Workout Supplements: What to Take Before, During and After Exercise

Author: Dr Dana Ryan
Man And Woman Looking At Water Bottle After Workout

If you’re looking to maximise athletic performance, you may have considered taking workout supplements. Nutrition and a good fitness plan go hand in hand, so the best workout supplements are only as good as your training routine and daily regime.

Therefore it’s important to consider not only what supplements to take but also when to take them.

How to Get the Most Out of Workout Supplements
Here is a quick guide for supercharging your workout nutrition:

Pre-Workout

When you have a big game or tough workout session, it’s important to prepare and plan ahead. You’ll want to give yourself a boost by taking a pre-workout supplement with caffeine. Caffeine stimulates your body’s metabolism, which in effect, helps maintain focus and reduces fatigue.

Similarly, a pre-workout supplement with nitric oxide precursors helps with healthy blood flow. Wider blood vessels support the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to working muscles during exercise, which then helps maintain your performance.

 

During a Workout

Whilst working out, you’ll want to stay hydrated and fuelled, so look for sports drinks with a good amount of carbohydrates and electrolytes! Electrolytes can replace valuable nutrients such as sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium, which are lost when you sweat.

The combination of carbohydrates and electrolytes will not only replace those valuable nutrients but will also continuously supply your muscles with the glucose required to maintain your performance. The longer and more intense the workout, the more you need!

 

Post-Workout

Your post-workout nutrition serves two purposes:

  1. Refuelling what you just burnt off
  2. Preparing you for your next workout

This is why you’ll want to focus on protein and high-quality carbohydrates. Protein repairs and rebuilds muscles, which is great for increasing lean muscle mass.

The type of workout you do will determine the ratio of carbohydrates to protein that you’ll need.

  • For a more intense workout, you’ll need more carbohydrates, and a good rule of thumb is to maintain a 3:1 ratio with protein. Since you will likely need at least 20g of protein post-workout, you will want at least 60g of carbohydrates for an endurance workout.
  • For a strength-based workout, you won’t require as many carbohydrates, so aim for closer to a 1:1 ratio, meaning you will want around 20g of carbohydrates with 20g of protein.

The protein can come from whole foods such as chicken or fish; however, many people don’t like eating right after a hard workout, and it’s not always easy to calculate your protein intake from foods. A protein shake is a great, convenient solution after a workout.