You’re on your way to the Box for your Workout of the Day.
You’re ready to wage war on the weights, determined to smash out a PR.
But before you launch into your workout, you’ve got one more step . . .
you reach for your pre-workout and chug it down, confident in the knowledge that you are fueling your body for maximum performance.
As a CrossFit athlete your pre-workout formula is a critical factor in your workout success.
Unless you get the right blend of the right ingredients, your training session is going to fall flat.
In this article, you will discover the best CrossFit pre-workouts on the current market.
We’ll provide in depth reviews of the following:
What Is A Pre-Workout?
A pre-workout formula is a powdered supplement that you mix with water that CrossFit atheletes should aim to take around 30 minutes before starting their training session. It is designed to improve your:
- Fat Burning
Pre-workouts are made up of natural ingredients which include herbs, amino acids and other compounds that have been shown to improve focus, strength or energy.
There are different categories of pre-workouts based on their effect on the body.
Thermogenic pre-workouts are designed to speed up the metabolism to increase your fat burning ability while training. They do this by increaing blood flow and can also reduce the build up of lactic acid to help fight fatigue.
Pump based pre-workouts are engineered to boost your body’s nitric oxide levels to enhance the muscular pump effect of your workout.
Stimulant based supplements use natural stimulants, primarily caffeine, to increase energy and focus during a workout.
Key Pre-Workout For CrossFit Ingredients
Pre workout nutrition is key. As a result we look at the most important ingredients that you should look for when you’re choosing a supplement to take your workouts to the next level.
Creatine provides your muscled fibers with a powerful source of energy.
Once inside muscle fibers, creatine gains a high-energy phosphocreatine to form phosphocreatine.
This is simply a molecule of creatine with a phosphate group added to it.
During high-intensity exercise, such as a CrossFit session, creatine donates this high-end phosphate group to the muscle to form ATP, which fuels the muscle for anaerobic endurance.
In this way supplementing with creatine leads to greater gains in muscle strength over time. It will allow you to get more reps in less time.
- Beta Alanine
Beta alanine is a non-essential amino acid which is produced in the liver.
It combines with the amino acid histidine to form carnosine.
Carnosine provides greater strength and power, along with enhanced fat loss and muscle growth.
As a result, you’ll be able to lift more weight and complete more reps, especially toward the end of your workout.
- Amino Acids
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, from which your muscles are constructed.
Of all the amino acids, the three most important to take before your workout are valine, leucine, and isoleucine.
These are known as the branch chain amino acids or BCAAs.
The BCAAs have the ability to boost energy, reduce fatigue and instigate muscle growth.
They will also promote muscle endurance and blunt fatigue.
Unlike most amino acids, the BCAAs are used directly by the muscle cells as an energy source.
Betaine, which is found in sugar beets, has been shown to improve power output, especially for short bursts of energy, as is often required in CrossFit.
Betaine improves the body’s natural production of creatine. It also improves the synthesis of protein by the body.
- Citrulline Malate
Citrulline malate increases the levels of nitric oxide in the body.
This, in turn, dilates your blood vessels, allowing for faster and more efficient transport of oxygen and nutrients around your body.
One result of this is that you will achieve a greater pump effect to your muscles when working out. Supplementing with citrulline malate also has the effect of reducing post workout muscle soreness.
A dose of caffeine is used in pre-workouts for is stimulant effects.
It is the world’s most popular stimulant with the ability to enhance focus, intensity energy, and endurance.
Its main way of achieving these results is by stopping adenosine, which is a relaxation molecule, from interacting with the brain.
As a result, more hormones such as adrenaline are released.
Caffeine, however, should be used with caution.
Taking too much of it can lead to over stimulation reactions, which include the jitters, tingly skin, an unnatural wired sensation and huge energy crashes.
You should not take more than 500mg of caffeine per day.
Why CrossFit Athletes Should Take Pre-Workout Supplements
- Improved focus – Due to the key ingredients found in pre workout supplements, CrossFit athletes will benefit from improved focus during their training sessions. This is largely due to the dose of caffeine found in many of the best pre-workout supplements.
- Enhanced energy – We’ve all been there. You know that going to the gym is going to make you feel better and you really don’t want to miss another CrossFit training session, but you’re lacking the motivation to make it happen. Pre-workout drinks can help in this regard to by giving a boost of energy, ideal for helping with those tough CrossFit workouts.
- Increased strength – As a CrossFit athlete you’re likely a competitive individual. You want to keep hitting PRs and improving your training sessions. Pre-workouts can help in this regard and we highly recommend looking for supplements that contain Beta Alanine to help with this goal. Yes its not just protein that can help with those strength gains!
