Pre and post workout nutrition – is it important? Worth it? Or just a marketing strategy? Like anything nutrition based, the answer to this is generally conflicting. However, I will share my thoughts on this subject below.
So, it is important and worth it? Well, that depends, on a number of things. Key areas to consider are types of exercise, goals and performance and the nutrition consumed throughout the day.
Type of Exercise
The type of exercise performed may impact the need (or want) for workout supplementation. Those who are performing intensive exercises may require the need for pre and post workout nutrition. However, for someone taking a leisurely walk, swim or bike ride, the need for workout nutrition may not be necessary.
Goals and Performance
This is a specific area where pre and post workout nutrition can be highly beneficial. If a person has specific performance goals, having the nutrients to assist with increased energy, strength and recovery can be beneficial.
Depending on the above two points, if the nutrition throughout the day is adequate to meet exercise demands, performance and goals, supplementation may not be necessary. This typically requires the individual to have a well balanced diet and eating the necessary foods around their training session.
Benefits of supplements to enhance exercise
There are significant studies to support the use of supplements to support exercise performance. Typical ones that come to mind a pre, post and intra workout supplements, however there a many variations on the market.
Pre Workout – These generally enhance the ability to be able to recruit more energy quickly in order to move faster or lift more. Typically this is through delivering more oxygen to the cells and being able to create energy faster. There are a variety of different ingredients that can do this, often, in particular, you see creatine, caffeine and beta alanine in these products along with a host of other ingredients. Also there are some pre-workout supplements available to enhance endurance exercise and performance, again by enhancing oxygen delivery. Pre workout are beneficial for those who want to perform better, longer and increase strength, however, generally not really necessary for recreational exercise.
Intra Workout – these can vary a little based on the type of exercise. For endurance exercises electrolyte replacement and carbohydrates can be valuable to maintain performance and energy. For those performing strength exercises, having products that enhance muscular recovery can be beneficial, such as branched chain amino acids (BCAA’s). Alternatively these can be consumed post workout also.
Post workout – this is probably the area that may have most benefits to the majority of people. Assisting with the recovery of the muscles, providing nutrition to increase growth and also ingredients to assist removal of waste materials may be beneficial. Typical ingredients are BCAA’s, antioxidants and collagen for joint and ligament support. All exercise can cause some muscle breakdown and require recovery, so post workout nutrition may be beneficial to many individuals.
Should you use them then?
This is a personal choice. Some prefer to eat foods pre and post workout, which is fine. If however your diet is lacking, you are short on time or have specific goals you want to achieve, supplementation may work well for you. My typical thoughts – if you’re going to put the effort into doing the exercise, why not achieve the best results and outcome from it. You wouldn’t train a racehorse and not feed it well and expect it to perform its best would you? Why not treat yourself the same way 😊
You can learn more about the nutrition products I choose to use below. I love these due to the science, quality and no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives and have used them for the past 6 years.