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What's Inside Matters for Your Pre Workout

What's Inside Matters for Your Pre Workout

How Shifted Crushes the Competition

By Dr. Adam M. Gonzalez
SHIFTED’s Chief Scientific Officer

Staying up to date on the science of dietary supplements can be a challenging endeavor. Shifted has relentlessly worked to take the guesswork out of choosing the right pre-workout and assure you don’t miss out on a high-powered, optimally dosed pre workout formula to achieve your fitness goals in and out of the gym.

Shifted Premium Pre-Workout was built to provide all the science-backed ingredients to better your performance while eliminating the ingredients that have proven ineffective.

Shifted Maximum Pre-Workout raises the bar with the addition of even more science-backed ingredients including Red Spinach Leaf Extract (as Oxystorm®), ElevATP®, Co-Enzyme Q10, ZumXR® Delayed Release Caffeine, and B-vitamins, along with providing maximal clinically effective doses of all its performance enhancing ingredients.

Shifted Pre-Workouts offer a multifaceted formula that does not cut corners on any pre-workout expectations. Shifted eliminates the fear of missing out on key ingredients and assures that you get the most out of every workout.

In this article, we showcase the ingredients contributing to energy, pump, focus, strength, endurance, and mood, and highlight where other pre-workouts fall short.



Energy Ingredients

What the Science Says

Caffeine is the energy ingredient that sets the foundation for almost all pre-workout formulas. Studies support that moderate amounts of caffeine can improve several components of fitness including strength, endurance, and power.

Caffeine can also make those hard training sessions feel easier. However, high levels of caffeine and other stimulants are not a recipe for a high-quality pre-workout.

They may make you feel wired and alert, but they do not add to the pre-workout’s functionality regarding exercise performance and training adaptations. Plus, excessive stimulants will lead to unwanted symptoms including the shakes, anxiety, headaches, insomnia, and the dreaded “crash”.

What does Shifted Premium Pre Workout offer?

Shifted Premium Pre Workout offers 250 mg of caffeine – an ideal dose for both men and women in need of an extra burst of clean energy.

How does Shifted Maximum Pre Workout raise the bar?

Shifted Maximum Pre Workout does not increase the 250 mg dose of caffeine to avoid the side effects and crash. Rather, this formula adds 50 mg of ZumXR® Delayed Release Caffeine to maintain steady, long lasting energy without a crash. 

Where the competitors fall short?

Others provide too much caffeine or a combination of caffeine and other stimulants. With all these stimulants, they forget about the performance enhancing ingredients. 

Pump Ingredients

What the Science Says

The pump is stimulated by ingredients that serve as nitric oxide precursors to promote blood flow and muscle swelling. The most effective pump ingredients are clearly citrulline and nitrates for boosting both endurance and resistance training performance. Citrulline is converted to another amino acid, arginine, which is subsequently used to produce nitric oxide.

Supplementation with citrulline has shown to delay fatigue, improve high‐intensity strength and power performance, reduce perceived exertion and markers of muscle soreness, and increase repetitions-to-failure during resistance exercise. While citrulline is often found in pre-workout supplements in the form of citrulline malate – there is no reason to believe that malate offers any additional benefit. Therefore, L-citrulline is currently the best form for pre-workout to assure an optimal dose.

Interestingly, because citrulline and nitrates work through different pathways to promote nitic oxide synthesis, they can work synergistically when consumed together in a pre-workout supplement. Dietary nitrates (typically consumed as beet root juice) have consistently shown to improve high intensity exercise and weight lifting performance.

Furthermore, when adequate citrulline and nitrates are included in a pre-workout formula, it is unlikely that the addition of any other “novel”, less-studied nitric oxide boosters would further enhance blood flow or performance. The minimum effective dose for L-citrulline is approximately 3 grams, while the maximum effective dose remains unclear, but may be as high as 10-15 grams.

As for nitrates, including beet root extract into your pre-workout is ideal, especially if you don’t eat an abundance of beets and leafy greens (e.g., spinach, kale, arugula). There are also other nitrate-rich ingredients that can boost nitrate supply including red spinach leaf extract with 1 gram being the most studied dose. 

What does Shifted Premium Pre Workout offer

Shifted Premium Pre Workout contains one of the highest L-citrulline doses found in pre workout formulas – a full 6 grams of L-citrulline (not citrulline malate). The formula also contains a 1 gram dose of beet root extract to reap the benefits of beets and nitrates. 

