How many of you know what supplements to take? Or when to take them? Well fear not as I will be giving you my take on when and what supplements to take prior to specific workouts.
60 Prior to your weights workout:
Try to consume 5 grams of l glutamine and 3-5 grams of arginine on an empty stomach.
The glutamine will help energize your workout and will also help with the recovery aspect of your workout. The arginine will help with nitric oxide production; this will help with blood flow to the muscles.
30 minutes prior to your weights workout:
This is where you would consume a low GI snack such as a bowl of oatmeal, or wholegrain bread or even some wholegrain rice. 40grams should be sufficient and this will give you the energy to sustain you throughout your workout. Along with this you will need 25-50 grams of a high quality whey protein so I would suggest 1-2 scoops of this. Pre workout protein helps boost your blood amino acid levels to a point where it stays at a high level throughout your workout.
Straight After your weights workout:
As soon as you are finished you will need 5 grams of l-glutamine, 5-10 grams of leucine and 3 capsules of a multivitamin that contains l-carnitine and l-tartrate.
The glutamine helps restore the stores that were used during the workout. The leucine is a BCAA and helps stimulate muscle growth, it also helps the release of insulin into the bloodstream. (As insulin promotes muscle growth due to it's anabolic properties)
l-carnitine and l-tartrate will help decrease your body fat levels and also increases anabolic hormone release.
30-60 minutes post weights workout:
You now need to ingest some whey protein and fast absorbing carbs, take 2 scoops of a high quality whey protein for your whey content and try to mix dextrose with this (as this will be your fast absorbing carbs), if you cannot obtain dextrose then an alternative is table sugar, which you can mix into your whey protein or you can consume some white bread with your whey protein instead (if table sugar isn't an option for you).
The rise in blood sugar levels which are linked to fast carb ingestion also prevents the release of muscle wasting hormone cortisol.
Supplementation for cardio is just as curcial as the main focus of cardio is generally to reduce or maintain body fat levels
It is best to take 500 milligrams of green tea extract and 200 milligrams of caffeine (pill form), approximately 60 minutes prior to your cardio workout. This will help with fat mobilization and appetite suppression. Caffeine also effects with your concentration levels and can reduce exercise associate muscle pain.
30 minutes prior to your cardio workout you should consume 10grams of BCAAs as this is said to also aid fat burning.
Now once you have finished your fat busting cardio workout, you have a maximum of a 60 minute window to consume 2 scoops of a high quality whey protein and mix with 5 grams of creatine monohydrate. This mixture will help supply the muscles with the protein it craves to build and repair the torn muscles accordingly and the creatine will replace the energy substrates.
“What about supplementation on non-training days,” I hear you cry? Well fear not as supplementation on non training days is just as crucial, here is a brief guide on what products to take:
BCAA’s are responsible for helping enhance the post exercise muscle recovery process.
It also helps decrease mental fatigue and it also helps decrease muscle soreness after exercise so this product is usually taken pre and post workout but it is also taken before bed so on non training days it would be beneficial to take this before bed as if it will aid with any form of DOMS (Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness) which may have built up
Multivitamins or sport packs
Many multivitamins/sport packs contain Beta Alanine and Carnipure (L-Carnitine and L-Tartrate) and similar to BCAA’s it helps enhance post exercise muscle recover, this is best to be taken before bed and during dinner.
Here is the breakdown for what each element within a standard multivitamin/ sport pack does:
Beta-Alanine - this helps boost strength and power, it also increases exercise intensity if taken pre workout.
L-Carnitine - is responsive for transporting fatty acids to the mitochondria which is then burned and this helps with fat metabolism.
L-Tartrate - helps reduce the amount of muscle tissue damage after training and helps increase muscularity
Glutamine - Glutamine is a free form of amino acid, and is the predominant amino acid in skeletal muscle and is used by both the immune an digestive systems to to maintain health. After heavy exercise glutamine stores are usually depleted and needs to be restored after workouts. Glutamine can help increase muscle cell volume and also help increase growth hormone release.
On non training days take before bed (especially if you are training in the morning)
Fish oils - You can obtain fish oils from fresh tuna, salmon and other fatty fishes. They all contain a large amount of omega 3 essential fatty acids (EFAs). EFAs help promote healthy skin, reduce water retention, and aids in energy production.
Take 1-3 tablespoons every day with a meal
Green tea extract
This is beneficial for fat loss an overall health. It has been proven to be a potent fat burner and powerful antioxidant (more so than vitamin C). It has been proven that it also helps with muscle soreness after exercise.
Take 3 times a day on non training days on an empty stomach
This is a powerful antioxidant that helps heal the liver, and with the amount of protein which bodybuilders consume the liver needs all the help it can get.
Take 2-3 times a day (please check label) on non training days
This supplementation guide should help you get through those tough cardio and weight workouts and should also help you re-energize on non training days, ready to hit the gym again the next day. This guide should be followed with a healthy balanced diet and also a balanced training programme.
With some supplements you may need to test your tolerance level first so please check the packaging first.