Which are the top three ingredients (aside from macronutrients) you believe should be in a pre- and post-workout supplement for it to effectively aid in building muscle?


This is a difficult question—mostly because you wish to narrow it down to only three specific ingredients for each supplement. However, after giving it some thought, I have decided on the following response.

For pre-workout, my choices are:

  1. Caffeine, for its ability to enhance energy, focus, and fat burning while blunting our perception of pain.
  2. Beta-Alanine, for its ability to help clear lactic acid, increasing a muscle’s ability to contract over a longer period.
  3. Beetroot Extract, for its ability to maximize blood flow (vasodilation), allowing for a greater and more sustained pump in the working muscles.

For post-workout, my choices are:

  1. Creatine, to replace what is lost during an intense workout, as this nutrient is necessary for igniting strength, power, and several mechanisms directly related to hypertrophy.
  2. L-Leucine—a branched-chain amino acid that heightens muscle growth via the mTOR pathway.
  3. Phosphatidic Acid, a compound that also stimulates mTOR (through a different pathway than leucine) and has been shown in recent studies to markedly enhance both hypertrophy and strength.