pre workout alternatives make your own

7 Cheap DIY Pre Workout Alternatives

If you’re like me, taking some sort of pre-workout before heading to the gym is a necessity. Your workouts are so much better when you take something.

The problem is pre-workout supplements can be expensive.

That’s okay because I’m going to show you how to make your own pre-workout for a fraction of the cost. In fact, I’m going to give you 7 alternatives.

DIY Pre-Workout Alternatives

Pre workout make your own

Each of the pre-workout alternatives below will all come complete with each ingredient, and the effective dose.

Creating your own pre-workout formula will require you to spend a little more upfront because you’ll be buying the ingredients in bulk. But your daily cost per serving is going to be super cheap.

1 – Basic Pre-Workout Boost

Whey protein powder25 g
Creatine monohydrate5 g
Coffee6 oz

It doesn’t get much simpler than this. And this could actually replace both your pre-workout supplement and meal (you could throw in a banana or apple if you wanted).

The highlight here is the creatine monohydrate. It’s hands-down the most effective muscle building supplement, and it’s the least expensive.

Now here’s the thing. This isn’t the cheapest pre-workout because of the whey protein. My tip here is to get the 5 lb tub of protein powder. It’s more expensive upfront but much cheaper in the long run.

**My go-to protein powder is (this link goes to Amazon) ALLMAX ALLWHEY.
***If you’re adding berries to your shakes, get the vanilla flavor.

2 – Smooth Energy Pre-Workout

Green coffee bean powder200 g
BCAAs 5 g
Beta-alanine1200 mg

If you don’t want to drink regular coffee for the caffeine kick try green coffee bean powder. This is actually an ingredient found in many pre-workout supplements and fat burners.

The BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) will give you the sustainable muscle energy you need during your workout, and the beta-alanine will give you a nice pump.

The dose of beta-alanine above is actually 2 servings. This is one of the ingredients many pre-workout supplements underdose, which I’ll talk about more towards the end of this post.

You can learn more about how beta-alanine works here on WebMD.

3 – Pre-Workout Muscle Pump

Caffeine anhydrous powder150 g
Agmatine powder1500 g
L-citrulline malate powder3000 mg

Agmatine is an ingredient you’ll find in many advanced pre-workout formulas because it gives helps increase blood flow giving those skin-bursting pumps.

Agmatine is actually derived from the amino acid l-arginine, another ingredient that was widely known for creatine ‘the pump.’ The advantage of taking agmatine is it make arginine more bioavailable per

Citrulline malate is another common pre-workout booster. Citrulline and arginine work hand-in-hand as a potent performance booster.

4 – Non-Stim Pre-Workout

Vitamin B12 (liquid)5000 mcg
Beta-alanine1200 g
L-citrulline malate powder3000 mg
Creatine monohydrate5 g

This is a great caffeine-free non-stimulant formula to take before your workout. Your energy will come from vitamin B12.

I do recommend a liquid vitamin B12. This allows for better absorption and will start working faster than pills or capsules. Something like Why Not Natural Organic B12 will work perfectly (that link goes to Amazon).

You also have some core ingredients for building muscle and getting those pumps. In fact, beta-alanine, citrulline malate, and creatine are a powerful pre-workout combination.

5 – Mass Building Pre-Workout

Whey protein powder30 g
Coffee12 oz
L-citrulline malate powder6000 mg
Creatine monohydrate7 g
Beta-alanine powder2000 mg

This homemade supplement stack is a combination of the first few pre-workout alternatives but with increased amounts.

Granted, more is not always better. But in the event that you’re training heavy, you want to know that you have that extra gas in the tank. And this formula is a sure way to do that.

This is also a great pre-workout formula for explosive power. That’s something you also need when going heavy.

6 – The ‘No Supplements’ Pre-Workout

Wheat bread2 slices
Organic jelly1 serving
Natural peanut butter1 serving

If you’re super broke or if you just want to take a short break from supplements, there’s nothing better than a good ole peanut butter and jelly sandwich before your workout.

Some may argue the carbs will drag you down. But I’ve personally done this before and it actually works great. It’s not a full meal but it gives you some calories to use as fuel.

*You could also substitute jelly and make a peanut butter and banana sandwich instead.

7 – The Ultimate Pre-Workout Alternative

Vitamin B12 (liquid)5000 mcg
Whey protein powder30 g
L-citrulline malate powder6000 mg
Creatine monohydrate5 g
Agmatine powder1500 mg
Beta alanine poweder3200 mg
Caffeine anydrous300 mg

This formula could very well be the perfect pre-workout supplement. And it’s certainly not underdosed.

