Whether you are an avid gym goer or are just training casually the use of supplements can be extremely beneficial for your training. These supplements are used to assist you in getting the most out of your training sessions in order to achieve your goals. However, it is important to know when and how to take supplements as well as which supplement is best suited for you.
In this article we will be going through a basic/general overview of when and how to take supplements as well as the role and importance of pre-workout, intra-workout (during) and post-workout supplements. Each of them play a vital role in helping you push through the physical and mental strain a training session can pose on your body.
In future articles we will be diving deeper into the different supplements there are and the science behind how they affect our bodies and the benefits that they possess to us in conjunction with training.
The Boost You Gain From Pre Workout Supplements
A question I often get asked is “what pre workout supplement should I use and does it really work?”. To which my answer to everyone is different but yes they do really work. Pre workout supplements are often stimulants ranging from low/mild to strong. For an individual using pre workout for the first time it would be advised that a low/mild pre workout be used. On deciding whether to go for the low or mild product, first you must ask yourself a few questions.
Do you drink many coffees per day?
Are you caffeine sensitive?
What time of day do you train and when will you be using the pre workout?
If you are used to drinking a few coffees a day and aren’t training too late in the afternoon (before 5pm), I would say that a mild pre workout would be the choice to go with. The reason why I say before 5pm is that some people may struggle to sleep if they use a pre workout supplement to close to their bed time.
I also advise everyone trying a new pre workout product for the first time to just use half a scoop to gauge your tolerance. You might find that half a scoop is more than enough and now you have doubled the servings you will get and in turn save some money!
The most effective way to have your pre workout is consuming it 20 – 30 minutes before you train. If you are using a powder, mix the powder with water and then drink. I personally do not like to have a lot of water sitting in my stomach before I train so I make use enough water to almost make a pre workout shot. It is personal preference of how much water to mix with the powder but as a general rule of thumb use 150 – 350mL and shake well in a protein shaker.
The benefits of the pre workout supplements varies from product to product. In a future article we will dive deeper into the science behind how they can help boost energy, endurance, focus, strength and can also help with burning fat!
Sip On Some Endurance In A Bottle
Intra workout supplements can be extremely useful for sports players as well as your every day person who like to exercise at the gym, home or local park. These supplements can range from branch chain amino acids (BCAA’s), essential amino acids (EAA’s) and energy gels which contain carbs and electrolytes.
The products mentioned above all can be found in a powdered form and gel. Some BCAA and EAA products also contain electrolytes which are beneficial for sports which require running for quite some distance such as soccer or football and are also great for cardio workouts.
The BCAA and EAA powder can be found in flavoured form and should be mixed with water, approximately 600mL to 1L. If you find that the flavours are a bit too sweet it is advised to mix with more water to help dilute the drink. Now all you have to do is just sip on your drink as you normally would water throughout your session.
Not only is this drink beneficial for endurance, recovery and performance but majority of the brands out there have less than 10 calories per serve. This means that if you are counting your macros and calories you can enjoy the drink without throwing out your calories for the day. Also, if you are trying to lose weight the delicious flavour of these drinks can help curb cravings for sweets which is definitely wanted if you are one that struggles with snacking and sugar cravings.
Repair, Rebuild And Recover
Having a good protein powder as a post workout supplement is essential in allowing your body to repair and recover so that you can back up your training the next day. There are many different options of post workout protein ranging from whey protein, vegan protein, lactose free and gluten free to help accommodate to each individuals needs.
Most of us will not meet our recommended daily intake for protein through our diet and on training days your muscles need even more protein. This is why it is even more important on days which you train to have a post workout protein shake.
You can mix the protein powder with water if you are trying to avoid extra calories as milk tends to be a bit more energy dense, which means extra calories. As well some individuals tend to find digestion a bit worse when dairy is involved, so if you find yourself getting often bloated or easily I’d suggest that you mix your protein with water.
Each brand of protein has directions on how much water to mix with the protein powder but as a general rule of thumb you can mix 300 – 600mL of water to protein powder and shake in a protein shaker until mixed. If it is a bit too thick you can always add more water which will help with any issues with thickness. Consume your protein shake within 1 hour after training to help the protein get to your muscles and help with protein synthesis (recovery process).
As mentioned earlier there are many different proteins out there and these can help with muscle building, recovery and even aid in weight loss. I will go further into the science and products for your desired fitness goals in future articles to come so stay tuned!
Supplements can be a great way to help your body get nutrients which it may miss out one through the average person’s diet. Knowing when and how to take supplements as well as which on is suited best for your fitness goals is key to achieving success. In the articles to come we will be discussing more about what supplements are suited for your goals.
If you need help with anything or have any questions feel free to comment on the post and I will be more than happy to help.
Good luck with kicking your goals!
Founder of Smarter Supps