If you’re like me and consider yourself something of a control freak—making your own homemade pre workout could be perfect for you.
Let me ask you something.
How often have you looked at the label on one of your supps and thought—what the hell is all that stuff inside?
Often, they contain ingredients you’ve never heard of—or include imaginatively titled blends such as an Insane Dyno-Pump Boost Focus Matrix that in fact, does—or means—nothing at all.
You know what I’m saying, yeah?
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There could be another way. Supplements which contain numerous ingredients—such as pre-workouts—can be made and mixed in the home. Allowing you to include only the powerful performance enhancing compounds you require.
But, is it better than buying one of the best off-the-shelf pre-workouts?
Bro, you’re gonna find out.
In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about how to make your own pre workout.
I’ll explain the ingredients that are essential in a potent performance enhancer, what they do, how to mix, and whether this home-lab procedure is better and/or cheaper than the store bought products.
Ready to become Walter White? Let’s get down to it.
Pre Workout Ingredients
If you’ve ever read reliable pre-workout reviews you’ll already know one important thing—a lot of them contain absolute trash.
While the best pre-workouts on the market are formulated only with awesome performance-enhancing ingredients—many others are either underdosed, include pointless “filler” ingredients, or hide detail away in the dreaded proprietary blends.
This can mean one of two things.
Either you end up paying for ingredients that have no place in a pre-workout, or own a supplement that simply isn’t going to deliver the results you need.
Mixing your own homemade pre workout allows you to ensure that not only is your training booster packed with only the most essential ingredients, but also that it provides effective doses to take your workouts to the max.
Here are the eight essential and proven performance-enhancing ingredients you need to include in a potent pre-workout.
When discussing how to make your own pre workout—caffeine is probably one of the most important ingredients.
It’s not a secret that this naturally-occurring compound is a stimulant. But, caffeine is more than just something which provides a “buzz” to your training. Research has indicated that this supplement can help to:
- Increase both muscular strength and endurance.1
- Elevate mental focus—improving the mind-muscle connection and boosting determination and drive.2
- Raise energy levels to fight off fatigue and heighten stamina—leading to longer and more productive sets.3
The important element to consider with caffeine, probably more than any other pre-workout ingredient, is the dosage. Too much can lead to some pretty unpleasant side effects (more on that later).
Despite what some pre-workout manufacturers may claim—you don’t require large doses of this compound to receive immense benefits. Research has indicated that just 150-200 mg of caffeine is more than sufficient to receive awesome improvements in athletic performance.4
Whatever time of day you work out, the boost that caffeine can provide is invaluable. It’s ideal for getting the body kick-started first thing in the morning, or to give you that extra buzz in the evening after a tough day at work.
Sometimes we hit the gym with our focus and drive being off the damn scale. We’re determined to knock out the mother-of-all sessions and get those muscles working damn hard.
But then halfway through your second set—the muscles just give up.
You’re not being lazy—you want to keep going, but those biceps of yours are just screaming—no more!
You’ve been there, right?
It happens. With every push, lactic acid builds up to the point where fatigue sets in—and all the determination in the world will not get those muscles to work.5
Beta-alanine can prevent this. Any guide on how to make your own pre workout will include this ingredient.
But, it’s not just about staving off muscle fatigue. Additionally, beta-alanine has been shown to:
- Improve endurance—research on cyclists indicated that it dramatically increases time to exhaustion (TTE), leading to longer training sessions.8
- Help to build lean muscle mass—the same study illustrated that supplementing with beta-alanine can boost the growth of muscle.
- Reduce oxidative stress—beta-alanine can offset inflammation, leading to faster recovery times.9
So, to make your own pre workout bodybuilding supplement, an effective pre-workout dosage of this ingredient is considered to be between 1.5 to 3 grams.10
Let’s face it—we’re all slightly vain.
Show me a bodybuilder who says he’s not—and I’ll show you a liar.
It’s not a criticism.
We work damn hard in the gym and push ourselves to absolute limits so we can create the most awesome physique—and admiring our appearance is the reward we receive for all our efforts.
Skin-splitting pumps make for awesome selfies—whether for your own use or to knock straight out onto your insta.
You know what I’m talking about.
Citrulline is a phenomenal ingredient which can take pumps and vascularity to unprecedented levels. Any homemade pre workout bodybuilding supplement should contain this compound.
