Which Vitamins Should You Take Before Working Out?
Exercise and nutrition have always been the cornerstone of a healthy body and mind. Getting the body up and moving on a daily basis can reap many benefits. From encouraging a healthy heart, relieving stress, losing weight, or building muscle. Depending on your gym goals, there are many vitamins for working out and fitness supplements that will accelerate your intentions in the gym.
Pharmacies are saturated with all kinds of workout supplements and you may find that some work while others don’t. Varying results have a lot to do with biological makeup, a present illness, and of course, exercise and nutrition. In this article, we will explore the best vitamins to take for working out and for implementing a regimented fitness routine.
The 5 best vitamins to take for working out
1. BCAA (Branched-Chain Amino Acids)
There are 20 amino acids that make up a protein. Of those 20, there are 9 essential amino acids that are not produced by the body, and 3 of these, make up what we call branch chain amino acids. The term “branch” refers to its chemical structure and it has been singled out for its ability to increase muscle mass and reduce muscle soreness post-workout.
These amino acids are L- leucine, L-valine, L-isoleucine. L-leucine activates a major anabolic pathway that supports muscle protein synthesis. L-valine plays a role in glucose metabolism and provides extra glucose for energy during intense training. L-isoleucine supports muscle recovery after your workout and also increases energy during extended training. Great for bodybuilders and those looking to build muscle, strength, and power in the gym.
BCAA’s are anti-catabolic, which means it limits muscle tissue breakdown while giving the muscle the energy it needs quickly because of its fast absorption rate. According to the US National Library of Medicine study, BCAA’s do not enhance athletic performance, so supplementation wouldn’t help you become a better soccer player per se, but studies have proven that these 3 amino acids play a vital role in the process of building muscle.
Most BCAA’s are usually unflavored and completely pure, with none or very few non-medicinal ingredients. Some may contain lecithin or a natural sweetener like stevia, which has its own benefits and safe as a non-medicinal. These are the things you want to look for in a quality BCAA supplement.
You also want to ensure that your BCAA’s are labelled NON-GMO and fermented. A fermented blend is a plus because it makes the formula bioavailable which means that it is easier to absorb and be utilized by the muscles.
2. Pre-workout vitamins
Pre-workout vitamins give your body a boost of energy so you are able to sustain and avoid getting tired before your workout is complete. Good quality pre-workouts usually consist of B vitamins to fuel your body on a cellular level, along with caffeine for alertness. They also contain amino acids and creatine, which helps your muscles produce energy for strength training. Some pre-workouts will also have proprietary blends and herbal extracts like ginseng, which contain energy enhancing components as well.
Pre-workouts can be taken during high-intensity exercise, weight training, or if you’re a newbie at the gym and in need of some extra energy. These vitamins usually come in a flavored powdered form that is added to water and taken at least 30 minutes before your workout.
The best pre-workout supplements will never contain flavor from an artificial source, have caffeine as the first ingredient, or contain any chemical-based preservatives. Unfortunately, there are many poorly made pre-workouts on the market, that are filled with sugar and caffeine. It will get the job done and give you the energy you need but it will also send your blood sugar levels through the roof and then crashing down mid-workout.
It’s always best to use the cleanest product, with a balance of nutrients and naturally derived sugars. Rotating between your energy sources is a great way to add variety to your workout regimen. Enjoy a fruit smoothie or high carb breakfast one day, then your pre-workout another.
3. CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid)
Conjugated linoleic acid is naturally occurring in grass-fed meats, dairy, and portabella mushrooms. Supplementation comes from safflower or sunflower oils, suspended in a gelatin capsule. CLA supports fat metabolism and works by inhibiting fat from entering the fat cells. It blocks the enzyme that controls entry into the fat cell thus reducing the amount of fat your body holds on to.
Fat cell growth is significantly decreased and existing fat cells become smaller. The studies done on CLA are not completely concrete or drastic on its role in weight loss but according to the US National Library of Medicine, CLA does play a key role in fat metabolization, the recommended dosage for weight loss is 1000mg 3 times a day.
4. GARCINIA CAMBOGIA
A tropical fruit native to Indonesia, known as Malabar Tamrind. Garcinia Cambogia went to the top of the weightless supplement food chain in 2014 after it was spoken about on the Dr. Oz show. It became the go-to supplement for weightless and appetite suppression and still yielding results all over the world today.
The active ingredient is extracted from the dried fruit rind, hydroxy citric acid. It works by blocking the enzyme your body uses to make fat. Garcinia Cambogia also raises serotonin levels in the brain, a hormone that not only balances mood but suppresses the appetite as well.
The best Garcinia Cambogia supplements on the market are the ones with no fillers or artificial ingredients. Dosage is usually 500mg-1000mg before each meal, not exceeding 3000mg a day. Always read and follow the label for the best results.
Although water is not a vitamin, it is one of the most underrated necessities during your work out. Hydrating the body before, during, and after is key to overall results and health. Water replaces lost fluids during perspiration, regulates body temperature, and also lubricates the joints.
During exercise, your body uses oxygen to breakdown glucose for energy. When there isn’t enough oxygen in the body, you will produce a substance called lactic acid which is used in replace of oxygen to produce energy. The problem with lactic acid is that you can produce more in the bloodstream faster than the body can burn into energy. This then creates undesirable symptoms like muscle aches, burning, and stomach pain during your workout. Water is just as important as the workout itself. Carry a water bottle or two to the gym and stay hydrated.
All in all, it is so important to remember that there is no magic pill out there. In order to gain muscle, lose weight, or strengthen your heart, a healthy diet must be coupled with your exercise routine. Also, take into consideration that there are a plethora of vitamins out there to choose from. It’s important to understand your goals and your body while speaking with your pharmacist about the best workout vitamin for you.