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How to Make Your Own Pre Workout Supplement

How to safely and cheaply formulate your own pre workout supplement

Pre workout supplements can get expensive quickly. It's also hard to know exactly what's in them.

More and more customers prefer the cost-effective and dosage control benefits of formulating their own homemade pre workout with the best pre workout ingredients – which are proven in the pages of science to help give you more energy in the gym!

In this article, we’ll outline how to make your own pre workout, and why this is more cost-effective.

Selecting Pre Workout Ingredients

Homemade pre workout is a great idea for those looking for maximum results and to save money.

One of our key missions at Bulk Nutrients is to show you that your supplements don't have to cost you so much! Buying pre workout ingredients raw and mixing them yourself is a great way to save, and also allows you to mix and match ingredients to suit your needs.

Moreover, the pre workout world is one many are still wary of due to harmful ingredients like DMAA (1,3 dimethylamylamine) that have since been banned in Australia after the deaths of two US army soldiers. The soldiers died from heart attacks in 2011 from an American pre workout supplement.

So, here are some scientifically approved supplements to safely and cost-effectively make your own pre workout:

  • Caffeine (via black coffee)
  • Beta-alanine
  • Creatine
  • Citrulline-Malate
  • Supermarket cordial (for flavour purposes only)

Let's take a look at each ingredient starting with caffeine. You can try consuming caffeine via a cup of black coffee.

Caffeine is an effective pre workout supplement

Caffeine helps you before a workout because it delays physical and mental exhaustion by using more fat for fuel, which can give us more energy during our workouts. It has also been found to increase upper body muscle strength and power.

You'll need to drink 2 to 9 mg of caffeine per kilogram of body weight 45 minutes before exercise.

Bulk Nutrients customer “Henry” weighs 80 kilograms, so Henry would need 240 mg (2 x 80 kilograms). Start at the lower end of the recommendations first.

So you've got your black coffee on the side ahead of your workout. Now it's time to get your other pre workout drink together!

Caffeine fights mental and physical exhaustion and helps us train harder, but it’s possible to build up a tolerance to caffeine. This is the main reason caffeine users will edge up to the higher mg per kilogram of bodyweight and shouldn’t be sustained for extremely long periods, but tapered back periodically.

Man mentally preparing himself before performing a deadlift.
Caffeine fights mental and physical exhaustion and helps us train harder.

Beta-alanine provides pre workout performance and muscle growth

Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid that effectively delays your time to muscle fatigue during a workout set.

Train harder for longer with Bulk Nutrients' Beta-Alanine, a staple ingredient of many pre workouts. Available in 250g pouches for $19.00.
Bulk Nutrients Beta-Alanine. Just $20 for 125 servings.

Let's assume Bulk Nutrients customer Hayley is doing hip thrusts. After 15 reps, Hayley can't perform any more reps because her levels of muscle carnosine have run out, and the PH level in her muscles have also dropped.

But if Hayley took the required dose of beta-alanine before training she would then increase her muscle carnosine levels, which act as a buffer to reduce the acidity in her glutes. This would mean Hayley could potentially squeeze a few extra reps out by taking beta-alanine.

With that being said, scientists have also found beta-alanine to increase muscle mass.

In terms of dosages, you'll need 3.2g - 6.4 g of beta-alanine daily to reap the benefits of its enhancing effects. Again, start at the lower end of the recommended dosages.

Is creatine a good pre workout supplement for muscle growth?

Creatine Monohydrate is one of the most popular pre workout supplements simply because it's one of the most researched and proven.

Bulk Ambassadors Helena Sly holding a 1kg pouch of Bulk Nutrient's Creatine Monohydrate.  With proven results, Creatine Monohydrate offers great value and can help users gain strength and increase muscle volume. Available in 250g and 1kg pouches.
Bulk Nutrients Creatine Monohydrate boasts 83 serves for just $17!

Creatine allows your muscles to produce more adenosine triphosphate (ATP) – an organic compound, a high-powered energy-carrying molecule that fuels your workouts.

So, take creatine, and you should have more energy to lift more, it's that simple.

Moreover, studies show that those who take creatine can double the amount of muscle they gain compared to those who don’t!

With conflicting evidence on how much creatine to take, here's the lowdown: Bulk Nutrients customer "Mason" wants results as fast as possible. So, "Mason" will need to load up on creatine for 7 days, taking 25 grams per day. Then, after 7 days, "Mason" will need to take just 5 grams of creatine per day.

While studies have repeatedly proven creatine's effects with a loading dose followed by a maintenance dose… it’s also perfectly fine to go with the more economical approach of simply starting with a 3-5 gram daily dose with no loading as we’ve seen fantastic results with this method.

Our Creatine Monohydrate provides 3 grams per serve, ensuring you’ve got enough for whatever stage you’re at with creatine monohydrate.

