Guide To Supplements

Pre and Post-Workout Supplements: Five Must-have Ingredients

You head to the gym armed with your protein powder and shaker bottle, but really, are those everything you need? In terms of improved performance and recovery, the world is really bigger than protein shakes and their derivatives.


Next time you shop for workout supplements, remember the following ingredients:


1. Vitamin B6 and B12


Although clinical vitamin B12 deficiencies are rare, it's not surprising for one to be a little deficient in B vitamin complex, particularly B6. Research shows that these nutrients can be more easily used up whenever the body is under stress. The National Institutes of Health says vitamin B aids the body in forming red blood cells and drawing energy from food. It also contributes to inflammation management and mood and sleep pattern regulation. In other words, this vitamin helps fine-tune the body's essential processes, allowing you to reap the most benefits from your workout.


2. Carbohydrates


Carbohydrates are the backbone of any athlete's prep routine, especially when they're exercising for more than one hour each time. Carbs replenish power in your muscles, and are stored there as glycogen. Glycogen depletion comes with the feeling of fatigue. Carbs are the easiest as well as the fastest way to energize your muscles, especially when you're working out at high intensity. Even after a workout, carbs remain to be crucial. If the energy you lost is not replenished, you are more at risk for injury.


3. Caffeine


When you take it before your workout, caffeine can make everything feel a lot easier. According to a study conducted by the American College of Sports Medicine, athletes who consumed moderate caffeine amounts before they worked out had better endurance while on their running and spinning tests. Don't forget to check the caffeine dosage though on your supplement's label. Too much will make you jittery and nervous or even nauseous. Learn how much is enough for you by doing trial and error.


4. Tart Cherry


This stone fruit is fast emerging as a favorite supplement for endurance athletes since it has the same effects as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs). Tart cherry works instantaneously, just like ibuprofen, so it can be used for pain relief, and also for repair of muscle damage and potentially as a chronic anti-inflammatory agent. Tart cherry contains phytochemicals which are very health protective, and the same is true for other dark fruits, such as grapes and blueberries.


5. Vitamin C


Most of us know Vitamin C as the supplement we reach for when we have a common cold, but according to studies,k this nutrient can also assist the body in fighting off the stresses of an arduous workout schedule. An antioxidant, vitamin C particularly helps the body in dealing with metabolic stress, which is basically what stress from training is. And here's a bonus - Vitamin C can also help reduce your likelihood of coughing or wheezing before and after your workout.

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