Finding the right pre-workout supplement can almost be like finding a needle in a haystack—virtually impossible. You need to determine what’s effective and what’s not; what the right ingredients are; and on top of that, what’s keto-compliant.
A relatively simple choice for a supplement just got a whole lot more complex.
Finding fitness supplements that are clean and keto-friendly can be a challenge, so we’re giving you a detailed guide on finding the right pre-workout for a keto diet.
We’ll cover the benefits of taking a pre-workout, whether or not pre-workout supplements are keto-friendly, and the best ingredients to look for in your keto pre.
Best Low-Carb Pre-Workout: Pre Lab Pro®
When it comes to low-carb or keto pre-workouts, there’s only one choice for us: Pre Lab Pro®.
It’s a next-generation formula designed to elevate your workout to new intensities with advanced pre-workout ingredients. Pre Lab Pro® stacks research-backed pre-workout ingredients that complement each other, amplify each other, and unlock synergy—all carb-free.
It targets 3 key pathways that work in synergy to supercharge workout performance, promote healthy balance, and accelerate your progress across all fitness programs.
- Bigger NOx: Breakthrough 2X turbocharge + afterburn blood flow surge for strength, power, endurance, intensity, mental clarity
- Smarter stimulation: Moderate-dose caffeine plus L-theanine and nootropics for jitter-free energy, focus, alertness, and motivation
- Stronger homeostasis: Supports hydration, electrolytes, stress resistance, and balance to boost performance, accelerate recovery, and maintain overall health
Pre Lab Pro® is the ultimate in versatility and efficiency, delivering training benefits across all fitness types—strength, power, speed, endurance, and more.
Why Take A Pre-Workout Supplement?
Pre-workout supplements are designed with a single goal in mind: maximize your workout performance. Whatever combination of ingredients used in the formula, they target focus and energy to push you through even the toughest workout with ease.
What’s in a pre-workout is going to differ between brands, but generally, you’ll find things like caffeine, amino acids, beta-alanine, creatine, B vitamins, and electrolytes 1.
The combination of ingredients dictates what kind of response you’re going to get. Some pre-workout supports stronger endurance, while others pump your muscles for greater strength.
While there’s often a lot of confusion between a pre-workout and energy supplements, pre-workouts are meant to improve acute exercise performance and enhance training adaptations when used long-term, whereas energy supplements do exactly that—provide an immediate energy boost.
Adding in a pre-workout supplement to your stack is beneficial for:
- Improving energy
- Enhancing focus and alertness
- Increasing concentration
- Reducing fatigue
- Boosting fat burn
- Improving blood circulation
- Increasing strength and endurance
Just by using a pre-workout, you can push your body to its limits to increase your athletic performance on every level.
Are Pre-Workouts Keto?
The answer to this question is debatable and depends largely on what’s in your pre-workout.
Although most pre-workouts contain minimal carbohydrates and don’t contain sugar—although they do in the form of natural or artificial sweeteners—you still want to check the label to ensure it’s keto-friendly. The goal of a keto pre-workout is to increase energy and improve performance without interfering with ketosis.
For the most part, pre-workouts are keto-friendly, but some are more so than others. Keep in mind that while pre-workout labels may be eye-catching and offer big claims, they’re not all created equal. Let’s look at some of the best keto pre-workout ingredients and what you should avoid in a pre-workout.
Best Low-Carb Pre-Workout Ingredients
#1 RedNite® Beetroot Powder
If you’re chasing the pump that all lifters rave about, there’s one compound you need: nitric oxide.
While several ingredients can boost NOx levels, nothing does it quite as well as beetroot. Yes, you read that correctly—beetroot. It’s an ultra-concentrated source of natural nitrates that drive nitric oxide production to improve blood flow, increase oxygen and nutrient delivery to active muscle tissue, and prevent waste accumulation to reduce fatigue 2.
One study with 38 adult participants found that consumption of 70mg of a beetroot juice supplement led to a 21% increase in nitric oxide levels after just 45 minutes 3.
And on top of that, you’re also getting a good dose of betalain pigments—powerful antioxidants that can reduce the effect of oxidative stress on muscle cells and prevent post-exercise muscle soreness 2.
#2 Setria® Performance Blend (L-Citrulline + L-Glutathione)
You don’t normally see citrulline and glutathione packed together in a pre-workout, but you do in the best ones.
Setria® Performance Blend is two powerful ingredients that boost and sustain nitric oxide levels in the blood for an unbeatable pump.
L-glutathione (GSH) is one of the most powerful antioxidants in the body that helps to reduce cellular damage caused by free radicals generated from intense activity.
Not only does GSH protect muscle tissue during exercise, support healthy immune responses, and enhance performance, but it also improves lipid metabolism and acidification in skeletal muscles during exercise to mitigate muscle fatigue 4.
