This post may contain affiliate links. It costs you nothing and helps keep the lights on and weights racked here at Students Fitness. Read our affiliate disclosure if you're having trouble sleeping.
Table of Contents
- Best Preworkouts for Women
- Overall Best Preworkout for Women
- Best Thermogenic Preworkout for Weight Loss
- Best Preworkout for Muscle Gain
- Most Powerful Preworkout for Women
- Best Preworkout Without Caffeine or Creatine
- Best Natural Preworkout for Women
- Best Preworkout for Pregnant Women
- Best Women’s Preworkout Capsule
- My Girlfriend’s Favorite Preworkout
- Why Use Preworkout Supplements?
- What to Look For in a Pre Workout
The fitness world is filled with too much machismo.
If you don’t have basketball-sized biceps, what’s even the point of going to the gym?
All kidding aside, much fitness knowledge out there is written by men, for men, with little heed given to gender-neutral terms advice.
I’m still a guy but, with the help of my girlfriend, my focus is on helping everyone get fit no matter what you look like or what clothes you wear.
Everyone can do a bench press or supplement with protein powder. Guy or gal, it generally doesn’t matter.
However, pre-workout supplements are one of the categories where ladies may want to consider using different products from gentlemen.
Most pre-workout powders are dosed for people with a certain amount of body mass or musculature, i.e., burly guys. This can be too-much stimulant for the smaller framed among us.
Women will also want to avoid any pre-workouts with testosterone boosting effects!
So, what pre-workouts should lady lifters use?
Best Preworkouts for Women
|Product||Caffeine per Serving||Contains Creatine?||Rating||Price|
|Sheer Strength Labs Pre Workout For Women||175 mg||No||4.1||$$
|RAW Synergies ThermoPRE||250 mg||No||4.2||$$$$
|NLA For Her Uplift Pre-Workout Energy||169 mg||No||N/A||$$$
|Beyond Raw LIT||250 mg||Yes||4.3||$$
|Legion Pulse Caffeine Free||None||No||4.1||$$
|Naked Energy||200 mg||Yes||3.8||$$$
|Bumped Up||100 mg||No||4.1||$$
|Angry Supplements Monster Girl||100 mg||No||4.2||$
Overall Best Preworkout for Women
Sheer Strength Labs Pre Workout For Women
- Flavors: Pina Colada
- Calories: 30
- Sugars: 0 g
- Caffeine: 175 mg
- Other Notable Ingredients: Theobromine, L-Arginine, L-Citrulline, L-Carnitine, Taurine, Velvet Bean Extract
The generically-named Pre-Workout For Women by Sheer Strength Labs is formulated specifically for women, though it’s good for anybody who doesn’t want a 2strong4me pre-workout supplement.
There aren’t too many ingredients in Pre-Workout For Women.
The main stimulants are caffeine and theobromine, an alkaloid found in chocolate that’s similar to caffeine with less strong effects.
This pre-workout also contains L-Arginine, L-Citrulline, and L-Carnitine, which are non-essential amino acids which can help boost your fitness performance by increasing the amount of nitric oxide in your blood.
Pre-Workout For Women has no sugar though it does contain sucralose, so each scoop has 30 calories.
All of the ingredients are non-GMO and the product is third-party tested, so you don’t have to worry about contamination.
Plus, there’s a 60-day money back guarantee so you aren’t out any precious money if it doesn’t work out for you!
- 60-day guarantee
- High-quality ingredients
- Low-jitter formula
- No serious cons!
- This pre-workout doesn’t work for everyone, but no one product does…
Sheer Strength Labs’ Pre Workout For Women is a good pre-workout supplement with a smart formula and high-quality ingredients. It’s a good choice for any gym-goers who doesn’t have a specific use in mind!
Best Thermogenic Preworkout for Weight Loss
RAW Synergies ThermoPRE
- Flavors: Fruit Punch
- Calories: 0
- Sugars: 0 g
- Caffeine: 250 mg
- Other Notable Ingredients: Acetyl-L-Carnitine, Beta-Alanine, Black Pepper, Capsicum extract, Citicholine, KSM-66 Aswagandha, Medium Chain Triglycerides, Theacrine, and Yerba Mate
ThermoPRE by RAW Synergies is a stimulating, thermogenic, nootropic, and stress-relieving pre-workout and daily supplement.
