Best Pre-Workout for Cardio Workouts & Running Exercises

Chances are, you’ve heard that when you are strength training, you need to give yourself a day or two between workouts to rest so that your muscles have the opportunity to recover. However, what about cardio? Should you rest between cardio workouts? After all, research has shown that cardio helps:

  • Heart functioning
  • Lung functioning
  • Blood flow
  • Mood
  • Sleep
  • Decreases risk of heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension

In order to get the most from your cardio workouts, you may want to consider using a pre-workout supplement, commonly referred to as a pre-workout. In this article, we’ll explain more about cardio, including the pros and cons of daily cardio workouts- as well as review the top 5 pre-workouts for cardio.

What you need to know about cardiovascular workouts

When it comes to cardio workouts, also referred to as aerobic activity, your muscles need more oxygen and blood flow when resting. This means that your heart and lungs work hard, which ultimately makes them stronger- and as they get stronger, the flow of blood and oxygen improves.

Cardio is an umbrella term to describe a variety of physical activities. Some of them, such as walking, can be done at a moderate pace while others, such as swimming laps, running, jumping rope, or biking uphill need to be done at an intense pace. If group activities are your thing, consider activities such as:

  • Spin classes
  • CrossFit
  • Bootcamp
  • Tennis
  • Zumba
  • Kickboxing
  • Basketball
  • Dance classes
  • Tennis
  • Soccer

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, adults aged 18 and older should be getting the following each week:

  • 150+ minutes of moderate activity
  • 75 minutes of intense activity
  • Equal combo of both

According to the World Health Organization, whatever activity you choose, you should spend at least 10 minutes at a time to benefit from it. If you opt for moderate-intensity workouts, 30 minutes a day is beneficial.

There is no cap to the amount of cardio you should do daily or weekly. However, if you are pushing yourself hard with every workout, the best way to avoid injury or burnout is to skip a day or two each week.

5 Best Pre-Workouts for Cardio

Now that you know more about cardio and how pre-workouts can improve your cardio sessions, we’re going to take a look at what we believe are the 5 best pre-workouts for cardio. You will want to experiment and find the one that works best for you, so don’t feel like you’re stuck once you choose one. Here are the pre-workouts we love:

  • XWERKS Ignite
  • Transparent Labs
  • CrazyNutrition Intensive Pre-Train
  • TestoPrime
  • PreLab Pro


The first pre-workout on our list is XWERKS Ignite. XWERKS is one of the most popular fitness supplement companies in the industry and their pre-workout backs up their reputation. Ignite has almost no side effects, which is why it’s different than the other options on the market.

Many of the pre-workouts give you a rush of energy, followed by a crash. However, Ignite gives you energy that lasts through your workouts and lets you down slowly as it wears off. It’s one of the strongest products on our list. This means that even when you’re engaging in intense workouts, you don’t have to worry about running out of energy and you don’t need to consume any additional caffeine.

Ignite contains the following ingredients:

  • Caffeine
  • Rhodiola Rosea
  • L-tyrosine
  • Vitamins B6 & B12
  • Beta-alanine

This combination of ingredients ensures that you don’t have to be concerned with physical or mental fatigue that often comes with an intense workout session. Ignite promises to facilitate faster repair and recovery, improve endurance, give you more energy than any other product on the market, and increase muscle mass.

Each container of XWERKS Ignite offers 30 servings for only $49. You can subscribe to their auto-ship program and save 5% per delivery, so you pay $46.65 per container. It comes in four delicious flavors:

  • Blue raspberry
  • Green apple
  • Orange
  • Watermelon
Product Type Powder
Ingredients Caffeine, Rhodiola Rosea, L-tyrosine, Vitamins B6 & B12, Beta-alanine
Dosage 1 serving/day
Side effects None
Cost/servings $49/30 servings
Guarantee Yes, 30-day

Transparent Labs

The second pre-workout on our list is Transparent Labs. This company is known for providing high-quality supplements to help people reach their goals. They offer 6 targeted pre-workout options instead of just one like most of the other companies do.

