The Best Pre Workout For Cardio – Run like the wind!

Pre workout supplements have been heavily marketed towards the weight lifting community for as long as I can remember. However, these supplements can be key for many other fitness activities than the weight room.  I’m going to show what to look for in the best pre workout for Cardio.

It has been proven that pre workouts are beneficial for energy, strength and performance in any anaerobic exercise or sport.  This is any high-intensity activity for greater performance for shorter durations.  This is opposed to aerobic such as long-distance running.

We will go over a few more differences between anaerobic and aerobic exercise and how pre workout works with cardio. Also, the athletic advantages of using pre workout over not using it, and why most athletes prefer the powerful boost that they get from pre workout supplements.


How Pre Workout Works For Cardio

The basic ingredients in pre workout are meant to bring you more power, strength, energy, longevity and recovery.

They contain enough to give you a competitive advantage or even give you a mental advantage because you feel more motivated.  These are the things that can really help when running, cycling, or Crossfit.


pre workout for cardio - caffeine logoThe ingredient Caffeine, is the main part that gives you the energy and will help you go faster and further.  This is one of the most active ingredients in pre workouts.  They contain the equivalent of several cups of coffee.

Caffeine is a big reason that you feel the effects for several hours after you have taken it.  However, this stimulant alone does not bring you all of the results that you need to have a more intense workout.

Beta Alanine

There are also some other cool systems at work. The body uses glucose for energy, which turns into Lactase. This can result in nausea, muscle soreness and a list of uncomfortable things. Pre workout, specifically the Beta-alanine helps break down the Lactase to avoid muscle fatigue.

Nitric Oxide

Another reason pre workout works with cardio is the Nitric oxide. This is a vasodilator. It causes your blood vessels to widen. This increases blood flow, therefore bringing more blood which means more nutrients and oxygen to your muscles for recovery between strides.


The last ingredients are BCAA’s, branch chain amino acids. These include the Amino Acids; Leucine, Arginine and Threonine pre workout for cardio - container of BCAA'sthat regulate protein metabolism and increased protein synthesis.

Pre workout supplements are well rounded and effective for doing most forms of cardio. It will give you the additional edge that you need in reaching your goals, and the extra push especially when it is needed the most.

⇒ If you have any other questions or comments regarding the ingredients in a pre workout or how they work, please leave a comment in the box at the bottom and I will respond.


Anaerobic vs Aerobic Exercise – Why It Matters

This is an important question because pre workout supplements perform better for certain kinds of exercise. Pre workouts are proven to be more effective with anaerobic exercise than with aerobic.

Anaerobic Exercise

pre workout for cardio - man doing crunchesAnaerobic exercise is a more intense physical exercise. This form of exercise will create lactate(as we just talked about) to form.

Anaerobic exercises include weightlifting, sprinting, Crossfit, bicycling and any exercise that consists of short exertion or high intensity movements.

Most nutritional supplements are designed for anaerobic exercise.  This is why a lot of pre workout supplements are marketed to weight lifters, bodybuilders, and powerlifters.

These categories of training are very intense exercise, that requires strong movements and is necessary to recover quickly.

Aerobic Exercise

The aerobic exercises include walking, dancing, hiking, and long distance running. These sports are endurance based, therefore they don’t get the most out of this product.

However, this does not mean that pre workout supplements can’t work for aerobic cardio as well. Put a little spring in your step and get the extra intensity.  It is packed with Caffeine and healthy Amino Acid proteins to get you amped up.


pre workout for cardio - runnerAs far as pre workout and running, after I workout at the gym for an hour or so I will run 30 minutes on the treadmill.

My pre workout is still carrying me to keep up a good pace, and I am still energized enough to have that extra endurance to get through my run without the fatigue.

Pre workout can be great for running, especially short distances. If I had not taken my supplement, there is no way I could have gone 100% at two intense exercise activities back to back.

And if you are wondering about shooting pool, bowling or darts, these do not qualify as either anaerobic or aerobic exercise. However, it would still help keep you awake since these are late-night activities.  Of course, you could just stick to coffee on this one.


Athletic Advantages to Pre Workout and Cardio

pre workout for cardio - woman runningNow I would like to discuss how taking a pre workout supplement can bring you to a new level in many sports.

Being able to push yourself beyond your limits is what most athletes strive for. Those athletes are the ones that make the grade and get recognized.

That is the main reason why some athletes take steroids. It gives them that extra boost over their competition.

This is just an example of getting that extra edge, and I don’t believe or recommend using these illegal steroids with their side effects can be deadly.  However, a pre workout is a healthy, performance generating supplement.

