Want to learn how to make your own pre workout at home?

How To Make Your Own Pre Workout In 2024

Written by Russ Howe PTI, and most recently updated 1 day ago.

12 min read

Have you ever felt disappointed with a pre workout which failed to deliver?

Well, those days are gone.

As the title of this article suggests, I’m going to show you how to make your own pre workout supplement from scratch using raw ingredients. Better yet, it’ll be clinically dosed for maximum results. This is something which I learned back in 2013 from Dr. Jim Stoppani, and it’s a little trick I use at least once per year when I grow tired of ready-made formulas.

There are three key benefits to making your own pre workout:

  • You control the doses of each ingredient.
  • You exclude all of the unnecessary ingredients.
  • You save money in the long run.

Let’s get stuck in!

DISCLAIMER: I always recommend consulting with your physician before using a new supplement or embarking on a new diet. This article is for information purposes, and just because it’s what I do doesn’t mean it’s what you should do – there are important things to take into consideration like allergies, tolerances, etc.

Table of Contents

The 4 Key Ingredients You’ll Need

how to make your own pre workout

The main attraction to a DIY pre workout (for me at least) is that you can exclude all of the ineffective ingredients and focus entirely on the stuff that works.

You see, despite the massive list of ingredients which most pre workout tubs boast about, the latest scientific research tells us that we only really need four of them.

They are:

Before we get stuck in to the science behind these ingredients, let’s address the elephant in the room.

Because if the vast majority of your pre-workout’s effectiveness is determined by these four ingredients, why do most formulas contain 20+ active ingredients?

Well, there’s a couple of reasons for that.

  • Product individuality. From a legal perspective, you cannot have the exact same formula as another brand (imagine a soda company using Coca-Cola’s recipe), so supplement companies often add additional ingredients because it’s an easy way to differentiate their product from their rivals.
  • Marketing purposes. Most of these additional ingredients do very little to improve the product, but they can definitely boost sales. For example, an ingredient like CLA is touted as a fat burner, but despite the fact that studies show these effects are absolutely tiny, the fact that the link exists is enough to allow a supplement company to add it to their formula and then slap the term “fat burner” on the label and sell more units. Crazy, right?

The Benefits (And Drawbacks) Of Making Your Own Pre Workout

how to make your own pre workout drink

There are two of each, so let’s look at those now.

The 4 Key Ingredients Explained

If you’re wondering why I picked these four ingredients over everything else, all is about to be explained.

Let’s take a look at the exercise-related benefits of each key ingredient, and reveal what the optimal dose is for unlocking the most bang for your buck.

which ingredients should not be in pre workout

If you’re familiar with pre workouts, you’ll notice there are a few big name ingredients which did not make the cut.

In some cases it’s because they are just unnecessary, but in other cases it’s because they’re fucking useless.

Let’s go through them now.


