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Homemade Pre-workout: Bigger Gains, Smaller Costs


What is pre-workout?

Whether you’re a vein-popping, mad-gainz sporting, dick-skin covered, seasoned gym freak or the newest of the newbs, you’ve probably used a supplement. Or two. Or two dozen.

Beast mode like the Hulk homemade pre-workout
Activate beast mode

Pre-workout comes in powder, liquid or pill form and essentially gives an extra boost to your workout.

The best homemade pre-workout will contain vitamins and supplements to help with intra-workout performance and prime you for optimal post-workout recovery.

What’s wrong with my current pre-workout supplement?

The only problem is that many pre-workouts don’t really work.

Most pre-workouts contain crazy amounts of caffeine or other stimulants. So you will likely experience a noticeable boost in energy. But, that’s probably about the only benefit you’ll get.

Andy Samberg on meth pre-workout meme
Every day is a good day when you lift

Although there is a lot of ambiguity regarding which supplements actually work, there is a constant. The absolutely insane prices.

Supplement companies are in business to make money. There is nothing really special about any of their products. What you pay for are the branding and marketing costs.

What pre-workout mix should I use?

I’ve experienced many different supplements throughout the years and have since whittled them down to ones that actually work. 

And here’s a dirty little trick I’d like to share. You don’t have to buy prepackaged pre-workout. 

For the cost of a two-week supply of beautifully-branded pre-workout powders, you can buy the same bulk ingredients in no-frills packaging straight from Amazon. Which will last you for months. 

Negatives of mixing your own pre-workout powder

Are you more concerned about being seen with trendy pre-workout rather than actually supplementing your workout and recovery? How about repping brands instead of repping weights?

Stop reading now. This article isn’t for you.

The gym is your sanctuary. Get in. Go to work. Get out.

If you’re the guy who only goes to the gym to be seen in the gym or sport the latest gym gear, go somewhere else. Like a gay bar.

Guy in short shorts at the gym meme
No, your face does

Also, if you’re big on taste, drink a soda. We’re not making cocktails here. Your only goal with pre-workout supplementation is to give your muscles what they need to work and recover more effectively.

I’ll be the first to tell you. When you buy bulk ingredients and mix them in water, the concoction is going to taste like fermented horse piss.

Suck it up. Close your eyes, plug your nose, and throw that shit back straight like your granddad’s well whiskey.

If you must, mix in some regular (if you crave carbs pre-workout) or sugar-free Crystal Light, juice mix, Gatorade or Powerade to mask the taste.

How to make your own best homemade pre-workout

Since discovering this little trick, I can’t recall the last time I’ve actually gone to a supplement store. There’s really no reason to drop hundreds of dollars on some shit I’ve never heard of that will likely generate zero results and last for less than 30 days.

Minimize supplement costs with homemade pre-workout
Time to cut out the middleman

However, you will want to start off by getting an idea of what pre-workout supplements are already out there. You may already have your favorite.

Find one you like and take a look at the ingredient list. There you will find the “patented” portions that give you the maddest pumps and increased performance.

Or you can save the time and money involved with experimentation and skip this step. Trust me. When you look at enough supplements, you’ll realize the ingredients are all about the same.

Honestly, I don’t remember which popular pre-workout I based this list on. But, it doesn’t really matter. Here are the bulk supplements I purchase and mix myself at home.

Click on the recommended link and the manufacturer has conveniently identified the correct portion size and spoon, assuming you mix everything in a 1:1 ratio across the blend.

Ready to purchase everything you need right now? Here’s my homemade pre-workout Amazon list.

1. Pure Creatine Ethyl Ester Powder (CEE)

Creatine is one of the undisputed kings of supplements. And for one simple reason. It works.

When supplementing with this naturally-occurring (in your muscles) substance, you increase phosphocreatine, which in turn increases ATP. Your body’s energy currency.

Man contemplates taking creatine to study
Hell, might as well

Most people supplement with creatine monohydrate, but I recently decided to give Creatine Ethyl Ester powder a try in an attempt to reduce bloating. A common complaint of many users.

Although I did notice a bit less bloat, creatine does hydrate the muscle and you may see a bit of a bump in scale weight.

Don’t be alarmed. Your increased gym performance will be worth it.

