How Effective Are Workout Supplements?
How do we normally feel after a long workout in the gym? In most cases, we are perhaps drained, sleepy, and less energetic than usual. With the right amount of workout supplements, it is possible to prevent these negative feelings before, during, or after physical activity.
Caffeine, probiotics, and protein (fiber) are among the many forms of supplements that people consume before and after their workout routine. Some workout supplements have proved to be very beneficial supporters of our body by helping it to stay hydrated and energetic while lowering down the risk of inflammation and other ailments.
While drinks and probiotics may keep us energized and hydrated during workouts, other supplements have turned out to benefit those aiming to gain big muscles. This being the case, different genders will probably need a very different set of supplements during workouts.
What are the most popular types of workout supplements?
Before I continue further, I will define in detail what exactly a pre-workout means.
Not to be mistaken with the Oxford dictionary’s definition, in popular online culture, a pre-workout means anything related to our habits, what we do before (pre) we go for physical exercise in the gym or outdoors. A pre-workout may include all the foods that we eat, pills that we take, and even the warm-up exercises that we do before actual physical activity.
First, let’s think of caffeine as simply a cup of black coffee. In fact, most people will need a cup of coffee in order to push through the day. They need the coffee not because it’s the tastiest drink on Earth, but simply because it can fill up their natural reservoir with energy fuel.
Since ancient times, caffeine has supported many people doing sports regularly. Due to the numerous positive functions that caffeine has on the human brain and body, people have adopted it as the main additive in pre-workout supplements.
Caffeine workout supplements, however, are slightly different from an actual cup of coffee. While a cup of black coffee contains around 50 mg caffeine, workout supplements may be a bit stronger, containing on average 150 to 200 mg of this additive. Also, except caffeine, they contain vitamins and additional amino acids, which may enhance the effect of caffeine on our bodies.
Caffeine workout supplements will be most effective if taken about an hour before the actual workout. For those who prefer to exercise in the evening, caffeine is probably not the best alternative. Similar to coffee, caffeine supplements may affect human brain processes, especially those in charge of “keeping us alert”, and nobody wants to suffer from insomnia after a long physical exercise.
If taken correctly, caffeine workout supplements may keep us alerted and focused during workouts. In addition, they may boost our energy and stamina during and after exercise. How strong supplements we need will depend on the type of sports that we’re doing; for example, cardio exercises require more energy than other types of workouts.
Probiotics are another source of a healthy lifestyle for endurance athletes and people doing sports daily. Many foods such as yogurt, pickles, and sourdough bread are full of probiotics. But is it wise to get this additive from foods?
According to experts, probiotics should only be taken on an empty stomach before physical exercise. Taken this way, probiotics’ additives may be absorbed faster by our internal organs. Therefore, workout probiotic supplements are the best substitute for probiotics found in natural and processed foods.
Except for capsules, there are a lot of probiotic drinks known to the world. No matter in what form we consume probiotic workout supplements, they may be very advantageous for our overall health.
Probiotics are useful in the prevention of muscle damage during intensive weight lifting or body-building workouts. Probiotic supplements have proved to benefit the immune system of people doing sports regularly. Such people are also more prone to developing ailments since regular physical activity may weaken our immune system – especially true for people doing intensive and daily physical activities.
Probiotic workout supplements may definitely help people to lose a few pounds. They are well known for their ability to boost metabolism after physical exercises.
Intensive physical activity leads to dehydration for we lose a lot of fluid when we sweat during workouts. A probiotic workout supplement may help us to stay hydrated by lowering the amount of fluid we lose while helping us to get rid of the toxic parts of this fluid. In this way, people who take probiotic workout supplements may retain only what is good and needed.
In one placebo-controlled study on fiber, research confirmed that protein can affect the human body and muscles before and after workouts. Participants who took protein supplements before their workout gained muscle mass faster and preserved their stamina during long physical exercises. Interestingly, the control group, who took protein supplements after their workout, showed similar results – with very minimal deviations.
The advantages of protein for our body are vital before and after a workout. It is the main additive in charge of muscle building and protection. The fact remains that lifting too heavy weights or running long distances may knock our muscles down.
Now comes the tricky question. Can’t we just eat fiber-rich foods to enhance our body’s functions before, during, and after physical activity?
Protein found in natural foods may be definitely beneficial if we take it at the right time and in the right amounts. I will never forget when my gym instructor noted: “Do not eat anything before and after a workout, as it will slow you down.” He was perhaps right.
Still, if we don’t consume any food before our workout, how can we get the energy and stamina for long cardio exercises. The best solution that comes to mind is ingesting protein in other forms. Workout protein supplements come in different forms, and it’s a fact that our body can absorb them faster.
Among the most popular forms of protein supplements are protein from soluble powder, whey protein, and protein tablets. Advanced science has contributed to making these supplements even more effective by combining fiber with other essential additives such as vitamins and amino acids.
