7 Best Pre Workouts for Focus in 2024

Author: Oleksandr Maksymenko (5 years as FPA-Certified Nutritionist, MS in Sports Dietetics)

While pre workouts are most commonly used for a boost of energy before exercise, they can also be used to help focus during other activities. In this article, we’ll be covering the best pre workout for focus and going over everything you should look for in a focus pre workout supplement.

 In a hurry? 

In a hurry?

In a hurry and can’t keep reading? How about you check out the Huge Supplements - FOCUS.


Undisputed leader of this rating and the best pre workout for mental focus is Huge Supplements Focus. On their website, they claim that Focus is the “most stacked nootropic and cognitive support supplement on the market”, and we can agree with that.

best pre workout for focus

Top 7 Best Pre Workouts for Focus Reviewed

 

ProductTotalStimulationFocusNutrition Label TransparencyValue for Money
Huge Supplements3910109.59.5
Transparent Labs37.5810109.5
Beyond Raw37.51099.59
Naked Energy37.59.59109
Optimum Nutrition3799109
Gorilla Mode36.5999.59
C4368.599.59

1. Huge Supplements - FOCUS — Top Pick

Huge Supplements Focus Pre Workout Pill bottle
  • Item Form: Capsules
  • Best For: Focus, Overall Exercise Performance, Muscular Endurance, Reducing Fatigue
  • Flavor: Unflavored
  • Caffeine (grams): 250 mg + 150 mg Di-Caffeine Malate
  • Special Ingredients: L-Theanine, Lion’s Mane Mushroom, Alpha GPC, Rhodiola Rosea
  • Package Information: 240 capsules (30 servings)
  • Serving: 8 capsules
  • Company Founded (year): 2019
  • Recommended By Athletes: Matt Greggo, Tren Twins, Max Taylor

Undisputed leader of this rating and the best pre workout for mental focus is Huge Supplements Focus. On their website, they claim that Focus is the “most stacked nootropic and cognitive support supplement on the market”, and we can agree with that. Among the large list of ingredients, an optimal dosage of caffeine stands out, which improves alertness, vigilance and attention. So Focus may be the best choice for those looking to get the greatest stimulation as well as focus before a tough gym session.

huge-supplements-on-table

Photo by @trel_supps

We also highlight:

● L-theanine, which has been shown to have positive effects on cognitive function, especially when taken with caffeine.

● Rhodiola Rosea, which has good potential for improving cognition and curbing fatigue.

● Lion's Mane - promising cognitive enhancer.

The major drawback to this product is its big serving size. A recommended dose is 8 capsules, which is a lot to get down. With 240 capsules in a bottle, it may seem like it will last a long time, but this is only 30 servings. The high dosage size may ultimately be seen as a plus, as you can effectively decide how much you want to consume at a given time. However, if you want the best pre workout for energy and focus, you will need to take all 8 capsules.

39Expert Score

Focus may be the best choice for those looking to get the greatest stimulation as well as focus before a tough gym session.

Stimulation:
10
Focus:
10
Nutrition Label Transparency:
9.5
Value for Money:
9.5

Positives:

  • Contains the most components to improve focus

  • High caffeine dose for great stimulation

  • Contains theanine, which can reduce jitters associated with caffeine

  • Capsules make dosing easier

Could be better:

  • Big serving size to maximize efficacy

  • Highest price per serving in this ranking

Transparent Labs Nootropic for Focus
  • Item Form: Capsule
  • Best For: Focus, Overall Exercise Performance, Muscular Endurance, Reducing Fatigue
  • Flavor: Unflavored
  • Caffeine: 100mg
  • Special Ingredients: L-Theanine, Cognizin® Citicoline
  • Package Information: 60 Capsules (30 Servings)
  • Serving: 2 Capsules
  • Company Founded (year): 2015
  • Recommended By Athletes: Hafthor Bjornsson, Paul Sklar, Sean Harris

Our runner-up and one of the best pre workout for energy and focus is Transparent Labs - Nootropic. The supplement’s key ingredients, caffeine, theanine (especially in combo with caffeine) and citicoline are designed to work together to improve mental performance, promote better attention and alertness, and make you less prone to stress. With 100mg of caffeine per serving, there is enough for a mild stimulating effect without the jitters or crashes that come with very high doses of caffeine.

