T Nation

How to Create a Pre-workout?


I found a company that offers bulk supplements and I wanted to know how to create a pre workout.

Could I gear it towards my specific goals?

What are the essentials that should be included?

Any supplements that would work against each other?

I lift four times a week and do fasted hiit and cardio three to four mornings a week. My workouts rarely exceed and hour and I don’t play any sports.


what are you trying to get out of your preworkout mix? Do you want it to be nutrition-oriented, or are you just trying to get amped up for lifting? or both? do you consume and peri-workout or post-workout drinks?


Of course you can, since you’re assembling it from scratch. I’m guessing your goal is fat loss, based on the little bit of info you provided.

There are no “essential” pre-workout ingredients, because pre-workouts aren’t essential. Having fast-acting protein and carbs before and during training can make a huge difference in how you perform and recover. Other than that, some things are helpful, but definitely not necessary.

Don’t do that. Fasted steady state cardio can be a good way to drop fat. Fasted HIIT is a good way to lose muscle.

All the questions Flip asked are essential to sort out what you’re looking for. Knowing your general nutrition approach can also help.

I will say though, something like Surge Workout Fuel plus some caffeine should be an effective, relatively inexpensive, and simple enough “pre-workout” for most people.


I want both flip. I have not really messed with anything outside of whey every now and then.

I’ll stop the morning hiit, thanks.

I have some supplements in mind so far

Beta Alanine

Maybe BCAA, resveratrol, and Coq10. Though I’m going to start taking ZMA soon.


Okay yeah, like half of those shouldn’t be in a workout mix. CoQ10, Resveratrol, and Curcumin shouldn’t be taken right before or after training. This article explains why you want to avoid antioxidants like CoQ10 and resveratrol and this article explains why you don’t want an anti-inflammatory (curcumin) right around training.

Whey isn’t the best protein source during training, hydrolyzed casein is. And I didn’t think a fatty acid like CLA could be broken down into a powdered form for a pre-workout.

Beta alanine and creatine are solid, so at least you’re good there. Really, man, I think it’s just better all around to go with SWF. Definitely easier, less headache to figure out how to concoct your own Frankenstein formula, and almost-definitely going to work out less expensive even if you get plain creatine monohydrate to add to it. That’ll give you leucine (the most important of the BCAAs), good carbs, beta alanine, citrulline, betaine, and an electrolyte mix for better rehydration.


Great suggestions and thanks for the advice. I want to pull the trigger on SWF but 20ish servings versus what I would get in bulk is kind of hard on my pockets.

I see I should keep coq10 and stuff reserved to the mornings and I misread on the CLA.

It won’t only be me using it so creating a bulk amount is the preferable way for me to go.




kind of apples to oranges here, to be honest. So much of what you’re throwing into your ‘preworkout’ is really nonsensical. Chris was really nice about it, but when I read your list of ingredients, I was pretty shocked, to say the least. That’s just not at all what I would expect in a preworkout drink. It’s also not comparable to what you would find in SWF… that’s why SWF is more expensive. Keep in mind the quantity discounts you get when buying from the biotest store. You get 15% off if you spend enough money, which I assume you would do since you’re planning on buying bulk elsewhere.

You get what you pay for, and if you buy a whole bunch of less than ideal raw powders for your goals, you’ll spend less money and you’ll get less results. Just something to consider.

Chris gave a good run down of what SHOULD be in a preworkout. Fast-acting, quality carbs are at the top of my list, and i would absolutely include hyrdrolyzed casein. those are the building blocks that all workout-nutrition should be based on. They give you the most bang for the buck. Creatine is fine, and it’s super cheap. That’s not much of a consideration. So is beta alanine. and of course electrolytes. That’s a huge one, particularly sodium, that should not be overlooked. If you can build your own formula, include all these items in proper amounts, and spend less than what you’d spend on SWF, then good for you. I’ve tried and failed. And I’ve bought raw powders in bulk.


If you’re cheap and don’t mind mixing powders you may want to try PeptoPro mixed with something like Gatorade.

I mix 1.5 tbs peptopro and 3 tbs Gatorade. Half about 15 min before I start warmups, half midway through workout.

Game changer.


I wasn’t dismissing what Chris suggested at all, it seemed promising but I’ve read of and seen other individuals make their own so I thought it was plausible.


oh totally, i know people who do as well. I just couldn’t justify my own mix, because the cash savings were negligible. I could save maybe 20 cents per serving at the most. Now, if you downgrade some of the ingredients, leave some stuff out, then you might be able to make it work. Just won’t be as effective.

The gatorade/pepto pro thing isn’t horrible. That’s actually a fairly common substitute. Zack, how much are you spending per serving of this, and how much protein are you using per serving?


Well I figure for the frequency I workout at and give or take a few, it would run me roughly 430 versus 300ish to do my own.

That’s with me only having to repeatedly buy the casein because the other ingredients are practically enough for two plus years.

I’m not against using plazma or anything but I personally would like more control over what goes in my pre workout.

So far I’ve gotten

BCAA or leucine
Beta alanine

I fail to understand what you mean by high quality carbs in a pre workout or electrolytes lol.


You never use Gatorad. Period.

Nasty stuff.

Read up before asking why.


Haha, bullshit. That’s funny tho. Do what you want, but don’t lie about your reasons.

If your reason was wanting more control of what goes in your pre workout, THEN you would of known which specific ingredients should be used.


Call it what you want. I’m cheap and I want control. That an issue?


After a lot of trial and error I found approx 20g peptopro and 40g Gatorade is my sweet spot.

I bought 2 lbs peptopro on sale for $60, Gatorade was $9. I go through more Gatorade but it helps in the workout a lot. I used to skimp on it and I won’t ever do that again.

Peptopro won’t run out for approx 3-4 months. Gotta buy Gatorade every month. I’m not in love with Gatorade and want to find a replacement.


Gatorade for electrolytes?


The simple, quick to digest carbs everyone has mentioned. Electrolytes were a bonus.

I used to do the highly caffeinated fancy bullshit (BIOTEST IS NOT BULLSHIT) but caffeine is a drug, and you can develop a tolerance.


Ah okay, I do like me some Powerade.


A 1.44kg bag of fruit punch gatorate has 63 servings with 21g sugar per. 1440g/63servings = 22.86g/serving. 21g sugar/22.86g = .9186

Therefore Gatorade powder is essentially 92% sugar. This is similar to and possibly even worse than drinking soda. The only other ingredients which compose the remaining 8.2% (1.86g/serving) are citric acid, salt, sodium citrate, monopotassium phosphate, calcium silicate, modified food starch, caramel color, and red 40.

Sounds nutritious doesn’t it?