  1. Duncan M. J., et al. The effect of caffeine ingestion on mood state and bench press performance to failure. J Strength Cond Res (2011).
  2. Childs E., et al. Subjective, behavioral, and physiological effects of acute caffeine in light, nondependent caffeine users. Psychopharmacology (Berl) (2006).
  3. Kim T. W., et al. Caffeine increases sweating sensitivity via changes in sudomotor activity during physical loading. J Med Food (2011).
  4. Cook C., et al. Acute caffeine ingestion increases voluntarily chosen resistance training load following limited sleep. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab (2012).
  5. Del Coso J., et al. Dose response effects of a caffeine-containing energy drink on muscle performance: a repeated measures design. J Int Soc Sports Nutr (2012).
  6. Mora-Rodríguez R., et al. Caffeine ingestion reverses the circadian rhythm effects on neuromuscular performance in highly resistance-trained men. PLoS One (2012).
  7. McCormack W. P., et al. Caffeine, Energy Drinks, and Strength-Power Performance. Str Con J (2012).
  8. Beaven C. M., et al. Dose effect of caffeine on testosterone and cortisol responses to resistance exercise. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab (2008).
  9. Pérez-Guisado J., et al. Citrulline malate enhances athletic anaerobic performance and relieves muscle soreness. J Strength Cond Res (2010).
  10. Alvares T. S., et al. Acute l-arginine supplementation increases muscle blood volume but not strength performance. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab (2012).
  11. Schwedhelm E., et al. Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of oral L-citrulline and L-arginine: impact on nitric oxide metabolism. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology (2008).
  12. Hoffman J., et al. Beta-alanine and the hormonal response to exercise. Int J Sports Med (2008).
  13. Donovan T., et al. Beta-alanine improves punch force and frequency in amateur boxers during a simulated contest. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab (2012).
  14. Artioli G. G., et al. Role of beta-alanine supplementation on muscle carnosine and exercise performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc (2010).
  15. Wylie L. J., et al. Dietary nitrate supplementation improves team sport-specific intense intermittent exercise performance. Eur J Appl Physiol (2013).
  16. Lansley K. E., et al. Dietary nitrate supplementation reduces the O2 cost of walking and running: a placebo-controlled study. J Appl Physiol (1985).
  17. Pryor J. L., et al. Effect of betaine supplementation on cycling sprint performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr (2012).
  18. Lee E. C., et al. Ergogenic effects of betaine supplementation on strength and power performance. J Int Soc Sports Nutr (2010).
  19. Hoffman J. R., et al. Effect of betaine supplementation on power performance and fatigue. J Int Soc Sports Nutr (2009).
  20. Holewa J., et al. Effects of betaine on body composition, performance, and homocysteine thiolactone. Department of Kinesiology, Recreation, and Sport Studies, Coastal Carolina University (2013).
  21. Walker, D. K., et al. Exercise, amino acids, and aging in the control of human muscle protein synthesis. Med Sci Sports Exerc (2011).
  22. Choi S., et al. Oral branched-chain amino acid supplements that reduce brain serotonin during exercise in rats also lower brain catecholamines. Amino Acids (2013).
  23. Kim S., et al. Taurine Induces Anti-Anxiety by Activating Strychnine-Sensitive Glycine Receptor in Vivo. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism (2009).
  24. Moloney M. A., et al. Two weeks taurine supplementation reverses endothelial dysfunction in young male type 1 diabetics. Diab Vasc Dis Res (2010).
  25. Giles G. E., et al. Differential cognitive effects of energy drink ingredients: caffeine, taurine, and glucose. Pharmacol Biochem Behav (2012).
  26. Piletz J. E., et al. Agmatine: clinical applications after 100 years in translation. Drug Discov Today (2013).
  27. Gilad G. M., et al. Long-term (5 years), high daily dosage of dietary agmatine – evidence of safety: a case report. J Med Food (2014).
  28. Edwards D., et al. Therapeutic Effects and Safety of Rhodiola rosea Extract WS® 1375 in Subjects with Life-stress Symptoms – Results of an Open-label Study. Phytotherapy Research (2012).
  29. Wiegant F. A., et al. Plant adaptogens increase lifespan and stress resistance in C. elegans. Biogerontology (2009).
  30. Hedman K., et al. Studies on Orchidaceae Alkaloids. XV. Phenethylamines from Eria jarensis Ames. Department of Organic Chemistry, University of Stockholm (1969).
  31. Wiley Online Journal. Muscles and Meth: Drug Analog Identified in ‘Craze’ Workout Supplement. (2013).

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I’m Russ. I’ve been a personal trainer since 2002, and I own russhowepti.com.

My job is to simplify fitness for my readers.

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23 responses to “How To Make Your Own Pre Workout In 2024”

  1. Phil avatar

    Hi Russ,

    Great article, thank you for sharing

    One point that wasn’t covered was how to mix them together?
    – Do you mortar and pestle, seive, then mortar and pestle lumps again?
    – Measure say one months worth, place in a container and shake like hell?
    – Measure what you need every day?
    – Other?

    Also, are all the powders you mentioned, homogenous? (Mix well together?


