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Pre and Post Workout Supplements for Beginners

Whether you’re looking to lose weight, build lean muscle, gain some mass, or just maintain your current fitness level and shape, supplements should be an integral part of your regimen. Supplements are an important part of any serious bodybuilder or fitness enthusiast’s training regime.

Unfortunately, many beginner athletes, weight lifters and fitness enthusiasts often think that nutrition isn’t crucial to their fitness goals, and they wonder why they aren’t experiencing significant gains.

Yet, any seasoned fitness expert will tell you that supplements and nutrition are just as important as your workouts in achieving any fitness goal. What many beginners just don’t know is what types of supplements and nutrition they need for the different fitness levels.

If you’re in the early stages of your fitness regimens, lifestyle and habits, you need to avoid the mistakes most people make –training too much and getting little appropriate nutrition required to help them recover faster, gain muscle mass or lose weight faster and sustain their gains or weight loss as the case may be.

Finding the right workout supplements can be challenging seeing as there are so many available options. A quick visit to your favorite online or local supplement store will most likely have you stumped if you have no idea of what to look for specifically. This is not surprising because you’ll often have rows and rows of supplements, all of claiming to help you become ripped, lose weight, stay fit and bulk up.

This is even further worsened by shop attendants who don’t know the difference between the supplements and cannot recommend the appropriate nutritional supplements for every stage of your workout.

We have been in that situation, so we know how it feels. As fitness experts, we understand why you would ask for the best pre-cardio supplement(s) to help optimize your fat-torching quest and what supplement(s) to take after doing some intense iron hitting.

This is why we have written this comprehensive guide to supplementation during your workouts. But before we proceed, here’s one caveat you should take into consideration: nutritional supplement formulas can be different.

For instance, just because Adam took X supplements Y times for Z days to get that 18 inch arm, doesn’t necessarily mean that the exact formula will work for Maurice. This is mostly because there are often multiple factors at play. We’re not saying that Maurice won’t get some results.

He can or may benefit from the formula. But, if it’s not optimized for him like it was for Adam, he may not get the exact same result as Adam.

It is important to point this out because we have seen instances where people follow recommendations and see little or no gains from their supplementation, and then wonder if they are doing the right thing.

To get the best results therefore, you’ll need to find a nutritional supplementation regime that works for you, factoring in your unique situation, health, physiology, and fitness goals.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, in this workout supplements guide, we’ll be providing you with comprehensive information on:

  • The best pre-workout supplements.
  • Proven post-workout supplements guaranteed to help you attain faster results, gain quicker and lock in the results you attained from your workout sessions.
  • Why diminishing returns is a real issue
  • Why you should pay attention to your anabolic window
  • When to take what supplements to get the best results
  • BCAAs –Yay or Nay?
  • Why BCAAs should be a very crucial part of your workout regimens
  • Whether to avoid carbs or not
  • The best stack for the best results

The Best Pre-Workout Supplements

Pre-Workout Supplements are designed to help you get the most from your workout sessions. Whether your goal is to shred fat or get ripped, these supplements are important to your success.

They will help enhance your performance, increase your strength, reduce muscle breakdown tendencies during workout sessions, clear your “brain fog”, boost your focus and energy, aid protein synthesis which is important for muscle growth and healing, help effective nutrient uptake and delivery, keep your hormonal levels just right, and torch your body fat.

As you can see, they are important. The following are the best Pre-Workout Supplements that you can take to get great results.

  1. Caffeine

Coffee when taken in the right amounts before your workout regimens can be an awesome energy booster. In fact, it is possible for to make you feel really strong and energetic, resulting in longer reps, sustained sets and perfect finishes.

The great news is even if you don’t like drinking coffee to get your caffeine rush, you can easily switch to caffeine supplements or supplements with major caffeine volumes. The best time to take your caffeine before workout is 30 minutes to 1 hour.

If you’re taking it on an empty stomach, 10-15 minutes before you start your workout is okay. If you prefer eating before working out, take your caffeine supplements at least 1 hour after said meal and before workout as food tends to slow down the rate of caffeine absorption into the bloodstream.

Please note that if you do your workouts later in the day –say around late afternoon, early evening-, you might want to skip caffeine as it can interfere with your sleep.

If you haven’t been taking caffeine, you should make sure about the right dosage to prevent any side effects. This is important because excessive caffeine intake can cause anxiety, increased heart rate, dizziness, jitteriness, and irritability.

Please understand that getting the right caffeine measurement is often a matter of trial and error. You’ll have to take it in varying quantities until you find the measurement that best suits you.

