Supplements to Enhance Your Pre and Post Exercise Routine


Dietary protein is necessary to promote growth and repair cell and tissue damage.  Ten to twenty grams of a good quality protein, before, during or after a workout, provides fuel for muscle growth and recovery,  enhances immune function and supports growth and maintenance of lean body mass.   This can come in many forms including, 2-3 ounces of lean meat, a hard-boiled egg, 2 cups of low fat milk or a scoop of protein powder

Protein powders provide amino acids necessary for muscle recovery.  Protein and amino acid supplements are a convenient way to ensure a timely and adequate intake for athletes and are beneficial in increasing endurance in anaerobic and strength training exercise. 

If you are on the go, energy bars are a good choice as long as they contain a proper balance of protein and carbs with naturally occurring sugars and little or no fat.  Remember, energy equals calories so watch for high calorie content. 


Creatine aids in the transport of fluids and nutrients to the muscles, thereby aiding in muscle growth and recovery.  Lower than optimal levels of creatine may cause muscle soreness, slower recovery and reduced stamina levels.  Creatine is a natural substance found in muscle cells.  It consists mainly of three amino acids: methionine, arginine and glycine.  It aids in the synthesis of protein further promoting muscle growth and development.  Athletes and body builders use creatine supplements to increase high intensity exercise performance, increase strength and muscle mass and for post workout muscle recovery. 


Electrolytes are minerals in your blood and other body fluids that carry an electric charge.  Electrolytes lost through exercise are easily replaced by a good quality sports drink containing 14-15 grams of carbohydrates per 8 ounces.  Look for a product that contains approximately 110 milligrams of sodium and 30 milligrams of potassium to replace lost electrolytes.  If you are on a weight loss quest, stick to lighter versions with fewer calories and carbs. 


Probiotics are bacteria that help maintain the natural balance of organisms (microflora) in the intestines. Probiotics have the potential to regulate immune function after exercise and may aid individuals exposed to high degree of physical stress.  Probiotic supplements promote good health and optimal athletic performance and offer a practical means of enhancing immune function. 


Beta-glucans are sugars that are found in the wall cells of bacteria, fungi, yeasts, algae, lichens and plants such as oats and barley.  A common problem, especially among athletes, can be the suppression of the immune system following exercise.  Beta-glucan can improve immune response and decrease the risk of infection in relation to demanding exercise. 


Bromelain is an enzyme found in pineapple.  It is used to reduce pain, swelling and relax muscles.  After a workout, bromelain may also help to prevent muscle soreness.


Arnica is a plant that is native to the mountainous regions of Europe and southern Russia.  Arnica may help if you have overdone it with your exercise program and are experiencing muscle pain and soreness.  Arnica is available in gel, cream or oral supplements.  It may help in soothing muscle aches, reducing inflammation and is useful in injuries involving sprains or bruises caused by overexertion or injury.