Before I explain why amino acids are a different and very important group of workout supplements, let’s get back to a simple biology class together. Amino acids are molecules, which means that they are the building blocks of each type of workout supplement. Then, why do we need to buy a separate product, instead of just buying protein or creatine?
In regards to workout supplements, three amino acids, connected in a chain-like combination, have been brought to the attention of people doing sports. These molecules are leucine, isoleucine, and valine, also known as Branched-chain Amino Acids (BCAA). Now, let’s explain what BCAA supplements can do for people doing workouts regularly.
BCAA products have proved to benefit people doing physical exercise for weight loss. Supplements containing BCCA amino acids will benefit our metabolism and simultaneously act as a fat burner during cardio exercises. The effect of taking BCCA for weight loss has proven to be very fast.
The main aid of many people in the gym is to lose weight, not muscles. Intense physical exercise, however, may result in muscle degradation and protein loss. BCAA amino acids may help the protein synthesis in our muscles, thus helping us lose the actual fat while building up our muscle mass.
It’s a popular fact that when we are overweight, by doing cardio workouts, we will lose fat first. However, people with normal body weight, may lose muscles rather than actually strengthening them. Therefore, BCCA can support the balance between protein degradation and synthesis in our muscles during workouts.
Research proved that BCCA workout supplements are a great source of stamina. Also, the supplement can reflect on our mental help positively, making us more motivated and focused during physical exercise.
Post workout supplements
In this section of my post, I will elaborate on another type of workout supplements. These are supplements that we usually take after a workout so as to feel more relaxed, gain muscle mass, or simply restore the energy we lost during our physical “battle”.
Electrolyte enhancing supplements :
Chemically, electrolytes are minerals and compounds with electric charge, found in our body. As such, they help our body to produce energy in aim to perform more of its vital functions.
When we sweat and lose fluid during physical activity, we lose energy and some important minerals, too. So how can our body function after we have lost so much energy during our workout? The solution to this problem definitely is an electrolyte enhancing workout supplement.
Post-workout supplements come in different forms and doses with the aim to help us refresh, restore and energize after long physical activities. They have proved to be more efficient and less caloric than products containing artificial sweeteners – energy drinks. How many workout supplements we need, will depend on our age and weight, and the level of intensity of our tasks.
Proteins, mixed with other additives, may also act as electrolyte enhancing supplements. Again, science has proved that they can boost out metabolism and energize us if taken correctly before or after workout.
No matter how intensive the workout is, young and active people tend to retain more energy than overweight adults. Moreover, smokers have shown to lose energy faster during cardio exercises, compared to non-smoking adults. All these lifestyle factors will determine the right amount of post-workout supplements an individual may need.
What else can substitute for supplements?
Can natural ingredients and foods replace workout supplements? There is still controversy regarding the benefits of synthesized supplements in any context – beauty, weight loss, blood pressure … While some people believe that workout supplements are good for our health, others claim that they are ineffective and natural foods can do the job better.
Foods may definitely substitute for workout supplements, but this is not always the best-case scenario. It will depend on what foods we consume and when exactly we consume them. No matter how often we exercise, if we don’t consume food correctly, we will become fat instead of losing a few pounds.
There are cases when people will gain muscle mass from foods instead of loosing fat, and vice versa.
It is essential that no matter what meal we take, we consider how many calories and sugars it contains. For this reason, some energy drinks and protein bars are not the best alternatives for weight loss workouts. However, the same foods may benefit people doing bodybuilding workouts.
Supplements such as caffeine, BCCA, and protein include many additives that act on our bodies together. This is not a combination that exists in natural foods or drinks. Each workout supplement product is unique in itself, in what it contains, and what it is designed for.
How many supplements are good enough for us?
Anything in this world is good for us only if we don’t overcome using it. The same truth applies to workout supplements. Still, if this is not actual medicine, prescribed by a doctor, how can we make sure that we are taking the right amount of supplements, at the right time?
One of the ways to get to know more about what is right for us is to look it up online. Online sources are usually a precious way to help us write our own supplement workout recipe. Forums, and other peoples’ opinions will matter, too.
It is important to not overdose with workout supplements. For example, too much whey protein may make us fat, or we can develop a new allergy. A different example, too much caffeine may make us sleepless, even if it gave us great stamina during our workout.
By being precautions about the possible side effects of workout supplements, we can really tap into the potential of these additives. Gym instructors may also provide useful information about supplements. So, go bravely ahead and get more info before choosing the right brand for you.
Needless to say, the brand name is probably the most important factor that we should consider when choosing workout supplements. The right dose of supplements will also depend on the brand and type of supplements we take. It’s wise to look carefully at ingredients on the back of the bottle and check brand reviews.
Good to remember
Workout supplements, workout supplements, workout supplements! Yes, workout supplements are very important for people doing physical activity on regular basis.
Workout supplements may surely benefit us, depending on what our needs and preferences are. Protein and probiotics may help us build muscle mass faster, and caffeine and BCCA may contribute to faster weight lost and improved stamina during workouts. No matter what we choose to focus on, workout supplements will always help us to achieve our goals.
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thank you for a very good article