Health and Fitness

20 Best Keto Pre Workout Snacks and Supplements

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Pre-workout supplements are created to pump up your sweat sesh. Most formulas come as a powder to mix with water and chug 30 minutes before your workout.

Pre-workout formulas are standard for professional athletes, but they’ve also caught on in the mainstream. And if you’re currently deep in the keto life, you’ll need to find a jolt juice that isn’t packed with carbs.

Since they’re a dime a dozen on the market, it can be tough to figure out which ones are legit. It also takes time to find the one that’s best — and safest — for your goals.

Keep scrolling for more info on key ingredients, how pre-workout can fit into a keto lifestyle, and the perks of taking a pre-workout, plus a roundup of the best keto pre-workout supplements and snacks this year.

Just want the fast list? Here you go:

TBH, the answer varies wildly from product to product. You will see some common ingredients in both mainstream and keto-friendly pre-workouts.

Amino acids

  • Beta-alanine. This nonessential amino acid boosts exercise performance by supporting your muscles’ pH balance.
  • Taurine. Science says it might help reduce lactate levels and decrease muscular fatigue during strength training exercises.
  • Citrulline. The vehicle to peak vascularity.
  • Tyrosine. Say hey to adrenaline and dopamine — the “feel good” neurotransmitter!

Caffeine

Exactly what you think: Boost your energy to improve your performance.

B vitamins

From thiamine (B1) to cobalamin (B12), the B vitamins = brain and blood cell juice to help your body run on all cylinders.

Artificial sweeteners

Stevia. Saccharin. These guys make your jolt juice tasty.

Beta-hydroxybutyrate

Beta-whaaat? Keto pre-workout formulas differ from other formulas in that they often include beta-hydroxybutyrate, a ketone that the body can use for energy.

Recent research suggests that pre-workout formulas with electrolytes and beta-hydroxybutyrate boost exercise performance by up to 9.8 percent for folks in ketosis.

Other common ingredients

Most pre-workout formulas include salts to replenish electrolytes lost to sweat, natural or artificial flavors, and sometimes a blend of herbs or vitamins.

Keto supps may also contain medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil, a type of fat that is often used as a dietary supplement because of its potential as a fat-burn booster during exercise. But beware! MCT oil users say that taking too much too soon can cause a literal 💩-storm.

The FDA doesn’t evaluate the safety, effectiveness, or quality of dietary supplements or their ingredients unless/until there is a problem with a particular supplement. That includes the *amounts* of ingredients in so-called “proprietary blends.” So, you could be getting more (or less) of a vitamin, mineral, or other ingredients than you bargained for. Pretty murky stuff, huh?

So how on earth do you pick a high quality option? Here are the criteria we used to pick the best of the best keto pre-workout supplements and snacks:

  • Quality and trustworthiness. Since pre-workout supplements don’t require FDA approval, it’s important to look for other markers of quality and trustworthiness — like third-party testing or certifications. If you’re a competitive athlete, stick to supplements that are Informed-Sport or NSF Certified for Sport certified to ensure they’re free of banned ingredients. Every product on this list (including the snacks, too) also passed our thorough vetting process that checks for unsupported health claims or shady business practices — so they’re the keto cream of the crop.
  • Keto ingredients. Naturally, we made sure to only include keto-friendly products that had the right macros for low carb, high fat keto diets.
  • Workout impact. There are lots of supplements out there, but not all of them are necessarily designed to give you an edge when working out. We honed in on supplements designed for sport and light, keto-friendly snacks to keep your tummy from rumbling during your workout and provide a little extra boost of calories for energy.
  • Taste. When it comes to sports supplements, the taste may be secondary to effectiveness — but we still tried to lean toward products with great reviews for taste.

Not a pro? Ask a healthcare pro about any harmful interactions with your other supplements or prescription meds.

These supplement and powder formulas are classic pre-workouts — but in keto form! Mix ’em up with water and chug about 30 minutes before your workout.

Best keto pre-workout powder

Perfect Keto Perform: Keto Pre-Workout Drink

  • Price: $$$
  • Calories: 60
  • Fat: 3 grams
  • Protein: N/A
  • Total carbs: N/A
  • Net carbs: N/A
  • Pros: added MCT oil and ketone salts, third-party tested
  • Cons: only 15 servings per container, expensive

Need an a.m. pick-me-up? This citrusy pre-workout offers up caffeine from green tea extract. It’s also dairy-free and gluten-free — ideal for touchy tummies.

If the tame packaging worries you, leave those fears behind: This pre-workout has powerhouse ingredients like beta-hydroxybutyrate and MCTs.

