Top Pre- and Post-Workout Drinks
Getting a good workout feels great and can have a huge impact on your weight management plan. In addition to improving your overall health, regular cardio or strength training can build muscle, which can increase metabolism and help you burn fat. One way to make your workout even more effective is to incorporate certain supplements to your diet before and after exercising.
Depending on what kind of workout you do, you may find that you lose stamina or become very sore afterward, which can be discouraging. Some people find that drinking muscle-targeting pre- and post-workout supplements can help them overcome the fatigue and aches that are slowing them down.
A pre-workout drink should be one that boosts energy and feeds muscles. It should be consumed before beginning your workout for maximum effect. Look for these ingredients on any powdered supplement or ready-to-drink beverage:
Caffeine – Caffeine not only gives you hours of sustained energy and focus, but it can help you burn fat and calories as well.
Branched Chain Amino Acids, or BCAAs – BCAAs increase muscle growth, fuel your exercise performance and decrease soreness after your workout. BCAAs consist of three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine and valine.
Beta-Alanine – Another amino acid, beta-alanine helps reduce muscle stress which can lead to fatigue.
Creatine – Creatine is the most-widely used amino acid, known for its ability to help your muscles produce energy during weight training or high-intensity workouts.
Your post-workout drink should be one whose focus is recovery and hydration. This is the time your body is replenishing glycogen, which is the muscle-stored glucose we use as fuel in workouts. Look for drinks that contain carbohydrates, electrolytes and protein. Be sure to check the calories first, as many of these drinks contain lots of sugar. Some options include:
Chocolate milk – Lots of protein and carbs will help your muscles recover. No more than 8 ounces though or you’re just packing on calories.
Tart cherry juice – This fruity beverage can reduce muscle soreness.
Black and green tea – Relieves soreness and helps oxidize fat.
Coconut water – Replenishes electrolytes lost and contains potassium with less sodium than sports drinks.
Adding pre-and post-workout drinks to your routine can help you work out longer and more effectively than relying on water alone. Assess your workout first then choose the right supplemental beverage to get the most out of exercising and enjoy the benefits.