Best Pre-Workout Supplement Without Creatine – 2021
Do you hate creatine tingles? While creatine is naturally produced by your body, there can be too much of a good thing. Pre-workout without creatine is a great way to ensure that you aren’t consuming too much and eliminates that uneasy tingling feeling. If you consume too much over time, some doctors find that it can have a negative impact on your kidneys. To stay safe, we have selected some of our favorite pre-workout drinks that are tingle-free. They are just as beneficial to your muscles and provide an extra boost of energy to really help you push yourself to your limits while taking it easy on your organs.
In this guide, we have selected some of the best pre-workout without creatine to reach that PR, sans the annoying muscle tingles.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 4 hrs of research
5 grams of BCAAS per serving
An intense serving of caffeine
10 Best Creatine Free Supplements
1. Animal Fury
5 grams of BCAAS per serving
An intense serving of caffeine
If you want the same punchy burst of energy without the residual tingles, this powerful formula from Animal Fury is a great choice. It is packed with a host of ingredients to give you a burst of energy to help you reach a new PR without any unwanted side effects. We selected this option as our top choice because it’s just as powerful as blends that include creatine without the side effects.Read more
What we love most about this blend is that one serving packs in 5 grams of BCAA’s which not only help you push out a few extra reps but also aid in recovery as well. It is also important to note that one serving packs in a whopping 350 grams of caffeine, which is almost 4 cups of coffee!
We also love that this blend doesn’t add any extra ingredients that you don’t need. The blend is simple BCAAs that include citrulline malate, beta-alanine, and l-tyrosine. These key ingredients help with your pumps, as well as cut down on soreness, and aid in recovery as well.
If you are a little sensitive to caffeine, this blend from Animal Fury may just be a little too much to handle. We love this blend because it is composed of simple ingredients that give you an insane rush of energy right before hitting the bench without annoying tingles from unwanted ingredients.
Gentle on stomach
Not as explosive as most
If you have concerns about putting high levels of powerful ingredients in your body and want something that is a little more subtle, this option from Genius is a great choice. It not only omits creatine, but it is also caffeine-free and hosts natural flavors that you can feel good about putting in your body.Read more
What makes this a great blend to take before you hit the bench is the blend of L-Citrulline, EleATP, and L-Arginine. These ingredients work together to naturally raise your nitric oxide elevation very quickly to get the most out of each set without the jitters.
Users also love that this formula is not only gentle on your system, but is kind to your stomach as well. If you find that other powerful options give you heartburn, this gentle formula makes it easy on your stomach, and also doesn’t cause you to crash at the end of your workout!
Powerful blends can give you a boost of energy, but cause you to crash at the end. This gentle formula from Genius gives your muscles a boost without the need for stimulants like caffeine or creatine. Plus, users find that it tastes great and has little to no aftertaste!
3. Insane Labz Hellboy
Blends easily in water
Modest caffeine boost
Insane Labz proves that you can go a little crazy in the gym without creatine. This is one of the only blends in the Insane Labs lineup that doesn’t have creatine, so make sure you select the right option before checking out. This powerful blend packs in a wallop of a punch with high energy ingredients and two different types of caffeine.Read more
What makes this blend so great is that it boasts ingredients that not only help boost energy levels and reps but also enhances your focus as well. Active ingredients include BCAAs that activate your muscles to help you push out more reps, as well as aid in recovery. It also provides a modest level of caffeine to give you a light energy boost as well.
We also like that it also includes citrulline malate which helps to increase the overall nitric oxide that energizes your muscles and helps you get your pump on. To increase the absorption of these ingredients, it also includes Insane Labz proprietary AMPiberry blend that mixes quickly into water that goes down (and stays down!) nice and easy.
If you are in the market for something that will provide you with a burst of energy and vein-popping pumps, this formula from Insane Labz is an excellent choice. It is slightly more expensive than other options out there on the market, but we feel that this killer blend it's well worth the extra cost.