  • Preseries Jesse James West
  • Preseries Bulk
  • Preseries Lean
  • Preseries Stim-Booster
  • Preseries Stim-Free
  • Preseries HowToBeast

According to the company, these formulas promise to increase muscle mass and energy during your workout sessions. The ingredients are backed by science and each product contains the appropriate dosages of each to increase energy levels and facilitate weight loss or bulking up. These ingredients include:

  • Caffeine
  • Zinc
  • Vitamin D3
  • Beta-alanine
  • Theobromine
  • Vitamins B6 & B12
  • Potassium
  • Boron
  • Sodium
  • L-tyrosine
  • Taurine
  • L-theanine

If you’re looking for a targeted product, this is probably your best option. Each container offers 30 servings and costs $49.99. Plus, they offer a few flavors, so you don’t have to worry about getting bored:

  • Blue raspberry
  • Sour grape
  • Green apple
  • Tropical punch
  • Orange
  • Strawberry lemonade
Product Type Powder
Ingredients Caffeine, Zinc, Vitamin D3, Beta-alanine, Theobromine, Vitamins B6 & B12, Potassium, Boron, Sodium, L-tyrosine, Taurine, L-theanine
Dosage 1 serving/day
Side effects None
Cost/servings $49.99/30 servings
Guarantee Yes, 60 days

CrazyNutrition Intensive Pre-Train

CrazyNutrition was founded in 2013, making them a fairly young company compared to the others on our list. Their pre-workout contains a variety of ingredients to improve your overall athletic performance. It provides you with a rush of energy without the jitters that you would usually associate with a large dose of caffeine. Plus, it wears off slowly, so you don’t have to worry about crashing after your workout.

It promises to improve your focus and concentration during your workout so you can do your best. The powerful ingredients improve blood flow and reduce muscle fatigue, so your performance is maximized.

CrazyNutrition Intensive Pre-Train contains the following ingredients:

  • Betaine anhydrous
  • KSM-66 ashwagandha
  • Piperine
  • Citrulline malate
  • Taurine
  • EnXtra caffeine booster
  • Beta-alanine
  • L-tyrosine
  • L-arginine
  • Vitamin C
  • Whey protein

As you can see, this pre-workout is packed with a variety of high-quality ingredients, and the extraordinary amino acid profile prevents cramping and other undesirable side effects. It is available in three flavors:

  • Fruit punch
  • Green apple (caffeine free)
  • Blue raspberry

Each container offers 20 servings and costs $39.99. They do offer a subscription program that allows you to save a little, bringing your cost to $31.99 per container.

Product Type Powder
Ingredients Betaine anhydrous, KSM-66 ashwagandha, Piperine, Citrulline malate, Taurine, EnXtra caffeine booster, Beta-alanine, L-tyrosine, L-arginine , Vitamin C, Whey protein
Dosage 1 serving/day
Side effects None
Cost/servings $39.99/20 servings
Guarantee Yes, 60 days


TestoPrime is also well-known in the fitness industry. Their pre-workout is formulated for men with low-T- not only does it improve your athletic performance, it also boost testosterone levels.

According to the company, this pre-workout increases lean muscle mass, burns stubborn fat, boosts motivation, stimulates protein synthesis, increases testosterone, improves physical and mental energy, improves confidence, and so much more. They also claim that their formula works faster than others, without stimulants. The ingredients in TestoPrime include the following:

  • KSM-66 ashwagandha
  • Fenugreek
  • Panax ginseng
  • Vitamin D
  • D-aspartic acid
  • Pomegranate extract
  • Black pepper extract
  • Vitamin B5 & B6
  • Garlic extract

This combination of ingredients makes it an ideal choice- but it’s important to note that results vary. Some people will experience the quick results promised by the company while others don’t see them as quickly- but will still see them.

The amino acid profile is outstanding and means that you don’t have to be concerned with side effects. Each does offers max support even for intense sessions. Fat loss while taking this pre-workout is comparable to most of the others on the market.

One bottle contains 120 capsules, which will last 30 days. It will cost you $59.99. You can buy in bulk if you want to save some money: $119.99 for 2 months, with one month free or $179.99 for 3 months, and get 3 months free.

Product Type Capsule
Ingredients KSM-66 ashwagandha, Fenugreek, Panax ginseng, Vitamin D, D-aspartic acid, Pomegranate extract, Black pepper extract, Vitamin B5 & B6, Garlic extract
Dosage 4 capsules/day
Side effects None
Cost/servings $59.99/30 servings
Guarantee Yes, lifetime

PreLab Pro

PreLab Pro is the last pre-workout on our list of best pre-workouts for cardio. This product claims to “release the beast”, helping you reach max stamina and strength during your workouts. It is formulated to support workouts in a variety of ways.

