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The 7 best supplements to support your training

At examine.com, the independent nutrition encyclopaedia of which I’m medical editor, we analyse dietary supplements. My work has shown me that you should take a target-driven approach: decide on your goals, from fat loss and muscle gain to athletic performance and health, determine which supplements will help you achieve them, then check your levels with your doctor to figure out if you actually need the boost. Here I’ve highlighted the supplements that our research has shown to be effective – and the ways to get the most out of them.

Protein

Whey protein has been proven to help with athletic performance, muscle building and fat loss. The best natural sources are the whey and casein proteins in milk, which have more branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) than vegan sources. The key amino acid you want in your shake is leucine – it’s the most important one for protein synthesis. Some brands will bulk out their powders with other amino acids to keep them cheaper but they aren’t as effective for building muscle, so check the label carefully to see if leucine is the main amino acid used. If possible, opt for protein that’s in isolate form, which is slightly purer than concentrate and hydrolysed.

Creatine

Pure creatine monohydrate is the most studied and the most beneficial supplement for building strength. It gives you the capacity to get through a few more reps in a workout, boosts your power output and increases water retention in your muscles, called cellular swelling, which can help with muscle growth.

Vitamin D

As with most vitamins, if you’re getting enough vitamin D – from your diet and exposure to sunlight – you don’t need supplementation. But if you live in the UK, it can be difficult to get what you need from sunlight, especially outside the summer months. It’s worth checking your levels – with your doctor or a test such as that found at vitamindtest.org.uk – all year round, not just in the winter. If your levels are low, so is your testosterone. Supps will help with this, with the knock-on effect of boosting training performance.

Vitamin K2

Vitamin K1 is what you get from green, leafy vegetables, but K2 comes from animal sources, especially livers. It can improve bone strength and decrease calcium build-up in your blood vessels, thereby reducing calcification of your arteries and risk of stroke and heart disease. Supplementation will help, especially for vegetarians who will miss out on these nutrients from animal foods.

Beta-alanine

This naturally occurring beta amino acid can help with endurance and possibly building muscle, but it’s not as well studied as creatine. It helps you buffer lactic acid to resist fatigue and get through a few more reps.

Berberine

This is one of the most potent supplements there is, although few people know about it. It’s a pharmaceutical drug used to treat diabetes because it improves insulin sensitivity. If you have blood sugar issues and you put
on fat easily, check with your doctor to find out if you could benefit from taking berberine.

Magnesium

Magnesium is used in over 300 chemical reactions in the body. If you have plenty of seeds, nuts, leafy green veg, dark chocolate and coffee in your diet you should be getting enough, but if you’re deficient it can affect energy, bone strength, the nervous system and blood sugar control. Magnesium supplements have been shown to help with recovery and muscle contraction and have a positive influence on blood pressure.

Any which whey?

Not all protein powders are created equal. Select the one that matches your goals

For recovery, look for…isolate

Isolate is a powder containing more than 90% pure protein, whereas concentrate usually clocks up 75-80%.

For muscle, look for… Glutamine

This amino acid plays an important role in muscle tissue repair. Take it after training to boost recovery.

For fat loss, look for…Carnitine

This naturally produced compound aids the breakdown of fatty acids. Put it in your shake to help you shed your gut.

5 Supplements to Kick Start Your New Year’s Fitness Resolution

A very popular New Year’s resolution is to get physically fitter and lead a healthier lifestyle. You only have to set foot in a gym during the first week of January and you will notice how busy it is.

Training is extremely important, but following a healthy, balanced diet is perhaps even more important if you want to see real, long term results. Alongside following a healthy diet, supplements can be a great way to help kick start your New Year’s resolutions and maintain them throughout January and beyond.

#1 Whey protein

If you want to build muscle, protein is very important. According to the NHS, adults should eat 0.75g of protein per kilogram of body-weight1. However, if you are exercising and weight training regularly, you should increase the amount of protein you eat, to help aid muscle recovery and growth.

If your aim is to build muscle, you should be looking to eat around 1.4g of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. It can be difficult to meet your protein intake goals from food alone, and this is where protein powder can be the perfect addition to your diet.

We sell a wide range of different types of protein, so it can be difficult to choose which one to use. If you are new to protein powder then Pure Whey Protein™ could be for you. It provides over 24g of protein per serving, and is available in a number of great flavours, so you can find the perfect one. We also do vegan, and dairy free protein powder.

#2 Creatine

Creatine is one of the most researched supplements on the market. It has been proven to help increase muscle size, as well as increasing overall strength and energy levels. It is an ideal supplement for anyone performing exercises which involve short bursts of high intensity activity, such as weight lifting or sprinting.

Creatine is a great supplement to take either pre or post workout, and can be easily mixed into your protein shake or taken on its own. To achieve the benefits of supplementing with creatine, I would recommend taking 5g a day, after a loading week of taking 20g a day.

Creatine Monohydrate is a highly popular and quality form of creatine. BULK POWDERS® Creatine Monohydrate is 99.9% pure and has been tried and tested to ensure optimum effectiveness. We stock many forms of this supplement – to find out which one is right for you, read our blog post on the different types of creatine.

#3 BCAAs

Branched chain amino acids (BCCAs) are the essential building blocks of muscle. BCAAs help the body maintain muscle mass by preventing a process known as catabolism. This is when the body breaks down muscle to use as energy. You can supplement with BCAAs pre, intra or post workout, or even just sip them throughout the day.

Instant BCAA powder contains the three essential amino acids – Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine – in a 2:1:1 ratio.

#4 Pre Workout

Sticking to your New Year’s resolution is going to take commitment. This means coming up with a schedule and then doing your utmost to stick to it. There will inevitably be days when your energy levels are low and you do not feel like working out. It is moments like these when a pre workout can become a fantastic addition to your supplement stack.

Pre workouts are often high in caffeine to provide a short burst of energy, ideal for high intensity workouts. Complete Pre-Workout™ contains 200mg of caffeine per 24g to make sure you enter the gym ready for your training.

#5 Casein

If you are weight training regularly, you will be breaking down muscle fibres. Protein contributes to muscle growth and repair. When you sleep, you go for a number of hours without eating anything. This can lead to the breakdown of muscle, over a long period of time, as your body still requires energy for normal bodily function, even when you are asleep.

By supplementing with casein, you can provide your body with a slow releasing protein source, whilst your body is fasted. Our Micellar Casein contains 27g of protein per serving and less than 1g of fat.

Smash Your New Year’s Resolution

The supplements above will all help support your training and in turn help you to not just kick start, but also maintain and dominate your New Year’s resolutions! Make sure you are using these supplements as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Good luck!

About the Author

Alex Genzel is passionate about health and fitness having been involved in a number of competitive sports from an early age. He has been writing about sports nutrition and training for a number of years, alongside pursuing his passion for bodybuilding and desire to become a certified personal trainer. As well as writing for BULK POWDERS® Alex also has his own blog where he shares his training experiences and advice on supplements.

The fitness world is full of a lot of gimmicks and promises because, let’s face it, working out is hard work, and if there’s one thing human history has shown us, it’s that humans love a good shortcut. The truth is, there’s no real replacement for good old-fashioned hard work. When it comes to fitness, “hard work” means getting into the gym, banging weights around, laying down miles, not eating trash, and making the effort to cut fat and make gains.

That said, it’s not all bullshit. Our granddaddies (and mammies) got their strength from eating good and lifting big, but you bet your ass if they had the science and technology we have today, they’d have explored the world of supplements, too.

But in a space occupied heavily by nonsense wonder drugs and placebos, how are you supposed to tell the difference between useful supplements and nonsense? It’s difficult, to be honest, but the trick is to not buy into the magic pills or simple “programs” that make it seem like you won’t have to work hard to get the results you want. Look for the products that aren’t trying to sell you something that sounds too good to be true. In the fitness world – and every other world – if it sounds too good to be true, it likely is.