Boosts N.O. levels
Mixes well with water
Many blends out there on the market include some type of stimulant to give you an extra boost of energy before hitting the gym, which sometimes only serves to give you the jitters. If you are already at your caffeine capacity for the day before hitting the gym, this blend from PUMPSURGE is worth checking out.Read more
Even though it’s free of creatine and stimulants doesn’t mean you won’t get explosive reps after taking this blend. The active ingredients include l-citrulline, betaine, and taurine which works to boost your nitric oxide levels. High N.O. levels send more oxygen to your muscles, which result in more explosive reps.
We also love that this bottle is packed with the nutrients you need to hit the bench, and nothing else. All of the ingredients are noted clearly on the label, and nothing is hidden inside of proprietary blended formulas. It may be creatine and stimulant free, but it won’t stop you from really pushing yourself to your limits.
If you inhale a pot of coffee in the mornings and don’t want to go over your caffeine intake when you head to the gym in the evenings, this blend from PUMPSURGE is worth checking out. It is composed of simple and effective materials that go down easy, and promote muscle growth without the jitters.
5. Vintage Blast
A modest serving of caffeine
No post-workout crash
Not overly sweet
Doesn't blend well
This blend from Vintage Blast not only tastes great and isn’t overly sweet, but it offers a great burst of energy as well as muscle recovery ingredients to help you push yourself to your limits. This blend is packed with beneficial BCAAs, caffeine, and Nitric oxide boosters to give your muscles a rush.Read more
This blend is composed of key ingredients that include L-Citrulline, Beta-Alanine, and L-Arginine. These ingredients burn off slowly as you work out, so you aren’t left with an empty gas tank at the end of your workout. They also work to send oxygen to your muscles, which helps to mitigate soreness and airs in recovery as well.
Users found that this blend is incredibly mild, and isn’t overly sweet. It also doesn’t leave an unwanted aftertaste in your mouth. We love that it hosts a modest serving of caffeine that helps to get your pumped before hitting the bench, but it isn’t too much that you will crash immediately afterward.
If you are looking for something that gives you a good boost of energy before your workout without the jitters or crash afterward, this option from Vintage is an excellent choice. When paired with other recovery blends in their extensive lineup, you are sure to smash past any bench-related barrier!
6. Cellucor C4
Plenty of flavors
This pre-workout without creatine was carefully crafted to help you shed unwanted fat while keeping you highly motivated and pumped to reach your fitness goals as soon as possible. The key ingredients in this supplement are Carnosyn beta-alanine that enhances muscle endurance and C4 ripped, a special blend that boosts your energy levels and fat loss.Read more
It also contains plenty of vitamins - vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin B12. Other ingredients include calcium, folic acid, and niacin for an all-around great feeling as you work out.
There are plenty of flavors to choose from: berry, cherry, fruit punch, icy blue razz, tropical and raspberry flavor.
7. RARI Nutrition Infinity
350 mg caffeine
RARI Nutrition Infinity is a pre-workout without creatine that contains just six ingredients designed to boost your training performance. The first of these is caffeine which you get at 175 mg per scoop. So, if you take 2 scoops, which is recommended for advanced users, you get 350 grams, which is an ideal amount so long as you are not insensitive to caffeine.Read more
At this level, however, quite a few people will experience the jitters and may suffer from a post-workout energy crash.
The key ingredients found inside this pre-workout without creatine have been precisely bioengineered and dosed to keep you going without too many side effects. This product also contains beta-alanine, betaine, tyrosine, citrulline malate, and Bioperine.
At the two-scoop dosage, all of these ingredients will give you ideal levels for max gym performance. The supplement is keto and vegan-friendly, gluten-free and made in the USA, so the ingredients come from a well-known source and anyone can take them.
8. Nitro Surge
Smart caffeine combo
Most ingredients under-dosed
May cause stomach issues
Jacked Factory Nitro Surge is a stimulant based pre-workout without creatine that is available in 12 flavors. This product contains many of the key ingredients that you’d expect to find in a quality pre-workout, including l-citrulline, betaine, beta-alanine, caffeine, l-theanine, hordenine, and black pepper fruit extract.Read more
You get 180 mg of caffeine anhydrous with this product, which is a little more than you would get in a cup of coffee. Most of the ingredients are known to be effective; however, the doses seem to be a little low on all of them to achieve a maximum training effect.
