Besides caffeine, which has proven performance-enhancing benefits when taken in the right dose, many pre-workouts also contain creatine for strength, muscular endurance, and muscle growth by pulling water from under the skin (subcutaneous) into the muscles. Pre can also contain nitric oxide boosters which increase the amount of blood flow to the muscles that you’re working, helping you to achieve a good “pump”. In addition, these boosters help get the BCAA’s, which we’ll talk about shortly, and the nutrients from your pre-workout meal into your muscles faster to help them repair and rebuild, which is how you gain muscle.
I’m pretty sensitive to caffeine, really any medications or drugs, so I was obviously wary of fitness supplements. When I first started taking pre-workout, I could only take a 1/2 serving. There’s so many different pre’s out there, so it’s a matter of finding which one you really like, and which one works best for you. I’ve tried a ton – some upset my stomach, or made my head fuzzy, or didn’t give me the kick I was looking for. Do some research and decide which pre-workout looks best for you and your goals. I’ve found that I prefer BPI Sports One More Rep Powder. I mix it with 4 ounces of water and drink it about 15-20 minutes prior to heading to the gym.
The real game-changer for me was when I started taking BCAA’s – branch chain amino acids. They start the recovery process for your muscles while you are still working out. They make your muscles feel less sore and can also increase muscle mass and enhance weight loss. For those truly putting in the effort in the gym and really trying to see results in the composition of their body, I always recommend BCAA’s. I personally prefer BPI Sports. I typically drink them throughout my workout.
Lastly, I drink a protein shake post-workout. My goals are to have a lean, toned appearance, so it is important that I’m feeding my muscle properly. The most important time to get your protein is immediately post-workout. Your muscles will soak up the nutrition for recovery and growth. I have a really hard time with protein powders though. As a super picky eater, I just can’t stomach most of them. The one I’m currently using that I find palatable and affordable is Isopure Infusions – it’s less like a shake and more like a flavored water. I mix 1 scoop with 6 ounces of water for 20g of quick protein after my workouts.
So lay it on me. What questions do you have regarding fitness supplements?
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This post originally appeared on Inspiration Made Simple.