Optimum Nutrition ESSENTIAL Muscle Recovery Pre-Workout Supplement

Last updated: October 13, 2023

Optimum Nutrition ESSENTIAL Muscle Recovery Pre-Workout Supplement

Our Review Process

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We looked at the top Pre-Workout Supplements and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Pre-Workout Supplement you should buy.

Overall Take

If you want a supplement that aids in muscle recovery, the Optimum Nutrition ESSENTIAL Preworkout Essential Servings may be your answer, with its amino acid blend. This formula contains no sugar and only 5 calories per serving. This pre-workout supplement also doubles as an energy and focus booster. You can use it any time of day, like when your afternoon lull sets in at work.

In our analysis of 45 expert reviews, the Optimum Nutrition ESSENTIAL Muscle Recovery Pre-Workout Supplement placed 6th when we looked at the top 9 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

From The Manufacturer

AMINO BLEND – a perfectly blended mix of amino acids to aid in muscle recovery*. ENERGY BLEND – With 100MG of caffeine coming from green tea and/or green coffee extracts to supply you with a boost of energy to help you get through the day or a grueling workout* MENTAL FOCUS – don’t allow the day to get the best of you, the unique formula in ESSENTIAL AMIN.O. ENERGY helps provide you with the mental focus you need* ANY-TIME FORMULA – this unique formula is perfect for any time of the day such as helping you get energized and focused in the morning, helping to stay focused and productive in the afternoon, or even supporting your energy levels and focus in the gym*. 12 CALORIES PER SERVING; 1G OF CARBS; NO SUGAR; 10+ DELIGHTFUL FLAVORS TO CHOOSE FROM.

Expert Reviews

What experts liked

Gives you fast energy without relying too heavily on caffeine
Has ingredients for improving focus and endurance
Comprehensive Amino Blend. Increased energy levels and a ton of other health benefits.
Optimum’s Amino Energy Pre-workout combines essential Amino Acids with Green Tea and Coffee Bean extract to help boost energy and repair muscles while cutting out unnecessary calories, proteins, carbs, or fats
Relatively cheap compared to other pre-workout supplements
Amino Energy can be used as a pre workout but also post workout too, while Gold Standard is intended more as a ‘classic’ pre workout supplement.
Amino Energy boosts an ingredient list of 65 different amino acids as well a blend of green tea and coffee extract. This provides a rejuvenating energy kick whilst improving your recovery.

What experts didn't like

Some find the flavor to be too tart
No information about dosages and ratios of the amino acids
Proprietary blends. Manufacturer fails to divulge most of the individual ingredient amounts. Thumbs down.
Package sometimes contains less product than expected
My biggest issue is the amount of artificial ingredients that I don’t believe are needed. It has artificial and natural flavors which are virtually the same thing.
However, the big negative when it comes to Amino Energy is that it uses a proprietary blend on the ingredients label.
Though there is a large amount of amino acids present, the dosage of some of them, for example, Beta-Alanine is less than desired.


Pre-workout supplements are designed to be taken before you begin exercising. The main goal of taking the supplements is to help you reach your goals by providing such benefits as a sharper mental focus, added strength and increased energy. Since not all supplements are created equal, there are a few things you’ll want to look for before you make a purchase.

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Check to see whether the supplement has undergone any testing. For example, some supplements are third-party tested and confirmed not to include any ingredients that would get an athlete banned.

Look at the product label to make sure it meets your dietary needs. Some are listed as vegetarian while others are gluten-free. You’ll even find brands that are keto-friendly and free of GMOs.

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Verify that the supplement has low to zero sugar, carbs and calories. This is especially important if you’re trying to lose weight. Nutritionists urge members of the public not to drink their calories, but to save them for mealtimes. Also, watch out for non-plant-based sugar substitutes, like aspartame. Stevia, Xylitol and Erythritol are a better choice, as they are all-natural.

Review the pre-workout supplement’s ingredients and associated benefits. If you’re looking for energy, you’ll need a supplement with caffeine. Should you desire to increase your strength, then you’ll want a formula like Six Star Explosion Powerful Intensity that utilizes creatine.

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Finally, does the supplement taste good? You may be able to gulp down a shake that tastes like grass, but wouldn’t you rather enjoy the shake? The Optimum Nutrition STANDARD Pre Workout Creatine Beta Alanine is known for its delicious flavors, which include fruit punch, blueberry lemonade, watermelon, green apple, strawberry lime and pineapple.

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