I’m not going to turn this into a brand-loyal buying guide for all the best supplements. At the end of the day, there’re literally thousands of options out there for you to consider, and there’s no point in me muddying up your water with my own opinions. Instead, we’re going to explore a couple tried-and-true supplements whose effectiveness you can bet your bottom dollar on.

So, without further ado, here are seven workout supplements that actually work:

Creatine

Other

When it comes to the whole “magic pill” aspect of workout supplements, creatine is about as close as it gets without being a load of bullshit. Creatine is a naturally occurring nitrogenous organic acid that occurs in all of us. In its synthesized form, creatine is a performance-enhancing substance that helps boost the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which helps in muscle repair and growth under stress.

Essentially, creatine gives bursts of energy and helps with muscle repair during your workout, to help you run a little faster, put up one or two more reps, and push your muscles to perform their best. People have conducted literally hundreds of clinical studies on the stuff, and while results definitely vary from person to person and study to study, the facts are clear: this stuff works.

It comes in a lot of forms; powder, liquid, solids, etc. It’s also found in smaller doses in things like meat, fish, and eggs, but it’s obviously better and more useful in a concentrated powder.

Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

Other

BCAAs are awesome because they don’t just help you during your workout, but also after. In fact, they shine brightest in the post-workout stages. BCAAs are a mix of three vital amino acids – leucine, isoleucine and valine – that are essential to muscle repair and recovery. Their whole job is to help your muscles recover faster after a hard workout, which means you spend less days off from being sore and feeling beat to shit, and more time in the gym putting up the heavy stuff.

It even goes a lot deeper than that. Aside from helping muscles repair themselves, these amino acids also help provide much-needed energy in the gym, but also curb the production of certain hormones that actually work against your body’s attempts to build muscles – most notably, cortisol.

The trick about BCAAs is that you really have to remember to keep taking them throughout the day. Literally, you have to be eating these things in the morning, at night, before, during and after your workout, etc., in order to get the best results from them. Luckily, BCAA powders aren’t necessarily that pricey, so keeping them in your diet won’t be too hard on your wallet.

Fish Oil

Other

I don’t really understand why, but it seems the more people I talk to about fish oil and its benefits, the more people I encounter who don’t really see it as necessary. The truth is, fish oil isn’t snake oil, and its benefits are absolutely real.

Fish oil contains a super high amount of Omega 3 oils, which is a natural anti-inflammatory that can really mean the difference between running a mile or being able to lay down five. It will help ease joint and muscle soreness, and is vital to the recovery process.

Hell, even if you’re not in the gym or training for that half marathon you’ve been eyeing up, fish oil is excellent for your lungs, blood circulation and heart health.

The largest issue people have is finding a reputable brand that isn’t cut with a bunch of other useless ingredients, but they’re definitely out there. Any way you slice it, this stuff is critical to your workout regimen.

Glutamine

Other

Glutamine is another amino acid that’s produced naturally by the body, and can be drawn out of muscles during intensely stressful situations. Workouts are stressful. On the whole, glutamine helps maintain muscle mass. So, if your glutamine levels are depleting during a stressful workout, and glutamine is essential to muscle mass, it’s absolutely vital that you get as much glutamine back into you’re your body as possible following a workout.

Easy, right? Well, not quite. The problem is that, organically, glutamine is found in things like nuts, fish, red meat, beans and other intensely fatty foods. Since it’s not really advisable to run home and grill up a steak every time you step foot in the gym, a good glutamine supplement does all the heavy lifting you need to get your glutamine levels back up, without flooding you with a bunch of unnecessary fat and calories.

The more glutamine you get back in your body, and the faster you get it there, the more muscle you keep on. Period.

Whey Protein Powder

Other

Protein powders are some of the most difficult supplements to discuss because everybody – seriously fucking everybody – has an opinion about them. There are literally hundreds of different brands, and every Instagram fitness model with over a thousand followers raves about this or that revolutionary brand.

The fact is, different protein powders serve different purposes. There are some out there that are very lean and are only for people trying to stay lean while building lean muscle. There are some that contain massive amounts of calories and more grams of protein because they’re engineered for people who are trying to bulk and get Hulk-like. I won’t sit here and make a personal recommendation, but I will say that when you’re looking for a good protein powder, look to make sure it’s whey protein. Whey protein is one of the most tried and true supplements because it contains a higher level of Leucine (remember that amino acid from the BCAAs?), which you now know is directly responsible for muscle protein synthesis (AKA growth).

As a base line, look for something that’s lower in calories, has very few ingredients, and is high in whey protein (anything in the 25 gram+ range per serving), and you won’t go wrong. Stay away from the sweet shit with sugar and all the other added nonsense.

Another common misconception is that people think only one protein shake a day – directly following a workout – is all you need. If you’re trying to build lean muscle, it’s perfectly acceptable to drink two, even three shakes a day. A lot of it depends on your bodyweight (the general rule of thumb is one gram of protein for every pound of lean bodyweight you’re working with), but also depends on your diet and workout routine. The most important thing to keep in mind is that protein shakes are supplemental to your daily intake. Your primary source of protein should come from actual food.

Beta-Alanine

Other

Probably the least well-known supplement on this list, beta-alanine is another natural amino acid that helps to drastically reduce muscle fatigue by boosting your body’s level of carnosine. Carnosine works in your body to prevent the build up of acids, thereby reducing muscle strain, fatigue and corrosion.

The problem is, your body only has so much carnosine, and it can only produce as much carnosine as you have beta-alanine. So, by taking concentrated amounts of beta-alanine, you’re allowing your body extra room to produce more carnosine, and therefore more resistance against fatigue.

The other problem with beta-alanine is that, like BCAAs, you really have to stay on top of your shit. Research from a team at Texas A&M noted that taking 800mg of beta-alanine a day helped boost carnosine levels by 66 percent. The only problem is that you have to take that dosage upwards of four times a day. It can get overwhelming, to say the least.

But if you stick to it and make sure you’re ingesting the appropriate dosage, the results are undeniable.

Carbohydrates

Other

You’re confused right now, because for as long as you’ve been dieting and working out, people have told you that carbs are the enemy. If all you’re worried about is cutting fat and losing weight, that might be true. But if you’re trying to pack on muscle and keep burning fat long after the workout is over, you should be ingesting simple carbohydrates twice a day: once as soon as you wake up, and once right after a workout.

The rationale there is that once your workout is over, your body’s glycogen and glucose levels are completely trashed. Once that happens, your body secretes that cortisol stuff I talked about above, and begins eating away at all that valuable muscle you just spent time and energy making. Ingesting simple carbs (sugars) helps raise your body’s glucose level, prevents cortisol from being secreted, and helps save that muscle tissue you’re working so hard to pack on.

Carbohydrates in the form of supplements helps cut out all the extra crap that you’d normally get from ingesting it in food. You could eat a bunch of simple carbs in different foods, but having a supplement helps regulate your carb intake perfectly, giving you everything you need to keep that muscle where it belongs.

Next up: Netflix’s ‘GLOW’ explores the decreasingly sexist world of female wrestling.

  • BCAAs
  • Branched Chain Amino Acids
  • Carbohydrates
  • creatine
  • fish oil
  • fitness
  • glutamine
  • nutrition
  • Protein powders
  • Workout Supplements

Words by Maxwell Barna Read Full Article

6 Post-Workout Recovery Tips for Women

Mrs. Fitness February 25, 2014 Exercise , Mrs. Fitness Email Print Twitter Pinterest Facebook

This post was most recently updated on December 3rd, 2016

What exactly does it mean to recover after a workout? Whether you’re strength training, running, spinning or dancing, your body needs time to repair and re-energize after exercise. During strenuous physical activity, muscle tissue breaks down, fluid is lost and energy stores are depleted. Recovery allows the body to repair damaged muscle tissues (ultimately leading to the creation of bigger muscle fibers, or building strength) and to replenish energy stores.

