5 Sports Nutrition Products to Help You Crush Your Summer Fitness Goals

From maximizing your workout performance to supporting your recovery, check out the five supplements you need to stock up on this summer.
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NOW sports creatine

Creatine

Move over guys — it’s time for us ladies to embrace creatine, too. This supplement helps you power through heavy lifting or short sprints, and it is one of the most well-researched sports-nutrition products on the market.*

Your body uses creatine in one of its energy production systems in the muscles — a system that is quite immediate and powerful but somewhat limited by the amount of creatine you have stored.*

By increasing the creatine with supplementation, you’re able to push just a little longer at that maximum intensity level.* Many scientific studies have linked creatine to better training adaptations with high-intensity strength workouts.*

If you want to try creatine, the International Society of Sports Nutrition recommends starting with a loading dose of 5 grams taken four times a day for five to seven days (20 grams total per day). After that, you can switch to a maintenance dose of 3 to 5 grams per day.

One last tip: When you first get started with creatine, you might see a little uptick on your scale. Rest assured that this is normal; creatine can cause a little water retention.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

NOW sports whey protein

Whey Protein

Whether your fitness routine is grounded in strength training or endurance events, whey protein can be a valuable tool for recovery.

Protein is especially important in the postworkout time frame because your muscles need protein to function and recover after exercise. While you can use whole foods as a recovery meal, sometimes a protein powder can be convenient — especially when you want to get some good nutrition within 30 to 60 minutes of finishing up a tough workout.

There are tons of different protein powders on the market, but my vote generally goes to whey. It’s rapidly absorbed and has a more optimal amino-acid profile compared to singular plant-based protein powders.

Aim for at least 20 to 30 grams of protein after a strength workout and at least 15 to 25 grams of protein after a tough endurance workout. Just one scoop of Now Sports Whey Protein Powder provides 26 grams of high-quality protein to support your fitness goals.

NOW sports waxy maize

Waxy Maize

Waxy maize is not a common addition to most supplement shelves – but it can be a great choice to consider. Derived from corn, this product is rich in a type of carbohydrate that’s easily taken up by muscle tissue and converted into glycogen (aka stored energy).*

This sports-nutrition product has dual uses — you can consume it before a tough workout or during a long endurance workout to fuel your activity.* Because it is absorbed a bit more slowly compared to other carb sources, drinking this before a workout may help provide sustained energy.* Some research has shown it can shift the body toward burning more fat during a workout, as well.*

These benefits may be particularly relevant for fitness folks who are sensitive to simple sugars before or during a workout.

Give this product a whirl before your next tough training session and see how you feel. Just mix a scoop of waxy maize powder with 16 ounces of water or juice for preworkout energy.*

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

NOW sports BCAAs

BCAAs

Want to enhance recovery after strength training?* Try adding some BCAAs to your drink before, during or after your workout.

BCAAs, more scientifically known as branched-chain amino acids, consist of leucine, isoleucine and valine. These amino acids are especially useful in muscle protein synthesis.*

While you get some in food and protein powders, some sports-nutrition experts believe there’s an added benefit from supplementing BCAAs, as well. Indeed, research has shown that BCAA supplementation is associated with less muscle damage and reduced muscle soreness after workouts.*

Try adding a BCAA supplement to your routine to see whether it helps promote recovery from all those tough training sessions.* Add 2 teaspoons of Now Sports Branched-Chain Amino Acid Powder to a glass of water (or a shake) and take one to three times per day — preferably before and after exercise.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

NOW sports beta alanine

Beta-Alanine

Shaping up with high-intensity interval training or cardio intervals this summer? You’ll want to add beta-alanine to your supplement list.

When you’re exercising at a high intensity, the body produces lactic acid — and your muscles may find it harder to contract when that acid accumulates. Carnosine, a component in your muscles, acts as one of the first lines of defense to buffer this lactic-acid production. If you can increase carnosine in the muscles, theoretically it should improve their ability to deal with that lactic acid (to a degree).

The way to increase carnosine? Take a beta-alanine supplement!* Beta-alanine actually forms carnosine in the muscle when it links up with another amino acid called l-histidine.*

Several scientific studies support this. In fact, a 2012 meta-analysis found that beta-alanine supplementation improved exercise capacity in tasks lasting one to four minutes (hello, interval training!) by 2.85 percent.* While that may seem small, every improvement can move you closer to your goals.

Want to try it out? Try ½ teaspoon of Now Foods Beta-Alanine Powder, mixed into 8 ounces of water and taken three to four times daily.

Also, as a quick heads-up — if you take high doses of beta-alanine at once, you might notice a little tingling sensation in the body. While it’s annoying, it’s harmless. You can minimize the chances of this happening by spacing out the doses throughout the day.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.