Getting all zooted up on caffeine before the gym is a dangerous game. In fact, I overlooked the caffeine in my first-ever preworkout and experienced some nasty jitters that cut my session short. Needless to say, I halved the dose after that debacle. Whether you enjoy a stim-free pre-workout or prefer to get your caffeine from other sources, you’ll find value in my ultimate list of the best caffeine-free pre-workout supplements.
In this guide, I share my top 10 caffeine-free preworkout picks, reviews, and a bonus buyer’s guide that explains why going caffeine-free is essential to maximizing pump and overall performance.
|Brand||Ingredients & Highlights|
|#1 Genius Pre||
|#2 Legion Pulse||
|#3 Type Zero Clean N.O. Booster||
|#4 Jacked Factory N.O. XT Nitric Oxide Boosting Agent||
|#5 Evlution Nutrition Pump Mode||
|#6 ALLMAX Nutrition Impact Pump||
|#7 GAT Sport NITRAFLEX Pump||
|#8 RSP Pump Boost||
|#9 Cellucor NO3 Ultimate||
|#10 BSN N.O.-XPLODE Legendary Pre-Workout w/ Creatine||
Buyer’s Guide and Reviews
Now that you’ve checked out the top 10 best caffeine-free pre-workout supplements currently on the market, let’s dive deeper.
In this section, I share reviews for several of my top picks along with a helpful buyer’s guide that explains why stim-free is the new caffeine.
If you’re unfamiliar with the Genius Brand, it’s one of the more evolved supplement brands out there. Genius focuses on enhancing physical performance by unlocking the power of the mind. Genius took what bodybuilding supplement companies already know and made it even better.
Each serving of Genius Pre contains a whopping 6 grams of L-Citrulline Malate 2:1, 2 grams of Betaine, and 1 gam of L-arginine. The blend combines the power of these effective bodybuilding supplement ingredients with nootropics Huperzine A, L-tyrosine, and Rhodiola.
You may have also noticed that Genius Pre contains four trademarked ingredients that a lot of the other pre-workouts in my Top 10 offer. Bottom line, this stuff is loaded with goodies to enhance not only physical performance but the all-important mind-to-muscle connection.
Legion Pulse is essentially the same supplement as Genius Pre without the added nootropics. Legion also beefed up the L-citrulline, CarnoSyn, and Betaine Anhydrous dosages in its blend.
One thing I really like about Pulse is most users who tried C4 or MP Assault before Pulse prefer the effects of Pulse.
Like Genius Pre, the ingredients in Pulse have a consistent effect. With supplements like C4, people often end up having to double or even triple the dose before the stuff stops working altogether.
The drawback to Pulse is it’s not the best choice for people who are seeking a preworkout that focuses on boosting pumps. Pulse is best suited for people who are looking for a stim-free energy boost and effective – not best – N.O. boosting formula.
Lastly, Pulse is available in both caffeinated and non-caffeinated blends.
Evl Pump Mode
For bodybuilders or aspiring bodybuilders who are looking to enhance their pump, look no further than Pump Mode. What I like the most about Pump Mode is it’s a no-nonsense formula with minimal ingredients for an affordable price.
Most bodybuilders like the freedom Pump Mode offers since it stacks well with other supps. The key ingredient Betaine Nitrate (as NO3-T®) is a cutting-edge Nitric Oxide booster that more and more bodybuilders are reaching for to get real results.
The main ingredients in Pump Mode boost blood flow and optimize oxygen delivery to the muscles. These are two of the keys to achieving intensified pumps.
Compared to other stim-free pre-workouts in my Top 10, NITRAFLEX is on the lighter side with similar ingredients to several of my other picks. For example, it contains a 4g dose of L-citrulline while others in my Top 10 offer 6 grams or more. Despite this slight shortcoming, I love the addition of the testosterone-boosting ingredient CFB.
On top of that, NITRAFLEX offers several additional ingredients not found in other blends, such as Agmatine for an all-natural energy boost. To even the mix out for a serious pump boost, GAT added HydroMax® Glycerol and CarnoSyn® Beta-Alanine.
All in all, the greatest selling point for NITRAFLEX is the T boost not offered by most other pre-workout supplements. It’s also one of the best creatine-free pre-workouts currently on the market.
Cellucor NO3 Ultimate
Did Cellucor deliver with its caffeine-free NO-boosting alternative to C4? C4, the most well-known Cellucor pre-workout supplement, has the disadvantage of tolerance. Most users love C4 until they realize that the effects quickly wear off after several uses.
The good news is there are no stimulants to build up a tolerance to in NO3 Ultimate. NO3 Ultimate is all about amplifying pumps through the power of boosting Nitric Oxide. If you’re a fan of arginine in your pre-workout supp, NO3 Ultimate is the most complete arginine formula in my Top 10 with three different types of arginine.
Cellucor also stands behind this supplement with a 30-day 100% money-back guarantee. This is more than most other lesser-known supplement companies offer.