If you don’t give your body the time and nutrients it needs to recover, you’ll not only wear yourself down and increase risk for injuries, you may never see the results you’re working so hard to achieve. To make the most of your workouts, keep these recovery guidelines in mind:

1. Rest. One of the easiest, but also one of the most important, things to do to post-workout is to rest. After working a particular muscle group, a 24- to 48-hour break is needed for optimal recovery. This is why you’ll see many people training upper body one day, for example, and working lower body the next. Taking a break allows tissues to repair and natural growth hormone levels to be replenished.

2. Eat. An optimal, healthy diet is essential for proper recovery. Aim to eat a meal rich in protein, carbs and healthy fats within 30 to 60 minutes of your workout to replenish nutrients that may have been lost during exercise.

3. Drink. Drinking water during your workout is essential to keep yourself from becoming dehydrated (drink 8 ounces every 15 minutes, whether or not you feel thirsty), but replacing fluids post-workout is just as important. How much is needed? Weigh yourself before and after exercising. Drink about 2 cups of fluid for every pound of body weight lost.

4. Bounce back with BCCAs. Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are essential nutrients known to help support muscle recovery after physical activity.* Not only does taking a BCAA supplement help with the maintenance of lean muscle tissue, it may also help reduce muscle soreness after intense exercise. You can take BCAAs in capsule form or flavored powders that can be added easily to your water bottle. I like ARO brand because it’s free of artificial colors and dyes.

5. Fight muscle fatigue. One of the most abundant amino acids in the body, with high concentrations found in skeletal muscle, glutamine is another nutrient that can be taken post-workout to support the body’s recovery process.* It helps maintain the body’s nitrogen/ammonia balance for better muscle metabolism, while also helping to defend against stress and muscle fatigue.* Again, you can take tablets or mix a scoop of glutamine powder into your post-workout drink.

6. Defend against free radicals. Just like exposure to UV sunlight, exercise generates free radicals, which are unstable molecules that damage healthy cells in the body. To protect yourself, be sure to eat plenty of antioxidant-rich fruits, vegetables and other plant foods, or drink green tea. Yogi makes a Muscle Recovery Green Tea that also contains herbs to relieve minor aches and pains resulting from exercise.*

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Mrs. Fitness

IFBB figure professional Melissa Transou, is a NASM-certified Women’s Fitness Speicalist, wife and mother. She blogs about the unique sports and nutrition needs of women and female athletes exclusively for Vitacost.com. Email her at [email protected]

IFBB figure professional Melissa Transou, is a NASM-certified Women’s Fitness Speicalist, wife and mother. She blogs about the unique sports and nutrition needs of women and female athletes exclusively for Vitacost.com. Email her at [email protected]

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Don’t get steamrolled—use these items to get back to the grind in no time.

A hard workout is good for the body and soul, but not without a solid recovery plan. Pushing yourself too hard without taking good care of your body can result in days or even weeks of soreness. Whether you’re working out to get in better shape, to feel faster or both, limiting your activity due to sore muscles can set you back. Don’t get steamrolled—use these items to get back to the grind in no time.

Stretch Rope
Take early preventative measures and stretch at the end of every workout. This means more than a few toe touches. Take your time with your cool-down; use a band like the Thera-Band Stretch Strap to control movements and track your progress as you really dig into each position.

Tip: Don’t try to tackle long stretches at the beginning of the workout. Save the extended stretching for after the action, and hold each one 20 to 30 seconds before releasing.

Soft Tissue Roller
If only we could all have a personal massage therapist waiting to pamper our muscles after a hard workout! That’s not the case for most of us, but fortunately we can use soft tissue rollers to get at those tight muscles that might otherwise be neglected after a workout. The practice of self-myofascial release can help your muscles return more quickly to their normal functions.

Tip: Don’t worry about the discomfort or pain. It’s part of foam rolling, just like it’s part of stretching. However, if you’re experiencing sharp and unexpected pain, make sure to talk with your doctor before continuing.

A Protein Snack
Taking in protein and light carbs is an ideal post-workout practice. They help your body take advantage of the hard work you just did and repair damaged tissue. Try snacks or mini-meals like a protein shake blended with a banana and almond milk, white meat chicken with sautéed veggies, or quinoa with berries and nuts.

Tip: Make sure to eat a little something before your workout. Otherwise your body will take fat from your muscles rather than your liver and kidneys, which can result in muscle loss—and no one wants that!

Supplements
Your diet should be doing the heavy-lifting when it comes to getting nutrients in your body, but a 100 percent well-rounded diet is hard to maintain. Make sure to take supplements to aid recovery and get your system everything it needs. Be sure to take a multivitamin. Consider the unique needs of women, like a proper intake of iron, Omega 3, calcium, magnesium and vitamin D.

Tip: Tart cherry juice is a natural inflammatory. Try this supplement before reaching for the ibuprofen.

Skin Care Products
Pesky hormones make many women vulnerable to acne issues. This is especially true among athletes, who are more likely to be exposed to heat, friction, oils, sweat, and those lovely communal workout mats. Take good care of your skin by cleansing heat rash and turf burn, washing areas prone to breakouts before and after every session and moisturizing.

Tip: On the topic of cleanliness, bring antibacterial wipes with you when you visit a gym, in case they run out. Wipe down your mat and other equipment each time you use it.

Compression Socks
For a particularly long runs, many runners swear by compression socks, in order to help stimulate blood flow and prevent muscle damage. Make sure to buy the right size to avoid discomfort and get the maximum benefit. Buying a size too small or too big can irritate your skin and cause blisters.

Tip: Despite some trials which show improved endurance and less muscle damage among their wearers, compression socks don’t have conclusive evidence, mainly because there haven’t been enough scientific trials to prove this. Make sure you like the way they feel before you go investing in a whole new wardrobe of compression garments.

Foot Massager
Unless your shoes miraculously hug every curve of your foot, your dogs will definitely be barking after a killer workout. Regular foot massages can decrease the risk of injury—plus, they feel awesome.

Tip: Rather than asking a family member or significant other to selflessly rub your post-workout feet, invest in a foot massager like the Moji 360.

Anti-Inflammatories
If tart cherry juice just doesn’t do the trick, go with old faithful: ibuprofen. Long-term use of NSAIDs can interfere with your muscles’ natural ability to repair, but taking them every so often after an intense workout won’t hurt.

Tip: Try icing your muscles first to reduce swelling, then apply heat to decrease discomfort.

Bryn Huntpalmer is a mother of two young children living in Austin, Texas where she currently works as an Editor for Modernize. In addition to regularly contributing to Home Remodeling and Design websites around the web, her writing can be found on Lifehacker and About.com.

Your Guide to Pre- and Post-Workout Supplements

We asked sports nutrition experts for a full rundown on the most popular sports supplements, what they’re supposed to do, and whether or not they’re the real deal. Here’s what they had to say.

What it’s for: Muscle growth

The claim: Probably the most common workout supplement, protein powder is pretty much everywhere these days. An adequate protein intake helps build, repair, and maintain muscle, according to Ryan Maciel, R.D.N., C.S.C.S.

The evidence: “There are numerous studies showing the effectiveness and safety of using protein powders,” Maciel says. Though there are many different kinds, “whey protein is the most popular because it contains the highest amount of branched-chain amino acids, specifically leucine,” Goodson explains. “This is important because research supports leucine as the ‘light switch’ for turning on muscle resynthesis and thus promotes recovery.” Of course, whey contains dairy, so if you’re dairy-free, then soy, pea, egg white, rice, and hemp protein are all good options too.

