Supplements are the way of the health and fitness lifestyle. Whether you are trying to lose weight, gain muscle, or improve performance, supplements provide you with that extra edge you are going to need before, during, and after your workouts. One trend you may have noticed is the domination of pre-workout supplements in health food stores and on fitness websites. Don’t get me wrong, pre-workout supplements are terrific. They give you a much needed boost after a very long day so that you can get into the gym and own it. Rarely though do you hear about an effective post-workout supplement. Why do you need a post-workout supplement? If you want to ensure and protect your gains while supporting the recovery process, you need to make sure your supplementation program doesn’t stop when your workout does. Let’s review the top ingredients that you need to be taking right after your workout.
The Best Post Workout Supplement Ingredients
Beta Alanine is a non-essential amino acid, which means that your body naturally produces the bare minimum for daily processes. These daily processes do not include your endeavours for increased lean muscle mass and amplified performance, which is where supplementation comes into play. When you add beta alanine into your daily supplement program, you will notice a significant improvement in your strength, power, and endurance levels. Beta alanine also supports your gains in lean muscle mass.
Beta alanine makes all of these wonderful benefits possible by supporting the increase in carnosine levels in the muscles. Higher carnosine levels directly correlate to gains in lean muscle mass. This supplement is ideal for post-workout as it protects all of that hard work you put in at the gym, ensuring your muscles are saturated with the nutrients they need. It also is one of the most tested post-workout ingredients. One study in particular reviewed several clinical trials, confirming from all of the data reviewed that beta alanine produces a dramatic ergogenic effect on exercise. (“Effects of β-alanine supplementation on exercise performance” 2012. Page 18)
Betaine anhydrous is quite the versatile nutrient, used in many processes within the human body. When it comes to your workouts, that is where this supplement shines. Just as useful as a pre-workout as it is a post-workout, betaine anhydrous has been shown to increase energy, enhance peak performance, and support the growth of lean muscle mass. When it comes to weight loss, betaine anhydrous promotes the utilization of stored fat in the body, accounting for a total body fat reduction. This is an all around amazing supplement that needs to be sitting your shelf but you don’t have to take my word for it:
A variety of studies have been performed on betaine anhydrous, confirming its wonder-like powers. In one study, those supplementing with betaine anhydrous noticed a huge jump in the total amount of volume they were able to handle as well as an increase in the number of repetitions per set. Put simply: more weight for more repetitions. For guys looking to pack on muscle mass, this is extremely important! This means you will be able to maximize your hypertrophy, resulting in larger gains of muscle. (“The effects of chronic betaine supplementation on exercise performance, skeletal muscle oxygen saturation and associated biochemical parameters in resistance trained men. 2011. Para. 1)
Notice it’s creatine monohydrate and not plain ole’ creatine. Monohydrate is important as it allows for rapid absorption into the body. Your muscles can’t wait around for a new supply of ATP as you are pushing 325 lbs above your head. You need it fast and monohydrate delivers. While both forms are terrific, no post-workout supplement list would be complete without the veteran, creatine monohydrate.
Used for decades in the bodybuilding and general fitness population, creatine lives up to its reputation. Creatine monohydrate has been shown to vastly increase strength, power, and muscle size while giving you that “pump” that you are always looking for during your workouts. It’s able to be taken pre, intra, and post-workout but the real magic comes in when you take it post-workout. This is due to the dire need to replenish the ATP within muscle cells. Keep in mind, you just put yourself through the ringer and your muscles are on “E”.
Now, let’s get down to the science of why you need to be taking creatine monohydrate. Creatine increase the production of ATP within muscle cells. This is important as ATP is the first form of energy to get used up as you go through each set. Supplementing with creatine monohydrate results in greater endurance. The increased time under tension will then lead to amplifying your strength and hypertrophy. That hypertrophy is what you’re looking for when it comes to adding lean muscle mass. Safe for men and women, creatine monohydrate is able to support a variety of fitness goals. Never you mind about that bloating rumor. Monohydrate absorbs quickly into the body, skipping that bloating stage. (“Effects of creatine supplementation and resistance training on muscle strength and weightlifting performance.” 2003. Para. 1)
While glutamine is one of the most abundant and common non-essential amino acids in the body, that certainly does not mean it isn’t important. It’s used in a number of different processes and when you throw your workout into the mix, glutamine levels get zapped quickly. So why is it so important as it relates to weight training and fitness? Two words: protein synthesis. When glutamine levels are high, you body is able to efficiently utilize the ingested protein, getting it to where it needs to go: your muscles. The result is greater endurance, increased lean muscle mass, and enhanced strength.
It gets even better. Glutamine has anti-catabolic properties