How To Maximize Your Gains From Supplements
We’ve all been there. We’re strolling down the supplement aisle at our local drugstore or nutrition shop, looking for something that will help us feel or perform better, only to immediately feel overwhelmed by how many different products there are to choose from.
The supplement industry is huge. That means there are a lot of myths and misunderstandings out there, especially when it comes to the most well-known supplements, such as pre workout and protein powder.
Do you want to see great results and maximize the benefits you receive from your favorite supplements? If so, you need to make sure you’re choosing the right ones and using them correctly.
Darryn Willoughby, a Baylor University professor from the Department of Health and Human Performance and Recreation and the former president at the International Society of Sports Nutrition, has just the right advice to help you improve the way you shop for and take your pre workout and post-workout products.
Listed below are some of his top tips that will help you see the best outcomes from your supplements.
Look for Leucine
Professor Willoughby encourages all athletes and gym-goers to make sure they’re including an adequate amount of leucine in their pre or post-workout supplement formula.
What exactly does Leucine do? How is it beneficial for your body?
Leucine is one of three branched-chain amino acids (the other two are Isoleucine and Valine). These are essential amino acids that play an important role in muscle building and preventing muscle breakdown.
Leucine, in particular, helps to kickstart the muscle protein synthesis process. Your body needs it to rebuild muscle tissue, especially after intense workouts.
A typical BCAA supplement contains a ratio of two parts of Leucine, one part Valine, and one part of Isoleucine. In other words, you ought to consume twice as much Leucine as the other BCAAs.
The most effective BCAA supplements contain 7g (0.24 ounces) of BCAAs, with 3.5g (0.12 ounces) of Leucine and 1.25 grams (0.044 ounces) each of Isoleucine and Valine.
Leucine and the other BCAAs can also be added to protein powders, like our plant-based protein supplement, which is designed to have the same protein-packed goodness as whey, but in a vegan-friendly format.
Remember the Importance of L-Citrulline
L-Citrulline is a non-essential amino acid. This means that the body can make it on its own. However, there are still benefits to taking it in supplement form.
L-Citrulline increases the body’s nitric oxide production. Nitric oxide encourages the arteries to relax and improves blood flow throughout the body, including to the muscle tissues.
Increasing blood flow to the muscles can increase your energy and improve your endurance while training. It can also give you a better post-workout “pump” and support faster post-workout recovery since your body will have an easier time receiving nutrients and removing waste products from the muscles.
A recent study followed test subjects who were given two grams (0.07 ounces) of L-citrulline daily over a span of ten weeks. During this time, they also participated in intense, heavy resistance training.
The results of the study showed that when the participants consumed L-Citrulline, their lean mass increased significantly. This implies that the intake ofL-citrulline is correlated positively with an increase in muscle strength.
Take Creatine – Any Day, Any Time
Creatine is a naturally occurring substance found in the muscle cells. It helps the muscles to produce much-needed energy during heavy weightlifting and high-intensity training sessions.
Creatine is one of the most popular supplements on the market today for athletes and gym-goers. It can be taken on its own, but it’s also often found in pre workout supplement formulas.
Even though Creatine is often included in pre workout supplements, it’s important to note that it doesn’t have to be taken before exercising to be effective. In fact, according to Professor Willoughby, creatine requires some time before it can saturate your muscles and produce noticeable results.
This does not mean that it is bad to take creatine before you exercise. However, you should not be too concerned if you do not see visible immediate effects of creatine during your workout after taking a pre workout that contains it.
In reality, the benefits of Creatine supplementation are likely to appear after a few days. What matters most is that you take 3-5 grams (0.10-0.17 ounces) of creatine each day. Relatively speaking, when you take it does not really matter – you can take it at whatever time is most suitable for you.
Beta-Alanine Can Be Taken at Any Time of the Day
Similar to Creatine, Beta-Alanine is also frequently found in pre-workout supplement formulas. It also does not absorb quickly into the bloodstream.
To be properly utilized, Beta-Alanine first has to bind with another amino acid, Histidine. This creates Carnosine, which is a small but effective protein buffer.
As you exercise, lactic acid starts to form in the muscles in response to intense muscular contractions. Carnosine helps to keep lactic acid formation to a minimum. This enables you to go harder and endure for longer periods of time when you work out.
Beta-Alanine is extremely useful in alleviating muscle fatigue. Other studies have also shown that it helps to enhance anaerobic endurance. You don’t necessarily have to take it before a workout to see these results, though.
Simply taking Beta-Alanine every day is extremely useful for your workouts, regardless of timing. If you like getting it from a pre workout that already has it mixed in, though, there’s nothing wrong with that approach.
Taking a pre workout with Beta-Alanine is convenient, and you get to enjoy that tingly feeling that gets you pumped up and ready to work. Just keep in mind that it may take a couple of days of consistent use before you see noticeable results during your training.
Take Pre Workout at the Right Time
As their name suggests, pre workout supplements should be taken before your workout. When, specifically, should you take pre workout to see the best results?
A good rule of thumb is to take your pre workout product about 15-30 minutes before you start exercising.
The reason for this rule is that caffeine, the main ingredient in most pre workout supplements, takes between 30 and 60 minutes to reach its peak effectiveness. If you take your pre workout 15-30 minutes before your workout, it’ll have enough time to get absorbed into your system and yield the best results.
Keep in mind, you may need to do a bit of experimenting to figure out the ideal timing of your pre workout. Some people might absorb caffeine and other ingredients faster, while others may have to wait a bit longer to feel the full results of their supplement.
Level Up Your Supplement Routine Today
By making some simple tweaks to your supplement routine, you can feel great and maximize the results you see from your workouts. From addressing Creatine and Beta-Alanine timing to monitoring your Leucine intake, these small changes can make a big difference.
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