4 Best Pre-Workouts With BCAA In 2024

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

If you have already passed the beginner stage in your training and want to get an energy boost, improve athletic performance and stay more focused during your training sessions, maybe it’s time to try a pre workout. We have compiled the best pre workout with BCAA rating for you.

 In a hurry? 

In a hurry?

In a hurry and can’t keep reading? How about you check out the Pre-Kaged Pre-Workout.


This product contains a perfectly formulated composition of key and additional ingredients in dosages that will allow you to get the most out of your workout.

WBCM 4 Best Pre Workout  With BCAA

Top 4 Best Pre Workout With BCAA Reviewed

 

ProductTotalStimulationTaste/FlavourNutrition Label TransparencyValue for Money
Pre-Kaged391010109
Pre JYM38.510109.59
Optimum Nutrition357.5109.58
RSP NUTRITION34.581097.5

1. Pre-Kaged Pre-Workout - Top Pick

Pre-Kaged Pre-Workout
  • Form: Powder
  • Best For: Overall Exercise Performance, High-Intensity Exercise Performance, Muscular Endurance, Reducing Fatigue, Training Volume, Enhanced “Pumping” Effect
  • Flavors: Pink Lemonade, Fruit Punch, Krisp Apple, Grape, Orange Crush, Cherry Bomb, Berry Blast
  • Caffeine: 274 mg per serving
  • Special Ingredients: Creatine, Beta-Alanine, L-Citrulline, Betaine, BCAA
  • Package Information: 20 servings per container
  • Serving: 27.9-29.6 g (per scoop)
  • Company Founded: 2014
  • Recommended by Athletes: Michael Wittig, Jessica Madison, Tawna McCoy

If you are looking for the best pre workout with BCAA formulated to enhance your energy, strength, and endurance during workouts, Pre-Kaged Pre-Workout is the answer. This product contains a perfectly formulated composition of key and additional ingredients in dosages that will allow you to get the most out of your workout.


In one serving you will find 274 mg of caffeine for strong stimulation, better focus and reducing fatigue, 1.5 g of creatine and 2.5 g of betaine for high-intensity performance and increasing training volume, 1.6 g of beta-alanine for increasing training volume, muscular endurance and reducing fatigue. In one scoop, you will also find as much as 6.5 g of L-Citrulline, which is capable of improving overall exercise performance and giving an enhanced pumping effect. As for BCAAs, one serving contains 6.5 grams.

Performing Pre-Kaged Pre-Workout

Photo by @wittigworks

This product can be separately praised for a relatively low single dose of beta-alanine. Compared to higher doses, 1.6 g has a lower risk of tingling (a harmless but uncomfortable sensation). Also, this pre-workout contains a single dose of betaine (2.5 g per serving), which may have advantages over lower (although still potentially effective) splitted dosages.


Pay special attention to the certification from Informed Sport, which greatly increases the credibility of this product in the context of the absence of prohibited substances.

If you have been thinking of taking BCAAs and pre workout together, then Pre-Kaged could be a great investment. However, be aware that if you have never used a pre-workout before, this product may be too strong for you due to the high caffeine dosage.


By the way, if you are looking for a pre workout with creatine and BCAA, this product is a good candidate.

39Expert Score

This product contains a perfectly formulated composition of key and additional ingredients in dosages that will allow you to get the most out of your workout.

Stimulation
10
Taste/Flavor
10
Nutrition Label Transparency
10
Value for Money
9

Positives:

  • Strong stimulation 

  • Key science-based ingredients in needed dosages

  • Contains beta-alanine in a not too high single dose (good for reducing the risk of tingling sensation)

  • Contains a high single dose of betaine

  • Informed Sport certified

  • Great taste

Could be better:

  • Too high a dose of caffeine for beginners

  • High price per serving

Pre JYM High-Performance Pre-Workout
  • Item Form: Powder
  • Best For: Overall Exercise Performance, High-Intensity Exercise Performance, Muscular Endurance, Reducing Fatigue, Training Volume, Enhanced “Pumping” Effect
  • Flavor: Orange Mango, Rainbow Sherbet, Tangerine, Grape Candy, Pink Lemonade, Pineapple Strawberry, Black Cherry, Strawberry Kiwi, Cherry Limeade, Raspberry Lemonade
  • Caffeine: 300 mg per serving
  • Special Ingredients: Beta-Alanine, Creatine, Betaine, Citrulline Malate, BCAA
  • Package Information: 20 or 30 servings per container
  • Serving: 25-27 g
  • Company Founded: 2013
  • Recommended by Athletes: Benji Kil, Justin 

