The way you design your exercise, diet, and supplement routines will ultimately shape the type of results you see. For instance, young men who want to add bulky muscle will have needs quite different from older women who want to slim down. Knowing which nutritional building blocks to supplement your workouts can help you create a more solid foundation for your health and wellness goals.
Before Your Workout
Anything you eat or drink before your workout should provide you with the energy to complete the session while ensuring that your muscles have enough fuel for healthy function. Most people would grab an energy drink to fuel a workout, but caffeine is a vaso-restrictor and can reduce the supply of oxygen and blood to your muscles when they need it the most, making it easier to pull or tear something as you exercise.
The best pre workout supplement depends on your goals. For building muscles, you will want a good mix of amino acids before and after working out. To reduce potential bone loss from exercising, choose something with added calcium or eat a snack from the dairy aisle before heading to the gym. Take your supplements with water to increase your body’s ability to properly work with those nutrients and reduce soreness after working out.
During the Session
Drink water during your workout sessions. Staying hydrated is one of the best ways to ensure that your body uses the supplements and food you fuel it with effectively. Dehydration can make it easier to get muscle cramps, become dizzy from exercise, and get worn out more quickly. Some ingredients found in popular drinks are diuretics, such as caffeine, meaning that they encourage your body to get rid of more water, so watch that any drinks you use to stay hydrated will do the job. Many supplements and even prescription or over-the-counter medications say to take with a glass of water for this exact reason. Your blood is water that carries nutrients and oxygen; reducing the amount of water available in the system can overwork your heart and undersupply your muscles.
When You Are Done
Besides supplying yourself with more hydration and a clap on the back, you should fuel your body with supplements designed to maximize the effects of the workout you just completed. While your body can naturally produce glutamine, supplements containing this amino acid are recommended after intense exercise sessions. This amino acid is crucial in maintaining muscle mass and recovering from working out, so making sure your body has enough can decrease soreness, enhance gains and keep you going better for longer. Many protein powders contain added glutamine and a good dose of the other amino acids made from breaking apart the long chains of proteins into the usable building and repairing supplies for your muscles and organs. So, drinking a quality protein shake after a workout can be a reward for your mind, body, and energy levels.
Supplements you take at bedtime or times not connected with a workout can affect your overall health and wellness and the benefits you receive from your fitness routine. Nutritional choices designed to help you sleep better, such as proper amounts of water, protein, and calcium, will help your muscles recover more quickly and will increase your energy levels for the next day. Protein-heavy breakfast foods can fuel you better and for longer than overly sugary options while providing your muscles the building blocks needed for bulky strength or slim flexibility.
Designing the perfect workout routine for your fitness goals means choosing the proper nutrition to build and repair your body’s muscles, bones, and energy levels. You can use a combination of food choices and nutritional supplements before, during, and after your exercise sessions to increase your muscle gains and encourage weight loss. Remember to stay hydrated for the best effects from your exercise and nutrition plans.