- Pre- & Post- Workout Supplement Timing
- Pre-Workout Supplements
- Post-Workout Supplements
- An Overall Note on Timing
- Is it safe to take exercise supplements?
- L-carnitine and creatine
- Conjugated linoleic acids
- Vitamin E and resveratrol
- Bodybuilding 101: When Should You Start Taking Supplements?
- Why Do You Need to Take Supplements?
- What Are the Supplements You Should Consider?
- 1. Creatine
- 2. Whey Protein
- How Do You Take Supplements?
- When Should You Start Taking Supplements?
- When do you think you should start taking supplements? Leave a comment below.
- 5 Supplements to Kick Start Your New Year’s Fitness Resolution
- #1 Whey protein
- #2 Creatine
- #3 BCAAs
- #4 Pre Workout
- #5 Casein
- Smash Your New Year’s Resolution
- About the Author
- Perfect Supplement Day
- Upon Waking
- 30 to 60 Minutes Before Bed
- At Bedtime
- Whey Protein
- Casein Protein
- Green-Tea Extract
- Fish Oil
- Vitamin C
- Supplement Timing For Maximum Muscle And Performance
- Carbs – Waxy Maize
- Sleep Enhancers
- Amino Acids
- Joint Health
- Fat Burners
- The Supplement Timing Plan
- Meal 1 – 7 am
- Meal 4 – 2:30 pm
- Pre-workout – 30 minutes prior to working out
- Post-Workout – Immediately after working out
- Meal 5 – 5:30 pm
- Pre-Sleep – One hour prior to going to bed
Pre- & Post- Workout Supplement Timing
When you start an elite lifting program, you spend lots of time in the gym perfecting your form, carefully calibrating your workout to get the results you want, and monitoring your calories a hawk.
Your overall nutrition needs change in a big way, too. Now your body requires supplements to maximize gains, speed recovery, and minimize muscle soreness. And when it comes to taking supplements, timing matters—you need the right nutrients to hit your metabolism at the right time to stay in tip-top shape and keep developing muscle.
But how do you choose the right pre- and post-workout supplements when you're still the new guy or gal at the gym? And how do you keep track of when you should take what? Here's everything you need to know to keep your pre- and post-workout supplements straight—from what you should take to when you should schedule the supplement into your day.
When you spend a lot of time in the gym, you need the right fuel to keep you going. Most bodybuilders depend on pre-workout shakes to keep their energy up when they tackle tough sets and big lifts.
But if you truly want to make gains, speed recovery, and eliminate soreness, you'll need to take the right pre-workout supplements at the right time.
Here's what you should take to amp up your next workout.
The supplement: Nitric oxide booster
What it does: Increases blood flow to muscles
When to take it: About 30 minutes before your workout
Whether you want to get as much your workout as you can, or you need to speed along your workout recovery times, nitric oxide boosters will help you get there.
Nitric oxide helps increase blood flow and oxygen to your muscles, which makes it easier for muscles to get all the nutrients they need for recovery after a tough workout.
Mix in a scoop of nitric oxide powder with your pre-workout shake about 30 minutes before your gym sesh to feel results.
The supplement: BCAAs
What it does: Helps alleviate muscle soreness and beat back fatigue
When to take it: With pre-workout, about 30 minutes before your workout
Branched chain amino acids, or BCAAs, are some of the most important components of protein—in fact, when you eat protein, your body starts breaking it down into BCAAs to deliver them to your body for energy.
In a cutting phase? BCAAs might give you the energy you need once you start eliminating carbs, says registered sports dietitian Amy Goodson. “Branched-chain amino acids are a source of energy in exercise and become a more substantial fuel source in endurance exercise when carbohydrates stores are low,” Goodson told Shape.
Take a BCAA supplement about half an hour before your workout to chase away fatigue and improve your performance in the gym.
The supplement: Beta-alanine
What it does: Improves performance and builds lean muscle
When to take it: As part of a pre-workout formula, about 30 minutes before your workout
Finding the right balance of amino acids is essential to a high-performing workout. Beta-alanine is a type of amino acid that has been shown to improve workout performance and help build lean muscle.
How does it work? Beta-alanine is the amino acid most crucial to carnosine synthesis—one of the most important factors for reducing lactic acid build-up post workout.
