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As a supplement store manager and nutrition coach, I have been testing supplements for over ten years – literally hundreds of products across every supplement category.
While I experienced great pump, strength, and energy while using Pre-Kaged, I also experienced some negative side effects including nausea the majority of the time I took it, which detracted from my overall experience.
I’m not saying everyone will get nauseous. After reading several other reviews, most people don’t. But, more on why I think I was prone to getting sick below.
- At $2.25 per serving, Pre-Kaged is on the high end of cost per serving for pre-workout supplements. After analyzing over 50 pre-workout products, the average cost per serving was around $1.61.
- Pre-Kaged is third-party tested, contains patented ingredients, and uses clinical doses for the majority of its ingredients, which helps to justify the cost per serving.
- This is a high-dosed and well-rounded pre-workout that will support energy, mental focus, pump, and recovery. The formula is vegan-friendly and Informed-Sport Certified, meaning it’s safe for use by elite athletes.
- Personally, I won’t be re-buying this product because I got sick. If you have a sensitive stomach, I might stay away too. I’ll be sticking with my tried and true pre-workout Transparent Labs Bulk, but the vast majority of online reviews loved Pre-Kaged, so it’s worth learning more about it below.
Overall Rating: 3.1/5
Medical Disclaimer: The material presented in this article aims to offer informational insights. It should not be perceived as medical guidance. The views and writings are not designed for diagnosing, preventing, or treating health issues. Always consult with your physician prior to starting any new dietary or supplement routine.
What Is Pre-Kaged?
Pre-Kaged by Kaged Supplements is a vegan and Informed-Sport Certified pre-workout.
It contains moderate to high caffeine levels, at 274mg per serving – approximately the same amount as two medium coffees.
Pre-Kaged does not use any artificial flavors or colors, but they do use an artificial sweetener (sucralose) to flavor their product.
It is also gluten-free and non-GMO with only 1g of sugar.
It is available in 7 different flavors: Pink Lemonade, Fruit Punch, Krisp Apple, Grape, Orange Krush, Berry Blast, and Cherry Bomb.
Pre-Kaged advertises that it boosts energy and endurance, provides great pumps and mental focus, and increases strength and power.
It has an incredibly large serving size, with each scoop measuring more than 29g. For comparison, this is larger than a full scoop of MyProtein whey isolate, which is 25g.
So, does Pre-Kaged deliver on everything it promises?
Claims vs Reality: How I Felt After Taking Pre-Kaged Ignite?
This is the hardest review I have had to write, because I have used Kaged products in the past and love them. I love the look, the branding, the quality, I even like the feel of their products, which might sound absurd, but Kaged definitely doesn’t skimp on the details.
I really appreciate the quality of ingredients and the formula that Kaged uses. Ingredients like coconut water to support hydration and electrolyte replenishment, and the SPECTRA ™ ORAC blend that provides antioxidant support and increased energy are well-thought-out additions.
Ultimately though, this pre-workout made me so nauseous that I was never able to test its full effects on strength and endurance.
I did get noticeable mental focus and energy though. I most often work out first thing in the morning, so I need something that is going to help get me out of bed and awake.
I also noticed really good recovery, both between sets and between workouts. I found that I had little to no muscle soreness even after very heavy lifting days or after adding new exercises.
What is most memorable about this product was how nauseous I felt when taking it.
I thought that the nausea was due to the fact that I was taking it on an empty stomach, so I experimented with having different volumes of food beforehand but nothing really seemed to help.
I also found that the flavor was so strong that after a few workouts of feeling nauseous, even the smell and taste of the pre-workout started to turn my stomach.
I have struggled to pinpoint exactly why this product made me feel nauseous in the first place. None of the ingredients or additives like flavorings were new to me, so I don’t think it relates to any one specific ingredient.
My best hypothesis as to why this product gave me nausea is a very large serving size and I take it on an empty or nearly empty stomach. The 29g scoop delivers a lot of ingredients very quickly, including creatine and caffeine which are two ingredients known to contribute to nausea.
