Stimulant vs Non Stimulant Pre Workouts

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Non Stiumlant, or ‘Stimulant Free‘ pre workouts have become quite popular in the supplements industry – due to many companies adding in very large doses of stimulants in their products.

Basically, over-dosing on stimulants caused people jitters and energy crashes – giving all pre workouts with stimulants a bad reputation.

However, certain stimulants have proven to be very beneficial in numerous studies; they can play an important role in improving your gym session.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • What are stimulants and which is the best?
  • What are the benefits?
  • Why do some prefer non-stimulants?
  • Which is better?
  • Conclusion

What Are Stimulants?

Simply put, stimulants are ingredients that boost your activity; you’ll become more alert, focused, and energetic after consuming them.

Caffeine is probably the most well-known stimulant, as it’s consumed around the world on a daily basis (in a range of products, from tea & coffee to chocolates).

Here’s a list of the stimulants used in pre-workouts:

  • Caffeine
  • DMAA
  • Synephrine
  • Yohimbine
  • Theobromine

Which is the best?

Only one of the above stimulants is safe and beneficial to you – Caffeine. 

With the exception of Theobromine, the rest are banned in certain countries due to causing harmful side effects. For this reason, Caffeine should be the only stimulant that you consume in any pre workout.

What’s the optimal dosage of Caffeine?

Make sure that you only consume between 150-200mg of Caffeine per serving; by doing this, you’ll avoid side effects like jitters and energy crashes – and more importantly, experience boosts to help you reach your fitness goals.

What Are The Benefits?

As we’ve already mentioned, when Caffeine is dosed correctly, it can help you smash your workout.

How? Because Caffeine provides these benefits:

  • Improved Strength 
  • Enhanced Endurance 
  • Increased Mental Function 

These are all key benefits that are suited to a pre workout supplement – it’s no wonder why many companies include this stimulant in their products.

Why Do Some Prefer Non-Stimulants?

Stimulants have gained a bad reputation due to companies adding in large doses of them (particularly Caffeine) into their pre workout supplements.

Basically, consuming over 200-300mg Caffeine dosages can cause:

  • Jitters
  • Energy Crashes

This is why you should only consume 150-200mg at any given time. To put this into perspective, one cup of black coffee contains around 95mg of Caffeine – so the optimal dosage in a pre workout is more than enough to give you that ‘kick’.

Bottom Line: People have been put off pre workouts containing Caffeine, as they’ve chosen bad products that contained too much of this stiumlant.

Instead of avoiding Caffeine completely, you should look for pre workouts with 150-200mg dosages – which will provide its full range of benefits, without causing any side effects.

Put it this way (for the coffee lovers) – would you give up your morning coffee before work? No, but you wouldn’t consume too much either!

Are Non-Stimulant Pre Workouts Better?

Here’s the honest truth – it depends.


Answer: Non-Stimulants pre workouts can be better than those with Caffeine dosed too highly – BUT non-stims aren’t better when Caffeine is dosed optimally.

Therefore, choose a pre workout that contains between 150-200mg Caffeine per serving, to get the best results.

Let’s think about this logically here. A main benefit that a pre workout supplement should provide is ‘enhanced energy’ – this will allow you to perform at your best and make more progress on your goals.

The only ingredient in a pre workout capable of delivering energy boosts almost immediately, is Caffeine.

Key Point: While it’s still possible to experience intense muscle pumps without any stimulants – without Caffeine, you’ll experience no difference in energy levels at all.


In conclusion, there’s nothing wrong with non-stims. Infact, we’d even say they’re better than pre workouts that contain over 200-300mg of Caffeine per serving (as you’ll avoid side effects like jitters and energy crashes).

But why not avoid side effects, while still experiencing benefits such as increased strength, endurance, and energy? – Pre workouts with optimal dosages of Caffeine (between 150-200mg) deliver this.

Bottom Line: Avoid pre workouts that contain large dosages of Caffeine – it’s important to check the ingredient list of any product for this reason.

However, pre workouts that contain Caffeine in optimal dosages offer the most benefits, while keeping you safe from side effects.

Looking for the best? Read Our
Top Three Pre Workout Supplements Page

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