Yoga, running, pilates, cross training, heavy weight training day…depending on your workout, your supplement needs vary, right?!
So that being said, knowing your pre- and post- workout supplement choices and what they are geared towards is pretty important.
Thank goodness there are hundreds, even thousands, of options out there to choose from!
Ugh…the trial and error approach can get a little daunting…not to mention, a little pricey.
Then there’s going to the supplement shop and talking with the muscle head behind the counter who really doesn’t seem too interested in, or very knowledgeable about anything other than how to get HUGE… :/ Yay!
Maybe this will help clear things up for you somewhat…
Creatine is used for performance and muscle growth.
It’s stored in your muscles and supplies them with energy, and with supplementation improves performance during intense physical activity, such as sprinting and strength training.
Creatine is one of the most researched supplements. It is proven to be safe and effective for improving strength, power, and lean body mass.
Pre-workout powders and drinks are all created a little differently based on the brand, but most are a cocktail of carbohydrate, caffeine, some amino acids, creatine, and often beta-alanine, and some contain other vitamins as well.
These are really designed to give people energy from the caffeine and carbohydrate, and provide an added performance booster from creatine.
People who are sensitive to caffeine need to really be careful to either start slow with the dosing of these caffeine containing pre-workout mixes, and be mindful of which activities benefit from having caffeine taken prior to (cross fit) vs. the ones that would not (yoga).
Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAA)
Branched-chain amino acids are a source of energy in exercise and become a more substantial fuel source in endurance exercise when carbohydrates stores are low.
Taking them before, during and after a workout is supposed to enhance performance and reduce fatigue.
There are quite a few reasons you might consider taking fish oil (including your heart health), but some athletes swear by the stuff to reduce inflammation and thus, muscle soreness.
Fish oil gets praise because of its omega-3 fatty acid content.
Omega-3s are essential fatty acids that can contribute to reducing inflammation at the cellular level…recovery.
These fatty acids also come from eating foods like salmon, trout, tuna, soybeans, walnuts, and their oils.
Probably the most common workout supplement, protein powder is pretty much everywhere these days.
An adequate protein intake helps build, repair, and maintain muscle.
Even though there are many different kinds (and oh so many yummy flavors to choose from 🙂 ), whey protein is the most popular because it contains the highest amount of branched-chain amino acids, specifically leucine.
This is important because leucine is the ‘light switch’ for turning on muscle re-synthesis, thus promoting recovery.
Of course, whey contains dairy, so if you’re dairy-free, then soy, pea, egg white, rice, and hemp protein are all good options too.
It’s normally recommended that you down a protein shake ASAP after exercise, but recent research suggests that hitting your recommended protein intake over the course of the entire day is what matters most.
That means you can incorporate protein powder into your day at any time to meet your protein needs for the day and still reap the benefits.
Choices, Choices, Choices…
Those of you out there who may be thinking about taking your fitness to the next level have several different goodies to try out as you go.
Some you will love, and some you may not like at all.
Researching products and reading the reviews prior to making your purchase are the best ways you can educate yourself on what’s out there.
Beware…both sales people at supplement shops, and supplement websites, are going to try to sell you everything under the sun!!
Do not be sucked into buying anything more than you intended to buy. There is a high probability you will end up with stuff you did not need…and probably never will!!
Hope this helps…even just a little.
Feel free to leave any comments or questions below and I’ll get back to you:)
Thanks for reading!