But the real reason it combines with L-citrulline is to boost and sustain NOx levels; NOx is a molecule that rapidly degrades in the bloodstream and GSH can help to protect it against degradation and maintain high concentrations.
And when you add in an ultra-powerful compound that directly increases NOx levels, you’re getting peak power output, a higher VO2max, better energy production, and greater muscle growth.
#3 Natural Caffeine
Caffeine is a staple in any good pre-workout, but one of the biggest problems with caffeine comes with mega-dosing.
There’s a large body of evidence showing the performance benefits of caffeine for endurance athletes, and even strength to some degree. Unfortunately, overdoing it on the caffeine can actually tank your workout. That said, with moderate doses like that found in Pre Lab Pro®, caffeine can support 5:
- Alertness and focus
- Cognitive function
- Reaction time
- Perceptions of fatigue
- Muscle strength
#4 Ajipure® L-Tyrosine
Pre-workout supplements that mega-dose on caffeine can leave you feeling exhausted and depleted. If you want to avoid any of the nasty side effects that come with caffeine, your pre-workout needs to have L-tyrosine.
It’s an amino acid that supports the synthesis and recycling of the catecholamines most affected by caffeine and training: dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine 6.
Because of its ability to counteract the effects of heavy stimulant use, L-tyrosine can sharpen focus and maintain neurotransmitter levels to improve performance, stabilize mood, and reduce fatigue.
#5 Suntheanine® L-Theanine
Last, we get to another amino acid that’s a staple in any good keto pre-workout.
Like L-tyrosine, L-theanine can support optimal performance by reducing stress-associated functional impairments. It helps to enhance the effects of caffeine to support calmer, cleaner stimulation fine-tuned for peak performance.
How? By balancing out levels of key neurotransmitters like dopamine, GABA, glutamate, and serotonin 7. L-theanine also inhibits excitatory brain chemicals that cause overstimulation and impair performance and recovery.
Rather than hyping you up and setting yourself up for a crash, L-theanine promotes a calm, motivated state of mind—the ideal state for training.
What To Watch Out For In Your Keto Pre-Workout
When it comes to finding a clean keto pre-workout, it’s probably more challenging than you think. In general, there are a few things you’ll want to be mindful of when looking for a low-carb pre-workout, especially if you’re on a keto diet:
This is one of the biggest issues with most fitness supplements. Because the FDA doesn’t regulate the nutritional supplements industry, manufacturers don’t have to state the exact amount of ingredients on the label.
Instead, they hide it under a “proprietary blend.” What they are required to do is list ingredients from the highest amount to the least, but they’re not required to disclose anything more. As a result, you could think you’re getting x amount of one ingredient and not be getting anywhere near that.
Whether it’s sugar, color, or flavor, avoid anything artificial in your pre-workout. Natural sugars are a no-no on keto because they trigger the release of insulin from the pancreas, which long-term can cause major damage to insulin sensitivity and boot you out of ketosis 8.
A good pre-workout should contain research-backed ingredients without all the fluff. If your pre has a list of ingredients 10 lines long, chances are it’s not super effective... and it's definitely not keto or low-carb friendly.
On the flip side, a pre-workout with two ingredients likely isn’t going to be all that effective either. Look for one that contains sound ingredients with proven efficacy.
- Jagim AR, Harty PS, Camic CL. Common Ingredient Profiles of Multi-Ingredient Pre-Workout Supplements. Nutrients. 2019;11(2):254.
- Clifford T, Howatson G, West DJ, Stevenson EJ. The potential benefits of red beetroot supplementation in health and disease. Nutrients. 2015;7(4):2801-2822.
- Kroll JL, Werchan CA, Rosenfield D, Ritz T. Acute ingestion of beetroot juice increases exhaled nitric oxide in healthy individuals. PLoS One. 2018;13(1):e0191030.
- Aoi W, Ogaya Y, Takami M, et al. Glutathione supplementation suppresses muscle fatigue induced by prolonged exercise via improved aerobic metabolism. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015;12:7.
- Lara B, Ruiz-Moreno C, Salinero JJ, Del Coso J. Time course of tolerance to the performance benefits of caffeine. PLoS One. 2019;14(1):e0210275.
- Young SN. L-tyrosine to alleviate the effects of stress? J Psychiatry Neurosci. 2007;32(3):224.
- Haskell F, Kennedy DO, Milne AL, Wesnes KA, Scholey AB. The effects of l-theanine, caffeine and their combination on cognition and mood. Biol Psychol. 2008;77(2):113-122.
- Mathur K, Agrawal RK, Nagpure S, Deshpande D. Effect of artificial sweeteners on insulin resistance among type-2 diabetes mellitus patients. J Family Med Prim Care. 2020;9(1):69-71.