Gold Standard Pre Workout Review: The Cadillac of Pre Workouts

Posted on February 18th, 2016 By Allie Lewis in Pre Workout Reviews Read Time: 12 mins.

Recently updated on September 26th, 2022 at 09:50 pm

Gold Standard. Pre Workout. Optimum Nutrition. Review. Get the picture? Yeah you do. I actually can’t believe it has taken me this long to get around to doing this Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre Workout Review– but I suppose it’s better late than never. Right? Of course. I have almost zero caffeine in my system for this review, so do bear with me as I clear the cobwebs out and try to bear down for another extensive pre workout review. These articles can get very detailed, so make sure you’re in a good, cozy spot on the couch. Preferably with the Bachelor on in the background, like I have right now. That way neither of us can focus. But we must try. What are we going to try and do? We’re going to review the heck out of this pre workout. I’m going to grade it across the four key pre workout elements: flavor, performance, formula, and packaging. I’ll tie everything together at the very end in a final review summary. So turn the girls to mute, put your reading cap on, and get ready for yet another fun Optimum Nutrition Review.

I don’t have much caffeine in me. But I do have a fire in the fireplace, a great song in my headphones, and my dog Serabe curled up at my feet. I guess you could say life is pretty good. You know what else is pretty good? Optimum Nutrition. Yes. The whole company. They’re pretty good. They never put out something that I love, and they certainly never put out something that I hate. They just make good, safe, high-performance supplements. They’re always priced a tiny bit higher than you want to pay, but often times it is worth it. I got my man a jar of Gold Standard Pre Workout for Christmas and he was only about halfway through it before he switched to Adonis pre workout (still need to review that one too btw). But that was fine with me because I could try some of the ON pre workout. I took it for the first time today, and am here to tell you ALL about it. Let’s start from the beginning.

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre Workout Flavor Grade: 8.9

Some of the Gold Standard reviews online are less than flattering when they talk about the Gold Standard Pre Workout taste. They say that it’s not sweet enough, and also leaves a funky aftertaste in some flavors. I’m not going to write home about how good this pre workout tastes, but I’m here to say that it doesn’t taste so bad at all. I actually really enjoyed my pineapple flavor. I wouldn’t have picked pineapple for myself, but my bf literally LOVES pineapple so I did the good girlfriend thing and got him the one that HE wanted. Not the one I wanted. That’s not how it goes usually. But it was Christmastime. Point being that I expected to sort of hate how Gold Standard Pre Workout tasted. But to my delight, it was drinkable, if not enjoyable. The pineapple flavors were far from being authentic or true to an actual pineapple, but I really did enjoy it never-the-less, because the sweetness was literally perfectly matched with the bitter/sour elements. It was really nicely balanced. The texture and mixability were also completely on point, which is why I’m giving Gold Standard a high ‘B’ plus on the flavor. 

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre Workout Formula Grade: 8.9

As I swished down my pre workout, I had a nice long, hard look at the supplement facts panel. There are 30 servings per container, and each container has 30 servings. The scoop size isn’t tiny like some, and at the same time it’s not monstrous like some others (cough Pre Kaged cough). 

The ingredients start with a big old dosage of vitamin D. I love this play. Most people don’t know, but vitamin D is probably the MOST helpful vitamin if you’re trying to add lean muscle to your frame- which I am absolutely trying to do following a diet in which I, er, sort of ‘overdid’ it, as I tend to do on occasion. Sure I lost some fat. But I also lost way too much muscle mass. I need to get some back. Gold Standard will actually help me do that because in addition to Vitamin D, it also has these strength-boosting ingredients

Creatine Monohydrate

N-Acetyl L-Carnitine Hcl

L-Citrulline Malate


Not the most comprehensive formula I’ve ever seen, but it has just enough punch to get you through a really difficult workout. I would like to see them add some additional caffeine to the Gold Standard pre workout powder, but you can also double up on the servings to get to 350 mg- which is a sweet spot for me. 

The strongest elements of this formula are the big dose of creatine (will add some bloat, just so you know), and then the N-Acetyl L-Carnitine. I literally love Acetyl L-Carnitine and would put it in everything if I could. Oh wait. I do. So yeah. Good formula. Nothing crazy. But really solid. 