By taking beta-alanine supplements, lifters can help defeat muscle soreness the next day, while also enhancing performance in the gym and nipping muscle fatigue in the bud.
Many studies show that beta-alanine supplements increase strength, power, muscular aerobic capacity, training volume, and overall performance.
You've finished your last set. Your muscles are pumped. You know you've left everything you have on the gym floor.
Now it's time to think about re-fueling, recovery, and rest—and you'll need supplements to help you with all three.
Post-workout supplements are designed to help you support muscle growth as you bulk up, decrease muscle soreness, and speed your recovery. Here's everything you need to know about what to take after you head home from your daily workout.
The supplement: Casein and whey protein
What it does: Supports muscle growth
When to take it: Within an hour post-workout
Protein supplements, especially those made with whey or casein, help support muscle growth and repair muscle fibers.
Even though whey and casein proteins are metabolized at different rates, taken together, they'll help you build and retain muscle.
Whey is metabolized quickly, within about 20 minutes, which means it works well as a pre-workout supplement, too. Casein takes longer to metabolize—about 3 to 4 hours—which makes it the perfect protein supplement for overnight recovery.
Without increasing your protein intake, you'll never be able to gain muscle mass—and you'll be incredibly sore after a tough workout, too. To maximize your post-workout supplementation, consume protein in a shake or as part of your meal within an hour after your workout.
The supplement: Creatine
What it does: Prevents muscle soreness
When to take it: Within an hour post-workout
Creatine restores the compounds your muscles expend during resistance training, helping you to recover quickly and with minimal soreness.
According to one study published in the Journal of International Sports Nutrition, male athletes who consumed creatine supplements after a bodybuilding workout gained more lean muscle mass and increased their rep max, compared to men who took creatine as part of their pre-workout supplement regimen and followed the same workout. all supplements, creatine takes time to absorb. Take your dose within an hour post-workout.
The supplement: Glutamine
What it does: Improves metabolization of protein and minimizes muscle breakdown
When to take it: Within an hour post-workout
In a “cut” phase? Glutamine supplements will become your new best friend. An amino acid that helps fuel your muscles with nitrogen, glutamine burns up quickly when you're strength conditioning and needs to be replenished after workouts.
Because glutamine also helps your body metabolize protein and minimize muscle breakdown, it's a great supplement to take if you're trying to maintain muscle when you're “cutting.
” You can feel better about getting rid of fat—without losing all the muscle you just worked so hard to gain!
An Overall Note on Timing
While there tends to be a lot of anxiety about hitting the “anabolic window” for pre- and post-workout supplements, the best rule of thumb is to eat lean proteins and lots of leafy greens throughout the day to power your workouts.
According to Dr. Krissy Kendall, a kinesiologist, the early studies that touted the importance of consuming protein and other supplements within an hour after your workout were often fasting subjects.
“Because fasting itself will put your body in a catabolic state, eating immediately after a workout is crucial for promoting muscle protein synthesis and glycogen storage,” explains Kendall at Bodybuilding.com. “But unless you train at 5 a.m. on an empty stomach, there's less urgency when it comes to consuming your post-workout meal,” she adds.
You're better off being consistent with your overall health and nutrition, which includes consuming enough protein—as much as 20 grams—before a major workout. If you're launching into a workout after a fast, you'll want to eat 20 to 35 grams of protein after you're finished, notes Kendall.
While the “anabolic window” shouldn't necessarily make you panic, it's still important to give your body the nutrients it needs to work hard and recover after every gym session. Our guide to supplementing pre- and post-workout should help you maximize your gains and minimize your recovery time.
Which supplements amp up your training sessions? Tell us what drives your workout in the comments below:
Is it safe to take exercise supplements?
An Australian woman with a genetic disorder died from consuming too many protein supplements, it was recently reported.
The woman in question, Meegan Hefford, a 25-year-old bodybuilder, suffered from a rare, undiagnosed disorder that caused a fatal build-up of ammonia in her body (ammonia is produced when the body breaks down protein). This raises the question: are exercise supplements safe?
