How should you supplement before, during, and after your workout? Is it worth spending the money on supplements, or can you get what you need from whole foods?
While everyone has different needs, we’ve put together a general guideline of nutrients and supplements you should think about for before, during, and after your workouts!
Before Your Workout: Whole Foods
It’s important to think about fueling your body before your workout with the proper nutrients to optimize performance
While working out, your muscles use glycogen (which comes from carbohydrates) for fuel. Therefore, you want to make sure you have enough glycogen stored to properly fuel your workout. This means reaching for some delicious carbs!
Protein is another important pre-workout macronutrient. Eating protein, along with your carbs, will help in the process of building muscle mass. Consuming protein before your workout can also help with muscle recovery and increased muscle performance.
Factors like length, intensity, and type of training will determine how many carbs and how much protein you should consume.
Unless you’re doing a super intense workout (think Barry’s, spin, maybe even boxing!), it’s not always necessary to use a pre-workout supplement. However, some people prefer the convenience and additional benefits a pre-workout supplement can provide!
Before Your Workout: Supplements
A popular pre-workout supplement is branched-chain amino acids (BCAA’s). BCAA’s are made up of three amino acids that are found in most proteins. BCAA’s are usually consumed for their muscle-building effects. Although there’s lots of positive studies, overall it seems to be mixed on weather supplementing with BCAA’s are more beneficial than consuming a whole food protein. However, the supplement makes for a quick option for those who have the budget and don’t have the appetite or time for a meal or snack.
While most BCAA’s aren’t vegan, there are a few! The Alora Naturals Vegan BCAA is a delicious powder that’s vegan, gluten free, and non-gmo! If you’re looking to get protein and an extra dose of BCAA’s, reach for the Vega Sport Performance Protein! It has 20g of vegan protein and 6g of BCAA’s.
During Your Workout: Supplements
During all workouts it’s important to stay hydrated. For the typical workout you likely don’t need anything but water.
But if your workout is long or if you’re outside in the sun and humidity, it’s a good idea to think about an electrolyte drink. Coconut water keeps things simple, and another option is to add an electrolyte supplement! I like this supplement as it’s palatable, and free of both high fructose corn syrup and artificial colours and sweeteners.
Post Workout: Whole Foods
After a workout you should focus on replenishing with carbs and protein, to replace glycogen lost and rebuild tired muscles. An easy way to do this is a smoothie. You can use fruit and veggies as your carbs, and add in protein, with yogurt or hemp seeds. You can also add protein powder to give you a big protein hit and ensure you are getting essential amino acids.
Post Workout Smoothie Recipe
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1 apple
- 1 cup spinach
- 1 scoop protein powder
- 1 cup ice
- Blend until smooth and enjoy! Optional: top with unsweetened coconut flakes and nut butter
What are the supplements you reach for before, during, and after your workouts?
Not sure what to take? Book an appointment with Aly to discuss what supplements are right for you!
Aly is a Certified Nutrition Practitioner (CNP) who graduated from the Institute of Holistic Nutrition and holds a BA from Western University. Aly’s warm and approachable demeanor empowers her clients to take control of their health. She uses a realistic approach, with an emphasis on balance and whole foods to personally address your nutrition needs. Aly believes that eating healthy isn’t about being perfect, it’s about having a plan you can stick to that gives you energy while allowing you to eat the foods you love. Aly believes that with the right tools and guidance you can make positive lifestyle changes to enjoy a happier and healthier life!