Pre- And Post-Workout Supplements: What Are The Differences?
For anyone who is looking to take their training to the next level, maximize their gains and improve their overall strength and endurance, getting into a consistent pre and post-workout regime is vitally important.
We’re not just talking about having a bit of caffeine before a workout and enjoying a protein shake afterwards (although that can be effective). To really push the boundaries, finding the right blend of pre and post-workout ingredients is the key to your success.
Before we get into which ingredients are right for you, let's look at what these supplements do.
What Are Pre-Workouts?
In short, pre-workouts are designed to boost your energy levels before a workout so you can train harder for longer and reduce the effects of fatigue. Some pre-workouts also contain specific ingredients that can help to increase your metabolism (helping to reduce fat) or naturally boost your testosterone levels.
Overall, by consistently using pre-workouts, users find that they are able to maintain high-intensity levels in their workouts for longer, whilst also recovering faster.
What Are Post-Workouts?
After pushing yourself to the limit at the gym, your post-workout is designed to help speed up your recovery. Post-workouts provide your body with the necessary nutrients to rebuild your torn muscles as fast as possible.
The faster you recover, the faster you can get back at the gym and train at a high intensity, allowing you to hit your training goals faster.
With the basics out of the way, let's take a look at the key ingredients for both pre and post-workouts and how they fit into your training regime.
Caffeine is the most common ingredient when it comes to pre-workouts because it's highly effective at boosting energy levels and muscular endurance. This makes caffeine a perfect fit for users who are looking for that energy boost before their workouts.
Uses: Pre and post-workout
Creatine is produced naturally in the body and used to make adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the energy used by muscles when they contract.
Within the muscles, ATP stores only last for a few seconds at a time. Therefore, in order for your muscles to maintain contractions for long periods of time, there needs to be more creatine in the body to convert into energy.
In a pre-workout supplement, creatine has been proven to significantly improve performance for high-intensity workouts, as your muscles are able to rapidly call on the increased ATP stores to assist in contractions.
In post-workouts, creatine has been shown to increase the rate of muscle repair and new muscle growth, which reduces the overall amount of muscle breakdown, contributing to an increase in muscle mass.
Uses: Pre and post-workout
Otherwise known as branched-chain amino acids, BCAAs are an essential blend of three different types of amino acids - leucine, isoleucine and valine. They are essential amino acids because the human body isn't able to produce them.
Considering that BCAAs account for 35% of total muscle proteins, the effect these amino acids have on our bodies cannot be ignored.
The optimal ratio for BCAAs is 2:1:1. For every 2gs of leucine, you have 1g of isoleucine and 1g of valine.
Overall BCAAs promote muscle repair and regeneration. When taken as part of a pre-workout, they reduce the effects of muscle breakage. Studies suggest that BCAAs can also provide the body with a quick source of energy.
In post-workouts the regenerative properties of BCAAs play a key part in muscle repair while you recover.
It is important to maintain high hydration levels after a workout, so using BCAA products that also have added electrolytes, like the HydroBCAA +Essentials, will give you an edge when it comes to your recovery.
Uses: Pre-workout and sometimes post-workout
Nitric oxides help to increase blood flow in the body by widening the space within your blood vessels. Increased blood flow means that your body is able to transport important nutrients to your muscles and increase the level of oxygen flow. This can have a massive effect on your muscle endurance and overall power during a workout as you’re able to transport all the beneficial ingredients from your pre-workout to their intended destinations faster.
There are also some benefits to taking a nitric oxide booster post-workout. If you are able to improve your circulation, you should be able to speed up your recovery time by taking nitric oxide boosters alongside other supplements, like BCAAs, which improve muscle repair.
Beta-alanine is another amino acid that is essential for maintaining a high-performance workout. Beta-alanine plays a crucial part in the synthesis of carnosine, which helps to reduce the impact of lactic acid build-up.
If you’ve ever had that burning sensation in your muscles to the point of failure or spasm, you've experienced lactic acid build-up. By taking beta-alanine, you are able to delay the onset of lactic acid build-up, allowing you to work out for longer at a higher intensity.
Beta-alanine has been proven to significantly boost muscle endurance performance in disciplines such as HIIT or high volume workout training. Your body is able to adapt to a higher intensity regime faster since muscle fatigue is reduced.
Whey protein is a muscle supplement that helps to support muscle repair and growth. Whey usually contains a vast range of essential amino acids that are absorbed quickly into the bloodstream. These amino acids are the important building blocks used as fuel by muscles to support repair and growth.
To reduce the onset of muscle fatigue and soreness immediately after a workout, take a whey protein supplement, like our whey isolate protein powder. This protein powder has been proven to enhance muscle repair and build mass.
Another added benefit of whey protein is its effect on weight management.
Protein makes you feel fuller for longer, which means you are likely to eat less throughout the day. A recent study found that on average people ate 441 fewer calories on a high protein diet. This evidence suggests that whey protein can help suppress your appetite and boost your weight management efforts for lean muscle growth.
Which Supplements Should I Take?
There have been a number of cases over the years where companies who have been selling supplements have not disclosed all the active ingredients properly on their labels. In some of these cases, the blend of ingredients is full of bulking agents, meant to reduce costs but also reducing the full effects of the supplement.
To stay on the safe side, steer clear of any products that lack information and research to support their claims or benefits.
All our ProSupps supplements have been backed by scientific research and third party tested to confirm that what we say is in them, is really in them. We always maintain a high standard of quality in our products and you can be assured that what you are consuming will actually provide you with the benefits that you are seeking.
If you are a professional athlete or compete in elite sport where you are tested for banned substances, you need to ensure the supplements that you are taking comply with the latest regulations. At ProSupps we take this very seriously. A number of our supplements, such as Mr. Hyde Signature, are Informed Choice Certified.
Informed Choice is a global quality assurance and certification program for the sports nutrition industry, designed to minimize the risk of products being inadvertently contaminated with substances prohibited in sport by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
Work Hard or Go Home
Pre and post-workout supplements go hand in hand to ensure you have the energy and focus needed for a powerful workout and that you are able to recover efficiently post-workout.
This tag team can help you achieve your training goals faster when used correctly. That being said, they can only help if you turn up regularly and push yourself to your limit!
Rome wasn’t built in a day – be patient as you work towards your goals. A healthy body begins with persistence and discipline. Happy training!