Pre-workout energy supplements have exploded in popularity over the course of recent years. At the same time, the vegan movement has gained traction, meaning that more fitness enthusiasts than ever are enjoying the benefits of a plant-based diet.
Vegan fitness inspirations, like strongwoman Kim Best and heavyweight boxer David Haye, have proved without a doubt that it’s possible to build a strong and powerful physique on a vegan diet.
However, there remains one glaring discrepancy on the fitness market: most of the pre-workout formulas currently available are still not suitable for vegans.
While pre-workout formulas have been linked to certain side effects when taken in large quantities, including elevated blood pressure and digestive issues, they also come with plenty of advantages.
For one thing, they have been shown to extend the storage of glycogen in the muscles of athletes for decreased fatigue and muscle soreness.
Pre-workout supplements have also been demonstrated to increase focus and motivation. Therefore, the comparative lack of vegan pre-workout products on the market may put vegan athletes at a disadvantage.
Thankfully, the tide is slowly shifting, and more vegan pre-workout options are steadily hitting the shelves.
Today, we’ll be sharing our top 10 favorite vegan pre-workout products to help our plant-based readers unlock their full potential.
Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energy Drink
Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout
Naked Energy All Natural Pre Workout
10 Best Vegan Pre Workout
#1 Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout
Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Pre-Workout definitely lives up to its name when it comes to delivering incredible nutritional value and energy boosts from plant-based ingredients.
The reason this pre-workout formula has made the top spot on our list is actually for several reasons.
Firstly, it does exactly what it’s been formulated to do, which is to increase energy and focus during workouts for improved performance.
However, unlike many other pre-workout products on the market, it also provides a range of other nutritional benefits while managing to taste incredible!
Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard formula features caffeine, beta-alanine, and creatine monohydrate as its main, active ingredients.
Now, caffeine is one of the most controversial ingredients widely used in both vegan and non-vegan pre-workouts.
However, Optimum Nutrition has carefully moderated the amount of caffeine in this pre-workout formula to ensure a smooth boost of energy with no jitters of jolts.
For context, there’s 175 mg of caffeine per serving in Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard, which is on the lower end of the spectrum for pre-workout formulas.
Some pre-workout products contain as much as 500 mg per serving, which is a recipe for uncomfortable side effects.
The drawback to this is that gym-goers who are used to consuming high amounts of caffeine may not feel that this product ‘hits the spot’ due to their increased caffeine tolerance.
Creatine monohydrate is a substance naturally found in human muscle tissue and is largely responsible for energy production.
Therefore, the 3 grams of creatine per serving of Gold Standard will help to boost your sporting performance, while the beta-alanine (a natural amino acid) will help to produce carnosine for muscular endurance.
Moreover, Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard formula contains high levels of vitamin D, which is not only essential for muscle growth but also encourages healthy immune function for general health and wellbeing.
Another reason we love this formula is that it comes in a range of 7 flavors. A common complaint about vegan pre-workouts is that they don’t taste good, but this product proves otherwise!
You can purchase the formula in Berry Blast, Blueberry Lemonade, Fruit Punch, Green Apple, Raspberry Lime Mojito, Strawberry Mango Daquiri, or Watermelon.
- Optimal caffeine content – Safe and steady energy release
- Incorporates beta-alanine – Improves endurance
- High in creatine monohydrate – Boosts muscular energy
- Contains vitamin D – Supports immune function
- 7 flavors available – Find a flavor that works for your palate
- Doesn’t deliver a huge energy boost – Caffeine lovers may find it too subtle
#2 Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energy Drink
In second place in the race for the best vegan pre-workout, we have the Vega Sport Pre-Workout Energy Drink.
This is a great pre-workout formula if you’re in the market for a highly effective, vegan product that’s also gluten-free.
In addition to being suitable for athletes with gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, this pre-workout is packed with healthful ingredients to make you feel not just energized but also nourished.
The formula is full of premium carbohydrates from brown rice syrup and coconut sugar. These naturally sourced, plant-based carbs can be processed quickly by the body for a fast-acting but long-lasting boost of energy.
The main nutrients in this formula are calcium, magnesium, potassium, and sodium, all of which contribute to maintaining a healthy balance of electrolytes.
