By Michael Martin
In romance and comedy, timing is everything. With fitness and nutrition, there's typically a bit more wiggle room — any time is a great time to do more cardio, fit in a resistance workout, or swap processed foods for whole ingredients.
When it comes to premium performance supplements, however, paying attention to supplement timing can help you get the optimal results. Here's what the experts say about the best timing for supplements.
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How soon before your workout should you take a pre-workout supplement? Downing it right inside the gym doors might not be optimal, but neither is taking it too long before your workout.
The best pre-workout supplements, like LADDER's Pre-Workout formula, will provide energy and performance benefits. But you'll feel most powerful within 30 to 60 minutes after taking the supplement.*
There's some flexibility when it comes to protein supplement timing.
"But research suggests that consuming protein post-workout can help optimize recovery and muscle growth," says Trevor Thieme, CSCS, director of fitness and nutrition content at Openfit.*
There's never really a bad time to eat whole fruits and vegetables, which should be a fundamental part of every meal. Likewise, if you're taking a greens supplement to help fill in any dietary gaps, any time of day is the right time.
While you should be drinking water throughout the day to stay hydrated, a hydration supplement like LADDER Hydration is designed to help you replenish electrolytes lost through sweating.
The best time to take a hydration supplement is during or after exercise, to help fight off cramping and assist with recovery. On epic-workout days, you can take an additional packet of LADDER Hydration for every additional 60 to 90 minutes of exercise.
The ideal supplement timing for vitamins can vary depending on which vitamins you're taking.
It can be helpful to take a multivitamin with a meal so the fat-soluble vitamins can be more easily absorbed. Some people feel nauseous when taking certain vitamins or minerals on an empty stomach, so taking it with food may also help to curb that — plus, making it part of your routine, like with breakfast every morning, can help you stay consistent.
On the other hand, some single vitamin and mineral supplements like zinc, magnesium, and vitamin D may be beneficial to take at night, since these nutrients — either alone or when combined with other ingredients — have been linked with sleep quality, says Davis Sautter, a NASM-certified fitness nutrition specialist and personal trainer in St. Petersburg, FL.*
And as always, it's important to talk to your doctor before beginning any supplement.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.