When it comes to get the most from your workout, it’s not only important to know which supplements can offer you the most, but when the best time to take them is. Some supplements are best taken before your workout to maximize endurance and boost your metabolism. Other supplements work the best after your workout, helping to repair any muscle tissue damage and helping replenish your cells. Let’s take a closer look at these supplements, and discuss what works best, and when to take them.
Let’s start with the supplements you take before your workout. It’s important to take these supplements in their recommended dosage a half hour to an hour before your workout.
- Creatine. Creatine is amazing at giving those that take it high energy to get through their high-intensity workouts. It works by providing your muscles with something called creatine phosphate. When your muscles contain high levels of creatine phosphate, they can create more of a cellular energy known as ATP. This gives you extra strength, more endurance, and a shorter rest period.
- Caffeine. Caffeine is a nervous system stimulant that easily makes its way into your brain. Once caffeine makes its way there, it attaches itself to receptors that block adenosine. Since adenosine is responsible for slowing the body, this allows the brain to produce more adrenaline and noradrenaline. This, along with caffeine’s ability to block phosphodiesterase, another enzyme that triggers adenosine, allows you to work out longer, more intensely, and even makes you less aware of muscle fatigue. As with anything, however, it’s best to use in moderation. Too much exercise and not enough awareness can cause real damage to your muscle tissues.
- Beta-Alanine. This supplement has been proven to raise muscle carnosine levels over time, helping increase muscle endurance and strength. This buffering of the accumulated acidity within muscles allows for longer high-intensity workouts.
- Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs). Valine, leucine, and isoleucine are the amino acids that make up BCAA’s. These amino acids produce energy during exercise, and have a surplus within the blood and muscles can decrease fatigue and allow you to push yourself further and more intensely.
- Betaine. Known also as trimethylglycine, betaine is useful for transferring methyl to other molecules within your body. By doing this, betaine helps multiple biochemical processes such as protein synthesis which is crucial to muscle building. This supplement helps your body improve muscle endurance, lowers homocysteine levels, and even supports cell hydration.
- L-Citrulline. This well-known supplement helps prevent fatigue in muscle tissues and increases the production of ATP and phosphocreatine in the body. L-citrulline also converts itself into arginine, which then becomes nitric oxide. Nitric oxide maximizes nutrient delivery, waste removal, and blood flow in the muscle tissues. With these effects, those who take it even report a huge decrease in muscle soreness during and after workouts.
Now, let’s take a look at the supplements that work the best after your workout. These supplements are best taken within one to two hours after your workout is complete in their recommended dosage.
- Whey Protein. Whey protein is the tried and true supplement that everyone in the fitness community seems to agree one. When taken after a workout, this supplement absorbs quickly and raises the amino acids in the body, keeping them elevated for up to 3 hours. This allows for a spike in blood insulin levels post-workout, pushing more nutrients and glycogen into your muscles. By doing so, your muscles heal faster and amass more growth.
- Betaine. Betaine is one of those supplements that can do wonders before and after a workout. This supplement is absorbed quickly into your fatigued muscles, and lowers their homocysteine levels, promoting muscle protein synthesis. Since this is a supplement that is advised to be taken twice a day, it only makes sense to take it before AND after your workout.
- Creatine. Another supplement that can be taken before and after your training, creatine provides extra anabolic support for the recovery of your muscles, especially when paired with whey protein isolate and proteolytic enzymes.