Blood, sweat and tears – these are just some of the components of a gruelling workout. Let’s try and reap as many benefits of our efforts with these top 5 bodybuilding supplements – sculpt a lean body!
Investing all this effort of attending a workout to attain the desired body can be difficult, especially if our body is not primed with the essential supplements to ensure peak performance. You think you’ve done as much as you can by consuming the best pre-workout food, tackled the workout to your best ability, and complemented it with the best after workout food. However, tiredness, pain and lack of convenient access to adequate food can all hinder performance.
Fear not, we may just have a solution!
When some people think of supplements, they immediately conjure up an image of artificial materials, but that’s not always the case. Some of the best lean muscle supplements are relatively natural. After all, many bodybuilders and athletes have been consuming some of the best pre-workout supplements for years, including the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger back in the 1970s, and there has been research evidencing the safe effects of consumption of such workout materials. Below are a list of top 5 workout supplements to complement your exercise regime. These are all safe bodybuilding supplements suitable for anyone, whether you’re an elite athlete, bodybuilder or just a fitness enthusiast. So let’s find out are creatine supplements safe and what ergogenic aids are safe and can benefit your workout.
Often considered one of the best pre and post workout supplements available on the market, protein powder (especially whey protein powder) is an almost essential yet useful asset when it comes to bodybuilding, muscle recovery and performance. It can be consumed both before a workout and as an after workout supplement. It has been proven to aid in muscle anabolism and also in weight management as it elevates levels of satiety. Have a look at good pre-workout foods: protein and good post-workout foods: protein if you haven’t yet read these articles, or if you’re looking for more information on protein.
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If you asked what’s the best pre-workout supplement, caffeine would certainly be one of the top choices among many nutritionists and personal trainers. Personally, caffeine HAD to make the list, *gazes loving at my tea while writing this article*. Considered one of the most widely consumed stimulants, it can be found in many sources, including tea, coffee, energy drinks, chocolate; for those of you who are not a fan of tea/coffee, it can also be obtained from caffeine tablets and some pre-workout supplements. Benefits of caffeine include:
- Increased muscle endurance
- Decreased perception of effort
- Increased resistance to fatigue
- Enhances fat loss
Despite articles suggesting the dangers of creatine supplements, there is significant evidence supporting vast amounts of beneficial health effects for creatine supplements; both workout-specific and general health markers have been observed to improve when using creatine. The benefits are so well recognised that it’s often labelled one of the top rated post-workout supplements available on the market! Such benefits include:
- Enhanced high intensity interval exercise performance through improved brain performance, muscle recovery and strength, to name but a few
- Supports elevated growth of muscle by increasing lean body weight and muscle mass
- Increase the speed of both short-term and long term muscle growth
- Aids muscle cells generate more energy
Most reports suggest that creatine is best used in conjunction with a protein and carbohydrate source after a workout. So go ahead and add a few scoops (approx. 5-10g per day is usually loads) of creatine to your post-workout supplement and see if you can notice a difference in performance. If you are new to this supplement, you may want to consider a loading phase first – check the supplement instructions for best results.
First and foremost, fish oil is necessary for the provision of omega 3, which is an essential fatty acid that cannot be produced in the body. The two types of fish oil of interest are EPA and DHA. This popular oil is advocated by many bodybuilders, athletes and the general public for the anti-inflammatory properties it offers amongst other general health advantages. Fish oil workout benefits include:
- May help reduce muscle soreness by inhibiting DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness)
- Can improve strength by lessening the loss of muscle strength and range of motion
- Enhances brain performances by accelerating response times and efficiency in athletes
In addition to the above, fish oil is also attributed to improved cardiovascular health, reduced risk of stroke, supports healthy vision and enhances brain performance and development. Not only that, a fish oil weight loss study has also demonstrated positive findings with hunger and appetite suppression and studies showing it may enhance metabolism. However, further examination of this is required as research is still somewhat inconclusive.
Unfortunately, research has shown a large percentage of the population are not achieving recommended daily intakes of EPA and DHA. Where possible, aim to use sources such as salmon and tuna which are low in mercury.
If you are planning to use fish oils, be sure to invest time into selecting a reputable brand which has a high purity level as fish oil is susceptible to contaminants, such as mercury and fertilisers present in the water.
Not a fan of fish or maybe you don’t enjoy the taste? Try adding a few teaspoons to a protein shake or hide it in your food to mask the taste.
The multivitamin/multimineral industry has an estimated worth in the region of $30 billion. Much debate has been held in relation to the biological benefits of their consumption. With a myriad of long-term studies identifying no discernible benefits in terms of heart disease, stroke or mental decline from their consumption, you may be wondering why it even makes the list of top rated workout supplements.
The reality is that there is limited evidence supporting health benefits for most multivitamins; additionally they offer little to no value when compared with people who consumed nothing or a placebo as a test group. In fact, some supplements can have adverse effects, such as calcium and iron when consumed by people who do not need them. However, many people at some stage in life are likely to experience a deficiency in a particular vitamin or mineral. Below are a list of common deficiencies observed in adults:
Mineral and nutrient deficiencies can be tested by a health care professional, and treatment options should be discussed with your doctor. Deficiencies in some of the above nutrients, such as iron and vitamin B12 can cause havoc with energy levels, something that can induce sub-optimal performance during a workout. The bottom line is that no multivitamin should be consumed in an attempt to compensate for a poor diet. Regular checkups can ensure your body isn’t lacking in any vitamins or minerals.
- Protein powder is a valuable and convenient method of reaching your target macro intakes
- Caffeine can be a valuable source of energy, particularly as a pre-workout supplement
- While some people may experience negative creatine side effects, this applies to a small population
- The effects of creatine supplements on both health and workout performance are largely positive
- Swap out multivitamins for a balanced diet to obtain adequate vitamins and minerals
- Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid which offers anti-inflammatory properties
- Fish oil can aid in providing anti-inflammatory properties for bodybuilders and athletes
What supplements do you take? Comment down below!
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