water and minerals. If you sweat but fail to hydrate your body, dehydration is the consequence. You will feel dizzy, weak, and possibly confused. There is no supplement to replace good old fashioned water, but water alone is not enough to replace what you have lost. Minerals are draining away. That partly accounts for your dizziness but also causes cramping. Don’t be forced to cut the workout short; take a mineral supplement with potassium, calcium, and magnesium.

You will need energy too, so a pre-workout drink should provide the sort of carbs that your body will almost immediately convert into energy. Avoid caffeine: that’ll just suck out the water you’ve carefully replenished and give you a false high. The right combination of nutrients will activate natural energizing and healing capacity and enable a body to quickly absorb the good things you’re giving it.

Best Pre-Workout Supplements for Men

The very best product is Transparent Labs PreSeries BULK which contributes to better brain function to help you stay focused. Stimulant Citrulline Malate is responsible for this part of the package. BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) provide muscle bulk. BULK also boosts your natural testosterone and provides endurance with beta alanine.

Number two is MusclePharm Assault Strong which comes in their distinctive green and black packaging. All of the benefits are concentrated in your workout, not the post-workout period, so be prepared to supplement with muscle-maintenance nutrition as well. The goal of Assault is to make you want to move and work hard: there is a whole load of energy and endurance packed in each scoop. No wonder the brand has made so many fans.

In third place is Pre JYM Pre Workout. One reason it makes the list is that, like MusclePharm, this one is not hard to find. Gyms and online vendors everywhere carry Pre JYM which was designed by a respected bodybuilder with brains enough to back his protein-filled powder with science. In no time you can feel the rush of energy that comes from ingesting creatine and beta alanine.

Best Pre-Workout Supplements for Women

Creatine can potentially be a problem for women as it contributes to dehydration but, when you know that, it’s possible to defend against dehydration and still take creatine for muscle building and endurance. Women usually like fat-burning in their powders.

The package for HIT Supplements Igniter Extreme isn’t very friendly: paint a skull pink and it’s still creepy. What women will like about Igniter Extreme, the number one choice here, is how it promotes circulation to oxygenate muscle tissue and promote energy in a natural way. Stimulants such as caffeine make you feel energetic for a while but they are also dehydrating. BCAA’s supply the foundations of muscle growth.

With number two, Labrada’s Jamie Eason Stimulant Free Pre Workout, you get bulk minus caffeine. Don’t expect to feel overly energetic as a result of taking this supplement but you will feel strong enough to go the distance.

TwinLab’s Clean Series Pre Workout Activator is notable because the same company makes excellent multivitamins which are also an essential part of a woman’s bodybuilding or general fitness regimen. This herbal blend contains ginseng, ginko, and coconut oil among other natural elements all designed to get you going. The ideal package is this TwinLab’s product followed by Labrada’s supplement: stimulation plus endurance for an effective workout.