Finding time (and more importantly – energy) to go to the gym during a busy week can be a bit difficult.
Usually, the last thing that I want to do at the end of a long workday is put on my activewear and hit the gym for an hour. I’d much rather kick back, watch my favorite show, and eat something.
That’s where my vegan pre-workout comes in.
On those days when I’m exhausted and my energy levels are low, my pre-workout makes all the difference in the world. Once I take it, I can’t move. It allows me to jump into my workout with amazing energy, push myself to the limits, and come out more ripped than ever.
Today, I’ll be showing you some of the best vegan pre-workout supplements that I’ve been using! Whether you’re looking for a super-high-energy supplement or something that’s a bit more natural, I’ve got you covered. Are you ready to take control of your energy?
Is Pre-Workout Vegan?
Being a vegan athlete isn’t always easy. Since I don’t eat meat, I have to make sure that I have a constant supply of healthy vegan protein sources at the house all the time.
I also have to be careful about which supplements I’m using. Unfortunately, vegan athletes represent a minority.
As a result, many of the top-selling workout supplements contain dairy (whey protein) or are loaded down with white sugar, animal protein-derived ingredients, and more.
For the most part, pre-workout supplements are vegan. They rarely contain any animal products, and most are made of either synthetic or plant-based ingredients.
However, it’s always a good idea to double-check the ingredients label to make sure that there aren’t any non-vegan “lurkers” being used in your pre-workout!
Does Pre-Workout Have Dairy?
Most pre-workout supplements are 100% dairy-free. Unlike protein bars and drinks, which often contain a high concentration of milk-based whey protein, pre-workouts are largely vegan-friendly.
Still, it’s a good idea to make sure the following milk-derived ingredients aren’t in your pre-workout supplement:
- Whey or whey protein
- Casein or sodium caseinate
- Milk solids
- Nonfat milk or skim milk
What Ingredients In Pre-Workout Aren’t Vegan?
As I mentioned, most pre-workout is vegan-friendly. However, there are a few non-vegan additives that are sometimes used in various pre-workout supplements. Here are the ones that you should be on the lookout for:
|Non-Vegan Ingredients In Pre-Workout||What They Are|
|Whey Protein||Whey protein is a concentrated protein that’s derived from dairy and isolated as part of the cheese-making process. Unfortunately, whey and all other dairy products aren’t vegan, as the dairy industry is very cruel and arguably unhealthy for humans.|
|White Sugar||Most pre-workouts use a zero-calorie or artificial sweetener. However, some pre-workout supplements may use white sugar, which is filtered through animal bone char.|
|Animal-Derived Taurine||Taurine is an amino acid that’s abundant in mammalian tissues. It’s often added to energy drinks (such as Monster drinks) and pre-workout supplements. In the past, taurine could only be derived from animal sources. Today, however, most taurine is synthetically created in a lab.|
|L-Cysteine||L-Cysteine is a non-essential amino acid that’s known for its ability to help your body synthesize protein. This is why it’s often added to post-workout recovery supplements (and sometimes pre-workout supplements as well). Historically, l-cysteine was derived from animal hairs. However, most of the l-cysteine used in supplements today is made by fermenting plant starch.|
What Is Pre-Workout Made Of?
Most people tend to be in the dark about exactly what their pre-workout powder is made of. All they know is that it has caffeine, tastes a bit sour, and gives them a ton of energy.
I like to break things down for my readers, though. So, here’s a quick look at the basic building blocks of your average pre-workout supplement.
Creatine is a natural substance that our bodies already produce. It helps your body recirculate energy by transforming ADP (adenosine diphosphate) into ATP (adenosine triphosphate) which our muscles burn for energy during strenuous activities.
By consuming creatine, you can increase both your muscular and cardiovascular performance, allowing you to push yourself harder for longer periods of time.
Most of today’s creatine is vegan, as it’s synthesized in a lab!
Amino acids are basic proteins that our bodies need for various functions. The amino acids used in pre-workout supplements are those that are known for increasing energy levels, aiding in muscular recovery, and enhancing our body’s performance.
Citric acid is a natural acid that’s found in citrus plants. This is used as a natural preservative that prevents bacteria from developing in your pre-workout, thus extending the shelf life. This ingredient is 100% vegan, as it’s synthesized in a lab.
Last but not least, most pre-workout blends contain natural energy supplements, such as:
The Best Vegan Pre-Workout Supplements: Plant-Based Energy
Alright, now that you have a better idea about exactly what is inside your pre-workout supplement, it’s time to take a look at some of the best vegan pre-workout blends on the market!
Over the past three years, I’ve taken my fitness very seriously, so I’ve had a chance to experiment with all of these. Now, I can give you my first-hand review of each!
1) Garden of Life Sport Organic Plant-Based Energy + Focus (link)
- Flavor: Blackberry-Cherry
Garden of Life is a great company that’s known for making vegan and vegetarian-friendly supplements. So, it comes as no surprise that they also happen to make one of my favorite vegan pre-workout supplements: Garden of Life Sport Organic Plant-Based Energy + Focus Blend.
