Gone are the days when the only way to get your supplements were to chew on a large powdery pre-workout tablet that only tasted like chalk.

Today, you have options that span the gamut from time-release capsules to dissolving films you put under your tongue. The hot debate right now is whether you should take your pre-workout supplements in pill or powder form.

In this review, we will cover both sides, and their alternatives, while giving you the positives and negatives.

The ideal supplement will help you improve performance, promote muscle growth and be easy on your digestive system. You have two forms to choose from: pills or powders.

Which single-serving supplement has the most effective dose for your training sessions? Let's find out.

The simple answer is that there isn’t a right or wrong answer.

Some people don’t like mixing powders and playing chemist while they are waking up, and others have difficulty swallowing pre-workout pills. There is more to the decision, though, if neither of those situations applies to you. Let's take a look.

woman doing side planks next to a green kettlebell and workout pills

1. Convenience Of Preparation

It is no secret that pre-workout pills are easier to prepare. Once you have the bottle open, just shake out the required number of pills, pop them in your mouth and swallow with some water.

Powders, on the other hand, are only slightly more involved. You need to open the canister, find the scoop, and measure the correct amount into a glass. Mix the powder in the glass and then drink.

The thing about the powder mix, though, is that you can make it the night before or anytime that is best for you and store it in the fridge for a nice refreshing drink before your next gym session.

2. Dosage Needed

As far as pre-workout supplements go, the dosage is similar across all ingestion options. One scoop of pre-workout powder will typically have the same amount of the same ingredients as 2 pills or capsules.

Because these are only designed to add mental focus, boost energy levels and keep you motivated throughout your exercise performance, you don’t take multiples per day. One and done for the pre-workouts, so dosing is simple no matter what.

3. Ingredients Compared

For the most part, the only ingredient difference between pre-workout pills and pre-workout powder will be flavoring.

Pre-workout pills and tablets are swallowed, not chewed, and don't need to have fancy fruit or berry flavors added to make them more palpable. If you mix creatine in your pre-workout, though, you won't be able to do so with a pill.

Likewise, those looking for protein supplements won't find them in pill form; it is just not feasible to pack the proper amount into a capsule unless you want to take 30 at a time.

What you will find in both forms are vital nutrients like amino acids, energy and fat burners, beta-alanine and effective dosages of caffeine, and natural ingredients such as vitamins and other active ingredients.

4. Personal Taste

Essentially, choosing between capsules and powders for your pre-workout consumption comes down to personal preference. Unless, as we mentioned earlier, you struggle to swallow pills, it just comes down to convenience and what you want to do.

Some gym goers and fitness enthusiasts even buy both forms and mix them up throughout the week, just for more variety.

person shaking pre-workout from the bottle into their hand

What Exactly Are Pre-Workout Powders?

Pre-workout powder is a dehydrated and crystalline form of the ingredients on the label.

Even caffeine is dehydrated (listed as “anhydrous”) in many cases.[1] All this means is that when the powder mixes with water, it does so almost instantly and without pre-workout clumps, unlike your whey pancake mix.

Most powders also have additional flavors added to make pre-workouts taste better. Fruits, chocolate, and berry flavors are common, but you can find them in a wide variety of exotic flavors, or add your own, too.

We highly recommend trying Transparent Labs Bulk Pre-Workout in the delicious Strawberry Kiwi flavor for its amazing and refreshing taste that will enhance your workout experience. 

Pros & Cons Of Pre-Workout Powders

Pre-workout powder mixes have a lot of benefits and only a few downsides. It is important to make note of both sides of the coin, though, so let's take a look at pre-workout pros and cons:


  • Powder forms are easily dissolved in any temperature water [2].
  • Not grainy or lumpy like other supplements.
  • Multiple flavors available.
  • Add flavor or fruit on your own.
  • Can include citrulline malate and L-theanine as well as other larger compounds.
  • Consistent measurements and results right in your water bottle.
  • Instantly absorbed and taking action in less than 30 minutes.
  • Higher BCAA and creatine levels than most other forms.[3]
  • Easy to adjust the dosage to vary results or limit side effects.