Citrulline-malate as a pre workout ingredient?

Another supplement getting a lot of attention lately has been Citrulline Malate. It’s a combination of dietary amino acid L-Citrulline and malate; an organic salt of malic acid.

But put them together and you've got something special: research shows Citrulline Malate can relieve post-workout muscle soreness and improve leg press performance in both men and women, who also reported a lesser than usual rate of perceived effort!

100% Pharmaceutical Grade, Bulk Nutrients' Citrulline Malate Powder is lactose free and does not contain any gluten in the raw ingredients. Available in 250g and 1kg pouches.
Bulk Nutrients Citrulline Malate: A super cost-effective and powerful pre workout ingredient.

Citrulline Malate works by increasing the production of nitric oxide, which allows for more blood flow into our muscles which can increase their power and output.

You'll require 6-8 g of Citrulline Malate for optimal results.

And our Citrulline Malate contains 6 grams per serve and costs just $22 for 41 serves.

Flavouring Pre Workouts

Let's imagine you've put all of these pre workout ingredients into a cup; now it's time to flavour them!

Simply buy any flavour of cordial you like from the supermarket and mix up a cup as you normally would with your Bulk Nutrients pre workout ingredients inside.

This is far more cost-effective than purchasing many alternatives on the market, not to mention the amount of extra serves you get when investing in each ingredient this way.

This is how to make pre workout – a much better way!

Potential side effects to pre workout ingredients

Caffeine can cause…

  • Nervousness
  • Insomnia
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Upset stomach
  • Dehydration
  • Headache
  • Addiction

Beta-Alanine has been known to cause…

  • Tingling (parasthesia) of the skin
  • Flushing

Creatine Monohydrate can cause…

  • Nausea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle cramping
  • Weight gain

Citrulline Malate has been known to cause…

  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea

It's important to note that these are potential side effects and that not everyone who takes these supplements will experience them.

Additionally, these supplements can interact with other medications, so it is important to consult a healthcare professional before using them.

And when selecting these ingredients, consider the following tips:

Tips for Pre Workout Ingredients


  • If you are sensitive to caffeine, avoid or limit your intake.
  • If you are using caffeine for exercise performance, consume it 30 minutes to an hour before exercising.
  • Be aware of the amount of caffeine in other products such as tea, coffee, and energy drinks, as they can add up quickly.


  • If you experience skin tingling, start with a lower dose and gradually increase it over time.
  • Consider taking beta-alanine with food to reduce the likelihood of skin tingling.

Creatine Monohydrate

  • If you have kidney or liver problems, consult a doctor before using creatine.
  • If you experience digestive discomfort, consider taking creatine with a meal or using a different form, such as creatine hydrochloride, which is easier on the stomach.

Citrulline Malate

  • If you have a sensitivity to citrulline or malic acid, consider avoiding this supplement.
  • If you have high blood pressure, consult a doctor before using citrulline malate.

Remember to always read the label, follow recommended doses, and consult your doctor before starting any new supplement regimen.

Measuring pre workout ingredient doses

Accurately measuring doses of supplements is critical in order to ensure that you are taking the appropriate amount for your needs and to prevent any potential negative side effects.

Caffeine, beta-alanine, creatine, and citrulline malate can be found in either powder or capsule form and come with specific dosage instructions on the label.

For powder supplements, measuring spoons or a scale can be used to measure out the recommended dose. Be sure to read the label closely!

Capsule supplements are pre-measured and can be taken as directed.

Then, as mentioned, place your raw beta-alanine, citrulline malate, and creatine, into a shaker and drink it plain, or flavour it with something like cordial.

We suggest having your caffeine from black coffee separately.

Adjusting Dosages Based on Personal Tolerance and Goals

Everyone's tolerance and goals are unique, so it is important to adjust the dosages of your pre workout supplement accordingly.

Start with half to a full dose as recommended on the label and monitor how your body reacts.

If you experience any negative side effects, reduce the dose.

Storing and using your pre workout

Proper storage of supplements is important to maintain their potency and effectiveness.

Caffeine, beta-alanine, creatine, and citrulline malate should be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and moisture. It is recommended to store them in their original packaging to protect them from air and light exposure.

For powder supplements, it is recommended to keep the lid tightly closed when not in use to prevent contamination and evaporation of the active ingredients.

Taking pre workout supplements at the right time

As the same suggests…taking pre workout supplements before training is ideal!

We recommended taking pre workouts 30 to 60 minutes before exercise to allow enough time for the active ingredients to be absorbed by the body.

It is also important to drink plenty of water before and during exercise to prevent dehydration.

Best bang for your buck pre made pre workout

The alternative to formulating your pre workout is to buy our Bulk Nutrients Pre Workout 101 blend, which contains all of these aforementioned ingredients and comes in many different flavours.