Keep in mind that this is more of a nootropic than athletic performance product. For this, it received a score of 10 in the "Focus" category. If this product contained a higher dose of caffeine, it could take the leading position! Only this point did not allow it to take the #1 place.

Transparent labs design their products to be as open about their formulas as possible, hence the name. They have plenty of other supplements to choose from including highest quality protein powders, vitamins, creatine, and other athletic performance enhancing pre workouts. This makes them a great company to buy from if you’re looking for other supplements on top of your pre workout.

Overall, Transparent Labs Nootropic has a good composition of ingredients with nootropic effects, third-party testing. Moreover this pre workout has more affordable  price per serving than HUGE. You can count on an additional boost in alertness, attention and focus during your training sessions.

37.5Expert Score

Transparent Labs Nootropic has a good composition of ingredients with nootropic effects, third-party testing and a more affordable price per serving than HUGE.

Stimulation:
8
Focus:
10
Nutrition Label Transparency:
10
Value for Money:
9.5

Positives:

  • Nootropic-based supplement for better focus 

  • The capsule form (more convenient than the powdered form for measuring the required serving)
  • A great product for those who want to try a pre-workout for the first time (due to the low dose of caffeine)

Could be better:

  • One of the weakest stimulating effects in this rating due to low caffeine

  • Relatively high price per serving

Beyond Raw Lit Pre Workout Powder
  • Item Form: Powder
  • Best For: Focus, Overall Exercise Performance, Muscular Endurance, Reducing Fatigue, Training Volume, Pumping Effect
  • Flavor: Blue Raspberry, Fruit Punch, Gummy Worm, Icy Fireworks, Jolly Rancher Blue Raspberry, Jolly Rancher Cherry, Jolly Rancher Grape, Jolly Rancher Green Apple, Strawberry Lemonade, Watermelon
  • Caffeine: 250 mg
  • Special Ingredients: Beta-Alanine, Creatine Monohydrate
  • Package Information: 412.8g /1.86lb (30 servings)
  • Serving: ≈13.5 g
  • Company Founded (year): 2017
  • Recommended By Athletes: Joe Andrews, Mike Will, Zack Snow

Beyond Raw LIT took its high position due to the dose of caffeine (250 mg), which, in addition to its effects on physical performance, improves attention and reaction rate, when consumed in low-to-medium doses. Also, Beyond Raw LIT contains creatine monohydrate, which can also potentially work as a cognitive enhancer.

In terms of components for cognitive performance, this supplement contains Coffee Fruit Extract and Inositol-Enhanced Bonded Arginine Silicate. However, they are poorly studied, and there is a conflict of interest in the studies that have demonstrated their effectiveness.

Don't forget we're still talking about the best pre-workouts. Therefore, note that this product contains one of the key ingredients - beta-alanine. One disadvantage is a very high single dose, which is very likely to cause a tingling sensation.

The brand does offer a wide range of flavors, so there should be something that appeals to everyone.

37.5Expert Score

Beyond Raw LIT took its high position due to the dose of caffeine (250 mg), which, in addition to its effects on physical performance, improves attention and reaction rate, when consumed in low-to-medium doses.

Stimulation:
10
Focus:
9
Nutrition Label Transparency:
9.5
Value for Money:
9

Positives:

  • Relatively high caffeine dosage

  • Contains beta-alanine and creatine

  • A long list of flavors to choose from

Could be better:

  • Contains nootropics without strong scientific support

  • A large single dose of beta-alanine (guaranteed tingling for most)

Naked Energy Pre Workout Supplement

  • Item Form: Powder
  • Best For: Focus, Overall Exercise Performance, Muscular Endurance, Reducing Fatigue, Training Volume
  • Flavor: Unflavored, Fruit Punch, Citrus
  • Caffeine: 200mg
  • Special Ingredients: Beta-Alanine, Creatine Monohydrate, Vitamins B
  • Package Information: 240-480g
  • Serving: 4.8-16g
  • Company Founded (year): 2014
  • Recommended By Athletes: Kenzie Mariano, Daniel Victor

