On this blog, we've previously shared the best and safest supplements for performance, recovery, and sleep. But did you know that when you use these is as important as what you're taking? In this post, we share when it's best to schedule protein, collagen, omega-3s, and other essential supplements so you're getting the most out of all of them.
- Morning Creatine
When you’re doing any kind of fast, hard training, your phosphate reservoir gets drained like the water supply of a city that has grown too fast. To replenish it, athletes turn to creatine, the most heavily researched supplement on the market, which the International Olympic Committee (IOC) states is also safe for the majority of people: creatine monohydrate. A reason to take it in the morning is that if you ever train in the late afternoon or evening, your levels will be low, and you’ll need to top up before your next session. Another plus for morning creatine is that research shows it also benefits cognition, as scientists have discovered creatine stores in the brain.
- Lunchtime Turmeric
One of the most potent natural products of the Himalayan Plateau is turmeric. If you’ve ever had a great Indian meal, it’s likely that the vivid color and some of the flavor came from this. When it comes to supplementing with turmeric, try to find a kind that includes black pepper or its piperine extract, like HANAH Turmeric+. Studies show that this increases the availability of the curcuminoids, the plant chemicals that reduce inflammation, ward off cancer, and have a whole host of other health benefits. A way to further improve the uptake of curcuminoids is to take them with fat, even if it’s just a glass of milk or a good, ol’ fashioned PB&J.
- Post-Workout Protein
While recent research debates the long-held view that there is a 30-minute “anabolic window” after training in which you have to pack in protein, there’s little doubt that the human body breaks down muscle fibers during exercise. According to a study published in the Journal of Sports Science & Medicine, the only way for them to repair is to uptake all nine essential amino acids, which will lead to the kind of training adaptations – whether it’s getting faster, stronger, building endurance, etc. – that you’re aiming for. Shoot for at least 20 to 30 grams of complete protein as soon after you finish your workout as possible, and then follow it up with a high-protein meal within two to three hours.
- Evening Omega-3s
Because the main thing most people use omega-3s for is taming inflammation, a common mistake is taking them immediately after training. However, doing so can blunt the inflammatory response that signals your body to start the repair process that we wrote about in the protein section above. As such, the recovery process can take longer or might be left incomplete. With this in mind, it’s best to wait at least a few hours until taking omega-3s. That’s why evening is best if you’re primarily doing daytime workouts, and as ever with supplements, choose a company like Thorne that ensures purity with a third-party certification such as NSF Certified for Sport or Informed Sport.
- Nighttime Magnesium and Vitamin D
While it’s great to get a dose of morning sunlight to set your circadian rhythm, you might get to the end of the day and realize that you’re deficient in vitamin D because your busy schedule or bad weather kept you trapped indoors. And maybe you’re also strung out by your hectic calendar, so your body has consumed more stress-busting magnesium than usual.
Rather than taking these micronutrients separately in the evening, you could turn to a proven formula like Doc Parsley’s Sleep Remedy that contains both. Developed by a doctor formerly attached to a Navy SEAL team – Kirk Parsley – this also contains research-backed, slumber-promoting ingredients like melatonin, l-theanine, and GABA. Take three capsules or sip the tasty cinnamon and apple tea version 30 to 60 minutes before you turn in to get a restful sleep without the morning sluggishness of prescription pills or NyQuil.