Recommended dosage: “The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends 1.2 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram body weight for athletes,” Maciel says. Most people can reach this amount of protein through diet alone, but if you’re not quite making it there, protein powder might be a good option. For most women, 20 to 30 grams of protein per meal is a good place to start, according to Maciel. That’s equal to about one scoop of the stuff.

And though it’s normally recommended that you down a protein shake ASAP after exercise, recent research suggests that hitting your recommended protein intake over the course of the entire day is what matters most. That means you can incorporate protein powder into your day at any time to meet your protein needs for the day and still reap the benefits. (Related: The Best Protein Powders for Women, According to Nutritionists)

Collagen

What it’s for: Anti-aging

The claim: “Collagen is found in our bones, muscles, skin, and tendons,” Maciel says. “Collagen is what holds our body together, in a sense. As we age, our collagen production slows and as result, we start to see signs of aging, like wrinkles.” So it makes sense that people think supplementing with collagen could help slow down the effects of aging-and help the body’s natural ability to repair joints, muscles, and tendons.

The evidence: While this is one of the most buzzed-about supplements at the moment, you probably don’t want to run out and buy it just yet. “To date, there is no substantial scientific evidence that collagen supplementation can slow or reverse the effects of aging,” Maciel says. “You’re better off consuming a well-balanced diet made up of lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats, being physically active, using sunblock, and not smoking.” Goodson does note that collagen is rich in protein, so if you’re looking for an added boost in smoothies, soups, or other foods, a powdered collagen supplement could be a good choice. (Related: Should You Be Adding Collagen to Your Diet?)

What it’s for: Performance

The claim: “It can improve exercise capacity and performance during high-intensity exercise,” Maciel says. “During high-intensity exercise, hydrogen ions accumulate in your muscles, which can cause muscle fatigue and slow you down. Beta-alanine may help alleviate this by acting as a buffer for those ions.”

The evidence: It’s probably legit. “Beta-alanine may be worth taking if you do high-intensity exercise, since research has shown it can improve performance,” Maciel says.

Recommended dosage: Somewhere between 2 and 6 grams per day. “Consume it with a meal for better absorption,” Maciel recommends. And heads-up: A common side effect is a tingling sensation. “To reduce this side effect, try taking smaller doses throughout the day or use time-release capsules,” he adds.

Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAA)

What it’s for: Performance and recovery

The claim: “Branched-chain amino acids are a source of energy in exercise and become a more substantial fuel source in endurance exercise when carbohydrates stores are low,” Goodson explains. Taking them before and after a workout is supposed to enhance performance and reduce fatigue.

The evidence: “The evidence doesn’t support the marketing claims from supplement manufacturers,” Maciel says. “You’re better off getting your BCAAs from food sources such as chicken, beef, fish, and eggs. Also, if you drink whey protein, you are getting plenty of BCAAs, so supplementation may be a waste of money.”

What it’s for: Performance and muscle growth

The claim: Creatine is stored in your muscles and supplies them with energy, according to Maciel. “Creatine supplementation increases your muscles creatine stores, which results in improved performance during intense physical activity, such as sprinting and strength training.”

The evidence: “Creatine is one of the most researched supplements to date,” Maciel notes. “It is proven to be safe and effective for improving strength, power, and lean body mass.”

Recommended dosage: Five grams per day is the most typical dose, Goodson says. While some people may do a “loading phase” with a higher dose and then decrease the dosage afterward, this probably isn’t necessary. “Creatine can lead to weight and muscle gain for those who take it consistently, so women looking to lose or maintain weight should take caution,” she adds.

Pre-Workout Mixes

What it’s for: Performance

The claim: These mixes are formulated to provide more energy for better performance during workouts.

The evidence: “Pre-workout powders and drinks are all created a little differently based on the brand, but most are a cocktail of carbohydrate, caffeine, some amino acids, creatine, and often beta-alanine, and some contain other vitamins as well,” Goodson says. “These are really designed to give people energy from the caffeine and carbohydrate, and possibly provide an added performance booster from creatine. (Related: Why Caffeine Is the Best Thing That’s Ever Happened to Your Workout)

Recommended dosage: Follow the product directions, with one caveat: “People who are caffeine-sensitive or who have not eaten anything should always be careful when consuming these type of products,” Goodson says.

Tart Cherry Juice

What it’s for: Recovery

The claim: “Tart cherry juice or cherry skin powder contains a high concentration of anthocyanins, an antioxidant, that may help you recover quicker and be less prone to illness following strenuous exercise,” Maciel explains.

The evidence: Studies are limited but promising, Maciel says, but there’s not much harm to be done from drinking natural fruit juice, so there’s no reason not to try this to speed up recovery.

Recommended dosage: Tart cherries can be consumed in either juice or powder form. The amount that has been studied is 8 to 12 ounces twice a day for four to five days before a strenuous event, and then for two to three days afterward. “Be aware that tart cherry juice is still juice and does contain a decent amount of carbohydrates, so women looking to lose weight need to factor those calories in if using it as a post-workout or recovery beverage,” Goodson says.

What it’s for: Recovery, performance, and muscle growth

The claim: Glutamine is an amino acid that serves as an important fuel source for your body. “It is believed that supplementation can increase the body’s supply of glutamine, which will speed up recovery, increase muscle growth, and improve performance,” Maciel says.

The evidence: There’s little scientific evidence to support taking glutamine for improving athletic performance, according to Maciel, so you’re probably better off skipping this one.

What it’s for: Recovery

The claim: There are a quite a few reasons you might consider taking fish oil (including your heart health), but some athletes swear by the stuff to reduce inflammation and thus, muscle soreness.

The evidence: “Fish oil gets praise because of its omega-3 fatty acid content,” Goodson says. “Omega-3s are essential fatty acids that can contribute to reducing inflammation at the cellular level.”

Recommended dosage: Two to four grams per day is ideal, according to Goodson, although it’s a good idea to check with your doctor before starting a higher dose. “You can also reap the benefits from eating foods like salmon, trout, tuna, soybeans, walnuts, and their oils,” she notes.

In order to help you find a good product, we’ve researched & compared the best post workout supplements on the market right now.

10 Best Post Workout Products Compared

ⓘ If you buy something after visiting a link below, we get a commission.

1. Post JYM Active Matrix

Post JYM Active Matrix is packed full nutrients to help your body to deal with the impact of an intense workout. It contains BCAAs to fuel muscle promote muscle growth and repair, glutamine to accelerate recovery and betaine to improve strength. With 4 patented ingredients – CarnoSyn beta-alanine, CarniPure L-carnitine L-tartrate, CON-CRET Creatine and BioPerine, this fantastic product is one of the most scientifically-advanced post workout supplements on the market today.

Highlights:

  • 8 ingredients, selected based on solid science
  • 6g BCAAs in a 3:1:1 ratio for muscle growth
  • 3g glutamine for accelerated recovery
  • Taurine for a physical and psychological boost
  • Only 1g sugar per serving
  • Available in 6 great fruit flavors

What’s in it: One serving contains:

Who makes it: Post JYM Active Matrix is made by JYM Supplement Science, a company founded by revolutionary athlete Jim Stoppani. All JYM Supplement Science products are developed by combining real science with top quality ingredients. JYM Supplement Science products are made by athletes, for athletes, so you can be sure that they are safe and effective.

Where to Get It

Buy on Amazon

2. Cellucor Alpha Amino

Cellucor Alpha Amino is a highly effective and popular post workout drink mix. Designed by industry leaders, Alpha Amino is formulated to give your muscles the amino acids they crave to fuel recovery, as well as electrolytes and other ingredients to improve hydration.

