Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre Workout Review: Our Experience

Optimum Nutrition is no small name in the sports supplements industry. Their Gold Standard branding is one of the most recognizable when it comes to buying sups, sworn by everyone from gym regulars to famous athletes.

In fact, Optimum Nutrition is one of the go-to brands for whey protein, creatine, casein, BCAA, pre-workout, mass gainer – you name it. Everybody loves their range of products, simply because you can’t go wrong with them!

Optimum Nutrition’s Pre Workout, however, is one I have not yet tried.

I have been a big fan of Optimum Nutrition from the start of my supplements journey. Even after so many years, Gold Standard Whey Protein and Gold Standard Casein are still my go-to protein powders (currently sitting on my shelf), which I’ve found myself returning to time and time again despite experimenting around.

I’m not a big user of pre-workout, though. I tend to  – but I find this gives me an advantage for carrying out this review!

So, down below, get ready for a full, honest, and unbiased review of Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre Workout.


First off, let’s run through the ingredients. Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Pre Workout offers – per 10-gram powder serving – 175 milligrams of caffeine, 3 grams of creatine monohydrate, 1.5 grams of beta-alanine, and 750 milligrams of micronized l-citrulline.

Those are the “main” ingredients.

But you also get 12.5 micrograms of vitamin D, 2 milligrams of thiamin, 20 milligrams of niacin, 2 milligrams of vitamin B6, 10 milligrams of pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), 50 milligrams of calcium, and 20 milligrams of sodium.

Each 10-gram scoop is 10 calories and 3 grams of carbs.

Overall, by just looking at the back of the tub, this is an all-around, well-balanced pre-workout, which is expected for Optimum Nutrition.

175 milligrams of caffeine might be a lot, but this depends on your tolerance. The fact that creatine monohydrate is included is a big bonus (I usually take this separately), along with beta-alanine, l-citrulline, and sodium, which are all, in general, hugely important.

10 calories isn’t bad per scoop, but seeing as there are zero-calorie pre-workouts out there, this might be an instant turn-off if you are calorie-conscious. 


The flavor I tested is Fruit Punch. But, with a quick search, other available flavors of Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre Workout are:

  • Blue Raspberry
  • Green Apple
  • Kiwi
  • Watermelon

All of these obviously sound great, but I went with Fruit Punch solely for the purpose of this review (because it seems to be the most popular flavor).

I suspect most people wouldn’t complain about these flavors. There is a nice selection to choose from, and this generally seems to be more than what you might get from other brands. 

Of course, there is no unflavored option, but whether this is a downside is obviously subjective.

Pre Workout Benefits

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre Workout claims to improve “energy, focus, power, and performance.”

It goes without saying that this is the purpose of any pre-workout. And this will mainly come from the caffeine content, creatine monohydrate, amino acids (beta-alanine and l-citrulline), and various vitamins and nutrients.

If you are new to pre-workout (at least pre-made branded pre-workouts), then the main benefits you are looking for are an increase in focus, strength, and endurance.

Pre-workout is supposed to improve focus and concentration, while giving you the ability to increase reps, lift heavier, and exercise for longer. Of course, the more effort that you can put into your workout, the better the results will be.

How To Take Pre Workout

The instructions for Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout are to mix one scoop (10 grams) into 6-8 fluid ounces (170-230 milliliters) of water, then shake for 30 seconds.

How much water is used is subjective, of course – as well as how many scoops.

There are no official instructions for when to take it (Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout) on the container itself, but, as a popular rule of thumb, I know this to be at least 30 minutes before any workout. 

Thirty minutes allows time for the pre-workout to “kick in” for maximized results. And as most pre-workouts contain caffeine, it is best to take pre-workout in the morning or afternoon to allow enough time for the stimulative effects to wear off before bedtime.

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre Workout Review

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre Workout Review

To make sure this review is as accurate as possible, I supplemented Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre Workout over the course of one week. To be more specific, I used it for a six-day workout, consisting of a push, pull, legs split.

I’m not a regular user of pre-workout (coffee and sometimes a banana, at most) and I took one scoop (10 grams), mixed with 300 milliliters of water, 30 minutes before I headed to the gym.

First Impressions (Mixing, Taste)

As expected, Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout is well packaged and presented. Take off the lid and you’ll find that the powder is not filled to the top, but (especially if you are buying for the first time) rest assured this is common for all power supplements.

In 300 milliliters of water, the powder mixed well with a thorough shake (using a mixer ball). Fruit Punch, the flavor I chose, tasted great, but I did find myself adjusting this to 250 milliliters later on the second day.

I’m not too fussy about taste when it comes to supplements, so, overall, no problems with the flavor.

Within 10 minutes, I definitely felt more alert and awake, which was no surprise due to the 175-gram caffeine content. Not long after, this was followed by a “tingling” feeling, but I did not find this to be a negative experience. In fact, I felt pumped and ready to go!