How does Shifted Maximum Pre Workout raise the bar?

Shifted Maximum Pre Workout exceeds the expectations of the supplement industry by keeping the 1 gram dose of beet root extract, raising the L-citrulline (not citrulline malate) dose to 8 grams, and adding a 1 gram dose of the nitrate-rich, science-backed ingredient, red spinach leaf extract. 

Where the competitors fall short?

Others provide citrulline as citrulline malate to make it seem like there is more citrulline than there really is. Most others also fail to include nitrate rich ingredients. 

Focus and Mood

What the Science Says 

Several “non-stim” ingredients have been marketed towards increasing overall mood, alertness, and well-being without adding to the caffeine kick. The most well-studied ingredients include tyrosine, theanine, and forms of choline such as alpha-GPC (glyceryl phosphoryl choline). Supplementation with 1-2 grams of the amino acid, tyrosine, can boost cognitive performance under stressful situations.

As a precursor to dopamine and norepinephrine, tyrosine supplementation helps replenish neurotransmitter levels, thereby preventing stress-induced deficits in memory, mood, attention, and cognition.

Theanine is an amino acid found in green tea that also reduces stress and anxiety along with improving mood under stressful conditions. Theanine also helps take the edge off high doses of caffeine by promoting relaxation without drowsiness. An effective dose of theanine is between 100-250 mg and works nicely with caffeine at slightly lower than a 1:1 ratio.

Finally, alpha-GPC serves as a source of choline for the synthesis of acetylcholine – a neurotransmitter in the brain that is responsible for stimulating muscle contractions. Alpha-GPC supplementation boosts cognitive function; but also improves strength during high-intensity exercise. The clinically effective dose of alpha-GPC is between 150-500 mg.

What does Shifted Premium Pre Workout offer?

Shifted Premium Pre Workout contains active doses of tyrosine (1 gram), theanine (150 mg) and alpha-GPC (150 mg) in a purposely formulated ratio to achieve steady, focused energy when combined with caffeine. 

How does Shifted Maximum Pre Workout raise the bar?

Shifted Maximum Pre Workout maintains the 150 mg of theanine but contains a maximal clinically effective 2-gram dose of tyrosine and doubles the alpha-GPC dose to 300 mg.

Where the competitors fall short?

Others underdose tyrosine, have poor caffeine-to-theanine ratios, and/or exclude alpha-GPC. 

Strength, Muscle Growth, and Body Composition

What the Science Says 

When it comes to supplements for muscular adaptations, nothing comes close to creatine monohydrate. Creatine monohydrate has been extensively researched and clearly shows to be the most effective dietary supplement for increasing high-intensity exercise capacity and muscle gains during training.

Alternative, more expensive forms of creatine (such as creatine HCl) have little-to-no evidence to support their claims, and they have never shown to be superior to creatine monohydrate. A daily dose of 2-5 grams of creatine monohydrate is recommended to saturate muscle creatine stores and increase performance. 

Betaine anhydrous has been a rising star in pre-workout formulas with studies showing much promise for improving body composition, while also improving strength and power through mechanisms such as promoting fat breakdown and aiding muscular hydration. A dose of 2.5 grams has been used in almost all the studies on betaine anhydrous. 

Finally, elevATP®, a proprietary blend of ancient peat and apple extracts, has become a popular pre-workout ingredient due to the overwhelmingly positive benefits observed in research. Supplementation with 150 mg of elevATP® has shown to significantly increase blood levels of ATP (the body’s energy currency), improve exercise output, and improve body composition and strength performance. 

What does Shifted Premium Pre Workout offer?

Shifted Premium Pre Workout contains an effective 2 grams of creatine monohydrate and 2.5 grams of betaine anhydrous. 

How does Shifted Maximum Pre Workout raise the bar?

Shifted Maximum Pre Workout maintains the clinically effective 2.5 gram dose of betaine anhydrous, while raising creatine monohydrate to the maximally effective 5 gram dose. The formula also adds a clinically effective 150 mg dose of elevATP®. 

Where the competitors fall short?

Others use under-studied and ineffective forms of creatine alongside underdosed betaine anhydrous. They also fail to reap the benefits of elevATP®.


What the Science Says 

A well-formulated pre-workout should not only contain stimulants to boost alertness, but also anti-fatigue ingredients to allow you to push harder, lock out those extra repetitions, and break through plateaus.

