A good caffeine-free pre-workout can be hard to find. Many pre-workout supplements are packed with stimulating ingredients that can leave you jittery and anxious. So what should you look for in a non-stim pre-workout? And does caffeine-free pre-workout work?
Today we will discuss why a pre-workout is beneficial, if caffeine-free pre-workout supplements are effective, and the top ingredients to look for when searching for the best non-caffeinated pre-workouts.
Before we talk about specific ingredients, let's discuss why it’s a good idea to add a pre-workout supplement to your exercise routine.
Why you should use a pre-workout supplement
There are plenty of reasons to take protein before workouts – not just after. A pre-workout supplement can provide a quick energy boost and helps to enhance your performance in a number of ways.
Pre-workout supplements often contain amino acids, caffeine, and other ingredients which can increase your strength, endurance, and alertness levels. This extra energy and focus can help you workout harder and longer. We will dive into the details of all these benefits below.
Of course, not everyone wants caffeine in their supplements. Some individuals are sensitive to caffeine or prefer to avoid it for various reasons, such as sleep disturbances, anxiety, or heart palpitations.
For these individuals, caffeine-free pre-workout supplements may be a suitable alternative. But if energy and focus are some of the main goals of a pre-workout, does caffeine-free pre-workout work?
Does caffeine-free pre-workout work?
Caffeine-free pre-workout supplements can absolutely be effective, and they work for many people. Of course, whether or not your caffeine-free pre-workout will work depends on your fitness goals and the ingredients included in your pre-workout.
Many caffeine-free pre-workout products are designed to provide the same range of benefits associated with traditional pre-workouts, such as improved energy, endurance, and focus – without the stimulating effects of caffeine.
So what ingredient should you look for in the best non-stim pre-workout? Let’s take a look at some important components of a safe and effective caffeine-free pre-workout supplement.
6 ingredients to look for in your caffeine-free pre-workout
Here are some of the main ingredients you should look for in your caffeine-free pre-workout:
Nope, it’s not just a beauty supplement. In fact, collagen may just be the best protein for athletes.
Collagen is in more than just your skin. It’s a main structural component of your muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones, and more. Because of that, taking a regular collagen supplement can strengthen and replenish all those structures.
You can get collagen in pill, powder, or liquid form. We recommend liquid, because you don’t have to worry about mixing it with anything. You can simply throw a single-serving liquid supplement in your gym bag or pocket to take as needed for your pre-workout.
There are SO many liquid collagen benefits for your overall health, but when it comes to your workouts, collagen can be super beneficial as well.
Collagen can support the health and integrity of your tendons and ligaments, which is instrumental for injury prevention. Tendon and ligament damage makes up about 60% of all sports injuries, so if you can protect yourself against it, you should!
On top of reducing your risk of injury, collagen can greatly reduce joint pain. If you have pain from previous injuries, arthritis, or overuse, a regular collagen supplement can help.
And of course, collagen is a protein, so you are getting all the same benefits you would get from whey protein – without the digestive upset. That’s because if you compare collagen protein vs whey protein, collagen is much easier to digest and is lactose-free to boot.
Collagen contains the essential amino acids that your body needs to support muscle growth and recovery, so adding collagen to your pre-workout can help your body to repair and rebuild muscle tissue more efficiently.
Carbohydrates are one of your body’s primary energy sources, and there are many advantages to adding them to a caffeine-free pre-workout.
Your body creates energy from carbohydrates by converting them into glucose. This process is much faster than the breakdown of protein, which means the energy is readily available for you shortly after taking your pre-workout supplement.
Consuming carbohydrates before your workout can provide you with a steady supply of glucose to fuel your exercise session, especially during long, high-intensity workouts or endurance activities such as cycling, long-distance running, or intense team sports.
Maintaining your blood glucose levels can help delay the onset of fatigue. This allows you to exercise for longer and at a higher intensity before experiencing physical or mental burnout.
Carbs may even help you recover faster after your workout. By adding carbohydrates to your caffeine-free pre-workout, you can start your recovery process before you even finish exercising. Carbs help by replenishing glycogen stores in your muscles, which reduce muscle breakdown during exercise.
If you don’t have enough carbohydrates in your system, or are working out in a fasted state, it can actually cause your body to use your muscle protein as an energy source. If you are trying to build or maintain muscle mass, this can spell absolute disaster for your results.
There are benefits of beta-alanine for your workout. By adding beta-alanine to your caffeine-free pre-workout, you can improve exercise performance, particularly in activities that involve short bursts of high-intensity effort.