Up next is Naked Energy’s pre workout. At 200mg of caffeine, each scoop of naked has a significant amount of stimulation to help get you through tough workouts. Similar to most products in this ranking, this is not specifically a nootropic-based pre workout, so the focussing effects may not be as strong as some of the other options on our list. But keep in mind that caffeine by itself already improves attention, and the presence of creatine also may augment measures of cognitive function. So it doesn't mean it won’t give you an effective boost of energy and help you stay tuned in to your goals.

naked energy and shaker

photo by @fish1775

Also, this product contains a mix of several B vitamins, the deficiency of which can have adverse effects on cognition.

Unflavored version does not have the most pleasant taste, but it can be masked when you add a little bit of orange juice to the mix. This problem could likely also be solved by buying one of the flavored options instead. However, be aware that the flavored versions contain 6-9g of added sugar (100% orange juice is a better choice) and cost significantly more per serving.

37.5Expert Score

At 200mg of caffeine, each scoop of naked has a significant amount of stimulation to help get you through tough workouts.

Stimulation:
9.5
Focus:
9
Nutrition Label Transparency:
10
Value for Money:
9

Positives:

  • Great dosing of caffeine to get performance enhancing effect, minimizing side effects

  • Contains creatine and beta-alanine

  • Contain vitamins B

  • Very low price for unflavored version

  • Zero food additives in unflavored version (if that's important to you)

Could be better:

  • No specific nootropic ingredients

  • High beta-alanine dose

  • Some reviews report an unpleasant taste for unflavored version

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standart Pre Workout

  • Item Form: Powder
  • Best For: Focus, Overall Exercise Performance, Muscular Endurance, Reducing Fatigue, Training Volume
  • Flavor: Blueberry Lemonade, Fruit Punch, Green Apple, Watermelon
  • Caffeine: 175mg
  • Special Ingredients: Creatine Monohydrate, Beta-Alanine, Vitamins B
  • Package Information: 300g
  • Serving: 10g
  • Company Founded (year): 1986
  • Recommended By Athletes: Taylor Fritz, Justin “Jets” Jefferson, Morgan Willett

One of the most trusted and recognizable supplement brands on the market is Optimum Nutrition. While they are certainly best known for their protein powders, they also offer a great pre-workout. At 175 mg of caffeine per serving, there is a good dose for stimulation without being too high. Also, this product contains a very solid amount of creatine monohydrate. As you already understood, both caffeine and creatine demonstrate a nootropic effect by themselves.

optimum nutrition pre workout supplement in hand

photo by @brenicebranc

Also worth noting is the dose of beta-alanine (1.5g per serving), which can still cause tingling, but the risk of experiencing this side effect is much lower than with pre-workouts that contain more than 1.6g of beta-alanine per serving.

This is also the only pre-workout on our list that includes Vitamin D. This makes Optimum a great choice for someone already considering Vitamin D supplementation. Another bonus is a mix of B vitamins. Overall, if you’re looking for a solid, basic pre-workout, this is a great choice. 

37Expert Score

This is the only pre-workout on our list that includes Vitamin D. This makes Optimum a great choice for someone already considering Vitamin D supplementation.

Stimulation:
9.5
Focus:
9
Nutrition Label Transparency:
10
Value for Money:
9

Positives:

  • Decent dose of caffeine

  • 3 grams of creatine per serving

  • Contains beta-alanine in a dose that lowers the risk of tingling

  • Added vitamins

  • Very affordable price

Could be better:

  • No specific nootropic ingredients for focus

  • Some reviews suggest slow-acting effects

gorilla mode pre workout supplement

  • Item Form: Powder
  • Best For: Focus, Overall Exercise Performance, Muscular Endurance, Reducing Fatigue, Training Volume, Pumping
  • Flavor: Cherry Blackout, Cotton Candy Grape, Fruit Punch, Jungle Juice, Lemon Lime, Lemonade, Mango Peach, Mojo Mojito, Orange Krush, Tigers Blood, Volcano Burst, Watermelon
  • Caffeine (grams): 175mg
  • Special Ingredients: Creatine Monohydrate, Betaine, L-Citrulline
  • Package Information: 617g
  • Serving: 15.4g
  • Company Founded (year): 2017
  • Recommended By Athletes: Derek (More Plates More Dates), Ziegler Monster, Lean Beef Patty

gorilla mode pre workout supplement in hand

photo by @aaronmac_cpt

Featuring a solid dose of caffeine at 175mg, Gorilla Mode Pre Workout offers a solid level of stimulation in each dose. This makes it a good choice for someone looking for a noticeable edge during their workouts from stimulation and better focus.

