Supplements are one of those things that can seem like an absolute minefield to navigate yourself through but really you do not need to take everything under the sun all the time. Personally, I do take supplements every day and month but they will vary from time to time as to what and when I take them.
Whether your goal is to increase strength, decrease body fat, or improve overall performance, adding supplements to your daily regimen can give you that extra edge. While there’s no such thing as a magic pill there are supplements that can support your workouts and help replenish your body quicker so you can get back into the gym faster. Although this is a breakdown of some of the supplements I use or have used in the past, you can also get most of these products in one combination. So some pre workouts will have most of the ingredients in and some fat burners will have some if not most of the ingredients in, so all this guide is for you to know what supplements to look out for in the future.
Protein is the building block for muscle. Without a proper amount of protein in your diet, you won’t build muscle. It’s that simple. Whey protein is great because it is the fastest digesting form of protein out there. This means when your body is craving protein (like postworkout), you can down one of these shakes and get the rebuilding process started. Whey protein is one of the best sources of the protein shown in clinical research to help build muscle and strength when used with your hardcore training and nutrition plan.
Creatine is the most studied and proven supplement in history. Creatine is naturally occurring in the body and can be found in red meat and seafood. It has been shown to help build muscle mass and strength when used with resistance training. If you are serious about maximising muscle and strength you should really consider taking creatine. It is relatively inexpensive and has proven benefits.
BRANCHED-CHAIN AMINO ACIDS
BCAAs are essential amino acids from the protein found in food. The three amino acids are leucine, isoleucine, and valine. BCAAs help fuel skeletal muscles, preserve muscle glycogen stores and reduce protein breakdown. BCAAs are popular with bodybuilders for promoting muscle recovery, which may allow for more frequent training. One of the amino acids, L-leucine, has been shown to increase protein synthesis to help increase lean muscle and strength! Beef aminos are another great source of amino to supplement with food helping those gains.
A PRE-WORKOUT SUPPLEMENT
Pre-workouts have a variety of different ingredients and dosages in them, so finding a quality pre-workout can take some knowledge and research. But the goal of most pre workouts is to increase focus and energy.
A POST-WORKOUT SUPPLEMENT
A quality post-workout will have a fast digesting carbohydrate, creatine, and amino acids. This supplement’s job is to facilitate protein synthesis and glycogen resynthesis. In other words, it aids in muscle building, energy replenishing and faster recovery. Find a quality
post-workout supplement to take with your protein shake for the ultimate post-workout stack!
Nitrate-rich foods such as beets, radishes, and pomegranates are a great way to boost the production of NO. Beet juice, or beet extract,
has been suggested in numerous studies to enhance performance. Improved aerobic performance, delayed fatigue, and an increase in exercise tolerance have all been reported following beet supplementation. Look for pre-workout supplements that contain beet extract, along with arginine and citrulline, to maximize your strength, endurance, and fat burning during your workout. Alternatively, you can use a blender and blend beetroot with your pre-workout as well as adding this to your post workout shake.
This metabolite of leucine has been associated with increases in lean body mass, strength, and power, particularly among untrained individuals. Thought to work by simultaneously increasing protein synthesis and inhibiting protein breakdown, HMB has been shown to reduce damage and soreness following high-intensity exercise.
GAMMA-AMINOBUTYRIC / GABA
GABA is a natural substance that has been shown to increase lean muscle development, decrease fat storage via increased lipid metabolism, naturally stimulating the synthesis of human growth hormone (HGH) and decrease times necessary for recovery between workouts. Increased release of human growth hormone stimulates growth, cell reproduction, and repair. It also promotes increased protein synthesis, increased muscle mass, stimulates immune function, and promotes fat burning.
D-ASPARTIC ACID (D-AA)
D-AA is a naturally occurring amino acid found in the testicular leydig cells, where it acts as a messenger between your brain and Leydig cells to convert cholesterol to testosterone. In theory, supplementing with D-AA should increase T levels by improving the messaging system between the brain and testes.
A study out of the University of Mary Hardin- Baylor (Belton, Texas) examined the effects of fenugreek supplementation on strength and
body composition in resistance-trained men. Researchers found that while both the placebo and fenugreek groups significantly increased
their strength during the first four weeks, only the fenugreek group saw significant increases in strength after eight weeks of training and supplementation.This leads to the idea that fenugreek could help you continue to increase strength after hitting a dreaded plateau. Additionally, only the fenugreek group saw significant increases in lean body mass at both four and eight weeks.
ZMA isn’t a single ingredient itself, but a combination of zinc monomethionine aspartate, magnesium aspartate, and vitamin B-6. It’s a recognizable name found on several supplement labels, including sleep aids and test boosters. Most often used as a recovery aid to help the body achieve deeper levels of REM sleep, ZMA claims to increase muscular strength and may even enhance hormonal profiles.