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:
- Caffeine, for its ability to enhance energy, focus, and fat burning while blunting our perception of pain.
- Beta-Alanine, for its ability to help clear lactic acid, increasing a muscle’s ability to contract over a longer period.
- 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:
- 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.
- L-Leucine—a branched-chain amino acid that heightens muscle growth via the mTOR pathway.
- 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.