According to the company, their pre-workout reduces recovery time, provides you with energy, improves endurance and strength, and so much more. This pre-workout is formulated to help you achieve a variety of goals.

Ingredients in PreLab Pro include the following:

  • Setria performance blend
  • L-theanine
  • Natural caffeine
  • Beetroot powder

You will see results fairly quickly- sometimes even with the first dose. You will find that you are more confident in your workouts and recovery is much faster. Your energy levels are much higher, and you’ll have the capability of putting in more effort. After all, the more you put in, the more you’ll get out of it.

Each container provides 20 servings and costs $59. You can purchase in bulk if you wish to save some money. Their best offer is 4 containers for $177.00, which is $44.25 each. It is available in only one flavor: natural berry.

Product Type Powder
Ingredients Setria performance blend, L-theanine, Natural caffeine, Beetroot powder
Dosage 1 serving/day
Side effects None
Cost/servings $59/20 servings
Guarantee Yes, 30 days

Is cardio safe to do every day?

According to a study in 2012 in the British Journal of Pharmacology, researchers discovered that up to 1 hour of cardio daily is safe and suitable, especially if the ultimate goal is weight loss.

On the other hand, though cardio does offer a wide variety of benefits, a study in 2017 indicated that there may be some risks associated with engaging in intense physical activity daily- or even most days of the week. the limits of how much cardio is safe varies from one person to the next and depends on the following:

  • Overall health
  • Personal current fitness level
  • Underlying health issues

As a general rule, the following signs and symptoms indicate that you may be doing too much:

  • Painful joints
  • Lingering muscle soreness
  • Decreased excitement for working out
  • Easy exercises becoming harder
  • Not sleeping well

If you have not already been working out or you are recovering from an illness or injury, you should talk with your medical provider about how to safely get started with a cardio workout routine, as well as how often and how long to work out.

Additionally, you need to talk with your medical provider if you have a medical condition that could limit the types of exercises you can do, including arthritis, breathing issues, heart disease, or joint issues.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Daily Cardio

Engaging in cardio workouts on a daily basis has some advantages and disadvantages which can affect your overall health. Therefore, it’s important that you are familiar with them:


  • Improves cardiovascular health and functioning of heart
  • Improves sleep, especially if done early in the day
  • Improves blood flow, which reduces blood pressure
  • Improves body’s use of fat as energy, which can facilitate weight loss
  • Improves respiratory heath and lung functioning
  • Improves mood
  • Increases energy
  • Decreases stress


  • Loss of muscle mass, occurring due to not consuming enough calories for energy- so the body pulls from muscle tissues
  • Injuries from overtraining
  • Physical exhaustion
  • Mental exhaustion

Why Should You Use a Pre-Workout?

You probably already know that pre-workout supplements are formulated to improve your overall athletic performance. However, do you know how they work?

  • Increase energy and endurance by inhibiting adenosine receptors and facilitating the release of adrenaline
  • Improve blood flow by increasing vasodilation, leading to better muscle pumps and improved nutrient delivery
  • Increases production of ATP, or adenosine triphosphate, which improves strength and HIIT workload
  • Stimulates production of GABA, or gamma-aminobutyric acid, which keeps you focused and alert

Should You Take a Pre-Workout Before a Cardio Workout?

If you pay attention to the benefits of pre-workouts, you’ll see that most are related to improving how you perform in intense workouts. They decrease fatigue, increase speed and power, and improve max strength. So, can they help with moderate intensity workouts such as cardio or are they only for strength training?

Pre-Workouts and HIIT Workouts

The truth is, there’s a lot of research showing that pre-workouts can improve HIIT sessions. In fact, one study published in JISSN involved a group of 24 trained athletic participants. They were given a pre-workout containing creatine, caffeine, and citrulline malate for a 3-week period. At the end of that period, it was shown that when combined with HIIT workouts, their max oxygen consumption, lean body mass, and running at high-speed intensity were improved.

In another study in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism indicated that a supplement containing creatine, B-vitamins, caffeine, and other nutrients improved endurance and perceived feelings of fatigue.

Pre-Workouts and Steady State Cardio

Steady state cardio is moderate, so since pre-workouts are designed to help with intense workouts, there is some question about whether or not a pre-workout could help with this type of cardio.

While it’s true that pre-workout supplementation may not be as critical for steady state cardio as it is for HIIT sessions or strength training, but it can help with focus, duration, and productivity.

Chances are, if you are engaging in steady state cardio, you want to burn fat and there’s plenty of research that the ingredients in pre-workouts improve metabolic rate and lipolysis, even at lower intensity.

