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How to safely and cheaply formulate your own pre workout supplement

Posted by Bulk Nutrients in Muscle Building

Estimated reading time: 6mins

A muscular man resting between sets on a gym bench while wiping the sweat off his face with his towel.

How to make your own pre-workout to save money

Living a healthy lifestyle can sometimes get expensive. There's gym memberships, quality sources of protein, and of course, supplements. But one of our key missions here is to show you that your supplements don't HAVE to cost you so much! In the context of a pre-workout, we have two strong solutions for you. 

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 create your OWN pre-workout:

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

Best pre-workout ingredients for optimal performance

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

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 (3 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!

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

Beta-alanine for 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 $19 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 is one of the most popular pre-workout supplements simply because it's one of the most researched and proven.

Bulk Ambassadors Helena Sly and James Newcombe 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 $9!

creatine allows your muscles to produce more adenosine triphosphate (ATP) --

An organic compound, creatine allows your muscles to produce more adenosine triphosphate (ATP) - 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.

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

Citrulline-malate for muscle growth: Is it a good pre-workout supplement?

Another supplement getting a lot of attention lately has been Citrulline Malate. Citrulline Malate is 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 $20 for 41 serves.

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.

Cheapest pre-workout supplements for muscle growth and performance

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

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.

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

The bottom line is that pre-workout supplements don't have to be super expensive if you know what you're doing! Mixing your own can save you a lot of money, and potentially be safer than some other varieties on the market.


  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.
  11. Casey, A. and Greenhaff, P., 2000. Does dietary creatine supplementation play a role in skeletal muscle metabolism and performance?. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 72(2), pp.607S-617S.
  12. Hall, M. and Trojian, T.H. (2013). Creatine Supplementation. Current Sports Medicine Reports, [online] 12(4), pp.240–244. Available at:
  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:

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Pre Workout 101

Pre Workout 101

Certified to crush workouts, Pre Workout 101 offers sustained energy, more focus and no crash. Available in a range of great flavours.
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Bulk Nutrients' 100% Pure Creatine Monohydrate

Creatine Monohydrate

With proven results, Creatine Monohydrate offers great value and can help users gain strength and increase muscle volume.
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