This product also contains a solid dose of creatine per serving (2.5 g), as well as the needed dose of betaine (1.25 g) and a moderate amount of citrulline (4.5 g). In general, you can count on an increased (although possibly not the maximum) pumping effect.

Gorilla Mode also has the most flavors available out of all the pre workouts on our list. There are some interesting flavors available including things like Cotton Candy Grape, Jungle Juice and Tigers Blood. Because of the vague names of some of the flavors, it may be difficult to know exactly what you’ll get, and some reviews suggest not being pleased with the flavor they received.

Despite the huge list of ingredients attributed to specific nootropic properties, they do not have convincing scientific support. However, due to the key ingredients (caffeine, creatine, betaine), overall this product is worth the money, especially since the cost of one serving is only $1.25.

The product description also explains that there will be some grittiness while mixing. Do keep this in mind though if you’re concerned about how well the pre workout will mix.

36.5Expert Score

Featuring a solid dose of caffeine at 175mg, Gorilla Mode Pre Workout offers a solid level of stimulation in each dose. This makes it a good choice for someone looking for a noticeable edge during their workouts from stimulation and better focus.

Adjustability:
9
Durability:
9
Material Quality:
9.5
Price/Quality:
9

Positives:

  • Decent dose of caffeine per serving

  • Contains 2.5 g of creatine monohydrate

  • Tons of flavors to choose from

  • Affordable price

Could be better:

  • Contains nootropics without scientific support

  • Has a gritty texture

  • Reviews suggest some of the flavors are unpleasant

C4 Original Pre Workout Powder for Focus

  • Item Form: Powder
  • Best For: Focus, Overall Exercise Performance, Muscular Endurance, Reducing Fatigue, Training Volume
  • Flavor: Cherry Limeade, Strawberry Watermelon, Grape, Watermelon, Frozen Bombsicle, Icy Blue Razz, Fruit Punch, Pink Lemonade, Strawberry Margarita
  • Caffeine: 150mg
  • Special Ingredients: Creatine, Beta-Alanine, Vitamins B
  • Package Information: 30 or 60 servings
  • Serving: 6g
  • Company Founded (year): 2009
  • Recommended By Athletes: Derek Pratt, Alex Michael Turner, Bianca Belair

Being one of the most recognizable pre-workouts on the market, C4 Original is a great choice for focus as well as giving you a boost of energy before hitting the gym. Note that this is more of a classic pre workout without added nootropics.

athlete with ader chains at gym

photo by @gainsy888

This product contains the “big three” for any pre-workout: caffeine, creatine and beta-alanine. Moreover, the dose of beta-alanine is not high, which is good for those who want to reduce the risk of a tingling sensation. As a bonus, C4 also contains several B vitamins and vitamin C.

C4 is one of the most popular pre-workout brands on the market for a reason. Reviews report that the taste is enjoyable and that the effects act quickly and give them the stimulation they’re looking for. Some reviews do note that despite the initial flavor being enjoyable, there is a somewhat strong and unpleasant aftertaste.

All in all, considering the ingredients and the cost per serving, which is less than a dollar, C4 Original is a great product.

36Expert Score

Being one of the most recognizable pre-workouts on the market, C4 Original is a great choice for focus as well as giving you a boost of energy before hitting the gym.