Let’s break this down. The vitamin B12 and caffeine anhydrous will give you all the energy you’ll ever need. Actually, you may even want to cut the caffeine in half if you’re sensitive to stimulants.

The whey protein will sustain you throughout your workout. And the beauty of that is you can mix all of the other powders with the whey powder and chug it.

All of the other ingredients combined will help you build muscle and should deliver some phenomenal pumps in the gym.

All that said, this last formula probably isn’t cost-effective. You may actually be better off going with a pre-workout supplement if you’re concerned about cost.

*An all-in-one formula you may want to consider is 4 Gauge. It’s not super high in stims and it does deliver some insane pumps.

You can read more about this pre-workout in my review post here: Jason’s 4 Gauge Pre Workout Review

The Cheapest Pre Workout

If you want to go super cheap, watch this video I made…

Benefits of Making Your Own Pre Workout

Pre workout alternatives

You can see that making your own pre-workout formula can be pretty cost-effective. Maybe now you can get that new stringer tank top you wanted.

But there are several other benefits to making your own pre-workout that you may not have thought of…

  • You have full control over what you’re taking
  • You can make sure you get the effective doses
  • No fillers (useless junk that doesn’t do anything for you)
  • No proprietary blends
  • You may find that the individual ingredients are more effective than the pre-mixed ingredients in pre-workouts
  • You also have control over how much stimulants

The truth is when you make your own pre-workout formula you’ll be getting exactly what you need and what works. And you won’t be getting any unwanted stuff in there.

Another cool thing is you can experiment with switching up a couple of different ingredients every few days.

This is a great way to ensure your body doesn’t get used to the same formula, which is a huge issue with pre-workout supplements that are pre-made.

3 Things to Avoid in Pre-Workouts

You may decide that making your own pre-workout is too much hassle. That’s okay, but I want to give you 3 things to avoid in pre-workout formulas.

Proprietary Blends

I mentioned this as being one of the benefits of making your alternative to pre-workouts. And this is where some supplement companies downright scam you!

Have you ever noticed on some pre-workout labels that there’s a list of ingredients that roll up into this ‘special complex?’

Sure, you can see the total amount. But the problem is they don’t give you the amount of each individual ingredient in that complex. So you don’t know if you’re getting the effective dose of each or any of the ingredients.

And more than often there are fillers within these proprietary blends. That or the majority of that complex is made up of the cheapest ingredients.


Before you purchase your next pre-workout, write down the amounts of each ingredient. Then go look up what the effective dose is for each individual ingredient.

Chances are you’ll be disappointed, and maybe a little ticked off. 

Granted, you don’t want something that’s overdosed because that will just be wasted (your body will only absorb so much). But you at least want a dose that’s proven to be effective for your goals.

One pre workout ingredient you’ll see that’s commonly underdosed is citrulline malate. In fact, I’ve seen some pre workouts contain 1 mere gram, which does absolutely nothing! 

20 Ingredients + the Kitchen Sink

More is not necessarily better. And this is another way some supplement companies try to trick you.

They load up their pre-workout with a butt-load of stuff assuming people will think they’re getting a great deal. There are a few problems with this…

Most of these supplements are vastly underdosed ingredients, especially the effective ones. So when you see a long list of stuff on the label, make sure you do your due diligence and know exactly what you’re getting.

Should You Make Your Own Pre-Workouts?

So is making your own pre-workout worth it? Or should is it best to just get a pre-workout supplement?

In the end, it’s really up to you. Both have their pros and cons.

Making your own pre-workouts means buying a lot of ingredients upfront. And you’ll do best to buy them in bulk when possible. Keeping up with all of that could prove to be a hassle.

However, it could also pay off in the long run in making sure you’re getting effective doses of quality ingredients, and of course the cost-savings.

Pre-workout supplements aren’t a bad way to go either. It’s already done for you and sometimes we would rather pay for that convenience.

There are extremely effective pre-workout supplements like 4 Gauge pre-workout, as I mentioned earlier. And there several others by reputable brands like Cellucor, Optimum Nutrition, Universal Nutrition, and many others.

The one thing I’ll leave you with is this: the pre-workout formula your gym buddy responds great to may not work the same for you. So you really have to experiment to find what you respond to.

Excuses Don’t Build Muscle,


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