Pre Workout Supplements

The Best Pre-Workout Supplements to Make Your Own Blend

Pre-workout supplements are one of the most demanding products in the fitness industry. The market takes advantage of the huge demand to formulate and sell cheap and non-evidenced blends to the customer.

After reading this post, you'll be able to formulate and create your own pre-workout blend. Here and now, the best pre-workout supplements to make your own blend at home!!

What’s a Pre-workout Supplement?

Pre-workout supplement is a single substance or combination of them used previous to physical exercise with the goal of boosting and improving training performance (definition).

The first pre-workout supplement blend was formulated by Dan Duchaine in 1982, called Ultimate Orange. Although this was the first pre-workout product sold and recorded, pre-workouts supplements have historically always been around.


Ancestral drinks containing nutraceuticals such as caffeine, or ephedra were consumed to potentiate daily actions or cure diseases.

Nowadays, science and resarch has been able to discover, study and investigate different substances to use for your benefit.

The Market of Pre-Workouts Supplements


Our ambition and willing to optimize and squeeze our trainings made us depend on pre-workout supplements. And the sellers and companies now how much we want these products.

They sell you the first sh*t they formulate. Little evidence, ridicuolus amounts and inflation of unecessary ingredients.

Specifications on the label are rarely controlled, leading to miss/overestimations of bioactive compounds.

Lack of regulation on the supplementation industry also leads to contaminated products or with not enough evidence to support the ergogenic effect and power of the pre-workout blend.


Legal Advice

This post is merely a informative and recreational post to share evidence and research about a variety of supplements. This post is not the same as consulting your doctor, which you should if thinking about using supplements and substance you've never worked with.

The use of these supplements and the possible adverse effects are solely under your responsibility.

What Do You Need in a Pre-Workout Supplement Blend?

The selection of pre-workout supplements depends on your needs and requirements. Nevertheless, there are some 'gold standards' that should be in any pre-workout.

Ergogenic supplements


An ergogenic substance is defined as 'any substance used to enhance physical performance'.

They improve your energy systems (study), interacting with the nervous system (study), or delaying fatigue (study).

These effects point towards higher work capacity and volume load, intensity, and ability to perform and contract muscle to a higher extent.



Cognitive and physical performance are highly related. The more focus and attention we put in our actions, the more we'll be able to lift, contract, and motivate ourselves to push it harder and train better.

Nootropic substances improve your memory and cognitive functions. They may play a role improving sports performance indirectly.



Adaptogens are herbal compounds used to lower acute and/or chronic stress levels. They improve metabolic efficiency and work (reference).

These substance may also have a slight stimulant effect (study). They increase the ability to adapt to new stressful situations and don't get damaged by these.

In a pre-workout supplement, adaptogens prepare your body for the physical stimulus and stabilize your metabolism.


Besides the compounds that directly act on our metabolism and physical performance, other compounds may be added to:

  1. Act synergically with other compounds and potentiate their effects (study)
  2. Improve digestibility and absorbance of the other substances (study)
  3. Avoid or lower risk of side effects
  4. Achieving manufacturing requirements
  5. Improve clearance of certain substances (study)
Pre-Workout Supplements

Best Pre-Workout Supplements to Make your Own Blend at Home

In the next 5min, a quick list of the best supplements you can use to make your homemade pre-workout blend. You'll just have to buy the products separately and combine as you like depending on the situation and needs.



  1. Caffeine: focus, alertness and increases percieved energy
  2. L-Theanine: relaxant effect and synergic effect with caffeine
  3. Huperzine A: enhances muscle contraction and focus
  4. Citrulline Malate: delays muscle fatigue and increases blood flow
  5. Nitrates: improves muscle contraction and blood flow
  6. Capsaicin: improves perceived exertion and delays muscle fatigue
  7. Rodhiola Rosea: Delays muscle fatigue and increases alertness and focus


Caffeine is the king of pre-workout supplements. It's considered the most used psychoactive drug, and its benefits are more than evidenced.

Caffeine works by antagonizing adenosine receptors (study). This blocks the action of adenosine, which would make you feel tired.