The refreshing flavor comes courtesy of stevia, meaning there’s less than 1 gram of carbs per serving. #winning

Best exogenous ketones to use pre-workout

Ancient Nutrition Keto Fire Capsules

  • Price: $$
  • Calories: N/A
  • Fat: N/A
  • Protein: N/A
  • Total carbs: N/A
  • Net carbs: N/A
  • Pros: contains ketones and MCT oil, contains electrolytes
  • Cons: proprietary blend, serving is 6 capsules

Ready to get lit (in the gym)? Keto Fire is a super-convenient capsule supplement that contains BHB, MCTs, and some potentially exercise-boosting herbal ingredients to help you burn it up. Although it’s nice not to have to deal with mixing a powder (or ingesting extra cals or carbs), the serving size of this supplement is 6 capsules.

Best keto pre-workout supplement for athletes

Gnarly Sports Nutrition Gnarly Pre-Workout

  • Price: $$
  • Calories: 10
  • Fat: N/A
  • Protein: N/A
  • Total carbs: 1 gram
  • Net carbs: 1 gram
  • Pros: NSF Sport certified, third-party tested, caffeine-free version available
  • Cons: expensive

Need something dependable, effective, and sport-certified to power you through your next workout? Gnarly’s got your back. This pre-workout contains caffeine, Ginseng root, and a handful of amino acids — and it’s NSF Certified for Sport, so it’s an A+ pick for competitive athletes.

Best keto pre-workout for increased focus

Shifted Premium Formula Preworkout

  • Price: $
  • Calories: 5
  • Fat: N/A
  • Protein: N/A
  • Total carbs: 1 gram
  • Net carbs: 1 gram
  • Pros: inexpensive, contains ingredients to help boost focus
  • Cons: some ingredients may seem unnecessary

Can we just take a moment to appreciate this packaging? It’s so rare and refreshing to find a pre-workout supplement that’s free from aggressively masculine packaging, and we are here for this Pegasus. (Also, the product itself is packed with ingredients to support muscle growth and energy, and also to provide focus.)

Best plant-based keto pre-workout

Vega Sport Premium Plant-Based Protein Powder

  • Price: $$
  • Calories: 160
  • Fat: 3 grams
  • Protein: 30 grams
  • Total carbs: 6 grams
  • Net carbs: 4 grams
  • Pros: 30 grams of protein per serving, plant-based, gluten-free, third-party tested
  • Cons: some reviewers say its too sweet

Need a plant-based protein boost before your pump? We were amped when we found Vega Sport, which is plant-based *and* gluten-free.

The formula comes in vanilla, mocha, or berry flavor, so it’s perfect for mixing with your fave plant milk or blending into a keto smoothie.

Best drinkable ketone supplement

H.V.M.N. Ketone-IQ

  • Price: $$$
  • Calories: 70 (all of which come from the ketone itself, which is technically alcohol — but it won’t get you tipsy)
  • Fat: N/A
  • Protein: N/A
  • Total carbs: N/A
  • Net carbs: N/A
  • Pros: multiple servings per bottle
  • Cons: expensive

This drinkable ketone supplement contains a ketone called R-1,3-butanediol — memorable, we know. And that’s it! But it’s plenty to give you a pre-workout boost — just remember that the bottle contains TEN servings, so no chugging.

Best keto pre-workout with electrolytes

Optimum Nutrition Essential Amino Energy + Electrolytes

  • Price: $
  • Calories: 5
  • Fat: N/A
  • Protein: N/A
  • Total carbs: 1 gram
  • Net carbs: 1 gram
  • Pros: inexpensive, contains electrolytes in addition to caffeine and amino acids
  • Cons: contains artificial flavors and colors

Made for keto fitness needs? Check. No mention of keto in the marketing, which keeps the price low? CHECK, baby! This pre-workout has got everything you’d expect in a pre, plus your sodium, mag, and potassium to keep those electrolytes balanced. K? K. (That’s a potassium joke, btw.)

Best MCT oil to use pre-workout

NOW Sports MCT Oil

  • Price: $
  • Calories: 130
  • Fat: 14 grams
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Total carbs: 0 grams
  • Net carbs: 0 grams
  • Pros: 100% MCT oil, Informed-Sport certified
  • Cons: MCT oil can be hard on the GI system at first

This MCT oil is extremely inexpensive, and may also provide a little extra boost to each workout in the fat-burning department. If you’re new to MCT oil, start with just a teaspoon per day and then work up slowly to a full tablespoon to help prevent any unpleasant GI effects.