Electrolytes facilitate muscle contraction, so they’re key to muscle health and performance.
Similar to our best overall pick, the Vega Sport pre-workout formula doesn’t overdo it on the caffeine front, meaning that it shouldn’t be uncomfortable or unsafe for anyone who’s sensitive to caffeine.
However, this formula is even lower in caffeine than the Gold Standard, at just 100 mg per serving, which is roughly equivalent to a cup of coffee.
This is less than the majority of pre-workout formulas incorporate (most start at 150 mg), so if you’re used to taking high-caffeine supplements, this might leave you feeling a little flat at first.
The upside, however, is that it’s better for your blood pressure and digestive system.
The Vega Sport pre-workout is NSF-certified for sport, so it’s legal for use in competitive sporting events.
Moreover, the product is available in either acai berry and strawberry lemonade flavor, so you have some flexibility when it comes to taste.
- High-quality carbohydrates – Quick release, long-lasting energy
- Electrolyte-focused – Sodium, magnesium, calcium, and potassium for muscles
- Gluten-free – Suitable for celiac athletes
- 2 available flavors – Strawberry lemonade or acai berry
- NSF-certified – Legal for competition use
- Low caffeine – May feel insufficient for individuals with a high tolerance
#3 Naked Energy All Natural Pre Workout
Our runner-up product is the Naked Energy All Natural Pre Workout. This is an excellent pre-workout option if you want to enjoy a burst of energy and the benefits of key, plant-based nutrients without any nasty additives.
The central ingredient in the formula is caffeine, although the quantity per serving is within the average range for pre-workout formulas.
This is good news because it means that the blend will deliver an increase in energy without feeling physically overwhelming.
Additionally, the Naked Energy formula is packed with B vitamins, including B3, B6, and B12, all of which are crucial for whole-body and brain health. B6 facilitates protein and energy storage.
B12 is quite difficult to find naturally in a plant-based diet, although it’s essential for nerve, blood, and brain function, so this nutrient makes an excellent addition to a vegan pre-workout blend.
The formula also contains vitamin C to promote a strong immune system. Folate iron and creatine are also incorporated into the blend to encourage healthy muscle tissue and prevent the onset of energy-depleting conditions like anemia.
Unfortunately, flavoring seems to be where Naked Energy falls down slightly in terms of customer satisfaction.
The formula comes in Fruit Punch flavor or as an unflavored blend, but the unflavored option, in particular, has a distinctly bitter taste.
This can be rectified to an extent by blending it into a smoothie with some added stevia, but if you’re looking for a pre-workout powder that tastes amazing on its own, this probably isn’t the one for you.
- Average caffeine content – Not too much or too little
- High in B vitamins – Crucial for physical health and mental function
- Contains vitamin C – Supports immunity
- Made with creatine – Essential for muscle growth
- Folate iron content – Lowers risk of anemia
- Bitter aftertaste – Not the best tasting formula
#4 RARI Nutrition Infinity Pre Workout Powder
It’s no secret that pre-workout formulas can be expensive, and vegan blends can cost even more than your average workout supplement.
Luckily, though, products like Rari Nutrition’s Infinity Pre Workout Powder are available to buy for budget-friendly prices, so you don’t have to break the bank.
The Rari Nutrition formula is made using optimal quantities of caffeine (175 mg per serving) which roughly equate to 2 cups of coffee per scoop.
This is enough for the average consumer to feel the energy-boosting benefits without the jittery side effects.
The ingredients used in this pre-workout powder are 100% natural, so you can get your pump on without worrying about what secret additives may be lurking in your smoothie.
Key nutrients incorporated into the Rari Nutrition formula are B vitamins and beta-alanine.
Various B vitamins are essential for storing energy and encouraging brain function, while beta-alanine will physically help you to power through intense sessions that require muscle endurance.
The formula comes in blue raspberry or strawberry lemonade flavor, both of which will lend a fruity twist to your pre-workout shake.
However, from the B12 and caffeine (which can actually cause brain fog), the formula doesn’t contain many ingredients that stimulate brain function, so it’s probably not the ideal choice if you’re specifically looking for a product that will help to motivate you through your workout.