Caffeine also increases the production of neurotransmitter such as dopamine, adrenaline or noradrenaline (study).

Dose of 3-6mg/kg are widely used. However, different genotypes such as ADORA2A and DRD2 (study)(study) modulate the tolerance or resistance to this substance


  • Antagonist of adenosine receptor
  • Secretion of neurotransmitters
  • Acts on the central nervous system

Dose and use:

  • 3-6mg/kg 30-45min pre-workout
  • Combine with slow-released caffeine for long trainings


  • Combination with L-theanine in ratio 2:1 (2mg L-Theanine for every 1mg of caffeine) shows synergic effect (study)
  • The use of Bioperine (black pepper extract) can improve on the clearance of the substance and its pharmacoynetics (study)
  • One may create resistance if abusing from caffeine. Cycle its use and make breaks of 1-2 weeks.


L-theanine is an amino acid naturally found in black tea, green tea and some mushrooms. Its effects on our organism are stress and cognitive-related (study).

L-Theanine seems to have an effect on your cognitive perfomance and memory (study), but the evidence we have so far for this is done on rats.

In humans, supplementation of l-theanine improves inflammation (study), time of reaction and alert (study). The recommended dose is 50-300mg

L-theanine in combination with caffeine improves your cognitive performance and subjective alertness (study)(study). A ratio 2:1 (2mg theanine for 1mg caffeine) is effective to benefit from this combo.


  • Relaxant effect on the nervous system
  • Improves cognitive performance and alertness
  • Lower levels of inflammation post-workout

Dose and use:

  • 100-200mg pre-workout
  • Combine with cafffeine in a 2:1 ratio (2mg L-theanine for every 1mg Caffeine)


  • Due to its solubility and protein properties, don't mix it with hot liquids. Take with water.
  • For cognitive and memory benefits,take 100-200mg alone every day.


Huperzine-A has been used in Chinese natural medicine. It acts as an inhibitor of acetilcholinesterase (study).

It is one of the main neurotrasmitters of our metabolism. It's involved in learning processes, brain functions, cognition,... and muscle contraction (study)(study)

Using Huperzine-A more acetylcholine will be present. This delays muscle fatigue, improves muscle contraction, and puts you in focus mode.

Huperzine and choline supplementation are often combined to potentiate even more the presence of acetylcholine.


  • Inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase
  • Improves muscle contraction and focus
  • Delays muscle fatigue

Dose and use:

  • 250-500mcg 60' pre-workout
  • Combine with citocoline for a potentiated effect


  • The use of huperzine-A is safe and well-studied (study)
  • Side effects are very rare, but some of you may experience nauseas, gastrointestinal sickness and, and headaches.
  • Huperzine-A doesn't create any kind of tolerance, and you can follow a continuous non-cycled protocol.

Citrulline Malate

L-Citrulline is a non-essential amino acid used to increase levels of L-Arginine. Supplementation of L-Citrulline is more effective than L-Arginine itself (study).

Citrulline Malate increases production of nitric oxide (NO). This improves your blood flow and vascular function (study).

Citrulline, on itself, improves removal of Ammonium and homeostasis of ammonia, delaying muscle fatigue (study).

Malate, on the other hand, is a metabolite of the TCA cycle , involved in aerobicenergy production.


  • Precursor of Nitric Oxide (NO)
  • Improves aerobic energy production
  • Lowers muscle fatigue via ammonia homeostasis

Dose and use:

  • 6-8g 60-120min pre-workout


  • The combined use with Arginine could have additive effects.
  • Coingestion of Reduced Glutathione (200mg) could have a synergic effect (study)


Nitric Oxide (NO) is an ergogenic substance, increasing blood flow and vasodilation. It increases glucose production and transport to the muscle (study). This improves energy production and sports performance.

The reduction from Nitrates (NO3) to Nitrites (NO2) is performed by the gut microbiota (study), and it's then reduced to NO in the blood stream.