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre Workout Performance Grade: 8.9

After I polished off my last sip of Gold Standard pre workout, it was off to the gym. Like I said, I’ve really been trying to get my strength back. So that meant it was back to the weights. No more cardio until I’m back at a healthy weight. (Can you tell my boyfriend had a very frank heart-to-heart with me about my dieting habits?). (And by dieting habits I mean eating disorder?). Lol. Helpless emoji. But yeah. Weights! 

I got right into some rear delt raises to activate my upper body muscles. I’ve really been trying to balance out my upper body and get my posterior on point. It’ll help my slouchy, horrible posture too. I was able to crank out sets of 18, for what seemed like 20 minutes. Hammering the rhomboids, middle/lower traps, and delts. I started to feel my elbow pain start to nag, so I did have to stop there, but, I felt really, really good until then. 3 grams of creatine will do that for you every time. I felt strong and dominant. The focus was also pretty good. There’s not a whole lot of ‘pump’ like you get with something like White Rapids (our silver medalist in the BPW Top Ten Pre’s this year), but Gold Standard is not about the pump. It’s all about the strength, and the performance.

As I moved into some dumbbell lunges, I could continue to feel that effect prove out. The endurance of this product is average, and could be improved. But that’s why you’re supposed to buy Optimum’s BCAA’s to go along with it. Right? Of course (My Amino Energy Review Here). I finished the workout sweating like a hog, and feeling very fulfilled and, well, big. Creatine has a really pronounced impact on my body to the point where I look almost like a whole different person after a strength workout. Bloat city. Such a good look. Lol. Definitely something to consider if your wondering can girls take Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard pre workout. I do really like this pre workout for adding strength and mass. Less so for cutting down, or for weight loss purposes. 

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre Workout Packaging Grade: 9.7

This is one of the best-looking pre workouts on the market today in my opinion. There’s a sort of continuity to the product that I enjoy tremendously. From the lid, to the jar, to the color palette, to the ‘Banned Substance Free’ emblem—this product is absolutely gorgeous. It all starts with using real golden finish as the primary color. When the name is ‘Gold Standard Pre-Workout’, and then you use gold as the main color, it’s like everything is aligned so magnificently. You can’t help but fall in love with this packaging. The pineapple flavor has a yellow brick of color nestled into the right-side of the design, which reinforces the flavor of the pre workout. 

The sickest part of this design is probably the gold lid, but in addition to that, the entire design language is very futuristic without being over-the-top. It’s geometrically sound. It’s refined but distinctive. I feel like I’m voicing over a car commercial. Hey. That’s not a bad comparison now that I think of it. This pre workout belongs in that Matthew McConaughey commercial with the nice house and the nice Cadillac. It’s that same sort of ‘luxe metropolitan’ vibe. If that makes no sense at all, call me on it please. Lol. But that’s about the best way I can describe it. 

If there’s one knock on this product, visually speaking, it’s that it’s not terribly feminine. I assure you, woman can take Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre Workout, but I don’t think tons of chicks are walking by this product on the shelves and thinking ‘oh, this is the one for me’. But I think that’s fine by ON. They know their customers are informed enough to grab some Gold Standard Pre Workout by looking at the Supplement Facts. So. Yeah. I really don’t have to say much more about the looks of this pre workout. It’s incredibly attractive. 

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre Workout Review Summary


  • Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre Workout Flavor Grade: 8.9
  • Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre Workout Formula Grade: 8.9
  • Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre Workout Performance Grade: 8.9
  • Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre Workout Packaging Grade: 9.7
  • Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre Workout Value Score: 9.5


Earlier in the review I said Optimum Nutrition doesn’t often blow me away. But this is the closest they’ve come, with the Gold Standard Pre Workout. You simply can not go wrong with Gold Standard, based off the way this product performs, tastes, and is priced.*


Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Pre Workout Final Score: 9.4

Allie Lewis

By Allie Lewis

Hi, my name is Allie and reviewing products is my hobby. I am passionate about being fit and active, so making a blog about my experience with different products that help me stay healthy made sense to me. Please contact me at any time if you would like to guest post or advertise on-site.