Beta-alanine is a precursor to carnosine, a dipeptide found in skeletal muscle. Carnosine helps buffer the accumulation of hydrogen ions (H+) in muscle tissue, which can lead to a decrease in pH and the onset of muscle fatigue during high-intensity exercise.
By increasing muscle carnosine levels, beta-alanine can delay the onset of muscle fatigue, allowing you to work out harder and longer.
As a result of improved pH regulation and reduced fatigue, beta-alanine can lead to increased endurance during activities like sprinting, weightlifting, or high-intensity interval training. It may also help in sports that require sustained effort, such as cycling or swimming.
Some users report feeling more focused and alert during their workouts when taking beta-alanine, which makes it a great alternative to caffeine.
4. Citrulline malate
The next ingredient to look for in your caffeine-free pre-workout is citrulline malate. Citrulline malate benefits your workout by increasing nitric oxide (NO) production in your body.
How does this help?
Nitric oxide is a vasodilator, which means it relaxes and widens blood vessels. This dilation enhances blood flow, delivering more oxygen and nutrients to working muscles during exercise. Improved blood flow can result in better endurance and muscle pumps
Citrulline malate may also help to reduce the sensation of muscle fatigue during exercise. By aiding in the removal of waste products like ammonia and lactic acid from the muscles, it can delay the onset of fatigue, allowing you to exercise at a higher intensity for a longer duration.
The combination of improved blood flow and reduced muscle fatigue can contribute to better exercise performance. Athletes and bodybuilders often report being able to complete more reps or lift heavier weights when using citrulline malate, making it a valuable addition to your pre-workout.
Citrulline malate's ability to help clear waste products from the muscles can also contribute to faster post-workout recovery. This can reduce the severity and duration of muscle soreness, potentially allowing you to train more frequently and with greater intensity.
There is a reason most sports drinks contain electrolytes. Unfortunately, they often contain a lot of sugars and additives, too. But you can find a clean pre-workout supplement that includes electrolytes and do away with those drinks altogether.
Electrolytes are minerals that carry an electrical charge and play critical roles in various physiological functions in your body.
For example, proper muscle function depends on the balance of electrolytes. Sodium and potassium, in particular, are crucial for muscle contractions. An imbalance in these electrolytes can lead to muscle cramps or reduced muscle performance during exercise.
Electrolytes are also involved in the process of generating energy within the cells. This makes electrolytes a vital component of your pre-workout supplement. When your electrolyte levels are balanced, you're less likely to experience fatigue, allowing you to work out for longer periods and at a higher intensity.
Electrolytes also help to maintain your body's fluid balance. During exercise, you lose fluids through sweat, and this can lead to dehydration if not properly managed. Electrolytes like sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium help regulate optimal hydration.
Last but certainly not least, if you live in a hot climate, you’ll be happy to know that electrolytes can even aid in preventing heat exhaustion and heat stroke, so they are perfect to add into your pre-workout when the sun is fierce.
The last ingredient you should look for in your pre-workout supplement is taurine. Taurine may improve exercise performance by helping your body to use oxygen more efficiently, leading to improved cardiovascular function and greater stamina during workouts.
Taurine has also been suggested to have antioxidant properties, which can help reduce oxidative stress and minimize muscle damage caused by intense exercise. This can contribute to faster recovery and less muscle soreness.
What’s more, taurine plays a role in regulating calcium levels in muscle cells, which is crucial for proper muscle contractions. Ensuring that muscle contractions are efficient and coordinated can lead to better workout performance and reduced risk of cramps or muscle weakness.
Finally, adding taurine to your pre-workout supplement may improve mental focus, concentration, and alertness – which makes it a great alternative to caffeine during demanding training sessions.
So, now that you have an idea which ingredients are important in your supplement, what is the best caffeine-free pre-workout on the market?
The best caffeine-free pre-workout for athletes
The best caffeine-free pre-workout supplement for athletes is undoubtedly Frog Fuel Ultra. This powerful pre-workout supplement contains all the ingredients listed above and then some – and it comes with a caffeine-free option!
In our minds, Frog Fuel Ultra is the best pre-workout for muscle gain too, because it provides all the bulking and endurance benefits of other proteins PLUS the restorative and injury prevention powers of collagen.
Best yet, Frog Fuel comes in single-serve liquid pouches that are easy to take on the go. And the nano-hydrolyzed formula makes these supplements super bio-available. In fact, your body can completely digest Frog Fuel in 15 minutes or less!
If you want the supplement that will do the most for your body during and after your workout, the liquid collagen pre-workout from Frog Fuel is the answer you’re looking for.