Pre JYM High-Performance is another product that stands out in the market of the best amino acid pre workout. This product is quite similar to the leader of our rating in terms of composition and dosing of key and additional ingredients, as well as overall performance enhancing effects. One serving contains 300 mg of caffeine, 2 g of creatine, 2 g of beta-alanine, 6 g of citrulline malate, 1.5 g of betaine and 6 g of BCAA.

Performing Pre JYM High-Performance Pre-Workout

It contains more caffeine as a key ingredient, but a much smaller dose of betaine than the leader of this ranking. As for a higher dose of beta-alanine, there are some nuances here. After all, a larger dose is not always better, because the more beta-alanine, the higher the risk of an unpleasant tingling and burning sensation.


Overall, this is a great product that has a strong stimulatory effect and is able to significantly enhance the muscle pump, especially when working in the medium or high repetition range and getting close to muscular failure.

38.5Expert Score

This is a great product that has a strong stimulatory effect and is able to significantly enhance the muscle pump, especially when working in the medium or high repetition range and getting close to muscular failure.

Stimulation
10
Taste/Flavor
10
Nutrition Label Transparency
9.5
Value for Money
9

Positives:

  • Strongest stimulation in this ranking

  • Great overall composition of key ingredients

  • More affordable price per serving when buying a package of 30 servings

  • Many flavors to choose from

Could be better:

  • Too high a dose of caffeine, especially for beginners

  • Too much beta-alanine for a single dose (increased risk of tingling and burning)

  • Not tested by a third party

  • High price per serving for 20 serving package

Optimum Nutrition Essential Amin.O. Energy
  • Item Form: Powder
  • Best For: Overall Athletic Performance, Reducing Fatigue, Focus
  • Flavor: Blue Raspberry, Blue Lemonade, Blueberry Mojito, Concord Grape, Fruit Fusion, Green Apple, Juicy Strawberry, Orange, Strawberry Lime, Watermelon, Wild Berry
  • Caffeine: 100 mg per serving
  • Special Ingredients: Beta-Alanine, L-Citrulline, BCAA
  • Package Information: 30 or 65 servings per container
  • Serving: 9 g
  • Company Founded: 1986
  • Recommended by Athletes: Maria Birova

Essential Amin.O. Energy from the famous Optimum Nutrition brand is a product with a mild stimulating effect. The dosage of caffeine per serving is 100 mg, and this is exactly the dosage with which people who choose their first pre-workout may start. On the other hand, for more experienced athletes, this product may not be suitable due to its low stimulating effect. However, do not forget that even low dosage of caffeine may be enough to improve attention, alertness, reaction time and other cognitive functions.

Performing Optimum Nutrition Essential Amin.O. Energy

Photo by @a.adams_83

Among the strengths of this product is Informed Choice certification, a large selection of flavors and a very low price per serving. Among the disadvantages is the lack of betaine, as well as a general blend of various amino acids (including beta-alanine and citrulline) - without specific dosages. In general, products that contain a blend of many ingredients will always lose to pre-workouts that have the dosage of each ingredient listed separately.


Overall, if you choose your first pre-workout, or want to switch from a pre-workout with a strong stimulating effect to a milder product, Essential Amin.O. Energy may be perfect for these goals.

35Expert Score

It is a product with a mild stimulating effect. If you choose your first pre-workout, or want to switch from a pre-workout with a strong stimulating effect to a milder product, Essential Amin.O. Energy may be perfect for these goals.

