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Importance of Pre-Workout Nutrition and Supplementation

The importance of nutrition isn’t foreign to anyone in the health and fitness community. You, like many athletes, surely know the right meals and supplements are essential to maximizing strength and power.  Lack of proper supplement timing, however, may be holding you back from your goals. For a long time there was an understanding that the most important time to take supplements was post-workout. There is now a new school of thought that says taking supplements before you work can be even more effective.

Why Pre-Workout Supplements?

Priming your body and your muscles properly is akin to making sure your car has enough gas in it before a long car trip. Pre-workout supplements can help you in multiple ways by fueling you with the nutrients you need at the very moment you need them, not just after you’re depleted.

Benefits of good pre-workout supplements include[1]:

  • More strength and performance. Lift more weight, work out for a longer period of time and reduce muscle fatiuge.
  • Improved energy and reaction time. Do you work out early in the morning or after a long day’s work? You probably need an energy boost to perform at your best.
  • Better focus. Give yourself a mental edge for overcoming barriers. Having a focused, determined attitude is essential to success in the gym. Focus on your plan and execute.
  • Increased protein synthesis. Build muscle more efficiently and recover faster by getting nutrients to muscles immediately.
  • Improved fat burning. Get full advantage of your workout and maximize your body composition.

As you can see, these are very wide in scope so they can benefit athletes at any level. It’s not just anecdotal evidence either – clinical studies have shown that the proper pre-workout supplements can provide significant results. In one study, subjects performed 50% more bench press repetitions and had a 40% reduction in DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) when they used citrulline malate powder pre-workout[2].

What to supplement with?

There are a wide variety of pre-workout supplements available, so it’s essential to do research and read up on some of the options to make sure you’re getting the most out of your time in the gym and getting the right supplements to meet your goals. Below are some options and good places to start with pre-workout supplements:

Strength and performance: Citrulline Malate powder, Creatine supplement (or the faster absorbed derivative, creatine ethyl ester), Beta Alanine supplement, L-Arginine supplement, Beta-Ecdysterone supplements

Energy and focus: Caffeine supplements, DS Craze pre workout supplement, C-vitamins

Increased protein synthesis: Whey Protein, Branched Chain Amino Acids

Improved fat burning: Caffeine supplements

Keep in mind that with certain supplements you may want to stagger the dosage. For example, users should take arginine powder should be taken about an hour before exercise, but branched chain amino acids are digested quickly, so those should be consumed just before your workout.

Now that you know the benefits of  pre-workout nutrition and what to use, go pick up some new pre-workout supplements to add to your routine and see your gains skyrocket!

Sources

[1] http://www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/content/9/1/28

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20386132