Supplements are a sticky subject for most online resources. While there isn’t anything inherently wrong with supplements, the industry has been so heavily abused that some people have gotten the wrong impression, and for good reason.
Supplement giants, when you get right down to it, are just trying to make as much money as they possibly can. In recent times the industry has seen huge companies openly deceive customers. Of course, when people find out they are turned off. Why wouldn’t they be?
Make sure you do your homework when it comes to supplements. Don’t ever buy into the hype of something without doing the proper research. Just because a supplement company makes a promise, doesn’t mean it will work. Or even worse, it may work but at the cost of your health. This happens often with “designer steroids” where companies have slightly altered real compounds. They are able to get away with this because the legal system moves too slowly to keep up with their constant “formula” changes.
Now that we have all of the negatives out of the way, we can talk about the positives. There is no denying that the intelligent use of supplements can definitely help your results. However, one can learn much from the very word itself: ‘supplement.’ Hopefully by now your gears are turning and you get the big picture.
Supplements aren’t going to make or break you training program. They supplement your diet and training. Above all else, your diet will always have the biggest effect on the type of results you see from your hard work. You can exercise like crazy and take the most expensive, highest quality supplements, but if you don’t eat properly and give your body the proper resources that it needs to recover adequately, you aren’t going anywhere.
There are several notable and proven supplements that need to be discussed.
Ah, the iconic muscle building elixir ingredient. Protein powder is being mentioned first because it is very different from any of the other supplements we are going to talk about.
When it gets down to the facts, protein powder is simply a food source. It is an easy way to increase the overall amount of protein that you consume. It is a great resource and you should definitely be taking advantage of the convenience and ease it brings. However, also know that “real” protein sources will always be better.
Let’s be honest though. Eating 200-300 grams of protein a day without the use of protein powder isn’t going to go over very well. Finding a delicious protein powder to sip on can help you stay on track with your diet without suffering.
Just like anything else in life, what you get is what you pay for. I’ll mention it up front before we get into any of the other supplements, but know that you can’t expect to get all of the critical nutrients your body needs to grow while skimping out. Working out and exercising definitely doesn’t have to cost money. Furthermore, I encourage you to not purchase supplements if you don’t have the extra money.
However, if you do have a bit of cash lying around, purchasing some quality supplements can definitely supercharge your training.
This one is second for a reason. Without a doubt, creatine is the most proven and tested supplement out there. Hands down, you need to be using it.
Creatine works by turning metabolic waste (ADP) into usable energy (ATP). It does this by providing an additional phosphate group. In essence, when you take creatine, you are “topping off” your body’s immediate energy storage.
When your body performs any sort of physical activity, it has a few energy sources to choose from:
- Fat (oxidization)
- Glycogen (sugar)
- Muscular Creatine
If you are performing at a “slow” rate, your body will utilize fat. A good example of this would be slow jogging.
If you are performing at a much “heavier” output, you will be utilizing glycogen for energy. In essence this is just made up of the carbohydrates that you consume. However, you will also be utilizing fat. This isn’t how it works for the opposite case (performing at a rate where fat is being oxidized does not necessitate the utilization of glycogen).
Finally, creatine will be readily available for your body to utilize for the first 10-60 seconds. The discrepancy in time is so large because it is heavily debated within the scientific community, as currently there is no effective way to measure when one energy store has depleted in relation to others. The body is very complex and highly optimized to use what it needs, when it needs it.
That doesn’t mean we don’t have a general idea of how creatine can help though. We know that it is extremely beneficial for short, burst-like physical activity such as lifting weights or running sprints. Sound like something that might help with getting stronger and putting on muscle? Definitely.
This one is pretty self-explanatory and doesn’t require much to understand. While the food that we eat provides macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbohydrates), we don’t get the micronutrients our body needs to function at its optimal level.
Multivitamins contribute to overall better health and wellness. Additionally, many other vitamins that you can purchase will aid your tendons and ligaments in staying flexible and pliable so that you can keep making gains while staying injury free.