2. BCAA Powder (Standard 2:1:1 Ratio)

Branched-chain amino acids are essential for regenerating damaged muscle. This formula includes leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Three key BCAAs (brain-chain amino acids) that are essential.

This is because your body does not produce them on its own. Although they make up 35% of your body’s muscle protein.

Asian parent BCAA meme
Sometimes Bs and Cs are neccesary

Although you can obtain BCAAs from food, I like to supplement with these to ensure I am getting the precise dose pre-workout. This helps prevent going too catabolic. The state of muscular breakdown where you could be at risk of muscle loss.

Many people argue that the fear of muscle catabolism is excessive. However, since I typically train fasted, I don’t mind the added peace of mind of protecting my precious-earned gains.

3. L-Glutamine Powder

An amino acid that naturally occurs in foods and supports immune health. Many proponents claim it also helps speed up muscle recovery and prevents soreness.

Batman slaps Robin for forgetting glutamine meme
Don’t train legs without it

This is an effect of glutamine’s ability to improve protein metabolism. It is also the most abundant amino acid found in your muscles, accounting for 61% of skeletal muscle.

Again, since I typically train fasted I like to keep glutamine in my regimen to help mitigate muscle loss in the absence of calories.

4. Beta-Alanine Powder

Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid that packs a pretty serious punch when stacked alongside the other supplements on this best homemade pre-workout list. Paired with creatine alone, beta-alanine can help gain lean muscle mass, reduce body fat, increase strength and increase power.

This product is also well-known for its trademark “pins and needles” sensation, which I’m a fan of. I actually enjoy the prickly sensation of blood pouring into my damaged muscle tissue. The skin-popping, pulsating pump is also a nice side effect.

Beta-alanine stinging meme
Love me some beta-alanine sting

Customers note its ability to help break through gym plateaus. Or the ability to squeeze out that one last rep.

Note: Most popular pre-workout companies will list this ingredient as “CarnoSyn”, which is just the trademark name. 

5.  L-Citrulline Malate (2:1 Ratio)

This supplement increases nitric oxide production which helps decrease muscle soreness and fatigue.

The most pronounced effect is increased blood flow, which makes this product a staple when trying to force more blood into the muscle to produce outrageous pumps.

Arnold describes homemade pre-workout pump as cumming
You’ll be pumped in other places too… wink, wink

Some reports have also shown an increase in growth hormone (up to 66%) post-workout. 

When I’ve taken this supplement alone vs. taking nothing or stacking with other items, I do experience a noticeable increase in blood flow and a reduction in fatigue. 

A word on pre-workout caffeine

Almost every pre-workout you see on the market will include caffeine or some sort of stimulant.

Since I am a daily coffee drinker or might be on an ECA (ephedrine, caffeine, aspirin) cutting stack, I prefer to make my homemade pre-workout without caffeine.

Additionally, I typically train in the evening immediately before my one meal and bed. For this reason, I cut off my caffeine consumption around mid-afternoon and leave it out of my pre-workout.

Chris Farley too much caffeine gif
Unless you plan on spending the night in a meth-fueled cleaning craze

You can always buy some caffeine pills on Amazon if you’re not a huge fan of caffeinated beverages but still want that extra kick.

If you’ve never taken caffeine or a caffeine supplement, start with a low dosage until you have an idea of how it affects your mood, performance, and sleep.

Personally, I enjoy the taste of black coffee and teas. I also drink them throughout the day since I’m typically on an OMAD (one-meal-a-day) protocol, to help curb my hunger.

Start making your own homemade pre-workout today

Over the years I have experimented with many supplements, portions, and formulas and have found this to be the most potent homemade pre-workout stack for me, for the reasons above. 

Remember, that supplements are merely that. Supplements. 

They do not replace poor training or a shit diet. And you will not become jacked for taking them unless you put in the effort. 

Fat Ronald McDonals on treadmill
Your hardest workout will occur in the kitchen

What they will do is give you that extra little edge needed to get the absolute most out of your workouts and recovery. 

Also, feel free to experiment. What works for me might not work for you. What does work, is the mixing methodology. Just be sure to do your research if you start screwing around with dosing, timing, ratios, training styles, etc.

Or you can just take my word for it. Start with my stack until you dial in what is optimal for you and your gym goals.

Want to save time? Here’s my Amazon list you can use to start making your own homemade pre-workout today!

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