Pre / During / Post Workout Supplements - Do They Really Matter?
It's the last week of January, you must be feeling the positive effects of your new lifestyle right? The improvements in mood from the steady supply of endorphins, the improvements in muscle tone, maybe even some sought after weight loss or muscle gain!
That is excellent, you should give yourself a pat on the back. You may be wondering how you can take your workouts to the next level to supercharge your results. A common way to do this is using dietary supplements. However, there is a huge plethora of supplements available, the sheer volume of choice can make things confusing. To make matters worse, there are supplements for any and every phase of your workout!
You are probably wondering, are these supplements really necessary? If so, which ones should I go for? The answer to the former is based entirely on context, although use of all can help to increase performance no matter who you are. I am a firm believer that a post workout protein is something that everyone who is lifting weights in the gym should take, especially those on a vegan diet, (for more info take a look at my previous post on the difference between vegan and whey proteins) pre and during formulas depend on your situation. If you struggle to motivate yourself before a workout, or you have hit a plateau and need the extra edge to progress, then a pre-workout supplement could be great for you. If you are someone who likes to spend over an hour in the gym, or does vigorous, long training sessions with a sports team, or just wants an extra push through a plateau, a supplement to be taken during your workout is also a good option.
Now for the answer to the latter, which should I go for? I’m sure you have all heard horror stories of supplements not containing what they state on the label. Athletes from huge sports circles such as the UFC seem to be caught up in doping scandals frequently attributed to the taking of tainted sports supplements. Luckily, here in Canada, Health Canada tests nearly all supplements and provides them with an NPN to guarantee that they have a high level of purity. Therefore, it is important to choose supplements that have an NPN and purchase from trustworthy brands and retailers such as www.vitasave.ca.
As for specific recommendations, here are the ones that I personally use for each phase:
Pre-Workout: PVL’s Power Up. This pre-workout gives you a great energy boost and muscular pump without any caffeine! It contains B vitamins and fast digesting carbs for energy and amino acids for muscular performance and recovery.
During: Genuine health BCAA’s and Creatine. This product is certified vegan, the BCAA’s help prevent muscle breakdown and aid in recovery between sets, while creatine regenerates ATP (the body's energy currency) quickly. This enables you to squeeze out a couple more reps or move more powerfully, placing the muscle under more stress leading to stronger adaptations.
Post workout: Vega Sport Performance protein. An excellent vegan post workout protein. This product boasts a protein content of 30g, with added BCAA’s and glutamine for enhanced muscle recovery and immunity. Additionally, it contains tart cherry and turmeric to reduced inflammation.
BONUS: a caffeinated, all natural source alternative pre workout for those who need an extra kick is the Progressive 1 Before pre-workout.
An animal based alternative for the post Workout would be the Kaizen Performance series whey. It contains 30g of fast digesting whey isolate that is naturally high in BCAA’s. Sourced exclusively from Grass fed New Zealand cows and guaranteed to be antibiotic and hormone free, you can rest assured that this is a pure product.
There you have it! Whether you are lacking motivation or want to smash some plateaus, head to www.vitasave.ca who can sort you out with the aforementioned products for the cheapest price in Canada.
You can supplement hard work, but you cannot replace it, so keep pushing!