Best caffeine-free keto pre-workout

Bulletproof Unfair Advantage

  • Price: $$
  • Calories: N/A
  • Fat: N/A
  • Protein: N/A
  • Total carbs: N/A
  • Net carbs: N/A
  • Pros: caffeine-free, contains MCT oil
  • Cons: some reviewers say it’s difficult to get all of the product out of the packaging, or that it didn’t seem to have any effect

This supplement from Bulletproof promises “brain and body energy,” and contains MCT oil along with coenzyme Q10 and pyrroloquinoline quinone (or PQQ, which is PQ-Quite a mouthful) — both of which help your mitochondria (“the powerhouse of the cell”) to more effectively generate energy from food.

Need a break from the chugging? Load up on these keto-friendly bars for an occasional pre-workout snack instead.

Just the Cheese Aged Cheddar Bars

  • Price: $$
  • Calories: 150
  • Fat: 12 grams
  • Protein: 8 grams
  • Total carbs: less than 1 gram
  • Net carbs: less than 1 gram
  • Pros: made from cheese, naturally keto-friendly
  • Cons: some reviewers say they’re small and very salty

Remember that time we swooned over these keto grilled cheese bars? Yep, still loving them. These low carb, high protein, gluten-free, sugar-free snacks are a tasty way to kick-start your weekend workout.

Think! Keto Protein Bars

  • Price: $$
  • Calories: 180
  • Fat: 14 grams
  • Protein: 10 grams
  • Total carbs: 14 grams
  • Net carbs: 4 grams
  • Pros: good reviews for taste
  • Cons: contains sugar alcohol

These keto-certified bars are a delicious, hunger-busting pre-workout snack. We are legitimately obsessed with the Chocolate Mousse Pie flavor. What’s not to love? Well… the carbs, TBH. At 4 net carbs per bar, these make a great *occasional* energizing treat.

Dang Keto Bar

  • Price: $$
  • Calories: 210
  • Fat: 16 grams
  • Protein: 9 grams
  • Total carbs: 10 grams
  • Net carbs: 4 grams
  • Pros: a variety of flavors, contains protein and fiber
  • Cons: some reviewers dislike the taste and texture

Some keto bars are notorious for causing digestive issues — but not Dang Keto Bars. Reviewers rave about the flavor, the satisfying texture, and the crunchy nuts and seeds embedded in the bars. Make these your go-to pre-workout snack if you have a sweet tooth!

No Cow Protein Bar

  • Price: $$
  • Calories: 210
  • Fat: 7 grams
  • Protein: 21 grams
  • Total carbs: 24 grams
  • Net carbs: 3 grams
  • Pros: higher in protein than comparable bars, dairy-free, variety of flavors
  • Cons: contains sugar alcohol, mixed reviews on taste

Many keto pre-workout snacks include animal products like collagen or whey. Not so with No Cow Protein Bars. These punch up your workouts whether you’re a keto vegan or you simply need a break from the heavy meat and dairy noshes.

Superfat Keto Nut Butter

  • Price: $$$
  • Calories: 170
  • Fat: 15 grams
  • Protein: 6 grams
  • Total carbs: 7 grams
  • Net carbs: 4 grams
  • Pros: high fat, contains protein and fiber
  • Cons: contains sugar and alcohol, can be difficult to get all of the product out of the pouch

Fat = fuel. (But if you’re eating keto, you already know that!)

These low carb, no-sugar, kosher pouches of fatty fuel are almost as good as jolt juice. Pour it on your salad, on your cheese (fat on fat, right?!), or straight into your mouth.

Lenny & Larry’s Keto Cookie

  • Price: $$
  • Calories: 200
  • Fat: 17 grams
  • Protein: 9 grams
  • Total carbs: 15 grams
  • Net carbs: 3 grams
  • Pros: good reviews for taste, contains protein and fiber
  • Cons: contains sugar alcohol

Want a tasty treat before your workout? Nothing beats a cookie — and this one’s keto-friendly with just 3 grams of net carbs. It’s also got protein and fiber to help you stay full without feeling like you’re running on, well, chocolate chip cookies.

Kalahari Biltong Jerky

  • Price: $$$
  • Calories: 160
  • Fat: 4 grams
  • Protein: 32 grams
  • Total carbs: less than 1 gram
  • Net carbs: less than 1 gram
  • Pros: low in carbs and very high in protein, simple ingredients
  • Cons: expensive, texture differs from beef jerky so some people may dislike it

More jerky?! Yep, and this one’s sugar-free. Kalahari Biltong is a keto fave because it’s packed with pre-workout protein without any of the additives.