After consumption, it’s converted into arginine. This boosts production of nitric oxide, which acts as a vasodilator—opening up the blood vessels to allow more oxygenated blood to flood the muscles.11 12
Not only does this make you look pumped like the freakin’ Hulk, but also this improved delivery of blood can boost strength and power—fuelling the muscles.
Additionally, citrulline malate can:
- Improve muscle protein synthesis—enabling you to build muscle faster.13
- Enhance the absorption of other amino acids and prevent them from being broken down.
- Lower blood pressure.14
- Boost the production of growth hormone.15
As a minimum, look to include 4.5 grams in your homemade pre workout. That being said, the most potent pre-workouts on the market include around 6 grams.
When considering how to make your own pre workout—remember, the mind is as important as the muscles.
To really take your workouts to the max, you need to ensure that your drive and focus is centered on one aspect—building serious and impressive muscle—not thinking about family, friends, or work.
Using theanine in your homemade pre workout can intensify this determination.
This amino acid, found in tea, has been shown to reduce stress and promote relaxation—without the drowsy side effects other compounds can invoke.16
Furthermore, theanine has been shown to:
- Raise alertness and lift determination and focus.17
- Reduce inflammation—improving recovery times and possibly alleviating the symptoms of DOMS (delayed-onset muscle soreness).18
- Improve sleep quality—allowing you to be more refreshed for your gym sessions.19
In your homemade pre workout, look to include around 200 mg of theanine.
Some experts consider that supplementing with arginine and citrulline in the same pre-workout supplement may be considered overkill—as they both provide the same results of increasing blood flow, enhancing pumps, and boosting strength.
As I’ve already mentioned, the vasodilator nitric oxide is produced when citrulline is converted to arginine.
I know what you’re thinking.
Why bother including it in your homemade pre workout, if the only reason is to allow the body to convert it to arginine—it must be simpler just to consume arginine alone in the first place?
Well, studies have indicated that consuming citrulline may increase the availability of arginine more than consuming arginine on its own.20
Often, you will see off-the-shelf pre-workouts including both of these amino acids. My personal recommendation would be to use just one, preferably citrulline, and use arginine if the other is difficult to obtain. A dosage of around 3-6 grams would be sufficient.
If you want to know how to make your own pre workout extra potent—you need carnitine.
This can make it a useful ingredient during your cutting cycle, enabling increased fat loss to improve definition and obtain that perfect ripped physique.23
But, it doesn’t end there.
Research has illustrated that carnitine can:
- Improve brain function—enhancing focus and drive.24
- Lower blood pressure levels.25
- Reduce inflammation.26
- Increase endurance and lower fatigue.27
- Reduce recovery time.28
- Elevate muscular oxygenation—leading to increased power and reduced fatigue.29
Experts have indicated that a dosage of up to 3 grams per day is perfectly safe. However, a 500 mg dose should be perfectly adequate for bodybuilding requirements.30
No homemade pre workout is complete without this amino acid, sourced from beets.
While a relative newcomer as a supplement ingredient, betaine’s increased popularity stems from its scientifically proven benefits for the serious athlete.
Here are the important facts.
This compound has the effects of:
- Boosting both power and strength.31
- Elevating endurance and stamina.32
- Increasing the rate of muscle growth.33
- Speeding up fat loss.
If you want to know how to make your own pre workout adequately dosed with betaine, I would personally recommend a serving of about 300 mg.
Also known as piperine, this extract from black pepper should be the final ingredient you consider in your homemade pre workout.
This is important.
If you want to know how to make your own pre workout as powerful as possible you need this chemical.
I’ll tell you why.
Bioperine improves the bioavailability of all the other ingredients in your homemade pre workout—in simple terms, it helps with their absorption.34
This means that each individual compound in your supplement is used to its optimum power—not being passed out in urine.
Additionally, Bioperine can:
- Improve mood—by raising dopamine levels.35
- Reduce inflammation.36
- Support the immune system.37
- Elevate carbohydrate and fat metabolism, which could result in weight loss.38
Experts recommended consuming around 20 mg of piperine per day as an effective dose.39
Wondering where you can get a solid pre workout with the best ingredients?
How to Mix Your Own Pre Workout
So, you know what you need to include in your own homemade pre workout.
Firstly, please read these instructions carefully—otherwise, you could be inadvertently using incorrect doses. This could either waste product (and money) or lead to an overdose.
Now, let’s find out exactly how to make your own pre workout.
