Peri-workout supplements use timing to boost athletic performance and maximize results.
Taken in conjunction with an exercise program, sport nutrients can enhance performance, muscle growth, recovery and more.
Peri-workout refers to sport nutrients taken in proximity to exercise. The right timing can help the best sport nutrients to work even better.
Strategic timing delivers nutrition to boost strength and endurance, optimize muscle recovery, and establish the consistent daily supplementation that yields the greatest athletic gains.
Today's top intra, pre and post workout supplements are:
- Protein – Muscle building blocks taken before, during or after workouts, with post-exercise as the most anabolic time
- Carbohydrate – Fuels muscle before exercise for peak intensity; refuels muscle afterwards for recovery
- Creatine - Loads muscles with ATP energy for explosive power and strength; take daily and consistently
- Beta Alanine - Boosts carnosine to buffer muscles and fight fatigue, take daily and consistently
- BCAA - Versatile athletic performance-enhancing benefits, plus muscle development and soreness reduction
- L-Citrulline + L-Glutathione - Setria® Performance Blend; 2X nitric oxide stack for muscle-pumping circulation
- Maritime Pine Bark - Super-antioxidant complex and nitric oxide booster for muscle pumps and protection
- Caffeine - Performance-enhancer taken pre-workout for energy, alertness and intensity
- L-Glutamine – Protects and restores muscle post-workout; fortifies immune system function
- Pomegranate – Fruit antioxidant complex soothes muscle post-workout and promotes muscle recovery
- Water + Salt + Electrolytes – Restores lost nutrients, maintains fluid balance and post-workout hydration
- Iron - Key for athletes; the harder you train, the more you need
This guide discusses how each of these sport nutrients can be timed for maximum effect. We also reveal the products that best deliver each one's performance-enhancing benefits.
Consuming protein in proximity to workouts boosts muscle protein synthesis and enhances adaptive responses to training.1
In other words, taking protein powder not only promotes muscle growth, strength, repair and recovery, but it can be timed to zero in on the exact fitness benefits you seek.
Protein powder is a must-have for bodybuilding, endurance exercise and everything in between.
Consuming protein before exercise is suggested to increase hypertrophy and accelerate recovery time. It may also have a carryover effect that continues feeding muscle after you finish your training session.
Taking protein during your workout session provides muscles with an energy source for performance.
In addition, intra-workout protein has been linked to increased whole body and muscle protein synthesis as well as improved nitrogen balance.
Anabolic potential peaks immediately after exercise, and then declines over a course of 24 hours. During this time, muscle protein synthesis (MPS) is more sensitive to protein.2
Taking protein after intense training stimulates MPS for up to three hours, while the anabolic window is still wide open. This protein strategy has greatest capacity to:3,4
- Accelerate muscle recovery;
- Reduce muscle soreness;
- Enhance performance in your next exercise session;
- Maximize muscle gains over time
But failing to consume protein after training (as a supplement or meal) slows down MPS and makes it harder to gain muscle.
MPS remains stimulated for up to 24 hours after exercise. Be sure to also get enough protein on rest day to maximize muscle repair and growth.
Tip: Take protein before sleep for muscle growth. Consuming 40 g of protein at bedtime after a training day is shown to stimulate muscle protein synthesis and enhance muscle growth while you sleep.5
Athletes consume carbs as a readily available fuel source for muscle energy (in the form of blood glucose), as well as to load the liver and muscles with stored energy (in the form of glycogen).
Carbohydrate timing can produce different ergogenic benefits, all of which are related to fueling-up muscle energy.6
Pre-Workout carbohydrate provides muscle fuel that can last up to 1 hour with typical sources, and up to 2 hours with the special type of carb called Karbolyn®.
Carbohydrate supplementation before exercise:
- Gets glucose in the bloodstream for fast energy to start your session;
- Stores glycogen in muscle to help you finish up strong;
- Helps to ward off distracting feelings of hunger during the session
Fast-acting carbohydrates can be consumed intra-workout to maintain steady muscle energy and delay fatigue.7
Carbohydrates are also beneficial when consumed over the course of intermittent sports events, like a tennis match, and events with several exercise bouts over a day, like a martial arts tournament.
Taking carbohydrate immediately after exercise, especially long-duration exertion to exhaustion, helps restore depleted glycogen levels to muscles and liver quickly and efficiently.8
Maxing out glycogen is key for powering performance in long-duration training and endurance events.
Tip: Take carbohydrate + protein together after exercise. They work in synergy to boost MPS for enhanced muscle growth and recovery
Creatine maximizes energy reserves for high-intensity exercise including strength training and sprinting is widely researched.