Even if you are not an athlete, a good pre workout will increase your athletic ability to reach your personal goals.

If the least it does is give you the motivation to get you into the gym, on the field, on the court, or on your bike I think that this makes it well worth it. Just getting to the gym or your sporting activity can be the most difficult part.

I find that once I get to where I’m going, everything seems to fall in place. Remember, you don’t need to be an athlete to reap the benefits of the increased performance and motivation from a pre workout supplement.


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Athletes Proven Benefits From Pre Workouts

Why do the majority of athletes take a pre workout supplement or Caffeine before their event?  Because it brings them to a higher intensity and increased level than their competitors.  It has been proven in case studies that athletes outperform their rivals when tapre workout before cardio - cyclists racingking these pre workouts.

This trial is aimed at the difference in performance for cyclists and runners.  This gives you an example of a sport other than weight lifting.

Researchers found that workout supplements increased race times by an average of 3%, an equivalent to 2 minutes an hour. In some cases, race times improved by 17%.  Similarly, workout supplements increased performance times with cyclists by 27%. Birmingham University Scientists

Runners who had a pre workout supplement before running a 5K improved their time by about 2 percent as compared to when they didn’t take anything. That means if you run a 45 minute 5K, a workout supplement could help cut off a minute and a half. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport


The Best Pre Workout For Cardio


#1 Pre Workout PickWhat's The Best Pre Workout Drink - Gorilla mode pre workout formula

Product:  Gorilla Mode Pre Workout

Price:      $$$
Quantity of Caffeine:  350 mg
Container size:  40 servings
Rating:  4.7 out of 5
Gorilla Mind
Guarantee:  30 day satisfaction guarantee


Here is why this is my favorite.  It has the highest amount of Creatine at 5 grams.  Finally, one that contains the scientifically recommended amount for optimal results.

Gorilla Mode has the highest amount of the Amino, Citrulline Malate I’ve seen as well.  L-Citrulline is a precursor for Nitric Oxide, which increases muscle endurance and pump.  This is key for any high grade pre workout.

The 3000mg of Glycerol is a pre workout bonus.  It’s proven to support hydration, therefore enhancing performance.  Be careful with the 350mg of Caffeine, this is among the highest you can get in a pre workout.

I’m impressed with this powerhouse.  These are the specifications for the 2 scoop quantity on the label.  Be sure to start out with one scoop in the beginning!

See My Gorilla Mode Pre Workout Review

Gorilla Mode Positives

  • 350mg of Caffeine
  • 9 grams of Citrulline Malate
  • Contains thermogenics for fat burn
  • Contains the best clinical dose of Creatine
  • 23,500 mg of total nitric oxide precursors
  • Kanna to enhance mood and cognitive activity

Potential Negatives

  • Good chance this is too strong for some
  • Contains natural and artificial flavors
Purchase at


Gorilla Mode Consumer Reviews

This is a very popular pre workout, and the website has several 5 out of 5 star reviews.  You can click on this review to see others like it.

 Best Pre Workout Drink - Gorilla mode review from website


Runner UpWhat's The Best Pre Workout Drink - container of no xplode pre workout

Product:   N.O.-Xplode Pre Workout

Price:      $
Quantity of Caffeine:   275 mg
Container size:  30 servings
Rating:  4.5 out of 5
Bio-Engineered Supplements
Guarantee:  30 day satisfaction guarantee


The N.O. in NO Xplode stands for Nitric Oxide.  The Nitric oxide makes your veins more vascular, therefore increasing blood flow in both the muscles and the brain.  This brings oxygen, Aminos, and minerals to your muscle tissue faster. for that extra muscle pump and recovery.

N.O.-Xplode contains 275mg of Caffeine per serving which is on the high end, but may be just right for you gym rats.  It’s loaded with B vitamins, so you can skip your vitamin B complex capsules.  B vitamins give you energy and improve other healthy functions in your body.  Niacin, Thiamine, and Folic Acid are all names for B vitamins.

N.O.-Xplode is also packed with all of the essential Amino AcidsCreatine is added for muscle gain, enhance strength and improve exercise performance, but has Creatine Free alternative.

See My NO-Xplode Pre Workout Review

NO-Xplode Positives:

  • The “original pre workout igniter”
  • High Caffeine quantity
  • Packed with vitamins and minerals
  • Available with or without Creatine
  • Comes in several great flavors
  • Excellent value

Potential Negatives:   

  • Quantities are not broken down on label
  • May have too much Caffeine for some
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Best Thermogenic Fat Burner

What's The Best Pre Workout Drink - C4 Ultimate Shred pre workout

Product:   C4 Ultimate Shred Pre Workout

Price:      $$$
Caffeine per serving:  300mg
Container size:  20 servings
Rating:  4.4 out of 5
Guarantee:  30 day satisfaction guarantee

If you are looking for the “ultimate” pre workout energy, I highly recommend this one.  C4 is the most recognized pre workout in the industry.

