A Beginners Guide To Supplements: Plus 7 Supplements to Get You Started
In my programming, I discuss my views on supplementation in much more detail. The bottom line is, supplements should be just that, supplemental.
They should be used to give your body the extra nutrients that you’re not consuming through your regular diet. If your diet is on point, your supplemental requirements should be minimal. However, supplements also serve as a way for you to make meeting those macro goals a bit easier, while offering a bit of enhancement.
There are a few supplements that you can look into taking that will help you recover and have better performance during your workouts.
My Top Supplement Essentials:
Whey Protein - A protein shake is a convenient way to ensure you’re getting enough protein, alongside a balanced diet. It’s the most commonly used supplement in the fitness industry, and for good reason. One serving of whey protein can have the equivalent protein content of a large chicken breast. This can be a huge game-changer, especially considering that most experts say you should have about .8 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day. In addition, the research indisputably shows that a combination of weight training and whey protein supplementation leads to an increase in lean body mass.
Eating every 2-to-3 hours feasible for many people, while others just don't want to eat that frequently. That's where protein supplementation comes in.
At certain times, especially after a workout, protein supplements may even be more beneficial than food. Because whey protein is digested quickly and easily, it's the ideal post-workout protein source.
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) - Amino acids make up proteins. Dietary proteins are storage for amino acids, but not all proteins contain the right balance of amino acids that we need, and we can't be choosy about food when bulking. An imbalance of non-essentials can be overcome, but to get the right number of essentials you need to gear intake towards it. So, it makes sense to get extra of the most anabolic of them. Basically, they work the same as amino acid formulas. BCAA's are just targeted more specifically to an athlete.
The branched-chain amino acids are leucine, isoleucine, and valine. When taken during training, BCAAs can improve prolonged performance and promote recovery. Naturally found in foods high in protein, BCAAs are already part of anyone's diet. As a supplement, however, BCAAs are particularly useful during a workout for increased energy, less total muscle breakdown, and improved recovery.
BCAAs are also very useful to take on days that you're not training to assist with maintaining lead body mass.
Creatine Monohydrate - Creatine is a supplement that’s already naturally found in the body. It’s stored in muscle as creatine-phosphate and used to produce energy (ATP) during short, intensive bursts of exercise. Taking an extra creatine supplement can increase the amount stored in your muscles, which improves anaerobic performance. That means that you can train all-out for longer and recover between sets quicker.
Creatine simply because it gives you energy during those high-intensity workouts. By saturating your muscles with renewed energy, you are able to push beyond your limits in a way that you wouldn’t be able to without.
Essentially, creatine works as your personal physical therapist after you destroy your muscle tissue in a workout or brain tissue after a study session
Pre-Workout -Sometimes you just lack the energy and focus you need to really put 100% effort forth during your workouts. Preworkout drinks are full of ingredients that are designed to maximize your performance and increase your mental focus. Just be careful when you're looking for a quality pre-workout drink because many products are full of additives and unwanted stimulants that will make you feel jittery overly energized.
However, when you find the right product or brand, it can be the difference between good and great when it comes to the quality of your training and how you feel about your performance; especially when waking up early or trying to squeeze a workout in at the end of your day.
If you find it difficult to get to the gym, simply mix up a serving and drink about a half hour before you start your training.
Thermogenic Fat Burner -If you’re on point with your calorie-restricted diet and want a way to help you boost your fat loss, fat burners are an option to get there. Just keep in mind that some of these over the counter products can be very dangerous if overtaken or abused and they contain a high number of stimulants.
If you’re taking a pre-workout, make sure that you don’t overdo it with the stimulants you’re putting into your body between the two. One ingredient that I’ve found is the most cost-effective and efficient is Yohimbine. Not only has Yohimbine been shown to increase fat loss.
However, when combined with exercise and a reduced-calorie diet, Thermogenic Fat Burners can help you reach your weight loss goals more quickly and efficiently while helping you to compensate for your unplanned cheat meals.
Other Supplements To Consider:
Multivitamins - Vitamins are essential compounds that take part in important roles all around the body – from metabolism regulation to protecting cells from damage. While there’s no evidence to suggest that taking high doses of vitamins will improve your performance or muscle building advantage, vitamin deficiencies can potentially compromise your gains
Fatty Acids - There are two types of fatty acids that are essential to a healthy body. Omega-3 and Omega-6 can’t be made by the body, so we must make sure that they’re consumed as a part of our diet. Not only have they been linked to minimizing post-workout soreness, but some evidence has shown potential for omega-3 supplementation to enhance fat oxidation.
Keep in mind, that in no way am I suggesting that you go spend hundreds of dollars on supplements. The reality is, as mentioned before, with a good diet, you can get by with not needing to blow your money at a supplement store. I personally only stick to protein shakes only because it helps me to keep my protein intake in line when I’m on the go and pre-workouts because I like feeling like a crazed crack addict when I’m hulking around the gym with my headphones blaring.
If supplements are the route you choose to take, I do have my own personal supplement line full of products that I develop, test, and use personally. These are guaranteed to have the highest quality ingredients and offer the best pricing and results available on the market.