Highlights:

  • 14 powerful amino acids
  • 2:1:1 BCAA ratio
  • Powerful hydration blend with chia seed, coconut and HydroMax
  • Available in 5 tasty flavors
  • High quality ingredients
  • Great value for money

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 5g BCAA matrix, consisting of branched chain amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
  • 5g amino acid complex, consisting of glutamine, alanine, arginine, and many other powerful amino acids.
  • 5g hydration formula, consisting of taurine, raw coconut water powder, chia seed and more.

Who makes it: Alpha Amino is made by Cellucor, one of the largest and most respected brands in the industry. Cellucor has a large line of fitness products, including the popular C4 pre-workout products. Founded in 2002, Cellucor has grown exponentially, and today, this award-winning company has developed a huge following of loyal customers and a wide selection of highly effective products.

Full Breakdown: Cellucor Alpha Amino Review

Where to Get It

Buy on Amazon

3. Evlution Nutrition Recover Mode

Recover Mode by Evlution Nutrition is a post workout cocktail, designed to help your body to recover faster, rebuild muscle damaged during intense training, improve strength and develop endurance. 5g of the highest-quality BCAAs available, plus recovery and energy boosters and natural energizers make this product a fantastic addition to your nutritional regime.

Highlights:

  • Ultra-premium BCAAs in 2:1:1 ratio
  • 4 key ingredients to boost energy and recovery
  • 3 natural energizers
  • Zero carbs
  • Zero calories

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 5g BCAAs (2.5g Leucine, 1.25g Isoleucine, 1.25g Valine)
  • 3g L-Glutamine
  • 2.5g Creatine Monohydrate
  • 750mg Patented Creatine HCI
  • 6g CarnoSyn Beta-Alanine
  • 5g Betaine Anhydrous
  • 1g L-Carnitine L-Tartrate
  • 1g L-Taurine
  • 1g Calci-K (Calcium Potassium Phosphate Citrate)
  • 90mg Vitamin C
  • 500 IU Vitamin D
  • 60 IU Vitamin E
  • 180mg Calcium
  • 90mg Phosphorous
  • 150mg Chloride
  • 170mg Sodium
  • 150mg Potassium
  • 3mg Black Pepper Extract

Who makes it: Recover Mode is made by Evlution Nutrition, a US company with a great reputation in the nutritional supplement field. Evlution Nutrition offers a military discount on all its products and free 2-day shipping on all orders over $49.

Bottom line: Recover Mode is streets ahead of most other post workout supplements. Not only does it include BCAAs, glutamine and creatine like most post workout supplements, but also provides massive amounts of vitamins to boost your immune system right when it’s at its most vulnerable.

Where to Get It

Buy on Amazon

4. SciVation Xtend BCAAs

SciVation Xtend BCAAs is a supplement designed to be used during your workout to help you get a jump-start on recovery. It combines BCAAs and other recovery ingredients with slow and fast releasing carbs.

Highlights:

  • Taken during your workout
  • 7 grams of BCAAs in a 2:1:1 ratio
  • Added glutamine, citrulline and electrolytes
  • Slow and fast-releasing carbohydrates

What’s in it: One serving contains:

Who makes it: Xtend BCAA is made by SciVation, a small but rapidly growing company in the sports nutrition industry. SciVation’s stated goal is to “build better bodies through science and innovation”. Their supplements are developed by industry professionals to provide the tools needed for optimal results, without any of the junk found in lower-quality products.

Full Breakdown: SciVation Xtend Review

Where to Get It

Buy on Amazon

5. BSN AMINO X

Amino X is a powerful instantized recovery supplement made by BSN. As the first instantized effervescent amino acid supplement available, Amino X takes post workout nutrition to a whole new level. This powdered supplement mixes instantly, providing a 10g serving of micronized amino acids in each scoop. It’s instantized formula makes it very easy to prepare and take. It can be used at any time, since it doesn’t contain sugar or caffeine.

Highlights:

  • 10g of amino acids per serving
  • Absorbs instantly in the body
  • No caffeine or sugar – use anytime!
  • Easy to mix
  • Great flavor options

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 10g anabolic amino acid interfusion, consisting of leucine, valine, isoleucine, alanine, taurine, and citrulline.

Who makes it: Amino X is made by BSN, a large-scale manufacturer in the fitness supplement industry. For many years, BSN has been at the cutting edge of the industry, producing innovative and effective products for a wide variety of uses. They have received several awards, and have built up a solid base of loyal fans and customers.

Full Breakdown: BSN Amino X Review

Where to Get It

Buy on Amazon

6. Jacked Factory GROWTH SURGE

GROWTH SURGE is designed with bodybuilders in mind. It is specifically formulated to accelerate recovery and make full use of the anabolic window – the period straight after exercise when your muscles are primed to receive amino acids and other nutrients. It contains 4 powerful nutrients, designed to flood your muscle with all they need for growth, right when they’re primed to receive it.

Highlights:

  • Contains 4 powerful ingredients to promote recovery and build lean muscle
  • Designed to help you recover faster and come back stronger
  • Manufactured in the USA
  • Manufactured in a GMP facility
  • 100% money back guarantee

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 5mg BioPerine Black Pepper Extract
  • 3g Creatine Monohydrate
  • 5mg Betaine Anhydrous
  • 2g L-Carnitine L-Tartrate

Who makes it: GROWTH SURGE is made by Jacked Factory, a US company that aims to offer highly effective formulations made with cutting-edge ingredients. Jacked Factory aims for perfection in all of its products, just like you aim for perfection in all of your workouts. Jacked Factory offers free US shipping on orders over $49 and free international shipping on orders over $149.

Where to Get It

Buy on Amazon

7. Vintage Labs Vintage Build

Vintage Build by Vintage Labs is a 3-in-1 essential muscle builder. It contains absolutely everything your body needs after an intense workout to maximize muscle gains. BCAAs provide the building blocks for new muscle, creatine helps to boost strength and L-glutamine can accelerate recovery. This product is designed to help you to recover quickly from even the toughest workouts, ready for the next one.

Highlights:

  • Combines 3 powerful increase to accelerate recovery and help to build lean mass
  • Easy-mix powder
  • Great tasting
  • No artificial flavours or sweeteners
  • Made in a GMP facility
  • Third-party tested

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 5g BCAAs (2.5g Leucine, 1.25g Isoleucine, 1.25g Valine)
  • 3g Creatine Monohydrate
  • 2g L-Glutamine
  • Stevia
  • Natural flavorings

Who makes it: Vintage Build is made by Vintage Labs, one of the fastest growing sport-supplement brand on Amazon.com. Vintage Labs is committed to bringing the highest quality products to its customers. Vintage Labs products are manufactured in the USA, in accordance with strict FDA regulations, so you can be sure that any supplement you purchase is top-quality.

Where to Get It

Buy on Amazon

8. MHP Dark Matter

Dark Matter is a unique and effective after-workout supplement made by MHP. Dark Matter is formulated to stimulate protein synthesis and glycogen replacement in the body as quickly as possible. With amino acids, creatine, and much more, Dark Matter covers many of the essential ingredients for post workout nutrition.

Highlights:

  • Contains amino acids, creatine and more
  • Absorbs rapidly

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • Protein synthesis accelerator complex, consisting of BCAA’s leucine, isoleucine and valine in a 10:1:1 ratio.
  • Glycogen replenishment complex, consisting of glucose polymers, waxy maize, insulin amplifiers, and more.
  • Creatine complex, consisting of creatine monohydrate, creatine magnapower, and more.

Who makes it: Dark Matter is made by MHP, otherwise known as Maximum Human Performance. Since 1997, MHP has been dedicated to setting new standards in the industry, through science and innovation. While not as large as some of the industry giants on this list, MHP is a good company with a track record of developing useful, high-quality supplements.