This plant-based energy blend contains a small amount of caffeine that’s blended with vitamin B12 and all-natural nitric oxide boosters (which boost your performance).
It also contains organic baobab fruit and organic emblic fruit extract, both of which are herbal supplements known for their energizing effect.
The natural nitric oxide boosters used in Garden of Life Sport are spinach, beetroot, and kale. All of the plant-based ingredients used in this vegan pre-workout supplement are also organic, so you never have to worry about any traces of pesticides or other cancer-causing additives!
I really appreciate how simple and natural this pre-workout is. That being said, it’s not going to be quite as strong as some of the more synthetic pre-workout supplements out there.
Each serving only contains 85 mg of caffeine, which is about the same as you’ll find in a small cup of black tea.
However, if you’re somebody who’s sensitive to caffeine and doesn’t need a lot to feel energized, then this is a great supplement for you. Plus, it’s packed full of healthy superfoods, which is another great reason to give it a try!
Personally, I like to blend this into a smoothie for my midday snack. It’s the perfect supplement to give me a light boost of energy without overdoing it.
What I Like About It:
- It’s made with all-natural ingredients.
- All of the plant-based ingredients are organic.
- It contains nitric oxide-boosting superfoods.
- It contains natural caffeine from coffee berries.
- It’s affordable.
- It only contains 85 mg of caffeine, which isn’t a lot.
2) Naked Energy – Pure Vegan Pre-Workout Powder (link)
- Flavor: Unflavored
If you’re not a fan of all of the synthetic additives and sugars used in most pre-workout supplements, then you’ll love Naked Energy – Pure Vegan Pre-Workout Powder!
Compared to most pre-workout supplements that contain artificial dyes, colors, and preservatives, this vegan pre-workout is as pure as it gets. It’s sugar-free, dye-free, and preservative-free, so you can use it with complete confidence that you’re not putting any junk in your system.
Each two-scoop serving contains 200 mg of natural caffeine (from unroasted coffee beans), 1 gram of pure creatine monohydrate, 1 gram of l-arginine, and 2 grams of beta-alanine.
Additionally, it contains several energizing B vitamins (B3, B6, and B12), vitamin C, folate (from lemon peels), and calcium.
So it’s as good for you as it is energizing!
As you can see, it doesn’t contain any of the artificial crap that many other pre-workout supplements do.
The only real downside of this pre-workout supplement is that it doesn’t taste all that great. Other pre-workouts that I’ve tried are at least somewhat good-tasting. This is something that you’ll want to swallow as fast as possible!
That being said, if you’re somebody who uses pre-workout supplements on a daily basis, this is far healthier and better for your body.
What I Like About It:
- No artificial ingredients.
- 100% sugar-free.
- Made with real, plant-based ingredients.
- Contains 200 mg of caffeine per serving.
- It was a little expensive (since it doesn’t have fillers).
- It doesn’t taste very good, since it’s sugar-free and unflavored.
3) Cellucor C4 Ultimate Shred Pre-Workout Powder (link)
- Flavor: Icy Blue Razz
When most people think of pre-workout supplements, Cellucor’s C4 Pre-Workout products are often the first thing that comes to mind. They’re sold at grocery stores and supplement shops across the country, are widely available in gyms and are even sold at Wal-Mart.
Overall, C4 is one of the most accessible and affordable pre-workout supplements on the market.
Cellucor C4 Ultimate Shred Pre-Workout Powder is even stronger than the original C4, though. This vegan-friendly pre-workout supplement also contains fat burners that are designed to boost your metabolism and help you burn more fat during your workouts.
Each serving contains 300 mg of caffeine, 3.2 grams of CarnoSyn beta-alanine, as well as C4’s patented Thermogenic Shred Matrix blend.
Essentially, it’s a super-energizing pre-workout formula that’s combined with fat burners. If you’re trying to get the most out of your workouts and make them as intense as possible, then you can’t go wrong with this product.
I’d say that the main downside of this product is that it may be a bit too strong for some. 300 mg of caffeine is a lot, especially if you’re not used to consuming caffeine regularly.
Additionally, the thermogenic fat burners can also cause your body to become flush and can cause you to get a bit jittery.
In other words, don’t take this product if you don’t plan on working out right afterward. Otherwise, you’ll be sitting in your chair shaking, jittery, and itching to move! It is one of the strongest pre-workout supplements that I’ve ever tried.
What I Like About It:
- It’s super-potent and will give you tons of energy.
- It contains thermogenic fat burners which help you burn more fat during your workout.
- It’s sugar-free.
- It has good taste.
- It contains a number of synthetic ingredients.
- It may be a bit too strong for beginners or those sensitive to caffeine.
