Available in a variety of options, including tablets and water-soluble powders, pre-workouts are designed to boost your performance and endurance levels during a workout. The supplements are ideally taken before a workout, with the effects hitting peak points during your exercise. If you have trouble keeping your energy levels up during exercise, pre-workouts can be the handy solution to your needs.
What is cardio?
Cardiovascular exercise, often abbreviated as cardio, is an intensive exercise that is developed to increase heart rate and boost calorie consumption. Cardio will focus on the lungs, heart, and blood vessels more than muscles. So, how does cardio relate to anaerobic and aerobic exercise? Aerobic exercise, which is closer to cardio, features heavy demands on the heart and respiratory system. The exercise which requires you to maintain your heart rate will fall under this classification, featuring options such as hiking, cycling, and running. Anaerobic exercise will require short term application and will not place consistent demands on the heart or breathing system, such as weightlifting (1).
Should you take up cardio?
There are two types of cardio training, depending on the intensity of the application. Low-intensity steady-state (LISS) cardio will cause less strain on your body, but it can be a great option for people looking at activities with minimal recovery times (2). High-intensity interval training (HIIT) cardio offers maximum application in short bursts of time, typically ranging between 25-60 seconds. Your body will burn calories quickly and face more benefits to your body (3). Both LISS and HIIT cardio can be great exercise options for you.
In fact, cardio can be a very beneficial fitness regime to take up. By working your lungs and heart, it boosts their ability to supply blood and air to your body for better metabolism. You will also be able to raise your endurance levels, allowing for an increase in output and performance levels. As an added benefit, sustained cardio could be a great source of endorphins for a more positive overall outlook.
Different studies have pointed to the benefit of cardio in combating depression, as well as reducing the risk of certain types of cancer and heart diseases. It will strengthen the heart and lungs, lower blood pressure, help you sleep better, and improve the performance of your muscles (4).
Is pre workout ideal for cardio?
Pre-workouts may improve cardio, but they are not always ideal. Some supplements are designed primarily for anaerobic exercises, which limits their effectiveness for cardio. But why is this? Cardio will increase your heart rate and adrenaline levels, both of which are effects of pre-workouts as well. You could face an excessive strain on your heart as a result of the increased pumping from the energy boost.
If you are engaging in cardio such as running, cycling, or swimming, you may be better off taking up a pre-workout without caffeine (5). This will minimize the spike in energy levels, allowing it to facilitate your cardio. There are many different caffeine-free pre-workouts that could be just what you need. Options such as PEScience High Volume, N03 Ultimate, and NITRAFLEX Pump offer you the ability to supplement your cardio without worrying about any potentially adverse effects. With the right guide, you should be able to find a safe pro workout for your cardio needs!
How to get the best out of your pre-workout for cardio
Many people wrongly believe that pre-workouts are the key to a leaner, fitter body. While pre-workouts play a big role in helping you reach your goals, they only serve as supplements and need to be managed well to provide full value. Even if you engage in both LISS and HIIT cardio and are supported by non-caffeine pre-workouts, you may fail to accrue full benefit without the best pre-workout practices.
These are the top mistakes you need to avoid when taking supplements to increase their impact.
The proximity of your pre-workout and exercise session could determine the effectiveness of your supplements. Most compounds will take 30-60 minutes before they become active, which means that you should allow for this window when exercising. Their effect may also last for 3-5 hours. Since some components may affect your ability to fall asleep, you need to create a rounded schedule that takes this into account. With the right management, you should be able to receive a boost while working out and have worn off the pre-workout high by the time you are ready to go to bed
Choosing the right pre-workout
Not every option will be ideal for your needs, due to the varied composition. As we’ve seen earlier, some pre-workouts are better suited for certain types of exercise over others. Finding a pre-workout with the right components will be key to enjoying and benefitting from your cardio. You might look to avoid options with a high level of caffeine but should consider those with creatine and citrulline for strength gains, muscle mass, and improved endurance.