In healthy people, most commonly used supplements intended to enhance the body – often referred to in the scientific literature as “nutraceuticals” or “functional foods” – are harmless. Nonetheless, there are rare cases where underlying health conditions or excessive consumption could cause ill health.
By far the most common supplement taken by gym goers are those containing amino acids in the form of protein, protein hydrolysates (such as whey protein), or individual branched chain amino acids (BCAA), containing leucine, isoleucine and valine.
People take these supplements to support muscle building on the premise that amino acids are the building blocks of muscle tissue.
Aside from the rare genetic disorder suffered by Meegan Hefford, are there any dangers to consuming these protein supplements?
There are a number of other very rare genetic disorders where handling of certain amino acids is compromised. For example, maple syrup urine disease (MSUD) leads to a toxic build-up of the BCAA making their over consumption dangerous. Nonetheless, sufferers of MSUD are typically diagnosed at an early age, so this is unly to manifest through excessive protein intake in adulthood.
As well as genetic disorders of amino acid handling, people with kidney disease are often told to avoid high protein diets, since excess intake can strain failing kidneys. It is this that led to the premise that high protein diets and, by extension, protein supplements are “bad for the kidneys”.
But this has now largely been debunked, since athletes consuming nearly 3g per kilogram of bodyweight per day (about three-and-a-half times the recommended daily allowance of 0.
8g/kg/day) and healthy adults consuming up to 1.25g/kg/day of leucine show very few negative health effects, at least in the medium term.
So, apart from in extremely rare cases, taking protein supplements is generally safe.
L-carnitine and creatine
While too numerous to mention, there are a wealth of supplements being consumed by gym goers, with the aim of enhancing muscle mass, reducing fat and increasing performance. Let’s have a look at their safety.
Both L-carnitine and creatine are naturally occurring compounds taken to improve muscle mass, performance or weight loss. (Red meat is particularly rich in these substances.
) As with most supplements, these supplements have been subject to many investigations as to their safety.
To date, there is minimal evidence that they are harmful to humans, despite early claims of potential liver or kidney damage, muscle cramps or electrolyte imbalances. Also, there are no known underlying diseases which could make them dangerous.
Red meat is rich in L-carnitine and creatine. hlphoto/Shutterstock
Conjugated linoleic acids
Conjugated linoleic acids (CLA) are another popular supplement. CLA is a specific type of fat that is associated with decreases in fat mass and increases in muscle mass.
While generally thought to be safe, there is data from animal models and in humans suggesting their consumption can lead to unfavourable changes in the blood, namely increases in low density lipoproteins (“bad fats”).
As is always the case, long-term data from controlled trials is unavailable, so there will always be an element of doubt over their safety.
Vitamin E and resveratrol
But there are other considerations surrounding potentially harmful effects of supplements. A recent example of this are antioxidant supplements, such as vitamin E and reseveratrol. Indeed, while early work purported that these supplements could enhance exercise performance, it later became apparent that, if anything, they could work against the beneficial effects of exercise.
Also, rather than the nutrient supplemented being harmful itself, there may be other contaminating compounds within the supplement, unknown to the consumer, that could potentially cause harm.
We often hear news stories about failed drug tests in sport being caused by “contaminated supplements”. Whether this is true or not, there remains real and troubling evidence of contamination within dietary supplements by a number of different controlled substances.
Indeed, with control over their production lacking in pharmaceutical rigour, there may be unknown dangers in supplements, particularly those purchased online.
A recent case from the US highlights these dangers where a number of people suffered severe acute hepatitis and fulminant liver failure after consuming the same dietary supplement, OxyELITE Pro.
So, while there are few risks to taking supplements (or at least a lack of evidence that they are harmful), it should be remembered that some supplements could negatively affect what people are trying to achieve. Or they could be contaminated to make them appear “wonder supplements”.
Also, the true efficacy of many emerging supplements is lacking – often being more theory and marketing than reproducible science. That being said, a small number of supplements do have proven beneficial effects alongside exercise and moreover many of these have translated into proven clinical benefits .
Going back to protein supplements, yes, they can enhance muscle-mass with exercise, though the effect is small, and supplements could easily be replaced by changes to diet.
Bodybuilding 101: When Should You Start Taking Supplements?
