What is the difference between stim and non stim pre workout? It turns out, it’s as simple as being caffeine free or not. There are other ingredients that a manufacturer might claim to be a stimulant, but the reality is that caffeine is the main proven stimulant.
Lucky for us, we live in a day and age where even non stim pre workouts provide us with a ton of energy through the use of vitamins and proprietary blends.
In this article, we are going to explore the difference between stim and non stim pre workout. We will cover the caffeine counts of popular pre workout brands. We will discover the benefits of pre workouts, and how they work.
Personally, I cannot drink any caffeine. I am insanely sensitive to caffeine, and if I take caffeine in above average doses, I end up shaking and getting paranoid. Weird, I know, but that’s how it goes for me unfortunately.
Non stim pre workouts are fairly new to the scene, only being seen within the past 10 years.
Being invented in 1982, pre workouts are fairly new to the bodybuilding scene in general. There are still a lot of things that we can learn about them. People have been using pre workouts to build muscle for almost 40 years!
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How pre workouts work to build muscle
Pre workouts in general have a wide variety of ingredients. But the most common ingredients are caffeine and creatine.
I personally don’t support pre workouts that have creatine in them, because I feel like it is cheating. And after you stop taking creatine, usually your “rapid results” will disappear.
The reality of it all is that pre workout builds muscle by increasing YOUR energy in the gym. This will in turn help you lift heavier weights or be more explosive in your workouts.
This should be obvious, but taking a pre workout by itself without working out is completely useless. You won’t build any muscles, and you will end up being frustrated.
Learn about building good exercise habits before you even think about taking a pre workout. You need to show up to the gym consistently if you are going to sculpt the body that you want.
Some pre workout companies are questionable
The fitness industry in general is full of companies that make bold claims and tout quick fixes for your goals.
If you look at the nutrition label of any pre workout, your eyes might bulge with the amount of ingredients you have never heard of.
Pre workout companies will also try to disguise the amount of caffeine content through their use of “proprietary blends.” Don’t fall for this scam.
You will see this on the nutrition label of a lot of major brands. Famous pre workout brand N.O. Xplode doesn’t list their caffeine content. It is disguised under their proprietary blends section.
After some digging, I found out that each serving has 275mg of caffeine! For perspective, a cup of coffee has 95mg of caffeine. So you are essentially drinking 3 cups of coffee before you go to the gym.
I personally think this is dishonest. Imagine going to the gym after drinking 3 cups of coffee. You are going to be super pumped! You are going to be crushing your workouts. Would you think it’s the pre workout doing this? No, it’s the 275mg of caffeine in the pre workout.
Best pre workouts for beginners
Now that we have the details out of the way, I am going to give you 3 vetted pre workouts, one of which I take myself. Here are the 3 categories:
Pre workout with creatine and caffeine (Stim)
A Pre workout with just caffeine (Stim)
Pre workout with no caffeine or creatine (Non Stim)
This will help us make a decision on what is best for us. For me, I just want to get a pump on, and not be so jacked up at the gym that I hurt myself. I know the importance of consistency, and a lot of the fitness industry is going to try and sell quick fixes.
Believe in yourself, believe in good habits, and trust the process. Once you get comfortable with the journey, you will set yourself up for good results.
Pre workout with creatine and caffeine
This is our cheapest pre workout, and it has creatine and caffeine. If you look at the nutrition label, you will see that they are open and honest about what is inside.
Even though they have their own blends, they list out everything that is inside those blends, including the mg of caffeine. At 175mg of caffeine, this will still get you going, but won’t make you feel like you are over stimulated.
If you like the concept of getting the creatine pump, this preworkout is the one for you.
Pre workout with just caffeine
Are you noticing a trend here? Minimal ingredients. Stuff we have heard of before. You get the point.
I will admit, 350mg of caffeine is a shocking amount of caffeine! That is almost 4 cups of coffee. But if you can handle the caffeine content, this is a pre workout that might work for you.
If this doesn’t work for you, just search on Amazon, and compare nutrition labels. It’s a fairly straightforward process. If the proprietary blends on the nutrition labels start to make you dizzy, you know it’s time to move on.
Pre workouts with no caffeine or creatine (the one I use)
There are only 6 ingredients in this non stim pre workout. Why do I drink it though if it doesn’t get me jacked up for the gym? It has natural ingredients that have been proven to support muscle growth and repair.
Another benefit is it’s natural energy boosting benefits that can’t be downplayed. Feeling more focused at the gym is something that I cherish every time I use it.
I will even alternate days using it and not using it so I don’t become too dependent on it. I will admit though, that my workout days with it are way better than the ones without it.
Main Point: What is the difference between stim and non stim pre workout
We now know that the difference is that mainly, stim pre workouts have caffeine. There will be plenty of people and manufacturers telling you that they discovered some impressive natural stimulant substitute. Unfortunately, it is probably just smoke and mirrors.
Choose the pre workout that is best for you and your goals.
Do you want to look big quicker? Get the creatine based one. Want to be insanely energized at the gym? Get yourself the pre workout that just has caffeine. Want to be focused and steady at the gym? The non stim pre workout might be the best option for you.
Remember to always look at the nutrition label. Don’t go for manufacturers that want to hide their caffeine content and whatever else they want to throw in there.
If you like this type of article, you should learn how to build your own home gym.