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Workout Supplements: The Best Pre-work & Post-workout Supplements

by Jack Kenefick on April 10, 2012

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Workout Supplements

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The fitness industry is growing rapidly and every year we see an increasing number of products to choose from in helping improve exercise performance and recovery.  Workout supplements have become more and more popular over the course of the past few years.  They are designed to increase your energy, alertness and intensity while exercising.  Many of your choices contain much of the same ingredients, which have all been proven to help improve performance and intensity.  Among the key ingredients you will find in many of these supplements include:

Pre-Workout Supplements


Active Ingredients


This is a naturally occurring amino acid found in large concentrations in muscle and brain tissue. Supplementing with BA has shown to decrease muscle fatigue, thus allowing more muscular work to be done.  It has also shown to reduce the burn brought on by lactic acid from intense training.


This one of the most common naturally occurring amino acids. It is mainly included as a supplement because it helps decrease healing time of damaged muscle tissue and decreases blood pressure.


This a caffeine-like ingredient that is not as potent. It comes from the cocoa tree so you can find it in dark chocolate. It is a mild stimulant and is a diuretic, which makes you urinate more often.  This is beneficial in fat burning because it boosts your metabolism.  Since it is also a diuretic, the loss of water underneath the skin can also make you look leaner. This means you should always be hydrating yourself properly in order to avoid dehydration.


This is a common ingredient in pre-workout supplements and has shown to reduce fat uptake as well as increasing metabolic rate much like a thermogenic, or “fat burner” pill like Hydroxycut.

Of all the choices out there for pre-workout supplements, these are my favorite:

  1. Driven Sports Craze
  2. C-4 Extreme
  3. N.O. Xplode 2.0

Post Workout Supplements

Post-workout supplements are designed a little differently. They are used to help the body recover faster after an intense workout.  The ingredients in post-workout supplements help turn the body from a catabolic (muscle breakdown) state, into an anabolic (muscle growth) state. Including a post-workout supplement with your workout routine can definitely improve your performance, reduce muscle soreness and speed up your recovery time.

Active Ingredients

Liquid forms of carbohydrates, protein, and fat are the “essential” ingredients to include in a post-workout drink and will aid greatly in recovery from that workout. But there are many other ingredients you may want to include in a post-workout drink that will further aid in recovery.


In your post-workout drink will help replenish Creatine phosphate stores in the muscle cells and result in faster recovery and greater strength and endurance during the next workout.  The guideline is about 2 to 10 grams post-workout, depending on your size and level of training.


Many find that it reduces post-workout soreness.  Research has found that glutamine can reduce the colds and flu’s that many experience as a result of the immune system being depressed from intense exercise. Glutamine has also been shown to reduce cortisol levels as well as increasing growth hormone levels.  In addition, recovery time is often much quicker with glutamine use.


Another amino acid that is often recommended for use both pre- and post-workout. The main benefit for arginine is that it increases nitric oxide, which acts as a vasodilator, increasing blood flow to the muscles. Many report feeling a greater “pump” during and even after their workouts while using arginine. But more importantly, the increased blood flow is supposed to aid in recovery by increasing the flow of nutrients to the muscle cells.

Vitamin C

Post-workout reduces post-workout soreness and cortisol levels. Cortisol is a catabolic (muscle-destroying) hormone that is released during and after intense exercise. So reducing it as soon as possible after a workout is imperative.

Sodium and Potassium

Electrolytes that are lost in sweat.  Since a loss of such electrolytes can lead to cramping and other problems, replenishing them is a good idea.  Including sport drinks such as Gatorade or PowerAde in your post-workout supplement regimen is wise as these products are designed to replace lost electrolytes from intense workouts.

These re my favorite choices for post-workout supplements:

  1. Myotein Protein Powder
  2. BSN Cellmass
  3. Optimum 100% Whey Protein
  4. XPI Xtreme ZMA
  5. Myoplex

The use of any advice on this website is at your own risk. Please consult us, or any other professional, licensed personal trainer or your health care professional, like your doctor, first to see if the advice is applicable to your specific situation.

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