Adjustability:
8.5
Durability:
9
Material Quality:
9.5
Price/Quality:
9

Positives:

  • Good for those choosing their first pre-workout (due to the relatively small dose of caffeine)

  • Contains creatine and beta-alanine

  • Added vitamins

  • Very low price per serving

Could be better:

  • One of the lowest stimulating effect in this list

  • Some reviews suggest an unpleasant aftertaste

How Does Pre Workout Help to Focus

Caffeine + Creatine

The first reason pre-workouts will help you focus is that they often contain high doses of caffeine in each serving. Caffeine is shown to increase “alertness, energy, and ability to concentrate” in dosages up to 300 mg, which is the range in which all of the pre-workouts listed above fall.

Another key ingredient in many pre-workouts is creatine. Unlike caffeine, it has less clear scientific support in the context of cognitive benefits, as the data is still mixed. However, creatine can potentially be considered an ingredient that may improve cognitive function, especially in conditions when brain bioenergetics are challenged, such as sleep deprivation.

Tips From the Champ

Pre-workouts can be used for much more than just a boost of energy and enhanced athletic performance. The combination of caffeine and additional ingredients (such as creatine, theanine and few plant-based promising components with nootropic effects) may give you a significant boost in focus.

Olympic Weightlifting Champion

Nootropics

Nootropics are ingredients included in many pre-workout supplements intended to enhance cognitive function. There is plenty of debate as to the efficacy of nootropics as a group of supplements. The vast majority of ingredients with nootropic effects have been studied in experiments with people who already had cognitive impairment or disorders such as dementia or Alzheimer's disease. These supplements have hardly been studied in healthy young people.

Moreover, only a few plant extracts or other types of supplements have demonstrated nootropic effect or potential effects, and most of them still lack sufficient scientific support. However, since plant-based nootropics are considered safe, it is up to you whether you want to see them in your pre-workout. There is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that these supplements (such as Ginkgo Biloba, Coffee Fruit Extract etc.) help people achieve better focus.

athlete with battle ropes

How to Find the Best Pre Workout to Focus

Caffeine Dosage

Everybody has different caffeine metabolism and sensitivity. The target dose of caffeine for cognitive enhancement is between 40 and 300mg, which is a pretty wide range. This means everybody will need to do some experimenting to find their ideal target. If you’re someone with a good caffeine tolerance, then a higher dosage of caffeine may suit you best. But keep in mind that doses higher than 300 mg are more likely to have negative effects such as anxiety, and may even impair cognitive performance.

As you can see, the principle of “more is better” does not apply to caffeine if you are interested in its effects on improving attention and other cognitive functions. And even such a small dose as 40 mg can already have an effect on mental performance.

Other Ingredients

Pre-workouts contain more ingredients than just caffeine. Some of the most common ingredients found in pre workouts are beta-alanine, l-citrulline, creatine and betaine.

In terms of focus, you should be looking closer at the ingredients which have at least some scientific support in terms of cognitive enhancement. These mainly include Theanine, Rhodiola Rosea, Citicoline and Alpha-GPC.

athlete weightlifting

Pre Workout Tips to Focus

When to Take Pre-workout

It’s recommended that you take a pre-workout supplement approximately 20-30 minutes before your workout. If you take pre-workout too early or too late, you will likely not receive the optimal stimulation boost you’re looking for. Once again, everyone’s body is different, so do some experimenting to see what works best for you.

Don’t Overdo It

As previously mentioned, the sweet spot for caffeine to focus is somewhere between 40 and 300mg, and anything above this can have adverse effects. Follow the recommended dosages, and don’t fall into internet trends like “dry scooping”, which could have serious consequences for your health. While there may be real benefits to taking a pre workout, there are also some serious drawbacks if you’re not using it responsibly.

FAQ

Does Pre-Workout Help You Focus?

Yes, caffeine is shown to increase attention and alertness, and with most pre workouts containing optimal doses of caffeine, they will likely help you focus. Many pre-workouts also contain components with nootropic effect, which may provide additional benefits.

female athlete weightlifting

What Supplement in Pre-Workout Makes You Focus?

Mainly caffeine, however, creatine and some ingredients with cognitive enhancement effects (herbal nootropics and other components) may also play a role in the additional focus provided by pre workout.

Will Pre-Workout Make Me Itchy?

The reason people report itching or tingling after taking pre-workout is from the ingredient beta-alanine. While many report feeling itchy after a beta-alanine containing supplements, there is no evidence to support that this is harmful in any way.