- Optimal caffeine – Equivalent to 2 cups of coffee per serving
- 100% natural ingredients – No harmful additives
- High in B vitamins – Boosts energy and brain function
- Contains beta-alanine – Supports high-intensity workouts
- 2 flavor options – Blue raspberry or strawberry lemonade
- Not many mental benefits – Not the best for focus
#5 NITROSURGE Pre Workout Supplement
Often, when athletes or gym-goers set about choosing a pre-workout product, they focus mainly on the formula’s physical benefits for strength, energy, and endurance.
However, another benefit of pre-workout supplements is that they can boost your focus and mental performance, which is closely tied to physical performance.
If you’re looking for a vegan pre-workout supplement that will have noticeable and exciting benefits for your brain, we recommend the Nitrosurge Pre Workout Supplement.
One of the main ingredients in this pre-workout blend is L-citrulline, which is an amino acid that facilitates the production of Nitrous Oxide in the body.
This process comes with a whole host of benefits for your heart and vascular health.
Meanwhile, the beta-alanine content of the formula helps to ensure that your muscles won’t fatigue easily during your workout, ensuring a high level of endurance.
Possibly the biggest selling point of this pre-workout, however, is that it features Nitrosurge’s trademarked AstraGin ingredient, which is a blend of astragalus root and ginseng root extracts.
Ginseng is known to boost brain function and regulate blood sugar, while astragalus lowers blood pressure and improves immunity. Both are anti-inflammatory ingredients.
Additionally, this formula is creatine-free. While creatine can have many benefits for muscle health, it can also lead to bloating and digestive upsets when taken in large quantities, so this formula mitigates that risk.
The Nitrosurge Pre-Workout comes in 11 different flavors, including blue raspberry, black cherry, and green apple, amongst others. However, several of these flavors have a very sour aftertaste which definitely won’t be everyone’s cup of tea.
- Contains L-citrulline – Good for the heart and blood vessels
- Beta-alanine content – Boosts endurance
- Features AstraGin™ – Brain, blood, and immune health
- Creatine-free – Lowered risk of stomach upset
- 11 flavors – Wide range of options
- Some flavors are very sour – Not for everyone
#6 Organic Muscle Superfood
One major benefit of vegan pre-workout blends over formulas containing animal-derived ingredients is that they’re often more likely to be certified as organic.
One such example, which we believe to be the best organic vegan pre-workout formula on the market, is the Organic Muscle Superfood blend.
This formula is packed with antioxidants, which are known to boost energy levels, combat fatigue, and improve immunity.
It’s also a gluten-free formula, so if you’re somebody who’s sensitive to gluten or suffers from celiac disease, this pre-workout is safe for you to take.
All of the ingredients in this blend are, of course, organic and sustainably grown, so the formula and the methods used to create it are eco-friendly.
Moreover, if weight loss comprises part of your fitness goals, this might be a good pre-workout option for you because it’s low-calorie, at just 25 calories per serving.
You can find this pre-workout in 3 flavors: berry, lemon, or vanilla chai. So, whether you’re a fan of sharp or mellow flavors, you can find this formula in a blend that suits your tastes.
We should mention, however, that this pre-workout is sold at a premium-level price, so it’s not the most affordable or accessible option on our list.
- High in antioxidants – Reduce tiredness and improve immunity
- Low-calorie – Ideal for weight loss
- Gluten-free – Suitable for athletes with celiac
- Sustainably-grown ingredients – Eco-friendly
- 3 flavor options – Golds, greens, and reds
- Premium price – Not budget-friendly
#7 Genius Pre Workout Powder
People who are caffeine-sensitive or unable to drink caffeine for medical reasons can often struggle to find a suitable pre-workout formula that offers a boost in energy without the intense side effects. Luckily, the Genius Pre Workout Powder is here to save the day!
All ingredients in this formula are certified organic, and it’s packed full of nutrients that are beneficial for brain and body function.
L-citrulline, as we discussed earlier, is highly effective at improving blood flow, while the beta-alanine in the formula is great for building up endurance.
Plus, the blend contains optimal levels of L-tyrosine, taurine, and huperzine – the perfect combination for enhancing brain function, maintaining focus, and staying motivated throughout a tough workout.