Nitro Surge is a well-priced option, which provides you with a solid mix of energy, focus, and power-producing ingredients.
The citrulline is especially underdosed. You do get a smart caffeine combination, with the pairing of caffeine anhydrous and l-theanine.
9. Optimum Nutrition Amino Energy
Inulin for fiber
Amino Energy from Optimum Nutrition is a BCAA supplement that contains a laundry list of ingredients. These include taurine, glutamine, l-arginine, l-leucine, beta-alanine, citrulline, l-isoleucine, l-valine, l-tyrosine, l-histidine, l-lysine HCI, l-phenylalanine, l-threonine, and l-methionine.Read more
These are combined into a 5-gram proprietary blend, which means that we do not know the exact dosages of each of these ingredients. Of key import, we do not know if we are getting the BCAAs in the ideal ratio of 2:1:1 in relation to leucine: valine: isoleucine.
We do know that there is 160 mg of caffeine in this product. That is about the same amount as you would get in a cup of coffee and, while it will not produce a jittery effect or post-workout crash, may still be too little to produce an effective workout energy boost.
This product also contains natural and artificial sweeteners (sucralose). You also get inulin for fiber. Amino energy comes in nine flavors. According to the majority of reviews, they are generally tasty, but not delicious.
10. Celsius Orange
Celsius Orange is a general-purpose energy enhancer that can be used as a pre-workout supplement. It contains 200 mg of caffeine, along with 60 mg of Vitamin C, Vitamins B6, and B12, calcium, chromium, and sodium.Read more
Also included are green tea extract, guarana seed extract, and ginger root. This combination of ingredients is designed to boost metabolism and enhance fat burn and training energy. Each box contains 14 ready to pour sachets.
Simply pour a sachet into the water and drink it. It comes in four tasty flavors; orange, berry, cranberry lemon, and coconut.
The sachets have no sugar so they are diabetic friendly. The flavors and colors are all-natural, and no preservatives have been added, so make sure to drink it before it expires.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
The reason to avoid creatine in a pre-workout supplement is quite simply that there is no reason to put creatine in a pre-workout. Creatine is not a stimulant in that it will not cause you to have an immediate surge of energy the way that drinking a cup of coffee does. Creatine work by mean of a chronic effect - it builds up phospho-creatine levels in the muscle tissue cumulatively over a period of weeks. As a result, timing is immaterial when it comes to taking creatine.
In addition to causing no beneficial effect to your pre-workout, creatine is potentially negative when put into pre-workout. That’s because of creatine’s tendency to draw water into the stomach. This can cause stomach upset in some people. So, including creatine in your pre-workout may actually give you stomach issues while you are working out.
The whole point of taking a pre-workout is that the ingredients are meant to be timed to do something to benefit you during the workout. If you are a person who does not get any stomach issues from taking creatine and want to add it to your pre-workout, you can certainly do that. It will not do you any harm, but it will not specifically benefit your performance because it is taken pre-workout.
Creatine free supplements are similar to those that do not contain them, except that they focus more on their purpose, which is to provide you with ingredients that will provide an immediate effect on your training. Creatine free supplements will allow you to avoid the potential bloating that some people get when taking creatine. You will probably also find that creatine free pre-workout supplements are considerably cheaper than those that do contain creatine.
If you want the benefits of creatine, it’s best to take it after your session at the gym. After you work out, your muscles will do their best to recover from being torn up, beaten, stretched and pumped vigorously. If you take creatine after exercising, creatine will rush to your muscles to help them recover faster and grow more. Throw protein and carbohydrates into the mix, and you have a great recipe for improved muscle growth and recovery. All in all, creatine serves to prepare you for your next session, so it should be taken after your gym appointment!
When it comes to finding an effective creatine free pre-workout formula, you definitely need to do your homework. A lot of products out there are ‘kitchen sink’ formulas that throw a whole lot of ingredients together in a proprietary blend. This leaves you scratching your head as to whether each ingredient has been effectively dosed. Some of them even contain ingredients that are potentially dangerous.
