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The Best Pre-Workout Supplement For Less Than $5

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The Best Pre-Workout Supplement For Less Than 5 Dollars

by Dejan Antic | Follow Dejan on Twitter

The Best Pre-Workout SupplementWant to know an interesting fact?

Here it goes…

Most pre-workout supplements are a scam.

They are just a cunning marketing ploy that was carefully engineered, to suck the hard earned cash out of your wallet.

Don’t believe me?

Just search for best pre-workout supplement on the web and you’ll quickly find a bunch of expensive, hyped-up products, with over the top names that cost an arm and a leg.

But what if I told you, that you can buy the best pre-workout supplement for just a fraction of the cost. And what’s even better, you probably have this thing in your house already.

So, what’s this secret supplement?

The answer might shock you.

More Power, More Endurance, One Ingredient

Most pre-workout supplements rely heavily on just this one compound as their main ingredient. And as I said in the intro, it’s usage is so widespread, you probably have this thing lying somewhere in your kitchen already.

Heck, you might be even consuming it while you’re reading this article.

So, what’s the secret ingredient I hear you say?


Caffeine is a stimulant that helps you get stronger, by making you feel more alert and focused. It does so by binding itself to adenosine receptors in your brain. Adenosine usually causes relaxation and sedation when it acts on its receptors, but when caffeine comes into play, adenosine has no receptors to bind itself to, so as a result, you feel more energetic and alert.

Most supplement companies use caffeine as the main ingredient in their pre-workout mix, as you can see in the picture below.

Pre-Workout Supplement Label

While that’s all fine and dandy, here’s what I hate about this pre-workout supplements. The caffeine you get per serving is extremely expensive. On average, the caffeine you get in a serving of the pre-workout supplement, will cost you $1.30. This is 928% more than what regular caffeine costs.

That’s crazy!

It really pisses me off when I see, how much money these supplement companies are raking in by deceiving people.

But luckily for you, there’s a better and a much safer way to get caffeine in your system. For strength training purposes, caffeine pills are the best pre-workout supplement. The same kick, for just a fraction of the cost.

How Much Caffeine Should You Take?

You should take enough caffeine so that it gives you the desired benefits, but not too much, since you don’t want to experience negative side effects.

So now the question is, how much caffeine is enough?

Well, this depends from person to person, but a general rule of thumb is to take 200 mg (that’s one caffeine pill) approx. 15 to 30 minutes before your workout.

I like to pop my caffeine pill on an empty stomach, but this might not be the best way to go for you. Definitely test things out.

Caffeine works, plain and simple. Every time I take it, I feel more energized and pumped to hit the weights. Here are some research-proven caffeine benefits that are related to strength training and to gaining muscle mass:

  • Increased power output
  • Reduction in the rate of perceived exertion
  • Improved anaerobic running capacity (sprints, sled pulling, etc.)

WARNING: Caffeine is a powerful stimulant. With that said, I’d never recommend you to take more than 300 mg in one go. If you’re not sure how you’ll respond to caffeine, start with small doses (e.g. 100 mg) and slowly increase your dose as time goes by. Taking too much caffeine in one go can cause you to experience unpleasant side effects.

Where to Get The Best Pre-Workout Supplement

Most supplement websites sell caffeine pills with each capsule containing 200 mg of caffeine. Perfect dosage for your training.

My go to supplement store is MyProtein.com, but for all of you non-European readers, the best supplement store has got to be Amazon.com. Here’s the link for some quality caffeine caps.

You can also get caffeine in powdered form, but I advise you not to do that. You don’t want to accidentally take caffeine instead of some other supplement.

But wait, why caffeine pills, why not coffee?

Well, I’m glad you asked.

I recommend you get caffeine in the form of pills, rather than coffee, because with caffeine pills it’s easy to get the dosage right. You know that each pill has 200 mg of caffeine in it, so you don’t have to worry whether you’ve taken the right amount.

But don’t sweat it.

If you don’t want to spend money on caffeine pills, a shot of espresso 15 to 30 minutes before your workout, should do the trick.