Where to Get It

Buy on Amazon

9. Optimum Nutrition Essential AmiN.O. Energy

Essential AmiN.O. Energy is a powerful and effective post workout supplement, made by Optimum Nutrition. Combining amino acids with beta-alanine, green tea extract, and more, this product makes an excellent post workout recovery shake, and can also be used during your workout.

Highlights:

  • Provides essential amino acids
  • Contains 5g micronized free-form amino acids
  • Added beta-alanine
  • Added green tea extract and green coffee extract
  • Zero fat and sugar
  • Only 10 calories per serving
  • Available in 9 tasty flavors
  • Great for a post workout shake or a intra-workout one
  • Can be used at any time pre- or post workout

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 5g amino acid blend, consisting of taurine, arginine, leucine, beta-alanine, valine, and many more.
  • 160mg energy blend, consisting of green tea extract and green coffee extract.
  • 50mg caffeine per serving.

Who makes it: AmiN.O. Energy is made by Optimum Nutrition. Founded in 1987, Optimum Nutrition has risen through the ranks of the fitness supplement industry to become one of the most respected brands out there. Their Gold Standard line of fitness supplements has won countless awards through the years, and they have developed a well-earned reputation for producing quality and innovative products.

Full Breakdown: ON Essential AmiN.O. Energy Review

Where to Get It

Buy on Amazon

10. Universal Nutrition Torrent

Universal Nutrition Torrent is a complete post workout supplement that combines free form amino acids with advanced creatines, whey protein, and more, Torrent provides a balanced blend of post workout nutrition to help you maximize the results of your exercise efforts. The addition of creatine and whey protein concentrate make it easy to stop taking those products individually, and simplify your workout stack.

Highlights:

  • Contains hydrolyzed whey protein
  • Contains free-form amino acids
  • Contains a full dose of advanced creatines
  • Great tasting fruit flavors

What’s in it: One serving contains:

  • 8g anti-catabolic leucine complex, consisting of L-leucine, leucine alpha ketoglutarate, leucine ethyl ester, and more. This blend provides much-needed leucine.
  • 7g volubolic amino blend, consisting of taurine, glutamine, citrulline malate, and more. Provides the amino acids your body needs.
  • 3g creabolic complex, consisting of creapure, magnesium creatine chelate, and creatine gluconate.
  • 20g protein, consisting of partially hydrolyzed whey protein concentrate. Provides a solid dose of easily-absorbed whey protein concentrate.

Who makes it: Torrent is made by Universal Nutrition, a large sports nutrition company founded in 1977. In their nearly 40 years in the industry, Universal Nutrition has grown into a dominant force in the industry. They offer a huge line of fitness supplements, designed by professionals to suit the needs of fitness enthusiasts from all walks of life.

Where to Get It

Buy on Amazon

Frequently Asked Questions About Post Workout Supplements

Why is Post Workout Nutrition Important?

About 1-2 hours before your workout, you’ll want to eat a balanced meal consisting of plenty of protein and carbohydrates, which will give you the fuel you need for a successful workout. After exercising, you should consume a balanced meal to help meet post workout nutrition standards. post workout nutrition is very important.

During exercise, your body exerts itself to the extreme. It burns tons of calories, uses water to cool itself down, and depletes its stores of amino acids and other nutrients in order to build and protect muscle. Because of this, it’s important to replace those lost nutrients immediately after exercising.

After exercising, you’ll want to rehydrate with plenty of fluids, and eat a big meal with a lot of protein. Protein is the building block of muscle, and is absolutely essential for post workout recovery. Protein is made up of amino acids, which your body use to rebuild muscle, repair cells, and perform essential bodily functions.

Protein can be found in meats, dairy, eggs, grains, nuts and seeds. You can get a lot of protein naturally in your diet, but for weightlifters, it can be hard to get enough protein strictly from the foods you eat. Weight trainers need quite a bit of protein in their diets, often twice or more the standard daily recommended amount.

Because weightlifters need so much protein, they often supplement their diets with protein powders and other post workout supplements. Protein powders provide a convenient and affordable way to increase daily protein intake.

Protein powders are widely used in the weightlifting community. They provide a steady stream of amino acids to fuel muscle recovery and recharge the body. While protein powders are popular and effective, there are also post workout supplements that go beyond the basics and deliver the optimal blend of post workout recovery ingredients.

What Is a Post Workout Supplement?

Post workout supplements are supplements that you take soon after exercising, in order to replace lost nutrients and jump-start your recovery. Often, they’ll contain a mix of amino acids, which are the building blocks of muscle, as well as other ingredients to assist in recovery, rehydrate your body, and replace the nutrients that are lost during intense exercise.

Most post workout recovery supplements come in the form of powders that are mixed into milk, water, or blended into shakes. They are designed to be absorbed and digested quickly, so that they can get to work right away. You can also find recovery supplements in the form of capsules or pills, which can be more convenient in some cases.

What is the Science Behind Post Workout Supplements?

The main ingredient in most post workout supplements is branched chain amino acids, or BCAA’s. There are 3 amino acids that are consider branched chain amino acids; leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These three amino acids are absolutely essential to the building and preservation of healthy muscles.

BCAA’s, and leucine in particular, help to stimulate protein synthesis. Basically, that means they help your body absorb and use protein more efficiently. Recent studies have also shown that BCAA’s can also help increase the amount of protein your cells can efficiently use. Because of this, BCAA’s can increase the efficacy of protein powders, allowing your body to use protein more effectively.

BCAA’s and all the essential amino acids are found in protein powders like whey protein isolate. So, why would you need to take a post workout supplement if you’re already taking a protein powder, you may ask? Basically, while whey protein takes several hours to fully break down and digest, the BCAA’s in post workout supplements digest very rapidly, because they are free-form and do not require digestion to enter the bloodstream.

Other common ingredients in post workout products include electrolytes, which help you stay hydrated, and protein powders, such as whey protein isolate. Both of these ingredients can be taken on their own, but for some people it’s nice to have it all in one easy package.

What Are the Benefits of a Post Workout Supplement?

Post workout supplements are designed to help your body recover after a strenuous workout. They typically contain a blend of ingredients including amino acids, BCAAs, protein, creatine, and more.

Each formula is different, but they all aim to achieve a similar goal: faster, better post workout recovery. Some potential uses and benefits of these supplements include:

Post workout Recovery

Post workouts aim to support the recovery process following strenuous exercise. They do so by providing the nutrients that were depleted during the workout, and supplying specific ingredients aimed at supporting recovery. Several included ingredients can help.

Branched chain amino acids, or BCAAs, can help stimulate protein synthesis which helps build muscle and start the recovery process. A 2006 study found that BCAAs helped with muscle building and protein synthesis because they activate key enzymes involved in the process. BCAAs can also help to reduce muscle soreness, with several studies (1, 2, 3) showing soreness levels as much as 33% lower in participants given BCAAs after exercise.

Other ingredients may help with recovery by improving hydration. Glutamine can speed recovery by improving muscle hydration. Taurine helps to regulate fluid balance and may contribute to cell hydration.

Muscle Growth

Post workouts are designed to help your muscles recover from exercise and grow stronger as a result.

BCAAs – and specifically leucine – are beneficial. Multiple studies (1, 2) have shown BCAAs to be beneficial in building lean muscle mass when combined with resistance training. Protein powders also help, by supplying amino acids needed for muscle growth. Recovery is a key part of the muscle-building process, and proper post workout nutrition is key to a good recovery.

Muscle Soreness

Post workouts may help to reduce muscle soreness, making recovery more pleasant. Do note that muscle soreness is a normal side effect of intense workouts, and while some supplements might help, it’s likely that you’ll always experience some level of muscle soreness after exercise.