In literally hundreds of clinical trials, creatine has been shown to significantly increase strength, endurance and muscle mass.9
Pre, Post and Rest Day Creatine
Creatine works most effectively when muscles are saturated with it. This takes time and supplementation.
Researchers have shown a 20% increase in muscle creatine can be achieved with two different creatine loading protocols:
- 20 g creatine daily for 6 days
- 3 g creatine daily for 28 days
After muscles are saturated, optimal levels can be maintained by taking 3 - 5 g creatine per day.
Tip: Taking protein + carbohydrate + creatine both pre- and post-workout has been shown in research to boost muscle creatine loading, glycogen recharging, strength and growth.10
Creatine must be taken in split doses, every day, including rest day.
For this reason, many incorporate creatine into their pre and post sport nutrition stack, and on rest days.
This pre-post-rest creatine strategy also works well with out next nutrient, which also works most effectively when loaded into muscles consistently over time.
Beta alanine boosts carnosine levels in muscle. Carnosine has a muscle-buffering effect that has been shown to:
- Delay the onset of exhaustion in exercise11
- Improve muscle power output in sprinting12
- Unlock greater resistance training volume13
- Improve muscular endurance capacity14
- Boost high-intensity exercise performance15
Taking Creatine + Beta Alanine together pre-workout, post-workout and on rest day enables the steady daily loading required for peak athletic performance and muscle development.
BCAA (branched-chain amino acids) stimulates MPS, protects muscle, and enhances anaerobic and endurance exercise performance.
BCAA can function as a full-spectrum nutrient complex for peak training performance and muscle recovery.
Research shows taking BCAA before exercise has a greater benefit for soreness than taking BCAA intra- or post.16
In endurance exercise, supplementing with BCAA before training may also block the fatigue-inducing brain chemical tryptophan, thereby extending time of exertion until exhaustion.17
Research has shown that taking BCAA during cycling exercise improves athletic performance.18
Taking BCAA during exercise has been shown to slow the rate of protein degradation and delay the depletion of muscle glycogen during endurance exercise.19, 20
Intra-exercise BCAA has been shown to enhance physical and mental performance in extended endurance exercise.21
BCAA (specifically Leucine) taken before resistance training along with protein and carbohydrate has been shown to promote greater muscle protein synthesis when compared to just protein and carb.22
Tip: The International Society of Sports Nutrition suggests athletes take BCAAs (with carbohydrates) before, during and after exercise to maximize benefits that delay fatigue, sharpen focus, stimulate muscle protein synthesis and accelerate muscle glycogen restoration.23
L-Citrulline + Glutathione
Setria® Performance Blend is patented L-Citrulline + Glutathione. When taken together taken before exercise, it produces a powerful and sustained muscle-pumping nitric oxide boost.
Setria® Performance Blend raises and sustains nitric oxide in the bloodstream for twice as long as L-Arginine or plain citrulline.
Because it boosts muscle circulation fast and extends the boost until after exercise, Setria® Performance Blend can maximize athletic performance and muscle recovery.
Setria® Performance Blend is a top sport nutrient shown in research to:
- Increase muscle mass and sustain gains24
- Improve muscle performance, growth and recovery25
*Setria® Performance Blend is best taken before exercise.
Maritime Pine Bark Extract
Maritime Pine Bark Extract is another good nitric oxide booster. Within the bark are proanthocyanins, which are potent antioxidants that help athletes by:26
- Stimulating and protecting nitric oxide to help boost and sustain blood flow to muscles;
- Fighting cell-damaging free radicals generated during exercise;
- Helping to soothe achy joints and sore muscles after exertion
*Maritime pine bark extract is best taken before exercise.
Caffeine will always be among the most popular supplements for both pre- and intra-training use.
Athletes most often take caffeine for its energizing, focus-sharpening benefits, which help boost exercise intensity throughout a session.
- Research shows caffeine enhances athletic metabolism, training performance and exercise enjoyment.27,28
The problem with caffeine in proximity to exercise: Side effects.
If you train in the morning, you may get jitters and crashes that make it difficult to perform optimally for the rest of the day. If you train in the evening, caffeine can interfere with the restful sleep you need to recover.
Tip: The top-rated caffeine pill uses a good strategy that combines low-dose caffeine, calming L-Theanine, and B-vitamins. As a result, it delivers better performance-enhancing benefits without side effects.
Concentrated in muscle, L-Glutamine promotes transport of nitrogen, which is crucial for muscle energy, growth and recovery.
- Exercising with intensity depletes glutamine.29
- Low glutamine is linked to muscle wasting and soreness.30
As a sport nutrient, it helps to not only reverse exercise-induced depletions, but also kick-starts the muscle recovery process and optimizes immune function.
*L-Glutamine is a leading sport nutrient for after exercise.
