Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre-Workout

ON Pre-workout has made a significant imprint in the would-be bodybuilder’s arsenal of supplements. ON is known for its high-quality protein so it comes as no surprise they have added a pre-workout fit for a range of gym-goers, bodybuilders, and athletes. I for one had to get my hands on GOLD and try it first hand to see if it lived up to the hype and the company’s claim – clean energy, No crash, increased mental focus and great pump.

I wasn’t disappointed, however, Gold Standard pre workout only delivered on some of its promises. The energy burst I had was clean and light with little crash coming down after an hour and a half workout – attributed to the little dosage of Beta Alanine. I take 1.5 scoops to get a decent amount of energy 30-45mins before I train with a 10-15 min warm up on the bike. Gold Standard is a safe bet especially for first-time bodybuilders, if anything it’s what I would recommend if you are starting out in the gym. There is nothing to dislike about it and you should get an idea of what works for you in regards to other products you seek to digest.

For most bodybuilders who take pre-workout nail it down to…

I tend not to take sides. Just because everyone is saying it’s a pre-workout everyone should have –especially coming from Optimum Nutrition doesn’t necessarily say you gain the right kind of feedback as it’s already a part of the user inept mind-set. I have taken the liberty to give you a detailed insight into O.N. Gold Standard pre workout – offering first-hand experience breaking down its ingredients, value for money and how it stacks up against other pre-workout products on the market. First, let’s start with the ingredients 

Gold Standard Pre-Workout Ingredients

ON gives you an open formula with its list of ingredients –  enough information to give you a great piece of analysis. I’m more of a feels kind of guy when it comes to pre-workout but it’s always nice to know what gives you that mentality of steel when throwing weights around. Here are 3 key components that I believe make up the total matrix of Gold Standard.

Caffeine (175mg)

Caffeine is and will be the primary booster for this pre-workout with a 175g per scoop. I say it’s generous given the amount of caffeine you get with 2 scoops. I sit around 1.5 scoops on an empty stomach – suffice enough for me to get a good clean hit of energy. It’s also made up of caffeine from natural sources (tea and coffee bean); saving the regular coffee you might take prior to a workout.  Compared to the other components I wouldn’t recommend taking two scoops to make up for the lack of B Vitamins or beta-alanine – which brings the product into question around cost.

If you are an extremist and need two scoops then by all means. However, I tried taking two scoops as I have a high tolerance and tried all kinds over the years but let me tell you something – it was the most excruciating 45mins of my life, my face felt like it was melting! The sensation I had experienced is known as “parenthesia” which is a harmless tingling (itching, burning, prickling, numbness) sensation that many people feel after ingesting Carnosyn Beta-alanine.

Beginners should start out with 1 scoop to assess tolerance.  It’s a safe bet if you have no idea what you’re ingesting and will give you an idea over a 2 week period of what you can tolerate.

Caffeine works for energy, focus, mood, claims Optimum Nutrition have made on this product. However, if science is all you care about then click on Caffeine and do a bit of homework.

Creatine Monohydrate (3g CreaPure)

Ah, Creatine – this is what I like to see and personally something that always has me peaking. Like many pre-workouts on the market, Gold Standard utilizes Creatine monohydrate – specifically 3g Creatine into is muscle matrix. There are numerous studies showing a wide array of benefits with a 3-5g dosage per day. It is known to deliver on its promise of improved strength. Personally, I did not notice much change because I would take an Intra (Size ON by Gaspari) during my workouts, but it definitely delivers on its scientific claim. Creatine Monohydrate is basically a fuel source for the ATP, which is an energy system used for short bursts of power. It delivers on recovery, brain performance muscle strength and sprint performance.


3g of Creatine is perfect for the beginner since were thinking in 1.5 scoops and most studies show 5g per day.

Optimum Nutrition has handled their disclaimer correctly unlike other pre-workout companies who dust Creatine for the sake of it being on a label leading an inexperienced user to think they are getting the full benefits of when really they’re not… This is not the case with Optimum Nutrition, Big Thumbs up to them!

L-Citrulline Malate (1.5g)

There had to be an anti-climax somewhere and we’ve reached that point. This is where Gold Standard pre workout let me down. First, let me break down the difference between L-Citrulline and L-Citrulline Malate which Optimum Nutrition has opted for in Gold Standard pre workout.

L-Citrulline is an incredible amino acid that gets converted to L-arginine and then goes on to boost nitric oxide levels better than arginine.

This L-Citrulline-induced nitric oxide level boost leads to all sorts of impressive benefits, including –Increased training capacity, a minor boost to growth hormone levels, reduced fatigue, and reduced soreness. This is all great but there are two problems. Gold standard is made up with CITRULLINE MALATE not L-Citrulline.

  1. By using the cheaper malate form, you are effectively cutting your L-Citrulline dosage in half. This is going to get far less of the nitric oxide benefits listed above (yet will provide for a few extra endurance benefits thanks to the malic acid).
  1. Dosage – research suggests a use 6g of Citrulline Malate or 3g of L-Citrulline. You’re simply not going to get those dosages in with this product without getting a relatively hazardous amount of caffeine (and then it would cost a lot of money). Ultimately, this is the area where I believe ON was weak with weightlifters. It’s equivalent to drinking red bull without Taurine – It just wouldn’t work.

Our Gold Standard Pre Review

Personal review – ON claim and Reviews amongst others

Overall Gold Standard lives up to its reputation and amongst others a subtle formula that works well for beginners. I personally enjoyed the clean energy boost I got from 1.5 scoops, especially on a low-carb day struggling to make it through my day. in saying; my mental focus increased which helped on a leg or back day allowing me to push out an extra workout or two. However, that was only sustained over a week and needed to increase my usage to two scoops; a shame considering the value for money was lost at this point.

Overall I would give Gold Standard 8 out of 10 as a result of the fundamentals – Caffeine, Beta Alanine, and Creatine monohydrate. The biggest disappointment is the 1.5g of L-Citrulline compared to the likes of C4 holding 1g of Arginine – a popular ingredient allowing your body to convert it to Nitric Oxide (NO).

Gold Standard pre-workout is a good entry level pre-workout that comes in 6 flavors – with Strawberry Lime being my personal favorite. You can find Gold Standard Pre all across the internet and in supplement stores. No matter which pre-workout you try, we wish you a successful bodybuilding career.