You probably just joined a gym a couple of weeks ago; and you’re now wondering when you should start taking supplements. Just the other muscle-bound dudes on the training floor.
Perhaps you are too reluctant to ask anyone what they are swigging and should you start shopping for those powders or pills too?
Actually, some supplements may be helpful to speed up your way in attaining a more lean and muscular physique. However, there are lots of things that you should consider first before making any purchase.
For all you know, those glossy ads in the pages of fitness magazines or websites that you have been repeatedly browsing in the past few days are total gyps and a terrible waste of your hard-earned money.
Before you could answer the question “when should you start taking supplements”, there are other concerns that you must settle with yourself first. Before knowing the when you must first determine the why, the what, and the how.
Why Do You Need to Take Supplements?
If you have the proper diet, a comprehensive workout program, and a resolute healthy lifestyle in place; you can actually get into a good physical shape without taking an ounce of sports nutritional. You just need to patiently and persistently sculpt your body in the most natural way possible.
However, if you are aiming for a radical body transformation from being flabby or skinny to downright brawny in the shortest time possible, then you could consider taking those so-called fat-burners, muscle-builders, or athletic performance enhancers.
Just make sure that whatever clinically formulated products you will take have already been proven safe and effective, so you better do your research. Some unbiased online forum can be useful when doing your due diligence before making your choices.
What Are the Supplements You Should Consider?
Take note that you are only supplementing because it was already determined that your diet is not giving you copious amounts of natural substances that optimize muscle growth and preservation. As well as reduction of visceral and subcutaneous fat in your midsection.
What you need are supplements that will boost your energy and stamina for intensified training. Increase the rate of protein synthesis and nitric oxide circulation in your skeletal muscles; and aid in the recovery, repair, and development of myofibrils or muscle protein strands.
Here are some of the basic supplements that can catalyze said functions:
While this nitrogenous acid can be produced by your own system and can also be obtained from protein-rich foods such as beef, salmon, and eggs; your body can actually use higher amounts during weights or resistance training.
It is because of its essential role in the production of adenosine triphosphate or ATP, which is the main source of muscular energy for flexing and contraction.
No wonder, it is the most popular supplement for bodybuilders and athletes that require brute strength or a sudden burst of energy during training and competitions such as gymnasts, sprinters, wrestlers, and football players.
Creatine is widely accepted as safe and effective. In fact, it is one of the few supplements legitimately allowed by the NCAA and the International Olympics Committee (IOC) for their contestants.
One of its perceived benefits is that it apparently stimulates satellite cells’ activity while increasing their myonuclei, which causes muscle hypertrophy and muscle fiber damage repair, respectively.
2. Whey Protein
This is one of the very few organic foods that contain all 9 essential amino acids; said to be the building blocks of protein, the primary macro-nutrient needed for muscle formation.
It is naturally derived from cheese production wherein it was separated from one of the other main protein of cow’s milk called casein. Whey is the leftover liquid material once the milk coagulated, while casein became the main component of cheese.
Other supplements that deserve your consideration include BCAA or Branched-Chain Amino Acids, Glutamine, and Fish Oils. However, we will no longer elaborate on these substances.
How Do You Take Supplements?
First of all, you should only take them when you already have a sound fitness program in play. Meaning, any sports and bodybuilding supplement must be taken in conjunction and not in lieu of a sensible diet and a steady workout regimen.
These powders and pills are not multivitamins you take daily whether you are living an active or sedentary life. They are called bodybuilding or sports supplements for a reason. It’s having a scuba gear; you only wear them when you go sea diving and not on the way to your office.
Having the right dosage is, of course, also pertinent not only to get the best gain these supplements but also to have your money’s worth.
When Should You Start Taking Supplements?
As mentioned, when you already have an established fitness regimen.
In fact, if you are a newbie to bodybuilding or has been away from training for quite some time; it is better to start supplementing when you already have been working out regularly for at least 4-6 weeks.
By then, your muscles are already primed for faster and greater growth.
As for the timing and frequency, it all depends on what kind of supplements you are going to take. Some are best taken several minutes before hitting the gym (pre-workout); some can be taken during the workout (intra), while others are best after training (post workout).
Others still can be taken in the morning or before bedtime.
