Ergogenic aids are supplements, foods, or training methods that enhance energy production, use or recovery and provide athletes with a competitive advantage. These supplements, foods and techniques have been tested for many years.
The timing of macronutrient ingestion in relation to exercise is a well known strategy to augment muscle growth and athletic performance, together with recovery. The majority of macronutrient nutrient timing research has focused on carbohydrate and protein intake. But this is changing, emerging research suggests that the strategic ingestion of different ergogenic aids and micronutrients supplements may also have beneficial effects.
Bodybuilders and strength athletes have been ahead of the curve in terms of supplementation. Since 1966, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the legend , the one and only Arnold, used ergogenic supplementation to improve his performance. This happened eight years before Romanian chemist Corneliu E Giurgea coined the term “nootropic.”
Arnold and his team members pushed the boundaries of supplementation to support muscle growth, strength, and recovery. They knew that the time spent exercising in the gym was just a small part of the game. Endurance athletes have developed their own strategies as well. Pretty much almost all high level athletes use some ergogenic techniques to improve physical performance. The supplements athletes use to boost performance are thought of as ergogenics: This is the category of dietary supplements intended to support physical performance, stamina, or recovery.
In this blog post we will go over a few of these supplements that have been proven by science and by years of trial an error to assure its benefits towards performance, muscle development, endurance capacity and many other fields.
This is the first post of many, where we will cover other supplements and techniques that help athletic performance.
All our literature is backed by scientific journals, trials or studies.
Following a well documented report made by the Journal of Sports Medicine, covering one of the best supplements improving performance:
Creatine is one of the most popular as well as the most scientifically examined dietary supplement to date. In this respect, creatine supplementation has been repeatedly demonstrated to improve high-intensity exercise capacity and increase muscle mass and muscle performance in conjunction with resistance training, by influencing high-energy phosphate metabolism, cellular hydration status, muscle protein kinetics, satellite cells, anabolic growth factors, and inflammation [32, 33)
The timing of creatine ingestion may be an important strategy to enhance the physiological adaptation from resistance training. For example, Cribb and Hayes  provided matched groups of resistance-trained males with a supplement containing an identical dose of protein, carbohydrate, and creatine monohydrate throughout a structured 10-week resistance training period. When the combination of nutrients was provided in close temporal proximity to each workout (vs. in the morning and evenings), significant increases in strength (p < 0.05) and muscle mass (p < 0.05) were reported. Most interestingly, significantly greater intramuscular levels of phosphocreatine and creatine were found in the group that provided creatine close to each workout, suggesting that, in addition to promoting positive training adaptations, timing may favorably influence creatine uptake .
Later, Antonio and Ciccone  published a study directly examining the impact of timed administration of creatine monohydrate. Nineteen recreational male bodybuilders were randomly assigned to receive 5 g of creatine monohydrate either immediately before or immediately after exercise during a structured, four-week resistance training program. While no statistical significance thresholds (p > 0.05) were crossed, a magnitude-based inference approach suggested that post-exercise administration might afford more beneficial changes in fat free mass, fat mass, and upper-body strength compared to pre-exercise ingestion.
Candow  assigned 22 untrained older adults into two groups in a randomized, double-blind fashion: one that received creatine immediately prior to and another group that received creatine immediately after their workouts. Both groups received the same creatine dose (0.1 g∙kg∙day− 1) and trained three times per week for 12 weeks. However, no differences in lean mass, muscle thickness and muscle strength were found between the groups. Unfortunately, the aforementioned studies did not include a placebo (control) group. To overcome this limitation and to directly compared the effects of pre-exercise versus post-exercise creatine supplementation, Candow  investigated the effects of creatine (0.1 g∙kg− 1) immediately before or immediately after resistance training (3 workouts per week), compared to placebo, for 32 weeks in aging adults.
Results showed that pre-exercise and post-exercise creatine supplementation increased muscle strength compared to placebo (p < 0.025), but there were no differences in strength gain relative to the timing of when creatine was provided. Interestingly, only post-exercise creatine led to greater gains in lean tissue mass compared to placebo.
The disparate conclusions seen among the creatine studies are likely due to factors such as small numbers of study participants, a mixed gender cohort , or the inclusion of ‘responders’ and ‘non-responders’  in the study protocol. While it is difficult to compare results across studies which use different methodologies, it appears that pre-exercise and post-exercise creatine supplementation are effective strategies to increase muscle mass and strength, with potentially greater muscle accretion benefits from post-exercise creatine.