This pre workout is packed with caffeine, L-Citrulline for endurance, Beta-Alanine, and vitamin B.

An added bonus is that it contains large amounts amount of thermogenic ingredients for fat burn.  They will heat up your body internally to burn calories at a faster rate.

See My C4 Ultimate Shred Review

C4 Ultimate Shred Positives:

  • Contains the most thermogenic properties
  • 300mg of Caffeine
  • Explosive weight loss matrix
  • High intensity endurance formula
  • The best pre workout for fat burn

Possible Negatives:

  • Very strong, start out slow
  • Natural and artificial ingredients
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Best OrganicWhat's The Best Pre Workout Drink - Garden of life organic pre workout energy

Product:  Garden of Life Sport Organic Energy

Price Range:    $$
Servings Per Container:   30 servings
Quantity of Caffeine:   85mg
Rating:   4.2 out of 5
Garden of Life
Guarantee:   30 day satisfaction guarantee


Here is the top pick for the organic pre workout category.  This means no man-made chemicals, pesticides or fertilizers.  In addition, there are no artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners.

The caffeine is derived from natural sources and vitamin B 12 works for natural energy.  This pre workout also contains an antioxidant blend.

There is a nitric oxide blend that consists of organic kale, spinach, and beets.  These nitrates are what are used for enhanced muscle endurance.  Organic pre workouts tend to have less taste and be lower in caffeine quantity.

Garden of Life:

  • Organic and vegan, gluten free, non-GMO
  • 85mg natural coffeeberry fuel
  • Loaded with B-12 for natural energy
  • Includes antioxidant blend

Potential Cons:

  • Low in caffeine
  • Only one flavor
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Best Bang for the BuckWhat's The Best Pre Workout Drink - Mr Hyde pre workout

Product:   Mr Hyde Nitro X Pre Workout

Price:      $
Quantity of Caffeine:  420mg
Container size:  30 servings
Rating:  4.3 out of 5
Guarantee:  30 day satisfaction guarantee


This is one of the highest quantities of caffeine in a pre workout and at the same time almost the least expensive.  Less than $1.00 per serving.

The ingredient, Nitrosigine helps to vascularize your cardiovascular system to bring oxygen and nutrients to your muscle tissue faster.  This results in increased endurance and faster recovery.  Mr Hyde also contains thermogenic ingredients to make you sweat.

Lastly, Mr Hyde is one of the only pre workouts to contain creatine HCL.  This type of creatine is known for no side effects and produces muscle gain and increased strength.

See My Mr Hyde Nitro X Review

Mr Hyde Positives:

  • 420 mg of Caffeine
  • 500 mg of Nitrosigine for big pumps & vascularity
  • Hard-hitting, sustained, energy & focus
  • High-powered thermogenic compounds
  • Contains Creatine HCL
  • Great value

Possible Negatives:

  • 420mg Caffeine Matrix may be too strong
  • Some people may have reactions to Yohimbe
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Best “High Stim”

What's The Best Pre Workout Drink - Woke af high stim

Product:   Bucked Up Woke AF Pre Workout

Price:      $$$
Caffeine Per Serving:  333 mg plus other stimulants
Container size:  30 servings
Rating:  4.3 out of 5
Bucked Up
Guarantee:  30 day satisfaction guarantee


Besides 333 mg of caffeine, Bucked Up contains two additional stimulants.  Theobromine improves motivation and jumpstarts your brain and Huperzine A enhances focus and muscle quickness.  3.2 Grams of Beta Alanine is included to reduce fatigue and increase stamina and endurance.

There are no filler ingredients; this is pure power.  The 6 grams of Citrulline Malate is incredible and higher than most pre workouts.  This is necessary for vascularization and muscle endurance.

Although there are mixed reviews on this ingredient, one of the highlights is that it contains deer antler velvet.  This ingredient is thought to provide many benefits including athletic performance.