4) RSP Vegan AminoLean – All-in-One Natural Vegan Pre-Workout (link)
- Flavor: Acai
If you’re looking for a well-rounded plant-based energy supplement or vegan pre-workout powder, then RSP Vegan AminoLean is the perfect all-in-one solution to boost your energy.
This vegan pre-workout supplement is naturally calorie-free and sugar-free, so it won’t interfere with any of your dietary restrictions. It’s also free from any and all artificial ingredients.
Each serving contains 130 mg of RSP’s natural energy blend, which features natural caffeine from black tea, guarana seed, and matcha leaf.
It also features natural weight management supplements such as l-carnitine, green tea extract, and green coffee extract, which help to reduce your appetite and boost your metabolism.
It also features eleven naturally-derived amino acids, including taurine, beta-alanine, l-arginine, l-glutamine, l-valine, l-phenylalanine, l-leucine, l-citrulline, l-isoleucine, l-threonine, and l-methionine.
It has a pleasant but not overpowering flavor of acai berry, which blends well with the other supplements. If you’re not a fan of acai, this vegan pre-workout powder is also available in mango and pineapple-coconut flavors. The acai has always been my favorite!
What I Like About It:
- It’s all-natural.
- All-in-one pre-workout, weight management, and amino acid blend.
- Tastes good.
- Contains 130 mg of caffeine, which isn’t too strong.
- Naturally sugar-free and calorie-free.
- It doesn’t contain any nitric oxide boosters.
5) KOS Natural Pre-Workout Powder (link)
- Flavor: Electric Boostberry
If you’re looking for a healthy, all-natural energy supplement that’s healthy while not being too overpowering, then you’ll love KOS Natural Pre-Workout Powder. I actually came across this particular brand on Tik Tok, which is what inspired me to buy it and give it a try.
While it’s certainly not as strong as my C4, it’s a great supplement for when I’m feeling a bit sleepy and just need a quick all-natural boost.
Each serving contains 70 mg of natural caffeine from herbal additives, so it’s about as energizing as a small cup of coffee. It’s also loaded with super-healthy adaptogenic herbal supplements, including:
- Cordyceps mushrooms
- Blue spirulina
- Lion’s mane mushrooms
- Ginseng root
- Rhodiola Rosea
- B-Complex from quinoa
That’s quite the line-up of herbs, isn’t it?
Unlike most pre-workout supplements, which are purely designed to increase your physical performance, KOS Natural Pre-Workout Powder also supports your mental performance as well.
These adaptogenic herbs not only give you a natural energy boost but also increase your focus and concentration as well, relieving stress and anxiety while enhancing focus.
Here’s a good resource for learning more about adaptogenic mushrooms:
Last but not least, it’s remarkably affordable as well! So, there’s no reason not to give it a try.
What I Like About It:
- Contains eight energizing herbs and adaptogenic mushrooms.
- Contains natural caffeine from coffee berries.
- Tastes great.
- Supports mental focus as well as physical performance.
- It doesn’t have a lot of caffeine.
- It’s better for increasing mental focus than physical performance.
6) GHOST Legend Pre-Workout Energy Powder (link)
- Flavor: Blue Raspberry
Ghost is one of the most popular up-and-coming workout supplement brands on the market. In fact, I’ve been using Ghost Vegan Protein powder lately, which I recently reviewed.
Ghost Legend Pre-Workout Energy Powder is very similar to C4’s original pre-workout. Each serving is packed full of caffeine, energizing supplements, and amino acids designed to give you the ultimate pump.
It contains especially high amounts of l-citrulline, an amino acid that’s known for improving your V02 max and allowing you to get the most out of your weightlifting routine.
It’s naturally sugar-free and calorie-free as well, so you don’t have to worry about any sugary additives.
The main downside about Ghost Pre-Workout Powder is that it’s definitely more on the expensive side. The ingredients are very similar to C4’s pre-workout, which is around half the cost. However, the flavor is where Ghost’s pre-workout supplement really shines.
I really love the Blue Raspberry flavor, but it’s also available in five other flavors, including Sonic Cherry Limeade, Sonic Ocean Water, Warheads Sour Watermelon, Sour Patch Kids Redberry, and good old-fashioned peach.
With Ghost’s product, you’re mostly paying extra for the brand collaborations for the flavor. So, if the flavor of your pre-workout is important to you, then you’ll love this brand!
What I Like About It:
- Amazing flavors.
- High amounts of l-citrulline for an added pump.
- High in caffeine.
- It was a bit expensive.
Conclusion – What’s The Best Vegan Pre-Workout Supplement?
If I had to choose the best vegan pre-workout supplement, then I’d have to say that RSP Vegan AminoLean All-in-One Pre-Workout is my favorite.
Not only are all of the ingredients all-natural but it’s also loaded with healthy amino acids, and weight management herbs, and contains a good amount of caffeine for an added energy boost.
Pre-workout is great for getting you to the gym. However, if you’re really looking to pack on extra muscle and bulk up, then you might be in need of a good vegan mass gainer. Keep on reading to find out the best vegan mass gainers next!