What Workout Supplements Should I Take?
You can workout and eat healthy to achieve your weight loss results. But to get the results you want faster and more effectively you can use supplements. Supplements have a really bad rap in the fitness world. Not all supplements are bad for you. In this Fitness For Women post, I explain what supplements can help you lose weight and increase your results.
Today I went love on Facebook in episode 5 of my blog series to talk about supplements. I talked about what ones you should be taking and the benefits of each. You can watch the full video here:
Fitness For Women #05: What Supplements Should I Take & Why?
Calcium & Vitamin D
Women in their 20s, 30s, and 40s already need up to 1,000 mg of calcium daily as well as 600 IU of vitamin D to help build and repair bones and prevent Osteoporosis. However, did you know that when you exercise and sweat you lower your calcium levels too? It’s called stress-induced calcium loss. Calcium and Vitamin D should be taken together as Vitamin D supports the absorption of Calcium. If you aren’t already taking these vitamins it is essential that you start now. I found an excellent article by Livestrong.com that explains why you should take Calcium & Vitamin D after your workout.
CLA & Fish Oil
I’m sure you have heard of fish oil. But you may be wondering what CLA is. It is Conjugated Linoleic Acid. It is found in small amounts in meat, cheese, and dairy products. Recent studies have shown that taking CLA when exercising reduces fat mass while increasing lean body mass.
According to Bodybuilding.com article on the benefits of CLA, they found that in a study of 180 overweight (BMI>25) men and women, those who supplemented with 3.4 grams CLA/day for a period of one year, saw a significant decrease in fat mass 9% and significant increase in lean body mass 2%.
Next, is the all-important fish oil. Fish oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a healthy fat. Taking fish oil can help prevent accumulation of body fat and play a role in decreasing unhealthy belly fat. I suggest talking with your doctor to find out how much you should be taking a day. Take no more than 3 grams per day.
A pre-workout supplement is a key to helping you power through your workouts. I personally love my pre-workout. I get up and workout before I eat anything so it gives me the boost I need. When choosing a pre-workout drink you should make sure that the one you choose contains these four important ingredients:
Caffeine is probably the most important ingredient in an effective workout supplement. It gives you the pick me up you need and you get that energy quickly. It has been proven to increase endurance during exercise. Make sure the dose of your pre-workout is between 200-500 mg. If you are a habitual caffeine drink you may need more and if you don’t drink caffeine you may need less.
#2 Brain Chained Amino Acids (BCAAs)
There ate three main BCAAs you should look for in your pre-workout: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. The ratios of each should be 2:1:1 respectively. These BCAAs help stimulate protein synthesis and protein breakdown. They are also proven to help Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) after your exercise. Make sure your pre-workout contains at least 3 grams of leucine per dose.
Beta-Alanine is another workout supplement that helps increase muscular endurance. Have you ever taken a pre-workout supplement and feel that burning sensation? Your skin is not melting off. It is called paresthesia and it is normal to feel when you are taking beta-alanine.
Yes, it is not just for men. Creatine can help provide your muscles with more energy and thus increase your strength during your workouts. We aren’t looking to get bodybuilder huge so just a teaspoon (5 grams) is all you need in your pre-workout to power your through.
During Workout Supplements
Yes, you can and definitely should be drinking water during your workouts. But for those really intense workouts or lifting sessions, I also taking an intra-workout supplement. It provides extra BCAAs, electrolytes and helps the synthesis of protein. This is great for that extra energy you need to keep pushing through. It is also proven to help increase lean muscle mass and fat loss.
Post Workout Supplements
There are two schools of thought here. If you are trying to lose fat some fitness experts say you should avoid carbs post workout. I, on the other hand, choose a more conservative approach. You need to replenish your energy and prevent the breakdown of muscle by providing your body with a mix of carbs and protein. There is also a 30-minute window to replace these nutrients to prevent muscle breakdown and to repair tissue.
Taking a post workout supplement is crucial. That is why I recommend taking a post-workout shake that contains a carb to protein ratio of 3:1 or 4:1. This restores your glycogen level and helps fuel your muscles for repair.
You will also need to a highly nutritious post-workout meal within an hour of your workout. This is where you will eliminate the carbs and focus on high protein and healthy fat. 30-40 grams of protein in this meal is optimal.
Taking a supplement 30 minutes before bed can help repair the muscle and prevent muscle breakdown. You should choose a slow-digesting protein to help fuel your muscles throughout the night. Casein protein is the best type of protein for this process. I personally have seen dramatic results when I first began drinking a nighttime shake containing casein protein 30 minutes before I went to sleep.
What workout supplements are you taking and what results have you seen as a result?
Leave your answer in the comments below.