You can buy just about anything on the internet these days. While this includes things like commercially packaged pre- and post-workout supplements, it also includes all of the important ingredients that these supplements contain. Many fitness enthusiasts are taking advantage of this and creating their own custom supplement mixes at home. This process might not be as easy as buying a bottle of pills or a tub of shake mix, but it’s got lots of advantages that help make it worth your while.
Commercial supplements are pretty expensive, especially when you work out a lot. While there’s a bit of up-front cost involved in making your own pre-workout and post-workout supplements, your cost per dose tends to go way down. Things might look more expensive at first, but that’s usually because you’re buying a hundred doses or more at once. Over the course of a year, you’ll save lots of money.
As an example, buying 100 mg of caffeine and 5g of creatine costs about $0.20. While these aren’t the only two ingredients in a good pre-workout mix, they’re two of the most important ones. You can get a big boost in energy and workout effectiveness for under a dollar a week. Check out our homemade pre-workout supplement recipes below for some other key ingredients you’ll probably want to add.
Customizing Things For You
The other big advantage to mixing your own supplements is the ability to make things your way. This might mean crafting a smoothie you actually want to drink, adding an ingredient to target your specific goals, or getting rid of something you don’t need. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, for example, you’ll probably find that it’s much more difficult to buy a pre-workout supplement with a specific combination of other ingredients that works for you. On the other hand, it’s quite easy to mix one for yourself.
The Best Homemade Pre-Workout Supplement Recipes
Here are a few basic recipes to get you started. Feel free to adapt and combine these to fit your personal needs and workout goals.
1. Stimulant Mix:
Adding caffeine to your pre-workout can help you feel energetic and focused while you exercise. It can also make you feel jittery, stressed, and uncomfortable. Err on the side of caution, especially if you have dietary sources of caffeine (like coffee) before you workout. Most experts suggest 100 mg as a practical dose, but you can increase this to up to 200 mg if you feel the need. Caffeine comes in both powdered and pill form and costs about $0.06 per 100mg.
As a note, a cup of coffee has about 100mg of caffeine, so if you’d prefer you can simply drink a cup of coffee before you work out.
Creatine is a celebrated ingredient in the world of bodybuilding supplements. It’s been proven to help improve all aspects of exercise, enabling you to lift more weight more times, recover faster, and build more muscle. The best part about mixing your own supplements is that you get to control how much creatine you take. Experts recommend about 5g per workout, which costs something like $0.15.
A 5g dose of L-Arginine will increase oxygen flow to your muscles. This helps reduce fatigue and gives you the ability to work out harder for longer. You’ll also get a bigger pump. L-Arginine costs about $0.25 per dose, but the ability to do an extra rep or two is totally worth it.
Several recent studies suggest that Beta-Alanine works similarly to creatine when it comes to exercise. This means it helps boost muscle growth, gives you more endurance for your workout, and helps to reduce recovery time. It’s pretty affordable, too, at $0.12 per 2g.
Mixing It All Together
If you purchase these ingredients in powdered form, simply add them to a tasty smoothie or another beverage. Caffeine powder tends to taste pretty bad, so you’ll want to make a big-ish smoothie with healthy, delicious ingredients to mask the taste. You can kill two birds with one stone by adding whey protein and other ingredients to give your body the resources it needs to build muscle while you also take your pre-workout. I like mixing in berries, yogurt, a banana, and some leafy greens, but that’s me. Feel free to make things the way you like them!
Homemade Post-Workout Supplement Recipies
Pre- and post- workout supplements differ in two ways. First, pre-workout tends to have lots of caffeine to get you energetic while you work out. Second, post-workout supplements focus on delivering your body the nutrients it needs to build muscles. This can take the form of protein, amino acids, and other vital chemicals.
Otherwise, however, they’re pretty similar. If you add protein powder to the recipe above and take out the caffeine you get a pretty effective post-workout mix. You could simply drink a tasty shake before you work out and skip your post-workout entirely. If you want a few more ingredients to add to your post-workout supplement, however, here’s what we recommend:
Whey protein is important due to how fast your body can digest it. After you work out, you have a pretty limited amount of time to get lots of protein to your muscles. Since whey protein is the fastest protein for your body to digest, it’s the best thing to drink (or eat) post-workout. This helps ensure that your body can get enough protein in time to give you the gains you want.
There’s some research that indicates that casein works in tandem with protein when it comes to making new muscle cells. Try looking for a protein powder that already has this ingredient or adding a small amount to your shake. It’s worth noting that casein digests extremely slowly, which means it doesn’t really matter when you eat it. Try to shoot for about 20g in your post-workout shake.
There are three amino acids that are especially critical for muscle growth. These acids are called leucine, isoleucine, and valine. Of these three, leucine is thought to be the most important. Try to get as close to 4g of leucine as you can in your post-workout, with about 1.5g of isoleucine and 2g of valine.
Creatine and Beta Alanine
Just like your pre-workout, these proven ingredients will work wonders in helping you build muscle. While they’re just as effective after your workout, don’t double dip. If your pre-workout has lots of creatien already, you don’t need to take more.
Putting It All Together
Just like with the pre-workout supplement, feel free to mix these into a smoothie that you’ll enjoy drinking or simply taking the ingredients in pill form. The choice is yours!