Whatever your dietary needs and ethical commitments, you deserve a great workout.
A lot of pre-workouts on the market are unsustainable or contain animal-derived products, making them inappropriate for a vegan, plant-based diet.
If you want to make the most of your diet and pre-workout, read on! Because today we’re going to take you through the best vegan pre workout supplements so that you can improve performance in a responsible, sustainable way.
- Top 6 Vegan Pre Workout Supplements
- How to know if your pre workout is vegan friendly?
- What to Look for When Buying Vegan Pre Workout?
- Our Choices
Top 6 Vegan Pre Workout Supplements
These are examples of the best – and most popular – vegan pre-workouts on the market. There are dozens out there, but these are noteworthy, and we can see a lot of the trends from the market here.
1. Motion Natural Pre-Workout
Right off the bat, this product has a great aesthetic and the branding is very pleasing.
As it comes to ingredients, we continue to be impressed. The vitamins and minerals make a strong start, with effective supplementation between 100% and 850%. This provides a great start, though we would like to see a greater concentration of potassium, sodium, and magnesium.
For performance benefits, there’s a large range of pro-endurance compounds (mostly nitric oxide boosters) and citrulline is on that list. The caffeine content is relatively low at 160mg which means you’ve got a lot of control over your intake, but it might be a bit weak for maximum power boosts.
We’re also happy to see- the inclusion of piperine – a compound that boosts the absorption of other chemicals through the gut. This means that every gram is going to have the most possible effect.
Add to this the good manufacturing practice (GMP) certification and various other tags – paleo, keto, and vegan-friendly – and you’ve got a great, balanced product that sets the standard for vegan pre workout supplements!
2.Organic Muscle Pre Workout Powder
Organic products don’t actually have that much of a positive effect on your diet or health – which goes double for products like this, which are refined from the raw materials. Being organic doesn’t provide much value by itself.
The vitamin and mineral content of this product is almost nothing – a bad place to start. There’s distinct lack of effective electrolyte, placing it behind Motion in our estimations.
This product does a few things very right: it has a great rehydration matrix with coconut water and provides some great plant-derived sources for things like caffeine, EGCG (a powerful antioxidant found in tea), GABA (a pro-muscle compound also found in tea), and some effective nitric oxide from pomegranate.
The problem is that the concentrations of these compounds – and their overall potency – is low compared to alternatives. These might all be plant extracts, but they’re going to have far smaller effects than pure, refined citrulline.
Overall, this product is relatively ineffective, despite great intentions and “all-natural” ingredients.
3. Rari Nutrition Infinity Natural Pre-Workout
This is a relatively well-balanced product but it’s not setting the world on fire.
The vitamin and mineral content is somewhere between the last two products we discussed – offering around 66-150% of your daily requirements. This doesn’t seem to include many minerals, sadly, which are more important in a pre-workout than vitamins.
The infinity blend is a simple but effective combination of compounds:
- 175mg of caffeine per scoop, an effective but reasonable dose that can be doubled up with 2 scoops
- Citrulline at 3g (the effective dose) per scoop – and 6 if you double up. This is a great concentration to boost pumps, vascularity, and inter-set recovery.
- 6g of beta alanine per scoop. You’ll want to get the 3.2g from a double scoop, however, which is closer to an optimal dose.
- Bioperine – a form of piperine, boosting absorption of all the compounds in this product.
There also some cool brain-boosting compounds in Infinity, such as N-Acetyl Tyrosine, which improves brain chemistry balance and regulates mood.
Overall, this is a great product if you’re looking for something simple and effective.
4. Nature’s Pump Pre-Workout
This is a good product – we love their approach to supplementation and the mostly-transparent nature of their ingredients.
The vitamins and minerals continue to be lacking, which isn’t optimal, but it’s no worse than others on this list. This seems to be an overall blind-spot within pre-workout supplements.
However, you’ll get plenty of caffeine, creatine, citrulline, Beta-alanine, and Tyrosine. Alongside this, you can expect useful extras like Leucine (the only important BCAA for supplements), a variety of plant-antioxidants, and piperine.
In many ways, this is the strongest competitor to Motion so far, with a focus on strong fundamentals. The big challenge between the two is which suits your goals better: Nature’s pump has a stronger performance-boost, but less wellbeing-supporting compounds.
5. Naked Energy Vegan-Friendly Pre-Workout
We’ve talked about Naked before and this product follows their general trend: no fuss, just the basics. Sadly, this product isn’t quite as good as some of the others we’ve discussed.
We see a much better vitamin profile, but the minerals are still pretty scarce. You’ll get some extra calcium, but that’s about it.
