Beginners' Guide To Pre and Post Workout Supplements

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You have started sweating out in the gym recently and now all you are relying upon is the mighty protein powder to fulfill your bodybuilding dreams. But, is this all what you need? So, here is the tell all beginners’ guide to pre & post workout supplement

Almost all the athletes, bodybuilders, and sports enthusiasts rely heavily on supplements to boost the intensity of their workout, take endurance to next level, and strengthen their goal orientation. While whey protein powder is definitely a must have for all, there are other essential pre and post workout supplements that should be included in our daily diet. 

Your pre-workout supplement should ideally be a blend of carbohydrates and caffeine to minimize fatigue and to help you stay strong till the final sets of your workout. On the other hand, your post-workout recovery blend is important to speed up the muscle recovery process. Branched amino acid is one of the highly recommended post workout ingredients that can help you deal with soreness and also repair taxed muscle tissues. 

Here are the five fundamental ingredients that should definitely make a part of your pre and post workout blends

1. Carbohydrates 
Pre or Post: Both

Carbohydrates play a crucial role in every athlete’s sports routine, especially if you are working out for the more than one hour at a stretch. Carbs help in refueling your muscles by getting stored in your body in the form of glycogen. Low levels of glycogen lead to fatigue. So, when you are working out intensely the stored glycogen from carbs helps in refueling your body to give you strength in the final moments of your sweat session. If you are not taking enough carbs before the workout, the glycogen levels in your body will knock down with no backup source to replenish from. This also puts you at a greater risk of workout injury. 

Here, when we say carbs we are definitely not asking you to gorge on a plate full of pasta. Instead, fuel your workout with carbohydrate rich supplements or sports drinks and ensure your body’s energy  tank is full. If you are into high-intensity training then 3.2 gms to 4.55 gms of carbs per pound of your body weight is recommended. Though, you should always consult your sports nutritionist or trainer for the recommendation as the quantity will differ as per individual training routine. 

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2. Caffeine
Pre or Post: Pre-Workout

If you wish to make your training sessions less tiring then consider taking caffeine as your favored pre-workout supplement. Several studies have proved that athletes and sportspersons who take caffeine as a pre-workout supplement have shown more endurance during their training sessions. However, you need to be very careful about the dosage of your supplement because too much caffeine can also make you jittery, nauseous and nervous. Also, if you are sensitive to caffeine then give it a miss as it may make you feel dizzy. 

3. Vitamin C
Pre or Post: Both

Vitamin C is a popular supplement that people often take when they experience early signs of common cold. But what they do not know is that vitamin C is also important in dealing with stress, whether it is from a strenuous workout or changing weather conditions. Vitamin C is an antioxidant which helps in fighting against metabolic stress. So, when you put your body under stress during a workout schedule, vitamin C can help in strengthening your system.

4. Vitamin B6 and B12
Pre or Post: Both

It is not uncommon for people to be deficient of vitamin B-complex, particularly B6, but the clinical deficiency of Vitamin B12 is relatively rare. There is no strong evidence of depletion of vitamins from the body under a stressful condition, but the possibility cannot be ruled out completely as well. 

According to reports submitted by several health institutes globally, vitamin B plays a key role in the formation of red blood cells in the body and also converts energy from the food we eat. Furthermore, it helps in reducing inflammation and regulating sleep patterns. In simple words, vitamins help in fine-tuning the essential bodily processes that energize us during a workout or even during other times of the day. 

5. BCAA Blend
Pre or Post: Both

Branched amino acids commonly known as BCAA are a blend of three important amino acids namely, leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Our body uses these amino acids for digestion, repairing body tissues and promoting growth, among many other bodily functions. BCAA can also be found naturally in protein sources like meat and eggs. The three amino acids that make BCAA blend are essential for those who want to build muscle. Additionally, BCAA as a pre and post workout supplement helps in repairing damaged tissues after an intense workout.

Final Verdict

The lack of regulation on workout supplements may make things a bit tricky for beginners. In order to identify which blends are genuine and which are bogus, it is always suggested that you buy supplements from certified and verified brands only, As a beginner, your knowledge of these supplements might be limited, so it's better to take advice from either your trainer or nutritionist. They will not only help you with the brands you can completely trust but will also suggest you the right kind of blend that is needed for your workout routine, goal and body type. 

At the end, regardless of what pre and post workout supplement blend you choose, they will not be any of help if you are not solidifying your fitness foundation through exercise and balanced diet.

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