What Supplements Can Do for Your Workout

When it comes to working out, supplements can be a great way to give your body the extra boost it needs. Pre-workout supplements are designed to provide energy and increase endurance throughout the workout. Protein powders, sports bars, creatine, and other supplements are recommended by sports scientists to help athletes reach their goals. Creatine is one of the most studied sports supplements and is found naturally in the body's muscles and brain.

It can help produce energy for high-intensity exercises, such as running and lifting heavy objects. Many athletes use creatine to improve strength and gain muscle. While research on the effectiveness of creatine is lacking, about 70 percent of people respond to the supplement. Talk to your doctor before taking creatine if you are also taking certain medications.

It is generally safe to take, but it can cause side effects such as weight gain, muscle cramps and strains, stomach upset, high blood pressure, liver dysfunction, and kidney damage. Leucine is another of the main sports supplements recommended by experts. It is one of three types of branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) and is used to fuel skeletal muscles during exercise. Leucine helps repair and develop muscles, even in older adults who may need help maintaining their muscles.

You can get leucine from your diet by eating meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and milk. Based on previous research, BCAA supplements such as leucine can help improve lean muscle mass and decrease body fat percentage. A small study found that participants who took a supplement containing leucine twice a day improved their lean muscle tissue and functional performance. However, approach high doses with caution as this can lead to low blood sugar levels or a disease called pellagra. Protein offers many nutritional benefits and is prized for improving muscle growth and repair and appetite control.

Athletes who exercise at higher volumes may want to increase their protein intake to maximize muscle repair benefits. Plant-based proteins (such as pea or rice protein) or animal proteins (such as whey) often come in powdered form and are easy to add to training shakes. The ODS recommends reducing caffeine intake to 500 mg per day; teens should consume no more than 100 mg of caffeine per day. If you take 10,000 mg in a single dose, which is 1 tablespoon of pure powdered caffeine, it can be fatal. When the body breaks down leucine, HMB is created. HMB prevents or delays muscle cell damage that can occur as a result of exercise, so some athletes take it as a supplement to help muscle growth and improve strength and endurance. You may not see the benefits of taking beta-alanine right away.

Researchers in the Journal of the International Society for Sports Nutrition study saw improvements in performance after participants took a supplement of 4 to 6 g a day for at least two to four weeks. Similarly, a pre-workout supplement with nitric oxide precursors helps with healthy blood flow. Wider blood vessels promote the supply of nutrients and oxygen to the muscles that work during exercise, helping to maintain performance. Whey is a rapidly digesting protein that should be consumed one hour after the last series to boost protein synthesis. For those trying to become massive, the slower-digesting casein protein is a good choice before bed. When your goal is to lose weight, casein is suggested. Creatine can provide energy to the body and result in muscle growth and better sports performance.

The ODS recommends 0.5 to 0.9 g of protein per pound of body weight per day during periods of intense training. Fish oil has been touted for its potency but its effectiveness has been debated. Branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) are three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine and valine which are the building blocks of proteins. Protein from all sources is important for building muscle because it contains amino acids which help repair muscle tissue. Carbohydrates are also crucial in helping muscles repair themselves as glucose provides the energy substrate (also known as glucose) to fuel cell metabolism. Take the supplement before exercising its purpose is to help you recover and relieve fatigue from an intense workout. Creatine can increase muscle mass by approximately 10 pounds and muscle strength by more than 10%.

As you may have heard before, creatine actually increases the weight of water within the muscles drawing more fluid into the cells.

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