BCAAs play a key role. Several studies confirm that participants given branched chain amino acids after resistance training report muscle soreness levels as much as 33% lower than the control group (1, 2, 3). Protein powders can also help reduce soreness and speed training session recovery.

Convenience

After you exercise, your body needs nutrients, fluids and amino acids as soon as possible. This helps restore lost nutrients and kick start the recovery process. While no replacement for a good meal, post workout supplements are a convenient way to ensure you get certain key nutrients quickly after concluding a workout.

While beneficial, these supplements are best used in combination with healthy post workout meals. See this guide for some post workout nutrition guidelines.

Who Can Benefit from Post Workout Supplements?

A wide range of people can benefit from adding these products to their daily supplementation routine. The people who will see the most benefit are:

  • Weightlifters – Anyone who lifts weights should be taking some sort of post workout product. Weightlifters put their body under intense strain, so it’s very important for them to replace those lost nutrients and get a jump-start on recovery. People who like to train often will also appreciate the reduced muscle soreness that these products promote.
  • Men and Women – Both men and women can greatly benefit from a good post workout product. Any active individual, regardless of their gender, can benefit. Generally, there is no need to take a “gender specific” recovery product, but there are a few designed specifically for women.
  • Dieters – Anyone on a diet should take post workouts after exercising. When you diet, you can run the risk of not getting enough protein and nutrients.
  • Athletes – Since these products help you recover after strenuous activity, athletes and endurance runners can benefit from taking a post workout supplement. These products can help you recover quicker, and reduce muscle soreness, which can make it easier to continue doing the activities you enjoy.

How Do I Take a Post Workout Product?

Generally, post workout supplements should be consumed immediately after exercise, or even during your workout. Because these products fuel recovery efforts, the sooner you take them, the better.

While you should try to take your post workout as soon as possible, it’s not a huge deal if you have to wait to get home to take it. In general, you should consume your post workout supplement within 45 minutes after your workout. This will ensure adequate time for the supplement to digest and begin fueling your recovery in the most efficient way.

Most people like to make a post workout recovery drink to consume immediately following their workouts. You can use a BlenderBottle to make recovery shakes on-the-go. It’s a good idea to keep a pre-made shake in your car so that you can drink it on the drive home from the gym.

As with any supplement, it’s important to follow the instructions on the product packaging. Do not consume more than the recommended amount. Also, be careful about mixing too many supplements together, as that can cause side effects.

Go To: Top 10 Shaker Bottles & Mixers

Are There Any Side Effects?

Most people will not experience any side effects from taking post workout supplements. BCAA’s themselves should not cause any side effects, and they are the main ingredient in most of these products.

That being said, some post workouts contain ingredients that can cause side effects, such as creatine. While very effective at increasing muscle mass and endurance, creatine can cause bloating and temporary weight gain. This is because creatine increases water retention in the muscles, leading to extra water weight. This is a very minor and temporary side effect, and does not bother most people.

Some ingredients used in these products can also cause dehydration, but only if you don’t drink enough fluids. Proper hydration is especially important for athletes, so make sure you’re getting enough water on a daily basis.

Exercise heats the body, and the body uses water to cool itself down, so you will always lose some fluids during your workouts. Also, common ingredients such as creatine can cause dehydration on their own, so drinking more water than normal is recommended when you’re using post workout supps.

Note: We do not recommend taking any supplements featured on this website without speaking with a doctor first!

How Do I Pick a Good Post Workout Product?

There are a wide range of products available in the “post workout” category. It’s hard to wade through all the options and find the one that’s right for you. Let’s go over some things you should look for when selecting a product.

  • Ingredients – number one – what’s in it, how much is in it, and what can it do for you. Take a close look at the ingredients and note whether or not it contains everything you’re looking for. Also, keep in mind the supplements you already take (like protein powder) and how they’ll stack with the post workout.
  • Brand reputation – who makes the product? Are they a well known, well respected company? You can read post workout supplement reviews to get an idea of the quality of the companies who make these supplements.
  • Value for money – how much does it cost? More accurately, how much does it cost per serving. When comparing two or more products, calculate the cost per serving and compare that, rather than the cost of the product itself.
  • Taste/flavor – does the flavor sound good to you? You’ll want to find something tasty or at least decent, otherwise you won’t want to actually use the product. A good way to find out about the taste of the product before you buy is to read user reviews and to only buy flavors you actually like.

Recap

We all realize that exercise is obviously very important – you should be following a regular exercise schedule with a good mix of weightlifting and cardio routines. However, exercise by itself will simply not give you the results you want: you need proper nutrition.

Good nutrition is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, and it’s even more important for weightlifters. In fact, most experts agree that maintaining a healthy diet is the #1 factor in reaching fitness goals. Exercise puts a lot of strain on your body – proper nutrition gives your body the energy and tools it needs to fuel your muscles for exercise, and repair them afterwards.

Weightlifters and fitness enthusiasts need to follow healthy diets to reach their goals. Overall diet is very important, so you should establish and follow a bodybuilding nutrition plan. Just as important as your overall diet is pre-workout and post workout nutrition.

Now that you know more about these supplements, it’s time to choose the product that best suits your needs and budget. We firmly believe that any product on this list would be a great choice

8 Most Useful Muscle Building Supplements for Women

Muscle building supplements comprise one of the most misunderstood groups of supplements.

When I first started to get serious about bodybuilding, my friend looked at me very concerned and said, “you don’t take protein powder, do you?” as if it were some type of drug.

On another occasion, I saw someone mistake a supplement emblazoned with the word “anabolic” for steroids. (Anabolism simply refers to the synthesis of complex molecules from simpler molecules.) Unfortunately, sensationalized headlines and flashy supplement labels are confusing for many.

While nutrient-containing supplements, e.g. protein powder and dextrose, can directly contribute to muscle building processes, most muscle building supplements work not by increasing muscle size but by enhancing aspects such as power and focus, which in turn allows us to more efficiently and effectively build muscle.

As women tend to have lower testosterone and limited muscle building capabilities compared to men, these supplements can be especially critical for women.

Below, I have selected some of these supplements, but I encourage you to do further research as well, because there are countless supplements that can aid in your muscle building endeavors in a healthy way without disrupting your body’s natural functions.

1. Protein

Protein is perhaps the most important muscle building supplement, as it is digested into amino acids, which can become muscle fibers. From whey to casein to soy to pea protein, there are many different types to consider when choosing a protein supplement.

Related: Muscle & Strength’s Ultimate Guide to Whey Protein

Whey, casein, egg, and soy protein powders all contain a wide range of amino acids, whereas pea and brown rice protein have a narrower amino acid profile. For this reason, it can be a good idea to look for a blend that consists of multiple types in one powder.

However, if your diet is diverse, then specific protein choice for a given meal won’t make much of a difference. Research suggests that 0.82g of protein per pound of bodyweight is plenty to aid in muscle growth1, but very active individuals may benefit from higher numbers.

2. High GI Carbohydrates

High glycemic index (GI) carbohydrates spike blood sugar and insulin levels, which can improve blood flow and the effects of nitric oxide (discussed later). People tend to fear these fast-digesting carbohydrates, but if you are performing intense exercise, these carbohydrates can help to improve performance. Simply consuming high GI carbohydrates while you sit on the couch is not going to help, though.

The amount of carbohydrates needed for this benefit depends not only on personal factors like body weight and age but also on the type and duration of exercise performed. High GI carbohydrates are best when consumed around workouts.

3. Creatine Monohydrate

As creatine monohydrate can increase both power output and anaerobic endurance2, it is one of the most effective supplements for a strength athlete. Other forms of creatine have not been proven to be more effective than creatine monohydrate.

