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If you're a runner, cyclist, soccer player or are active in any sport that requires sustained energy for hours at a time, supplementing with endurance workout formulas may help you reach your athletic goals. Endurance workout formulas focus on different aspects of athletic performance. Some types can help you maximize your workout and others are for energy and recovery before and after a workout.
Pre-workout: While you might be tempted to skip a meal before a workout to avoid an upset stomach, studies show that a light meal, meal replacement powder drink, or protein bar 1 to 2 hours before training will increase your endurance and promote a better workout. Aim for at least 10 grams of protein containing a minimum of six grams of essential amino acids. BCAA mixes are also excellent.
Mid-workout: If your workout is less then one hour, stick to water and choose a post-workout supplement to promote recovery. But if your workout extends beyond one hour, a high-glycemic protein bar or drink will help sustain energy and may stave off muscle cramps and fatigue.
Post-workout: This may be the most important supplement that you take, because how you feel after one workout will impact your desire and ability to embark on the next workout. Ideally, consume a drink with 50-100 grams of carbohydrates and about 25 grams of protein within 30 minutes of finishing the workout to increase the amount of amino acids in the body and promote protein synthesis. And don't delay that drink—studies have shown that if you consume a carbohydrate/protein drink within 30 minutes of a workout, your amino acid level is 25% higher than if you wait a few hours.
And be sure to have a meal that is about equally balanced between carbs and protein about 2 hours after a strenuous workout if possible, to maximize recovery. A meal replacement powder is one easy way to get the best muscle-building elements in a post-workout meal.