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!

supplements, medicine, multivitamins

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.

Protein Powder

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.

As an affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Caffeine

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

Coffee, coffee beans, caffeine, supplement

Creatine

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.

Fish Oil

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.

Fish oils, supplements, workout supplement

Multivitamins

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:

Iron

Iodine

Vitamin D

Vitamin B12

Calcium

Vitamin A

Magnesium

Vitamin C

Omega 3

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.

Multivitamins, supplements, workout supplements, vitamins

Summary

  • 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!

Sources

Bowers, E. and Lynn Grieger, R. (2017). 7 Common Nutrient Deficiencies: Know the Signs. [online] EverydayHealth.com. Available at: https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/guide-to-essential-nutrients/common-nutrient-deficiencies/ [Accessed 9 Feb. 2020].

Brazier, Y. (2017). Fish oils and omega-3 oils: Benefits, foods, and risks. [online] Medical News Today. Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/40253.php#risks [Accessed 9 Feb. 2020].

Buford, T., Kreider, R., Stout, J., Greenwood, M., Campbell, B., Spano, M., Ziegenfuss, T., Lopez, H., Landis, J. and Antonio, J. (2007). International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: creatine supplementation and exercise. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 4(1), p.6.

Chang, T. and Rangan, C. (2011). Iron Poisoning. Pediatric Emergency Care, 27(10), pp.978-985.

EU USA Today (2019). Most Common Nutritional Deficiencies [online] Available at: https://eu.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2019/08/20/most-common-nutritional-deficiencies/39976101/ [Accessed 9 Feb. 2020].

Kendall, K. (2019). The 8 Best Supplements For Strength Athletes And Bodybuilders | Bodybuilding.com. [online] Bodybuilding.com. Available at: https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/the-8-supplements-for-strength-athletes-and-bodybuilders.html [Accessed 9 Feb. 2020].

Matthews, M. (2019). The Smart Supplement Buyer’s Guide – Legion Athletics. [online] Legion Athletics. Available at: https://legionathletics.com/supplement-buyers-guide/ [Accessed 9 Feb. 2020].

Mawer, R. (2019). Is Creatine Safe, and Does It Have Side Effects?. [online] Healthline. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/creatine-safety-and-side-effects#other-effects [Accessed 9 Feb. 2020].

Medical News Today. (2020). Health benefits of protein powder. [online] Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323093.php#health-benefits [Accessed 9 Feb. 2020].

O’Brien, S. (2018). Fish Oil Dosage: How Much Should You Take per Day?. [online] Healthline. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/fish-oil-dosage#why-take-it [Accessed 9 Feb. 2020].

Petre, A. (2017). Can Omega-3 Fish Oil Help You Lose Weight?. [online] Healthline. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/omega-3-fish-oil-and-weight-loss#section4 [Accessed 9 Feb. 2020].

Van De Walle, G. (2019). Fish Oil for Bodybuilding: What Are the Benefits?. [online] Healthline. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/fish-oil-bodybuilding#fish-oil-basics [Accessed 9 Feb. 2020].

Categories: Blogs

10 Comments

  • Ivan · 13/02/2020 at 5:45 PM

    I usually drink a cup of coffee or green tea just before going to the gym or before any other activity. It really helps me to perform better. I have more energy and sometimes I don’t want to leave the gym 🙂 It’s the best pre-workout supplement I’ve tried. Thanks for sharing your recommendations. Great post!

      Sharon · 13/02/2020 at 8:02 PM

      Same, nothing like a bit of caffeine to get you buzzing. It also reduces the feeling of effort which could be another reason you feel able to last longer in the gym

      Sharon

    Tom · 13/02/2020 at 5:50 PM

    Hey,

    Great article. As a new year’s resolution I have been working out and using whey protein powder. It is one I have used years ago. But I have not used other supplements.

    I like how you have set out the different supplements and I think I will try fish oil because I know people in my gym who use it and swear by it.

    I will let you know how I get on with it.

    Thanks for sharing, and all the best,

    Tom

      Sharon · 13/02/2020 at 8:03 PM

      Hi Tom,

      That’s a great resolution!

      Yes do, I’d be interested to hear how you get on with it. Just make sure to purchase a good quality fish oil to reap the benefits!

      Sharon

    Lee Goupil · 13/02/2020 at 8:39 PM

    Maybe I’m old fashioned but I still prefer a coffee before I work out.
    There has been very few pre workout supplements I’ve enjoyed.
    Working in a fitness center for most of my adult life I’ve tried a bunch but they never really “jived” with me.
    When I am going to do an endurance workout of an hour or more there is a supplement I take but it’s caffeine free.

      Sharon · 13/02/2020 at 9:58 PM

      I completely agree. Mind you, most mornings I don’t have time for indulging in a coffee so I rely on a fresh breeze coming out of the house to jolt me into action. There’s something more reassuring about the fact that coffee/tea is more natural in comparison to pre-workouts.

    Abbie · 13/02/2020 at 10:08 PM

    I’m so happy to see caffeine on this list! I couldn’t live without my morning coffee. You’ve inspired me to try whey powder. I’m trying to get leaner but stronger and always feel hungry after a workout, so something that curbs my appetite and gives me the nutrients I need to make muscle sounds perfect. Thanks for posting!

      Sharon · 13/02/2020 at 10:13 PM

      Hi there,

      There seems to be a running trend of coffee lovers on this post! That sounds like a good plan, it’s essential to get the correct nutrition, particularly before and after a workout! I’ve written 2 posts on this if you want to check them out.

      Thanks,
      Sharon

    Strahinja · 14/02/2020 at 8:57 PM

    Thank you for this informative aricle. I really enjoyed reading it. I did not know that caffeine can help with building your mucles. I can say that is really a revelation to me. I heard about creatine and fish oil and their great influence on scuplting the body.

    Well who would have thought.

    Thank you.

      Sharon · 15/02/2020 at 10:40 AM

      Hi there,

      Yes, it can indirectly assist in muscle growth by improving your performance during a workout. Let me know if you decide to try creatine or fish oil, I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on it.

      Best wishes,
      Sharon

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *