It’s that time of year again. Summer is approaching quickly and you want to look your best. That means you’re getting as cut as you can.
You’re doing everything right but maybe you need an extra edge to help those pounds drop off a little faster.
This is where a thermogenic pre-workout will be very helpful. You’ll still get all the benefits of a regular pre-workout, but you’ll get an extra fat loss kick.
Let’s find out what the best thermogenic pre-workouts are!
In a Hurry? Here is our top pick:
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This is everything a thermogenic pre-workout should be. Alpha Lion Superhuman Burn features a fully disclosed label. There are two servings sizes, 1-scoop or 2-scoops.
The smaller serving size is ideal for beginners or those new to a pre-workout supplement. The larger, full-strength dose works well for experienced users.
There’s an 8.7g Pump & Performance Complex consisting of 4g pure citrulline, 1g taurine, and 3.6g beta-alanine. That’s a higher than usual beta-alanine dose for improved endurance in the gym.
From here, we have 300mg of caffeine with 225mg of theanine. Caffeine is a potent thermogenic and works well with the Fat Burn Matrix.
This Fat Burn Matrix consists of 4 ingredients designed to stimulate thermogenesis and help you burn fat. First, there’s Mitoburn™, which stimulates fat oxidation.
Next, there’s Cocoabuterol®, another thermogenic. Following that, there’s Advantra Z®, which is actually synephrine. This also acts as a thermogenic, burning more calories.
Finally, there’s Caloriburn™, which also increases calories burned.
Next up is the Focus Matrix. This consists of choline, acetyl-l-carnitine, and tyrosine.
Acetyl-L-Carnitine has a role in fat loss. It transports stored fat to the mitochondria, where the body uses it for energy.
Overall, Superhuman Burn has everything you need in a great pre-workout and thermogenic fat burner combination.
- Fully Disclosed Label
- Effectively Dosed
- Features A 4-Ingredient Thermogenic Matrix
- Some Users May Feel The Pre-Workout Part Of This Formula Could Be Stronger
- Contains Artificial Sweeteners And Flavors
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Vapor X5 Ripped has a good-looking, fully disclosed formula. It clearly lists the dosing for 1 and 2 scoops. You’ll need 2 scoops if you want clinical dosing.
It’s a relatively simple formula with a 3 ingredient fat-burning complex that includes C. canephora robusta. That’s an ingredient that may support weight loss.
Additionally, Vapor X5 Ripped contains yohimbine and a potent 300mg of caffeine per 2 scoops. Both of these ingredients stimulate thermogenesis to further support weight loss.
From there, VaporX5 has a Nitric Oxide Blend consisting of 3g pure citrulline and 400mg hawthorn extract. Next up is the Amino Booster Matrix with low-dose beta-alanine plus 1g taurine.
Finally, Vapor X5 rounds out with a Neurosensory Blend for mental focus. This contains 200mg choline and 100mg theanine.
This is a good value-minded pre-workout supplement for losing weight, but not a great one. Some of the Blends are modestly dosed, even at full strength.
Still, it’s a good thermogenic due to the combination of caffeine and yohimbine when using 2 scoops.
- Speeds Metabolism – Supports Weight Loss
- Increased Energy
- Good Thermogenic Due To Caffeine & Yohimbine
- Two Scoops Required For Reasonable Dosing
PreSeries Lean Pre-Workout is a solid formula with exceptional label transparency. But it’s a little underdosed in several key ingredients. Take BCAAs for example. There are just 2.5g of BCAAs.
That’s a big deal because BCAAs are critical for gains in lean muscle mass, especially the amino acid leucine. Even if weight loss is the main goal, gains in lean muscle mass are important.
That’s because muscle is metabolically active. That means it burns calories.
Total caffeine is a low 210mg. There are two types of caffeine, and they are thermogenic ingredients necessary to burn fat.
This is a changed formula. Some of the fat-burning ingredients are now gone. Besides the thermogenic benefits of caffeine, the only ingredient in this pre-workout that aids fat burning is acetyl l-carnitine hci. As we’ve seen, carnitine transports fat to the mitochondria where it uses fat for fuel.
A question mark is the high 360mg dose of theanine. This ingredient works well with caffeine and helps smooth out the harsh effects of caffeine. However, it’s usually dosed equal to or lower than the caffeine content.
Yet, caffeine is dosed low in this product, so there shouldn’t be a lot of harsh effects anyway. Not to mention, theanine promotes a relaxed state in the body. Yes, it does not cause drowsiness, but how relaxed do you want to be during a workout?
Another low-dose ingredient is beta-alanine. There’s only 2g per serving. Some companies do this to offset the harmless tingling effects this ingredient causes. Still, a lower dose means reduced effectiveness.
While beta-alanine does cause tingles and itching, it’s short-term. Often, a glass of water can help relieve these effects. It’s better to get the full dose rather than underdose it like it is here.
PreSeries Lean Pre-Workout is a good formula. Yet it’s not the runaway best overall typically expected from this brand.
Still, it is a completely natural, ultra-clean formula. That makes Transparent Labs PreSeries Lean good enough to be the best natural thermogenic pre-workout.
- Support Muscle With BCAAs
- Good Thermogenic Ingredients
- No Artificial Sweeteners Or Flavors
- Some Ingredients Are Underdosed
- Not Enough Caffeine For Some Users
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Cellucor has done very well with its C4 line of pre-workouts. C4 Ripped Pre-Workout is yet another spin-off of the original C4.
In this case, Cellucor C4 Ripped Pre-Workout supports fat loss thanks to extra ingredients such as carnitine tartrate, green coffee bean extract, capsimax cayenne, and coleus forskohlii root. This combination promotes thermogenesis for faster fat burning.
The downside to C4 Ripped is that most of this formula is in two prop blends. The other downside is that the entire formula is underdosed. If you’re new to pre-workouts or haven’t used one in a long time, the standard dosing in C4 Ripped may be OK.
However, you’ll need to switch to more effective dosing after a few workouts. Of course, you can double-scoop it, but should you really have to? Why not just dose it right in the first place?
Still, with just 150mg of caffeine per serving, Cellucor C4 Ripped Pre-Workout is the best thermogenic pre-workout for users that are sensitive to high amounts of caffeine.
- Good Beginner Pre-Workout
- Low Caffeine For Sensitive Users
- Wide Availability
- Two Prop Blends
- Underdosed Across The Board
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The good news is that Nitrosurge Shred features a fully disclosed label. However, this is another underdosed formula. It’s simple enough with only 6 ingredients plus black pepper extract for better absorption. Yet, every ingredient is dosed too low.
As we’ve said before, this may be good for beginners, those coming back to a pre-workout after a lay-off, or caffeine-sensitive users.
For anyone else, you’ll want to double scoop this product if you want real dosages.
One good thing about this product is that it contains synephrine. Combined with caffeine, the two create a strong thermogenic effect.
Overall, Jacked Factory Nitrosurge Shred is a decent thermogenic with carnitine, synephrine, and caffeine as the primary fat loss ingredients. The fully disclosed label makes it the best thermogenic pre-workout for beginners.
- Fully Disclosed Label
- Good For Beginners
- Low Caffeine For Sensitive Users
- Underdosed Across The Board
- Two Scoops Required For Decent Dosages
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Evlution ENGN Shred is an extremely popular thermogenic pre-workout. It has a fat loss complex that consists of cla, carnitine, coleus forskohlii, capsimax, and yohimbine.
Now the downside. There are no pump ingredients. That may not matter to some users. If that’s important to you, you’ll need to buy a separate pump product.
While it’s good to see some fully disclosed ingredients, Evlution Nutrition ENGN Shred has 2 prop blends. One of the two is the caffeine complex. There is 260mg of total natural caffeine from green coffee bean extract and green tea extract.
The other prop blend is woefully underdosed. That’s the 2g focus blend. For example, betaine anhydrous is the first ingredient and should be dosed at 2500mg. Choline can be anywhere from 600 to 1000mg. That’s 3.5g when correctly dosed right there, and that’s only 2 of the 6 ingredients in this blend.
The entire fat loss complex could also be dosed higher, yet the amount of caffeine won’t allow you to double scoop it.
Still, it’s perfectly dosed for female users. For that reason, Evlution Nutrition ENGN Shred is the best thermogenic pre-workout for women.
- Good Fat Loss Complex
- Natural Caffeine
- Improves Focus
- 2 Prop Blends
- May Be Too Much Caffeine For Some Users
Unlike some of the thermogenic pre-workouts in this guide, underdosing is not a problem for Apollon Nutrition Assassin Black Tulip. This is the most ingredient-packed, fully disclosed and extremely well-dosed pre-workout supplement in this guide.
There’s 1/2-scoop and 1-scoop dosing. The smaller 1/2 scoop serving might be good for beginners, or those testing their tolerance. The full scoop is for advanced users.
For fat burning, Black Tulip starts with 350mg of caffeine and 150mg of dicaffeine malate. That makes total caffeine 500mg! Let’s note that the dicaffeine malate is absorbed slowly. Add to that 120mg of synephrine, and you will have quite a thermogenic effect.
At this point, it’s apparent that you will need to be a stim-freak if you want to use this pre-workout supplement. And there are even more focus and stim ingredients, including eria jarensis, theobromine, and hordenine.
Other ingredients include grains of paradise, which acts as a thermogenic. Plus, there’s GBB, or “Super Carnitine”. This compound helps the body make more carnitine. There’s also regular acetyl-l-carnitine.
From here, there are two forms of yohimbine and both act as thermogenics.
No doubt this is the strongest of any of the thermogenic pre-workouts in this guide. That’s especially true for the stims. That’s why it’s our pick for the best high stim lovers thermogenic pre.
- Fully Disclosed
- For Stim-Lovers
- Features A Potent Thermogenic Complex
- At Full Strength, It’s Too Strong For All But Extreme Stim Junkies
- At Half Strength, More People Can Use It, But Many Ingredients Become Underdosed
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Apesh*t is a hardcore line from Primeval Labs. In this case, we have Apesh*t Cutz, a fat-burning pre-workout. Like many other thermogenic pre-workouts for fat burning, this one comes in 1 or 2 scoop servings.
This fat burner pre-workout only has 7 total ingredients. At the 1-scoop size, it’s underdosed across the board. For example, there’s only 150mg of caffeine, coming from green tea.
At the 2-scoop size, it’s well-dosed. There’s caffeine, plus yohimbine which both act as thermogenics.
Also, there’s a unique ingredient, dandelion, a diuretic. Plus, there’s “Super Carnitine” GBB to support fat oxidation. Finally, Cutz contains garcinia to control hunger.
The only workout performance enhancer is beta-alanine, and there is nothing for pumps. It’s clear that Primeval Labs Apesh*t Cutz is a pre-workout in the loosest sense of the word. In fact, it’s more of a powdered fat burner.
This is a thermogenic fat-burning pre-workout that should be used when you’re trying to get in your best shape. Maybe you’re getting ready for a contest or a photoshoot. Or you just want to look great on your vacation.
Some users may want to stack this with a low or no-stim formula. However you use it, if you want to get ripped and look your best, this is the place to start.
- Flexible Dosing
- Contains Several Fat Burning Ingredients
- Available In 1 or 2-Scoop Servings
- Some Users Feel It Clumps Up Too Much
Firts, let’s define thermogenesis. It is the use of calories to produce body heat. This is a metabolic process that helps maintain core body temperature. Heat is released from fat cells and helps raise or maintain overall temperature. (1)
It should be understood that the body uses calories as a source of energy. In fact, the term energy expenditure refers to the amount of energy the body uses at any given time. This can be anything from basic functions like breathing to something like jogging.
Energy expenditure is measured in calories. One of the keys to weight loss is knowing how many calories you use in a day. Fat gain occurs when you take in more calories than you use. Weight loss occurs when you take in fewer calories than you use.
Of course, there is more to it than that. Your activity levels play a major role in your body’s use of calories. Tools like energy expenditure measurements are a good step in knowing daily calorie requirements for weight loss.
Thermogenic pre-workouts should include everything you expect from typical pre-workouts. They also include thermogenic and other fat-loss ingredients. (2) They are a subcategory of pre-workout meant to help the user lose fat and achieve a lean physique.
A good pre-workout needs to contain ingredients to support energy, mental focus, pumps, endurance, and performance. For example, you should expect beta-alanine and pump enhancers like citrulline.
Thermogenic pre-workouts should contain all of these and include a thermogenic/fat burning ingredient or complex.
You should understand the difference between a thermogenic fat burner and a thermogenic pre-workout. A typical fat burner is a pure fat-burning formula. They are not intended to do anything else.
Are all fat burners thermogenic? As long as they contain caffeine and other stims to stimulate thermogenesis. Even if an ingredient like cayenne pepper is the only thermogenic, that’s fine.
In fact, you can find thermogenic supplements that are used as nighttime fat burners. There are several nighttime thermogenic supplements available. Any one of them can still be a thermogenic fat burner as long as they contain some form of non-stim thermogenic, like cayenne.
Here are the benefits of good thermogenic pre-workouts.
Thermogenic pre-workouts will increase fat burning by raising body temperature. This will boost metabolism. This means the body will burn more calories than usual so you reduce fat mass.
Besides increasing metabolic rate and burning calories, some thermogenic pre-workouts help control hunger, and cravings. A good example of this is Primeval Labs Apesh*t Cutz.
Every fat-burning pre-workout in this guide contains caffeine. In some cases, there are other stims. Some fat-burning pre-workouts, such as Apollon Nutrition Assassin Black Tulip, are extreme-stim formulas. Use with caution.
These ingredients support motivation and memory. They also promote the mind-muscle connection.
Some ingredients, mainly beta-alanine, extend your endurance. More reps mean more growth.
Not all pre-workouts for fat burning have a lot of workout performance ingredients. It’s important to look for thermogenic pre-workouts that also support training performance. That’s because the better you can perform in the gym, the easier you can lose weight.
Most lifters can’t wait to get pumped. Yet not all thermogenic pre-workout supplements contain pump boosters. The best thermogenic pre-workouts cover all your training needs, including pumps. The best example of a well-rounded product with proven fat-burning ingredients is our best overall, Alpha Lion Superhuman Burn.
Here are the most important things to consider when choosing the best thermogenic pre-workouts.
Always choose thermogenic pre-workouts that feature an open-label. Admittingly, the choices are limited for this type of product. That means you may have to choose a product with at least a partial prop blend formula.
As noted, there are not many thermogenic pre-workouts to choose from. That means you have to pay attention to dosing. Choose a thermogenic pre-workout with dosing that matches your experience level.
Thermogenic pre-workouts, like other pre-workout supplements, should have a balanced formula. As noted, even though your main goal is to lose weight, make sure all training needs are covered.
No doubt this is the most popular stimulant in the world. In some form or another, countless people start their day by consuming caffeine.
Caffeine will increase energy, alertness, and focus. It will also stimulate thermogenesis, which increases metabolism and will burn calories. (3, 4)
Caffeine can have some harsh effects at higher dosages. These effects include jitters and the dreaded “crash”.
Make sure you choose a thermogenic pre-workout that has a dose you can handle. Also, some products add theanine, which helps temper the effects of caffeine.
Here’s a look at the types of caffeine usually found in a pre-workout:
- Caffeine Anhydrous – This is one of the most popular supplement forms of caffeine. It has all moisture removed. This leaves a dry, concentrated powder.
- Infinergy Dicaffeine Malate – This is a trademarked version of caffeine. It’s 75% caffeine and 25% malic acid. The caffeine absorbs slowly, reducing the chance of a crash or jitters.
- Natural Sources – This includes green tea extract, green coffee bean, and various trademarked versions. Of these, green tea extract also contains a potent antioxidant, EGCG. That means you’re not only getting energy from green tea extract, but you’re also getting additional health benefits. Green coffee bean, unlike green tea, does not contain antioxidants. It does contain chlorogenic acid. This is the active ingredient that may act as a fat burner beyond the caffeine content.
This ingredient is better known as cayenne peppers. It’s what makes peppers hot and stimulates thermogenesis. All hot peppers, from jalapeno to hot chili peppers, contain capsaicin. (5)
L-Carnitine is a popular weight loss supplement in its own right. It is synthesized from the amino acids lysine and methionine. These are two essential amino acids, which means they must be supplied by diet or supplements.
Carnitine helps transport fatty acids to the mitochondria to be used as energy by the body.
It may also help control blood sugar. (6) You will find more than one form of carnitine in thermogenic pre-workout formulas.
These forms include acetyl-l-carnitine, which has cognitive benefits, and carnitine-l-tartrate, which provides performance benefits.
This is a trademarked ingredient that is called “super carnitine”. What is it? GBB converts into carnitine in the body. As a supplement ingredient, it appears to have a thermogenic effect. It also provides the same benefits as regular carnitine. (7)
This comes from the Yohimbe tree in South Africa. It increases levels of the hormones adrenaline, noradrenaline, and dopamine. This helps the body burn fat and control appetite. Yohimbe also has thermogenic properties. (8)
This ingredient was the original, milder replacement for ephedra. It has similar effects. These include energy, focus, thermogenesis, and hunger control. (9)
This is not a thermogenic ingredient but can still be found in some pre-workouts. CLA is an omega-6 fatty acid. It supports fat loss and helps maintain muscle mass while following a lower-calorie diet. (10)
Garcinia Cambogia is a plant that contains an active ingredient called HCA. This is the compound that provides garcinia’s benefits. Mainly, it helps suppress appetite.
This primarily refers to the 4 patented ingredients in our best overall, Alpha Lion Superhuman Burn.
Here’s a look at each one.
Mitoburn™ – This is β-aminoisobutyric acid. This compound has the following benefits:
- Converts white fat to a “hybrid” type of fat
- Improves insulin sensitivity
- Supports fat oxidation
Cocoabuterol® – This is Theobroma cacao extract. This is a newer compound with the following benefits:
- Stimulates thermogenic fat burning
- Improves energy and mood
- Improves insulin sensitivity
Advantra Z® – Citrus Aurantium Fruit Extract. This is a form of synephrine. This ingredient has the following benefits:
- Stimulates thermogenesis
- Helps build lean muscle and improves performance
- Helps control cravings
Caloriburn™ – Grains of Paradise extract. This compound has the following benefits:
- Increases the body’s use of calories
- Increases body temperature by thermogenesis
Take your thermogenic pre-workout supplement 20-30 minutes before your intense workouts. Are you new to the product? Is it high stim? Assess tolerance by taking a half dose. Once you have determined tolerance, increase to the full dose.
Many people wonder if they should be cycling thermogenic pre-workouts.
The only real reason to cycle any pre-workout is to give your body a break from the stimulants. Tolerance to the stims tends to build up with any pre-workout you use.
The solution is to either cycle 2-3 favorite pre-workouts or alternate a stim-based with a non-stim-based pre-workout.
First off, let’s be clear. We’re talking fat loss here. The mainstream term always uses the term weight loss. That means losing fat. These terms will be used interchangeably.
If you’re using a thermogenic pre-workout, fat burning is at the top of your goals. That means your thermogenic supplement is a weight loss supplement. You can take it with other products that burn fat to reduce overall body fat faster.
Not all fat burners contain stims. If yours does, use it only on your off-days.
As noted, use nighttime products that burn fat for true 24/7 fat loss.
It should be understood that the primary keys to weight loss success are your diet and activity levels. Add cardio to get the best results. Good choices include brisk walking or HIIT Interval cardio.
Secondly, make healthy nutritional changes you can live with. Notice I did not say go on a “diet”. There’s a difference.
A “diet” implies some fast fad approach to weight loss. It also implies you’ll go off the diet at some point.
Healthy changes mean you can eat that way as long as you need to. Think high protein, low sugar, carb-cycling, and a moderate intake of healthy fats.
As you can see, there are some great thermogenic pre-workouts currently available. Our pick for the best overall thermogenic pre-workout is Alpha Lion Superhuman Burn. This is hands down one of the best pre-workouts you can buy. It has a fully disclosed, clinically dosed, well-balanced formula. Plus, it includes an exclusive patented 4-ingredient Fat Burn complex.
Don’t want something quite so potent? Cellucor C4 Ripped is the best thermogenic for users that prefer a low amount of caffeine. How’s 150mg sound?
If you’re a beginner and have never used a pre-workout, Jacked Factory Nitrosurge Shred is the best thermogenic pre-workout for you. With just 6 ingredients and moderate dosing, it’s a great place for a beginner to start.
Even though this is not really a large subcategory of pre-workout just yet, there’s a choice here for everyone. Happy Training!
- Belza, A., Frandsen, E., & Kondrup, J. (2007, January). Body fat loss achieved by stimulation of thermogenesis by a combination of bioactive food ingredients: a placebo-controlled, double-blind 8-week intervention in obese subjects. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16652130
- Astrup, A, et al; “Caffeine: a double-blind, placebo-controlled study of its thermogenic, metabolic, and cardiovascular effects in healthy volunteers”; Am J Clin Nutr; 51(5):759-67; 1990; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2333832
- Harpaz, E., Tamir, S., Weinstein, A., & Weinstein, Y. (2017, January 1). The effect of caffeine on energy balance. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27824614
- Tremblay, A., Arguin, H., & Panahi, S. (2016, August). Capsaicinoids: a spicy solution to the management of obesity? Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26686003
- Sheen, A. (2016, May 10). LeanGBB® replacement of L-Carnitine. Retrieved from https://www.slideshare.net/AlexSheen3/leangbb-replacement-of-lcarnitine
- Ostojic, S. M. (2006). Yohimbine: the effects on body composition and exercise performance in soccer players. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17214405
- Stohs, S. J. (2017, October). Safety, Efficacy, and Mechanistic Studies Regarding Citrus aurantium (Bitter Orange) Extract and p-Synephrine. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28752649
- Blankson, H., Stakkestad, J. A., Fagertun, H., Thom, E., Wadstein, J., & Gudmundsen, O. (2000, December). Conjugated linoleic acid reduces body fat mass in overweight and obese humans. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11110851