8 Most Common Fitness Supplements

8 Most Common Fitness Supplements

Proper diet and weight training undeniably adds muscle. But if you’re looking to maximize the results you achieve from eating right and the hard work you put into training, you may soon find yourself looking to a variety of fitness supplements available for an added boost.

There are hundreds of vitamins you could be taking, but taking a pot of pills and potions can be a strain on your bank account as well as waste of time. Here we present 8 most common fitness supplements used by fit people.

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magnesium supplements

1 MAGNESIUM

No matter if you’re strength training or aerobic training, magnesium is important for post-exercise recovery, because it reduces muscle tension. Actually, it’s often recommended to those suffering from fibromyalgia, a condition that involves chronic pain from muscle and joint tension.

Your body needs 80 to 420mg magnesium a day, depending on your overall health and age. The reality is that about two thirds of people are actually deficient. If you’re feeling tired every day, have difficulty recovering from your exercise and often have restless sleep, magnesium could help you a lot.

Some individuals find that it can upset their stomach – in this case, a magnesium cream can be applied to the skin for the same effect.

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creatine

 

2 CREATINE

Creatine is formed from amino acids and plays a role in transforming food into energy – so it’s basically a fuel. Creatine improves the body’s ability to produce energy quickly. It’s most effective in explosive workouts and high-intensity training. With more energy, you can train more often and harder, seeing faster progress.

Is it something you should look into? There are mixed responses, but many athletes consider this a good supplement when you start exercising. Realistically, if you’re working out for 30 minutes or less a day, there’s probably no need for you to be worrying about increased performance. But if you’re serious about building muscle and increasing endurance, it’s a good starting point worth considering.

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protein powder

3 PROTEIN POWDER

Nowadays, you can buy protein powders pretty much anywhere – in supermarkets, health food stores and all over the internet. Many people, from body builders to marathon runners, use protein powders to promote building muscle mass.

If you go to the gym every day, it’s important to take protein within 30-45 minutes of your workout, to feed your muscles and encourage lean muscle growth. However, this doesn’t mean you need protein powder specifically. Milk, eggs and hummus will all do the trick.

If you want to “bulk up,” whether for a competition or just in general, protein powder is a useful way to help reach your daily protein goals without having to eat an entire egg factory. It can also make a convenient, healthy snack. However, keep in mind, it’s not an essential for everyone.

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bcaa

4 BRANCHED-CHAIN AMINO ACIDS (BCAAs)

BCAAs are vital nutrients that the body gets from proteins found in food, especially dairy products, meat and legumes. Athletes use BCAA to boost their performance and reduce protein and muscle breakdown during intense exercise. It creates an anabolic effect in the body, and many people believe this can promote fat burning.

But do you really need them? If you complete several high-intensity sessions a week, or more than one session a day, then you should consider taking BCAAs. However, keep in mind you will only see the benefits if you’re eating well, too – it’s not going to burn away the croissant you had for breakfast. Nowadays, many protein powders actually contain BCAA in their formula, so you can take out two birds with one stone.

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probiotics

5 PROBIOTICS

This is a supplement that’s not often discussed among men who want to tone up, but probiotics are becoming the latest buzz-word in the area of health, and for good reason. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that benefit your gut, which is connected to multiple aspects of human health. If you often train hard, this means that your immune system is often suppressed, leaving you more susceptible to common colds and illnesses.

Ideally probiotics should be taken on a daily basis, in the form of fermented foods or a supplement, and increased in times of stress such as during heavy training loads, before a race or if you feel a cold coming on. A healthy gut can relieve common issues like a weakened immune system, bloating and gastrointestinal discomfort.

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electrolytes drink

6 ELECTROLYTES

Electrolytes are minerals found in your body and body fluids that carry an electric charge. Not maintaining a normal balance may lead to dehydration.

Yes, your body loses electrolytes when you sweat, but this doesn’t mean you have to be rushing out to grab a sports drink or electrolyte powder. Unless you’re engaging in endurance exercise, such as a 10km run, water will suffice. Endurance athletes, including marathon runners, are the ones who should consider supplementation in their hydration plan because they lose a significant amount of sweat while running.

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glutamine

7 L-GLUTAMINE

L-Glutamine, another amino acid present naturally in the body, has been shown to reduce breakdown of muscle and improve protein metabolism. Many downplay the benefits of glutamine, but for men who want to build muscle in particular, it’s been shown to be very beneficial at boosting muscle repair and increasing power.

Nowadays, many protein powders contain a decent dose of L-Glutamine and it’s easily attainable since it’s present in almost all major food sources such as dairy products, lean protein, beans and cabbage, so it shouldn’t be too difficult for you to consume enough of it.

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ubiquinol

8 UBIQUINOL

If you feel that you’re often lacking in energy by the afternoon, this could mean that your ubiquinol levels are low. Ubiquinol is the bioavailable (more easily absorbed) form of CoQ10, one of the essential antioxidants naturally present in the body to help with muscle repair and fatigue, but it declines naturally as you age, especially if you partake in strenuous exercise.

The task of ubiquinol is to provide your cells with energy, and if you aren’t able to get rid of that sluggish feeling, it’s worth considering. In terms of fitness, research has shown that it both reduces inflammation after working out – meaning it speeds up recovery – and increases muscle power, resulting in improved athletic performance.

Ubiquinol is suitable for people engaging endurance fitness activities such as long-distance running, or anyone over the age of 30 looking to increase energy levels.

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fitness supp

Particular supplements can significantly benefit people who are training hard and have major fitness targets. However, as you can see, the same supplements don’t suit everyone, and none are necessarily “essential.” The best thing to do is be honest with yourself about how hard you’re exercising, and whether your body really needs some of the more hardcore supplements.

The second thing to bear in mind is that no amount of supplementation can reverse the effects of an unhealthy diet. The truth is that if you’re still consuming a multitude of processed and sugary foods, muscle repairing supplements aren’t going to have much of an effect.

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Written by Camille Bennett

Camille Bennett is our nutrition expert interested in fitness diet and doesn’t run out of delicious ideas for healthy and nutritional meals.

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