What are the differences between pre and post workout supplements?
This is a common question we are asked by customers, and for good reason. If you’re considering taking care of your body and maximizing your performance by using supplements, it makes sense to ensure you’re using them at the appropriate time.
Of course, there are obvious low hanging fruit options for pre and post workout supplements you could be taking. Pre-workout goes BEFORE you workout (we know, true brilliance) and after you workout, you want to rebuild with…wait for it…protein!
However, beyond this point, how much more should we be considering from a pre and post workout supplement standpoint?
Pre and Post Workout Supplements
If you’ve already nailed the low hanging fruit mentioned above, it may be time to consider a few more advanced options. It is also worth noting the quality of ingredients in your supplements also play a role. Check out this post to see if your supplements are treating you well, or not.
Pre Workout Supplements
Before your workout, you’re looking to improve concentration (caffeine) and to give your muscles an extra edge either in terms of performance, breakdown, or both. BCAA’s and specific amino acids such as beta alanine will help you do that.
From this point, we can decide on what pre-workout you need. If you’re very reactive to stimulants, and workout late in the evening, we do not recommend using caffeine before the workout. Your sleep is extremely important for overall health, and disrupting that by drinking caffeine after 6:00 pm is not a great idea.
The reason we recommend our RedLeaf Pre Workout is due to the low caffeine volume to keep you from being jittery or over stimulated, the inclusion of BCAAs, and the inclusion of beta alanine. You really get all three pre workout focused supplements at one time, in one scoop.
post workout supplements
As we look at post workout supplements, as mentioned above, protein is a key nutrient to look for following your workout. However, it is not the only nutrient which is helpful for your post workout recovery.
New research has shed light on the whole “anabolic window” theory – and somewhat debunked it. Many nutrition experts now recommend simple consuming a normal meal within 60-90 minutes after a workout. A normal meal means one containing a balanced amount of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. As we’ve said many times, whole food sources should always be the base of your nutrition – don’t try to grow muscle on protein shakes alone!
That being said, there are times when a supplement is your best option. You’re rushing from the gym right to a meeting, or any other situation that does not allow you to actually eat a meal. In those circumstances, how can we imitate a meal with supplements? Simple. Make your own mix.
In a full meal, you have protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Here’s how we can recreate that with supplements:
- Protein Powder Supplement: This can be either a whey protein isolate, or a plant-based protein product. You are looking for 20 grams minimum of protein per serving in this product.
- Highly-Branced Cyclic Dextrin: Yes, that’s a mouthful to say. This is the favored carbohydrate supplement currently on the market. It is a slow burning fuel source (think sweet potatoes instead of candy) and will allow your muscles to slowly take in the needed carbohydrates for recovery.
- Omega 3 Supplement: We recommend a quality fish oil (we know a good option, too) for your fat source when on the go. Yes, your overall fat intake will be lower from this source than a whole food source, but this is the healthy fats your body needs to reduce inflammation and improve overall health, and we highly recommend including many sources of omega 3’s in your diet.
Pre and Post Workout Supplements | Other Options
Other pre and post workout options certainly exist, as well. Nuun tablets are a great option for ensuring hydration before and after a workout, and for those of you who are looking to put on muscle but simply cannot get enough calories, consider a mass gain shake. While this generally isn’t our first choice (remember, whole foods!) supplements are meant to support your goals. If your goal is putting on size and you’re not able to eat enough, these are a great option, too.