A well formulated pre workout can help you improve your endurance capacity and maximize your athletic performance. It can also provide you with some much-needed get-up and go when you need an extra little push of motivation before you hit the box. But not all pre workout is created equal. So what is the best pre workout for CrossFit? We’re going to break it down so you can find a pre workout to help you optimize your performance and maximize your gains in the gym.
What Is Pre-Workout
Aptly named, pre workout is a supplement that is taken before your workout to help increase strength, boost endurance, and improve athletic performance. There are several different formulations of pre workout. Generally, most pre workout contains a mix of amino acids, creatine, beta-alanine, citrulline malate, and caffeine.
What Is The Best Pre Workout For CrossFit
Before we get started, with what the best pre workout for CrossFit is, at Swolverine we always take a food first approach. Always. Pre workout is never going to replace real whole foods. Most people take pre workout because of the caffeine to get you hyped before a workout and that’s great for some people. But energy should be created with good nutritional habits from quality carbohydrates and adequate water intake. I recommend adding in some dried fruit such as dates, apricots, mangos, or a banana before your workout to give you the carbohydrates you need for a quick burst of energy. In addition to a solid nutrition plan, a quality formulated pre workout can help drive better results in the gym, especially when we need a little pick me up. But when it comes to CrossFit, the best pre workout is going to help with hydration, better endurance capacity, and providing enough fuel to power your workout.
Non-Stim Pre Workouts Are Best For CrossFit Performance
If you get your energy from food, why take a pre-workout? This is where a non-stim pre workout can really help you. You see, the real benefit of pre workout is helping you optimize athletic performance, by increasing strength, improving muscle gain, and enhancing endurance capacity, or at least that’s what a good pre workout should be formulated to do. Not just overload you with caffeine.
Non-stim pre workouts are really the best choice when it comes to CrossFit. Caffeine overload while you’re moving heavy weight across constantly varied movements, for time, or as many reps as possible, is not ideal, nor will it make you feel very good. It can make you feel jittery, sick to your stomach, and even have the opposite effect, giving you a headache and inhibiting your workout performance, especially when you had an energy drink and cold brew earlier in the day.
Correctly Dosed Ingredients Will Make All The Difference
If you’re on the market for the best pre workout for your CrossFit performance, then you also need to pay attention to the doses of the ingredients. Most pre workout supplements are under-dosed and if a supplement is under-dosed you might as well not take it at all because it’s not going to help you improve your performance.
The most common pre workout ingredients and their doses include
5-6 grams or more
Energy, Strength, Recovery, Builds Muscle
Beta-Alanine *(make sure it is Carnosyn)
3.2 grams or more
Reduces Lactic Acid Buildup, Delays Muscle Fatigue, Increases Endurance Capacity
5 grams or more
Increases Energy, Power Output, And Strength
Electrolytes (Potassium, Magnesium, Sodium)
500 milligrams or more
Provides Hydration, Muscle Contraction,
Essential Amino Acids (EAA)
4 grams or more
Muscle building, muscle recovery, energy
5 grams or more
energy, muscle mass, recovery
Avoid Pre-Workout With Added Sugar
Sugar is one if not the easiest dietary ingredient to consume. You can eat a candy bar and get plenty of sugar, or get a natural source of sugar through fruit, you do not need any extra added sugar in your diet, especially from a pre workout. Carbohydrates when metabolized are broken down into sugars and is the first and most vital energy source for your body. Which is also the exact reason I recommend eating from dried fruit before your workout. Pre workouts with added sugar however, is not something you need.
Look For A Mix Of Sports Nutrition And Whole Foods
The best pre workout for CrossFit will provide an optimal mix of electrolytes, sports nutrition ingredients which are clinically dosed, as well as natural sources of carbohydrates from real foods.
Pomegranate, spirulina, beets, pineapple, and coconut water are all great examples of whole foods ingredients which can be found in some pre workouts to help blood flow and promote nitric oxide delivery, while improving performance outcomes. Several studies have shown that pomegranate as well as spirulina can improve performance outcomes like workout recovery, strength, and muscle gain.
The Best Pre-Workout For CrossFit
It may seem biased, but you will not find a better pre workout for CrossFit than Swolverine PRE. Swolverine's Mango Lemonade Pre-Workout is a non-stim, proprietary blend-free, and clinically-dosed pre-workout formula, that combines high-quality sports nutrition, and potent antioxidant-rich superfoods. This natural pre-workout powder is made with proven ingredients, Citrulline Malate, Beta-Alanine, L-Carnitine, and nutrient-dense superfoods such as Pomegranate, Betaine Anhydrous, Coconut Water, and Ginseng. Swolverine’s Pre-workout is proven to help you train harder and maximize your performance.
Other recommendations, would be Transparent Labs Non-Stim Pre workout as well as Pure-WOD from Equip. The only negative side to these two products is that they do not use the trademarked ingredient Carnosyn Beta Alanine. The downside is that all of the clinical studies use this ingredient not generic Beta-Alanine. It’s also slightly under-dosed in Equips formula, but other than that both are pretty solid in my opinion.
The Worst Pre Workout For CrossFit
As long as we are in the spirit of honesty, let’s talk about the worst pre workout formulas for CrossFit. The first, by far is Ascent’s Pre-Workout. The reason… it doesn’t have anything in it. Ascent’s Pre workout literally contains 5g of carbohydrates and 5g of protein and less than 1 gram of coffee bean extract, which by the way, they do not even list on the supplement facts panel. I’m sorry, but one single pitted date contains 5g of carbs. So, please DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY.
As a supplement brand owner, it’s very disappointing to see a brand like this create such a sub-optimal product.
Second to best worst pre workout, is 1st Phorm Mega-Watt. This product contains no sports nutrition ingredients, has artificial flavors, artificial sweetener, and only contains electrolytes and caffeine. They do however have another pre workout, Project-1 which is a much better formulation and option.
Best Pre-Workout For CrossFit: Takeaway
A great pre-workout can help you improve your performance in the gym, especially with endurance, strength, and gain in muscle mass. The best pre-workout for CrossFit or high-intensity training, is going to be transparent, free of proprietary blends, and made with proven ingredients at the correct clinical doses. Avoid pre-workout supplements that are overloaded with caffeine. A little caffeine can go a long way and too much can have a negative effect on your performance. A little caffeine is great and when you need some more get up and go. But if you need more energy grab some dried fruit, or quick carbs from real food. Just becuase Mat Fraser or Tia Toomey use a pre workout or brand, does not mean it is the best option. Do your research and find the best pre workout according to the science.
Looking For The Best Pre Workout For CrossFit?
SWOLVERINE IS AN ENDURANCE ATHLETE AND ACTIVE LIFESTYLE BRAND. MADE FOR THE ELITE ATHLETE, AND THE STRONG-WILLED OUR PRODUCTS WERE DESIGNED TO FUEL YOUR ATHLETIC PERFORMANCE. WE PERFORM WHEN YOU PERFORM.
We believe that everyone can optimize not only their athletic performance but their human potential. The way we believe we can optimize performance is through transparency, clinically effective doses, and clinically proven ingredients with evidence-based outcomes. We provide the nutrients you need to power your active lifestyle.