The fitness supplement industry is making billions every year with countless supplements being put on the market, causing a real headache for people who are beginners and just starting out with fitness on what the best choice is.
The fact is that many of the supplements are not needed, and won’t help you much, except if you need that little edge. Buying them will only make supplement companies richer and nothing more.
The majority of people have so many questions buzzing through their heads on what to take, how much to take, is it too much, is it enough. A lot of conflicting information, many outrageous claims, it’s a real mess.
People get so caught up in this process that they fail to realize that the number one priority aren’t supplements, but a sound nutrition plan. The name itself says it. They are meant to supplement your diet, not comprise the bulk of it. That’s why you need to have a good diet plan first and then worry about what supplements to choose.
Your diet should already be comprised of healthy foods, like lean meats, vegetable, and fruits. After you’ve sorted out your diet and have chosen a good workout routine, you are ready to look into proper supplementation that will help you achieve your goals faster.
This article is meant to help you do just that. To sort out the mess and point out the only supplements that are worthwhile and take you to your ideal physique as fast as possible.
1. Omega-3 fish oil
It has already been proven that while we consume more than enough omega-6 fatty acids in our diet, the fact is that almost everyone is deficient in omega-3.
Taking omega-3 fish oil will not only improve your performance in the gym, it will also improve your overall health, as evidenced by hundreds of studies. Taking into consideration that our bodies can’t take enough omega-3 from seafood, we are required to start taking a supplement which will give us the sufficient amount
Taking omega-3 will provide you with numerous benefits like decreased inflammation, increased heart health, improved cognitive functions and decreased chances of depression development.
It’s important to note that before you buy an omega-3 fish oil supplement you should first examine the label. Choose the product that has a high content of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid).
These two acids will improve the functionality of cells’ membranes, especially the DHA, decrease the chances of developing a cardiovascular disease since it’ll decrease oxidative stress and will relieve depression since the two acids are precursors to the feel-good hormones, dopamine, and serotonin.
If you can’t seem to find an omega-3 fish oil supplement, try any of the following foods which are full of it and will give you (almost) the same benefits: salmon, spinach, flaxseed, walnuts or chia seeds.
Multivitamins have all the micronutrients that our bodies need in order to function properly. When buying a multivitamin, you should make sure that it contains these vitamins: Vitamin A, B, B12, C, D, E, and K. Every vitamin has its own unique benefits. Here are some of the benefits of each of the vitamins:
Vitamin A: Increases the health of your bones and their proper growth.
Vitamin B, as well as B Complex: Increases the production of energy and general energy output.
Vitamin C: Improves the immune system and improves the production of nitric oxide.
Vitamin D: Functions in synergy with calcium to create healthy bones and teeth. It’s also known to prevent certain illnesses.
Vitamin E: Decreases the amount of “bad” cholesterol.
Vitamin K: helps in making various proteins that are needed for blood clotting and the building of bones.
Taking a multivitamin which includes all of the vitamins above will have a tremendous positive impact on your overall health. Additionally, it will lead to improved performance in the gym.
We’ve reserved a special place for Vitamin D. Vitamin D is also a crucial micronutrient to your diet and chances are you are deficient in it. Well, at least, depending on where you live. You might ask why location is a factor here. That’s because vitamin D is available through the Sun’s rays.
Despite it being found in products like egg yolks, beef liver and certain types of fish, it’s very likely that you don’t like these foods and don’t want to eat, let alone ever considered to include them into your diet. Which leaves you with the most abundant source of Vitamin D, our Sun.
What if you’re living in a country that doesn’t have many sunny days? Are you doomed? Of course not. That’s why we have the Vitamin D supplement. Unless, of course, you weren’t planning on moving to a sunnier country.
3. Creatine Monohydrate
Creatine Monohydrate is perhaps one of the most debated supplements in the industry. The debate is usually about its effectiveness or alleged side effects. Within the fitness community itself, there have always been various opinions, with some claiming that it is a harmful compound, especially for younger people. Despite the fact that everyone has their own opinion, or should we say, superstitions, this is simply not the case with creatine.
Creatine monohydrate is a substance that is naturally found in our bodies which helps with the ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) production. ATP is an energy source which our bodies use when we are experiencing short and intense muscle contraction bursts which make it ideal for resistance training.
Basically, ATP is required for any muscular contraction. If the muscle needs to contract more during a lifting set, then more ATP is used. Taking creatine monohydrate will increase ATP availability and will create more effective muscle contractions. What’s more, it has become a popular notion that taking creatine monohydrate will force your body to hold too much water which will give you a ‘bloated’ look. Again, not true.
While it’s true that creatine will use water, it will use it to your advantage. The additional creatine will take the water and pull it inside the muscle cell, increasing its efficiency while creating a fuller and loaded muscle. This can be very convenient for people who are on a cutting diet and don’t want to look too slim. A generally recommended dose for men and women alike is 5 to 10 grams a day.
4. Whey protein
Whey protein is the most important supplement one could implement in their diet. If you are wondering what supplement to buy first, always opt for whey protein.
Whey protein is actually a byproduct of dairy and the most common form you can find on the market is whey protein powder which is most commonly mixed with some kind of liquid (water, milk, juice, fruits) to make a delicious protein shake. Protein consumption is the most important dietary rule for all those looking to experience maximal muscle gains.
It is very important that you measure your total protein consumption on a daily basis. What you should strive for is consuming one gram of protein per one pound of your bodyweight. Of course, this intake recommendation can change based on your level of physical activity, one gram per pound is the general recommended daily dose.
For many people, trying to hit their daily protein goal is a hard task, which is why whey protein consumption is an excellent and convenient way to get fast-digestible protein at any time, any place. We recommend you try our two suggestions below on how to make delicious protein meals:
- Whey protein shake: Mix one to two scoops of your favorite protein taste with half a liter of liquid, like milk or water. The best time to consume this meal is one hour to 30 minutes after working out, to feed your starved muscles with fast-acting protein or whenever you like as a meal replacement so that you can reach your daily protein goal.
- Protein porridge: Some would call this the perfect breakfast. First, take a bowl and add the preferred amount of oats in it and mix it with water thoroughly. Once you’ve given it a good mix, put it in the microwave and let it cook for two and a half minutes until it gets a smooth texture. Afterward, add some berries, one whey protein scoop and one tablespoon of peanut butter. Total calories for this meal are 390, protein content is 32 grams, carb content is 40 and fat 13.
- Protein ice cream: Mix together two whey protein scoops, 500 grams of low-fat cottage cheese and whatever fruit you want most. Our suggestions are any kind of berries and bananas. Put the mixture into a Tupperware and put it in the freezer for two hours until it becomes solid. Then, take it out of the freezer, take the lid off and stir it to make sure that the blend is frozen evenly. Repeat this until the blend is ready.
As we said previously, once you have your diet and training dialed in, you can then start adding certain supplements if you want to achieve your desired goals faster. Just as with anything related to fitness, taking them on a consistent basis will yield the best results. If you are to experience their full benefits, you must take them at a regular time. Always be accountable for your actions to yourself, be consistent in everything you do, enjoy the journey, and success is guaranteed.