The powder comes in a sour apple flavor, which we enjoyed for its balance of zest and sweetness.
However, like many pre-workout supplements on the market, this powder does cause a tingling sensation in some users, which can feel alarming at first.
- Certified organic – Nothing artificial
- High in L-citrulline – Improved blood flow
- Beta-alanine – Increased endurance
- L-tyrosine, taurine, and huperzine – Enhances brain function
- Sour apple flavor – Sharp but sweet
- May cause a tingling sensation – Can be off-putting for some users
#8 OMG Preworkout Drink
We also have three highly-commended picks to share with you today, the first of which is the OMG Preworkout Drink. This formula is designed to give both your body and brain that much-needed lift before you hit the gym.
The formula is certified organic and gluten-free, so you know exactly what’s in it, and there’s no risk of gluten-related allergies.
This pre-workout blend is high in tyrosine, which is known to stimulate brain function, improving focus and mental clarity so that you can get the best out of your workout.
Thanks to its high levels of beta-alanine, creatine, and taurine, this pre-workout will make sure your muscles are up to the task by increasing their energy storage levels, endurance, and ability to repair.
The flavors that this formula comes in are innovative and very tasty, including fruit punch, 2 flavors of jolly rancher, cherry popsicle, and blue raspberry. Unfortunately, though, it is quite expensive, so this may not be a viable option for everyone.
- Certified organic – Natural formula
- High in tyrosine – Improves focus and mental clarity
- Beta-alanine, creatine, and taurine – More muscle energy, endurance, and repair
- Gluten-free – Safe for gluten-sensitive athletes
- 5 flavors – Fruit punch, jolly rancher, cherry popsicle, blue raspberry
- Relatively expensive – Not the best budget choice
#9 Ora Organic Natural Pre Workout Powder
ORA ORGANIC NATURAL PRE WORKOUT POWDER
Feel renewed with clean energy sources, an adaptogenic herb blend to help support endurance and focus, nitric oxide boosting fruits and veggies, and coconut water (A.K.A. Nature’s sport drink) to help deliver electrolytes required in muscle and cognitive function.
We’ve talked a little bit about the benefits of organic pre-workout blends earlier in this article. If you’re interested in going organic with your workout supplements, you might also want to check out the Ora Organic Natural Pre Workout Powder.
This is a certified organic blend, so there’s no need to worry about what secret ingredients might be lurking in the formula. What you see on the label is what you get. Moreover, this pre-workout is gluten-free, so it’s perfect for any of our gluten-sensitive readers.
The list of ingredients on this product reveals a high antioxidant content from matcha green tea, beetroot, and pomegranate. This helps to keep your immune system strong and your energy levels up, which is important if you’re training hard. These last two ingredients are also effective at stimulating blood flow for healthier, more oxidized muscles.
We also really enjoyed the raspberry lemonade flavor, which is sweet but mild and not sickly like some other brands.
However, please be aware that the size of the container is not necessarily representative of the amount of product you will be getting since the containers are not filled to the top.
- Certified organic – No hidden chemicals
- High antioxidant content – Boosts immunity and energy
- Contains beetroot and pomegranate – Stimulates blood flow
- Gluten-free – Safe for celiac disease sufferers
- Raspberry lemonade flavor – Sweet and mild
- Containers not shipped full – Images can be deceptive
#10 Garden of Life Sport Organic Plant-Based Energy
Finally, we have yet another organic, vegan pre-workout product. This one is from Garden of Life Sport, and it’s the Organic Plant-Based Energy pre-workout formula.
The certified organic ingredients in this formula are blended with the aim of improving your physical and mental performance.
One of the main ingredients in this pre-workout is coffeeberry, which has been proven to reduce fatigue and stimulate the brain for sharper focus and better clarity. This will help you to give your workout your all from both a physical and mental perspective.
The formula is also high in vitamin B12, which helps to maintain red blood cell levels for muscular energy. It’s also been linked to superior mental function.
The blackberry flavor strikes a good balance between sharpness and sweetness, so it should cater to most palates to a reasonable degree.