Micronized creatine monohydrate is a finer powder, so it will dissolve more effectively and therefore might be easier on your digestive system, but it will not actually be absorbed any better. Studies suggest doses of 3g per day all the way up to 30g per day depending on body weight and muscle mass2.

4. Beta-Alanine

Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid that can increase muscle carnosine concentrations and act as an intracellular pH buffer, meaning it can also delay muscle fatigue by buffering lactic acid.

An appropriate dose may be 4-6g per day3, but beta-alanine may cause a prickling sensation, so take smaller amounts or look for time-release versions if you experience a prickling feeling and are bothered by it.

5. Nitrates and Nitric Oxide Boosters

Nitrates can increase blood flow, work output, and endurance, and they can improve recovery as well4. Nitrates in the body can be converted to nitric oxide (NO) when oxygen is low. Look for supplements containing beetroot powder or juice to get these benefits5.

Arginine or citrulline can have similar effects by increasing NO levels and may be effective if taken at doses of 6g per day6. Citrulline may be a more effective option as it may be better absorbed and is converted to arginine in the body. Additionally, citrulline malate has been shown to decrease muscle soreness7.

6. Caffeine

Drink coffee or tea to build muscle? Caffeine can increase power and focus by increasing dopamine and epinephrine in the brain. Appropriate doses can be anywhere from 50mg to 300mg or more depending on your personal tolerance8.

Related: 3 Myths About Caffeine That You Actually Still Believe

Pre-workout supplements may contain 100-400mg or even more. The high end may cause gastrointestinal discomfort, insomnia, and other negative side effects in many individuals. L-theanine is an amino acid that may help to counteract negative side effects of caffeine when taken in doses similar to caffeine doses9.

7. Magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral in which many of us are deficient. Magnesium has been shown not only to reduce insulin sensitivity10 and blood pressure11 but also to increase muscle oxygenation during high intensity exercise12.

While many may benefit from taking magnesium and other electrolytes before, during, and after workouts, others may experience sedative effects from high doses. Some may also experience gastrointestinal discomfort from magnesium oxide or magnesium chloride. Magnesium citrate is generally a good choice when taken in doses of 200-400mg.

8. Adaptogens

As ashwagandha, rhodiola rosea, cordyceps, and other adaptogens may decrease feelings of fatigue and improve cognitive function13, adaptogens can be an excellent pre-workout supplement option.

Rhodiola rosea has been shown to decrease lactate production, muscle damage, and rate of perceived exertion14, while cordyceps may increase the lactate threshold15. Among the many researched benefits of ashwagandha is its potential to increase power output and muscle mass16.

Research on adaptogens for muscle building benefits is still in early stages, but somewhere around 100mg seems to be an effective dose.

Final Note

The supplements listed in this article are really just the tip of the iceberg. Any supplement that helps decrease feelings of fatigue and improve energy or focus can help with muscle building via improved performance during workouts.

Supplements obviously cannot take the place of proper diet and exercise. If you want to build muscle, you need to make sure you are eating enough, training hard, and getting adequate sleep and rest.

Once those bases are covered, you can start to add supplements to maximize your results. As always, you should consult with a doctor or other health professional before starting any new supplements.

Supplements for beginners

Different dietary supplements serve different purposes. Depending on your ambitions and goals the market varies, but below we have listed five appropriate supplements worth checking out for you as a beginner. This article is mainly focused on people who are at an early stage in their weightlifting career and wish to optimize their results, but experienced lifters can of course also take advantage of these tips.

One Whey / One Whey Isolate / One Whey Essentials – Whey protein
Protein powder made from whey is probably the most popular supplement in the world of sports. It is easily digested and therefore quickly absorbed by the muscles, which makes it a natural choice after a tough workout. When taking whey protein immediately after exercise you reduce the risk for catabolism (metabolic degradation) and instead support anabolism (muscle protein synthesis) as it contains the combination of amino acids that our body requires.

Whey protein is sold in many different shapes and forms. Given the fact that the production method varies (i.e., the process where the protein itself is filtered and dried), the quality of the actual protein, the price and the effect on our recovery also vary. We most commonly drink one or two scoops dissolved in a few deciliters of water or milk right after the completion of a workout,but you can also use it too boost the protein content in your oatmeal in the morning.
The amount of protein we need daily varies and depends on several factors. These include genetics, age, gender, activity level and overall health. For the active one, somewhere around 1.5 grams per kilogram/body weight is the amount often mentioned, and in order to keep yourself from deficiency of protein you must ingest at least 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram/body weight.To optimize the protein synthesis after a hard workout, add 20-25 g of qualitative protein almost immediately after the completed session.

One Whey is a complete whey protein that supplies you with all the amino acids you need in order to optimize your recovery after exercise. If you are looking for a protein powder completely free from lactose, fat, and carbohydrates, One Whey Isolate is the perfect choice!

One Creatine – Creatine
After whey protein, this is probably the most established and useful supplement. Creatine is naturally occurring in our muscles and in animal foods such as meat and fish. It is also sold as a dietary supplement and in that context often under the name Monohydrate. The human body itself produces about 1-2 grams of creatine per day, but when added through an intake of supplements the levels can be significantly higher.

The reason to why so many athletes are interested in raising their creatine level is primarily because it is a safe, effective, and also a legal way to increase both strength and muscle mass. Creatine will cause the body to store additional water (mainly inside the muscle cell) which may result in improved endurance as well as increased strength.

A daily intake of 5 g is usually recommended when the ambition is to keep the level of creatine constantly high. One Creatine is a 100% pure creatine monohydrate suitable for both athletes and everyday exercisers.

One Amino – Amino acids (BCAA)
The essential branched chain amino acids are leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Naturally you will find these in foods containing a lot of protein which means that they are practically already a part of our diet. On the other hand, in the form of supplements, these amino acids are more concentrated and the absorption is therefore easier and faster. This makes BCAA powder or capsules especially useful during exercise as it increases energy levels, supports protein synthesis (muscle growth) and later on also improves recovery. Take BCAA even on rest days to preserve lean body mass.

1 serving of amino acids gives you about 10 g of protein (about 40 kcal) and you are, unlike in the case with whey powder, completely avoiding both carbohydrates and fat. Be sure to always take these on an empty stomach, otherwise the food you just ate will disrupt and delay the fast absorption, which is the actual purpose of amino acids.

Amino acids can be ingested either in the form of a shake, One Amino, or through capsules One Amino Caps. One Amino is made from fermented corn which makes the product suitable for both vegans and non-vegans.

One Omega 3 – Omega-3 fatty acids
There are numerous studies that demonstrates the positive effects of Omega 3. Not only does it protect the heart and brain, and has an anti-inflammatory effect, and on top of that it may also be a good idea to take it if you are struggling with a few extra pounds. By triggering fat-burning enzymes, Omega 3 can assist in the process of weight loss.

One Omega 3 is a relatively unique fish oil supplement on the market and with each capsule, you get 70% high-concentrated omega-3, containing the important fatty acids EPA, DHA and DPA.

One Daily Woman – Multivitamins
Multivitamins must be the world’s best-selling supplement, all categories. As noted earlier, dietary supplements are just supplements and therefore not a substitute for an otherwise balanced diet, especially in the case of multivitamin tablets or capsules. But, despite a well-planned diet it may be worth looking into as it might be difficult to get some of the vitamins in. Active people have for example an increased need for zinc, magnesium, vitamin C and vitamin B and it is not always easy to keep track of during meal prep. The point with multivitamin supplements is that you get as much as possible as easy as possible.

These are only five products which could help you reach your fitness goal faster. Every individual has its individual need, of course, but these tips will at least point you in the right direction if you are interested in optimizing the results of your training.

If you need help with what products would best suited for you, please feel free to contact us at [email protected]

Best post workout supplement

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