The Best Pre Workout Supplements For Cardio

By | August 15, 2015

best pre workout for cardioThere is a lot of conjecture and squabbling by fitness enthusiasts over whether taking a pre workout supplement before doing cardio is a good thing or not. If you spend enough time in any crossfit studio or weightlifting gym you are bound to hear some heated discussions on this topic. If you’ve ended up on this page then I assume that you, like me, think that pre workout before cardio is a good thing and would like to know what the best pre workout for cardio actually is. Luckily for you, that is something that I have done a lot of research into because I hate cardio like nothing else and to get me doing a lot of it I need all the help I can get.

Heart Attack?

So like I said above, there are a lot of haters out there that are against using a pre workout drink before doing cardio exercise like running or cycling or swimming. The main reason cited by most of these naysayers is something along the lines of “pre workouts increase your heart rate and my heart rate is through the roof when doing cardio anyway so if I take I a pre workout and then do cardio my heart will quite possibly explode.” Now this is pretty sound logic and I completely agree with it in theory but the argument hinges on the assumption that all pre workouts will get your heart rate higher than cheech and chong and that is simply not correct.

To Stim or Not to Stim

best pre workout for runningWalk into a supplement shop these days and you will no doubt be confronted by a vast array of brightly colored packages containing all manner of pre, intra and post workout enhancing products. Scattered throughout these shelves or organized in their own special section will be an assortment of stimulant free products. These do not contain any central nervous system stimulants and as such should have absolutely no effect on your heart rate whatsoever. If you take one of these before exercising and your heart explodes I’d say you’re probably doing something wrong with your exercise program.

That’s not to say that pre workouts with stimulants should be avoided before cardio though. Well not in my books anyway. I really do not enjoy cardio for the sake of cardio such as running or swimming or elliptical or rowing or any of those other stupid machines at the gym. I’d even go so far as to say I hate it. Strangely enough though, I can run all day if I’m chasing a ball or playing any kind of sport and don’t think anything of paddling for hours if the surf is good. Anyway, when I can’t go surfing or play sport and need to keep my fitness up then cardio for the sake of cardio is the only option. Some days I can force myself to do it but other days I am not motivated enough and this is where a good pre workout containing stimulants becomes invaluable to me. The stimulant factor gives me the energy and motivation I need to get it done.

The Benefits of Taking Pre Workout Before Cardio

As I see it, the 2 main benefits of using a pre workout before doing cardio are:

  • Energy and Motivation Boost, and
  • Improved Performance of The Body.

Energy and Motivation Boost

For me this is probably the main thing. It is a fact that pre workout drinks don’t make running any less painful. However on the days where I just couldn’t be bothered they give me the extra motivation and energy I need to actually get outside or to the gym and justify the cost of my running shoes.

Improved Performance of The Body

stort-692739_640I have no doubt that there are a great many people out there for whom this would be the main reason they’d use this kind of supplement. If you are one of these people then you may well like to consider a stimulant free formula that still has all the other performance enhancing properties. Not only will it help your muscles work harder and for longer but it will also help them recover quicker. No pain no gain is still true (especially when it comes to cardio!) but I say why endure any more than you need and why have it last any longer than necessary.

Bearing this in mind I have compiled this list of what I think are the best pre workout supplements to take before doing any sort of cardio.

For more details on pre workouts including what they do and how they do it, here is some good information on pre workout supplementation for beginners.

My Top 3 Pre Workout Supplements for Cardio

As I said, this content is my opinion and even though I know a lot about supplementation I am not a doctor I am not qualified to give medical advice so please consult your doctor to discuss your own specific health requirements.

Magnum Nutraceuticals Opus Pre Workout

magnum opus pre workoutThis powerful pre workout is packed full of science backed ingredients which will ensure that your body can hit peak performance levels during any kind of workout. It has no caffeine and is widely regarded as the best caffeine pre workout supplement on the market. It is suitable for those who don’t want any caffeine or other stimulants but still want extra energy and enhanced muscular performance during their workout. The main benefits are:

  • Caffeine free
  • Maximizes muscle performance and blood flow
  • Boosts energy by increasing ATP levels

My full review with detailed information on the ingredients can be seen here:  Magnum Opus Pre Workout Review

Magnum Opus Pre Workout
If you work out in the evening or are sensitive to nervous system stimulants then do yourself a favor and check out Opus!

Cellucor C4 Exteme Pre Workout

Cellucor C4 extreme pre workoutCellucor C4 Extreme is one of the most popular pre workout drinks around, with both men and women. It is well known for being a high performing supplement in all the important areas of energy, focus, pump and endurance. On top of this many people say it is the best tasting product they’ve used. It contains stimulants though so if you are using it before high intensity cardio then you may want to only take a half serve. It seems fairly common for him to take a full serve before hitting the gym and her to take a half serve. Aww, how sweet. Check out my full review here: Cellucor C4 Extreme Review

Cellucor C4 Extreme Pre Workout Supplement
One of the best selling pre workout supplements of all time! Try it for yourself and see why!