Stimulation
7.5
Taste/Flavor
10
Nutrition Label Transparency
9.5
Value for Money
8

Positives:

  • Great for beginners due to low dose of caffeine and mild stimulating effect

  • Reputable brand

  • Informed Choice certified

  • Low price per serving

  • Many flavors to choose from

Could be better:

  • Not suitable for athletes with a history of taking caffeinated pre-workouts (due to low stimulation)

  • Contains a blend of amino acids, without a specific dosage for each

  • Obviously insufficient dose of citrulline (given the total weight of the amino acid blend)

  • Does not contain betaine

RSP AminoLean Pre Workout
  • Item Form: Powder
  • Best For: Overall Athletic Performance, Reducing Fatigue, Focus
  • Flavor: Blackberry Pomegranate, Blue Raspberry, Fruit Punch, Pink Lemonade, Watermelon, Grape, Cherry On Top
  • Caffeine: 125 mg per serving
  • Special Ingredients: Beta-Alanine, L-Citrulline, BCAA
  • Package Information: 30 servings per container (60 servings for Fruit Punch flavor)
  • Serving: 9 g
  • Company Founded: 2009
  • Recommended by Athletes: Tish Martinez, Alix Ashley Earle

RSP AminoLean Pre Workout is very similar to the previous product, but differs in the dosage of caffeine. RSP AminoLean contains 125 mg of caffeine, which makes it a bit stronger in terms of a stimulant effect.


On the other hand, this product also contains a 5g total amino acid mix including BCAA, beta-alanine and citrulline. Therefore, we can only guess about the specific dosage for each component of the mixture.

Performing RSP AminoLean Pre Workout

Photo by @nutribeastkk

And while RSP AminoLean contains more caffeine per serving than Essential Amin.O. Energy from Optimum Nutrition, it gets a lower overall score because of unspecified third-party certification and a higher price per serving.

34.5Expert Score

RSP AminoLean Pre Workout is very similar to the previous product, but differs in the dosage of caffeine. RSP AminoLean contains 125 mg of caffeine, which makes it a bit stronger in terms of a stimulant effect.

Stimulation
8
Taste/Flavor
10
Nutrition Label Transparency
9
Value for Money
7.5

Positives:

  • Great for beginners due to mild stimulating effect

  • Contains vitamin C

  • Low price per serving

  • Many flavors to choose from

Could be better:

  • Low stimulation for athletes with experience of taking caffeinated pre workouts

  • Contains a blend of amino acids, without a specific dosage

  • Obviously insufficient dose of citrulline

  • Does not contain betaine

  • Unspecified third-party testing

How to Find the Best Pre Workout With Bcaa

Below we will list the main characteristics of a good pre-workout with BCAA, which should be paid key attention.

1. Check for Caffeine Content

Caffeine is a key component of pre-workout, because it has the main stimulating effect. In moderate or medium-high doses, caffeine improves overall physical performance, gives the boost of energy, helps maintain a "sharp" mind and focus.

The optimal dosage that allows us to get the desired effects is 200-300 mg per serving. However, this dose may be too much for those who have never taken caffeinated pre-workouts before. Start with the lowest effective dose, which is 1.5-2 mg per 1 kg of body weight, and increase the dosage gradually.

Consider your individual sensitivity to caffeine and its dosage. Each of us should choose a dose of caffeine at which we get positive effects, but minimize the risks of side effects. Also, be sure to consider caffeine from other sources: coffee, tea, and other drinks or foods. The total safe amount of caffeine per day for a healthy adult is 400 mg.

Tips From the Champ

In fact, best amino acid pre workout contains caffeine, betaine and citrulline for immediate effects, as well as beta-alanine and creatine, which have accumulative effects.

Olympic Weightlifting Champion

2. Consider Other Key and Additional Components

Although creatine and beta-alanine do not necessarily have to be taken right before training, they are common components of most pre-workouts.

Among the ingredients with an immediate pre-workout effect, pay attention to the presence of citrulline and betaine, as well as their dosage. To obtain potential effects, the pre-workout should contain at least 3 g of L-Citrulline or at least 6 g of Citrulline Malate; betaine should be contained in a dosage of 1.25-2.5 g.

WBCM shaker stand on the flor

3. BCAA

In fact, best amino acid pre workout contains caffeine, betaine and citrulline for immediate effects, as well as beta-alanine and creatine, which have accumulative effects. Isolated amino acids or BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine, and valine) do not have a significant effect on athletic performance. The benefits of taking BCAAs for performance and body composition may only be negligible. The majority of scientific data does not support the effectiveness of BCAA in the context of strength and hypertrophy in conditions of sufficient protein intake.

On the other hand, some data suggests that BCAAs can alleviate muscle soreness and reduce markers of muscle damage after strength training. Also, BCAAs can theoretically be useful in conditions of depleted glycogen stores, for example, if you are on a low-carbohydrate diet.

