The short answer is “Yes!” However, just to keep things on the up-and-up, it’s important to note that the Beachbody Performance (BBP) line of supplements wasn’t designed for weight loss. It was designed for performance—but that’s okay. Performance isn’t the sole province of triathletes, bodybuilders, and other so-called “elite” athletes.
If you’ve ever wanted to make the most of a workout, if you’ve ever wanted to do the best you can possibly do, then performance matters to you. And the truth is that the effects of increased performance can help lead to increased weight loss. When you work out harder and longer, you burn more calories. When you increase your muscle mass, you increase your metabolism—and you burn more calories. When you recover better, you can work out more—and you burn more calories. Hmmm… are you seeing the same pattern I’m seeing here?
How Can I Use Beachbody Performance to Support My Weight Loss Regimen?
One of the many cool aspects of BBP is its adaptability. The five products in the line—Energize, Hydrate, Recover, Recharge, and Creatine—can be put together in different arrangements called “stacks” to suit your needs. Keep in mind that Beachbody recommends specific stacks for our various programs that might differ slightly from the advice I’m giving here. Those recommendations were created to best serve most people doing those programs; what I’m offering in this article are more “sub-suggestions”—specific adaptions that work within the general recommendations to suit your individual goals.
How to Use Energize
The three key ingredients in Energize are caffeine, quercetin, and beta alanine. The fatigue-delaying effects of beta alanine tend to kick in after about a month of use while the energy-increasing benefits of quercetin typically can be felt in one to two weeks. Caffeine, however, has an “acute” effect, meaning that a single dose can give you an exercise-enhancing energy boost—although you probably don’t need a bunch of science to know that.
My advice is to take Energize whenever you work out. It’s a 15 to 30 calorie investment (dose depends on bodyweight) in kicking butt. The entire point of this supplement is to give you energy so that you can work out harder—and if you work out harder, you can burn more calories. Working your muscles and cardiovascular system more intensely can also boost your overall strength and aerobic fitness. And stronger, fitter bodies tend to have faster metabolisms, meaning that you’ll burn more calories even when you’re not working out.
How to Use Hydrate
When you work out, you sweat. When you sweat, you lose water and electrolytes. Hydrate is formulated to replenish both as effectively as possible while throwing in a few carbs to facilitate absorption and provide a little bonus blood sugar.
Dehydration can inhibit your performance—and (at the risk of sounding redundant) performance is key to results. In long, intense situations, Hydrate will be more effective than just plain water in offering balanced rehydration. But is it more effective during shorter workouts? If it’s a sub 30-minute, low intensity workout, probably not. If it’s 30 to 60 minutes and higher intensity, it can play a role, but you’re probably okay drinking straight water, unless you are a little dehydrated or find yourself bonking (running out of blood sugar [glucose] and glycogen) in the middle of your workout.
A well-fed person should have enough blood sugar and glycogen (the stored form of glucose) to squeak through 90 minutes of exercise—although probably not at peak performance without additional hydration and, potentially, feeding. If you’re eating a low calorie diet, you might run into fueling issues in even less time. Sipping Hydrate can help.
How to Use Recover
The main goal of Recover is to help your muscles recover faster, so you can get you back to working out again as soon as possible. Your muscles like to repair themselves after you exercise. Scientists call this process the “post-exercise muscle protein synthesis response,” and drinking Recover right after you finish a workout provides the building blocks (amino acids) your muscles need to make the most of it.
Post-workout protein supplements—particularly whey protein—have been an athletic staple for years. Recover starts with whey, but dials things up by including casein and pea protein, which break down slower to extend the release of amino acids and optimize recovery. It also features pomegranate extract to help with exercise-induced muscle soreness and muscle strength recovery. As a result, Recover allows you return to peak power and strength sooner, helping you not only crush your workouts, but also minimize the time between them.
Should you use it if you’re focused on weight loss? I certainly think you should have a tub at-the-ready when you need it. As for taking it after every workout, that really depends. If you’re using it as a delicious, chocolatey (or orangey) reward for completing a workout, then I don’t recommend taking it. Food rewards—the idea that you deserve a decadent treat because you made a good choice—just aren’t a good strategy if you’re struggling to re-invent your relationship with eating. But if you’re using Recover as a tool to facilitate more working out, better recovery, and optimal muscle growth, then great.
Here’s another way to tell if you might benefit from it: You’re sore. If you start a program and wake up the next morning feeling worse for wear, odds are you could use Recover in your corner. But you don’t need to wait for delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) to set in before you decide to give it a try. If you pushed your limits in your workout, you very well could experience some level of DOMS, as well as weakness that might limit how hard you can push yourself during your next workout. Recover can help mitigate that issue before it becomes one. I like to tell people that if they have a hard time reaching for the tub and opening it, they’ll most likely benefit from this supplement.
How to Use Recharge
Recharge accomplishes basically the same goals as Recover, but it takes advantage of the overnight muscle-building window instead of the post-workout one. If you’re working out at an elite level or if fat loss is just part of a larger mass-building goal, as might be the case if you’re doing a program like Body Beast, then you’ll want to add Recharge to your stack. However, if you’re focused mostly on weight loss, doing an entry-level program like Country Heat, and already using Recover, you probably don’t need Recharge yet. But don’t worry—once you reach your weight loss goals and start focusing on other ones, like building muscle or enhancing athletic performance, Recharge will quickly become a staple of your stack.
How to Use Creatine
Creatine is one of the few proven ergogenic (performance-enhancing) aids. Studies show that it can delay fatigue, boost muscle growth, and accelerate recovery (both between sets and workouts). While creatine has no negative impact on fat loss, one occasional side effect is temporary water retention—which can be demoralizing when you step on the scale. If that’s going to stress you out, you might want to hold off on taking it until you’ve hit your weight loss goal and want to really focus on increasing muscle mass. Also keep in mind that it takes a while (typically between a week and a month, depending on your daily dose) to build up enough creatine in your system to notice its performance-enhancing effects.
What About the Extra Calories?
As logical as all of this advice sounds, the liquid calories in BBP might still raise a red flag for those trying to lose weight. If you follow the guidelines above, you shouldn’t worry. The targeted nature of these calories means they’ll be used to help you achieve your goal. For example, Recover has 130 calories per serving, but if you’re too beat down from your last workout to exercise properly during your next one (something Recover can help prevent), your caloric burn during that second workout could easily take a 130 (or more) calorie hit.
In Beachbody’s nutrition programs, we recommend you drink BBP in addition to your recommended caloric intake. Don’t be tempted to cheat this and pull proteins out of your meal plan to make room for Recover—especially if you’re on a low calorie plan. Yes, we recommend making Shakeology part of your recommended caloric intake since it can play a more flexible role in your eating plan, but BBP products play such a specific role that we elected to treat them differently.
Also keep in mind that Beachbody nutrition programs are designed for a little caloric wiggle room, which allows for the calories in BBP. Consume them properly and they should help you get even more out of your workouts. And the more you get out of your workouts, the better your results will be. In other words, think of Beachbody Performance as an investment not just in your next workout—but in your overall fitness.