Your Turn…

Ever tried caffeine? What’s your experience with it?

Let me know in the comments section below.

Photo Credit: Kessop

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }


Can I still have my cup of coffee? My schedule is, wake up at 6.30, kids off to the bus 7.30, breakfast..(eggs, cheese, Turkey slices) gym at 9.00 to 10.30. Whey 1 scoop, 24 grams protein on drive home. Noon lunch (tuna fish with veggies), dinner (chicken with veggies). I take creatin and 4 caps of fiber and 100 onces of water every day.



Hey Rich,

Of course you can have your cup of coffee :) As I mentioned in the article, drink a shot of espresso 15 to 20 minutes before your workout and you’ll be ready to go.

Other alternatives to the espresso are also acceptable.


Ludvig Sunström

Great writing Dejan!

And yes, I have tried caffeine ;)

The points you make in this post are vital. You’d think this should be common knowledge by now, but it’s definitely not. I keep seeing scrawny kids in the gym bragging to each other about their new “soda water”… That doesn’t even have caffeine, beta-alanine, or stimulants in it. It’s just flavored water with some cheap vitamin extracts.

“Dude, this is going to make my muscles grow… I always drink this when I work out so that my muscles don’t break when I work out!”




Thank you Ludvig! :)

Hahaha, your quote made me laugh hard because just a few days ago, a guy was telling me how the product that he’s been using lately helped him stay anabolic and what not. He was talking about some vitamin water, which he was trying to sell to me (he was part of some multi level marketing group).

Yeah, I’m also tired of people getting screwed over by cunning marketing propaganda … that’s actually the main reason why I wrote this article :)



Cool blog Dejan. I’m a natural bodybuilder myself so I can tell you what the best pre workout is.

For it is, and has always been, cocaine.

I’m kidding.

The best pre workout I’ve found is motivational videos.

I don’t feel the effects of pre workouts after taking more than, well, just once.

BUT what you’re saying is 100% true. I know plenty of guys who just buy the ingredients and make their own pre workouts at a fraction of the cost.



Haha, cocaine … the secret ingredient of the pros :)

It’s funny how people are different. I can really get a big kick out of caffeine while my friend, who often times trains with me, says that caffeine has no effect on him. Oh, teh biology.



Outstanding post Dejan!

I would like to provide some links so that we may get some idea how much the amount of caffiien in different products. Have you heard of Death Wish coffee? It never came to my country. One customer remark as per the link below :
‘I’d say one cup of this is comparable to about 5 shots of espresso,’ Diedrick Nagle wrote. ‘I felt like Superman on steroids. Welp, off to save the world folks!’..


1) http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/caffeine/art-20049372
2) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2382606/How-caffeine-morning-coffee-List-brands-reveals-Starbucks-TWICE-McDonalds.html



Hey Dzul, thanks for the input!

That sure sounds like one hell of a strong coffee. I wouldn’t play with that stuff, since I’m really sensitive to caffeine and I realized that I don’t need much to overdose :) For me, that would probably be an overkill.



I can see that as a central nervous system stimulant it can help. Clearly it is popularly widespread, as you had mentioned above, among “pre-workout” supplements. NOw here’s some stuff that is surprisingly overlooked in this article as well as nearly everywhere (gasp):

caffeine much like sugar is a well-documented vitamin robber. The B-complex, basically the greatest group of vitamins is detrimentally affected by caffeine. B vitamins are the hard gained ones from eggs (B12, meat, whole grain/kernel parts of real bread, niacin B3, B6 pyridoxine). Many of the B vitamins are responsible for DNA and RNA processes, and cellular energy metabolism. I unfortunately cannot seem to think of a better alternative- dietwise. Maybe taking a cold shower before working out?



I alternate between preworkout and coffee. Dont know where to get coffee pills either, first ive heard of them to be honest. How many teaspoons (5gm) is ideal.



Iose, just drink a cup of good ol’ coffee to get your energy boost :)


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