If you’re going to the gym regularly or are just a beginner and looking to improve your fitness level, you’ve likely done some digging about supplementation. In fact, you may even be feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of supplements on the market today.
Many manufacturers would have you believe that your workouts will suffer without 10 different powders and pills, while other fitness pros suggest that supplements may not be necessary at all.
Ultimately, however, there are a select few supplements that can give you a boost in the gym, while allowing you to build quality muscle and torch fat. Curious to know what they are and how they can help you? Let’s take a look.
While you may not need the latest and greatest pre-workout powder to get a great training session, this well-loved ingredient can give you an edge in the gym. Just like your beloved coffee gives you the jolt you need to get your day moving, it can also give a boost of energy before an intense training session.
In fact, researchers have found that individuals who consume caffeine prior their workouts increased their endurance over the span of their training sessions. Scientists also found that caffeine increases anaerobic power, meaning it can also help you perform better during activities like weightlifting.
If you do choose to consume caffeine before your workout, just make sure to start with a moderate dose and increase it gradually. Too much caffeine can cause unpleasant symptoms like nausea, jitters and anxiety, so you’ll want to dose it according to your tolerance.
Who doesn’t love carbs? If you train regularly, then you have a great excuse to squeeze more of them in your diet! When you exercise, your body requires glycogen to contract your muscles.
For your body to have a steady supply of glycogen, you must consume carbs before you train. Just don’t go thinking you can gobble a bunch of cookies or a huge plate of pasta, though. You want your pre-workout carbs to be low in fat so that your body can digest them more rapidly.
This way, they break down and enter your bloodstream faster so your body can quickly use them for fuel.
If you really love carbs, then you’ll be thrilled to know that you get to eat even more of them after your workout! After a long or intense training session, your body is low on glycogen stores, so you’ll need to replenish them if you want to recover properly.
For your post-workout carbs, you should also aim for low-fat carbohydrate sources since they break down faster in the digestive tract. After a workout, your muscles are primed to absorb nutrients, so you’ll want to provide them with readily available carbs as quickly as possible.
Branched Chain Amino Acid
Branched-chain amino acids, or BCAAs, are composed of three amino acids: leucine, isoleucine and valine. They are found naturally in foods like meat and eggs, but including an extra dose or two throughout the day can help with proper recovery. You can also take a supplement with amino energy ingredients.
Your body uses these amino acids to turn food into energy, promote muscle growth and repair damaged tissues — all of which you require if you’re training regularly. Consider adding a serving of BCAAs both pre- and post-workout if you’re really training hard.
Most protein powders also contain several grams of BCAAs to help you recover, so if you’re consuming protein shakes dailyor using the whole 30 rules, you may already be getting enough.
Tart Cherry Juice
Tart cherry juice is quickly gaining popularity due to its potent anti-inflammatory effects. In fact, this stone fruit has the potential to combat inflammation just like over-the-counter NSAIDs.
Researchers have found that the juice has an almost immediate effect, working to reduce inflammation and speed recovery time. It also contains antioxidants that are critical when it comes to combating oxidative stress caused by exercise.
You should consume tart cherry juice after each training session to reduce muscle soreness and speed the healing of damaged muscle tissue.