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Best Pre- and Post- Workout Supplements: Which Do You Prefer…?

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!Workout Supplements with Breakfast

Maybe this will help clear things up for you somewhat…

Pre-Workout…

Creatine

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 Mixes

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.Creatine Pre-workout Supplement

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)BCAAs Branched-Chain Amino Acids

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.

Post-Workout…

Fish Oils

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.
Fish Oil Capsules Omega 3

Protein Powder

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 πŸ™‚ ), 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.Whey Protein Sport Nutrition

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!

Chris

Chris

8 Comments

  1. Creatine sounds like a supplement I should add to my supplements. My thoughts are (correct me if I’m wrong) if creatine increases muscle, then you’ll burn more fat. While being “bulky” used to be a concern of mine, I realized that the size of our muscles won’t grow beyond what they’re capable of (again, please correct me if I’m wrong). As long as supplements are used properly and we only use legal supplements (no roid rage!) then everything should go smoothly, provided one doesn’t suffer from any health conditions or take medications that may cause a negative interaction.

  2. This is an interesting article but doesn’t quite answer my question about supplements.

    I am a 51 year old that has been diagnosed with diabetes and my function is to lose weight.  It is so confusing trying to find good supplements for losing weight and being diabetic friendly.

    I was hoping you may have some advice.  I will watch and see if you can help me. 

    Thank you.

  3. Thank you for all this information it has definitely broken things down for me and made it easier to understand what supplements I should be taking and when I should be taking them. It really can be a minefield out there, with every man and his dog trying to sell me the next great supplement…. usually pretty successfully πŸ˜›

  4. Hi Chris,

    Thanks for the helpful information! I have never thought about taking Creatine before I do my workout, but it makes perfect sense. I could use the boost! I sometime quit a bit early because I feel the energy drain. Maybe that will increase my stamina?

     Is there any other products (that are safe) to help with that wash-out from a good workout. I will definitely look into getting some of the BCAA – Amino Acids!

    I take fish oil for my heart, but I never knew that it helps with muscle soreness! That is another area that I personally have a problem with. The next day, muscle soreness is a fact of life for me.

    You have given me some great tips Chris, thank you! I will be back for sure.

    Chas

  5. Hello Chris,

    as a person who is very passionate about working out and everything that has to do with it, I am always on the look for new & effective ways to enhance the quality of my workouts as well as improve my health & results. As far as supplements go, I used protein powder twice a day- pre-workout & after-workout,  but recently I’ve actually been thinking about purchasing creatine and trying it out basically. Going into this article I didn’t have alot of knowdlegde regarding creatine, however after reading Your review, the purpouse of creatine and how it functions became very clear to me, thanks a lot! I’ve learned something new today πŸ˜‰ I used to think that creatine was only for increasing energy, so I was quite surprised when I discovered that it is used for both- muscle growth and performance. If I decide to actually try out creatine, would it be too much if I use 2 protein shakes a day and creatine alongside? What would be the right balance? Thanks for the great article and keep up the good work Chris πŸ˜‰

    • Hey Chas,
      Thanks for the read! I think you should try adding the creatine into your mix and see how you like like it. You might feel a little full, and not really want the after-workout protein powder. You can always drink that a little later on…
      Just see how it goes πŸ˜‰

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