BCAAs may also limit the onset of fatigue through lowering brain tryptophan uptake and serotonin synthesis, especially in combination with tyrosine. Therefore, in the context of reducing fatigue, the combination of BCAA + tyrosine could potentially work.

In any case, the leaders of this ranking, which occupy the 2 highest positions, have great composition and dosage of key ingredients, due to which we can count on a significant boost in physical performance. BCAA can help in mitigating the delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS) and reduce fatigue.

FAQ

Is Bcaa Better Than Creatine?

BCAAs and creatine are different supplements. Unlike BCAA, creatine has proven effectiveness, especially for athletes who train in a high-intensity mode and want to build muscle mass and increase strength. By the way, most likely the positive effects of taking pre workout with BCAA and creatine will mainly (if not completely) belong to the latter, especially in conditions of a sufficient amount of protein in the diet.

Are Bcaas Actually Worth It?

If you're vegan, are close to your 50s or older, or simply don't eat enough protein, supplementing with BCAAs may have benefits. However, in this case, it is better to take BCAA with meals. BCAAs may also potentially work to alleviate delayed onset of muscle soreness and reduce fatigue (especially in combo with tyrosine).

Conclusion

When choosing the best BCAA pre workout, it is important to pay primary attention to the composition of components with scientifically proven effects - caffeine, beta-alanine and creatine. You should also pay attention to the dosage of caffeine, citrulline and betaine. Caffeine should not be too much. Experiment with dosage based on your training performance and how you feel. BCAA can be considered as a potential helper for reducing fatigue, mitigating muscle soreness and reducing muscle damage.

For beginners and people with poor caffeine tolerance, it is better to choose a pre-workout with a low dose of caffeine (+/- 100 mg per serving). If you are an experienced athlete and want a product with a strong stimulating effect, we recommend Pre-Kaged Pre-Workout.

Now you have learned from this short review on the best BCAA pre workout. Please share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section.

Also read:

References:

  1. John D Fernstrom, "Large neutral amino acids: dietary effects on brain neurochemistry and function," PubMed , https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22677921/ (June 8, 2012).
  2. Brad Jon Schoenfeld & Alan Albert Aragon, "How much protein can the body use in a single meal for muscle-building? Implications for daily protein distribution," Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition volume 15, Article number: 10 (2018), https://jissn.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12970-018-0215-1 (February 27, 2018).
  3. "Supplements. Benefits and risks of using supplements and sports foods," Australian Sports Commission, https://www.ais.gov.au/nutrition/supplements/group_c#bcaa_leucine.
  4. Chutimon Khemtong 1, Chia-Hua Kuo 1, Chih-Yen Chen 2 3, Salvador J Jaime 4, Giancarlo Condello, "Does Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) Supplementation Attenuate Muscle Damage Markers and Soreness after Resistance Exercise in Trained Males? A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials," Pubmed, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34072718/ (May 31, 2021).
  5. Daniel L. Plotkin, Kenneth Delcastillo, Derrick W. Van Every, Kevin D. Tipton, Alan A. Aragon, and Brad J. Schoenfeld, "Isolated Leucine and Branched-Chain Amino Acid Supplementation for Enhancing Muscular Strength and Hypertrophy: A Narrative Review," International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, Volume 31: Issue 3, Page Range: 292–301, Human Kinetics, https://bit.ly/3vAuzon (March 18, 2021).
  6. Diogo V Martinho, Hadi Nobari, Ana Faria, Adam Field, Daniel Duarte, Hugo Sarmento, "Oral Branched-Chain Amino Acids Supplementation in Athletes: A Systematic Review," Pubmed, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36235655/ (September 27, 2022).
  7. Tom M. McLellan a, John A. Caldwell b, Harris R. Lieberman, "A review of caffeine’s effects on cognitive, physical and occupational performance," Sciencedirect, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0149763416300690#bib0990 (September 6, 2016).
  8. Ahmed Ismaeel, "Effects of Betaine Supplementation on Muscle Strength and Power: A Systematic Review," Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 31(8):p 2338-2346, LWW Journals, https://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/fulltext/2017/08000/effects_of_betaine_supplementation_on_muscle.35.aspx (August, 2017).

Why Trust Us?

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.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published