There could also be a psychological factor at play here. The first time I took the product was on an empty stomach (which is typical for me) and I felt nauseous.
It’s possible that I continued to feel nauseous even when taking the product after food or at different times throughout the day because the taste and/or smell of the product reminded me of how I felt the first time I took it.
Reading through reviews on this product, the vast majority of consumers absolutely love it, so I definitely think it’s still worth trying, despite my experience.
If you do, I would recommend starting with a half scoop of the product to see how you feel first.
Pre-Kaged is third party tested, contains patented ingredients, and uses clinical doses for the majority of its ingredients, which helps to justify the cost per serving.
|Ingredient||Dose||Clinical Effective Dose||Meets Clinical Standards|
|SPECTRA ORAC Blend||100mg||100mg||✅|
|N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine||1g||300 mg||✅|
|PurCaf Organic Caffeine||274mg||n/a||n/a|
|Coconut water powder||500mg||n/a||n/a|
Citrulline is an amino acid which is found naturally in watermelon. It acts as a nitric oxide (NO) enhancer, which means it can increase the levels of nitric oxide in the body.
Nitric Oxide plays a key part in helping the body to dilate and constrict blood vessels and it can improve flood flow to the muscles.
Taking citrulline before your workout can help delay fatigue, providing increases to endurance and strength. Many people enjoy citrulline for its muscle pump effects.
The optimal dose based on current research appears to be 6-8g of citrulline, taken approximately 1 hour prior to exercise. With 6.5g per scoop, Pre-Kaged meets clinical dosing standards.
BCAAs (Branched-Chain Amino Acids) refer to a group of three specific amino acids: Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine. They make up about 30 percent of the protein found in skeletal muscles.
What differentiates BCAAs from other amino acids is that they are broken down right within the muscle cells. Because of this, it’s theorized that supplementing with BCAAs prior to exercise can increase the available muscle energy for that workout.
Research has shown that if you consume optimal levels of protein (around 0.7-1.2g per lb of body weight daily), you don’t need extra BCAA supplementation.
If you don’t hit your ideal protein intake, then consuming 85mg of BCAA per kg of body weight is recommended. This works out to about 6g of BCAA for an individual weighing 70kg (~155lbs).
Pre-Kaged offers 3.5g of BCAAs, which is likely not enough to provide significant improvements to recovery and reduced muscle soreness, but may provide a slight increase to muscle energy during your workout.
Pre-Kaged has added an additional 3g of leucine, one of the BCAAs mentioned above.
Leucine specifically plays a key role in muscle protein synthesis and may increase production of human growth hormone, making it a popular supplement for anybody looking to increase size and muscle mass.
It is a bit tricky to identify research that clearly shows an effective pre-workout dose of leucine, since often times leucine is included alongside whey protein or as a BCAA supplement with isoleucine and valine.
One study with outrigger canoeists used 45mg/kg of leucine. For a 155lb (70kg) individual, this works out to just over 3g.
Since Pre-Kaged contains a total of 4.75g of leucine in its formula, this is likely sufficient to increase endurance and power, and support muscle protein synthesis.
Betaine Anhydrous (BetaPower ®)
Betaine is a compound that can be found naturally in foods like spinach and beets.
Kaged has specifically used a patented form of betaine called BetaPower ®. The benefit of using a patented product is that it has undergone additional testing to ensure that it lives up to its claims.
Pre-Kaged has 2.5g of betaine, matching the clinical dose recommendations of 2.5g daily.
Beta-Alanine (CarnoSyn ®)
Beta-Alanine is an amino acid that can increase muscle carnosine levels. Carnosine is important for acting as a buffer in the muscles which can help delay fatigue.
That delayed fatigue will allow you to work at higher intensities for longer periods of time, helping you take your results to the next level.
Beta-alanine is alongside creatine for being some of the most researched and clinically proven pre-workout supplements. Ideally you want to do a loading phase with creatine of between 3 and 6g daily for 4-10 weeks. After that, a dose of 1.2g per day is sufficient for maintenance.
