Daily the question arises of ‘“what supplements should I take?”. There are a whole world of supplements. If you search starts online with your favorite body builder, fitness influencer/blogger, you will almost assuredly have the webMD effect, but instead of revealing your paper cut as the black death, you will instead end up on LinkedIn searching for a new job to support this new supplement habit you have to develop.
Olympic athletes are a great representation of the true rationale of using and effects of supplements. In the Rio 2016 Olympic games, the difference between the Gold Medalist Usain Bolt and the last place finisher was .25 seconds…..¼ of a second! It takes longer than .25 seconds to stand up from a chair, speak your next thought, start your car, and for some even taking a step. In this case, supplements are taken to give elite athletes that ever elusive 1% of increased performance to put them over their competition.
Supplementation is just that a supplement-something added to complete a thing, supply a deficiency, or reinforce or extend a whole. For a person who has yet to take that first step, or someone who has just started their new healthy lifestyle, supplementation is the last step to be considered. The first and most important step is taking the first step and getting started.
Don’t mistake what is being said, as there is no need for supplements if you are not a world class athlete. I myself started a small supplement regimen prior to embarking on the journey to become a professional bodybuilder. Below, there are a few undefeated and unquestionable supplements that are natural and provide the acute benefits to support and enhance your workout performance and recovery.
Preworkout- Typically comes with a myriad of ingredients including but not limited to caffiene and creatine. You've got ingredients that are going to increase blood flow and nutrient delivery, increase heart rate, increase focus, increase blood flow to the skin and give you a little tingle so you know that it is time to work. The biggest difference maker in your workout, however, is you!
Creatine- powers your muscles when they need a strong burst of energy, but have already burned through stores of ATP, the primary source of energy in the body. Creatine also aids with muscle growth.Creatine may also play a role in heart health. Creatine supplements have been studied as a way to improve heart muscle strength, body weight and endurance in patients who survive heart failure. Creatine may help curb high cholesterol, lower triglycerides (fats circulating in the bloodstream) and lower homocysteine levels, which are associated with heart problems and stroke.
Amino Acids (BCAAs)- Increase Protein synthesis, reduce protein breakdown, decrease muscle soreness and improve recovery by putting you in an anabolic state-means that your body is building or repairing tissue.
Protein- Protein in the king of all of these supplements as they will be the only of all of them that should provide all of the above except preworkout. However, protein or a meal prior to a workout is highly reccomended to have nutrients to metabolize during a workout. Finding a good complete protein is essential as it will be almost a one stop shop for your post workout supplements. Muscletech and MuscleMeds both have a great protein with creatine and aminos.
The most effective option is…..
An Educated and Certified Trainer- The fast track to achieving your goals is to have a partner in grind. A personal trainer will shorten the learning curve, ensure you practice safe sets, utilize your time in the gym most efficiently, and keep your workouts dynamic to ensure you don’t get stale or bored with limited and insufficient attempts at ‘doing it on your own’.
The biggest advantages to supplements are:
Routine- We are creatures of habit. Popular words used to describe training is routine and regimen. Supplements give you consistency in a new area of life. You time your protein out as a meal in the day, and you can’t miss that, and you always do your protein after a workout, so there has to be one to get the other and maintain order in your day. There are many people out there that have their hard stops ie: “I took my shoes off already”, “I already made it home”, etc. Instead use your supplements as a hard go. Once you take your preworkout, there is no turning back, it’s time to work
Fuel and Motivate your workout- From a basic and simple perspective, nobody wants to waste money. If you walk into your workout knowing that you just took preworkout and creatine, are drinking aminos during your workout, and have a scoop or two of protein waiting for you after, you will assuredly work your ass off to guarantee that you will not waste a minimum $5 worth of supplements.
Eliminating Vices- Most people have a finite amount of disposable income each month. I always tell people there is a give and take with any life change. You have to make room for the new you. Spending money on supplements monthly, will take away money that you have allocated towards unhealthy foods, alcohol, and other vices that are keeping you from being your best self.
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