Crushing your workouts day after day isn't something that just happens. Way before you lace up your sneakers and start warming up, there are a handful of things you need to do to set yourself up for peak workout success. Most important? Fueling up on nutritious foods, staying hydrated, and logging enough sleep.
Once you've got those basics down, you're ready to take your routine to the next level by adding in supplements — like those from NOW® Sports — which are like the icing on the gluten-free cake of a healthy fitness routine.
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"Supplements are a complement to a high-quality diet and exercise regimen," says sports nutritionist Christopher Mohr, PhD, RD. "If your diet is made up of fast food daily and your workouts aren't quite up to snuff, supplements aren't a magic bullet, [but] they can provide some quality nutrition (think protein smoothie vs. milk shake)."
And that goes for whether you're a runner, a weightlifter, or something in between, he says. "Really any type of workout can benefit, but the supplements in question may change," Mohr says. For three supplements that can help you give it your all during your next workout, keep scrolling.
What to Take Before Your Workout
Vitamin B-12 is a common supplement for those on a plant-based diet (because the vitamin is typically found in animal foods like meat, fish, and eggs), but it isn't just for vegetarians. It can also help support sports performance, because vitamin B-12 helps the body convert food into glucose, which is necessary for energy, Mohr says.*
NOW® Sports B-12 Energy Boost Sticks can be taken straight from the package and don't need to be added to water, making them a hassle-free, quick option while you're getting ready for a workout or during breakfast before a long run.
"What I like about B-12 Energy Boost is the unique combination of natural caffeine, B vitamins, taurine, and ribose in a convenient, on-the-go packet," Mohr says. "The natural caffeine can give you an initial boost of energy, earlier on in your workout, while the B vitamins in combination with other ingredients work at a cellular level that has the ability to give you more sustained energy."*
What to Take During Your Workout
Staying hydrated is hugely important to workout performance (you can vouch for that fact if you've ever forgotten your water bottle for a workout class). And science backs up your parched experience — according to a September 2015 review published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, it's recommended to drink a beverage containing sodium to help replenish lost electrolytes for periods of exercise lasting longer than an hour.*
Adding NOW® Sports Effer-Hydrate to 16 ounces of water gives you a fruity, replenishing drink to sip throughout your workout, and it tastes so good you definitely won't forget your water bottle.*
"Sodium is the most abundant electrolyte lost in sweat, but the other electrolytes need to be considered as well," Mohr says. "The Effer-Hydrate Tablets provide a well-balanced dose of each of the electrolytes to replace what's lost in sweat and add flavor to your water that encourages fluid consumption."*
What to Take After Your Workout
It's no secret that protein is associated with muscle growth. A May 2019 study published in Nutrients showed that increased protein intake leads to greater strength when coupled with resistance exercise. The study also suggests evenly distributing protein across your meals can better preserve and increase muscle. But that doesn't mean post-workout protein is just for body builders.
If you want to hang on to the progress you've made in your exercise regimen of choice, you'll want to make sure you're getting enough protein to support muscle protein synthesis. "Over the long term, if we have more synthesis (vs. breakdown) we can further preserve muscle mass and/or build if that is a goal," Mohr says. "Whey protein isolate provides a complete amino acid profile, with particularly high levels of leucine, which is important because leucine is a key amino acid in muscle protein synthesis."
Mohr recommends drinking a NOW® Sports Whey Protein Isolate shake or consuming another form of food-based protein roughly every four hours to keep muscle protein synthesis positive. "If it's been a bit since your last protein-rich meal and you just worked out, aim to add some protein to your next meal," he says. "Maybe it's whey protein isolate or maybe it's a solid form of protein that you desire."
Again, supplements can't make up for a poor diet or lack of exercise. "Focus on your goals and the role supplements might play," Mohr says. "But don't look to supplements as an excuse to not take care of your body through the foods you eat, the sleep you get, and the exercise you do. Supplements should be used as part of an overall healthy routine."
But, if you're ready to level-up your workouts, sports nutrition supplements like these might be what your routine is missing.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.