Supplements can be confusing.
First, there are a million different types of supplements out there, from preworkouts to protein powders and everything in between. Each type of supplement has a million different brands that make their own variation of it as well, leaving you with a lot of choices to make.
Even after you sift through all of these options and hone in on the supplements that you believe will help you reach your goals, your decisions don’t stop there. Now you must decide how and when to use these supplements to get the most out of them.
We’re here to help with the latter.
This article will go over when you should use 3 of the most popular types of supplements: preworkouts, protein powders and creatine. Note that what we write here is simply our suggestions as to when to use these supplements; ultimately, you should use these products in whatever way you believe brings you closer to your goals.
Now, let’s get started!
Preworkout is definitely not a necessity to have a good workout. However, supplementing with a good preworkout can provide you with increased energy, focus and endurance on days that you may be lacking it.
You would think with a name like “preworkout” it would be easy to figure out when to take this type of supplement, however there is more to it than meets the eye. Many common ingredients in preworkout take some time to take effect in your body, so we don’t want to be taking it right as we enter the gym or we may not get the full benefits of it until we are through the majority of our workout.
Taking preworkout 20-30 minutes prior to your workout gives its ingredients time to get to work in your body, letting you make the most of them!
If you’re looking for a new preworkout that won’t tweak you out on stimulants, try out Vertex. Our preworkout is formulated to provide laser-like focus in the gym, along with increased endurance to help you squeeze out those extra reps. And with 125mg of caffeine, it gives you just enough energy to get through your workout without overdoing it!
Consuming enough protein is important, especially for those taking part in an exercise program, however it can be difficult to reach your protein goals with whole foods alone. This is where protein powder comes in handy, providing a quick and convenient protein source to help you reach your daily protein requirements.
One common misconception is that protein powder should always be used immediately after your workout. This idea comes from the concept of the ‘anabolic window,’ which is an idea that there is a ~30 minute window after your workout where your protein intake will dictate whether your body enters an anabolic state (aka building muscle mass) or catabolic state (aka tearing down muscle mass).
This, however, is a myth; you do not need to consume protein within 30 minutes after your workout to avoid losing muscle mass.
What does matter for building muscle, however, is your overall daily protein intake. So, the best time to take protein powder is whenever it is most convenient for you, and allows you to hit your daily protein intake goal!
If you’re looking for a non-dairy based protein powder to help you reach your protein goals, check out Massif. It has 25g of plant-based protein in every scoop, and comes in delicious flavors like graham cracker!
Creatine is a compound that occurs naturally within your body that aids in providing energy to your muscles. Without getting into too much science, creatine helps to quickly create a compound in your body called ATP, which is used as energy by your muscles.
Creatine is a “saturation” supplement, meaning that it accumulates in our bodies to beneficial levels over time through repeated use. So, as long as it is being used consistently, your body will remain saturated with creatine, and when you choose to take it won’t matter!
Note that some people opt to “load” creatine when they begin taking it, which means they take over the recommended daily dose for a week or two. They do this to reach their body’s creatine saturation point quicker. Ultimately, though, you do not need to do this if you don’t want to; simply taking the recommended dose of creatine daily will result in your body becoming saturated with it, allowing you to reap the benefits!
The Bottom Line
It’s important to note that, ultimately, when you choose to take your supplements will vary person to person. Everyone is different, so there is no “one size fits all” approach to follow. Using these recommendations as a guide, experiment to find what routine works best for you, your schedule and your goals. Whatever you can stick with consistently will bring you the best results!