The supplements that you take depend on your workout goals – although there are some supplementary substances, such as protein and vitamins, which should be fairly standard across all workout programs. Other more optional ones like pre-workout should be tailored to your plans: do you need energy for a vigorous aerobic workout, or do you need a creatine-infused concoction for an especially robust weight-lifting session?
In the following article, we’ll cover a handful of possible supplements and what these accomplish. Some of them are geared towards elevating your endurance and stamina, whereas others provide the explosive energy you’ll need for power-lifting or CrossFit (just as examples).
Protein Powder with Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
You do not have to take protein powder, per se, in order to get the essential BCAAs of valine, leucine and isoleucine; you can get these from a good pre-workout meal. However, powders are specially formulated to contain all of the BCAAs in one spot, whereas you may need to eat several different sources of protein otherwise. If you are a vegetarian, for example, it can be especially difficult to get a complete protein.
Alternatively, you can get the above BCAAs from meat, fish, eggs and dairy – particularly for the purposes of muscle growth. These also feature, of course, in muscle repair for endurance athletes. It is quite possible to get most of your proteins and essential amino acids from a balanced, non-vegetarian or vegan diet. There have been multiple medical studies that have affirmed the efficacy of branched-chain amino acids for endurance activities such as long-distance running. As a result, taking a pre-workout supplement that contains this could be beneficial – especially if you engage in competition.
Additionally, there are several types of protein for each period surrounding a workout. For pre workout, whey protein is easily digestible and won’t sit in your stomach, where digestion may interfere with your weightlifting. It is also an excellent source of post-workout bodybuilding/muscle repair – especially when taken less than two hours afterwards. For long-term digestion (such as while you sleep), casein protein supplementation is preferred because it is a slow-release protein that will keep your muscles from going catabolic during 8 hours of sleep. You can get casein isolate from eggs and milk as well as professional supplements sold in stores.
Creatine Supplementation as Pre Workout and Post Workout
It may come as a bit of a surprise to you that your body produces creatine naturally – in fact, it Is a cellular molecule that features strongly in cellular energy creation and expulsion. As a supplement, it is one of the most common pre workouts used by bodybuilders and athletes; numerous research studies have confirmed that creatine can increase your muscle gains by up to 10% when compared to those who don’t supplement their diets with it.
What is the operational mechanism of creatine? Although your cells naturally produce creatine, if you imbibe more of it then you know to provide them with excess energy. During your workout, this will enable your muscles to operate for longer and more powerfully. This leads to a greater “breaking down” of muscle tissue, which will build back up bigger and stronger during your periods of rest. It should thus be no surprise that creatine is one of the chief supplements sold by nutrition stores everywhere.
Try to limit your dose of this pre-workout to 20 grams daily for peak weightlifting performance to start; then, stagger your doses to about 5 grams daily in order to maintain muscle mass. It is a common thing for weightlifters to mix their creatine with a protein drink.
Nitrates From Vegetables
Similar to creatine, in that the human body produces it naturally, nitrates primarily help with blood flow. By increasing blood flow, nutrients get to important sites in your body for repair and improved function. The body produces a little bit, and you can fortify this production by eating vegetables such as turnips, spinach, mustard greens and beetroot. Once these are inside your body, they will be converted into nitric oxide that expedites the flow of blood. To facilitate consumption before a workout, you might consider beetroot juice or a supplement that specifically lists nitrates in the contents.
There are other benefits conferred by nitrates – one of which is by diminishing the oxygen you need. Clearly, this would be important for endurance exercises more than for weightlifting or bodybuilding exercises. Not only does this improve the amount of time you can compete, but it also makes you “feel” less tired during the prolonged activity. This inevitably leads to an increase in speed, as well. Several studies have been conducted on the effects of nitrates on endurance running over a span of 5 kilometers, in fact.
Sodium Bicarbonate Supplement for Endurance and Power
Also known more commonly as baking soda, this substance works in the human body to stave off fatigue by stifling the buildup of lactic acid. It is this acid, in fact, that gives your legs that tired, leaden feeling near the end of a run, when you’re just about out of steam. If you ramp up the intensity from a jog to a full-on sprint, then the sensation of burning is due to the acid buildup. Multiple medical studies show that sodium bicarbonate can effectively help you sustain that power output during intense activity. Therefore, because of this, it also means you can go faster for longer amounts of time.
Since baking soda is a household item, it is possible to mix the recommended dosage of 135 milligrams per pound of bodyweight into your pre-workout drink. You can certainly use smaller amounts if it doesn’t sit well at first; the body tends to get used to it shortly, though. It is also available as a supplement sold online or in health and nutrition stores. Keep in mind that it will contribute to your Daily Recommended salt intake – so it is something to watch out for if you have high blood pressure or are prone to this.