9 Nutritional Supplements That Work.
We’re Thinking About Fitness (and we want you to think about it, too).
Many years ago when we first started training in the gym, there were few supplements on the market. You went into a health food store where the usual hot topic of conversation was either macrobiotics or raw veggies and asked some hebephrenic leftover hippy at the counter who looked like he’d been hiding from the sun for the last few years where the Blair protein powder and liver tablets were. Blair protein tasted like sawdust and made you fart. Those liver tablets from a bygone era probably wouldn’t do very well in today’s market due to mad cow prion concerns.
But it was relatively easy to make a choice between products long ago because basically, there wasn’t much choice going around.
Things are so very much different today, the question is: ‘what to choose, what products are really worth it’?
Here’s Our Opinion:
(Note* there is no reason these suggestions should not apply equally to men and women-of course we’re different, just not that different.)
1. BCAAs: BCAA is code for Branched Chain Amino Acids. The branched chain amino acids are Leucine, valine and isoleucine. Branched chain amino acids are an important supplement for trainers because they aid in workout recovery, building muscular strength & stimulate muscle growth after intense workouts. Use a brand formulation that gives you a 3:1:1 ratio with at least 3g of Leucine per serving. Particularly useful when on a calorie or carbohydrate restricted diet.
2. CLA: Conjugated linoleic acid. Like many nutrients, CLA can be acquired through the right choice of high quality foodstuffs in your menu; but supplementing with CLA is hassle-free, quick & convenient. This is an important supplement for most bodybuilders because it helps with the reduction of body fat while assisting in muscle tissue repair. It is one of the safest and most useful non-stimulatory fat-mobilisers available. Unlike stimulatory thermogenic fat burners, it won’t keep you up at night if you take it late in the day. Dosage range about 4g daily.
3. CREATINE: is one of the most popular bodybuilding supplements available today with lots of science to back it up. It has been an impeccable safety record, providing users with more energy to lift heavier, be stronger, lift longer and recover faster.Brought to the popular market in the 1990’s (we remember back when it was £1/gram. These days you can get 250g of good quality monohydrate product for less than £10).It might even help your brain. It’s not expensive. There is really no reason that you shouldn’t be using this supplement.
- Use Pure Creatine, as either creatine monohydrate (the water soluble form), micronized creatine (the water soluble form broken down to very small bits), or ceatine ethyl ester (the fat soluble form). Dosage Range: CMono 5g-20g daily; CEE 4g-8g daily.
4. GLUCOSAMINE: Glucosamine is derived from natural sources and helps to improve the body’s flexibility, range of motion and can be used by damaged connective tissue for repair. This supplement is available in capsule, powder & liquid form. Dosage Range 1.5-4g. daily.
5. GLUTAMINE: Glutamine is one of the 20 essential amino acids. The body has the capacity to supply limited amounts of glutamine, but with intense workouts glutamine can also become depleted. Glutamine supplements are superb for assisting in the restoration of muscle tissue and facilitating muscle tissue growth through a variety of pathways including stimulating growth hormone release. Dosage range depends on your goal: taken exclusive of other amino acids for Growth Hormone stimulation 2-2.5g. Dosage taken with other amino acids 5-10g for storage replenishment and muscular recuperation.
6. OMEGA FATTY ACIDS: The use of Omega Fatty Acids is vital when undergoing any building regimen. Not only do omega fatty acids assist in the rebuilding of healthy muscle tissue, improving cholesterol profiles, lubricating painful joints, diminishing delayed onset muscle soreness and helping decrease an individual’s body fat percentage, they are also beneficial for increasing cardiovascular health. Omega Fatty Acids exercise beneficial effects on mood and provide the building blocks for brain structure and function. What can’t they do? These little guys are powerhouses of nutritional value, very useful little substances.
Note about Omegas and Fish Oil Supplements. There are fish and non-fish sources of OFAs. Make sure that whatever you decide to use is fresh and in date. Oils can quite easily go rancid if kept under the wrong conditions. Also, make sure that the supplements you choose have reasonable levels of EPA and DHA associated with them. Dosage Range will vary depending on how much fish you eat and the EPA/DHA content of the product that you are using. Average is about 3-6g daily.
7. PROTEIN: Protein is just such a ubiquitous Old School supplement! A staple for every serious trainer out there or, at least should be. However, the protein available today is not the lactose-laden cr*p of yesteryear. New technology applied to the processing of modern protein supplements is very New School and is constantly evolving. Protein supplementation are one of the small group foodstuffs that has actually benefitted from modern food processing technologies.
There are seven different types of protein available in today’s marketplace: casein, egg albumin, milk protein isolate, hydrolysate protein, soy, whey concentrate and whey isolate. Casein protein works more slowly than other types of protein. It is a great supplement to take in the evening time, right before bed to help repair broken down muscle tissue. Egg albumin is just the egg whites and no yolk. It is a pure protein and wonderful for promoting lean, healthy muscle tissue. Milk protein isolate is a combination of casein and whey. Hydrolysate protein considered one of the highest quality proteins available; it is also one of the most expensive protein supplements available.Hydrolysate protein absorbs quickly into the muscles, so it is best to take this protein supplement right after an intense workout, and has a great amino acid profile. Soy protein is available for purchasers who are concerned with following a vegetarian style diet. But Soy protein is also heart healthy, helps aid muscle recovery and is also good for speeding up an individual’s metabolism. Whey concentrate is an inexpensive form of protein and highly popular among bodybuilders and non-bodybuilders alike. This form of whey protein has an impressive amino acid profile and is easily absorbed into the muscles. Whey isolate is well-known as one of the fastest acting protein supplements out there. It is also extremely low in carbohydrates and sugars.
8. THERMOGENICS: A thermogenic is a fat burner and in most cases, a metabolic stimulant. They help you ‘waste’ or burn calories. Two very well-known thermo compounds that are readily available are caffeine and nicotine. Some compounds can also help suppress appetite. Some studies show that show fat burners will support increased energy levels, mental acuity and athletic performance. Other ingredients that you may find in good thermogenics are capsaicin, carnitine, ephedra, chromium picolinate, berberine and ginseng.
9. ZMA: Not a particularly popular or well-known supplement. Zinc & magnesium are two of the most underutilized supplements for bodybuilding. Zinc is important because it boosts the body’s immune system, which assists in the prevention of most illnesses and helpful in increasing an individual’s stamina. Magnesium lowers blood pressure, increases insulin sensitivity and is useful for building aerobic capacity. Both are slightly sedative and are useful for helping to make a good night’s sleep, so it’s probably best to use them before bedtime.