“Thermogenic” means that it supposedly encourages your body to ramp up metabolism and burn more calories even at rest. Capsicum and the medium-chain triglycerides accomplish this.
Caffeine (from coffee and yerba mate) and theacrine work together to pump you up with energy without the jitteriness from caffeine alone.
Citicholine works with the caffeine and other ingredients to provide nootropic effects.
In other words, this supplement is good at providing energy, burning off fat, and giving you the mental fortitude to keep at it!
Plus, the formula contains no creatine or testosterone-boosting ingredients, so it’s good for men, women, and anybody else.
- Effective at boosting your body and brain’s performance
- Helps maintain weight loss even outside the gym
- The biggest problem people have with this supplement is the taste. I particularly like how someone described it as “spicy aspirin!”
RAW Synergy ThermoPRE is excellent for boosting your gym performance, increasing mental clarity, and burning fat.
If you can stomach the taste!
Best Preworkout for Muscle Gain
NLA For Her Uplift Pre-Workout Energy
- Flavors: Cherry Limeade, Guava Passion, Raspberry Lemonade
- Calories: 10
- Sugars: 0 g
- Caffeine: 169 mg
- Other Notable Ingredients: B-Vitamins, Muscle Matrix, Energy Matrix, and Nootropic Brain and Body Matrix
Uplift Pre-Workout by NLA For Her is a pre-workout supplement focused on increasing your body’s ability to put on muscle after a workout, specifically for a woman’s body.
In addition to the niacin and B-vitamins, Uplift contains three sets of ingredients they call a “Matrix”:
The Lean Muscle Matrix contains an array of amino acids designed to help prevent catabolism (when your muscles cannibalize themselves for energy) and to promote anabolism (which is when your muscles grow).
The Energy Matrix contains caffeine, choline, Schizandra berry, and some other ingredients to fill your body with sustained energy and to promote fast-twitch fiber activation.
The Nootropic Brain and Body Matrix helps to fuel your brain for subtle yet beneficial effects on cognition.
The effects blend together so you have more effective workouts in the gym and recover faster once outside the gym, thus promoting healthy muscle gain without extra fat.
There’s no sugar but there’s enough sucralose for each serving to provide 10 calories.
- Empowers your mental and physical performance
- If one flavor doesn’t taste good, one of the others will
- Proprietary blends hide the true quantity of ingredients
- Subtle effects, so don’t use this if you want to feel an energy rush
Uplift Pre-Workout Energy helps to empower your workouts and increases protein synthesis. However, you won’t feel a strong energy rush, so look elsewhere if that’s what you seek.
Most Powerful Preworkout for Women
Beyond Raw LIT
- Flavors: Blue Raspberry, Bubble Gum, Fruit Punch, Gummy Worm, Icy Fireworks, Orange Mango, Strawberry Lemonade
- Calories: 10
- Sugars: 0 g
- Caffeine: 250 mg
- Other Notable Ingredients: Beta-Alanine, Creatine Monohydrate, L-Citrulline, Nitrosigine
Beyond Raw LIT is a pre-workout powder that focuses on giving you lots of energy to kill any workout.
One scoop provides you with 250 mg of caffeine, more than most other pre-workouts.
You also get coffee extract and beta-alanine for even more of a boost to your workout.
Beyond Raw increases your pump further with creatine and elevATP for more muscular energy, and L-Citrulline and Nitrosigine for better and more effective blood flow.
The end result is that you feel more powerful and can tackle strong weights with less sweat.
I don’t like how many inactive ingredients there are, though.
- Lots of energy
- Many flavor options
- Powerful pump, good for both gym performance and self-confidence
- Contains a wide variety of artificial inactive ingredients
- Might be too stimulating for some people
Beyond Raw LIT may not be female-focused but it’s still a great choice when you want a huge pump and enough energy to kill tough workouts, regardless of which bathroom you use.
Best Preworkout Without Caffeine or Creatine
Legion Pulse Caffeine Free
- Flavors: Blue Raspberry, Fruit Punch, and Tropical Punch (Plus more flavors with caffeine!)