Pomegranate fruit polyphenol antioxidants can help athletes by:
- Boosting blood antioxidant levels, which protects nitric oxide and sustains its muscle-pumping activity31
- Promoting muscle comfort after resistance exercise32
- Speeding up muscle recovery after training33
For these reasons, as well as its ability to fight cell-damaging free radicals generated during exercise, pomegranate extract is a top sport nutrient to look for in 2020.
*Pomegranate extract is most effective when taken after exercise.
Water + Salt + Electrolytes
Training hard can make you lose salt, electrolytes and fluids, which exacerbates muscle catabolism, diminishes circulation, worsens performance and creates cramps, dizziness and side effects.34,35
Taking water, salt (especially Himalayan Pink Salt) and electrolytes (especially Potassium) before and after training maintains homeostasis during exercise and restores fluids and nutrients after.36
This pre, intra and post exercise hydration + supplementation strategy positions athletes for peak performance and optimal recovery.
Iron enables the blood to transport and store oxygen, as well as assisting with cell energy production.37
Iron's various bioactivities are essential for strong performance during exercise and robust muscle growth afterwards.
Athletes require more iron than non-trained individuals.
Intense exercise depletes iron. When levels get too low, the shortfall can create immune system challenges and reduce athletic performance.38
Iron may be taken before exercise, during exercise and on rest day to optimize performance and recovery.
Now, let's check out all of today's top peri-workout supplements.
Top Peri-Workout Protein Powder: Performance Lab® SPORT Protein
SPORT Protein is the cleanest, most effective and delicious-tasting vegan-friendly protein powder ever developed.
SPORT Protein starts with today's leading organic-certified whole brown rice grain protein innovation: Oryzatein®.
Flavored and sweetened with organic cocoa, vanilla bean, cinnamon, yacon root, monk fruit and stevia, SPORT Protein is also the most delicious powder on the market.
SPORT Protein is Designed for Performance:
- Clean & premium: Organic emphasis; 100% plant-based
- As effective as whey for boosting muscle gains*
- Boosts strength, power, endurance, performance*
- Maximizes muscle recovery and robust growth*
- Easy to absorb and easy to digest*
SPORT Protein stacks with all Performance Lab® formulas.
Take it to strengthen your foundation for athletic performance and anabolic growth.
#1 Peri-Workout Carbohydrate:
Performance Lab® SPORT Carb
Performance Lab® SPORT Carb supplies KarboLyn®: An innovative 2-in-1 molecule for simple+complex carb muscle fuel benefits.
SPORT Carb includes Himalayan Pink Salt + Organic Coconut Sugar, which supply sodium, potassium, fructose and glucose that enhance carb uptake and boost fluid absorption.
SPORT Carb is formulated to maximize all KarboLyn® benefits. It's also designed to taste great, which makes it easy to take every day.
SPORT Carb Features
- 40 g of muscle-fueling Karbolyn® per serving*
- Fast-acting, long-lasting: 2+ hours' muscle energy*
- Powers muscle for strength, endurance and growth*
- Enhances absorption of water and sport nutrients*
- Take before, during or after exercise*
- No crashing, bloating or gastric distress*
- Delicious flavor: organic cocoa, vanilla and cinnamon
- Sweetened with coconut sugar, monkfruit and stevia
Try SPORT Carb and feel the performance-enhancing power of fast-acting, long-lasting Karbolyn®, formulated for maximum effect.
Advanced Usage Tip: Protein + Carb Synergy
Research has shown protein and carb taken together work better than when taken solo for:
- Enhancing muscle protein synthesis and maximizing muscle growth and recovery39
- Accelerating muscle glycogen resynthesis to improve subsequent endurance40
Flavor-matched Performance Lab® SPORT Carb + SPORT Protein make it easy and convenient to get this sport nutrition synergy.
Performance Lab® Best Practice: Immediately after exercise, fill your SPORTMixer® with 2 scoops of SPORT Carb, 1 scoop of SPORT Protein and 20 oz water. Shake vigorously and chug to max-out your post-exercise anabolic window gains.
Today's Top Pre-Workout:
Performance Lab® SPORT Pre
Performance Lab® SPORT Pre supplies several good sport nutrients:
- Setria® Performance Blend, 2200 mg
- Creapure® pH10, 1250 mg
- CarnoSyn® Beta-Alanine, 800 mg
- Maritime Pine Bark Extract, 100 mg
- Himalayan Pink Salt 350 mg
- NutriGenesis® Iron+ 2.5 mg
SPORT Pre benefits and features:
- Raises nitric oxide (NO) for peak muscle blood flow*
- Sustains NO activity to extend muscle benefits*
- Enhances performance with muscle-charging energy*
- Improves strength & endurance by buffering muscles*
- Vegan-friendly, prebiotic-infused NutriCaps®
- Innovative sports-drink-in-a-capsule design
Take Performance Lab® SPORT Pre and maximize athletic performance with a clean, effective, stim-free formula.
