Those who are not very familiar with the fitness scene might assume that workout supplements are only for bodybuilders and fitness fanatics, but that isn’t true. More and more gym goers, experienced and beginners alike, are becoming interested in these products. With that, more and more options are also made available to suit the different needs of consumers. If you’re imagining workout supplements to be a protein shake downed by men seeking to bulk up, then you’d be surprised to learn that the market now offers much more than that.
Supplements formulated for enhancing fitness workouts fall into two categories, pre-workout and post-workout. As the names suggest, pre-workout is taken within an hour before starting the workout and are supposed to help give the user more energy and focus to so that their performance in the gym is increased. Post-workouts are taken within an hour of the session and helps in muscle recovery and muscle building. Both are typically sold in powder form to be dissolved into a drink, but also come in other forms like pills and gummies.
Both pre- and post-workouts are not necessary for someone to achieve their fitness goals. After all, they’re called supplements for a reason. But those who are seeking an extra boost to their already established workout routine, or those who are not satisfied with their progress can definitely benefit from taking suitable supplements.
Different Supplements for Different Needs
Different people hit the gym for different reasons, as having a clear goal in mind often gives people more motivation to stick to a regular workout routine. While we all aim to achieve better health in the end, some are working toward hitting a specific target, like finishing a 10 kilometre marathon. Some focus more on aesthetics, like toning and building their muscles, or losing weight. Athletes may regularly go to the gym to complement and perform better at their main sport.
Manufacturers of workout supplements used to only target musclemen, but now they offer products specially formulated to cater to all of these different workout purposes as well. This is achieved by using different combinations and different amounts of ingredients.
Common ingredients in pre-workout supplements like caffeine and citrulline work in different ways to let the user achieve more in their workout session. More reps, heavier weights or longer intervals between breaks, for example. Post-workout supplements lean more toward energy-storing and muscle-healing ingredients like BCAAs and proteins, to make sure muscles get the most out of the session. Different companies have different formulas, many even claiming to use secret formulas, but these main ingredients are usually present .
Taking different kinds of supplements depending on the particular type of workout session you’ll be doing on that day can also maximise results. For example, a typical week in the gym might consist of a mix between high-intensive and low-intensive days, or some days might be dedicated to lifting while others are set aside for cardio. Usually, a general pre- or post-workout is more than enough to give you that extra boost, but being a little more particular and choosing one that matches your agenda for the day might just let you reach that goal faster.
And while the general consensus is that generic workout supplements are as beneficial for both men and women, there are products that are marketed and advertised toward specific genders. It’s pretty common for a lot of women workout supplements to have a lower dosage of ingredients per serving, taking into account the lower average body mass of women as compared to men. Some women’s fitness supplements also include extra ingredients that improve female health in general, like folic acid and iron.
The rising demand of workout supplements also means that companies are constantly trying to create more effective and better tasting formulas. Scientists are constantly publishing new studies on the properties of different compounds, which could very well become the next trendy energy booster. The options of flavours to choose from are also growing, going beyond the classic vanilla and chocolate to more unique ones like watermelon and mango.
Before Choosing Your Supplements
These supplements, as with all other kinds of supplements, are not as strictly regulated as pharmaceutical drugs. Thus, while most workout supplements with credible certifications are safe to consume, there is no guarantee that they will work. It is important to do your own research and try for yourself to see if the supplement you choose is a good fit for your needs.
Furthermore, they will only be effective if you’ve already established a good and regular workout routine, as well as a healthy diet. Consuming extra goodies won’t do the body much good if it isn’t getting enough of the basics needed to grow and recover properly. As such, while these supplements are not exclusively meant for weightlifters, they also shouldn’t be taken by those who do not have a certain level of commitment towards physical exercise.