Check these six ingredients: beef, vinegar, salt, coriander, pepper, and chili powder. #PeakTransparency

Bhu Foods Keto Protein Cookie Dough

  • Price: $$
  • Calories: 160
  • Fat: 12 grams
  • Protein: 5 grams
  • Total carbs: 7 grams
  • Net carbs: 2 grams
  • Pros: no sugar alcohols, organic, contains fiber and protein
  • Cons: expensive

Got self control? You’ll need it if this is your pre-workout snack of choice. This delectable protein cookie dough is the perfect quick spoonful to have as you’re heading out to the gym — if you can stop at just one spoonful.

Revol Snax Cookie Bites

  • Price: $$
  • Calories: 110
  • Fat: 10 grams
  • Protein: 4 grams
  • Total carbs: 8 grams
  • Net carbs: 1 gram
  • Pros: high fat, variety of flavors,
  • Cons: reviewers say the filling is dry (not creamy like the photo), small portion size

You’ve heard the ol’ saying that getting yourself to the gym is 90 percent mental, 10 percent actual motion. Revol Snax proves you can satisfy your cravings *and* get amped for HIIT with a fatty, low carb pre-workout coconut bite.

As one reviewer said, “Anyone on keto knows it’s hard to find a sweet snack that tastes good with low carbs. It’s like a unicorn!”

Whisps Cheese Crisps

  • Price: $$
  • Calories: 110
  • Fat: 9 grams
  • Protein: 6 grams
  • Total carbs: 1 gram
  • Net carbs: 1 gram
  • Pros: tasty flavors, low in carbs, simple ingredients, high fat
  • Cons: too small to be dippable, breaks into crumbs easily

Morning lifter? These make a hunger-busting post-workout snack too.

As with the other nibbles in this category, we’d hardly call this your daily pre-workout product. But Whisps Cheese Crisps are surprisingly filling, fatty, and low in carbs. We’d say it’s a win for simplicity and transparency (like, they’re *just* cheese).

HighKey Brownie Bites

  • Price: $$$
  • Calories: 130
  • Fat: 11 grams
  • Protein: 5 grams
  • Total carbs: 10 grams
  • Net carbs: 1 gram
  • Pros: good reviews for taste
  • Cons: reviewers say they’re more like a crunchy cookie than a brownie, contain sugar alcohol

Erm, pre-workout brownies? Yep. Hear us out.

If you’re an evening gym-goer, chances are you need a pick-me-up between your work and your workout. Does it do much more than give you a jolt of fat and happiness? Negative. But sometimes you just need to treat yo’self.

Here’s how to choose the best pre-workout or snack for you to live that #ketogains life.

Workout type

You’ll want to choose the type of supplement based on the workout you’re doing, workout intensity, and how long you’re working out.

Here are some tips for choosing one based on the types of workouts you do/your goals:

  • Wanna support your pump during ketosis? Look for beta-hydroxybutyrate.
  • Need major jolt juice for HIIT? Go for the caffeine and B complex.
  • Hoping to beat your lifting record? Grab a pre-workout with creatine, athletes’ favorite ingredient for boosting strength and power.

Supplement or snack?

Next, will you need a supplement, or snack, or both?

Pre-workout supplements are generally designed to help promote muscle recovery and growth, so they may be a better choice for weightlifting or resistance exercise. However, ketone supplements provide a quick boost that can help you power through any type of workout.

OTOH, snacks are just food. They’re typically not imbibed with potentially performance-enhancing ingredients, even if the marketing or product packaging suggests they’re for athletes. But they can obvi still provide energy — just make sure to choose a pre-workout snack that won’t sit heavy or make you feel sick while you’re working out.

Taste

As far as taste goes, keto supplements can be really hit or miss. If you can, try a smaller container or a sample size before purchasing a huge quantity to make sure you like the taste.

Macros

Finally, you’ll want to make sure it fits your macros. Keto is a little bit different for everyone in regards to calories, protein, fat, and carb content — so some keto-friendly products may be too high in fat or calories for you, some with too little protein or some with too many net carbs.

Are pre-workout supps or noshes necessary? Not really. In fact, if your workout is gonna be fairly light in intensity and under 45 minutes or so, you probably don’t need to worry about it (unless you want to prevent mid-workout hunger pangs with a snack).

Additionally, fasted workouts offer some benefits as well. Especially on keto where your body is burning fat for fuel, you may burn a little bit more body fat during a fasted workout with no snack than working out after a meal or a snack.

But for an intense workout or a longer session, taking a pre-workout supplement, eating a light keto-friendly snack, or both might be worth it. On keto, a fat-rich snack can help to provide energy, while one that contains fiber and protein may help to keep you feeling full and satisfied without feeling weighed down.

