Whenever you’re creating a fitness plan, the nutrition program and exercise routine always come first. Once you’ve got them in place and achieve consistency in your routine, you can enhance your ability to get leaner, stronger, and bigger with a good supplementation plan. What kind of supplements you should use depends on your fitness goals.
However, choosing the right supplements according only to the manufacturers’ advertisements is wrong, as there is a lot of misinformation, hype, and false marketing in this industry. Before you choose “the best fitness supplement” on the market promoted by a ripped, handsome guy/girl, take a look at this guide to supplementation. All of the supplements you’re about to read about can help you form a nutritional basis upon which you’ll be able to build your body. You should also be aware that supplements serve to fill dietary gaps, and shouldn’t be used as a replacement for a nutrition plan or training.
1. Burn fat
Glutamine. An amino acid that’s richly produced in the body, it is also one of the most effective fat-loss supplements. It plays an important role in stabilizing blood sugar levels and regulating gut and immune health. Glutamine eliminates the need for post-workout carbs, as it turns on the switch for protein synthesis without the release of insulin (ideal for low-carb dieters), and is best used as a post-workout supplement as it resynthesizes muscle glycogen you’ve lost during training.
Caffeine. Caffeine, a powerful supplement able to stimulate the central nervous system, improving your rate of fat oxidation (breaking down fat molecules for energy), mental capacity, and alertness. If you’re following a low-calorie nutrition plan to lose weight, caffeine can provide a very effective boost, as low-calorie dieters often lack the energy for daily activities and are groggy. A 250-400mg dose of caffeine every day will alleviate this confusion and daze, while assisting in burning fat at the same time.
For more efficient fat burning, there are supplements used for reducing cravings and binding a part of your fat intake. Supplements like XLS medical can aid with cholesterol reduction and metabolic syndrome reduction as well.
2. Build muscle
Supplements used as aids in muscle building are those that promote hypertrophy. It is the number one goal that gym goers seek to achieve. Along with a few crucial supplements, steadily increasing calories, and training with progressive overload, you will be able to build muscle and achieve a leaner figure.
Creatine monohydrate. Creatine is the most well-studied supplement out there, and it has been shown to improve overall performance during weight training and other high-intensity activity. It can increase maximal energy and strength output during exercise, allowing you to lift longer and heavier. For many years, creating has been scrutinized because of its allegedly negative effects on the pancreas, kidneys, and liver. However, there hasn’t been any evidence to confirm these assumptions. About 95% of ingested creatine is stored in skeletal muscles, making the muscles appear fuller and bigger, by increasing cell volume.
Highly branched cyclin dextrin. In order to maintain elevated ATP (adenosine triphosphate), insulin, and creatine levels, you should turn to intra-workout nutrition. This results in an increased rate of nutrient transfer into your muscles, fat oxidation, strength, and the reduction of catabolic hormone levels (epinephrine, glucagon, and cortisol). What HBCD does is trick your stomach into releasing large amounts of carbs into the small intestine, so it can be absorbed rapidly for a fast and sustained increase in insulin and blood sugar.
Having an amino acid/cyclin dextrin drink during your gym workout will help you maintain high energy levels throughout the whole workout, by loading the muscle with nutrients. Eventually, this will allow you to increase exercise endurance or use heavier weights for greater volume. Once you put your muscles under more stress, muscle growth is inevitable.
Whey protein. It is necessary to supplement yourself with a good whey protein powder if you want to add muscle mass. You may find it difficult to find the perfect whey protein, as there are many classifications of it. The 3 main categories of whey are isolate, concentrate, and caseinate. Whey protein isolate is of the highest quality and is the fastest digesting form of protein. It promotes muscle protein synthesis and allows the nutrients to reach your muscles more rapidly.
Instead of trying to load yourself with extra protein, fats, and carbs from food, you’ll fill your stomach and lower the risk of overeating. Consuming whey protein isolate is an easier way for supplementing your body with these extra nutrients, required for building muscle mass. In order to increase your caloric intake, drinking your meals is probably the easiest way of doing it.
According to a 2013 research, conducted at the University of Connecticut, whey protein “results in a more pronounced increase in muscle protein synthesis” when compared to soy protein. All subjects have gone through a 9-month period of resistance training, with their body compositions measured after 3, 6, and 9 months. It was found that daily whey supplementation was the most effective in promoting lean body mass gains.
3. Performance and endurance
Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs). BCAAs include L-Valine, L-Isoleucine, and L-Leucine. They have been crucial to performance and a staple of this industry since the turn of the 21st century. The human body doesn’t synthetize these compounds itself, so they must be obtained through supplementation and food. The benefits of BCAAs are muscle protein synthesis, increased energy and recovery. Studies have shown that under certain circumstances, exercise performance and post-workout recovery may be improved by branched-chain amino acid supplementation. This means less muscle soreness after intense bouts of exercise and a faster recovery rate, which allows you to get back in the gym sooner.
Beta-alanine. Beta-alanine has gained much popularity as a performance supplement since its inclusion in pre-workout powders. As our bodies can’t produce a sustainable amount of the amino acid, we must ingest it by using supplements. It converts to carnosine, and allows you to train at peak performance as it helps flush waste products and toxins from the body. The area of research concerning beta-alanine is still in its infancy, but several researches have shown that test subjects improved their performance, unlike subjects that were given placebos.
When you’re out looking for the right supplement for your fitness goals, or browsing for them online, be sure to check the product overview and see what compounds they include. Check whether they contain the compound you need, as well as those that may be labeled as unhealthy or even toxic, and check the manufacturer’s reputation in the supplement market.
Samantha has a B.Sc. in nutrition, and has spent two years working as a personal trainer. Since then, she has embarked on a mission to conquer the blogosphere. When not in the gym or on the track, you can find her on Ripped.me, or in a tea shop.