Besides reading the label, it is always best to consult a medical practitioner or a professional gym instructor before starting out on any supplement. Especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition or below the age of eighteen.
A final word of friendly advice: Don’t be sucked in by marketing hype and grandiose promises touted by various vendors on TVC, print ads and online. Don’t be captivated as well with the long list of ingredients emblazoned in many suppliers’ so-called proprietary blends.
Chances are some of those “miracle” components have not been subjected to highly conclusive and unbiased clinical tests.
It’s better to stick to amply proven substances the ones mentioned here, or better yet, ask people with first-hand experiences in taking bodybuilding or sports supplements.
When do you think you should start taking supplements? Leave a comment below.
5 Supplements to Kick Start Your New Year’s Fitness Resolution
A very popular New Year’s resolution is to get physically fitter and lead a healthier lifestyle. You only have to set foot in a gym during the first week of January and you will notice how busy it is.
Training is extremely important, but following a healthy, balanced diet is perhaps even more important if you want to see real, long term results. Alongside following a healthy diet, supplements can be a great way to help kick start your New Year’s resolutions and maintain them throughout January and beyond.
#1 Whey protein
If you want to build muscle, protein is very important. According to the NHS, adults should eat 0.75g of protein per kilogram of body-weight1. However, if you are exercising and weight training regularly, you should increase the amount of protein you eat, to help aid muscle recovery and growth.
If your aim is to build muscle, you should be looking to eat around 1.4g of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. It can be difficult to meet your protein intake goals from food alone, and this is where protein powder can be the perfect addition to your diet.
We sell a wide range of different types of protein, so it can be difficult to choose which one to use. If you are new to protein powder then Pure Whey Protein™ could be for you. It provides over 24g of protein per serving, and is available in a number of great flavours, so you can find the perfect one. We also do vegan, and dairy free protein powder.
Creatine is one of the most researched supplements on the market. It has been proven to help increase muscle size, as well as increasing overall strength and energy levels. It is an ideal supplement for anyone performing exercises which involve short bursts of high intensity activity, such as weight lifting or sprinting.
Creatine is a great supplement to take either pre or post workout, and can be easily mixed into your protein shake or taken on its own. To achieve the benefits of supplementing with creatine, I would recommend taking 5g a day, after a loading week of taking 20g a day.
Creatine Monohydrate is a highly popular and quality form of creatine. BULK POWDERS® Creatine Monohydrate is 99.9% pure and has been tried and tested to ensure optimum effectiveness. We stock many forms of this supplement – to find out which one is right for you, read our blog post on the different types of creatine.
Branched chain amino acids (BCCAs) are the essential building blocks of muscle. BCAAs help the body maintain muscle mass by preventing a process known as catabolism. This is when the body breaks down muscle to use as energy. You can supplement with BCAAs pre, intra or post workout, or even just sip them throughout the day.
Instant BCAA powder contains the three essential amino acids – Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine – in a 2:1:1 ratio.
#4 Pre Workout
Sticking to your New Year’s resolution is going to take commitment. This means coming up with a schedule and then doing your utmost to stick to it. There will inevitably be days when your energy levels are low and you do not feel working out. It is moments these when a pre workout can become a fantastic addition to your supplement stack.
Pre workouts are often high in caffeine to provide a short burst of energy, ideal for high intensity workouts. Complete Pre-Workout™ contains 200mg of caffeine per 24g to make sure you enter the gym ready for your training.
If you are weight training regularly, you will be breaking down muscle fibres. Protein contributes to muscle growth and repair. When you sleep, you go for a number of hours without eating anything. This can lead to the breakdown of muscle, over a long period of time, as your body still requires energy for normal bodily function, even when you are asleep.
By supplementing with casein, you can provide your body with a slow releasing protein source, whilst your body is fasted. Our Micellar Casein contains 27g of protein per serving and less than 1g of fat.
Smash Your New Year’s Resolution
The supplements above will all help support your training and in turn help you to not just kick start, but also maintain and dominate your New Year’s resolutions! Make sure you are using these supplements as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Good luck!
About the Author
Alex Genzel is passionate about health and fitness having been involved in a number of competitive sports from an early age.