Advanced Peri-Workout Caffeine Pill:
Performance Lab® Stim
Caffeine is a favorite for athletes to take prior to and during workouts.
Performance Lab® Stim is caffeine made smarter and cleaner. With Natural Caffeine 50 mg + Suntheanine® 100 mg, it delivers precise dosing, fewer side effects and superior stimulation for athletes.
Stim also restores caffeine-depleted brain chemicals with Ajipure® L-Tyrosine + NutriGenesis® B-Complex – supporting recovery from stim-driven work, athletics, fat burning and more.
Stim Benefits and Features:
- Caffeine enhanced for superior athletic performance*
- Raises Alpha brainwaves to balance energy with relaxation*
- Promotes calm alertness during multitasking, stress & fatigue*
- Reduces jitters, crashes and negative effects of overstimulation*
- Replenishes caffeine-depleted brain chemicals, for less burnout*
- 50 mg caffeine for precision, stacking safety & stim control*
- Helps balance physiological responses to caffeine-induced stress*
Stim is the cleanest caffeine pill ever developed, and the only Performance Lab® formula with caffeine by design.
Performance Lab® SPORT Post
Performance Lab® SPORT Post supplies several of the most effective sport nutrient ingredients in one advanced formula:
- Creapure® pH10 Creatine, 1750 mg
- SR CarnoSyn® Beta Alanine, 1200 mg
- Ajinomoto® L-Glutamine, 600 mg
- P40p™ Organic Pomegranate Extract, 100 mg
- Himalayan Pink Salt, 350 mg
- NutriGenesis® Potassium, 25 mg
SPORT Post benefits and features:
- Greater muscle growth than exercise alone*
- Stimulates muscle stem cells*
- Boosts muscle ATP energy production*
- Supports fast, comfortable muscle recovery*
- Reloads muscles for a stronger next session*
- Vegan-friendly, prebiotic-infused NutriCaps®
- Innovative sports-drink-in-a-capsule design*
Performance Lab® SPORT Post is the only post-exercise supplement you will ever need.
Top-Rated Stack for Rest Days:
Performance Lab® SPORT Maintain
SPORT Maintain supplies three of the greatest sport nutrients in their most effective forms:
- Creapure® pH10 Creatine, 3000 mg
- SR Carnosyn® Beta Alanine, 1600 mg
- NutriGenesis® Iron, 2.5 mg
These three sport nutrients combine into an efficient-yet-potent stack for maximizing anabolism on your rest day.
- Restore depleted muscles with crucial sports nutrients*
- Enhance muscle growth and recovery on rest day*
- Extend muscle nourishment up to 12 hours*
- Support muscle strength, endurance and power*
- Prime muscles for a bigger, stronger next session*
- Ensure daily muscle loading required for peak performance*
- Minimum effective dosing; calibrated to eliminate cycling
- 100% plant-based, prebiotic-infused NutriCaps®
If you’re looking to max-out recovery and muscle growth on rest day, SPORT Maintain is exactly what you need
Top Peri-Workout BCAA Supplement:
Performance Lab® SPORT BCAA
SPORT BCAA is a high quality formula in clean capsules, with two advanced BCAA forms in the ideal ratio.
Each serving of SPORT BCAA supplies:
Branched-Chain Amino Acids 2:1:1, 3000 mg
- L-Leucine 1500 mg (Ajipure® 1450 mg + NutriGenesis® 50 mg)
- L-Isoleucine 750 mg (Ajipure® 725 mg + NutriGenesis® 25 mg)
- L-Valine 750 mg (Ajipure® 725 mg + NutriGenesis® 25 mg)
- Maximizes gains: Boosts growth, slows muscle breakdown*
- Energizes muscle strength across all athletics*
- Improves endurance by blocking fatigue*
- Reduces soreness and speeds recovery*
- Bolsters immunity against gym and exercise-related challenges*
- Plant-based, prebiotic-infused NutriCaps®
Take SPORT BCAA any time for athletic performance enhancement.
Performance Lab® SPORT supplements are a single line that meets all athletes' needs for pre-, post-, and intra-workout sport nutrition.
And, because they are designed to go together, SPORT formulas deliver superior athletic results in the most streamlined, convenient and cost-effective format ever developed.
Note: You can't buy Performance Lab® SPORT at Amazon, Target, Walmart, GNC, CVS, Walgreens or other stores. You can only buy them here.
Click any product button for price deals, including buy-3-get-1 free (4 months supply) and also free shipping deals. Or, click the button below to explore the entire SPORT line in more detail.