Have you been searching for a preworkout without creatine?
I’ve mentioned before that weight training is just as effective as cardio in fitness, perhaps even more so, but the fact remains that not everyone cares to build muscle. Preworkout supplements are usually aimed at people who do, though. So what happens if you can’t, or don’t want to, grow your muscle mass?
There are many people who don’t like the idea of creatine—some don’t like its effects, and others don’t like its side effects. But that doesn’t mean you want to miss out on preworkouts as a whole. Perhaps, instead of muscle, you want to focus on energy, endurance, or concentration.
If you’re looking for a preworkout without creatine that will work for you, I’m going to show you the five best ones that I’ve found. So let’s discuss creatine and its benefits and contraindications first.
What Is Creatine and What Does It Do?
Creatine is an amino acid that is important to your muscles’ cells. It’s most commonly found in meat products (including red meat, fish, pork, and poultry). It goes without saying that it’s a popular choice for bodybuilders, weight trainers, and athletes, but did you know that your body produces it naturally?
A human produces about 1 gram of creatine per pound of muscle. However, we also excrete our naturally produced creatine on a daily basis. Most supplementers want to maintain this, which is why a preworkout without creatine can be so difficult to find.
Creatine has many benefits. It helps you produce something called ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is the energy resource for your cells. Naturally, if you promote your cells’ energy, you’ll have more energy to power your workouts with.
Creatine also encourages muscle strength and growth, and it aids your endurance and muscle recovery too. It allows you to work harder and longer, it helps your body produce anabolic hormones, and it can prevent muscle deterioration as well.
It’s a wise choice if you’re looking for an extra boost to your muscles, but some people prefer a preworkout without creatine because they don’t want to build muscle at all. In other cases, as with anything, too much can be a bad thing.
Creatine Side Effects
Most preworkouts will boost your creatine levels to 3 grams a day. It’s not recommended that you go over this limit, because as little as 2 grams more can have a negative effect on your body such as water retention and weight gain.
Other sources say that you can push it up to 25 grams a day, but there’s no guarantee it’s healthy. Possible side effects of creatine include dehydration, cramps, nausea, and diarrhea. It may also cause arrhythmia.
It’s also worth noting that, although I couldn’t find substantial evidence of these claims, some theories suggest that over time it can cause kidney and liver damage, digestive troubles and rhabdomyolysis.
It doesn’t matter that its benefits override its issues. If you want a preworkout without creatine—for whatever reason, be it health or simply because you’re a rebel and refuse to follow trends—that is perfectly fine.
Also, remember that we produce our own natural supply of creatine, and we take it in through our food. Supplementing it is unnecessary, and there is a risk of overdosing if you don’t watch your diet.
A preworkout without creatine removes the above risks without causing any harm.
What Might Be in a Preworkout Without Creatine?
The idea of creatine is not for everyone, but that doesn’t mean that those who are hesitant to use it can’t still benefit from other supplements. No two preworkouts are the same, so keep your eyes open for the following ingredients. A preworkout without creatine usually contains these to compensate.
BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) are a common addition to preworkouts. Although, as with creatine, it turns out supplementation is largely unnecessary because you can find them in high-protein foods. They encourage muscle growth and give you energy by inhibiting serotonin spikes and fatigue while you work out.
Beta-alanine is also an amino acid, which assists with muscle endurance and cardio too. It’s a great addition to a preworkout without creatine if you want to strengthen your muscles. It can cause tingling, though, but this is a harmless side effect.
Stimulant-based preworkouts, which include boosters like caffeine and theobromine, usually focus more on giving you an excess of energy so that you can perform better, harder, and longer in your workouts. You’ll often find that your preworkout without creatine is a stimulant, as most people choose one or the other.
Lastly, have you considered acquiring your creatine by means of a high-protein diet? If it’s the supplementing that deters you, remember that it can be found (and controlled) naturally.
The Five Best Preworkouts Without Creatine
Now it’s time to pick a supplement. This list will help you choose a preworkout without creatine that’s right for you! I’ve reviewed these according to their quality, ingredients, and effectiveness.
