Undoubtedly, proper supplementation is vital when seeking to achieve your fitness goals. For the majority of gym-goers, achieving their dream physique generally entails packing on as much lean muscle as possible, getting stronger and shedding off as much body fat as possible. Consequently, many active gym-goers attempt to complement their nutrient deficiencies by consuming various supplements. A supplement is something that enhances or completes something else when added to it. In the fitness industry, a dietary supplement is a manufactured product aimed at supplementing a diet when consumed orally in the form of pills, tablets, capsules or liquids. Supplements are excellent for providing nutrients extracted from food sources or synthetics in an effort to increase their consumption amount. However, the benefits provided by these supplements may be limited if you do not know when to take them. This is because timing is everything when it comes to supplementation. Consequently, it is vital that you fully comprehend when and how you should be taking your supplements to help you achieve your health goals.
As nutritionists say, “timing is everything”, which is especially true when it comes to supplements. Researchers have actually concluded that those individuals who consume supplements including whey protein and creatine around times of working out actually achieve much greater results than those individuals who consume those same supplements at different times. In order to fully benefit from supplementation, you must know what supplements to take when you first wake up, what supplements to take before your workout, what supplements to take during your workout and what supplements to take before going to sleep.
When you wake up:
Upon awakening, your body has essentially been fasting for the previous 6-9 hours. When you’re sleeping and just waking up, your body utilizes your muscles as a source of fuel, which is a process that no gym-goer wishes to endure. In order for this process to stop, you must consume energy-inducing nutrients that are also rapidly-digested. Although many people would consider foods such as eggs or chicken breast as a quality whole-food protein, it is not the smartest idea to consume those whole-foods for breakfast. This is largely contributed to the fact that these foods take too long to digest. Consequently, it is vital that you consume a protein that is easily digestible, within 20 minutes or so, after waking up. This is where your whey protein shakes are extremely useful, as whey protein digests very quickly and slows down the carbolic state, muscle breakdown. This simple and nutritious protein shake will also help to kick-start protein synthesis, preparing you for the rest of the day. Furthermore, eating a small piece of fruit for breakfast is a great choice since your liver utilized its glycogen stores during your sleep. This storage needs to be replenished just enough so your body does not turn to amino acids in the muscles for energy.
The majority of gym-goers realize the significance of an intra-workout supplement. When you workout, you will eventually run out of strength, stamina and energy. This is largely contributed to the fact that carbohydrates are your muscles’ primary source of energy during physical activity, especially weightlifting. Consuming a carbohydrate-dense shake or supplement during your workout will not only allow you to train for much longer but also harder; ultimately increasing your chances of obtaining better results from your workouts. As a general rule of thumb, the harder you train the more carbohydrates your body needs and burns.
This indicates that for individuals who bodybuild or powerlift, they must make sure to have a full “tank” of glycogen and glucose while they are training. This is because bodybuilders generally train in short bursts of high-intensity training. When you introduce an Intra-workout supplement, your body continues to use the carbohydrates or Intra workout supplement as a source of energy, rather than converting it. Regardless of your fitness goals, including an Intra-workout supplement can boost your performance in the weight-room, rather than trying to “tough-it-out”.
Pre and Post Workout Supplements
Knowing when and what you should be taking can significantly increase your overall performance. Here, pre or post workout supplements are perhaps the most renowned ways of maximizing your results in the gym.
- a) Pre-workout:
The desire to maximize your endurance, strength and fat burning potential in the gym can be achieved by implementing a pre-workout supplement in your diet 30-60 minutes before training. A pre-workout drink or shake should consist of caffeine, 200-400 mg, a green-tea extract and one dose of a nitric oxide booster. Lastly, about 15 minutes before your workout you should consume about 20g of whey protein, 2-5g of creatine, 5g of BCAA or branched chain amino acids and 2-3g of beta-alanine. This, combined with the nitric oxide booster, caffeine and green tea extract will ensure that you stay fueled during your workouts. Since your body utilizes amino acids and carbohydrates before your muscles as a source of energy during intense workouts, you must make sure that your body is sufficiently supplied before you enter the gym.
- b) Post-workout:
After a workout, you have about a 45-minute window to refuel your muscles. You need to provide them with adequate nutrients necessary for muscle recovery and growth. These nutrients must be absorbed fast and consequently, you should consume a whey protein shake. Additionally, you can add some casein protein to keep protein synthesis maximized for hours after your workout. Lastly, many individuals like to consume additional creatine, beta-alanine and BCAA’s to restock their muscles for their next workout.