Pre-Kaged has a 1.6g dose of beta-alanine. This would be a high enough dose for maintenance if you have already been supplementing with beta-alanine daily for at least a month. Otherwise, the dose found in pre-kaged doesn’t meet clinical dosing standards.
Note: Beta-alanine can come with a side effect called paresthesia, or skin tingling. It is not harmful, but may be distracting for some users.
Creatine HCl (Patented Creatine HCl ®)
Creatine is the most widely studied sport supplement on the market.
Having been studied for decades, the majority of the research on creatine has been done using a form called creatine monohydrate. This is not the form of creatine found in Pre-Kaged, which uses a type called Creatine HCl.
Both forms of creatine are likely effective, there is just not the same volume of research behind Creatine HCl as there is with monohydrate.
That being said, since Pre-Kaged uses a patented form of Creatine HCl, that gives us extra reassurance that it has been proven effective in some clinical trials.
Creatine plays a key role in one of the main energy systems used during exercise – especially strength training and sprinting. With higher levels of creatine in your body, you have more potential energy available which can lead to increased strength and performance.
Pre-Kaged has a dose of 1.5g of Creatine, falling below clinical dosing standards. I recommend taking an additional 1.5-3g of supplemental creatine on top of your pre-workout, and 5g on rest days.
SPECTRA™ Total ORAC Blend
This specific ingredient was one of the reasons I was really excited to try Pre-Kaged.
SPECTRA™ is a blend of 29 fruits, vegetables, and herbs that have strong antioxidant properties in the body.
The benefits of consuming potent antioxidants and superfoods, specifically those found in the SPECTRA™ blend, before exercise can help increase overall energy and performance, support cellular oxygen consumption, and optimize metabolism.
FutureCeuticals, the body who manufactures SPECTRA and has all of the research surrounding it recommends a dose of as low as 100mg to see health benefits. Pre-Kaged meets this recommendation with exactly 100mg of SPECTRA™ in their formula.
Taurine is an amino acid that plays a role in energy metabolism and glucose and fat regulation. Taurine also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
In regards to exercise, taurine taken pre-workout can increase aerobic performance and endurance, improve strength and power output, and enhance recovery.
Current research indicates that an ideal dose of taurine is 1-3g taken anywhere from 60 to 180 minutes prior to exercise.
Pre-Kaged uses 2g of Taurine, falling well within the clinically accepted range.
N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine (NALT) is a form of L-tyrosine that claims to be more easily and effectively absorbed by the body than pure L-tyrosine.
L-Tyrosine is an amino acid that the body uses to make proteins and neurotransmitters. When taken pre-workout, L-Tyrosine can boost mental focus and increase time to exhaustion, allowing for an overall increased work output.
The optimal dose found for L-Tyrosine is 100-150mg per kg of body weight. For a 150lb individual, this translates to between 7 and 10g, well above what is found in a pre-workout supplement.
That being said, there is a lot of anecdotal support from industry professionals for the inclusion of 1-3g of L-Tyrosine pre-workout to boost mental focus, especially when paired with caffeine.
Pre-Kaged supplies 850mg of L-Tyrosine which is on the low end of what’s typically used, but when combined with the high dose of NALT this amount is likely sufficient for increasing performance.
It was difficult to find a clinically accepted dose of NALT pre-workout specifically, since it was most often used in conjunction with other ingredients like caffeine and theanine as opposed to taken on its own.
Still, studies that do use NALT tend to use a dose of 300mg. Pre-Kaged goes well beyond that with a dose of 1000g.
Organic Caffeine PurCaf ®
Caffeine is a compound that is found naturally in over 60 plants like tea and coffee beans.
As a stimulant, caffeine speeds up the central nervous system and increases alertness and mood. As it pertains to exercise, caffeine can delay the time to fatigue and provide an improvement to muscular strength, endurance, power, and cardiovascular performance.
Caffeine dosage and tolerance varies greatly from person to person, depending on your frequency of use, body size, and metabolic differences.
The FDA recommends a safe upper limit of 400mg of caffeine per day. Since this product contains 274mg of caffeine, it is well below the FDAs limit and can allow for an additional small source of caffeine in your day, like a small coffee or a cup of tea.