- Calories: 5
- Sugars: 0 g
- Caffeine: None
- Other Notable Ingredients: Alpha GPC, Beta-Alanine, L-Citrulline
Not everybody needs a stimulant cocktail when they workout.
Legion Pulse provides you with the option to choose between caffeine and caffeine-free pre-exercise supplements so you can have a low-stim experience when you want.
How, then, does this pre-workout supplement boost your gym visit?
Legion Pulse focuses on boosting your body’s nitric oxide production.
Alpha GPC fuels your brain with choline.
This, plus the improved blood flow, helps keep you In The Zone when working out.
Mental roadblocks have caused me to stop more workouts than physical issues and I’m sure that applies to you, too.
Overall, Legion Pulse helps you work out more effectively whether you buy the caffeinated version or not.
- Alpha GPC can give your brain a small boost
- Available with or without caffeine
- Makes your pump stronger
- Only contains natural flavors and ingredients
- Alpha GPC can contribute to brain fog from too-high choline levels
- Contains few servings per bottle so it’s on the expensive side
Legion Pulse Caffeine Free is a good, gender-neutral pre-workout supplement that helps you tackle difficult exercises without stimulants.
Best Natural Preworkout for Women
- Flavors: Fruit Punch, Unflavored, or Watermelon
- Calories: 0
- Sugars: 0 g
- Caffeine: 200 mg
- Other Notable Ingredients: Amino acids, Creatine, and Vitamins
I’m a big fan of Naked Nutrition’s various offerings.
Their pre-workout continues their philosophy to create effective supplements with minimal ingredients.
Naked Energy works as a pre-workout by boosting your energy levels both through caffeine and through amino acids and vitamins, giving you both artificial and natural energy.
Most pre-workout supplements contain no sugar but do contain sucralose.
Not everybody likes or can handle sucralose.
Naked Energy flat out contains no sweeteners. Or flavors, if you choose the Unflavored “flavor.”
But that’s a good thing if you want to consume only natural ingredients and no sweeteners!
The other ingredients are of superb quality.
Especially the vitamin B-12, which is in the methylcobalamin form. This methyl form is more bioavailable for most people than the cheaper cyanocobalamin form, a sign that Naked Nutrition puts “effectiveness” over “cheapness” of ingredients!
- 50 servings per container. That’s 100 scoops!
- Boosts energy naturally and through stimulating caffeine
- Minimal ingredients
- Very high-quality ingredients
- Nothing to cover up any bitterness from the ingredients
Naked Nutrition’s Naked Energy is a great, natural choice for an energizing pre-workout powder, though you will want to mix it with something tasty or learn to drink it quick.
Best Preworkout for Pregnant Women
- Flavors: Pink Lemonade
- Calories: 0
- Sugars: 0 g
- Caffeine: 100 mg
- Other Notable Ingredients: Beta-Alanine, L-Arginine, L-Citrulline, Taurine, NAC
Exercise is beneficial for pregnant women and new mothers when performed correctly.
Most pre-workouts contain a huge variety of many different chemicals. Though they are good for you, what about the baby?
Imagine my surprise when I found a pre-workout named Bumped Up!
I favorably reviewed Bucked Up in an earlier article. Bumped Up is similar, though even more hilariously named.
Bumped Up is a prenatal and postnatal-safe pre-workout supplement formulated to avoid any ingredients which may harm a nursing babby.
So, while Bumped Up does contain caffeine, there’s not very much of this stimulant.
It also contains N-acetyl-cysteine, aka NAC, which I found interesting.
I take NAC occasionally but didn’t know that it has positive benefits regarding exercise.
As it turns out, NAC aids in muscle recovery, helps prevent fatigue, improves nitric oxide levels, and even helps lower fat levels!
And here I was taking NAC just to help with sleep and to protect my liver.
- Clean ingredients
- Contains nothing that will harm a newborn
- Effective without being too stimulating
- Polarizing taste
Bumped Up is an effective pre-workout with clean ingredients that won’t harm a newborn or about-to-be-born.
Best Women’s Preworkout Capsule
Angry Supplements Monster Girl
- Flavors: N/A
- Calories: 0
- Sugars: 0 g
- Caffeine: 100mg
- Other Notable Ingredients: Cayenne, Garcinia Cambogia, Guarana, Ginseng, Yerba Mate
For as good as pre-workout powders are, it can still be a pain to mix them up then drink them down.
