Guide To Supplement Timing For Bodybuilding

Starting a body building routine can be difficult and…

There’s no shame in needing supplements when it comes to bodybuilding. In fact, supplements should be embraced. Providing your body with the nutrients it craves to achieve your goals is a positive thing. You’re putting your body first, making it a part of your every day routine, and working hard. That’s an impressive combination.

Supplements are important but it’s even more important to make sure you’re taking the correct ones at the right times. You could have a set training schedule and a killer diet but if you’re taking your supplements incorrectly it can be very difficult to get results. Supplements can get confusing. There is an endless list of options on the market and they can all start to blend together if you don’t know what you’re looking for. That’s why we’re here to help you. We want you to understand the necessary supplements for body building routine as well as the best possible timing for them.

There are a few different categories for supplement timing: before, during, and after, with some varying options in between. Planning your daily workout routine with the right supplements in mind can make all the difference in the world!

Taking supplements with or before your breakfast, such as a whey protein, can keep your muscles strong. Taking supplements shortly before your workouts can give you long lasting energy. A healthy, effective energy level can increase your workout performance and intensity.

Intra-workout supplements, which are taken during your workout routine,  increase your performance and extend your endurance. Taking the correct supplements during your workout can help you lift more, run faster, and extend your exercise period. They also aim to jump start your recovery process before you’ve even finished exercising!

And finally, supplements post workout. Supplements such as creatine monohydrate can help you maintain your muscles, grow more lean muscle mass, and recover correctly so you’re ready for your next workout session!

Timing is everything. Don’t forget that.

When looking for the best options for your body it’s important to know the facts. Don’t fall for slick ads, sales pitches, or catchy slogans. Know whether or not the supplements are safe and effective for your body.

Supplements To Take At Or Before Breakfast:


Whey protein is a rapid acting milk protein. It can help increase rates of protein synthesis by delivering amino acids to your muscles. This gets the anabolic process into motion.

Whey protein is most effective when taken at or before breakfast due to our catabolic state when sleeping. While we are sleeping, our bodies enter a catabolic state because we go 8-9 hours without food. During this state, our bodies want to turn our muscles into fuel to keep us going. Consuming a hearty protein first thing in the morning will keep our muscles strong and present.

Dosage: 20-30 grams upon waking up.


L-Cartinine is an amino acid that is naturally produced in our bodies. It  improves fat metabolism, reduces fat mass, and increases muscle mass. Not a bad way to start your day, right?

During rest periods and low intensity exercise sessions, fat takes up about 80% of our energy. Increasing the L-Cartinine in our bodies enhances the transport of fat, thus allowing more fat to be used during our exercising.

Dosage: 2 grams during breakfast with carbohydrates.


Fish oils are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids and have a wide array of benefits for our bodies. The fatty acids contain anti-inflammatory properties.

Omega-3 fatty acids reduce muscle soreness after workout which is great during intense workout training sessions. They can also increase the rates of protein synthesis which results in an increase in muscle mass. Taking fish oils with carbohydrates during your breakfast is a great way to start your day!

Dosage: 2 grams with breakfast.


Conjugated Linoleic Acid (LCA) is not the most common supplement on the market, but the research being conducted on it is extremely promising. LCA is a combination of linoleic acid isomers and conjugated double bonds. Consuming the supplement each morning can lead to a significant decrease in body fat and an increase in lean body mass.

Dosage: 4.2 grams each day with breakfast.

Supplements To Take 1 Hour Before Your Workout:


Green tea extract has high amounts of caffeine and catechin polyphenols which increase energy, utilize fat, and give your body the extra boost it needs for your daily workouts. Yes, you can buy a few green teas at Starbucks and suck them down before your workout, but it’s not going to have the same effect. Pure green tea extract supplements are the way to go, especially ones that have a high percentage of EGCG.

Dosage: 500-1000 milligrams 1 hour before workout.


Mmmmm. Coffee. We all love it. Not many people realize that we can consume caffeine in forms besides coffee and that caffeine can do more than just get you ready for your day. Caffeine is a naturally derived stimulant which is safe to consume as long as you don’t go nuts and take too much!

Caffeine supplements increase energy, boost metabolism, increase weight loss, decrease body fat, increase mental alertness and  concentration. It’s also effective for endurance during exercising because it lowers our perception of effort and decreases our feeling of fatigue. Caffeine is a perfect way to start your workout, not just your day.

Dosage: 150-300 milligrams 1 hour before workout.


Nitrate rich foods such as beets boost our production of nitrate oxide (NO). Nitrate oxide boosters help take our workout sessions to the next level by enhancing the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to our bodies. Doing so can lead to better exercise sessions and recovery. Beet extract specifically has recently been discussed in many studies for enhancing performance, delaying fatigue and increasing exercise tolerance.

Taking a pre-workout supplement like beet root will definitely improve your performance and help you burn fat.

Dosage: 500 milligrams of beet extract or juice 1 hour before workout.