Highlights: What I Like About Pre-Kaged
Pre-Kaged is third party tested and Informed Sport Certified. This means they go above and beyond to test the ingredients and each batch of the product to make sure that the ingredients match the label claims.
Kaged also uses a lot of patented and trademarked ingredients in their formula, which is a reassurance that those ingredients have been tested in clinical trials and proven effective.
For the majority of ingredients for which clinical doses have been established, Pre-Kaged meets clinical dosing standards.
Pre-Kaged meets clinical dosing for Citrulline, Leucine, Betaine, Taurine, Acetyl-L-Tyrosine, and the SPECTRA™ Total ORAC blend.
The only place Pre-Kaged falls short is in their dose of beta-alanine and creatine.
Uses Natural Ingredients
While the product does use sucralose, they use beet root powder to color the product and stevia as the main sweetener.
I also really liked that they used high quality food-based ingredients like coconut water, the SPECTRA ™ Total ORAC blend, and organic caffeine from green coffee beans.
Drawbacks What I Did Not Like About Pre-Kaged
My biggest complaint about Pre-Kaged is that about 75% of the time I took it, I experienced a wave of nausea.
Sometimes the queasiness only lasted for 5 minutes or so, but on other occasions it lasted anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and completely took away from my workout.
Very strong flavor
Pre-Kaged has a very strong flavor, which can be a positive in some cases, but in this case I think the strong taste is a factor that contributed to the nausea I experienced.
If you follow the instructions, Pre-Kaged recommends using 12-16oz (1.5-2 cups) of cold water and consuming it 20-30 minutes prior to your workout.
If you use the recommended amount of water, then there is a high volume of water in your stomach which can be uncomfortable. If you concentrate it by using less water, then the flavor was so strong that it was off putting and could have contributed to feelings of nausea.
How Does Pre-Kaged Stack Up Against Our Criteria For Pre Workouts
Our rating: 2/5
Pre-Kaged costs $2.25 per serving, which is well above the average for pre-workouts which falls around $1.61 per serving.
This cost is pretty justified by the formulation and manufacturing processes used by Kaged. They use high quality ingredients, are third party tested, use patented ingredients, and contain clinical doses for the majority of their ingredients.
Our rating: 2.5/5
While the taste itself was fine, the taste was incredibly strong even when mixed with the recommended amount of water that it was hard to drink daily.
Taste is subjective so it’s difficult to convey in this medium exactly what you can expect. Just know that the flavor is very strong, especially if you try to get away with using less water to mix it with.
After a few mornings in a row using this product, I found the smell and taste so strong that I struggled to drink it in a reasonable time. The flavor itself was not bad, just very strong.
Our rating: 3/5
Pre-Kaged mixes up with a frothy texture and some residue that doesn’t entirely dissolve.
There was often residue left at the bottom of my cup and about a half inch of foam leftover from shaking the cup to mix the product, even after it sat for 5-10 minutes.
The undissolved parts weren’t enough to make the product difficult to drink, but it was noticeable.
Our rating: 4/5
The combination of caffeine (274mg), taurine, and tyrosine made this a product that provided good energy and solid mental focus.
I found the energy lasted anywhere from 45-90 minutes throughout my workout, and the mental focus effect stretched far past when I was done training.
Our rating: 4/5
Pre-Kaged has 6.5g of L-Citrulline, a great dose for providing a good nitric oxide boost and good pump.
I really enjoyed using this product for upper body strength days because of the chest and arm pump that it provided.
Our rating: 3/5
Overall, I felt like this product provided reasonably good strength. The nausea that I felt when taking this product did detract from my overall workouts, making it hard to gauge exactly how well this product increased performance.
The ingredients within the product should be sufficient for delaying time to fatigue and helping to increase strength and power. Unfortunately for me, the extended rest breaks and adaptations I had to take on account of feeling nauseous took away from any potential benefit.
Who Should Take Pre-Kaged?
