Do you take workout supplements? No? Seriously? Why not? Oh, you have heard they are bad for your health and cause more harm than good. What else have you also heard lately about supplements? That they can have a counter-effect on your gym performance? Really? Well, that sounds reasonable, right?
Wrong! That is as far from the truth as it can be. The main reason why people fear workout supplements is because they do not know how to use them properly and what to expect while using them. If you think that you will get buffed or lose a ton of weight in just one month simply by adding supplements to your diet, you are dead wrong. Supplements can enhance your performance, make you more prepared for an intense workout and help you recover quickly. They are to be taken seriously and you should know what you use, and why you use them. Here is a quick walkthrough of the various types of gym supplements.
Pre- vs. Post-Workout Supplements
Not all supplements are the same and not all can be taken whenever you wish. Different types are suited for different situations. Feeling tired before and after the gym, for example, are two completely opposite states and cannot be addressed with the same kind of supplements. Therefore, understanding the difference between pre- and post-workout supplements is essential.
Pre-workout supplements are usually taken about 30 minutes to an hour before working out. Their job is to make you more prepared for an intense physical activity by increasing your level of energy, making you more focused, motivated and providing more power to your muscles, therefor elevating your level of endurance. With pre-workout supplements, your body is equipped with new power and strength to make the most of your time in the gym. Pre-workout supplements ultimately make you about 11% more effective, according to the result of the 2010 study, titled “The effects of a pre-workout supplement containing caffeine, creatine, and amino acids during three weeks of high-intensity exercise on aerobic and anaerobic performance”, published by Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. Although many still question their effectiveness and the way they help you achieve better results, but the benefits they bring to the table are undoubted.
On the other hand, post-workout supplements, taken after the a gym session, are supposed to relax you, help to recover faster, repair muscle tissues and assist in regaining strength. Depending on the intensity of your training, you will have some muscle tissue damage, which will need repair and recovery. Among other things, post-workout supplements replenish your level of glycogen and prevent protein breakdown – in turn, this makes your muscles bigger and ensures damaged muscles are healed. Certain supplements are avoided by some users, but with so many options to choose from, you can easily find a supplements that suits you the most.
Muscle-Building vs. Weight-Losing Supplements
Again, these are two entirely different categories and, depending on what your final goal is, you can pick one or the other. With muscle-building supplements – protein, creatine and glutamine, among others – your weight lifting is going to be much more effective and produce more visible results. Moreover, with the right choice of supplements, you can experience an overall increase in muscle mass quite fast. Whether you want to get stronger, become more powerful, gain more muscle or increase your weightlifting abilities, these gym supplements are the way to go.
But, for those trying to lose weight, things are quite different. Sometimes, diets alone may not be effective enough, jogging or other cardio exercise may not helping to shed the excess pounds, and giving up chocolate is not bringing the results you want. If this is you, it is possible that your metabolism is slow. People with slow metabolism have a hard time burning fat and that is where weight-loss supplements come into play – they are increasingly popular and about 15% of US citizens have used them, according to a 2007 study. These supplements do not, however, do all the work for you, but are just an addition to your diet and exercise routine. Look at them this way: they do remove the excessive fat, but it is up to you to show the muscles hiding behind those extra weight.
Now that you know the difference, remember: do not take just any supplements if you are not sure what they are, and it is always advisable to consult your healthcare provider before starting any supplementation program. Depending on the time of the day and your desire to become stronger or skinnier, opt for the right type of supplement. Finally, keep in mind that certain foods are great supplements, too, especially before you hit the gym.