To be honest, the effects of Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Pre-Workout felt similar to the first time I took creatine. 

On the first day, doing my first set on the bench press, I pushed out more reps than usual. This might have been a conscious effort (knowing that I had to fully test out the effects of the pre-workout), but, to be honest, I definitely felt more energized.

The feeling I had, which lasted throughout the rest of my workout, could be best described as having an extra “fuel reserve”. Instead of hitting my usual limit, I was able to push further with both reps and the amount of weight I used.

I also felt more awake and alert; I was focused, less distracted by what was going on around me, and I did not feel tired or sleepy at all.

The same effects continued throughout the week on my other workout days, which I found quite surprising!

I did, however, find the effects to be slightly less “apparent” on the last two days. But this could have just been a result of other factors.


There seems to be a general after-effect related to pre-workouts, best described as a “crash”, which I’ve read involves a feeling of extreme fatigue (due to the high caffeine content) several hours after supplementing.

While I did feel slightly drowsy later on in the afternoon after taking Optimum Nutrition’s Gold Standard Pre Workout, I did not find this to be anything concerning – or out of the ordinary.

Overall, it felt more like the usual “3pm slump” (the best way I can describe it), but perhaps with a slightly increased feeling of sleepiness, muscle fatigue, and reduced focus (mental fatigue)

Of course, the after-effect or crash of any pre-workout is going to rely heavily on how much is taken and at what time. For me, however, this did not come as a problem or disadvantage, even later on in the week after I had taken it several days consecutively.


I have not mentioned this yet, but one 10.58-ounce (or 300-gram) container of Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout offers 30 servings/scoops.

If taken as a daily serving over a five-day workout week, it is going to last you six weeks.

As for the price, Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout sits at a pretty reasonable price compared to other pre-workout powders. In fact, there are other premade pre-workouts that offer just 20 servings.

Remember that you are getting a trusted, well-known brand with Optimum Nutrition. In addition, it’s a well-rounded pre-workout that offers a good amount of caffeine, complete with creatine, amino acids, and a host of vitamins and minerals.

All in all, I’d definitely recommend Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout from a value-for-money perspective. As mentioned earlier, you can’t go wrong with Optimum Nutrition, as you know you are getting a decent, high-quality supplement for a mid-range price.

Pros And Cons

From my week-long experience, I’ve gone ahead and summarized my Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre Workout pros and cons.

Take note – some of these pros and cons will be subjective, depending on your personal preferences and goals.


  • Gold Standard – huge value from a supplement that you know is going to be high in quality
  • Flavors – this pre-workout boasts a wide range of flavors to choose from
  • 30 servings – more for your money, longer-lasting
  • Ingredients – ample amount of caffeine, with creatine monohydrate, beta-alanine, l-citrulline (micronized), sodium, and other vitamins included
  • Easily mixable – dissolves easily in water after a good shake
  • No “crash” – in my experience, the dreaded pre-workout crash wasn’t anything major
  • Affordable – mid-level price that isn’t too expensive


  • 10 calories per serving – might be a con if you are weight-conscious (trying to cut) or plan to double-scoop
  • No BCAA content – not a huge requirement, but the essential amino acids are not included in this pre-workout
  • Caffeine content – 175 grams might be too much for some (might cause heart palpitations and dizziness)

Final Verdict – Should You Buy?

If you are new to the world of pre-workout powders, or even if you just want to trial a new pre-workout, I would honestly recommend Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout as one that is worth trying out.

Why? Simply put, this pre-workout offers a good balance of premium pre-workout ingredients at a reasonable price with an appealing range of flavors to choose from. On top of that, Optimum Nutrition is just one of those big-name brands that rarely disappoint.

There are only three small disadvantages to this pre-workout – the calorie content (10 calories per serving), lack of BCAAs, and caffeine amount – but this, of course, is ultimately subjective.

As for me, a complete newbie to pre-workouts, there were no real downsides. So, I am definitely going to continue to take this product – at least finish off the rest of the tub!

If you do want to try Optimum Nutrition Pre-Workout, you won’t have trouble finding it at most supplement stores. As with most supplements, just make sure to purchase from a reputable store to guarantee that you receive a genuine, official product.


Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout Review
  • 8.6/10
    Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout Review - 8.6/10


A good product from Optimum Nutrition! This pre-workout will help you smash through workouts. There are a couple of pitfalls, especially regarding side effects that you should take into account when using this product. Not bad!

James Wilks

Hey guys, thanks for reading. This website should help you cut through all the BS and make an informed choice with supplements. I was like you 2 years ago, trawling the internet looking at review, after review, after review. But now that's changed, I've taken my years working in the supplements industry and created this website to help you make the right choice. If you like something please share on social media! Or drop me a message. Always good to hear from you guys.

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