Here are the ingredients that you should look for in your creatine free pre-workout. First things first, we have citrulline. This is an amino acid that helps your body create more nitric oxide, which is a natural vasodilator. This just means that it helps your blood vessels dilate, which enables more blood and oxygen to travel to your muscles. This is great if you are into endurance training, but it can be useful for strength training as well.
Caffeine is a common ingredient found in many pre-workout supplements. Caffeine is an effective fat burner that helps you cut down fast. It also gives you an energy boost, something that coffee lovers already know. Caffeine can have side effects, however. It can make you feel jittery, or “wired”, as many users would describe it. If it’s a higher dose, it can increase your heart rate too, making it unsafe for people who suffer from heart disease. The crash after your session can be quite intense, and you could even become addicted to it. Last but not least, it can cause insomnia, which is especially notable if you exercise in the evening.
Vitamin B is a natural tool that gives you an energy boost. This is especially true if you are a little vitamin B deficient. They give you an energy boost by extracting the nutrients you get from your food. Red blood cell creation also depends on this vitamin. Thiamin, niacin, riboflavin and pantothenic acid are the vitamins you lose when you work out. By taking a vitamin B complex, you will replace them, and won’t feel so tired as a result.
Beta-alanine is one more amino acid that is commonly found in pre-workout supplements. It’s a non-essential amino acid, which means that it is naturally produced by our body, and does not need to be sourced from our diet. They do make proteins, but they also have a few other significant roles. Beta-alanine improves your performance, it builds lean muscle mass. If you are older, it may even delay muscle fatigue.
Betaine is also an amino acid that is found naturally in beets and some other vegetables. This is a fairly new ingredient, so we do not know yet how exactly it works. It has been thought that it does improve endurance and strength.
The rest of the ingredients found in your supplement are likely to be flavor enhancers and sweeteners, and maybe even preservatives. These ingredients can vary a lot from one producer to the other, so we won’t waste time explaining them.
Some supplements have something called a proprietary blend. This means that the blend that certain producer uses is unique to their brand. Although that may sound like a great thing, it should be in fact avoided, if possible. This is because we do not know the proportion of the ingredients inside their blend. You do know that you will be getting 1000 mg of their blend, for example, but you don’t know what that blend actually looks like. This is bad because sometimes a blend can have too much caffeine, or it could be all filler, and you wouldn’t even know it, and could suffer as a result!
Using your supplement the right way could mean a world of difference for your session and recovery. As the name suggests, you should be taking your supplements before you work out. Do not take it right before you go to the gym though!
Most of the ingredients found in your supplement take at least 30-60 minutes to reach their full potential, and you should consider this when drinking your pre-workout supplement. If you take it as you enter the gym, you could be well done with your work out and only then feel the effects you craved so much. It’s safer to take your supplement earlier than later. Do not worry about taking it too early - caffeine, the ingredient that gives you that energy boost, has at least three hours to course through your blood at full potential. The effects are doubled down only after 3-5 hours! So, taking it 30 minutes to an hour before you go to the gym will give you maximum benefits. If you work out in the evening, this could be a problem though since the caffeine could make it hard to fall asleep.
One more mistake you could also be doing is taking your supplement on an empty stomach. If you ever had coffee on an empty stomach, you know what we are talking about. That jittery feeling, the shakiness of your limbs, light-headed feelings and nausea are all side effects of taking caffeine on an empty stomach, and they are something you do not want to experience while focusing on working out. A small meal 30-60 minutes before you exercise can be all that you need. Plus, having a meal before you work out will boost your energy by itself. If you want to maximize the potency of your supplement, have a meal that doesn’t have so many fibers in it, so avoid nuts, raw fruits, and raw vegetables.
Pre-workout supplements usually come in big bottles and jars, and sometimes we may not be able to spend all of it before the expiration date. The expiration date is simply the time when your supplement will start losing its potency - it will not go completely bad. So you shouldn’t rush to throw it out as soon as it reaches that date stamped on the bottle. But if you do decide to drink them after that date, you may find yourself feeling more tired, simply because the supplement lost its efficiency.