But for those of you who require slightly higher doses of particular ingredients, buying it individually may be more suitable.

Bulk Ambassadors Lindsay Perry and Sam Brereton holding a 396g pouch of Bulk Nutrient's Pre Workout 101. Certified to crush workouts, Pre Workout 101 offers sustained energy, more focus and no crash. Available in 396g pouches and in a range of great flavours.
Bulk Nutrients Pre Workout 101 blend at just $39 contains only safe and proven pre training ingredients.

Wrapping up Homemade Pre Workouts

The bottom line is creating your own homemade pre workout supplement can be a cost-effective and safe alternative to store-bought supplements.

By using scientifically approved raw ingredients (like caffeine, beta-alanine, creatine, and citrulline-malate) you not only save money, but can see improvements in energy, and potentially, muscle growth.

Remember to always read the labels, start with lower dosages, and adjust as needed to see the best results for your workout.

Nick Telesca - Technical Support Officer at Bulk Nutrients

Nick Telesca

Nick is Bulk's Customer Service team's Technical Support Officer.

Which is our way of saying he's the guy whose job it is to answer your obscenely technical supplement questions.

More about Nick Telesca


  1. Glenn JM, Gray M, Wethington LN, Stone MS, Stewart RW Jr, Moyen NE. Acute citrulline malate supplementation improves upper- and lower-body submaximal weightlifting exercise performance in resistance-trained females. Eur J Nutr. 2017 Mar;56(2):775-784. doi: 10.1007/s00394-015-1124-6. Epub 2015 Dec 11. PMID: 26658899.
  2. Grgic J, Trexler ET, Lazinica B, Pedisic Z. Effects of caffeine intake on muscle strength and power: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2018;15:11. Published 2018 Mar 5. doi:10.1186/s12970-018-0216-0
  3. ‌Gonzalez, A.M. and Trexler, E.T. (2020). Effects of Citrulline Supplementation on Exercise Performance in Humans. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, p.1.
  4. Villareal MO, Matsukawa T, Isoda H. L-Citrulline Supplementation-Increased Skeletal Muscle PGC-1α Expression is Associated With Exercise Performance and Increased Skeletal Muscle Weight [published online ahead of print, 2018 May 24]. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2018;62(14):e1701043. doi:10.1002/mnfr.201701043
  5. Cooper, R., Naclerio, F., Allgrove, J. and Jimenez, A., 2012. Creatine supplementation with specific view to exercise/sports performance: an update. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 9(1).
  6. Trexler ET, Smith-Ryan AE, Stout JR, et al. International society of sports nutrition position stand: Beta-Alanine. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015;12:30. Published 2015 Jul 15. doi:10.1186/s12970-015-0090-y
  7. Hickner, R.C., Dyck, D.J., Sklar, J., Hatley, H. and Byrd, P. (2010). Effect of 28 days of creatine ingestion on muscle metabolism and performance of a simulated cycling road race. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 7(1).
  8. Hoffman, J.R., Varanoske, A. and Stout, J.R. (2018). Effects of β-Alanine Supplementation on Carnosine Elevation and Physiological Performance. Advances in Food and Nutrition Research, pp.183–206.
  9. Culbertson JY, Kreider RB, Greenwood M, Cooke M. Effects of beta-alanine on muscle carnosine and exercise performance: a review of the current literature. Nutrients. 2010;2(1):75-98. doi:10.3390/nu2010075
  10. Saunders, B., Elliott-Sale, K., Artioli, G.G., Swinton, P.A., Dolan, E., Roschel, H., Sale, C. and Gualano, B. (2016). β-alanine supplementation to improve exercise capacity and performance: a systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 51(8), pp.658–669.
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  13. Grgic J, Trexler ET, Lazinica B, Pedisic Z. Effects of caffeine intake on muscle strength and power: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2018;15:11. Published 2018 Mar 5. doi:10.1186/s12970-018-0216-0
  14. Te, G. (2001). Caffeine and exercise: metabolism, endurance and performance. [online] Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.). Available at:

Featured Products

Bulk Nutrients' Beta Alanine a staple ingredient of many pre workouts train harder for longer
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$20.00 16c per serve Multibuy Discount
Bulk Nutrients' Creatine Monohydrate Powder offers great value and can help users gain strength and increase muscle volume
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$16.50 - $42.00 20c per serve Multibuy Discount
Bulk Nutrients' Citrulline Malate Powder is lactose free and does not contain any gluten in the raw ingredients
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$22.00 53c per serve Multibuy Discount
Bulk Nutrients' Pre Workout 101 certified to crush workouts offers sustained energy more focus and no crash
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$39.00 $1.30 per serve Multibuy Discount
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