Which Workout Supplements To Take, And When To Take Them

When you’re working hard to build muscle and get fit, the last thing you want is to throw out all your dedication by taking the wrong supplements, at the wrong time, or in the wrong dosage.

Here’s what nutritionists and bodybuilders say about which supplements to take and when to take them, in order to maximize your workouts results.

Protein
Protein is first on this list for two reasons. One, it’s the most crucial macro-nutrient your body needs to develop and retain muscle. Two, evidence suggest taking a fast-digesting protein like whey protein early in the day can help to jump start the anabolic process that helps to build lean muscle mass.

If you’re not into taking protein first thing in the day because you’re doing intermittent fasting or just because you don’t like to eat or drink right after you wake up, that’s fine. As long as you are getting enough protein throughout the day to support the muscular exercise you’re doing, you’re fine.

So how much protein is the right amount? About 1 gram per pound of muscle mass is Arnold’s rule of thumb. It’s best to spread out your protein intake throughout the day, to make sure your body is actually taking in the nutrients and not just voiding them. That’s actually one of the main reasons you always hear about bodybuilders eating small meals throughout the day. Not just for keeping their metabolisms up.

BCAAs
BCAAs, or Branched Chain Amino Acids, are commonly called the ‘building blocks’ of muscle. They help promote protein synthesis in the muscle, and avoid protein degradation. There’s no hard and fast rule about when to take your BCAAs, as long as you are getting between 10-20 grams daily. That being said, a lot of people like to either take BCAAs with their protein to make sure they’re getting the most bang for their buck, or during their workouts, because some evidence suggests BCAAs can help reduce fatigue.

Creatine
Creatine monohydrate is a powerful muscle builder. Just 5g a day can help to increase muscle mass when combined with strenuous muscular activity. Many people like to take creatine before their workout, as it’s sometimes combined with pre-workout energy boosters. Recent research has actually suggested, however, that taking creatine immediately following your workout can be better for building lean muscle mass.

Other supplements to take:

Fish Oils: contain omega-3 fatty acids that are strong anti-oxidants for the body, and can have anti-inflammatory effects.

CBD: is an extract of cannabis that has incredible general anti-inflammatory properties, and none of the drug’s psychoactive properties.

L-carnitine: is another amino acid. This one has been shown to aid in the metabolization of fat during workouts, meaning your body is using more fat for energy while you exercise. It has also been shown to assist in muscle recovery.

Caffeine: is everybody’s favourite stimulant, and there’s good reason why. Drinking a coffee before you hit the gym can help give you more focus and energy, and 1-2 cups of coffee per day has been shown to help burn more calories than a diet without caffeine.

Zach Buck

Zach Buck

Zach Buck is a writer and editor currently living in South Korea. He serves as the official editor of Spatial Studies magazine HEADREST. In 2016 he released experimental digital archive game house.xct_ with Other Families, and it can be read about on otherfamilies.ca.

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