You should however, follow the rough guidelines of 1mg per 2.2lbs.  This means that if you’re around 170lbs, you’ll probably need between 80mg and 230mg per day. So, for optimal results, you should start with smaller amounts in order to access your tolerance levels, and then work up from there.

Caffeine can be quite addictive, so we recommend that you cycle off it every 1 week for every 4 weeks of consumption, quitting cold turkey might be a bit difficult for most people. So, we would recommend gradual tapering off, usually in the form of reduced quantity and with less frequency every day until you don’t feel the compulsion for it anymore.

  1. Creatine Monohydrate

There’s a reason this beloved supplement is very popular among body builders, weight loss enthusiasts and the fitness community: it is super effective at helping you get the results you want.

Creatine comes highly recommended because of its ability to drastically increase your strength levels during your workouts. This is possible because it serves as an alternative source of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is required to lock in your gains while providing you with the needed fuel to maximize the hell out of your reps.

Bottom line, it acts as an incredible fuel for your muscles and energy levels, helping you overcome your plateaus and break new grounds whenever you go workout. This is why it is an excellent pre-workout supplement particularly if you’re looking to build some serious muscle and increase your strength.

Creatine Monohydrate is best taken half an hour before you begin your workouts. Daily intake shouldn’t exceed 3-5g.

Now there are people in certain quarters who routinely refer to creatine monohydrate as a steroid. This is a completely false notion. Creatine has never and will not be a steroid. There are also concerns about its tendency to cause kidney problems.

Well, the truth is that it depends on the quantity consumed. And even then, it’s highly unlikely. To be safe though, just consume it in moderate quantities.

  1. High Glycemic Carbs

Carbs are an important part of your regimen. Yes, we know you heard from several gurus that carbs are the enemy when it comes to fat lass. What they didn’t tell you is that unused carbs are the enemy.

Weight gain or loss is usually an input-output process. If you use up more energy than you consume, you’ll burn fat, and vice versa.

That said, you need high glycemic carbohydrate supplements –essentially fast digesting carbs- during your workout sessions. This is why it’s the preferred choice. Most of the other natural occurring carbohydrates tend to take longer to digest.

Your body should have a huge source of fuel and energy. That’s what these carbohydrates provide. Unlike the When used appropriately, these high glycemic carbs can drastically improve muscle gain.

If you are interested in high performance during your workout sessions, these carbs are highly important as they play a critical role in keeping your energized and strong. It does this by essentially flooding the body with adequate amounts of insulin which is necessary for metabolizing blood sugar.

Now, courtesy of your workouts, your body has a tendency to want to dump cortisol –the stress hormone- in your bloodstream. When there’s more cortisol in the bloodstream, you’re bound to experience more stress and tiredness.

The good news though, is that cortisol and insulin are completely opposing hormones. Where one is in abundance, the other’s levels will remain low. So, these fast acting carbs that you ingest will flood your body with insulin, thus essentially delaying or even negating the production of cortisol in the body.

As a result, you will enjoy more workouts for longer and with less strain on your body. The amount you take however will largely depend on how much fat you’re willing to burn or how much muscle you want to build.

For starters though and best results at the beginning of your workout sessions, restrict your intake to 20-60g of these carbs shortly before commencing your workouts. If you are confused about the volume to begin with, just start with 20g, then increase by 10g every week or so until you start getting optimal results from your workouts.

  1. Beta-alanine

Endurance is critical to muscle growth, increased stamina and enhanced strength. Therefore, it goes to reason that the longer you can curl, run, bench-press, squat, and pump those irons, the faster your results will be.

Therefore, you need beta-alanine supplements that can help drive you and keep you going for longer than you would normally go. This supplement is designed to help boost your carnosine levels.

Carnosine helps improve your endurance by lowering your fatigue and stress levels courtesy of its anti-oxidative properties, which helps accelerate the elimination of free radicals from the body.

Getting rid of these free radicals means that you’ll be able to do more reps and for longer without feeling very tired. For best results, you should take the first dose half an hour before your workout sessions, then another 2.5g dose sometime later. There’s little or no side effects from using beta-alanine except for maybe a slight tingling of your skin. This is perfectly normal and shouldn’t give you any concern.

  1. Citrulline Malate

Endotoxins like lactic acid which are by-products of energy consumption, are the enemy during your workouts. Ideally, every time you train, your body dumps compounds like ammonia and lactic acid in your system.

Having these two substances in your blood and muscle can contribute to your tiredness, fatigue and muscular weakness. Citrulline malate helps improve blood flow to critical areas of your body during your training by ensuring that important parts of your body gets more oxygen and nitrogen, resulting in increased energy in parts like your arms, chest, lungs, and thighs,  and improves the use of amino acids.