- Boosted Metabolism – One of the biggest benefits of pre-workout supplements is their effectiveness of boosting your metabolism which in turn helps your body to burn fat more efficiently. As a result combing a pre workout drink or supplement with a high intensity session can really help when it comes to burning fat.
The Different Types of Pre Workout Supplements for CrossFit
There are two main types of pre-workout supplements available for CrossFit athletes: pills and pre workout powder.
This guide will mainly focus on the powder style largely because these are believed to be the most effective. Used in the same way as protein powder they can be mixed with water to create a pre workout drink that is easy to consume on the way to your CrossFit workout.
Side Effects of a Pre-Workout Supplement
- May produce over stimulation reactions
- May increase blood pressure
- May cause nausea, headaches or vomiting
The Best Pre Workouts Supplements For CrossFit Reviewed
Evlution Nutriton ENGN Zero is one of the most popular pre-workouts on the market.
It claims to be an ‘intense pre-workout powder for increased energy, power and focus.
It contains many of the ingredients you’d expect to see in an effective pre-workout and is dosed for results.
A key feature of this product is its powerful creatine complex which provides you with a blend of two forms of creatine to deliver very powerful anaerobic energy boosting effect.
The mind-muscle connection is enhanced with the use of such ingredients as:
- Betaine anhydrous
- Caffeine anhydrous
- Choline bitartrate
Evlution Nutrition ENGN ZERO Pre-Workout comes in a range of tasty flavors and mixes well.
It definitely provides you with an intense energy burst and plenty of creatine to get those extra reps.
On the downside, Evlution Nutrition ENGN ZERO Pre-Workout
uses many proprietary blends, so we don’t know the exact dosages of some of the ingredients.
In addition, it is rather expensive.
The pump you will get from this product is mild rather than in blowing.
Pre WOD from Driven Nutrition is a workout supplement that has been specifically designed for CrossFit athletes.
It contains a standard formula as far as pre-workouts go, covering all the bases needed to deliver the energy, power and focus you need for a great workout.
The ingredients of Pre WOD include:
- Beta Alanine
- Betaine Anhydrous
- Vitamin C
- Citrulline Malate
- Glycerol Monostearate
- Caffeine Anhydrous
Just like Evlution Nutrition ENGN ZERO, this product contains a number of proprietary formulations, meaning that you don’t know the dosages of some of the ingredients.
There is the possibility, then, that some of the ingredients may be under-dosed.
In terms of effectiveness, the majority of reviews, especially those from hardened Cross-fitters are very positive, with most people claiming that Pre WOD allowed them to have more focus and intensity as well as allowing them to push through when they may have previously petered out.
Pre WOD has a unique flavor, which is called WOD Candy.
You will either love it or hate – if you’ve got a sweet tooth, I’m guessing you’ll love it!
Equip PureWOD is a Paleo friendly pre workout supplement that has been designed to give Cross-Fitters the training energy, focus, and strength they need to crush their workout of the day.
It shuns the stimulants that are common to many pre-workouts in order to deliver a more natural smoother energy boost that is not accompanied by a post workout crash.
The all-natural ingredients in Equip PureWOD include:
- Creatine Monohydrate
- Beta Alanine
- L-Citrillune Malate
- Coconut Watwer
- Green Tea Lef Extract
You’ll notice that this ingredient list aligns very closely to our recommended pre-workout ingredients listed earlier.
Unlike the previous two products, the packaging on Equip PureWOD also identifies the exact dosages of each ingredient.
These dosages match up nicely to the clinically recommended amounts to produce results.
The green tea extract in Equip PureWOD provides the caffeine you need at a rate of 300mg per dose.
This is a more stimulant side effect friendly form of caffeine than that derived from the coco bean.
An added bonus of this pre-workout is the coconut water, which boosts your hydration, helping to keep you fueled throughout your workout.
Because it contains all-natural ingredients, Equip PureWOD has a slightly bitter taste.
It is flavored with stevia.
Equip PureWOD is an effective pre-workout that will produce more intensity, focus and drive, increased strength and more overall training energy.
Any CrossFit athlete will know, training is seriously hard work.
The right workout supplements can give your body the extra boost it needs to push through when every fiber in your muscles is screaming out for relief.
Of the three best pre workout for CrossFit that we have reviewed, our favorite is Equip PureWOD, which has a complete nutritional profile, it is natural and delivers clean pure energy without the side effects.