Pre-Kaged is a great option for:
- Athletes who are drug tested and need something with an Informed Sport Certification
- People who prioritize more natural ingredients
- Anyone looking for good energy and mental focus
- Vegan and Vegetarian dieters
Who Should Not Take Pre-Kaged?
You should pass on Pre-Kaged if:
- You are prone to experiencing nausea, headaches, or negative side effects when taking pre-workout
- You work out in the evening, since this is highly caffeinated and will likely disrupt your sleep
What Are Other Customers Saying About Pre-Kaged?
Pre-Kaged has decent reviews online, with a 4.2/5 star rating on amazon and 62% of those being 5 star reviews. Customers gave high praise to the quality of ingredients, noted that they experienced good recovery and had perceived reductions in muscle soreness.
As for the negative reviews, the most common complaints were about the taste and feelings of anxiety or stomach upset after taking the product. There were also a ton of reviews about damaged product arriving, but that’s an Amazon/shipping issue and not a product complaint.
There were very few complaints about the product actually not working or being ineffective, just very strongly worded feelings about the poor taste.
That being said, for every negative review about taste, there were two more that said they love the taste. For every reviewer that said they experienced no side effects, there were two that said they felt anxious, jittery, or nauseous when taking it.
The product has a very large scoop size (29.6g), so I recommend starting with ¼ to ½ scoop to assess tolerance and increase from there.
As far as the issue of taste is concerned, many people agree with my assessment above that if you want it to taste good, you have to mix it with 500-700ml of water. Any less than that and the taste is way too strong and overpowering.
Switching gears from Amazon to the Kaged website, this product has an impressive 4.8/5 star rating with more than 1300 people giving it 5/5 and only 73 people giving it three stars or less.
It is typical to see higher ratings on a company’s website compared to a wholesaler like Amazon since people leaving reviews on a company website are more likely to already be fans of the brand and a bit positively biased.
The one star reviews, while limited, spoke to the same as Amazon: poor taste, little effect, or issues with shipping.
The five star reviews praise the product for providing good energy and pump with no crash.
Pre-Kaged Stim Free
If you are intrigued by the quality and unique ingredients of Pre-Kaged, but are in the population that works out in the evening or you are trying to reduce/eliminate caffeine, Kaged does offer a stim-free pre workout.
Pre-Kaged Stim-Free offers a virtually identical blend to Pre-Kaged, with same doses of all of the performance-based ingredients. They even include the mental focus blend of taurine, tyrosine, and acetyl-l l-tyrosine. The actual only difference between the two formulas is the removal of the organic caffeine from the stim-free version.
Unlike the caffeinated Pre-Kaged which comes in 7 different flavors, the Stim-Free version is only available in 2 flavors: Fruit Punch and Cherry Bomb.
The stim-free formula has the same cost per serving as the caffeinated one.
For experienced pre-workout users who really want to take their pre-workout and performance to the next level, Kaged offers Pre-Kaged Elite.
Pre-Kaged Elite is third party tested and Informed Choice certified, making it a safer option for athletes. It is also non-GMO, naturally flavored, and gluten-free.
- Read my complete Kaged Elite Pre-Workout Review: SOLID Gains (At What Cost?)
Pre-Kaged Elite contains considerably higher doses of the pump and performance ingredients, with a whopping 10g of L-Citrulline, 3.2g of beta-alanine (twice what the original formula has), and a full 5g clinical dose of creatine.
The Elite formula also sees the addition of elevATP® and L-Carnitine for increased energy, but we see the removal of the BCAA and Leucine found in the regular formula.
Finally, the Elite formula has 388mg of caffeine (114mg more than Pre-Kaged), and has Alpha-GPC, Guayusa Leaf Extract, and Huperzine added for increased mental focus.
This product is absolutely only for experienced users and is designed to provide great pump, energy, endurance, stamina, and mental focus.
Pre-Kaged Elite is available in 5 flavors: Fruit Punch, Grape, Caribbean Sunrise, Orange Mango, and Strawberry Lemonade.
