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5 Best High Stim Pre-Workouts (According to Dietitians)

Looking for the best high stim pre-workouts for more energy and focus when exercising? Here is a look at the top pre-workouts for maximum energy and better workouts.

Best High Stim Pre-Workouts
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Pre-workout supplements are an excellent tool for more focus, increased energy, and more strength when exercising, whether that’s lifting weights or doing cardio workouts.

High-stim pre-workouts, short for high-stimulant pre-workout supplement, are a combination of increased caffeine and amino acids designed for people who have developed a caffeine tolerance or who want a lightning bolt of energy and focus when exercising.

When a regular old pre-workout, with 100-150mg of performance-boosting caffeine won’t do, it’s time to reach for a high-stim pre-workout, which has 200mg and more of caffeine per serving.

But which high-stim pre-workout is right for you and your workout goals?

In this guide, we surveyed a group of sports nutritionists, dietitians, athletes and gymgoers to find and evaluate the best high-stim pre-workouts for more energy and focus.

Let’s jump right in.

High-Stim Pre-Workouts – Top Choice

Having tested 24 different high-stim pre-workouts, and surveyed dozens of dietitians and elite athletes, we narrowed the top pre-workout to the Transparent Labs Bulk Pre-Workout.

We why love it:

✅ Each serving has 275mg of natural caffeine

✅ Tons of clinically-studied and research-backed ingredients

✅ Tastes great, with multiple flavor options

✅ No artificial sweeteners

✅ Third-party tested and athlete certified for purity

✅ Save 10% by subscribing and get free shipping

Transparency Labs sells the Bulk exclusively through their website which you can access today by clicking below.

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Best High-Stim Pre-Workouts

Next, we will take a deeper look at our top pick as well as some other high-stim pre-workouts.

The Best High-Stim Pre-Workouts

Transparent Labs Bulk Pre-Workout

⭐ Best overall high-stim pre-workout

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Transparent Labs Bulk Pre-Workout

The Transparent Labs Bulk Pre-Workout is our top choice for the best overall high-stim pre-workout, and the competition isn’t even that close.

The Bulk Pre-Workout tastes excellent, mixes quickly, and has a metric ton of clinically-studied ingredients to help you launch into your next workout with maximum energy, focus, and strength.

The primary ingredient high-stim users are looking for is caffeine, and the Bulk doesn’t let you down here, with 275mg of organically sourced caffeine per serving.

Each serving of Bulk includes:

  • Caffeine anhydrous (275mg) – Sourced from coffee beans, each scoop of Bulk has 275mg of caffeine for maximum aerobic output (Duncan et al., 2012), reduced fatigue, longer workouts, increased focus, faster reaction time, and more energy (Glade, 2010).
  • Citrulline Malate (8,000mg) – A nitric-oxide enhancer, citrulline malate has been widely studied and found to be a highly effective ingredient for increasing blood flow to active muscles, increasing ATP (energy) production, and even speeding up muscle recovery (Gough et al., 2021).
  • Beta-alanine (4,000mg) – An amino acid, beta-alanine supplementation helps you workout longer and harder. The International Society of Sports Nutrition, for example, notes that beta-alanine helps workout performance by increasing muscle carnosine concentrations (Trexler et al., 2015).

[For some people, beta-alanine can cause tingling of the skin. If you want a pre-workout free of itchiness or tingles, check out our guide to the best pre-workouts without beta-alanine .]

  • L-Tyrosine (1,000mg) – An amino-acid precursor, a study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology found that L-tyrosine supplementation significantly increased exercise intensity and duration (Tumility et al., 2011).
  • Taurine (1,300mg) – Taurine is another amino acid that has been shown to increase energy metabolism and increase ATP production, leading to more energized workouts (Schaffer et al., 2016).
  • Dicaffeine malate (30mg) – This trademarked ingredient helps to eliminate the crash that is typical of high-stim pre-workouts and increased caffeine ingestion. It helps to elongate the energy and avoid the sudden drop from caffeine crashes.
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Other key ingredients include L-theanine (200mg), Vitamin D (75mcg), Vitamin B6 (5mg), and Theobromine (50mg).

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Transparent Labs Bulk Pre-Workout

Because caffeine is a diuretic and can lead to the performance-crashing effects of dehydration, each serving of Transparent Labs Bulk Pre-Workout includes sodium (150mg) and potassium (100mg) to help avoid the effects of dehydration.

Additionally, the Transparent Labs Bulk Pre-Workout tastes really good. Pre-workouts can be aggressively sweet at times, but the Bulk avoids the use of artificial sweeteners, relying on naturally occurring Stevia to help sweeten the pre-workout.

Transparent Labs makes all of its supplements in certified manufacturing facilities and third-party tests each supplement to ensure purity. What you see on the label is what you get in your shaker cup.

