Whether you’re just starting to get into working out or have been hitting the gym for years, there’s no doubt you’ve heard about workout supplements. These products are meant to provide extra nourishment and energy for your body when exercising, helping to make the most out of each session.
Workout supplements are popular dietary supplement that is typically consumed before (‘pre-workout) or after (‘post-workout) exercising and are available in various forms, including pills, powders, and ready-to-drink shakes.
If you’d like to learn more about this, please continue reading this article!
What Exactly Are Workout Supplements?
Workout supplements are substances individuals can take to support their exercise or fitness activities. These supplements range from those that help promote muscle growth to those that provide energy and improve stamina. More specialized products are also available for specific goals, such as fat loss or strength building.
Who Usually Takes Workout Supplements?
Supplements are most frequently used by bodybuilders, weightlifters, and elite athletes. However, many people nowadays add some accessories to their everyday routine.
It is critical to understand that most people do not need to take supplements because a balanced and healthy diet should provide enough nutrients and minerals for the body to operate correctly, build muscle, and reduce body fat.
Bodybuilders, weightlifters, and top athletes use supplements to improve their performance, no matter how minor. A CrossFit athlete, for example, may require assistance in reaching optimal performance for the CrossFit Games. This can only be accomplished by consuming a large number of calories per day, the majority of which are carbs (for energy) and protein (for muscle mass).
What Are the Pre-Workout Supplements?
Pre- Workout Supplements
Pre-workout supplements are intended to increase energy and stamina during exercise. They are typically ingested 15 to 30 minutes before working out but can also be consumed during exercise.
The American College of Sports Medicine, Dietitians of Canada and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics have identified pre-workout supplement ingredients as having evidence-based sports nutrition applications. The International Society of Sports Nutrition has also classified these supplements as likely safe and supported by substantial evidence of efficacy.
The body synthesizes creatine from amino acids, which can be obtained through red meat and seafood consumption. It helps produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), providing muscles energy.
Popular workout supplement creatine is advertised to enhance athletic performance, particularly weight training. According to research, creatine supplementation increases creatine availability in the muscle, enhancing exercise capacity and training adaptations in adolescents, young adults, and older individuals.
Caffeine, a stimulant commonly found in pre-workout supplements, has enhanced physical performance in short-term, high-intensity exercise and endurance-based activities. According to research, caffeine increases endorphin release, improves neuromuscular function, vigilance, and alertness, and reduces perceived exertion during exercise.
Beta-alanine is an amino acid produced by the liver and found in seafood, poultry, and meat. This supplement has been shown to enhance exercise performance when administered at 4-6g/day for 2-4 weeks, particularly for high-intensity exercise lasting 1-4 minutes, such as high-intensity interval training (HIIT) or brief sprints.
It also showed to reduce neuromuscular fatigue, particularly in the elderly. It increases muscle carnosine concentrations, a proton buffer that lowers muscle acidity during high-intensity exercise, reducing fatigue.
During exercise, the body converts glucose into lactic acid, which is then converted into lactate. This produces hydrogen ions, which decrease the muscle’s pH. This acidity diminishes the muscle’s capacity to contract, resulting in fatigue.
What Are Post-Workout Supplements?
Daily protein intake recommendations for the general population (0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight, or about 7 grams of protein per day for every 20 pounds) are considered adequate for nearly all healthy individuals.
In the context of sufficient carbohydrate consumption, protein supplementation does not enhance endurance performance. Still, it may lessen signs of muscle damage and soreness, according to a review by the International Society of Sports Nutrition.
However, research is conflicting, with most studies examining the effects of protein supplementation on enhancing maximal strength finding no benefit. On the other hand, people who engage in high-intensity resistance training may benefit from increased protein consumption to optimize muscle protein synthesis, which is necessary for muscle recovery and growth.
After a workout, replenishing glycogen stores with adequate carbohydrate intake is essential for muscle recovery. It has been shown that commencing the next training with fine glycogen stores improves exercise performance.
After strenuous physical activity, such as interval training, running, swimming, cycling, soccer, or basketball played at a moderate to intense intensity, carbohydrate and protein supplementation within 24 to 36 hours is only suggested.
Numerous supplements contain electrolytes that conduct electricity when combined with water, including sodium, potassium, and calcium. These are required for hydration and the regulation of nerve and muscle function; for instance, calcium, sodium, and potassium all work together to ensure that muscles contract correctly.
Because sweating causes electrolyte loss, sports beverages (typically containing carbohydrates/sugar and electrolytes) and other electrolyte supplements are frequently marketed as essential after exercise. Sports drinks and other electrolyte supplements are normally only appropriate for individuals who have been exercising strenuously for over an hour and are sweating heavily.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
Three of the nine essential amino acids have a side chain that contains a “branch,” or a central carbon atom bound to three or more carbon atoms. These three amino acids, leucine, isoleucine, and valine, are branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs).
They are in protein-rich foods like poultry, red meat, seafood, eggs, and powdered dietary supplements. BCAAs are essential components of skeletal muscle protein synthesis, and research indicates that leucine, in particular, stimulates protein synthesis while inhibiting protein degradation.
Despite short-term mechanistic evidence indicating that leucine is crucial in muscle protein synthesis, longer-term studies do not support BCAAs as applicable workout supplements.
Workout supplements can be a great way to supplement your training and diet program. They may help you reach your goals faster and give you a boost when needed. However, understanding which ones are safe and effective is crucial to ensure you get the most out of your training.
Consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen. With quality products and knowledge, you will be well on your way to improving your health and achieving the goals you set for yourself.
If you need help from a fitness consultant in Vancouver that also provides supplement advice, Kalev Fitness Solution is here for you! With our expertise and dedication to each individual, we can ensure that you get the most out of your goals and progress toward a healthier lifestyle. Contact us now!