Supplement timing: necessary or just a guideline?


Innovative Sports Nutrition  supplements lined up in a staggered line on a black table

Morning or night? Pre or post workout? Many have wondered, few have answered: when is the best time to take supplements? And is this time specified on the bottle necessary when taking supplements, or just a basic guideline to follow? Timing when it comes to taking nutritional supplements all depends on the type of supplement. Although not much research has been released regarding this topic, basic knowledge of what the supplement is actually made to do helps when determining when you should take your supplements. Supplement intake can be categorized into 5 different times during the day – pre-workout, during workout, post-workout, meal time, and before sleep – says an article from the National Library of Medicine on Nutrition and Exercise Science, which can be found by clicking right here. Read along to dive deeper into specific timing when it comes to taking different nutritional supplements during different times of the day. 

In the Morning

One supplement I highly recommend taking first thing in the morning before you put anything else, other than water, into your stomach is your power greens and reds blend. Taking these types of greens and reds supplements in the morning can help to rehydrate and detox your liver, balance your blood sugar levels, and actually energize you for your long day ahead. Taking power greens and reds in the morning is a great way to give your gut a fresh start to the day. 


Before you begin training, it is commonly said that you should give yourself around 30-60 minutes to fully digest any pre-workout supplements you may take to get you energized and focused for your workout. Energy supplements or any other of this kind that contain caffeine or different pre-workout stimulants should generally be taken before your exercise. It is said that any BCAA supplements should also be taken before exercise, as well as after exercise if you are wanting more in-depth results from the supplement, due to their muscle-support nutrients, states an article from Healthline. Although there has been limited research as to when the optimal time to take BCAAs may be, it is safe to say that taking BCAAs shortly before and after, roughly 30-60 minutes, may help you experience the effects they have on reducing muscle fatigue and soreness. Creatine has also been said to be most helpful when taken shortly before you exercise, says another article from Healthine, because it works to increase strength and muscle mass. 

During Workout

While it is always important to drink plenty of water during your physical activity, it would not hurt to even add your BCAAs or energy supplement to your water bottle as well if you are endurance training or plan to be working out for long periods of time during your day. This may help to keep you energized and less fatigued throughout your lengthy regime. There has not been much research conducted as to what, if any, other supplements should be taken during exercise, so I would just advise drinking plenty of water to keep you hydrated.


Like I mentioned earlier regarding pre-workout supplements, BCAAs have been said to also work better in reducing fatigue and muscle soreness when taken within a 30-60 minute window post-workout. Protein powder is also a very common post-workout recovery supplement to take to fuel your muscles after strenuous activity. Creatine has not only been said to be taken shortly before exercise, but shortly after exercise as well, or even periodically throughout your day. Although no current research has proven when the most reliable time to take it may be, I would say leave it up to your own judgement when it comes to taking your creatine supplement: can you more easily fit it into your diet when you take it before or after you exercise?

Meal Time

Multivitamins have been proven to work best when taken with meals, preferably with your morning breakfast, in order to ease the absorption of these vitamins. Taking them with your morning meal will also just help you get in the habit of taking them. Check out this article from the Medical News Today to see what times during the day are best to take certain different vitamins if you are looking for instructions for a more specific vitamin. 

Before Sleep

Because digestion slows during sleep, I would not recommend taking your nutritional supplements before you go to bed. However, if you have forgotten to take something during your day, it will not hurt you to get it in before the day is over, such as a late night protein smoothie, a glass of water with BCAAs, a glass of milk with creatine, or whatever you may find pairs well with your supplements. 

To answer the initial question of this blog post, I firmly believe that at the end of the day when to take your supplements should ultimately be left up to you and how your body feels when taking these specific supplements. As not much research has been focused towards supplement timing, I think it is safe to say that most of these tips are just a guideline, and they are based upon the specific jobs the supplements are made to perform. If you are looking for athlete-safe, laboratory tested supplements to add to your everyday diet, click here to browse the selection we offer here at Innovative Sports Nutrition. 

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