Sometimes, as the expiry date approaches, your pre-workout can become clumpy, or hard. Most pre-workouts contain something known as hygroscopic ingredients, meaning that they attract water molecules and hold them at normal temps. If your supplement tends to get clumpy, it could mean that it is 100% natural. This is because artificial colors and sweeteners tend to stay dry, making the whole supplement powder-like for a long time. If you want to avoid this clumpiness, it’s a good idea to keep the silica gel packet you received with the supplement inside. If you didn’t receive one, you can always just head out and buy one.
Keep the packet buried in the powder at all times, and your powder will be usable until you spend it all. You should also regularly stir and shake your powder. If left alone for a longer period of time, the powder will turn clumpy, because it absorbs moisture. You can fix this by keeping your jar in a cool and dry place, like the fridge.
If you already have a clumpy powder, don’t worry, it’s still safe to use! All you need to do is throw it in a blender, or break it up with a knife until it returns to its normal state. Make sure that it’s completely powdery - clumps could lead to you taking a larger dose than recommended, causing side effects we don’t want to experience.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Before pre-workout supplements were commercially available, bodybuilders would just take a cup of coffee before starting to work out. This happened from the 1960s to the 1980s, and it was only in 1982 in Venice, California, that the very first supplement called Ultimate Orange was created.
It was created by Dan Duchaine and quickly gained popularity. Sadly, thanks to the active ingredient ephedra, many people experienced heart attacks, and Ultimate Orange ceased to exist. But this supplement created a new wave of other supplements that had a much better formula.
They were more powerful and had arginine and citrulline added, something we can still see today. In 2005, chemist Patrick Arnold created something we are all familiar with - Jack3d! Jack3d had a new ingredient, DMAA, added to it, which was a source of controversy.
This supplement was also banned though because DMAA was thought to cause shortness of breath, chest pains and a higher risk of heart attacks. Supplements today are much safer, and you shouldn’t worry about any risks besides the ones associated with caffeine.
Other Factors to Consider
The best pre-workout without creatine will provide you with a focused list of ingredients that are designed to give you immediate benefits in the workout. That is not to say that creatine is not a great workout supplement. It is but just doesn’t need to be taken immediately before the workout.
You can always take it after a solid workout session to boost muscle growth! We hope our guide has helped you see why a pre-workout creatine-free supplement is better, and that you have found one that you like.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Should I take creatine at all?
Most definitely! Creatine is the most studied supplement that exists. It will improve your strength and help you to build muscle. However, the time of day that you take it does not matter. And, as we have already stated, taking it in your pre-workout formula will not stimulate your workout because it is taken at that time.
In some people, it may actually cause stomach upset while in the gym. You should take 5 grams of creatine with 250 ml of water every day, ideally after you just finished working out, to help your muscles grow bigger and recover faster.
q: What does creatine do?
Creatine will regenerate the body’s key energy system, ATP. ATP stands for adenosine triphosphate. Creatine builds up in the muscle cell as creatine phosphate. When you work out, your ATP stores are quickly used up. As it does so, ATP loses a phosphate molecule to become ADP. The stores of creatine phosphate in the muscle will immediately replace that lost molecule to restore ATP.
As a result, you will be able to be stronger for longer. In reality, it means that, whereas you may have gotten out 7 reps, with creatine you should be able to get 8 or 9.
q: Should I take my pre workout without creatine drink with water or milk?
You should definitely opt for water pre-workout without creatine. Even though milk provides a great mix of protein, carbs, and fats, it is very slow to digest. This will slow you down in your workout and may produce a bloating, gaseous effect - not what you want when you’re going for a personal best!
q: What should a good pre-workout without creatine do?
A pre-workout without creatine is designed to put into your body ingredients that will act immediately to improve your performance in the gym. Specifically, it should:
- Increase energy
- Improve strength
- Provide a pump effect
- Enhance endurance
q: Can I eat before taking my pre workout without creatine?
When it comes to regular medicine, it is often advised that you take your pills on an empty stomach, so it can be more effective. But the situation changes with pre-workout without creatine. You can take your supplement after eating and not worry about the effectiveness.
It might take a longer time to work, but it will still be absorbed and working fully. Taking it on an empty stomach will deliver the effects much faster, but you should not work out with an empty stomach, so make sure to drink your supplement 30-60 minutes before your session!
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