Pre-Kaged Elite does come at a premium price, however. It costs $3.00 per serving, making it one of the most expensive pre-workouts on the market. Considering that this product contains over 20 ingredients and clinical doses of all ingredients, the cost is more justified.
Are There Any Promos or Discounts For Pre-Kaged?
The Kaged Website offers a subscribe and save feature which allows you to save 10% off your order.
At the time this article is being written, they have a page on their website titled Surplus Sale which is offering 25% off select products.
I don’t know if they always post their promotions on this page of their website, but I recommend either signing up for their newsletter or checking the website frequently to find sales and promotions.
Kaged also offers a rewards program whereby you earn points from making purchases, leaving reviews, and referring friends. These points can be redeemed for gift cards to use towards the products.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Pre-Kaged The Best Pre Workout?
Pre-Kaged is a high quality, third party tested pre-workout that is great for increasing strength, energy, pump, and recovery. Some users note that it has a flavor that is too strong and some users note negative side effects like nausea and anxiety with this product.
Is Pre-Kaged Third Party Tested?
Pre-Kaged is third party tested and Informed Sport Certified, making it a suitable option for any elite and drug-tested athletes.
Is Pre-Kaged Good For Weight Loss?
Pre-Kaged will increase energy and mental focus, thereby increasing the quality of your workouts. Whether you experience weight loss or muscle gain will be mostly dependent on your diet and lifestyle than from the ingredients found within this pre-workout.
Is Pre-Kaged Safe For Women?
Pre-Kaged is safe for women and makes a great pre-workout option. It should not be used when pregnant or breastfeeding.
How Much Caffeine Does Pre-Kaged Have?
Pre-Kaged contains 274mg of organic caffeine.
Does Pre-Kaged Have Creatine?
Pre-Kaged has a 1.5g dose of Creatine HCl.
How Long Does Pre-Kaged Last For?
The energy and pump benefits of Pre-Kaged typically last anywhere from 45 minutes to 90 minutes, with the mental focus benefits stretching hours past ingestion.
Does Pre-Kaged Need To Be Cycled?
Pre-Kaged does not technically need to be cycled, but I recommend not using it every single day or taking a week off every 4-6 weeks to help reset your caffeine tolerance. This will help reduce the likelihood of developing dependency or running into the issue where your product no longer feels effective .
Will Pre-Kaged Make Me Jittery?
Pre-Kaged is high in caffeine and may cause feelings of anxiety or jitteriness. Start by taking ¼ to ½ scoop the first couple of times you try this pre-workout to assess your tolerance. Discontinue use if you experience uncomfortable symptoms.
What Flavors Are Available For Pre-Kaged?
Pre-Kaged is available in 7 different flavors: Fruit Punch, Grape, Pink Lemonade, Krisp Apple, Orange Krush, Berry Blast, and Cherry Bomb.
Where Is Pre-Kaged Made?
Kaged Supplements are based in Huntington Beach, California.
What Is Kaged’s Shipping Policy?
Kaged offers free shipping on all US orders of $79 or more. For orders below $79, they charge a flat rate of $6.49. International shipping costs vary. Orders placed on working business days are typically shipped within 3-5 business days.
What Is Kaged’s Return Policy?
If you are unsatisfied with your product, you can return it to Kaged within 30 days for a store credit or full refund. They cannot process returns made through third-party retailers. Returns must be issued within 30 days of delivery and they do not accept returns on products that are empty or have more than half used.
How To Contact Kaged?
Kaged has an online chat available Monday to Friday from 9am to 4pm PST, or they can be reached during those same hours at 844-445-2433.
Pre-Kaged is third party tested, contains patented ingredients, and uses clinical doses for the majority of its ingredients, which helps to justify the cost per serving.
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About The Author
Jennifer Vibert is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Nutrition Coach, and supplement store manager. She has a Bachelor of Kinesiology with a major in Fitness and Lifestyle and a minor in Psychology from the University of Regina. She is a Certified Nutrition Coach through Precision Nutrition, with a passion for helping clients learn the fundamentals of nutrition and supplementation in order to build healthy, sustainable habits.
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