When it comes to performance, you get a BIG dose of the basics with every serving: 2g of beta-alanine and a gram of creatine, arginine, and 200mg of caffeine.
There are a few key problems here: Arginine isn’t as effective as citrulline, there’s no citrulline, and the overall nutrient-density is surprisingly low. This is one of the first naked products that we wouldn’t recommend!
6. Ora Renewable Energy Vegan Pre-Workout
We like this product’s aesthetic and branding: from the clever name to the pleasing packaging and color scheme.
Sadly, it doesn’t follow through with the effects or ingredient-choice. This is an example of a product that foregoes the more popular and effective “conventional” products in favor of plant extracts.
The problem with this is that effective compounds like Citrulline are already derived from plant products and leaving them out has a significant impact on the end-results for your workouts.
This product is great for caffeine – especially since it combines Matcha with coffee extracts – but relies on “herbal alternatives” instead of key cholinergic compounds, nitric oxide boosters, or beta-alanine.
In many ways, this product strikes us as being a caffeine powder with additional antioxidants and a gentle boost to nitric oxide via low-effect plant-powders. There’s nothing wrong with focusing on plant extracts and ‘natural’ ingredients, until it affects the performance of the product!
How to know if your pre workout is vegan friendly?
Fortunately, companies are required to provide labels discussing whether a product is vegan or not. For many, this takes a lot of effort out of the buying process – you can look for the “V” that is vegan-friendly.
What you can’t say for certain, without some extra effort, is whether all of a company’s practices are sustainable and ethical. This is the kind of thing that you might be concerned with if your veganism is ethical and/or environmental.
This is why we’ve done the leg-work for you to identify the best vegan-friendly brands – and why we’ve discussed sustainability and practices so extensively.
What to Look for When Buying Vegan Pre Workout?
There are a lot of factors that we look for in a good pre-workout, whether it is vegan or not. We’re going to talk you through some of the key ones!
The most obvious and important factors are how they work. The effectiveness of the product is going to be the #1 thing you look for when buying.
There are a few factors to this that you need to consider:
Caffeine Content is key. Caffeine is the prime mover for most pre-workouts and has a variety of fantastic performance effects – these range from wakefulness to increased fatigue-resistance and even power output.
You want to get around 250-400mg of caffeine from your pre-workout. Obviously, excessively high or low doses are worth avoiding! Caffeine is great for you if used properly, but too much can have some negative side-effects like jitters or a bit of digestive discomfort.
Performance Enhancers – compounds like beta-alanine – are crucial for a good pre-workout.
These types of compounds, including creatine, citrulline, and cholinergic compounds (which improve nervous system performance and mood) all contribute to a better workout.
These make up the majority of the positive performance-changes you’ll see in response to a pre-workout. Effective, well-planned doses make for a better product.
Vitamin and Minerals are key to balancing health, but they also play into performance, energy levels, and psychological state.
A lot of pre-workout supplements contain supplementary doses, which can be really useful for balancing out the increased stress and demand you’re placing on your body.
This is especially true of certain minerals, electrolytes like magnesium, potassium and calcium, which are lost in sweat. Replacing these reduces muscle pain and helps you recover post-workout.
Obviously, a vegan pre-workout has to be more than just effective – it also has to take account of where it comes from and how it is produced.
We look for all the normal badges of high-quality, such as good manufacturing practices and reputable certifications. These provide peace of mind that the label is telling the truth and the company isn’t embroiled in any manufacturing scandals or poor-quality production.
You also want to look at how these companies invest their profits and how they treat their trade partners.
While there’s a lot of concern for things like organic produce – which has very little impact on the end result – there’s suspiciously small focus on Fairtrade practices and supply chain sustainability.
Overall, you want a product that covers these different concerns pro-actively: a good product prides itself on effective, responsible practices and results.
There are generally two kinds of products that overlap in the field of vegan pre-workout supplements: those that approach it as a “natural living” pre workout, and those that are a pre-workout that just remove any of the manufacturing or animal-product concerns.
While the former sound more “wholesome”, they tend to focus on compounds that are natural but ineffective. This is the problem with products like Organic muscle – a supplement that is second-rate for pre-workout benefits but based entirely on plant powders.
A pre-workout’s main purpose is to make your workout better. This is why Motion is our number one choice: it provides all the important benefits with all the peace of mind that comes with effective GMP, vegan certifications.
The runner up is Nature’s Pump – a great product that only misses out on the top spot because it doesn’t provide the same balance of health and performance benefits.
Our final word is this: focus on what works, then pick the best health/ingredient source. It doesn’t matter if it’s more ‘natural’ if it doesn’t do what it says on the tub!