You’ve hydrated. You’ve bought the cute workout leggings. You brought an extra hair tie, just in case the first one snaps (inevitable). You’ve eaten your protein. And yet you still can’t seem to summon the boost you need to conquer 20 minutes on the stair climber. Whether it’s lack of energy, lack of motivation, or lack of results that are making spending time in the gym seem less and less appealing, rest assured, there are ways to get your workout groove back!
Pre-workout supplements, such as BikiniBOD, help boost workout performance through a variety of responses to different chemicals in the body. At a cellular level, supplements enhance what your body already produces to assist in longer workouts, more noticeable changes in physical appearance, and a shorter recovery time. There’s no cookie-cutter way to get great results, but giving your gym sesh a quick boost is an energized step in the right direction. When you've been taking your pre workout supplement for a while the question will arise when you ask yourself, should I be taking a break from these?
Imagine how incredible you feel when your morning latte kicks in. Five minutes ago you were a grunting cavewoman in mascara, but suddenly, the coffee pulls through and you’re solving five problems on three separate forms of technology, while also browsing Instagram. It is in these moments that caffeine is our BFF.
By affecting the central nervous system, caffeine promotes spinal cord impulses and the employment of muscle fibers while decreasing your awareness of fatigue and muscle pain. It really proves itself come gym time, where is has been demonstrated to improve physical performance while also delaying mental exhaustion.
Your devotion to coffee, tea and/or energy drinks will decide how much caffeine it will take to have a significant impact on your exercise endurance. You can start feeling the effects of caffeine with as little as 20 mg, with a standard cup of coffee containing 150-200 mg.
While experts see nothing wrong with a pre-workout cup of joe, some recommend capsules containing caffeine as a potentially more efficient alternative, as they provide you with energy sooner and allow you to take a more concentrated, controlled dose as needed. If you’re not so keen on the caff but want to give it a try, start with the lowest dose and increase accordingly.
While consuming caffeine year-round is no biggie, be mindful not to guzzle more than 500 to 600 mg per day, and pay attention if you start to feel overly jittery following consumption. If you find yourself drinking or popping more than this amount without feeling any kind of effect, your BikiniBOD is likely not reaping any benefits either. Avoid plateauing and take one week off of caffeine every few months (you can do it, promise!).
Creatine is an essential amino acid found in many protein-rich foods such as herring, tuna, pork, and beef. However, one would need to consume 500 g of raw meat or fish every day to ingest the optimal amount of creatine, which is pretty unrealistic. Enter: The supplement! Creatine aids in the production of ATP, your body's main energy source for short bursts of intense activity, and also helps to buffer lactic acid. Studies have shown that women may not hold as much creatine in their muscle cells as men, thus the effect of creatine on lean muscle mass may be slightly lower, but that’s no reason to believe it is of zero benefit.
Creatine is finicky in that it needs to be taken meticulously to obtain optimum results. It is often best consumed post-workout when muscle glycogen is most inclined to absorption. Taking it with either a post-workout shake or a full meal containing carbs and protein will help to reduce the chance of stomach upset, which is sometimes a complaint with supplement use. To get creatine into the muscle cells even quicker, spike your insulin by taking it with a glass of juice, like grape or orange.
This supplement is not meant to be taken ad nauseum for the rest of your life—the body needs a break in order to deliver growth and results. Start out by taking creatine before your workouts for two months, then take one month off of it. At the end of this “off” month, you will notice a perfectly normal, minor drop in strength and energy levels. Consistency is key, but understanding your body and its need to restore (sans supplements) will ultimately lead to more impressive outcomes.
Few things are better than demolishing a difficult workout. Feeling accomplished for unexpectedly busting out an extra rep or two, or deciding on the fly to up the weight by five pounds only to discover, Hey wait, that wasn’t even hard! is super fulfilling. Of course, that only happens once in a blue moon, right? Maybe not…
During high-intensity exercise, such as HIIT treadmill workouts, hydrogen ions accumulate in the muscles, making you tired. As the concentration of these ions increases, pH drops, reducing muscle function and output of force. Carnosine, an amino acid found in the muscles, increases continued function and performance primarily by lessening acidity in muscles during long periods of extreme exercise.
Beta alanine has been proven to increase the concentration of carnosine in muscles, thus decreasing the onset of fatigue in athletes and boosting the total muscular work done. The addition of this supplement will help you pursue personal fitness records by keeping energy levels from dipping and fending off soreness. Soon, those extra five pounds on the leg press will be an extra ten, and that extra inch around your hips will be a thing of the past!
Unlike creatine, beta alanine supplementation is not timing-dependent, so you’ll notice a difference in workout performance regardless of if you take it right before or right after you exercise. Like creatine, however, the effects of beta alanine can decline through continuous use, so it’s smart to give it a rest every now and then. Just stick to the same cycle as creatine -- two months on, one month off (although maybe not on the exact same schedule, as you don’t want to deplete your energy entirely).
Before starting any pre-workout supplement regimen, you should check with your doctor that none of the supplements you’re considering will cause you any negative effects. Having a ton of energy for a great workout is fun—heart palpitations are slightly less cool.
You've discovered one of the healthiest ways to enhance your workout and motivate yourself to do a little more every time you tie on your sneakers. Of course, it’s necessary to keep in mind that while supplements can be very useful, they need to be used accordingly and cycled off when necessary. There is no replacement for a healthy, balanced diet if you want to achieve the greatest rewards possible. Supplements add the little extra it takes to show the world (and yourself) what you’re really made of.
Comments will be approved before showing up.