If there’s one biohack that millions of Americans already use every day, it’s workout supplementation. Workout supplements are everywhere, manufactured by a large number of companies, big and small. If you’re searching for information about workout supplements, how they work, and the benefits they offer, you’ve just found it! Read on to find out more and give your workouts a biohacked boost.
What are Workout Supplements?
The term “workout supplements” covers a wide range of products manufactured by many companies, big and small. Like any biohack, workout supplements are taken when you want to maximize the performance of one part of your body or another, such as the performance of your muscular system, respiratory system, etc.
Are Workout Supplements Truly Necessary?
Before you begin any conversation about workout supplements, you need to address the elephant in the room; do they truly work?
Many will agree that workout supplements are helpful and do help improve their performance, strength, endurance, speed, agility, etc. However, just as many will tell you that the best way to get the nutrients you need to bulk up, thin down, shred your abs, or simply shed a few pounds is by eating whole foods in the correct combination.
Of course, not everyone has the time, energy, or knowledge to eat perfectly, especially in today’s non-stop world. For example, to get the nutrition you’d need to bulk up for a weightlifting competition, you’d have to cook and eat all day long. (And some do!)
So, while eating whole foods might be the better overall choice, workout supplements do provide a valuable service (and a pretty darn good biohack). They allow you to give your body the extra boost of nutrients it needs to achieve your workout and fitness goals without spending hours preparing extra food and meals.
You can Use Workout Supplements at Three Different Times
The thing about supplementing workouts is that to do it right, you would need to supplement before, during, and after every workout. (Yeah, it’s a lot.)
If you’re training, for example, for the Olympics, a bodybuilding competition, or some other sporting event, supplementing before, during, and after your workouts is not only normal but necessary.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to lose weight, get leaner, or stay in decent shape, you might choose to save money and supplement your workout either before you start or after you’re finished. (Workout supplements can get pretty expensive!)
As a lead-up to a strenuous exercise sesh, a competition, or a game, pre-workout supplements work best. That’s because your body will need a quick boost of nutrients that produce energy, help you focus, and boost your metabolism.
Most pre-workout supplements provide simple carbohydrates and protein for energy. They also have a not-so-secret ingredient; caffeine. A nootropic (aka smart drug) that provides an energy boost and a significant mental boost, using caffeine to boost performance is one of the world’s most popular biohacks!
Some pre-workout supplements also have nitric oxide precursors. These building blocks of amino acids help vital oxygen and nutrients flow to your muscles by widening blood vessels, so blood passes through them more freely.
During Workout Supplements
Most of the supplements meant to be used during a workout are liquids in the form of sports drinks. Easy to use while you work out and train, sports drinks also provide essential electrolytes and carbohydrates that your body loses when you sweat.
Most liquid workout supplements also provide several crucial nutrients, including potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sodium. In combination, all of these nutrients will ensure that your muscles have the steady supply of glucose they need to maintain and improve your performance. One recommendation; make sure the product you choose is low in processed sugar and corn syrup. (They suck.)
Post Workout Supplements
Post-workout supplements typically contain high amounts of protein and high-quality carbohydrates. That’s because they serve two different purposes. First, they help your body refuel and replace all of the nutrients and energy it just used. Second, they get your body well prepared for your next workout, which is crucial. Without the help from post-workout supplements, your muscles, ligaments, and tendons might be so stiff and sore enough it affects your performance. Your energy levels will be low, too, as well as your endurance.
Post-Workout Supplements Can Be Very Useful
As we mentioned earlier, most post-workout supplements contain lots of protein and high-quality carbs. Now, here’s the thing; the amount of both can (and should) change depending on what type of exercise and workouts you’re doing.
For example, if your workouts are very intense, like HIIT or Tabata, a 3:1 ratio of carbs to protein is best. If, however, you’re going for strength (i.e., bigger muscles), a 1:1 ratio of carbs to protein is the better choice.
This is a perfect example of how workout supplements, specifically post-workout supplements, can be quite helpful. With a post-workout supplement, you can make sure the combination of proteins to carbohydrates you take in is perfect for the kind of results you desire.
A protein shake is an easy way to get both in the perfect combination, rather than having to sit down and eat a large meal. Also, it’s hard to determine precisely how much carbs and protein a plate of regular food contains. With a post-workout supplement formula, you can measure precisely and biohack your results even more.
How To Choose a High-Quality Workout Supplement
There are, to be sure, many different workout supplements on the market. Whenever you purchase one for the first time, it’s a good idea to do your due diligence by reading the nutrition label thoroughly. (It only takes a minute.)
One of the biggest reasons to read the label isn’t to see what the ingredients are, per se, but instead to make sure that the particular supplement is “clean.” This is especially important for professional athletes, but, frankly, weekend warriors and workout fanatics don’t need banned substances either.
Workout supplements are commonplace in most grocery stores today, rather than only in specialized supplement stores. That’s good news as more and more people are doing their best to get in, and stay in, shape. Many of the supplementation products available do provide better, faster, and more noticeable results.
One caveat; make sure to eat whole foods, too. Your body needs those more than anything when you’re trying to be your physical best. A combination of whole foods and workout supplements, in the right combination, can lead to fantastic results.