However, the powder doesn’t dissolve particularly well, so it may result in lumps if mixed into smoothies or shakes.
- Certified organic – Ingredients you can trust
- Gluten-free – Celiac-safe
- Coffeeberry – Physical and mental stimulation
- High in B12 – Red blood cell and brain health
- Blackberry flavor – Perfect balance of sweetness and tartness
- Doesn’t dissolve very well – May result in lumpy consistency
When you choose a pre-workout formula, you’re not just picking a workout aid.
You’re choosing something that is going to have an impact on your blood, muscles, and brain on either a long or short-term basis.
Therefore, it’s imperative that you choose a formula that’s safe and compatible with your individual needs.
The ideal caffeine content for pre-workout formulas continues to be hotly debated, with some gym-goers considering anything short of 300 mg per serving to be useless and others swearing by caffeine-free blends.
Ultimately, you should choose a caffeine content that ties in with your usual caffeine consumption and that you know your body can handle.
If you don’t usually drink coffee or know that you can be sensitive to the substance, we’d recommend either a caffeine-free or low-caffeine formula, at least to start with.
You can find pre-workouts with no caffeine at all, while others keep the levels low at 90 to 100 mg. This is roughly equivalent to a cup of coffee.
If you drink a lot of coffee on a regular basis and know that you can handle it, a regular blend containing the average of 150 – 300 mg of caffeine should work for you.
Alternatively, if you’re a self-confessed caffeine addict and need more than a couple of cups of coffee to get you going, you can find formulas that provide up to 500 mg of caffeine per serving.
However, this is a lot of caffeine to ingest at one time, and these blends are most likely to result in tingling sensations, headaches, jitters, jolts, and increased anxiety.
There are many key nutrients to look out for in a pre-workout formula.
By looking at the ingredients and nutrients in a pre-workout blend, you’ll be able to tell whether its claims of physical or mental enhancement are backed by the nutritional content.
For muscular enhancement, look for creatine, taurine, and beta-alanine. A combination of these ingredients is ideal because you’ll be enhancing your muscle energy, endurance, and repair.
Antioxidant ingredients like vitamin C, green tea, pomegranate, and beetroot can all provide a good energy boost while taking care of your immune system, keeping you healthy enough to train at your best.
B-vitamins are really important, especially on a vegan diet. We’d recommend looking at formulas that include B12 (which has many benefits for blood health, which links to muscle function and mental performance).
L-citrulline helps to improve blood flow, which will carry more oxygen to your muscles and make it possible for you to work harder.
If you’re looking for a motivation or focus boost, we’d recommend looking for formulas containing L-tyrosine or coffeeberry.
Flavors can be quite hit-and-miss when it comes to pre-workout supplements, especially vegan ones. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t find great-tasting formulas out there.
Unfortunately, there’s no hard and fast rule to follow when it comes to discerning good-tasting blends from gag-worthy ones, especially since everyone is different when it comes to taste preferences.
We’ve shared our thoughts on the flavors of individual products in the reviews above. However, to get a full picture of how a flavor has been received, the best thing to do is check the customer testimonials online.
Remember that ‘unflavored’ does not mean a product has no flavor but that nothing has been added to alter the natural flavor of the formula.
Not all pre-workout formulas are legal for use in sporting competitions.
If you’re a competitive athlete, you will need to check the ingredients on your supplement carefully to verify that they’re in line with the WADA (World Anti-Doping Association) regulations.
Your best bet is to exclusively look for products that are NSF-certified for Sport.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is pre-workout safe?
One of the biggest and most controversial questions surrounding the use of pre-workout supplements is whether or not they are safe to use.
The answer is that the majority of pre-workout supplements, including vegan formulas, are safe to use in moderation and when taken according to the product guidelines.
However, you should never exceed any specified doses stated on the label or take any supplements containing ingredients for which you can’t find verified supporting research.
Ideally, you should only take pre-workouts that have been safety-certified by a third party.
If you develop headaches, heart palpitations, dizziness, or any other neurological or cardiovascular symptoms after taking a pre-workout formula, stop taking the supplement immediately and seek medical assistance.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should only take pre-workout if it’s been confirmed by a third party to be safe for pregnant or breastfeeding individuals.