Especially if you can’t deal with taste!
Monster Girl is a women’s pre-workout supplement delivered in capsule form.
This makes it easier to travel with and take the supplement, as you don’t need to lug around a giant container or water bottle.
It’s still effective as a pre-workout, too.
There’s caffeine, of course.
But there’s also cayenne pepper, garcinia, guarana, ginseng, and yerba mate, all of which boost your metabolism to help you hit that workout harder and burn fat faster.
You’ll also come down without a crash and suffer fewer jitters than if this were just a bunch of caffeine.
- Easy to store and take
- Reduces fatigue and provides energy without jitters or a crash
- Doesn’t help your pump
- Not as powerful as other pre-workouts
Monster Girl by Angry Supplements is a great pre-workout choice when you want to use a pill instead of a powder.
My Girlfriend’s Favorite Preworkout
Tea (or Black Coffee!)
- Flavors: Nearly infinite
- Calories: 0
- Sugars: 0 g
- Caffeine: Little to lots
- Other Notable Ingredients: L-Theanine, Theobromine, Theophylline
You may remember my girlfriend from when I enlisted her help to review the Venus Factor diet.
She’s probably even more of a fitness guru than I am. She’s one of those fitness success stories because she used diet and exercise to lose 50 pounds and keep it off!
So, I asked her about her favorite pre-workout supplement.
“Tea,” she said. While sipping a cup of tea.
Caffeine is the number one ingredient in most pre-workouts.
Where do you find caffeine in nature?
Tea and coffee.
That’s not all tea contains, though.
Camellia sinensis, tea, contains theanine, theobromine, and theophylline in addition to caffeine.
These all work together to increase your mood, boost cognition, increase your energy levels, and reduce both mental and physical fatigue.
The extra components help buffer your body from any crash or jitters from the caffeine, too.
There are also antioxidant polyphenols, which help to protect against excessive muscle damage from working out.
True, these effects can be subtle.
But they are there.
By the way, my girlfriend’s favorite “pre-workout” tea is the Positive Energy flavor by Yogi Tea.
It lifts your spirits and your energy levels!
Any non-decaf green, black, or white tea, or coffee, will have similar effects. Though, you’ll experience more of caffeine’s negative effects with coffee than with tea.
- Many, many flavors to choose from
- You probably drink some anyway
- Can be hard to make at the gym
- Less of an energy boost than “proper” pre-workout supplements
- There are no ingredients which will increase your pump
Why Use Preworkout Supplements?
Do you even need to take a pre-workout in the first place?
Truthfully, not everybody does!
If you find it easy to go to the gym (or start that bodyweight workout) and can get through all of your sets without any problem then you don’t need to spend the money on these supplements.
Remember, supplements give you a little boost but are not necessary for success!
However, many people will benefit from taking a before-exercise energy boost.
That added energy can get you roaring and ready to knock out the heavy lifting.
Many pre-workouts increase your blood flow, increasing the amount of pump you get from exercising.
This is good for self-esteem, further increasing motivation, not to mention how the better blood flow lets you exercise more effectively.
More effective exercise = achieving your fitness goals faster!
Plus, there’s a little bit of ritual as well.
Pre-workouts take about half an hour before you start feeling the effects.
Once you’ve taken the pre-workout you know it’s Go Time in 30 minutes.
Not everybody benefits from taking pre-workout supplements but many women do.
What to Look For in a Pre Workout
“Pre-workout” is a broad class of supplement taken half an hour before your workout session.
Each one has different ingredients.
Read on to figure out which ingredients you may want to use or avoid.
Most pre-workouts contain caffeine.
It’s the classic “give you more energy” drug, used by gym-goers, office workers, and exhausted students all over the world.
Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system, making it technically psychoactive. It does this by blocking adenosine receptors.
However, it’s not the only stimulant available.
Theobromine is similar, albeit with a weaker effect. There are other similar compounds you’ll find in pre-workouts as well.
These “weaker” stimulants often have longer onsets or longer half-lives than caffeine, so they help provide a more rounded energized experience.
This helps to prevent caffeine crashes.
You don’t want to suddenly feel exhausted while mid-squat!
