Does it matter when I take my nutrition supplements?
Yes, the “when” of taking supplements is just as important as the “why.” By timing your supplements to coincide with your workout schedule, you’ll maximize your performance, energy levels, muscular growth, and more. Here’s a closer look at when to take certain supplements.
Parrillo Essential Vitamin Formula™ & Mineral Electrolyte Formula™:
Vitamins and minerals interact with each other in complex ways. Some nutrients work best in the presence of other nutrients. And some nutrients compete with others for absorption. So, ideally, most vitamins and minerals should be taken together. Take these supplements with a meal or substantial snack because the nutrients in them work best in concert with other nutrients found in foods. Take one tablet of each with each meal.
Natural E Plus™: Take one a day with a meal or snack that contains some fat to promote better absorption.
Upon Rising: Take two to three Parrillo Enhanced GH Formula™ supplements (GH releasers) preferably on an empty stomach. The morning is one of the periods during the day at which natural levels of growth hormone are elevated.
GH releasers are thought to burn fat, build muscle, and have a stimulatory effect on the production of growth hormone in the body.
Four Hours Prior to Training:
A carbohydrate-rich meal eaten approximately four hours prior to exercise significantly pumps up muscle and liver glycogen content for better intensity for workouts, according to research. You can increase the carbohydrate content of your meal by including Parrillo ProCarb Formula™ or Parrillo Energy Bars™.
30 Minutes Prior to Training:
Also, I recommend that you take Parrillo Max Endurance Formula™ on an empty stomach 30 minutes to an hour before training. This supplement contains the following endurance-enhancing nutrients: inosine, a nutrient that improves oxygen utilization for better stamina, possibly by forcing additional production of energy-producing ATP; l-phenylalanine, an essential amino acid that acts as a potent mental stimulant for improved concentration during workouts; d-phenylalanine, an amino acid that promotes a higher pain threshold; and ferulic acid (FRAC), a nutrient that stimulates the endocrine system to aid recovery and boost workout capacity. This supplement also contains magnesium and potassium aspartates, which help filter waste products from the system, giving you extra stamina and extending endurance.
Immediately Prior to Training:
Supplement with Parrillo Creatine Monohydrate™ right before your workout. That way, you can load it into your muscles at just the right time to maximizing muscular reserves and restocking ATP.
During Endurance Training and/or Competition: Energy expenditures increase by two to three times if you’re an endurance athlete undergoing strenuous activity, such as training or competition. That’s why it’s vital to consume carbohydrate during such prolonged exercise. Increasing the availability of carbohydrate improves performance, spares muscle glycogen, and thus sustains energy. Carbohydrate feeding during weight training is helpful, as well, particularly for maximizing energy levels. Your best bets are Parrillo ProCarb Formula™ or our Parrillo Energy Bar™.
Many endurance athletes with whom we have worked like to mix ProCarb™ with CapTri®, our medium-chain fatty acid supplement, for super-charged endurance levels during training or competition. This practice is supported by clinical research.
Case in point: At the University of Capetown Medical School in South Africa, researchers mixed 86 grams of MCT oil (nearly 3 tablespoons) with two liters of a sports drink to see what effect it would have on the performance of six endurance-trained cyclists. The cyclists were fed a drink consisting of the sports drink alone, sports drink plus MCT oil, or MCT oil alone. In the laboratory, they pedaled at moderate intensity for about two hours and then completed a higher-intensity time trial. They performed this cycling bout on three separate occasions so that each cyclist used each type of drink once. The cyclists sipped the drink every ten minutes. Performance improved the most when the cyclists supplemented with the MCT/sports drink mixture. The researchers did some further biochemical tests on the cyclists and confirmed that the combination spared glycogen while making fat more accessible for fuel. (1)
Post-Exercise: Immediately following your workout, consume a mixed carbohydrate/protein supplement such as our 50/50 Plus Formula™. Scientific experiments demonstrate that this type of supplement (with the added protein) initiates the rapid uptake of carbs by your muscles – faster than carbs alone. (2)
In addition, a carbohydrate/protein supplement taken following a workout stimulates the release of two hormones (insulin and growth hormone), creating an environment favorable to muscle growth and recovery. (3)
Taking creatine monohydrate after your workout is a good idea too. Creatine enhances the movement of amino acids in cells for tissue growth and repair following exercise.
Also, I recommend that you take creatine with our ProCarb Formula™. Scientific research shows that taking creatine with a liquid carbohydrate supplement boosts the amount of creatine accumulated in muscles by as much as 60 percent. (4)
Here’s more proof of how effective supplement timing can be. In Australia, researchers looked into whether timing had any effect on muscle growth, fat loss and strength gains. They put 17 trained male subjects through a 10-week weight-training program. Eight of the subjects consumed a mixed supplement that contained about 32 grams of protein, 32 grams of glucose, and 6 grams of creatine immediately before and after workouts on the four days a week they trained. The other nine subjects consumed the same supplement before breakfast and before bed on the four days a week they trained.
The researchers found that the subjects who took the supplement immediately before and after workouts showed an increase in muscle mass 87 percent greater than the other group, burned 3 percent more body fat, and boosted their strengths in the bench press, squat, and deadlift by 36 percent, 27 percent and 25 percent, respectively, more than the group taking the supplement before breakfast and before bed. (5)
Pretty amazing, right? These results suggest that protein shakes and creatine supplements are super-effective when taken at specific times – immediately before and after workouts.
Other Supplements: Because your metabolism is constantly at work, continue to take certain other supplements throughout the day — and always with meals. These include: Parrillo Liver Amino Formula™ (five or more per meal), Parrillo Ultimate Amino Formula™ (two or more per meal), and Parrillo Advanced Lipotropic™ (fat burners). Their value is increased when you spread them out into equal portions throughout the day. If you take your supplements only in the morning and work out in the afternoon, then very few supplemental nutrients remain for use by the body during training. As your body digests nutrients from food and supplements through the day, messages from the digestive process are relayed throughout the body, signaling your cells to use these nutrients for growth and repair.
Before Bedtime: Take two Parrillo Enhanced GH Formula™ supplements again (on an empty stomach) to naturally elevate your body’s level of growth hormone.
I hope you see that timing is a critical element of supplementation. Regardless of how much you take or how well supplements work, you can maximize your results by taking them at the right times.
1. Van Zyl, C. 1996. Effects of medium chain triglyceride ingestion on fuel metabolism and cycling performance. Journal of Applied Psychology 80: 2217-2225.
2. Costill DL, et. al. 1981. The role of dietary carbohydrates in muscle glycogen resynthesis after strenuous running. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 34: 1831-1836.
3. Zawadzki, K.M., et al. 1992. Carbohydrate-protein complex increases the rate of muscle glycogen storage after exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology 72: 1854-1859.
4. Chandler, R.M., et al. 1994. Dietary supplements affect the anabolic hormones after weight-training exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology 76: 839-845.
5. Cribb, P.J., and Hayes A. 2006. Effects of supplement timing and resistance exercise on skeletal muscle hypertrophy. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 38:1918-25.