Stim-Free N.O.-XPLODE is the best caffeine-free pre-workout supplement with creatine in my Top 10. It contains five different blends: Myogenic Matrix, Endura Shot, Thermic Energy, N.O. Alpha Fusion, and Shock Composite.
The biggest drawback is each formula is a proprietary blend, so you don’t know exactly how much of each ingredient you’re getting per serving.
However, if you’re a fan of proprietary blends and on the hunt for a complete stim-free preworkout with creatine, there’s no better choice than caffeine-free N.O. Xplode. It covers all the bases from Nitric Oxide production to enhanced energy & focus.
The Danger of Mixing Caffeine with Exercise
The BIGGEST reason to avoid caffeine before the gym is the fact that excessive caffeine intake restricts blood flow (it’s a vasoconstrictor). Since we want to increase blood flow for a serious pump, it’s vital to consider stimulant-free preworkout supplements that work as vasodilators.
One study found that caffeine reduces myocardial blood flow during exercise, which can cause serious repercussions including cardiac death (*). Ischemia and arrhythmia may occur even in young healthy adults when caffeine is combined with exercise.
As more people realize the dangers of training on caffeine, more people are reaching for stim-free preworkout supplements to get the same edge, minus the dangerous potential side effects.
The Problem with Caffeinated Pre-Workouts that Boost Nitric Oxide
Nitric Oxide is a potent vasodilator that’s beneficial to take before exercise (*). Caffeinated pre-workouts that aim to boost N.O. production have conflicting ingredients.
The vasoconstrictive effect of caffeine works against the vasodilatory effect that N.O.-boosting ingredients in a pre-workout supplement produce.
L-citrulline and L-arginine
L-citrulline is an effective and safe supplement that increases vasodilation. In older men, L-citrulline combined with L-arginine was shown to increase muscle blood flow (*).
These two amino acids are found in mostly all the stim-free pre-workout supplements in my Top 10 because of their effectiveness as vasodilators that enhance pump.
It’s important to reach for pre-workout supplements that contain both amino acids because the research for L-arginine on its own is conflicting.
Nootropics in pre-workout supplements?
If you’ve never heard of nootropics, you may be wondering what they are. Nootropics are the new fad type of supplement that aims to enhance cognitive function.
In the fast-paced world we live in today, people either sink or swim. This is why a lot of people are supplementing to gain that mental edge.
It all started with the Limitless movie featuring Bradley Cooper. After that movie’s release, everyone wanted to know whether that pill actually existed.
The reason nootropics are a great addition to a caffeine-free preworkout is the positive effect on the mind-muscle connection. Experienced bodybuilders know that form is critical.
It took me years and years to begin dialing in my form. Eventually, I realized that form is a lot more important than the amount of weight I lift when I’m isolating a muscle or muscle group.
It’s easy to see why the effects of nootropics benefit people who are serious about fitness.
How to Choose the Best Caffeine-Free and Stimulant-Free Preworkout
Before you choose the best caffeine-free pre-workout in my Top 10, it’s best to consider your goals. Below are several key questions to ask yourself before you choose your stim-free pre-workout supp:
Are you looking for a bigger pump or more energy?
Are you looking for a more affordable supplement that’s not going to break the bank?
Do you want to avoid artificial sweeteners, dyes, and fillers?
Do you prefer a simple formula that stacks well with other supplements?
Have you had any allergic reactions or other negative reactions to ingredients in supplements before?
Do you prefer unflavored powders?
Do you prefer capsules instead of powder?
Once you answer all or several of these questions, you’ll have a better idea of which supplement suits you best. It’s also important to keep in mind that most bodybuilding pre-workout powders contain the same ingredients with different combinations and dosages.
You may also want to try 2-3 to decide which one works best for you. Whenever I try a new supplement, I spend what I call “experiment money.” Without experimenting and comparing several brands, it’s nearly impossible to find the one that treats you best.
Best Stim-Free Pre-Workout Supplements for Energy
- Genius Pre
- BSN N.O.-XPLODE
- ALLMAX Impact Pump
- NITRAFLEX Pump
The four supplements above provide the greatest energy boost of the formulas in my Top 10. The rest of the supplements’ main focus is to boost Nitric Oxide and blood flow for an intensified pump.
I have yet to see another pre-workout supplement on the market that’s as complete as Genius Pre. I’ve reviewed several Genius Brand supplements, and most of them impressed me.
In essence, there are two types of caffeine-free pre-workouts: the type that enhances your pump and the all-around type that provides an energy boost along with an enhanced pump. It’s up to you to decide which type of supplement is your preferred choice.
I saw people make the mistake of buying an N.O. booster pre-workout and expecting it to give them a jolt of energy like caffeine.
By following my guide and choosing the right supplement in my Top 10 for your goals, you give yourself the best chance of choosing the best caffeine-free pre-workout supplement for you the first time.