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Is There an Optimal Time to Work Out?

Work OutSusan Brown Health and Wellness Editor

Right now, you may be thinking the best time to work out is anytime that allows follow through on exercise plans. But are there advantages to morning, afternoon or evening workouts? In addition to all the good reasons for daily exercise, timing itself may have specific benefits. Some associate early morning exercise with success, others equate evening workouts with enhanced performance. Scientific research suggests the right time to exercise is relative to and dependent upon each individual’s own body clock or circadian rhythm. Chronobiologists, who study the brain’s time keeping mechanism, believe that even among those who sleep the same amount of hours, there are behavioral, emotional and cognitive differences that determine whether an individual is a ‘morning person’ or a ‘night owl.’

While ‘morning person’ and ‘night owl’ are not scientific terms, researchers theorize that each of us has our own individual chronotype influenced by physical biomarkers. The hormones melatonin that encourages sleep, and cortisol, that helps us wake, help determine whether an individual is “programmed” to start and end the day earlier or is naturally inclined to sleep in and stay up later. Those who wake early have more energy in the morning, while those who stay up late feel more energetic later in the day. Of course when we sleep and when we rise is determined by other factors, such as lifestyle decisions and our environment. It may help explain though, why some feel empowered in the morning and others not so much.

Finding or making time to exercise can be challenging, yet there’s really no wrong time to do it, as any amount of exercise is better than none. However, those who wish to optimize their workouts might try working out at different times of day to find what feels most advantageous.


Working out in the morning on an empty stomach is an ideal way to burn stored fat. Per Anthony Hackney, a professor in the department of exercise and sport science at U.N.C. Chapel Hill, natural elevation of cortisol and growth hormone levels in the morning results in more energy drawn from fat reserves, which can potentially aid weight loss. Additionally, morning exercisers tend to consume fewer calories and make healthier food choices, as well as have more consistent energy throughout the day. Some research suggests that exercising before life’s responsibilities interfere leads to improved consistency. As exercise is a great stress-reliever, morning activity may lead to a calmer, yet more productive day. If you’re truly not a morning person and find you’re exercising at a low intensity, a more energetic workout later in the day could be more beneficial.


If you can get out for a workout or walk during the lunch hour, it can help boost performance and focus. Some research has shown that the body naturally burns a slightly higher amount of calories during late afternoon compared to morning and evening. Research also suggests that the body is adaptable to consistent timing, resulting in better performance, higher oxygen consumption and lower perceived exhaustion over time. As well, the body’s core temperature may also influence exercise quality, since in late afternoon muscles are more flexible, body temperature is highest, heart rate and blood pressure levels are lowest and reaction time is quickest. Combined, this can mean better performance and less chance of injury.


Exercising  after work or in the evening is a matter of convenience for many. Contrary to the popular belief, nighttime activity doesn’t necessarily interfere with sleep patterns, as long one doesn’t expect to sleep immediately following exercise. Stress relieving activity, such as yoga or gentle stretching, is recommended for relaxation, as well as a proper night’s sleep. Some evidence suggests that evening workouts can reduce levels of the hunger-stimulating hormone, ghrelin, further aiding weight management.

While the general consensus is that morning exercise is best, timing of exercise is personal. For most people the key is to exercise regularly at whatever time works with one’s daily routine. While one can be flexible and work out at different times on different days, scheduling a set time to exercise supports consistency and follow through. Activities such as walking, biking, swimming, dancing, yoga or strength training can be done at any time of day. Be sure to warm up cold muscles, especially in the morning and remain steadfast in your commitment for optimal health benefits.

Professional Supplement Center offers these and other high quality supplements for exercise support:

Energy/Sports...Energy/Sports Formula by Douglas Laboratories®: This comprehensive formula provides proper proportions of synergistic  bioavailable vitamins, minerals, trace elements, digestive enzymes and botanicals in support of energy metabolism during sport and exercise. Free of yeast, wheat, gluten, soy protein, milk/dairy, corn, sodium, sugar, starch and artificial coloring, preservatives and flavorings.

BCAA CapsulesBCAA by Pure Encapsulations®: BCAA provides the branched chain essential amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine in support of muscle function during exercise, as well as post-exercise muscle recovery. Available in powder or capsule form. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO, hypoallergenic, vegetarian formulation.

Power FuelPower Fuel by Nutritional Frontiers: Power Fuel provides D-ribose and other workout supportive nutrients that help to minimize fatigue and support energy and endurance, as well as muscle strength, physical stamina and exercise recovery. Gluten free, vegetarian formulation.

Athletic NutrientsAthletic Nutrients by Pure Encapsulations®: This hypoallergenic, nutrient-rich, highly bioavailable multivitamin, mineral and trace element complex is formulated to support exercise performance and training, promoting energy and stamina and lessening muscle fatigue. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.