Do Nootropics Really Work?

There is still no evidence that herbal nootropics as a group of supplements improve cognitive function in healthy people, and there are very few high-quality randomized controlled trials. Even if some plant extracts show positive effects, this applies to people with impaired cognitive functions or neurodegenerative diseases.

Conclusion

Pre-workouts can be used for much more than just a boost of energy and enhanced athletic performance. The combination of caffeine and additional ingredients (such as creatine, theanine and few plant-based promising components with nootropic effects) may give you a significant boost in focus. Our pick for the best overall pre workout for focus is Huge Supplements FOCUS.

Also read:

References:

1. Tom M. McLellan, John A. Caldwell, Harris R. Lieberman "A review of caffeine’s effects on cognitive, physical and occupational performance" ScienceDirect Volume 71, December 2016, Pages 294-312. https://www.sciencedirect.com/ science/article/pii/S0149763416300690

2. Jacob Telle "Certificate of Analysis" Analytical Resource Laboratorie Jun 15, 2020 https://cdn.shopify.com /s/files/1/0866/7664/files/ 40612517941.pdf?v=1595423870

3. Scott C. Forbes, Dean M. Cordingley, Stephen M. Cornish "Effects of Creatine Supplementation on Brain Function and Health" Nutrients. 2022 Mar; 14(5): 921. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc /articles/PMC8912287/

4. "Cognitive Function In Depth" Oregon State University https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/ mic/health-disease/cognitive-function

5. "ß-ALANINE" Ais Sports Supplement Framework March 2021 https://www.ais.gov.au/__data/ assets/pdf_file/0005/ 1000499/Sport-supplement-fact-sheets-B-Alanine-v4.pdf

6. "Coffee" Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/ nutritionsource/food-features/coffee/

7. Tom M. McLellan, John A. Caldwell, Harris R. Lieberman "A review of caffeine’s effects on cognitive, physical and occupational performance" Volume 71, December 2016, Pages 294-312 https://www.sciencedirect.com/ science/article/pii/ S0149763416300690

8. Gary Pettus "Latest Internet workout fad could have serious health consequences" University of Mississippi Medical Center July 1, 2021 https://www.umc.edu/news/ CONSULT/2021/07/ CON07012021C.html

9. Eric T. Trexler, Abbie E. Smith-Ryan, Jeffrey R. Stout "International society of sports nutrition position stand: Beta-Alanine" Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition volume 12, Article number: 30 (2015) https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/ articles/10.1186/s12970-015-0090-y

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With over 20 years in Olympic Weightlifting, our team does its best to provide the audience with ultimate support and meet the needs and requirements of advanced athletes and professional lifters, as well as people who strive to open new opportunities and develop their physical capabilities with us.

All products we select are primarily approved and tested by the Olympic Weightlifting Champion Oleksii Torokhtiy. Under his guidance, we provide honest and reasonable assessments of the products we review by checking their characteristics, packaging, design, comfort and durability features, and general product rating. We select products from only high-quality and trusted sports brands, thus vouching for their quality.

The product testing process is described in more detail here
Oleksandr Maksymenko

Sports Nutritionist, MSc

Experience: 7 years

Specializing in: Weight management, Fitness / Sports nutrition

Oleksandr is a professional fitness nutritionist, certified by FPA (Fitness Professional Association). Oleksandr adheres to the principles of evidence-based dietetics and instills in his clients a healthy relationship with food - without strict prohibitions on favorite foods and regular disruptions. His main task – not only get a result for you, but also maintain it for many years, enjoying tasty and delicious food.


If you have any questions/suggestions/any other inquiry, you can reach out to us via email - reviews@torokhtiy.com

This article was written by our qualified author and proofread by an expert with proven experience. When writing the article we've used our expertise and data from authoritative, scientific, and evidence-based sources. The list of references is provided at the end of the article.


Our team of authors and experts includes professional athletes (Olympians, winners of European and World titles), PhDs in Sports Science, certified coaches, sports nutritionists, CSCSs, physiotherapists, and others. Read more about the team here, and more about how we test here.

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