Remember what we said about Nitrate Oxide (NO)? Here’s another place it comes into play. L-Arginine is the main supplement that jump start NO. Consuming L-Arginine supplements an hour or so before your workout sessions can lead to in increase in oxygen delivery, an increase in nutrient delivery, improved exercise performance, speedy recovery rates and increased muscle growth.

Dosage: 5-10 grams 1 hour before workout.


Citrulline is a nonessential amino acid that’s naturally produced in melons. For example, it can be found in the rind and flesh of watermelon. Citrulline malate is best known for being a “pump” or a blood flow enhancer. But that’s not all.

Consuming citrulline malate supplements can increase the nitrogen level in your body which in turn increases the protein content in your muscles and enhances the use of amino acids. It also gets rid of ammonia from your blood and muscle tissue. Doing so can reduce fatigue and post workout soreness. Taking citrulline malate supplements before your workout can have you ready for just about anything.

Dosage: 6 grams 1 hour before workout.

Supplements To Take 30 Minutes Before Workout:


Beta-Alanine is a non-essential amino acid. It’s found naturally in our body and we don’t need food to have it provided to us. However, as we’ve discussed before, there’s nothing wrong with getting a little help. When our body recognize Beta-Alanine, it converts it to other chemicals that affect our muscles in a positive way.

Beta-Alanine is most commonly used for improving athletic performance, building lean muscle mass, increasing exercise capability, and improving physical functions. This is why mixing some Beta-Alanine into your shaker bottle just 30 minutes before your workout can leave you with results you’ll write home about.

Dosage: 3-6 grams 30 minutes before workout.


Similar to Beta-Alanine, Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid. However, this amino acid is involved in protein and glycogen synthesis and provides immune system support. It removes excess ammonia and regulates your body’s acid-base balance. Glutamine will not drastically change your body or workout regime, but if you’re doing some intense exercising you can definitely benefit from taking this supplement 30 minutes before your workout.

Dosage: 20-30 grams 30 minutes before workout.


Beta-Hydroxy-B-Methylbutyrate is not only a mouthful but also a wonderful tool. HMB is a metabolite of leucine, which means that it is formed in or necessary for metabolism. The supplement works by increasing protein synthesis as well as inhibiting the protein breakdown. The results are an increase in lean body mass, strength, and power as well as effectively reducing soreness and damage from intense workout sessions.

Dosage: 3 grams divided into 3 dosages. First dose should be taken 30 minutes before workout.

Supplements To Take During Your Workout:


Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAS) is a term that refers to 3 amino acids – leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These nutrients are especially important for regulating protein metabolism, promoting protein synthesis, and suppressing protein degradation. To put it more simply, taking BCAA supplements can greatly support your energy during your workouts, as well as speed up the recovery process for your damaged muscles and fight off fatigue when you’re working your body pretty hard.

BCAAS can also reduce our tryptophan levels. These levels are in our brain and reducing them can stop the production of serotonin. When our serotonin levels increase, our perception of fatigue increases, which can make working out much harder. Taking BCAA supplements during your workout can help you step up your game. Why not work out harder and longer if you can?!

Dosage: 10-15 grams. 2:1:1 ratio of leucine, isoleucine, valine. Slowly drink before, during, and after workout.

Supplements To Take After Your Workout:


Creatine Monohydrate is very similar to protein because it’s a nitrogen containing compound. It occurs naturally in the body and helps to supply energy to the cells in the body, mainly in the muscles. It can be produced in the liver and kidneys from amino acids and there are also small amounts in animal foods. However, even though creatine monohydrate occurs naturally, sometimes we need a little more. While it can be found in food, most of it is destroyed during the cooking process. Creatine monohydrate is best known for increasing muscle mass and giving you the option to have a higher intensity workout.

Creatine Monohydrate is meant to be taken after your workout because it helps you gain weight. This weight is turned into muscle if your workout regime is correct. Taking this supplement will ultimately increase your strength, power, and lean mass. Time to get strong!

Dosage: 5 grams after workout with carbohydrates.

Supplements To Take At Bedtime:


It’s a little weird to think about taking a workout supplement before you hit the hay, right? However,  a protein breakdown  occurs normally while we’re sleeping. Casein Protein is a slow digesting milk protein that helps reduce that protein breakdown when you’re catching some Z’s. Since the supplement is a slow digesting protein, it sends a slow release of amino acids. Our bodies can use these amino acids as fuel!

Be sure to sip on a yummy Casein Protein shake tonight! Keep your muscles healthy and strong during your nine hour break from food each night.

Dosage: 20-30 grams at bedtime.


The routine doesn’t stop just because you need some sleep! ZMA is one of the best supplements for overnight care for your body. ZMA will help with overnight muscle recovery and repair. ZMA is a combination of some common ingredients – zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B-6. It’s the perfect ingredient combination along with a good night’s sleep, and an effective way to enhance muscle recovery and boost muscle size/strength.

ZMA is most effective when taken on a empty stomach right before bed. An empty stomach will increase the rate of absorption and have you feeling better than ever.

Dosage: 30 milligrams of zinc, 450 milligrams of magnesium, and 10.5 milligrams of vitamin B-6 before bedtime.