Creatine is a naturally-occurring organic acid.
It does many things. The tl;dr is that creatine helps your body store more glycogen in your muscles and helps your muscles recycle ADH into ATP.
This translates into more energy usable by your muscle fibers before they have to rely on your blood system.
However, the added glycogen does cause your muscles to store some H2O as well.
In other words, creatine can cause water retention.
It’s a minor amount but some people don’t like the effects. So, creatine is less common in women’s pre-workout than in men’s pre-workout.
Please check out this article for a more in-depth explanation of creatine, its effects, and how to take it.
You’ll find Beta-Alanine in many, but not all, pre-workout drinks.
Supplementation, however, boosts your levels above the minimum.
Beta-Alanine is the limiting factor for keeping up levels of carnosine.
Carnosine is used by your body to keep your muscles fatigue-free by clearing out hydrogen ions and keeping your muscle’s pH levels from dropping too far.
So, Beta-Alanine is good for increasing your gym performance.
However, it does come with an odd side effect which can catch you off guard:
A prickly sensation under your skin.
You’ll feel this within moments after taking your pre-workout. It’s alarming the first time you feel this sensation, especially if you don’t know where it comes from!
Don’t worry, though.
It’s a sign your body is using the Beta-Alanine and will soon pass!
Branched-Chain Amino Acids
There’s a set of three essential amino acids called branched-chain amino acids:
These three amino acids cannot be synthesized by your body and therefore must be consumed.
They’re very important for building and maintaining muscles.
In fact, your muscles are, structurally, primarily BCAAs!
You can learn more about them by reading my previous article about BCAAs.
L-Arginine, L-Carnisine, and L-Citrulline are more amino acids.
However, their purpose is not protein synthesis, but rather to increase blood flow by increasing nitric oxide concentrations in your blood.
Your body uses blood to bring fuel, vitamins, and oxygen to your muscles and to remove waste produced when your muscles are used.
Nitric oxide helps this process by triggering your blood vessels to expand, a process called vasodilation.
Wider blood vessels = more blood flow = better muscle performance!
Niacin and Other B-Vitamins
B-vitamins help your body by increasing its ability to process incoming nutrients.
This allows your digestive system to intake everything in the pre-workout supplement and use all the other bits properly.
Niacin is also involved in cell signaling, so added niacin helps your muscles activate better.
However, your body doesn’t store niacin very well. That’s why you often see it in pre-workout supplements.
You may notice a reddening of the skin on your upper body, sometimes accompanied by a tingling sensation.
This is called a niacin flush and is merely your blood vessels dilating, a good thing!
Taurine and L-Theanine
It’s in many energy drinks, too.
What does it do?
It’s actually a central nervous system depressant.
Taurine, therefore, modulates caffeine’s more harsh effects, calming you down so you don’t get the caffeine jitters.
L-Theanine, which you can find naturally in green tea, is similar in effect though not in operation.
You want ingredients like these when consuming caffeine so you can pay attention to the workout instead of becoming a stuttering mess, which is why you don’t want to take a caffeine pill as a pre-workout.
Pre-workout supplements aren’t necessary for anybody’s fitness journey, whether you’re a man or a woman.
However, a good pre-workout can give you a little bit of extra edge.
Some give energy. Others pump your muscles up. Some even increase your mental ability a tad.
The result can be subtle but it will help you to work out harder and recover faster.
Whether you want to burn fat or gain muscle, the right pre-workout supplement will help you achieve your goal all that much faster!
Can Women Use Preworkouts for Men?
Generally, anybody can use a pre-workout even if it doesn’t specify a target gender on the label.
You might want to lower the dose if it’s a strong supplement, though.
The main exceptions are pre-workout supplements which claim to boost testosterone. Women should stay away from these.
Should Women Avoid Preworkouts with Creatine?
Creatine is a nifty supplement which can benefit all genders.
However, it does increase water retention.
This can cause some bloating and can cause the numbers on your scale to rise slightly.
Physiologically, however, this is neutral and creatine’s benefits override the bloatedness.
But if it makes you feel self-conscious then you can use a pre-workout without creatine, so experiment with controlling creatine doses separate from your pre-workout.
This’ll let you find the dose that works for you without bloating!