After making the decision to get started on a workout plan designed to improve your strength, your fitness, and your health, it’s time to take care of the two other elements of the equation: nutrition and supplementation.
Getting a good diet in line is going to help to ensure that you provide the raw materials the body needs to build up more lean muscle mass and provide energy to get through those grueling sessions.
But once that nutrition plan is in place, it’s a very wise idea to take a look at what supplements are available that can help you take your progress on step further. Remember, even if you eat healthy, you can still benefit from using supplements. Many supplements provide key benefits that food could never provide, so think of them as the icing on the cake. If you eat well and supplement, you will be able to achieve unbeatable progress from your gym sessions.
Many people feel overwhelmed whenever they hear the word ‘supplement’ however because there’s just too many to choose from and on top of that, they don’t feel informed enough to be able to successfully separate those that will help you and those that will just drain your wallet.
Fortunately, we’ve done the ground work for you. In the following guide, you’re going to learn the in’s and out’s of proper supplementation and come to understand how to choose the best supplement for your goals.
Remember, not all people will require the same supplementation protocol. Understanding what it is that you want to achieve, what areas of your program you may typically struggle with, and what you need from a supplement can help.
So let’s get started and give you the critical information you need to know.
What Is A Supplement?
Supplement are man-made products that are designed to work with your own body chemistry, your physiological requirements, and with the diet that you are consuming to help you achieve a greater rate of muscle building, a higher level of fat burning, and a more balanced nutritional standing.
Supplements can serve two different purposes.
Second, supplements can be ergonomic, meaning they can enhance your performance. This could be through increased energy, increased blood and nutritional delivery, increased focus and concentration, increased metabolic rate, or increased recovery rates – all depending on which supplement you use.
As you can see, there is much to gain from using supplementation.
They Are Steroids
Don’t ever let yourself believe that supplements are steroids. Steroids are putting an artificial substance in your body while supplements work with your own body chemistry, enhancing the natural processes taking place.
They Will Do The Work For You
Many people think that by taking a supplement, they will magically grow muscle or lose fat. This isn’t the case. Always remember a supplement will assist you with your goals. It won’t do the work for you. If the proper workout plan and nutrition program aren’t in alignment, you won’t be making progress.
Only Professional Athletes Need Them
Think only those athletes you see on TV need supplements? Think again. Everyone can benefit from using supplements from the busy person who can’t quite always eat as they should to the recreational athlete looking to become faster and stronger. It doesn’t matter how fit or unfit you are, you can reach the next level of your own personal fitness by supplementing properly.
They Can Replace A Proper Diet Plan
While you can get vitamins and minerals from a supplement, remember that you should always try and get these through foods first. Foods offer many other benefits such as fiber and energy that supplements won’t provide. Don’t ever let yourself believe that you can just supplement because you don’t want to eat right.
Why Take Supplements?
By taking supplements, you can speed up the results that normally take place after your hard training sessions. Basically, the process of muscle generation, strength increases, and fat burning can all be enhanced through the use of supplementation.
They will help turn a regular workout into a supercharged one. In many cases, using a supplement can also make your workouts more enjoyable as well since you’ll feel more energized and better able to get through them.
This in turn can increase your overall adherence to your workout protocol, which lends to faster results as well. It’s an ongoing cycle that just needs to simply get started by using the proper supplements to begin with.
Statistics, Studies, Research About Results
Here are just a few examples of ways in which supplements can help out.
In one study, taking creatine for a ten week period while simultaneously going on a resistance training session helped the study group increase lean mass tissue by 60% more than those who took the placebo.
Aging individuals who would normally be at risk are able to offset the lean muscle mass that can typically occur by supplementing with a protein source such as whey protein powder that includes a concentrated level of leucine and other amino acids.
There are a great many supplements out there that you can use to enhance your energy, so it can be hard to know which is the right option for you. Here are some of the best ones to consider taking.
Caffeine is perhaps the most common energy enhancer. This one will stimulate your central nervous system and you must make sure you aren’t taking it too close to bed time as it can interfere with your sleep. It will increase energy significant however and improve physical performance as well.
When it comes to fat loss, you have many different options depending on which area of fat loss you struggle with. There are supplements that will help to reduce your energy level, those designed to suppress your appetite, and those that will help you burn fat faster through increased metabolic rates.
Hoodia Gordonii is a good appetite suppressor and will allow you to more easily stick with your lower calorie diet and therefore see the results you’re looking for. Bitter Orange is a herbal supplement that may assist with increasing your metabolic rate, speeding up overall fat burning, and caffeine can also be used as a fat loss supplement as it can increase your energy level while also increasing the rate of fatty acid release from the fat cells during exercise.
When it comes to muscle building, your supplement protocol should focus around increased workout performance, enhanced recovery, and increased testosterone levels. All of these will yield faster progress.
- Using a testosterone-boosting supplement that contains Tribulus, a herb said to increase testosterone levels as well as ZMA, which consists of zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6 will go a long way towards speeding up your muscle building progress. However, this should not be used by women.
- Another good supplement for building muscle is creatine. We’ll discuss this more shortly, but creatine allows you to put in more work in the gym without hitting that state of fatigue as quickly.
- Finally, a nitric oxide based product will increase blood vessel diameter, which enhances oxygen and nutrient delivery to the muscle cells. This will help you put in more effort during your workout session and can kick-start the recovery process as well.
If improved health is what you’re after, there are a few important supplements to consider here.
- First, fish oil provides the omega fatty acids that are critical to optimal health as they combat diseases such as heart disease, depression, cancer, and diabetes. Most people don’t get enough of this fatty acid in their diet.
- Second, a good quality multi-vitamin helps provide back up support for your vitamins and minerals when your diet isn’t exactly as it should be. Put your mind at ease knowing that you are getting your needs met.
- Finally, a greens-based product helps to provide a wealth of antioxidants to your body, which can help to defend against free radical damage that could lead to cancer over time. If you aren’t eating a high quantity of vegetable greens in your diet, this is a good choice for you.
The Foundation Supplements
Creatine is going to ensure that your creatine phosphate stores are fully saturated going into each workout session. This is important because this creatine phosphate molecule, as intense exercise takes place, will join up with an adenosine diphosphate molecule to form adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is the fuel source for intense muscle contractions to take place.
If you go into the workout session with low creatine phosphate levels, your storage supply will be quickly depleted and as soon as it is, fatigue will set in and you’ll no longer be able to exercise at that highly intense pace. In fact, in severe enough situations, your entire workout session may come to a halt. Adding creatine helps avoid this.
Glutamine is the second supplement to get in your basic stack. This supplement is going to help speed up your recovery rates as it’s going strengthen your immune system. Each time you do a workout session, your immune system is going to take a hit, so glutamine can help you get yourself back up to a healthy level.
If your immune system is weakened due to high training loads, excessive everyday stress, or illness, you won’t be able to perform properly, so taking this into account is very important.
Whey Protein Powder
Finally, whey protein powder is your next must-have. Meeting your protein needs in your diet plan is an absolute must for success and whey protein powder is going to make this easier. Furthermore, if you purchase a whey isolate protein powder, it’s going to be specifically designed for rapid absorption into the blood stream, so this can help to speed up the recovery process taking place in your body.
It’s ideal for your post-workout meal and many people will find using a protein powder throughout the day when they don’t have time to cook a full blown meal also helps them get their needs met.