9 Natural Pre-workout Alternatives That Really Work

pre workout alternatives

Although they’re not bad, pre-workout supplements are not absolutely necessary. These nine natural pre-workout alternatives actually work for you.

One of the most popular supplements on the market right now is pre-workout powders. Pre-workout supplements are a mixture of ingredients made to boost energy, increase endurance, and encourage blood flow for muscle pumps.

Regarding these fitness aids’ potential advantages, the research is still a little bit tentative. For instance, one study discovered pre-workout supplements had no effect on female athletes’ performance in the bench press, vertical jump, or sprint; a different study found no performance advantages for cycling.

A few natural, whole foods may therefore help you feel better and work harder during your next workout session, even though the advantages of a pre-workout powder or beverage are still debatable.

Pre-workout Alternatives

In terms of supplying energy for exercise, not all foods are created equal. Let’s examine some foods in more detail that have a stellar reputation for boosting exercise energy.



No matter what else your pre-workout supplement claims, the majority of the “buzz” will typically come from a substantial amount of caffeine.

Caffeine in and of itself doesn’t technically give you energy, that’s the sole preserve of the foods you consume. It does, however, activate the release of hormones that are specifically intended to increase your levels of alertness while also interacting with the receptors of other substances that cause fatigue, effectively negating their effects.

Green Tea

Green Tea

Only about 45mg of caffeine per cup, green tea has a significantly lower caffeine content than coffee, but it offers a special advantage due to its catechin content. Green tea catechins, also known as polyphenols, are molecules with a number of health advantages.

The most effective and well-known catechin found in green tea is EGCG. Although it is sometimes extracted and added to supplements, it can also be found naturally in tea leaves.

From a fitness perspective, green tea has been shown to potentially reduce body fat and increase blood flow. It has also been demonstrated to lessen muscle soreness and boost oxygen uptake. The capacity of the body to use oxygen during exercise is known as oxygen uptake.

Long-term consumption of green tea is necessary for many of its beneficial effects, especially those pertaining to general health. Since they contain various polyphenols in varying concentrations, other teas, like black tea, also offer particular advantages.

Energy Drinks

Energy Drinks

While energy drinks stray further from the “natural” label, they are still a viable alternative to pre-workout formulas. Energy drinks typically only contain caffeine and B vitamins, but formulas are becoming more complete.

Carnitine, Alpha-GPC, and Astralagus are ingredients in the energy drink offered by Ghost. Exercise performance during anaerobic exercise is enhanced by carnitine. Cognitive enhancement and mental focus are achieved with alpha-GPC, a nootropic. An herb with anti-inflammatory qualities is astragalus.

Energy Pills

Energy Pills

The most practical choice is taking energy pills, which are quickly ingested. If the temperature isn’t too extreme, you can leave them in your car or pocket without much of a problem.

The majority of energy supplements fall under the category of fat-burning products. These pills will have a stimulant as their main ingredient, perhaps caffeine or yohimbine. In addition, they will contain ingredients geared toward increasing metabolism, appetite suppression, or thermogenesis.

Fruit Juices

Fruit Juices

Some people contend that it is best to consume nutrients in their natural form, such as through food or drink. When most people hear the word juice, they immediately picture sweet beverages. This is a valid observation given that the majority of commercial fruit juices don’t offer much in the way of advantages.

However, with a little imagination, you can create a nutrient-dense mixture that works as a healthy pre-workout beverage. You can find the good stuff in the natural/organic section of most supermarkets. Even fresh, cold-pressed juices made on-site are sold in some health food stores.

In contrast to the typical juice from concentrate you see, real juices typically come in glass containers and are more expensive.

Greek Yogurt

Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt provides gut-friendly simple carbs to fuel your workout. Eating yogurt right before working out gives you a good energy boost because it breaks down quickly.

Be aware that many brands have added sugar. To add sweetness, try eating some fresh berries with a low-sugar yogurt.



A simple bowl of oatmeal is a meal that is almost always a success. It is a fantastic source of fiber and carbohydrates. You have a ton of energy and can exercise for a longer period of time.

But make sure to eat it before your workout, at least two hours beforehand. Blueberries and your preferred nut butter can be added for flavor.



Numerous athletes and gym goers around the world prefer bananas as a pre-workout snack because they are packed with nutrients.

It is a great source of energy for people who lift weights or do vigorous cardio exercises, according to a study.

Bananas are the ideal fuel for your body because they are high in potassium and carbohydrates. They also slow down the release of glucose into your blood, which improves how well your muscles function while you exercise.

Apple Slices With Peanut Butter

Apple Slices With Peanut Butter

Our pre-workout alternatives have a winner in this combination. We’d even go so far as to say that apples have a similar energizing effect to that of coffee. There is only one difference: unlike coffee, it doesn’t make you jittery.

Combining apple slices and peanut butter is a lethal combination that will help you bulk up at the gym. This potent pre-workout combination contains the ideal ratio of nutrients.

Take a piece of multigrain toast, spread it with peanut butter, and top it with apple slices if you want to kick it up a notch. Right before the gym, it will cheer you up.

Some Other Options

Before exercising, salt should be consumed. Athletes who have low sodium levels may experience problems because it is thought to be essential to exercise performance. In addition to boosting blood volume and reducing fatigue and cramping, salt also increases energy.

It is entirely up to you whether or not you choose to include a protein shake in your exercise regimen before going to the gym. Others claim that eating protein before exercise provides the greatest benefit. Some users swear by protein consumption after exercise.

Regardless of your preference, drinking a protein shake right before or after exercise promotes muscle recovery and growth. Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), a vital component of protein powders, support the synthesis of muscle protein after a workout by supplying energy.

Food & Drink You Might Want to Avoid Before Your Workout

A healthy diet must include fiber, but not right before exercise because high-fiber vegetables are challenging to digest. After your workout, save the Brussels sprouts and cauliflower and choose sweet potatoes instead.

You should also do your best to avoid:

  • High-fat foods can make your body work harder to process them for energy, causing fatigue before you even start exercising.
  • You will probably feel overstuffed after eating fast food because it is high in sugar and fat and offers no nutritional value for your workout.
  • Because the energy boost from soda fades so quickly, despite the fact that it contains sugar and caffeine.

Spicy foods should not be a part of your pre-workout regimen because they can stimulate your GI tract, which could cause problems while exercising. You can avoid a lot of discomfort during your workout by maintaining a diet that is relatively bland and full of simple-to-digest foods.

The Key Takeaway: How Will You Fuel Your Workout?

The market offers a wide variety of pre-workout supplements. You might like them or might not. Use these supplements, though, at your own risk and after speaking with your doctor. The above pre-workout options may be the best for you if you feel like sticking with a more natural choice.

It’s critical to keep in mind that nutrition is personal, and pre-workout nutrition will depend on a wide range of variables, including the length and intensity of your workout, the type of workout, environmental factors (like extreme heat), and your own preferences and needs.

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