Of course! Like most supplements, pre-workouts come with a side of research-backed results and personal claims.

The benefits

Because of the caffeine content, most pre-workout supplements make your energy soar. And being wired AF increases your chances of going harder, faster, and stronger.

Caffeine’s benefits go beyond the obvious too. Research indicates that it boosts exercise performance and decreases post-workout muscle soreness.

The ingredients we mentioned earlier — essential amino acids and performance-boosting beta-hydroxybutyrate — will also increase pump and help you smash your workout goals.

The downsides

Well, there’s that whole “proprietary blend” thing. These blends are merely FDA-regulated, so there’s the potential for mystery types and amounts of ingredients.

Pre-workout supplements will never be as straightforward as a simple pre-workout egg, avocado, or other whole-food snacks. And even when dosing on essential amino acids and vitamins, you run the risk of getting too much of a good thing.

Finally, there’s always a chance that your pre-workout won’t mix well with your other supplements or prescription meds. Err on the side of caution and talk with your doctor before taking a new pre-workout formula.

Most pre-workout formulas are designed to be taken 20 to 30 minutes before exercising. This gives the ingredients time to take effect.

If you’re craving a caffeine jolt, timing gets a bit trickier, because caffeine takes effect 45 to 60 minutes after you consume it.

Your best bet? Chug that pre-workout drink 30 minutes before your warmup. The amino acids and vitamins will already be surging through your system, and the caffeine will kick in soon after.

Supplements, bars, and fat bombs have their place, but the foundation of a killer set of reps is good nutrition.

Keto puts the kibosh on carb-loading, so figuring out a variety of pre-workout snacks and meals can be a little tricky.

Building a meal from the keto basics — high fat, moderate protein, and few to no carbs — will get you in the zone for a run or HIIT class. Here are some ideas for supplement-free pre-workout noshing.

If you’re an early bird at the gym…

  • Opt for a deliciously messy, meaty breakfast sandwich that swaps in two sausage rounds for the classic English muffin.
  • Try an egg omelet stuffed with veggies, avocado, and a protein like crumbled sausage or diced chicken.
  • Whip up some cauliflower hash browns with a side of roasted veggies. Savory perfection!

If you’re a lunch break gym-goer…

Meal-prepping your keto lunches is key to sticking to the meal plan! Some of our faves:

If you’re a p.m. powerhouse lifter…

Pro tip: Whip up a few keto-friendly dinners on Sunday so you’re not scramblin’ to cook after a long day. Or keep a list of easy keto dinners you can make in 30 minutes flat (yes, really).

  • Loaded cauliflower, anyone?
  • Keep it simple with a slab of meat (fish, chicken, beef, turkey — pick your poison!) and a side of sautéed veggies.
  • This keto shrimp scampi is the bomb.

What pre-workout is good on keto?

TBH, most pre-workout supplements are keto-friendly. Although they’re often sweetened, this is typically with a zero-calorie sweetener instead of sugar — keeping the carbs low.

When in doubt, check that Supplement Facts label to see how many carbs are in a serving.

How do I get energy before a workout on keto?

If you’re in ketosis (the metabolic state where you’re burning fat instead of carbs for fuel, which arises from eating a strict low carb keto diet), a high-fat snack can be used to give you a boost. Or you could cut straight to the chase and take a ketone supplement, which is what dietary fat is converted to before the body uses it for fuel — so it skips a few steps.

Alternatively, some people on keto eat more carbs before a workout because they know they’ll burn them all off during the workout. In this case, you could go with some fruit, half a sweet potato, or some yogurt.

Should I take ketones before a workout?

It’s totally up to you. They will give you an energy boost, and some research shows that they may help improve your body composition while on keto.

Some keto experts theorize that using ketone drinks for energy prior to a workout may impair how much body fat is burned — but there hasn’t really been any research on this subject yet, as much of the current research on ketone supplements and exercise has been done with athletes who usually aren’t aiming to lose weight.

Pre-workout products make a lot of claims, from boundless energy and muscle recovery to better gains and mental focus. A quick study of the ingredient list will give you a good idea of whether those claims are science-based or hype.

Keto pre-workouts are designed to give you max performance boost with minimal carbs. It’s all about working out while staying in ketosis.

Remember, the point of any pre-workout is to improve your performance. So if your keto pre-workout gives you a headache, the jitters, or diarrhea, stop taking it! There are many pre-workout formulas on the market, and it might take some trial and error to figure out what works for you.

In a pinch, let food be thy medicine pre-workout. From keto-friendly nibbles to fat- and protein-heavy meals, there are food-based ways to boost your gains.



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