Items you will need:
- A stock of all the individual supplements as outlined above.
- Metal spoons.
- Aluminum foil.
- A shaker or blender.
- A calculator.
- Pen and paper.
- Precision weighing scales.
Let me be clear—the last item is essential.
Don’t try and use your standard kitchen scales—at best, most of these only measure in one gram increments, that just isn’t going to work. With many ingredients, we’re talking in milligrams here—so you need a set of precision scales that measures to this accuracy.
Here’s the method.
- First, decide how much pre workout you’re going to make. Don’t attempt to try and mix enough for just one serving—it’s less accurate (as you’re dealing with smaller amounts) and incredibly time-consuming.
I’d recommend making at least enough for a week’s supply—hence multiply the dose of each individual ingredient by a factor of 7. Use a calculator and write down the precise weights required for each.
- Place aluminum foil on the weighing scales and calibrate. The supplements are less likely to stick to foil than a bowl.
- Measure each supplement individually, then tip the ingredient into a shaker or blender. Repeat with each ingredient—try wherever possible to use different spoons or scoops for each ingredient to prevent cross-contamination.
- Add flavoring—use one that you’re going to enjoy and doesn’t contain sugars which can lead to fat gain.
- Combine the dry mix thoroughly in a shaker, blender, or bowl. Once you think you’ve mixed enough—mix again.
- Store in an airtight container.
The benefits of making your homemade pre workout include:
- You can flavor how you wish.
- It’s possible to customize the pre-workout ingredients to your own personal requirements—for example, people have genetically higher and lower tolerances to caffeine—but don’t overdose!
- Satisfaction in knowing exactly what’s contained in your homemade pre workout.
Potential Side Effects of Homemade Pre Workout
The best pre-workouts made by trusted supplement manufacturers are virtually side-effect free.
Naturally, different individual tolerances may mean they cause adverse effects in some people more than others—but they’ve been tested for safety and there’s little chance of overdose—unless through human error.
However, making your own homemade pre workout is risky.
Inexperience, your mind being on other matters, or a simple slip of the finger on a calculator can lead to an overdose. A quick glance at any homemade pre workout reddit illustrates the mistakes guys have made.
And, that’s worth remembering.
One of the most dangerous ingredients for overdosing is caffeine. Buying caffeine in bulk is dangerous—and that’s not just me saying that.
Recently the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) wrote to suppliers of raw caffeine products—stating that the chance of overdose was high and presented a serious risk to public health.40
The side effects of too much of this ingredient in your custom pre workout include:
- Increased blood pressure.41
- Elevated levels of cholesterol.42
- Tachycardia (raised heartbeat).43
- Heart disease.44
- Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmias).45
Knowing how to make your own pre workout means being extremely responsible. No supplement is worth dying for.
If you want to be completely safe, just use a homemade pre workout coffee drink or some homemade pre workout food as your bespoke performance enhancers.
How Much Does It Cost to Make Your Own Pre Workout?
Initially, a lot of money.
The outlay required when choosing to make your own homemade pre workout is large.
So, how much does it cost to make a pre workout?
Even if you go for the cheapest (and not the best) individual ingredients on the market, at around $25 per product that’s a lot of dollars. Additionally, you’ll need to purchase a reliable set of precision scales.
To be fair, if you make enough product, and obtain budget ingredients, you could save money in the long run.
But, it’s not all good news.
First, mixing your own homemade pre workout accurately is very time consuming—and time is money. This could cut into your social, family, or even most worryingly, your gym time.
Secondly, budget ingredients are just that. The best quality compounds are really going to hit your pocket hard. Unless you’re going to be dealing to all the guys down the gym (don’t—you could poison someone else) you can’t warrant buying in sufficient bulk to obtain discounts.
But, the major manufacturers can.
Homemade Pre Workout Summary
You now know how to make your own pre workout.
In doing so, you can be assured that your pre-workout contains no superfluous ingredients, tastes the way you want it to, is angled personally to your individual requirements, and could save you some money. What’s more, it can prove satisfying.
However, you also need to be very careful.
I can’t stress enough that inadvertently overdosing is a risk. Just one slip and you could be suffering from some awful side effects. Plus, the best quality bulk ingredients can be expensive.
The bottom line.
Personally, I’d recommend buying a premade and best pre-workout from a trusted manufacturer, one which contains the best pre workout ingredients. In that way, you’re guaranteed safety, efficacy, and value for money.