See my Bucked Up Pre Workout Review

Bucked Up Positives

  • 333 mg of Caffeine
  • Contains deer antler velvet for performance
  • Huperzine A and Theobromine for energy
  • Extra L-Citrulline for increased endurance
  • No filler ingredients
  • Great tasting

Potential Negatives:

  • Not the cheapest
  • Natural and artificial flavors
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Best Testosterone EnhancerWhat's the best pre workout drink - B-Nox pre workout

Product:   B-Nox Andorush Pre Workout

Price:      $
Quantity of Caffeine:   200 mg
Container size:  35 servings
Rating:  4.3 out of 5
Guarantee:  30 day satisfaction guarantee


B-NOX contains 200mg of Caffeine, which is an average amount for a preworkout.  This formula has a Testosterone igniter that will stimulate Testosterone production. 

As in most pre workout supplements, it also has L-Citrulline, Beta Alanine as well as branch chain amino acids (BCAA’s) for strength and endurance.   B-NOX containes L-Glutamine to eliminate muscle breakdown.

The only downside is the labeling where all ingredients are listed under a 15,890 mg “pre workout formula”.

See my B-Nox Pre Workout Review

B-Nox Androrush Positives:

  • Premier strength endurance blend
  • Stimulates Testosterone production
  • Contains muscle building Creatine and L-Glutamine
  • Great value

Potential Negatives:   

  • Contains artificial flavors and colors
  • Individual ingredients are not broken down by quantity
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Best Caffeine-FreeWhat's The Best Pre Workout Drink - NO xplode pre workout caffeine free

Product:   N.O.-Xplode Caffeine-Free Pre Workout

Price:      $$
Quantity of Caffeine:  Zero
Container size:  30 servings
Rating:  4.3 out of 5
Bio Engineered Supplements
Guarantee:  30 day satisfaction guarantee


This is designed to be a complete pre workout igniter.  The Caffeine free N.O. Xplode version gets excellent reviews.  This formula will deliver increased endurance, energy, support mental focus, and increased muscular strength.

It also contains DMAE which is naturally found in the body and positively affects mood and brain function.  This naturally encourages natural energy, motivation, and focus.

The 5 grams of Creatine endurance blend makes this a powerhouse, and is great for increased muscle mass and exercise performance.  NO Xplode contains several vitamins and minerals that will provide hydration and natural energy.  The Citrulline Malate and Arginine are two Amino Acids that will give you incredible muscle pumps.

N.O.-Xplode Positives

  • 5 grams of Creatine endurance blend
  • 2.9 grams of Beta Alanine
  • Packed with minerals and vitamin B
  • 1 gram of Citrulline Malate blend

Potential Negatives

  • Sweetened with Sucralose
  • Has proprietary blends
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Craziest NameWhat's The Best Pre Workout Drink - Insane labs psychotic pre workout

Product:   Insane Labs Psychotic High Stim Pre Workout

Price:      $$$
Caffeine Per Serving:  unknown
Container size:   35 servings
Rating:  4.5 out of 5
Insane Labz
Guarantee:  30 day satisfaction guarantee


I often laugh at the crazy names and graphics on some pre workouts.  Usually, we discourage purchasing products based on how they look visually.

However, based on this having an insane, unknown amount of caffeine, here it is.  It brags “high stim” and there are 3 different sources of stimulants combined in this pre workout.  Psychotic also comes with pretty good reviews.

The negative part is that everything is listed under proprietary blends, this makes it impossible to know individual ingredients.

Psychotic Positives

  • Insane amount of Caffeine Citrate, Caffeine Anhydrous, Betaine Anhydrous
  • Contains creatine
  • Has key aminos, L-Citrulline and Beta Alanine

Potential Negatives

  • Obviously – unknown caffeine quantity
  • Proprietary Blend
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Economy PickWhat's The Best Pre Workout Drink - MP Assault pre workout

Product:  MusclePharm Assault Pre Workout

Price:      $
Quantity of Caffeine:  250 mg
Container size:  30 servings
Rating:  4.4 out of 5
Guarantee:  30 day satisfaction guarantee


Here’s a great pre workout if you’re on a budget.  It is disappointing not to see L-Arginine or L-Citrulline for endurance and muscle pump.  I assume from the decent reviews that the Creatine picks up where the Aminos are left off.

There is a sufficient amount of Creatine for a pre workout at 3 grams, and has a high amount of Beta Alanine.  This Caffeine quantity works well for the average person.  Pre workouts can range between a low 100mg and a crazy 400mg per serving.

Assault contains a lot of Vitamin B for natural energy.  It contains natural coloring yet has artificial flavors.