Each container costs $54.99, which is a bit pricey for the casual pre-workout enthusiast, but when you consider the sheer amount of caffeine and other performance-boosting ingredients, your workouts will never be more focused and energized.

Honey Badger Pre-Workout

⭐ Best budget-friendly high-stim pre-workout

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Honey Badger Pre-Workout

The Honey Badger Pre-Workout is one of my favorite overall pre-workouts on the market and in the gym.

It’s got an exceptionally clean ingredient profile, with zero artificial sweeteners or additives, tons of performance-boosting ingredients, and a solid 300mg of caffeine anhydrous.

The main ingredients include:

· Caffeine anhydrous – 300mg

· Beta-alanine – 3,200mg

· L-Citrulline malate – 5,000mg

· L-Tyrosine – 700mg

· Vitamin C – 60mg

· Sodium – 26mg

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And that’s about it, making the Honey Badger one of the cleanest pre-workouts for better cardio workouts and more intense lifting sessions.

Flavoring of the Honey Bader is facilitated by Stevia leaf extract to give it a sweet taste for better palatability.

While I love the no-nonsense blend, and how it’s third party tested for purity and made in a GMP-certified facility for full ingredient transparency, the Honey Badger only comes in one flavor (Tropical Punch).

The Honey Badger costs just $39 per container, making it our top choice for the best high-stim pre-workout that doesn’t break the bank.

Kaged Pre-Kaged Elite Pre-Workout

⭐ Best high-stim pre-workout with creatine

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Kaged Pre-Kaged Elite Pre-Workout

The Kaged Pre-Kaged Elite Pre-Workout is one of the strongest stim pre-workouts on the market with a whopping 388mg of caffeine per serving, tons of yummy flavor options, and is also the best high-stim preworkout that has creatine.

The Kaged Elite is one of the most ingredient-rich pre-workouts on the planet, with L-citrulline malate, beta-alanine, and 5,000mg of creatine for pump and muscle mass.

It also has a ton of vitamins for muscle repair, 2,000mg of taurine for increased focus, and five different flavor options that taste great and mix quickly.

While the Kaged Elite Pre-Workout is absolutely stacked in terms of caffeine, creatine, and other workout-boosting ingredients, the main thing I don’t love about it is that it has sucralose, an artificial sweetener often used to make supplements more palatable.

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Sucralose and other artificial sweeteners are linked to altered gut microbiology (Suez et al., 2014), interfere with appetite regulation (Swithers et al., 2015) and according to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition Neuroscience, is causally linked to increased depression and anxiety (Choudhary and Lee, 2018).

It's also quite expensive, with each container retailing for $60 and containing just 20 servings.

That said, when you consider the combination of 5mg of creatine and a high-stim pre-workout with industry-leading caffeine levels, the Kaged Pre-Kaged Elite Pre-Workout is a great value.

Like the Transparency Labs Bulk, the Pre-Kaged Elite can also be purchased via subscription, saving you 10% off the sticker price.

Transparent Labs Stim-Booster

⭐ Best high-stim pre-workout booster

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Transparent Labs Stim-Booster

Already have a pre-workout that you really like, but simply want to give it an added stim boost?

The Transparent Labs Stim-Booster Pre-Workout has a formula that includes 100mg of organic caffeine for getting more from your current pre-workout.

Each serving also includes L-Tyrosine (1,000mg), Taurine (500mg), and a patented nitric-oxide boosting blend called nooVL (800mg).

Transparent Labs, as the brand name would suggest, is one of the best supplement companies when it comes to manufacturing clean powders and supplements. Each blend, including the Stim-Booster, is made in a GMP- and FDA-certified facility for exceptional purity.

Each container of the Transparent Labs Stim-Booster comes in either unflavoured or Blue Raspberry and contains 30 servings.

The Stim-Booster Pre-Workout is also very affordable, at $20 per container. Transparent Labs also offers a subscription option where you can save 10% and also get free shipping.

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Onnit Alpha Brain Pre-Workout

⭐ Best high-stim pre-workout for more focus

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Onnit Alpha Brain Pre-Workout

Onnit is a brand many supplement nerds are likely aware of. The Alpha Brain Pre-Workout is a high-stim formula that is packed with essential amino acids like beta-alanine for enhanced workouts.

Key to the explosive blend of this high-stim pre-workout, naturally, is the 200mg of caffeine per serving, which is a good amount for the lifter who wants a little more caffeine than a standard pre-workout without going overboard like more hard-core users.

The caffeine is sourced naturally and increases alertness and focus, helping you stay sharp through your entire workout.

2,400mg of beta-alanine will also help boost your workouts by increasing overall endurance by reducing muscle fatigue and perceived rate of exertion.

Onnit gears their supplements towards athletes, and this Alpha Brain is perfect for the more serious gymgoer who wants to focus for longer in the gym without the crash of overly caffeinated pre-workouts.

Each container has 20 servings, and purchasing them individually can be a bit pricey at $60 (Onnit does offer a 15% discount when you order a subscription of Alpha Brain).