The science-backed ingredients to fight off fatigue during high-intensity exercise are beta-alanine, taurine, and rhodiola rosea (along with citrulline, nitrates, and elevATP® discussed above). Regular supplementation with the amino acid, beta-alanine, increases the intramuscular storage of a dipeptide known as carnosine. Increasing carnosine concentrations improves the muscle’s capacity to buffer hydrogen ions produced during high-intensity exercise and ultimately allow for more work to be completed by delaying fatigue.

Beta-alanine has been extensively studied and has regularly shown to increase muscle carnosine concentration and boost high-intensity exercise performance and training adaptations. The greatest benefits are observed for high-intensity efforts lasting between 30 seconds to 10 minutes which is highly relevant to many athletes and gymgoers.

The current dosage recommendations for beta-alanine are 3.2-6.4 grams per day, spread across multiple smaller doses during the day to blunt the uncomfortable tingling sensation on the skin (known as paresthesia) that occurs following high dose beta-alanine intake. Although it is harmless, the tingling sensation typically felt with a dose greater than 2.5 grams can be quite uncomfortable. To be clear – feeling the tingles does not mean “it’s working”.

Studies do not show that the acute effect of paresthesia improves performance. Therefore, a higher dosage taken pre-workout does not directly improve performance and it may be best to spread out beta-alanine intake during the day. 

Taurine has remained a popular fatigue fighting ingredient in energy drinks for many years. Taurine supplementation (1-2 grams) has shown to improve exercise efficiency and endurance performance. Taurine may also improving force output and blunt strength losses during fatiguing exercise. Taurine has been suggested to positively effect exercise performance via increased lipolysis, improved metabolic efficiency, and through its role as an anti-oxidant. 

Next, rhodiola rosea is an ingredient that has been used for centuries in different parts of the world, but has only recently gained attention as a pre-workout ingredient for its role as an adaptogen. This herb, also known as golden root, has a growing body of literature supporting its use as an anti-fatigue supplement to improve exercise performance.

Rhodiola rosea can make hard training sessions more tolerable and enjoyable by reducing symptoms of fatigue and boosting stamina. Another versatile pre-workout ingredient includes Co-enzyme Q10 – a vitamin-like compound that plays a role in delaying fatigue. The antioxidant properties of Co-enzyme Q10 can lessen the production of reactive oxygen species produced during physical activity, which in turn diminishes muscle damage and feelings of fatigue.

Co-enzyme Q10 also plays an important energy production role in the mitochondria aiding in the conversion of fatty acids and carbohydrates to ATP. 

What does Shifted Premium Pre Workout offer?

Shifted Premium Pre Workout contains 2 grams of beta-alanine, 1 gram of taurine, and 50 mg of Rhodiola Rosea.

How does Shifted Maximum Pre Workout raise the bar?

Shifted Maximum Pre Workout is further enhanced by increasing to 2.5 grams of beta-alanine, 2 grams of taurine, and 100 mg of Rhodiola Rosea, while also adding 25 mg of Co-enzyme Q10. 

Where the competitors fall short?

Others use too much beta-alanine in a single dose causing excessive tingling of the skin, underdose taurine, and fail to include Rhodiola Rosea.

Pre-Workout Ingredients that DO NOT Offer Performance Benefits

Expensive, patented ingredients with little research support

The use of patented ingredients may sound appealing but should not be included in a pre-workout formula without scientific merit. 

Deer Antler Velvet

Deer antler velvet has consistently failed to show benefit on exercise performance. 

Stacked doses of stimulants (e.g., Theobromine)

A combination of multiple stimulants will not further boost performance and will likely end in a quick crashed feeling. 


Despite their popularity and marketability, the use of BCAAs and isolated leucine have very consistently failed to provide any benefit on strength and muscle growth. In isolation, they are completely useless. Focus on getting enough protein in your diet through complete protein sources that contain all the essential amino acids.

Alternative forms of creatine (e.g., creatine HCl or creatine nitrate)

Alternative, more expensive forms of creatine have little-to-no evidence to support their claims, and they have never shown to be superior to creatine monohydrate. 


Arginine has poor bioavailability and is a much less efficient means of promoting nitric oxide production in comparison to supplementing with citrulline. 


Shifted Pre Workouts are a full-spectrum supplement with maximum clinically effective doses of active ingredient. Stop the guessing game and stick with Shifted to better your performance in and out of the gym. You’ll never have to fear missing out on the performance enhancing ingredients backed by science. 

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