Eating and exercise: 5 tips to maximize your workouts. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20045506
The best time of day to work out might be later than you think, according to a physiologist. https://www.businessinsider.com/what-is-the-best-time-of-day-to-work-out-in-order-to-see-results-2018-2
What is the best time of day to exercise? It’s not when you think. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/what-is-the-best-time-of-day-to-exercise-its-not-when-you-think/2017/06/16/2020c3ba-51cf-11e7-be25-3a519335381c_story.html?utm_term=.ca52bfde2b65
When is the best time of day to work out? https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/fitness/fitness-basics/when-is-the-best-time-of-day-to-work-out
Why morning people thrive. https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/11/if-your-child-is-terrible-blame-his-chronotype/506372/

Be Social For Increased Exercise Benefits

SocialExerciseJacquie Eubanks RN BSN



Exercise, a boon for both physical and mental wellbeing, actively supports overall health, improves sleep, and reduces anxiety and depression. A recent study based on data from 8,500 adults who were part of the Copenhagen City Heart Study found that social interaction involving either an exercise partner or participation in team sports further enhanced the already plentiful benefits of physical activity. While exercise of any kind contributes to improved long term health and longevity, it appears that connecting socially while exercising may have an advantage over solitary activity. The findings reported in Mayo Clinic Proceedings showed a clear correlation between social sports and increased longevity.

It appears that regular participation in activities such as tennis, basketball, soccer or badminton, may extend one’s lifespan up to a decade, while solitary activities such as swimming, cycling, jogging and health club participation, may add one to four years. A large body of research shows that consistent activity offers numerous health benefits including chronic disease prevention and weight management, as well as cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and cognitive health support. Now, it seems, the addition of activities that promote social interaction may be just as important to long term health as social connection is to overall wellbeing.

A World Health Organization (WHO) study found that one in four adults worldwide don’t get enough exercise, putting more than 1.4 billion adults at risk of developing chronic diseases linked to inactivity. In the U.S., only 23 percent of Americans regularly meet physical activity guidelines during their leisure time. Perhaps combining team events and friendship with exercise is just the impetus many need to start and stick with an exercise program. One of the biggest challenges to exercise is motivation. Knowing that others are counting on us, provides the accountability and encouragement that may be missing with solo exercise. Being a member of a supportive team often encourages one to take their activity to a higher level, and for many, brings out their innate competitive spirit.

While more studies are needed to support the connection between group exercise and increased longevity, there are other reasons to make workouts communal. Research shows that healthy actions of those around us can have a significant impact on our own health. A study published in the journal Obesity found that overweight persons tend to lose additional weight when they spend more time with friends who are physically fit. Other studies show that working with a partner or a team not only improves performance but may also significantly increase time spent working out. Many appear to agree, as spin-cycling, dance-based classes and other group activities have been steadily trending for a decade or longer. Encouragement to reach personal bests triggers the release of feel good hormones that help create a positive attitude and encourage future participation.

Those new to fitness may find it best to work out solo before joining a difficult group session. One on one instruction can help draw the attention to areas of weakness or imbalances. Find a class or group setting that matches your level of ability to avoid injury. Friendly competition is fine but understand your strengths and limitations. A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that those who engaged in group walking outdoors saw improvements in blood pressure, resting heart rate and body fat. Social walkers were also significantly less depressed. You may find that enlisting a friend for an enjoyable walk in the park, or participating in a boot camp work out, may be just what is needed to de-stress and lift your mood, resulting in an energetic feeling of overall good health.

Professional Supplement Center offers these and other high quality supplements for overall health and longevity support:

ATP EnergyATP Energy Progressive Laboratories: This energizing formula provides bioavailable Peak ATP®, malic acid and magnesium, essential elements for continued cellular energy production which may decline with aging. Acid resistant, delayed release capsules.


Athletic NutrientsAthletic Nutrients by Pure Encapsulations®: This hypoallergenic, nutrient-rich, highly bioavailable multivitamin, mineral and trace element complex is formulated to support exercise performance and training by promoting energy and stamina and lessening muscle fatigue. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.


Klean BCAA plus Peak...Klean BCAA  + Peak ATP® by Klean Athlete: Specifically formulated for athletes and weekend warriors alike, this products supplies branched chain amino acids and Peak ATP® in support of peak physical performance, increased strength and muscle gain. NSF Certified for Sport. Gluten, soy, wheat, dairy, preservative and artificial ingredient free, Non-GMO formulation.


Energy PlusEnergy Plus by Vital Nutrients: This herbal adaptogen complex helps to reduce daily stress by supporting energy production, stamina, healthy adrenal gland function and mental and physical performance. Suitable for long-term use. Free of gluten, wheat, soy, dairy, eggs, sugar, binders and coatings.

Various Leisure-Time Physical Activities Associated With Widely Divergent Life Expectancies: The Copenhagen City Heart Study. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S002561961830538X
The health benefits of working out with a crowd. https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/why-you-should-work-out-crowd-ncna798936
5 Reasons to Find a Workout Partner. https://www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-2018/workout-partner-healthy-friends.html
A Quarter of the World’s Adults Don’t Get Enough Exercise, Study Says. http://time.com/5387221/who-physical-inactivity-report/


Overreaching or Overtraining?

