What is the difference between a Pre-Workout and an Energy Drink?

Not surprisingly, there are a lot of overlaps between Pre-Workout supplements like Ghost or Bucked Up and Energy drinks like Bang or Monster? In fact, a lot of people drink energy drinks as their preworkout right before their workout. So are they the same? Or is there a difference?

The biggest difference is in their purpose. Pre-Workouts are designed to help you get the most out of an intense workout. Sometimes, they do not even have caffeine (while almost all energy drinks do have caffeine). Energy drinks are more about giving you raw energy and drive to get anything done (not just a workout).

Pre-workout supplements often have ingredients designed to help you get extra reps, push through the pain, and build more muscle. One common ingredient that you’ll find in pre-workout that you rarely see in energy drinks is L-Citrulline. L-Citrulline’s primary purpose is to increase blood flow to the muscles. However, to be effective, it needs several grams of of doseage, and that makes it less useable in pre-made energy drinks.

Common Ingredients In Both Pre-Workout and Energy Drinks

  • Caffeine
  • Creatine*
  • CoQ10
  • B Vitamins
  • Taurine*
  • BCAAs
  • EAAs
  • Electrolytes

*In energy drinks, ingredients marked with a star are only present in trace amounts. In pre-workouts, the doses are significantly higher

Ingredients Usually Only Found Only in Pre-Workout Drinks

  • L-Citrulline
  • Beta-Alanine
  • Betaine
  • Rhodiola Rosea
  • Tyrosine
  • Glycerol
  • Agmatine Sulfate
  • Choline

One of the more fundamental differences between energy drinks and pre-workout supplements is the doses. In pre-workout supplements you’ll often have ingredients that require gram level doses (for example, it’s pretty standard of L-Citrulline to be dosed between 4 and 9 grams). However, because energy drinks are pre-made and canned, they use much smaller milligram doses for their ingredients so that there is no residue or ingredient separation.