In fact, one study showed that combining creatine and caffeine improves strength, muscle contractions, and endurance performance.

Is a Pre-Workout Necessary?

One thing that you should keep in mind is this: pre-workout supplements are like other supplements- not everyone needs them. However, if you struggle with energy levels and have difficulty getting through even one workout, you may want to first look at your lifestyle.

  • Are you hydrated enough?
  • Do you eat right?
  • Do you get quality sleep?

You don’t necessarily have to jump to a supplement. Sometimes some simple lifestyle changes can make the biggest difference. Plus, there is some research indicating that you can get the same nutrients from whole foods- so as long as you are eating right, you may not need to use a pre-workout.

That being said, if you have tried using a pre-workout and you’ve found one that seems to work for you, there’s no reason to stop. If you are interested in trying one, go ahead and do so- just make sure that you’re careful and choose one that is safe.

Pre-workouts are generally proven safe and can help your athletic performance in a variety of ways. However, they are not critical for performance or health. Here are a few of the advantages and disadvantages of pre-workouts.


There are plenty of advantages associated with pre-workouts with both women and men alike. The main one is that they increase energy and strength. they have also been shown to improve stamina and power so that you can increase the length of your workouts. You will have the motivation to push yourself harder, which will help you get the most from your workout sessions.

Beta-alanine, a common ingredient in pre-workouts will prevent lactic acid buildup, which can help you push harder. Lactic acid is what causes muscle fatigue and if it’s not there, you won’t be uncomfortable- so you can continue to work out.

Finally, pre-workouts contain a variety of ingredients known to build muscle including creatine and amino acids. While these are naturally found in your body, working out depletes them. Supplementation can build them back up quicker than your body can produce them.


To be fair, it’s important to look at both sides when you’re making a decision. Therefore, we need to consider some of the potential disadvantages of pre-workouts. Sometimes, people experience some uncomfortable side effects. However, it’s important to note that this is usually user error- they are taking too much. Sometimes it’s because they assume that more is better, so they take a larger dose- but sometimes they’re just not paying attention to how much they are getting.

Some of these side effects include anxiety, headache, and nausea. While these effects are usually short-lived, they are uncomfortable when you’re in the midst of them.

If you’re just getting started, you should start with a small serving. This will give your body time to adjust to it. Once you know you can handle it, begin increasing the serving size until you reach the recommended serving.

Caffeine is one of the common ingredients in these supplements. It is what gives you motivation to push your limits. However, some people are sensitive to caffeine- especially in high levels. Therefore, it’s important to be careful. Many of the products on the market contain the same amount of caffeine in 1 or 2 cups of coffee. However, some contain a lot more.

If you do have a caffeine sensitivity, there are stim-free pre-workouts on the market. In addition, there are products that offer 150 milligrams or less. If caffeine tends to keep you awake, don’t use it too close to bedtime.

Another potential disadvantage is the tingles caused by the beta-alanine. This is not harmful, but some people find it extremely uncomfortable. Then again, some people enjoy it, claiming that it gives them energy.

Creatine causes water retention in some people. This ultimately leads to muscle bulk- but some people find this to be a disadvantage.


In recent years, there has been a push to improve overall health and wellness. People are working out more and using more supplements. One way to get the most from your workouts is to use a pre-workout. These supplements are proven to improve overall athletic performance- especially during strength training. Some people wonder if they are helpful for cardio, and the answer is yes- they can be beneficial for cardio workouts as well.

There are so many options on the market, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. That’s why we did the work for you. We did the research and narrowed it down to what we feel are the top 5 best pre-workouts for cardio. If you’re interested in trying a pre-workout to see what it does for you, try one of these. If you don’t like it or it doesn’t work for you, pick another one. You can experiment until you find the one that works.

Also Read: Crazy Nutrition Reviews: Fitness Training Formulas


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Please understand that any advice or guidelines revealed here are not even remotely substitutes for sound medical or financial advice from a licensed healthcare provider or certified financial advisor. Make sure to consult with a professional physician or financial consultant before making any purchasing decision if you use medications or have concerns following the review details shared above. Individual results may vary and are not guaranteed as the statements regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration or Health Canada. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA, or Health Canada approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease and do not provide any kind of get-rich money scheme. Reviewer is not responsible for pricing inaccuracies. Check product sales page for final prices.

Alexandra Lewis

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