Sports nutrition (supplements) for bodybuilding. Whey protein casein, bcaa, creatine isolated on white background.

Supplements: Knowing when and why to use them can be the key to reaching your goals. So let’s chat about preworkout, L-carnitine and creatine.

Preworkout is an endurance, energy and focus enhancer. It is commonly used by athletes and fitness enthusiasts to optimize their performance and training longevity. Have you ever just felt tired and depleted during a workout, like you just can’t push through? Well this is when adding a preworkout supplement to your training routine can help.

A preworkout supplement is commonly recommended to consume 20–30 minutes prior to training; however, I prefer to consume my preworkout just minutes before I train. The reason being so that I get the optimal effects of the pre-workout right in the middle of my training, rather than at the beginning. Now if you are new to or have never had preworkout, I recommend NOT starting with the recommended serving amount. Instead, start slow and allow yourself to adjust to the supplement by starting with half of the recommended serving size and then adjusting each time according to how your body reacts.

Preworkout is great for providing energy to aid in training longer, harder and more focused. But what if your goal is simply to lose weight? You are not an athlete who needs to train for a long period of time; however, you could use a boost in your energy for your workouts. If that is the case, I recommend L-carnitine as a pre-workout. This supplement is not commonly talked about, but it is one that I have added in and out of my supplement routine for years now. It is one of my favorites.

When I take L-carnitine as a pre-workout, I always feel so accomplished at the end of my workout. It is a way to get energy and utilize the transport of long-chain fatty acids into mitochondria to be oxidized for energy production and also participates in removing products of metabolism from cells, i.e., burn fat. There are liquid and capsule forms. I personally prefer the liquid version. Again, start with half the recommended serving size and adjust accordingly.

Now that we have options to boost energy, what about boosting muscle mass? Creatine is the supplement most commonly recommended for muscle growth. Why? Because it stimulates ATP in our bodies. ATP is the most basic form of energy in your body’s cells. It plays a fundamental role in metabolism and muscle function, however, our bodies can only produce optimal ATP for about 8–10 seconds of high-intensity training before needing to generate new ATP to match our activity demands. Consuming creatine will help aid in a little longer ATP production before fatigue sets in, allowing you to get in a few more reps and run sprints just a little longer than normal, and in turn, helping to push the muscle to a new fatigue level and increasing in size due to the increase in the ATP levels. 

Alex Garzaro is a lifestyle strategist, weight loss expert for women and transformational speaker. The views expressed are her own.

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