Alpha Brain also only comes in two flavors, so if you are the type who is peculiar about the flavoring of their high-stim pre-workout, it may not be right for you.

How to Choose the Best High-Stim Pre-Workout

When shopping around for a high-stim pre-workout, there are some key things to focus on.

Here is an overview of the main things to look for when sorting through the top high-stim pre-workouts on the market:

  • Caffeine Content – Obviously, the most important consideration is how much caffeine the pre-workout has. Standard pre-workouts have a caffeine profile of between 100-150mg per serving. Look for a high-stim pre-workout that has 200mg of caffeine or more.
  • Ingredients – Look for ingredients like beta-alanine, creatine, L-tyrosine, taurine, vitamins, and electrolytes (magnesium and sodium) to help you get the most from your pre-workout. While the high-stim effects of increased caffeine can help boost focus and energy, other performance-boosting ingredients can improve your workouts even further.
  • Other stimulants – Caffeine is the primary stimulant in pre-workouts, but other stims include synephrine, theobromine, and yohimbine. The body of research supporting the efficacy is not as robust as caffeine, but they have been shown to provide some thermogenic and stimulating benefits (Martinez-Pinilla et al., 2015).
  • Flavor and Taste – While not the be-all and end-all when choosing the perfect high-stim pre-workout for your goals, the taste and flavor can certainly affect the overall experience of supplements. Read reviews or if possible, taste samples at your local supplement shop to get a sense of whether or not you will enjoy the flavor.
  • Artificial Sweeteners – As a longtime dietitian and sports nutritionist, I am not a huge fan of artificial sweeteners like sucralose and aspartame. While considered safe by the FDA, they can be difficult to digest for some, increase insulin response, and can even increase sugary cravings. Look for a high-stim pre-workout that uses natural sweeteners like Stevia.
  • Cost – Supplements are rarely cheap, and this is certainly the case with pre-workouts with higher levels of stimulants. Pre-workouts can range anywhere from $40 to $60, but you can drive the cost-per-serving down with subscriptions to ensure better value for the benefits offered.
  • Third-party testing – Supplements have gotten a bit of a bad reputation over the years for spiking and mislabeling the ingredients and content of pre-workout powders. For this reason, it’s crucial to look for a pre-workout that is third-party tested to ensure that what is on the label of your high-stim pre-workout matches what is in your shaker cup.
  • Athlete Approved – Caffeine was removed from the WADA-prohibited list in 2004, but that doesn’t mean there are not ingredients in your pre-workout that can get an athlete flagged. Drug-tested athletes will want to ensure the high-stim pre-workout of choice is tested by organizations such as NSF Certified for Sport, Informed Sport, USP Verified, or other third-party certifications.

High-Stim Pre-Workout Supplements – FAQs

What are the benefits of high-stim pre-workouts?

High-stim pre-workouts use more caffeine and other stimulants to increase workout performance. The way that caffeine does this in a variety of ways (“Caffeine—Not Just a Stimulant,” Glade, 2010):

· Caffeine increases energy availability

· Decreases muscle fatigue

· Decreases perceived effort

· Increased focus and concentration

· Faster reaction times

· Better motor performance

· Increased cognitive function

And much more.

While a high-stim pre-workout won’t replace excellent nutrition and workout habits, it can go a long way in helping you make the most of your time in the gym.

What is the best non-stim pre-workout?

Non-stim pre-workouts have many of the same performance-boosting ingredients of regular pre-workouts, such as beta-alanine, Tyrosine, taurine, and others, without caffeine, which can cause restlessness for some users.

The Transparency Labs Stim-Free Pre-Workout is our favorite thanks to the multiple flavors, elite manufacturing process (with third-party testing), and excellent taste.

Do high-stim pre-workouts have artificial sweeteners?

Pre-workouts universally have some sort of sweetener to help make them more palatable.

They either use artificial sweeteners like sucralose, aspartame, and saccharin, or naturally-sourced sweeteners like Stevia, which is derived from plant leaves.

Pre-workouts with sucralose can be difficult for some users to properly digest, and there is some debate within the scientific community about whether or not it increases sugary cravings and causes an uptick in insulin response.

For more pre-workouts without artificial sweeteners, check out our guide on the best pre-workouts without sucralose.

Conclusion

Ultimately, a high-stim pre-workout is just another piece of the puzzle when it comes to better workouts, whether that means running for longer than ever or deadlifting a new PR at the gym.

To recap our top choice for the best high-stim pre-workout, it’s the Transparent Labs Bulk Pre-Workout.

We love and recommend it because:

· Each serving contains 275mg of caffeine

· Long-lasting energy boost

· Comes in five different tasty flavors

· Third-party tested for purity

· 10% savings when you subscribe (and free shipping)

Pick up a container of the Transparent Labs Bulk, crank up the stims, and unlock better workouts today.

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