As a result, you’ll be able to go at your high resistance sessions without feeling very tired or really suffering the severe muscle soreness that would ordinarily follow. This is possible because it helps increase adenosine triphosphate, protects your blood against excess acidity, and improves your cells’ mitochondrial activity.

For best results, you should take about 3-6g 20-30 minutes before beginning your workouts. Most pre-workout supplements contain Citrulline malate. So, make sure that your pre-workout supplements contain it to get the full benefits.

Best Supplements for Post Workouts

Most of the people who take supplements during their training often do so to push themselves extra hard and squeeze out the every bit of energy required to help them complete their often very intense reps.

So, seeing as this guide is for beginners who are looking for the best pre and Post-Workout Supplements, we’ll be looking at the some of the best Post-Workout Supplements to take to help you recover faster, lock in your gains, prevent major muscle fatigue and keep your metabolism in tip-top shape.

  1. Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

BCAA supplements are very popular among fitness enthusiasts for a good reason: they are excellent for building muscle blocks and considered the best muscle fuel. BCAA supplements typically contain are made up of three different proteins: Valine, Isoleucine and Leucine.

These essential amino acids are a crucial part of every fitness training enthusiast’s workout regimen. If you do any sort of weight lifting, high intensity training… any form of workout at all and want to recover faster, sustain little or no muscle injuries, and become less fatigued, BCAAs are important.

To put that in perspective, about twenty amino acids are involved in the process of building muscles. BCAAs take up about 33 percent of those amino acids. Now, you see how important they are, yes?

Branched chain amino acids can come in the form of powders and pills. Most fitness enthusiasts prefer taking the powder as it can be mixed with other supplements like Whey protein –which we’ll be talking about shortly.

The pills are the least favorite because they are quite frankly a hassle –you often have get the exact measurement right, then you have to swallow them a few at a time, and they are typically bigger than your regular pills. This, combined with the slower absorption rate just makes taking the pills too much work.

For those who prefer the pills because they don’t like the taste of regular powdered BCAA, you can now get them in many different flavors. Any half-serious individual looking to stay fit, pack on some muscle mass or even have lean muscle, will be familiar with BCAA supplements.

These supplements are popular because unlike other amino acids that are metabolize in the liver, these are directly metabolized by the muscles and used to provide incredible energy that feed your muscles directly.

Therefore, with BCAA supplements in your workout supplements mix, you’ll have increased energy levels, lift more weights and do more reps. The results therefore, are faster muscle mass and gains.

There’s also the key role of improving performance among athletes and fitness buffs. BCAA supplements tend to help the body accelerate the conversion of stored fat into energy, resulting in the individual’s ability to train longer and engage in more intense workouts than they would have been able to do normally, and then come back the next day still in top shape to handle even more.

BCAA supplements are also known for their role in aiding the production of relevant hormones –particularly testosterone- needed to keep your metabolism revved as well as grow and keep your muscles.

Testosterone as an anabolic hormone is necessary for muscle growth. This is why many weight lifters and athletes routinely take testosterone boosters. There’s only so much testosterone hormone that your body can produce by itself.

Taking these testosterone supplements will help increase their production. And BCAA supplements help make sure that the hormone production is optimized. People who take these supplements will often enjoy higher testosterone levels important for longer periods. As a result, they’ll enjoy sustained gains and suffer far less muscle breakdown than their counterparts who don’t take BCAA supplements.

If your goal is to consistently improve in your workouts, lift more weights for longer, engage in more intense strength training, and generally up your fitness levels, BCAA supplements are a must-have.

  1. Whey Proteins

Whey proteins are considered a staple in fitness circles. It’s effective for accelerating muscle repair, boosting muscle growth and improving your ability to recover from micro-injuries sustained during your training. In fact, your workout sessions are incomplete without the consumption of whey proteins. There are experts who recommend taking a mixture of whey and casein though for optimal results.

You might want to try this –mix 20g whey and 20g casein and drink post-workout. Whey protein digests rapidly, thus ensuring that your muscles and body get a steady source of protein necessary for muscle recovery and repair.

Its muscle building properties as well as its ability to slow down the muscle wasting that typically follows workouts makes it the perfect supplement to take after your training sessions. So, chug your whey proteins for maximum results from your workouts.

Final Thoughts

Always remember that supplements are a part of your fitness process. There are other equally important parts like diet and physiology. Also, because there are literally hundreds of thousands of workout supplements in the market, it can be difficult to know which ones actually contain the stated ingredients.

All our recommended supplements contain all the ingredients we say they do. These were pre-tested and vetted before recommendations. So, you can be sure of those brands. That said, if you still want to explore look for supplements manufactured in FDA certified Good Manufacturing Practices facilities and/or those with clear USP Verified Food Supplements emblems.