Top Secret Nutrition Cardio Igniter Pre Workout

cardio igniter pre workoutThis has unofficially been crowned (by me) the best cardio pre workout for women. Don’t believe me? See the evidence along with a full review and comparison here: The Best Pre Workouts for Women of 2015 – Cardio Igniter

If you’re looking for a pre workout with a good stimulant blend that goes easy on your heart rate and has a heap of natural ingredients to boost the performance of your body then Cardio Igniter by Top Secret Nutrition is the answer to your prayers. Probably the most amazing thing to me is that this product has a significant fat burning component but doesn’t seem to have the effect of giving you a highly elevated heart rate. This is a pre workout that is specifically formulated to enhance performance during cardio exercise. Not only that but it is also designed to maximize results one can achieve from cardio workouts by helping to increase VO2 max and burn higher levels of fat.

Top Secret Nutrition Cardio Igniter
Use it for cardio or lifting or both. Try it yourself and see why so many people are raving about it!


Why You Should Do Cardio (Anaerobic) When Building Muscle

If you found this article interesting, you may also like this post: The Best Pre Workout SupplementsFor Women of 2015 – Top 5 Supplements for Females


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16 thoughts on “The Best Pre Workout Supplements For Cardio

  1. Katerina Markakis

    Hello there!
    This was a very informative post. I work out almost daily but I didn’t even know how important a pre workout is for cardio. I certainly learned a lot here.
    I will follow you tips and make sure I visit back for more advice. I will also try the supplements you recommend.
    Thank you for sharing!
    Great work!

  2. jean

    loved it , lol i actually use the c-4 prior to all my work outs so i know exactly what you were talking about , great topics , loved your you tube video at the bottom as well , i would do that for all of your posts , really liked that fact that you sound like you know what your talking about , just a suggestion and also a question , have thought as topic for one of your posts maybe blogging about injuries like ” planters faciiatis ” associated with running and sports ? i would like to read what you have to say about that because i am suffering from that and know so many others who are as well , good post !

    1. Brad Post author

      Hi Jean!

      Thanks for your comments. Unfortunately I don’t think I know quite enough about plantar fasciitis to write a post on it but I have experienced it in the past myself and can sympathize with your suffering. I hope it gets better soon!

  3. Hindy

    Very enlightening article. I wasn’t aware there was such a thing as a pre-workout. I took hate working out, and will do anything to avoid it, and I’m happy to report I’ve been very successful! I also agree that if I was out hiking, or canoeing I can happily do it without suffering. I like your honesty, and being quite a straightforward person myself, I like that you don’t pretend being in a gym is great and you love it! Perhaps you have the answer for me and my lack of enthusiasm.

    1. Brad Post author

      Hi Hindy!

      Thanks for your comments. I’m glad you’re able to keep fit and healthy by doing activities that you enjoy like hiking and canoeing. Should the day ever come that you can’t partake in thesae activities and need to resort to the gym to keep in shape I hope this new knowledge of yours comes in handy.

  4. Travis Smithers

    I really like the way you broke your post down to explain about the best pre-workout for cardio. I find having comparisons are always great but most of all I like the way you give a description on a few products that you recommend that would work according to your topic.

    I believe in not operating on an empty stomach for anything I do. Charge the system up and get it done.

  5. Eric

    I loved your article on pre workout supplements. I am an avid swimmer and workout 20 hours a week most of the year. A pre workout has never killed my workout but I personally like to take it only when I really feel a lack of energy or need some stimulation. I have a thought that it wouldn’t necessarily be a great thing to take preworkout every day I do cardio. Do you think it would be okay to take it every day?

    1. Brad Post author

      Thanks Eric. Many people take a pre workout every day and others only occasionally like you. I believe it comes down to personal preference. As long as you follow the manufacturers guidelines you should be ok I guess, however many sources also suggest taking a regular break from the stimulants so you don’t build up a tolerance. Hope that helps

  6. Evan

    Very informative post! I really like how you distinguished between stim and non-stim pre’s because that can be important for different peoples’ preferences. What do you prefer when taking a pre for cardio? I know I like the stim because it also helps with fat burning.

    Once again, great post. Keep ’em coming!

    1. Brad Post author

      Thanks Evan,

      Personally I liked stimmed too because I absolutely hate doing cardio (unless I’m playing sport) so I need the extra motivation.

  7. Karlo

    Thank you for publishing in depth article about the best pre woorkout supplement for cardio. I have to point out, you really explain everything we need to know about the benefits of taking pre workout before cardio. I really learned a lot by reading your article.
    Have a good day

  8. Kevin

    I’ve been thinking of getting a pre workout with the intention of boosting my motivation to go to the gym after work.
    But I think it might give me too much energy to the point that I might now be able to sleep. (Remember I’ll be taking it at night, when I have time to train)
    The other thing is doping, I play competitive sport sometimes and I always looking for clean supplements…
    Based on those two things, which of your three recommendations will apply better to me?

    Thank you for your time.

    1. Brad Post author

      Hi Kevin, I don’t believe any of the pre workouts I have reviewed will make you fail a drug test but I don’t know what they test for so best check that none of the banned substances appear in the ingredients list. If you are training late in the day you may want to look into this post 4 Of The Best Caffeine Free Pre Workout Supplements

      Thanks for the comment and happy training! 


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