More NO levels improves VO2 max and muscle contraction (study), blood flow (study) and overall muscle function (study)


  • Precursor of Nitric Oxide (NO)
  • Improves muscle contraction and blood flow
  • Potentiates glucose transport and uptake by the muscle

Dose and use:

  • 6.4-12.9 mmol 2h pre-workout


  • This amounts are achieved by natural foods such as beetroots, spinach, or lettuce. For practicality, supplementation is recommended.
  • 1mmol of nitrates is equivalent to 62mg.


Capsaicin is found on any kind of peppers and 'hot' foods, responsible for giving the spicy taste. It produces a sensation of burning in any tissue with which is in contact.

Capsaicin is used as a 'fat burner'. but it's also used as an ergogenic effect.

In recent research, capsaicin increased ability to lift more and follow higher training volumes (study).

In aerobic exercise, capsaicing enables to follow higher volume trainings and improve sports performance (study).

These benefits come mainly from the interaction of capsaicin with the receptor TRPV1, which improve muscle contraction (study). The analgesic effect of capsaicin also contributes to a lower perceived effort and fatigue (study).


  • Stimulant and analgesic effects
  • Binds to TRPV1 and improves muscle contraction
  • It improves perceived exertion during exercise and delays muscle fatigue

Dose and use:

  • 12-30mg 30-45min pre-workout


  • Going above 30mg could cause gastrointestinal problems.
  • If the dose is given in SHU (39.000 SHU = 2.56mg )
  • It may create tolerance, and deloads may be interesting.

Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola Rosea is a perennial flowering plant in the family Crassulaceae. Its root extract is used in herbal medicine.

Acting as an adaptogen, Rhodiola Rosea is able to counteract stress signals and adapt our body to the extrardinary stress situation (study).

Rhodiola Rosea also shows acute response to resistance training, improving sports performance (study).

As an adaptogen, it improves sports performance by adapting our organism to stressful situations (study)


  • Acts as an adaptogen substance.
  • It delays muscle fatigue and perceived exertion during exercise
  • Rhodiola Rosea has shown higher levels of alertness and acute cognitive performance

Dose and use:

  • 300-700mg 45-60min pre-workout


  • Minimum dose of 3mg/kg is needed to see its effects
  • It's no dose-dependent, and higher dose doesn't mean potentiated effect
  • The dose recommendation is based on an standarized concentration of 3% Rosavins

Ideas of Pre-workout Supplement Blends

To finish with, we want to give you some ideas of pre-workout supplements blends we would make at home. The dose will depend on how strong you want it and your needs and tolerance.

Cheap and reliable

Well-evidenced and with a low-moderate effect. The synergy between caffeine an L-theanine is accompanied with Citrulline Malate to improve sports performance both via SNC and NO production.

  • Caffeine: 100mg
  • Theanine: 200mg
  • Citrulline Malate: 6000mg

Strong stimulant effect

This pre-workout supplemet shows a strong stimulant effect. For those days with low energy, or simply for a nice day at the gym. It provides both direct and non-direct benefits on sports performance and perceived exertion.

  • Caffeine: 350mg
  • Capsaicin: 25mg
  • Huperzine-A: 300mcg
  • Citocholine: 500mg
  • Rhodiola Rosea: 300mg

Non-stimulant combination

For those days in where you don't want to add any stimulants.... this pre-workout supplement will provide you with focus and alertness, as well as improved muscle function and work capacity.

  • L-Theanine: 200mg
  • Rodhiola Rosea: 600mg
  • Citrulline Malate: 7000mg
  • Citicholine: 500mg

Aerobic and endurance training

This pre-workout supplement provides the perfect combination with moderate stimulant effect and improved aerobic exercise via higher VO2 max, lower heart rate, higher blood flow and lower muscle fatigue and perceived exertion.

  • Nitrates: 500mg
  • Slow-released Caffeine: 200mg
  • Citrulline Malate: 6000mg
  • Capsaicin: 25mg
  • Rhodiola Rosea: 300mg


Pre-workout supplements are widely used to improve performance and boost your trainings. Making your own pre-workout blend will ensure that you are using the effective doses and of high-quality raw materials.

In this post we have only seen the 7 pre-workout supplements with highest evidence and benefits. Try different substances (always under supervision) until you find your perfect stack.

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