preworkout on a budget

Best Pre Workout On a Budget

If you’re interested in using pre-workout, but you’re concerned about spending $30+ on a can of powder – you’re in luck. There are plenty of pre-workout alternatives or cheaper options you can use to fire up your system and give yourself motivation and focus during your workout.

Is Pre Workout a Waste of Money?

I’ve heard a lot of people bluntly declare that pre workout is a waste of money.

“Why would you take that stuff? Don’t you know pre-workout is just overpriced, worthless powder?”

I have strong feelings the other way. I’ve spent a lot of money on pre-workout over my years of working out. For me, the investment has been worth it. It has allowed me to train on days that I otherwise wouldn’t have had the motivation. And getting addicted to pre-workout in my early twenties was enough to keep me going back to the gym.

Cheap DIY Pre-Workout

If you’re looking for a pre-workout on a budget, you can make your own by purchasing the main ingredients in other pre-workouts and mixing it on your own. This method has benefits beyond cost, too. As you experiment with different levels of each ingredient, you can find what works best for you and your workout style.

Cheap Pre-Workout Ingredients

  • Creatine Monohydrate: Creatine is one of the most popular supplements that gym-goers take. You’re probably familiar with creatine monohydrate if you spent any time in the weight room in high school. Creatine is thought to improve strength, increase lean muscle mass, and aid in muscle recovery.
  • Caffeine: Caffeine is found in most of the leading pre-workout supplements, because it works. Athletes in almost every sport, from cycling to weightlifting, consume caffeine. Consuming caffeine before working out can reduce your rate of perceived exertion, which can help you train harder in the gym. You can buy caffeine powder in bulk on Amazon or elsewhere online. The recommended dose is dependent on bodyweight, but is usually around 250 to 400mg.
  • L-Citrulline: L-Citrulline, or simply citrulline, is a non-essential amino acid. It is processed in the kidneys and turned into L-arginine after ingesting, which helps increase nitric oxide synthesis in the body. Nitric oxide can improve athletic performance, vascular health, and even aid with erectile dysfunction.
  • Beta-Alanine: Beta-alanine is another non-essential amino acid that is naturally produced in the body. It plays a role in the carnosine synthesis which can contribute to muscle endurance during high-intensity exercise. Beta-alanine has other potential benefits including immune-enhancing and anti-aging properties.

Cheap Pre-Workout Alternatives

If you don’t want to mix your own pre-workout, and you aren’t interested in buying a pre-mixed supplement, these are some cheap alternatives you can use instead.

Black Coffee

The primary active ingredient in most pre-workouts is caffeine. So replacing your pre-workout with black coffee can have a similar effect. If you have a high tolerance to caffeine, this may not be as effective as other forms of pre-workout, but caffeine is proven to increase athletic performance. Black coffee will provide you with that hit of caffeine before a workout to give you energy and focus.


Fruit provides your body with a quick dose of fructose and carbohydrates to fuel your workout. Fruits are a source of simple carbohydrates, which means they can provide fuel to your muscles faster than slower-digesting carbohydrates. The fiber in fruits helps to slow the digestion and absorption of the sugars to prevent the unwanted sugar high and crash.

Bananas, oranges, apples, and berries are some of my favorites for pre-workout snacks. These all give me a quick supply of energy, without any digestive discomfort.

Coconut Water

Coconut water is another good option if you’re looking for a quick burst of energy, without the side effects of many pre-workout supplements. Coconut water is great for staying hydrated, and is relatively low in calories. Coconut water is high in potassium, which can help prevent cramping. The best options for coconut water are 100 percent coconut water without any added sugars or preservatives.