    1. russhowepti avatar

      Hi Phil,
      Yeah, they mix well together, I only use my shaker. If we’re adding ingredients individually like this post does, there’s no way to tell if we have enough of each ingredient in a serving if we pule it all into the same tub and scoop some out, so I mix mine up each day as I need it.


      1. Phil avatar

        Hi Russ,

        Thanks for that. I’m guessing the caffeine tablets dissolve quickly and easily too and don’t need crushing?

        Thanks again,

        1. russhowepti avatar

          Nah just take the capsule with the drink. That’s what I do.

  2. Lawrent avatar

    Hey Russ, why is creatine not in the list?

    1. russhowepti avatar

      I love creatine, but the supplements on the list here are shown to boost performance when taken directly before training. Creatine can be taken before, after, first thing in the morning, etc and have the same effect.

  3. Enrique Pasion avatar
    Enrique Pasion

    I really do appreciate this post on a very compelling and informative topic. Thank you for posting this.

  4. Kyle avatar

    Hi Russ, I am curious how you prepare the drink since there are not really any steps after listing out the ingredients. Do i mix it with water? Do I mix it with Milk? Do I inhale the powder? I’ve tried it with tea so far and it seems to go down OK but I am wonder if there is anything better. Thanks!

    1. russhowepti avatar

      Hi Kyle,
      I mix it with water. Fruit juice would also work if you’ve gone completely flavorless with the ingredients and want a bit of taste. Caffeine is in a pill, obvs, so not part of the drink.

  5. D avatar

    Hi Russ — great article!! I laughed, I cried (realizing I’ve wasted money on bad products in the past), but learned a lot! I am still debating the DIY approach… mainly because I have access to get this product (https://evertrain.fit/products/pre) discounted when desired. When I compare your ingredients with those on the aforementioned product, they seem pretty close on core items. Thoughts?

    1. russhowepti avatar

      Hi mate,
      It’s got a few of the key ingredients in there. However, they’re under-dosed for the most part… 2g citrulline (ideally we want 6-8g), no betaine, it also contains taurine, which can counteract caffeine and leave the trainee feeling a bit sluggish.

      1. D avatar

        Thanks for the insights! Looks like I’ll give the DYI approach a go afterall.

        1. russhowepti avatar

          No probs.

          Or grab some AML Pre Workout, they’ve pretty much nailed the formula.

  6. james avatar

    This actually really works. I had a bad calve injury and it’s taken months to get back on track. I’m actually beating prs and feel like I have more in the tank all the time. I did a bit of research into what else I could put in it but everything keeps pointing back to these same ingredients. Thank you for the great guide.

    1. russhowepti avatar

      You’re welcome James, glad it was helpful.

  7. Pranav Singh avatar
    Pranav Singh

    I wasted my time in search of best Pre-workout, luckily i came across this post, awesome work man, nicely explained and I must say i will try this.

  8. Mario avatar

    Thanks Russ for this. I had stopped taking pre workouts simply because of the additional ingredients like flavours, coloring, etc. So this will solve it.

    May I ask whether one should take the preworkout whey protein with it? Will the bcaas in the whey interfere? Thanks again.

    1. russhowepti avatar

      Not a fan of having whey immediately before training, BCAAs pre-training can promote fatigue so if you’re trying to max out it’s not optimal. That’s why there’s no BCAA blend included in this formula 🙂

  9. tricia avatar

    Hi! I am going to mix this up but for health reasons want to avoid caffeine. Can I use 200 mg of Taurine instead or would the ratio be different?

    1. russhowepti avatar

      Hi there,
      I tend to avoid taurine, but to get the training benefits it offers (muscle focus) we’d need around 2 grams per day.

  10. josh avatar

    Great article, thanks for providing this information!

  11. Eugene Williams avatar
    Eugene Williams

    This is a great breakdown Russ. Not only have I built my own using it, but it shows me what I need to look for when buying branded ones as well. Thank you so much.

  12. Orlit Daokat avatar
    Orlit Daokat

    Thank you for this information

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