OvertrainingJacquie Eubanks RN BSN

Physical activity or exercising is one of the cornerstones of good health. However, as with many things in life, too much of a good thing can actually be harmful. More common in professional and competitive athletes than those who regularly exercise three or more times per week, excessive training without adequate rest can result in a maladaptive response termed Overtraining Syndrome (OTS) with symptoms of persistent fatigue, mood state changes and disturbances in the immune, neurologic and endocrine systems. It’s well known that improvements in cardiac health, athletic performance, endurance, and muscle strength require a certain degree of exertion or overreaching during exercise. Overtraining, however, can impede one’s progress, or worse, result in an injury, necessitating cessation of the activity altogether until proper and complete healing takes place.

You may not be training for the Olympics, but you may be overdoing it at the gym.

While OTS is a recognized illness with similarities to chronic fatigue syndrome and major depression, OTS is considered its own entity, indiscriminately striking the most hardworking competitive athletes. Every day exercisers, weekend warriors, or those who train for 10Ks or half-marathons, as well as cyclists, swimmers, cross country skiers and bodybuilders who overtrain for optimal performance, can find themselves in a state of fatigue that only weeks or months of rest can reverse. Overtraining is best avoided by undertraining, in itself self-defeating for those who are competing with themselves or others.

Signs that you may be overtraining:

  • Higher resting heart rate
  • Reduced ability to perform high intensity exercise
  • Fatigue lasting longer than 72 hours after a workout, often accompanied by insomnia
  • An unpleasant feeling of heaviness in the legs
  • Persistent joint or muscle pain or weakness, lasting longer than three days.
  • Loss of appetite, irritability or depressed mood
  • Increased incidence of injuries
  • Decreased incentive, or a compulsive need to exercise
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Symptoms of less than optimal immune function, such as cuts or scrapes that are slow to heal or more frequent ailments such as colds or sore throats

Intense, prolonged training can result in significant trauma to the muscles. However, the proper amount of trauma to muscle tissue, along with adequate rest and recovery time, results in improved muscle growth and strength. While exercise breaks down muscle tissues causing microscopic tears, rest days allow muscles, nerves, bones and connective tissues time to rebuild. Individuals whose lifestyles include everyday exercise activity can maintain their schedule with less intense exercise on rest days, or by exercising different muscle groups to allow recovery of previously hard-worked muscle groups.

Regular exercise, along with designated periods of rest, lowers stress levels, enhances mood, boosts energy levels, improves cardiovascular health, and aids weight maintenance. The general advice to “eat less and exercise more” is often considered an inefficient approach to health management and weight control and may actually lead to injury or fatigue. Shorter bouts of higher-intensity exercise, combined with weight bearing exercise several times a week, can be tailored or modified to meet individual needs and goals. For healthy balance, rotate exercise intensity, get sufficient sleep and proper hydration, and be sure to schedule some time each week for the body to heal and rejuvenate.

Professional Supplement Center carries these and other high quality supplement to support exercise, recovery and overall heath:

Klean AntioxidantKlean Antioxidant™ by Klean Athlete®: This antioxidant blend includes astaxanthin, maqui fruit and vitamin C, along with the patented combination of acetyl-L-carnitine and alpha lipoic acid to help guard against free radical cellular damage associated with intense physical training. NSF Certified for Sport®.


Recovery SupportRecovery Support by Theramedix: This delayed release proprietary enzyme blend is formulated to promote soft tissue maintenance and provide support for muscle recovery after exercise or over exertion. Filler, preservative and artificial ingredient free.


Klean ElectrolytesKlean Electrolytes™ by Klean Athlete®: This product helps to replenish minerals that may be depleted during intense exercise or physical stress in support of proper muscle function and the maintenance of good health. NSF Certified for Sport®.


Athletic NutrientsAthletic Nutrients by Pure Encapsulations®: Specifically designed to support physical training and performance, this complete, hypoallergenic, nutrient rich formula targets endurance, promotes energy, and lessens muscle fatigue. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.


Klean RecoveryKlean Recovery™ by Klean Athlete®: This powdered supplement is formulated specifically for athletic endurance and recovery. Rich in amino acids crucial to muscle building and nitrogen balance, Klean Recovery™ provides a 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein in support of optimal glycogen and protein synthesis. NSF Certified for Sport®.

Overtraining Syndrome. https://journals.lww.com/acsm-csmr/Fulltext/2015/05000/Overtraining_Syndrome.7.aspx
Overtraining Syndrome. A Practical Guide. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3435910/
Crash and Burnout. https://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/02/sports/playmagazine/02play-physed.html
Overtraining effects on immunity and performance in athletes. https://www.nature.com/articles/icb200070
Signs and Symptoms of Overtraining Syndrome in Athletes. https://www.verywellfit.com/overtraining-syndrome-and-athletes-3119386
9 Reasons to Skip Your Workout…Sometimes. https://www.shape.com/fitness/workouts/9-reasons-skip-your-workout-sometimes
How does exercise make your muscles stronger? https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-does-exercise-make-yo/