Anyone who’s ever taken an interest in health and fitness is familiar, at least to some extent, with the multi-billion dollar supplement industry in the United States and around the world. So many unhealthy people are looking for a magic pill or a miracle drug that will get them the body they’ve always dreamed of without the required diet and exercise to get there. While no such drug exists as of yet, there are a multitude of dietary supplements that can improve your health and overall fitness when combined with a reasonable eating and exercise plan.
Then there are those fitness enthusiasts who are simply looking for an edge – a way to really drive their training and nutrition to the next level. For physique competitors at any level, proper supplementation is critical to bringing out your best physique. There are so many factors to consider when establishing a supplement program that best fits your goals and activity levels. Type and timing are equally important when creating any supplement plan.
Below, we have done our best to try and simplify the often-confusing selection of supplements that are available on the market today. The list provides an overview of the most important supplements to your training and nutrition program. It’s not all inclusive of every supplement out there – just the ones you really need to bring out your best. Each month we’ll provide an in-depth look at each of these items, examining how each affects your body and your workouts.
Favorite Mass Builders
One of the most common and most basic nutritional supplements for building lean body mass is Whey Protein. This milk protein often becomes a staple in bodybuilder’s diets because it’s effective, versatile, and comparatively affordable. Whey protein is rapidly digested and, therefore, rapidly available for use in muscle building. Additionally, Whey protein contains a significant amount of Branched- Chain Amino Acids, which also aid in muscle recovery.
It is important to make sure you take Whey protein about 30 to 60 minutes prior to workouts and about 30 minutes after completing a workout. This will ensure protein is readily available to your muscles during all phases of training and recovery.
Creatine is another commonly used supplement in most bodybuilder’s diets. Creatine is generally used to increase muscle size through increased strength gains and increased recovery time. Creatine draws water into the muscles, which naturally increases size and strength. Of course, water being a critical component of recovery; Creatine also plays a significant role in speeding up recovery time after an intense training session.
To maximize the benefits that Creatine has to offer, take a shake with Creatine 30 minutes prior to a workout, and as with Whey Protein, within one hour of finishing your training. This will ensure your muscles are saturated with Creatine throughout training and recovery.
Branched-Chain Amino Acids are those amino acids that are the most critical for muscle repair and recovery. Leucine, isoleucine, and valine work together to aid in muscle recovery and promote muscle growth. These critical amino acids also are touted for their ability to suppress Cortisol, a hormone that wreaks havoc on a bodybuilder’s effort to put on mass.
To be most effective, BCAA’s should be taken in the morning with your first meal, and then again before and after your workouts.
Favorite Fat Burners
Fish oil really has multiple functions for a physique athlete. Arguably the best benefit of this wonder supplement is its ability to promote fat loss, particularly in the mid-section. Additionally, fish oil reduces inflammation and, accordingly, can aid in recovery from hard training. The benefits don’t stop there. Fish oil is also known to suppress appetite and increase metabolism. If you get moody and forgetful when you diet hard, add fish oil to your daily supplement regiment and you’ll notice a marked improvement in memory and mood control. Everything from fat loss to bone health, fish oil should be a staple in the diet of every health conscious person reading this post!
Simply take 2-3 grams of fish oil with your lunch each day and an additional 2-3 grams about 30 minutes before going to bed, and you’ll be reaping the benefits in no time!
Green Tea Extract:
Green tea extract is another multi-benefit supplement. Of course, increased fat burning and increased energy levels are the two most popular reasons green tea extract is taken; however, there are a multitude of additional reasons to take this miracle pill. For example, did you know that green tea extract also aids in muscle recovery? Once again, fat loss and muscle recovery combined with an energy boost. Who wouldn’t want give this a try.
Make sure you’re taking the extract supplement and not just drinking the tea form of it. Studies have proven that the concentrated pill supplement has a far greater impact on the benefits of this wonder drug. Just take between 500 and 1,000mg with your mid-morning meal, and another 500 to 1,000mg with your pre-workout supplements, and you’ll be set for the day.
L-Carnitine is a fat loss supplement that assists the process of burning fat for fuel. This powerful supplement is used to convert long chain fatty acids that are stored in the body, into fuel. L-Carnitine is also used to aid in muscle recovery after an intense workout.
To get the greatest benefits from L-Carnitine, take 1 gram of L-Carnitine 3 times a day, ensuring that one of those doses is taken just before you workout.
Looking at the above listed supplements, you can see that most of the will provide you with multiple benefits. It’s important that you do research on each of the supplements that you intend to take regularly so you can fully understand what you’re putting into your body and exactly what it’s doing for you. Make sure you sign up for our monthly newsletters so you can have access to in-depth articles about each of the supplements listed above, and many more!