  • Not as portable as pills.
  • Entire drink must be taken at the same time.
  • Some flavors are just gross.
  • Can get expensive.
person scooping pre-workout powder into a shaker bottle

What Exactly Are Pre-Workout Pills?

A pre-workout pill is similar to a powder, except that you don’t need to mix it with water before you take it.

The powder pre-workout pills are either pressed into a tablet form or placed inside a capsule that you swallow with a glass of water.

The pre-workout pills contain high levels of caffeine and all the other vitamins, minerals, and supplements you need to kick start your workout or endurance training gym time.

Though, this is usually in smaller amounts than the powder counterpart. You will need to take multiple capsules at a time and drink plenty of water while doing so.

person with pre-workout pill in hand

Pros & Cons Of Pre-Workout Pills

Like all things that go into our bodies, there are positives and negatives.

It is important to note each side so you can make a well-informed decision about what is best for you and your needs.


  • Easy to transport in your gym bag.
  • Capsules can be taken virtually anywhere.
  • Doesn’t require water to mix or be placed in a shaker.
  • Tasteless.


  • The pills are huge and difficult to swallow.
  • Requires drinking a lot of water to stay hydrated.
  • May have to take multiple pills to get the full dose.
  • Difficult to adjust dosages.

Frequently Asked Pre-Workout Pills Vs Powder Questions

How can you make pre-workout powder more convenient to take?

There are several ways to improve your pre-workout taking timeline. With pill form pre-workouts, you can use a pill box to set your dose up ahead of time.

Powder form pre-workouts can be premixed and stored in your shaker bottle in the fridge the night before. The trick is to make it easier to remember and consume until it becomes a habit.

What supplements are effective in pill form?

Caffeine, creatine, and branched-chain amino acids are all viable supplements in pill form. This includes vitamins and minerals as well. Not all pre-workouts, supplements, or vitamin sources can be contained in a pill, but most can.

What supplements are not effective in pill form?

There are a few examples of supplements that don't work in pill form. Whey protein is one of those examples. Protein takes up a lot of space, and to get the required daily amounts in your serving, the pill would be the size of your fist, or you would need to take them by the handful.

How many workout pills should I take before a workout?

This will depend on the brand and the formula of the pre-workout pill. In most cases, you will take one or two capsules at a time. Some formulas will direct you to take with food or additional amounts of water, and you may be able to double the dosage by up to four capsules.

What pills do bodybuilders take?

Most bodybuilders will take a lot of supplements during training and performances. These will include the typical ingredients found in pre-workouts, such as creatine, caffeine, BCAAs, and fish oils.


Whether you decide to take your pre-workout supplement as a powder mix, a pill or tablet, or even a smoothie, the only requirement is that you take it.

Good habits and daily ingestion will allow the ingredients to build up in your system and do their jobs, like building muscles.

Choosing between a pill or a powder supplement comes down to taste, preference, ingredient list, and cost. Neither option is the best, and neither is the worst.

It all boils down to what works best for you and which one you will be more likely to take on a regular basis. Hopefully, you found this article helpful in making that decision.

The right formula for you comes from the right supplement companies, most popular brands, and of course, the different forms that work best with your body to give you energy during your workouts.

If you can't decide, though, start with pre-workout powders as they tend to work faster, and it is easier to control their dosages. We would recommend you go with Transparent Labs Bulk pre-workout, because it has high quality ingredients and great taste.

Comparing pre-workout pills and powder comes down to a tiny capsule or a small scoop of powdered supplements mixed with water.


1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK519490/
2. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/11/8/1857
3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4898252/

Miloš Lepotic

Miloš Lepotic

Meet Miloš, a certified sports nutritionist and self-taught supplement expert whose pharmacological background and nearly a decade of gym experience make him the perfect guide for optimizing your health and athletic performance through supplement reviews and practical advice rooted in factual, science-backed information.