I get asked asked all the time what supplements and pre-workout formula I use.
I don't take a pre-workout. I have in the past, and I LOVED it! Or so I thought...
The problem with pre-workouts is that they hype you up on stimulants that make you feel like a superhero during your workout. You can push harder than you normally can. You can lift more, run faster, and do everything better. It feels AMAZING! Until you get injured because you worked beyond what your body could handle at the time. Or until you become addicted to your pre-workout and start taking it just to function during the day. By that time, your adrenals are shot, and you're going to need a few weeks or months to recover and get your energy levels back to normal. And that really puts a damper on your training. And affects your psyche, which can lead to a downward spiral that wreaks havoc on all your gains. Not fun! Trust me! Been there, done that...
Instead of a pre-workout supplement, eat a little non-acidic fruit or drink a green juice/smoothie. I often mix a tablespoon of powdered greens into a cup of water and use that for my "pre-workout" or eat a little banana. You simply need a little sugar and nutrients in your gas tank before you work out, and real food can supply that. You don't need fancy, expensive powders and drinks, most of which have chemicals, artificial sweeteners, and fillers that you want to avoid anyway.
What about post-workout?
If you've worked up a sweat, some coconut water may be in order. I only like coconut water when I need it. Once I'm hydrated and my electrolyte levels are up, it begins to taste gross. A green smoothie is a great post-workout meal because it is chock-full of vitamins, minerals, and anti-inflammatory nutrients that will replenish your body, help it recover and refuel it for the next few hours.
Supplements should simply supplement, not provide, your nutrients. Your body will utilize nutrients from whole, natural foods better than from a multivitamin or pill (or handfuls of pills). That is why I advocate eating nutrient-dense foods. However, I do believe in some supplementation, especially short-term. You may need some extra calcium, magnesium, vitamin D or vitamin B12, just to name a few. Look up food sources of what you're lacking and try to increase those foods. If that doesn't work, go ahead and purchase a supplement from a reputable source. As you feel better, try omitting the supplement and see how you feel. Learn to trust your inner guide. You'll start to know when something is working for you and when it isn't.
Would you like to know what I take? Leave a comment below, and I'll talk about it in a future blogpost if there is interest.