He has been writing about sports nutrition and training for a number of years, alongside pursuing his passion for bodybuilding and desire to become a certified personal trainer.
As well as writing for BULK POWDERS® Alex also has his own blog where he shares his training experiences and advice on supplements.
Perfect Supplement Day
Supplement companies put a lot of work into creating their products.
Think of all that research and development, making sure the ingredients are sourced from the best possible manufacturers, making sure the compound tastes great and behaves in the body the way it’s supposed to.
Some products spend years in development before they’re finally released into the wild to be bought and taken by you, the consumer.
But if there’s a weak link in that chain, it’s you, the consumer.
You may not have a degree in sports nutrition, and you may not have the time — or the inclination — to do all the research necessary to ensure you’re taking the exact dose at the exact time to make sure that supplement does its best for your body.
How and when you take your supplements can determine whether they work perfectly and help you reach your goals sooner. So whether you’re looking to add some lean beef to your bones or simply get a little leaner, you can use our clock-guided outline to start seeing results faster.
It’s morning. You’ve just cursed your alarm clock and grudgingly thrown your comforter aside, but before you go scrub the stink off your teeth, you’re going to want to knock down some protein and glutamine.
When you wake up, your body has effectively been fasting for hours, running on stored sugars to, you know, keep you alive and stuff. Unfortunately, after a while, all that fasting puts lean muscle tissue at risk.
Because you don’t want to waste any more time, you should down 40 grams of whey protein, rather than waiting for your body to digest whole-food sources of protein, to prevent any further catabolism, or muscle wasting.
Adding 5 to 10 grams of branched-chain amino acids will further help stop catabolism and turn on muscle protein synthesis to switch your muscles over to an anabolic state.
Also, consider eating (yes, whole foods are fine here) 20 to 40 grams of carbs at this time. Fruit is a good option because it will get to the liver and essentially tell the body that you no longer need to burn up protein for fuel.
Males also will want to add 2 grams of carnitine, which has been found to boost the number of testosterone receptors in muscles.
Because your test levels are maxed when you wake up, this ensures that that testosterone will go to muscle building while you also have ample aminos going to the muscles. Carnitine also will help encourage fat burning, regardless of your gender.
If your primary goal is fat loss, you can reduce the whey to 20 grams and add 500 milligrams of green-tea extract and 200 milligrams of caffeine to further boost fat burning. Also, consider adding yohimbe at this time by taking a product that provides 2 to 10 milligrams of yohimbine
After getting yourself ready to start your day, it’s time to chow down on some whole foods — protein, slow-digesting carbs and healthy fats.
But this is also the time you’ll want to knock back all your vitamins, which are better absorbed when taken with food and which are crucial for improving overall health and keeping you in the gym.
Tossing in 10 grams of glutamine helps increase your body’s ability to preserve muscle while also giving you a top-o’-the-morning immunity boost. If fat loss is your major goal, also add CLA, which will further enhance muscle and strength gains to boot.
If you’re trying to add mass or burn more body fat, you need a small protein-laden meal at this time to keep your growth (or fat loss) on track.
Your supplements can boost the effectiveness of your workout, so taking them at the right time and in the right quantities can absolutely have an impact on how good you can look.
Whey, creatine, arginine, beta-alanine and caffeine are must-haves pre-gym because they collectively affect your strength, stamina, energy levels and fat-burning capacity.
But timing is everything here, and you need to know what to take and when. Essentially, you want two preworkout meals.
Preworkout 1 should be taken 45 to 60 minutes before the workout and should include arginine, or another nitric-oxide booster, as well as caffeine. Arginine needs to be taken without other amino acids/protein because they compete for absorption by the intestines.
And caffeine peaks about an hour after it’s taken, so working out too soon after ingesting it will limit its ability to boost strength and endurance during the workout.
While caffeine also will enhance fat burning during the workout, add a dose of green tea and yohimbe to seriously turn up the burn.
It sounds strange, but you don’t grow in the gym. Growth is essentially a side effect of recovery, which happens while you’re at home resting and eating. Customarily, recovery begins with whey protein.
Right after a workout, protein synthesis (read: muscle growth and repair) is at its highest. Fast to digest, whey supplies your muscles with all the amino acids they need to rebuild from a tough workout.