MP Assault Positives:

  • 250mg of Caffeine
  • 3 grams of Creatine Monohydrate
  • 1750mg of Beta Alanine
  • Natural colors
  • No proprietary blends

Potential Negatives:

  • Artificial flavors
  • Low in some Amino Acids
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Best TastingWhat's The Best Pre Workout Drink - ENGN pre workout

Product:   Evlution Nutrition ENGN Pre-Workout

Price:      $$$
Quantity of Caffeine:  300 mg
Container size:  30 servings
Rating:  4.4 out of 5
Evlution Nutrition at
Guarantee:  30 day satisfaction guarantee


It comes in 6 great flavors.  It has a 2 stage extended sustained energy release for a longer, more intense workout.  This pre workout also has a high Caffeine quantity of 300mg, so don’t take this too late in the evening.

There several added ingredients such as Huperzine A and L-Tyrosine that support focus, mood enhancing, mental focus, concentration.  This works well to get a more efficient and faster workout.

Theobroma Cocoa extract is added for natural energy as well at plenty of vitamin B12.  Betaine elevates exercise production and power with delayed muscle fatigue.   It also contains 2 grams of creatine monohydrate.

ENGN Pre Workout Positives:

  • 2 stage energy formula
  • 300mg of Caffeine
  • 2 grams of Creatine Monohydrate
  • Loaded with vitamin B12
  • Comes in 6 tasty flavors

Potential Negatives:

  • Contains artificial ingredients
  • Proprietary blends
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Best “All Natural”What's The Best Pre Workout Drink - container of legion pulse pre workoutProduct:   Legion Pulse Pre Workout

Price:      $$$
Caffeine:   350mg per serving
Container size:  21 servings
Rating:  4.3 out of 5
Guarantee:  30 day satisfaction guarantee


Legion Pulse does not contain any artificial colors, flavors, or sugars.  The only negative for me is that it is Creatine Free.  Creatine is a natural ingredient and is not harmful to you, but it is not for everyone.

There is 350mg of Caffeine per serving.  This is a powerful amount and may be a little too much for some.

Legion Pulse prides itself on the amount of L-Theanine which is an Amino Acid that provides you with a smoother more enjoyable energy rush.  It also contains plenty of Citrulline Malate and Beta Alanine to improve blood flow and keep you from getting fatigued.

See my Legion Pulse Pre Workout Review

Legion Pulse Positives:

  • An All Natural pre workout, no artificial colors, flavors or sugars
  • Lots of Caffeine, but also comes in a Caffeine Free version
  • Nitric Oxide NO2 booster
  • Powerful performance boost and endurance
  • Sweetened by Stevia

Potential Negatives: 

  • Not as flavorful
  • Does not contain Creatine
  • May be too much Caffeine
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Best 2-Stage FormulaWhat's The Best Pre Workout Drink - vintage blast pre workout

Product:   Vintage Blast Pre Workout

Price:      $$$
Quantity of Caffeine:  250 mg
Container size:  20 servings
Rating:  4.4 out of 5
Manufacturer:  Old School Labs
Guarantee:  30 day satisfaction guarantee

I had a great experience with Vintage blast and its “two stage formula”.  This is advertised as using electrolytes and micronutrients to hydrate, increase performance, and help with recovery.

Vintage Blast is one of the best “All Natural” Pre Workouts and is certified VeganIt does not contain artificial flavors or sweeteners.  It is sweetened by Stevia and flavored with pineapple juice powder.

Vintage Blast has 250mg of Caffeine and plenty of  L-Citrulline and Beta Alanine which works in combination with Caffeine to boost performance.  This is a Creatine free supplement.

See my Vintage Blast Pre Workout Review

Vintage Blast Positives:

  • 250 mg of Caffeine
  • Nitric Oxide booster contains 5grams of Citrulline Malate
  • All Natural with no artificial ingredients
  • Two-stage formula that delivers steady energy and hydration
  • Certified Vegan

Potential Negatives:

  • May not be sweet enough for some
  • Costs a little more per serving
Purchase at


The Best Pre Workout for Cardio – Wrap Up

Are pre workout drinks safe - woman jumpingWe have determined that pre workout supplements can be very beneficial for cardio.

Endurance (aerobic) sports will not benefit from it quite as much from a pre workout as high intensity (anaerobic) sports. Anaerobic exercise with definitely get the most benefits out of pre workout supplements.

Anaerobic is any kind of high-intensity exercise used by athletes in non-endurance sports that promote power, speed, and strength. It is also used by bodybuilders to build mass.

These anaerobic sports also include high-intensity interval training such as Crossfit, bicycling, competitive running, and climbing.

This discussion shows that long-distance runners would not benefit nearly as much from a pre workout because of the long term endurance.  One reason is that your body uses all of the ingredients in a pre workout in just a few hours.

⇒ If you have any more questions about pre workout before cardio or need any other information on pre workout supplements, please leave a comment below.  I will respond as soon as possible.


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