Supplements That Best Support Your Workout Sessions
The real magic of exercise is said to happen before and after you break a sweat. An ideal workout session is started when you are completely well-rested, hydrated, and energized and is ended with proper post-workout rituals that facilitate recovery like stretching and refueling.
Maintaining a routine is as influential in your progress towards your fitness goals as what happens during your exercise hour and just as difficult if not more. The reality is that from time to time we may not be as prepared as we’d like amidst our daily grind and need a bit of extra oomph to perform to our satisfactory level. In such circumstances, supplements can swoop down to save the day. In this article, we are going to go over the most efficacious and evidence-based supplements that best support your workouts.
Before you start working out, there are pre-workout supplements and compounds that you can take to maximize your energy and stamina level as well as your mood and your ability to concentrate. When taken in the right amount, caffeine can be a highly effective and potent organic compound that does just that by minimizing tiredness and fatigue and improving alertness and reaction time. Caffeine is one of the most researched and well-known nootropics for energy.
During exercise, our bodies burn or break down carbs, fat, and protein to supply the needed energy. Glycogen which is how our bodies store carbohydrates are the primary source of energy when we work out and fatigue occurs when glycogen reserves in skeletal muscles deplete. By stimulating thermogenesis, caffeine diverts the main fuel source from glycogen stores to fat which not only reduces the perception of fatigue but also burns fat stores and promotes weight loss.
Caffeine and other plant-based energy-boosting alkaloids give quick fixes of energy suitable for short-term high-intensity workouts. They are found abundantly in inexpensive plants such as coffee beans, tea, green tea, cocoa, guarana, and yerba mate as well as readily-available products such as energy drinks and chocolate bars. Drinking coffee approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour prior to exercise is one of the most common and effective ways to get caffeine for workout support.
Because there is a variance in how individuals metabolize central nervous system stimulants, some people may get a heavy neurological response from caffeine and experience its negative attributes. Additionally, the degree to which different people gain benefits such as energy boosts from caffeine varies greatly.
Non-stimulant nootropics, on the other hand, have a completely different mechanism inside the body. They help the brain to tap into the body’s existing energy level and use it more efficiently. Theanine for example is a common nootropic that calms the brain and enhances cognitive performance by blocking glutamate from binding to its receptor. This is why theanine is a complementary compound to caffeine and has synergistic psychoactive effects when it is used concurrently with it. It takes the jitters off of caffeine.
Another example would be creatine which is an organic compound that is found not only in muscles but also in the brain. Creatine provides the body with additional phosphate which is not a source of energy per se but the body uses it to produce more energy at a faster rate.
Adaptogens are supplements—usually in plant form—that boost the body’s resilience against high stress levels and hold off exhaustion. Studies have shown that adaptogens boost endurance and attention when the body is fatigued and is experiencing stress-induced impairments which include physical stress as well as emotional stress. They also have been shown to reverse the negative effects of stress on the body.
There are various plants with adaptogenic effects, of which some of the most famous are turmeric, Rhodiola rosea, American ginseng, licorice root, and medicinal mushrooms like lion’s mane, cortices, and chaga. Each of these adaptogenic herbs which are also available in supplement forms targets a different area and has specific effects. For example, Rhodiola resea has been shown to improve cognitive function and memory while also improving heart health and circulation. One thing to keep in mind is that the effects of adaptogens are not as quick or immediate as nootropics and stimulants but they help balance out your energy levels throughout the day and it is recommended that you incorporate them into your daily routine to get the best effect.
Electrolytes are electrically-charged chemicals found in bodily fluids that play multiple important roles in the body. Electrolytes, among other things, help regulate chemical reactions, regulate cardiac rhythm, help the transmission of nerves, and muscle contraction and relaxation. But when it comes to workouts, probably the most important role of electrolytes is hydration and fluid volume control in the body.
When we sweat during exercise, our body loses salt or sodium chloride which is an electrolyte that can be easily restored through dietary means. However, because of the prevalent deficiency of other electrolytes such as potassium, calcium, and magnesium, supplementing with electrolytes can improve metabolic functions as well as muscle functions of the body.