#1 Optimum Nutrition Essential Amino Energy
Optimum Nutrition makes awesome products for people who want to intensify their workouts but don’t want to bulk out. It’s also a fantastic choice if your focus is weight loss.
Amino Energy contains only 5 calories per serving. It has a sufficient dose of caffeine, and as the name implies, it’s rich in amino acids and nutrients.
One feature that stands out is that you can drink it any time (so long as you pay attention to your caffeine intake and other recommended daily allowances), and it can function as an energy drink outside of fitness. This makes it the most versatile preworkout without creatine.
- Low in calories
- Versatile, multipurpose product
- A favorite in women’s fitness
- Tastes quite nice
- Additional flavorings and colorants make up a large portion of its composition
- Missing some of the essential amino acids
- Contains sucralose
#2 Legion Pulse
Legion is one of the very first preworkout manufacturers that I looked into when I first went down this road. It stood out to me because I learned on a third party site, Labdoor, that this product is listed as number one for quality, which says a lot.
It’s easily the most popular preworkout without creatine, and the masses of loyal fans out there are quite vocal in their praise of it. But, of course, it’s not a perfect product.
Wonderful as it may be, Pulse is stimulant based, and there’s a risk of unpleasant side effects, particularly tingling. It’s also not palatable.
- Arguably of the highest quality
- Stimulant based so great for energy boosts
- Contains many beneficial ingredients
- Free of flagged ingredients and fillers
- Customer satisfaction is impressive
- Induces side effects, namely tingling
- Quite strong and may be unsuitable for people with caffeine sensitivities
- Does not taste nice
#3 Genius Pre
The Genius brand’s expertise lies in nootropics, and its products assist with your focus, cognitive processes, and endurance. The preworkout is packed full of amino acids and is a caffeine-free, organic product that serves its users well.
It contains no proprietary blends and prides itself on being 100 percent vegan.
The preworkout could, however, induce side effects and won’t go easy on your wallet. Regardless, it’s a highly recommendable product.
- High in nutrients
- 100 percent organic and contains no artificial ingredients
- Tastes great
- Not a budget option
- You may experience side effects with use
#4 Alpha Gx7
Alpha Gx7 is a well-rounded product and powerful stimulant. It has high doses of caffeine, arginine, citrulline, beta-alanine, and l-carnitine. It’s a wise choice if you are focusing on energy, but it might be a little too strong for people with stimulant sensitivities.
It tastes better than others in its class, and it’s also praised for its components and their dosage. But on the downside, this is not really a budget option, and because of its content, uncomfortable side effects are a very real risk.
- One of the most powerful stimulants you can find
- High in nutrients and BCAAs
- Good reputation and many satisfied customers
- Extremely high in caffeine and unsuitable for those with sensitivities
- Risk of extreme side effects
- Contains artificial additives
#5 Nitro Surge
Nitro Surge is also used as a stimulant, and most users appreciate that it contains both caffeine and theanine—a smart combination when it comes to boosting energy.
There are a few complaints, however, that Nitro Surge just isn’t strong enough. It’s been noted that it contains 180 grams of caffeine, which is approximately the same as two regular cups of coffee.
On the upside, the addition of theanine lessens the side effects of caffeine. Perhaps due to its stable content, as well, there are few reports of discomfort. This is a great pick if you are looking for a mild preworkout without creatine.
- Well-balanced ingredients
- Lowered caffeine means less risk of side effects
- Popular product with great customer satisfaction
- Tastes good
- Contains artificial additives
- Majority of components are colorants and flavorings
- Complaints are mostly that it’s not powerful enough
My Choice for Best Preworkout Without Creatine
As you can see, almost every preworkout without creatine is a stimulant that focuses more on energy and endurance than muscles and strength. There are milder alternatives available, but they might not be worth the money, since they won’t benefit your muscles or your energy.
I’ve picked Amino Energy as my favorite preworkout without creatine. Optimum Nutrition is a well-respected company, and Amino Energy has proven effects, a great taste, and many nutrients without being an excessively powerful stimulant.