And, even though casein digests slowly, research has found that adding it to whey after workouts further promotes muscle growth.
Glutamine augments this process by reducing the total amount of muscle breakdown and increasing blood levels of growth hormone, while creatine replenishes explosive energy stores.
Arginine boosts blood flow, thereby assisting in the delivery of nutrients, oxygen and hormones to starving muscles, and BCAAs are important postworkout because they promote protein synthesis and can decrease delayed-onset muscle soreness.
Those simply wanting to burn more fat can forgo some of these products, but whey, creatine, beta-alanine and BCAAs are too important for muscle repair — not to mention tomorrow’s workout — to omit during this anabolic window.
It may seem that you have enough nutrients sitting on your plate to keep your body changing for the better, but there are a few things that you can add to boost health and recovery.
Ideally, you should take a hit of vitamin C with 2 to 3 grams of fish oil, both of which are better absorbed with food. Vitamin C helps with the synthesis of hormones, while fish oil further reduces muscle breakdown and supports the joints that you just put through the wringer at the gym.
Those wanting to aid fat loss while promoting further gains in muscle and strength also should take a dose of CLA.
30 to 60 Minutes Before Bed
The evening hours are meant for couching, which should be a word, and DVRing, which in our opinion is a way of life. But the job of building a better physique doesn’t end when you clear the dinner table.
As those looking to add mass prepare for bed, it’s a good time to have an additional 3 to 6 grams of arginine, which is better absorbed on an empty stomach. This helps further increase growth-hormone levels, which are naturally higher as you sleep.
Just make sure that you take an arginine supplement that is free from stimulants so as not to interfere with your z’s. Also, ZMA taken at this time can boost your overnight hormone parade.
This is your final act. As you reach to the nightstand to turn off your lights, you should make a pit stop at your shaker. By having a serving of micellar casein (the slowest-digesting type) before you hit the pillow, you stave off the breakdown of muscle for fuel as you sleep.
If you’re trying to gain size, aim for 40 grams. If you’re just looking to lean up a bit, 20 grams will suffice.
Also, consider a dose of fish oil and, for those trying to get lean, another dose of CLA, which has been shown to enhance fat burning — and better preserve muscle — while you sleep.
• high in BCAAs, high biological value and very fast digesting
• provides muscles with a quick, readily available source of amino acids
• hydrolysate is faster digesting than whey concentrate or isolate
• ideal for early morning, preworkout and postworkout
• digests slowly to provide muscles with a slow trickle of amino acids
• micellar casein digests slower than caseinates (sodium caseinate, calcium caseinate)
• ideal for postworkout, bedtime or long gaps between meals
• composed of leucine, isoleucine and valine
• aids in manufacture, maintenance and repair of muscle tissue
• stimulates protein synthesis
• provides energy during workouts
• blunts cortisol and reduces muscles soreness
• blunts fatigue during workouts.
• increases the release of fat for fuel during exercise
• boosts strength instantly
• delays time to fatigue
• improves mental focus
• aids the transport of fats into mitochondria where it can be burned as fuel
• improves fat loss with exercise and low-carb dieting
• can contribute to muscle growth by boosting NO levels and the level of androgen receptors in muscle
• boosts strength by supplying muscles with more explosive energy and pulling water into cells
• taken postworkout, increases insulin- growth factor-1 (IGF-1)
• provides antioxidant benefits, reduces chronic fatigue, boosts brain and heart health
• Contains EGCG, or epigallocatechin gallate, which inhibits an enzyme that breaks down norepinephrine, the neurotransmitter involved in regulating metabolism and fat burning
• reduces risk of some cancers, aids in joint health
• aids muscle growth by increasing levels of leucine
• decreases muscle breakdown
• boosts immune function
• increases growth-hormone levels
• can increase calories and fat burned during exercise
• enhances nitric-oxide production in the body
• boosts blood flow to muscles to optimize delivery of nutrients, hormones and oxygen
• can significantly raise growth-hormone levels
• promotes greater fat loss and gains in muscle
• forms carnosine in the body
• delays time to exhaustion by buffering hydrogen ions during exercise
• boosts strength and endurance
• paired with creatine supplementation, can increase lean mass and reduce body fat
• reduces possibility of nutritional deficiencies that can arise from hard training
• contains omega-3 fatty acids
• helps prevent muscle breakdown
• encourages fat loss
• reduce risk of heart disease and stroke
• boosts immune and brain function
• full name: coenzyme Q10
• neutralizes free radicals created during exercise
• helps convert carbs and fat into energy
• increases endurance
• improves in the synthesis of hormones, such as GH
• fights free radicals created during exercise
• can enhance nitric-oxide levels and enhance fat loss
• combines zinc, magnesium aspartate and vitamin B-6
• increases testosterone and IGF-1
• enhances sleep quality
Supplement Timing For Maximum Muscle And Performance
When it comes to supplements, timing is everything. You can research supplements until you’re blue in the face, but if you don’t now how and when to take them, you’re just flushing money down the drain. Proper supplement timing is an essential factor in maximizing your muscle and performance gains.
How many times have you heard the following: supplement X didn’t work for me, I got nothing it. You want to know a secret? Most pro natural bodybuilders use the same core supplements, and they use them for a reason. What is that reason? These supplements work!
So why is it that pro natural bodybuilders use supplements and find them effective, but so much anti-supplement hype exists? The answer is simple – the pros train hard, eat right and get enough sleep.
Supplements exist to amplify the results from your efforts, but they are not magic pills. If you don’t have your act together, there is no progress for supplements to amplify. Zero times infinity equals zero.
Even if you’re taking all the best supplements in the world, they can’t make up for poor training, diet and rest.
Now, back to the point of this article…supplement timing. Most supplement labels tell you how much to take, but they generally don’t tell you when to take the supplement. There is only so much space on a supplement label. In addition, supplements are used for different purposes, and may be recommended at different times of the day your needs.
This article focuses on one need, and one need only – building muscle. To maximize muscle gains, use the following supplement timing recommendations.
Carbs – Waxy Maize
Fast digesting carbohydrates function in an anti-catabolic manner. They help to fight off muscle loss, and are especially good to take pre and post-workout. Waxy maize is a popular bodybuilding supplement. It is a fast digesting carb source, and can be sipped on during a workout, and post-workout.
Instead of taking a sleep enhancer right before bed, try and take this supplement about one hour prior to going to sleep. Give the sleep supplement a fighting chance to fully digest and enter your system.
The term “amino acids” covers a broad spectrum of supplement products. In this case, we are talking about bulk amino acid supplements that contain numerous essential amino acids.
fish oil, you’ll want to divide up your amino acid supplementation throughout the day. It is also very important to take amino acids post-workout, and first thing in the morning.
During these times the body is in a heightened state of protein synthesis, and can benefit from a higher amino acid dosage.
Joint health supplements are best taken before bed and early in the morning.
Many fat loss supplements are taken twice daily. It is often recommended that you take your first dosage early in the morning, and your second later in the afternoon. Because fat loss supplements often contain stimulants and/or caffeine, it is best not to take the in the early evening or before bed.
The Supplement Timing Plan
Use the following sample supplement timing plan as a template to assist you in developing your own personalized supplement timing approach:
Meal 1 – 7 am
- Whey Protein
- Fish Oil – 1000 mg
- Amino Acids
- Vitamin C
- Joint Health
- Fat Burner
Meal 4 – 2:30 pm
- Fish Oil – 1000 mg
- Amino Acids
- Vitamin C
- Fat Burner
Pre-workout – 30 minutes prior to working out
- Pre-Workout Supplement (Nitric oxide, pre-workout proprietary blends, etc.)
- Creatine – 3 to 5 grams
- Glutamine – 3 to 10 grams
- BCAAs – 3 to 5 grams
Post-Workout – Immediately after working out
- Post-Workout Blend
- Whey Protein
- Creatine – 3 to 5 grams
- Glutamine – 3 to 10 grams
- Waxy Maize
- Amino Acids
- BCAAs – 3 to 5 grams
Meal 5 – 5:30 pm
- Multivitamin (Assuming your post-workout meal is your largest of the day)
- Fish Oil – 1000 mg
- Amino Acids
- Vitamin C
Pre-Sleep – One hour prior to going to bed
- Sleep Enhancement Supplement
- Joint Health