With the growing popularity of a healthy lifestyle, the market is flooded with thousands of supplements; protein powder, nutrition supplements and sports nutrition. Choosing the best out of the lot is nothing short of a challenge but finding the one that suits you is what will make all the difference.
Keep these things in mind when choosing your nutrition supplements:
- Check the list of the ingredients: the TGA requires every supplements provider to declare all ingredients. The label lists the vitamins and minerals and describes how eating those in a certain manner can help you in weight control, to regulate your amino acids and fat burners.
- Check out the expiration date: every bodybuilding and nutrition supplement becomes less potent over time. To make sure that their efficiency is maintained and intact, always choose the product that has the longest available shelf life at the time you buy it.
- Avoid the hype: take supplements according to your need.
- Stay clear of colouring agents or fillers. Always take care that the product you go after is free from colouring agents or fillers.
- Always go in for the supplement that offers the composition that suits your needs and body. Go through the contents and make sure you end up getting the one that matches your requirements.
Supplements can offer a great improvement to your training program. They can improve your strength, performance and shorten your recovery time.
This is a simplified guide but it gets the point across. It’s very important to have a main focus on your diet and from there you can find out where the gaps are and add supplements to where you need them.
As a foundation for muscle gains, quality protein supplementation is without equal. The best-absorbed form often used specifically post-workout and with meals, to round out one's protein balance is whey protein. Whey protein has a high biological value and is extremely convenient to take.
While protein obtained from food sources can provide more sustained protein levels (especially prior to bed to offset the fasting period that usually occurs during sleep), whey is rapidly shuttled into the muscles where it can exert its powerful anabolic effects.
I usually use whey protein twice a day
- First thing in the morning, before breakfast, to ensure a rapid uptake of protein to restore the drop in nitrogen levels from the previous night's sleeping/fasting state
- Directly after training
It is worth noting here that to fully preclude this 8-10 hour fast one would need to wake once or twice throughout the night to consume protein. Thus, taking protein immediately upon waking is essential, and whey is, in my experience, the best form to take at this time.
Branch Chain Amino Acids
Since taking Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) regularly I have witnessed a noticeable improvement in muscle density and my recovery rate has also increased exponentially. As essential aminos, the BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine and valine), must be taken through the foods we eat.
As the only three aminos metabolized directly by muscle tissue they are especially important for the immediate recovery of muscle tissue. They are used to build new proteins after hard training. As a primary muscle-building insurance policy, BCAAs should be on the top of anyone's supplement list.
Considered a conditionally essential amino acid, L-Glutamine comprises up to 60% of free-form amino acids circulating in muscle tissue and is critical for muscle recovery.
When other tissues need L-glutamine (for immune purposes, for example, of which L-Glutamine is essential) they will often leach this amino from muscle stores, so supplementing it makes sense.
If the muscles and the rest of the bodily systems have an abundant supply of L-Glutamine, muscle tissue will be less likely depleted under conditions of stress. After a hard training session, L-Glutamine levels will be reduced throughout the body by as much as 50%.
I have found the best way to supplement L-Glutamine is to take 5 grams 3-4 times per day so the body has a constant supply. Adding it to protein shakes is an excellent way to include it in one's diet.
This amino-acid-like supplement helps the fat that gets to tissues travel into the mitochondria of those cells, where it's burned for fuel. Research confirms that carnitine supplementation improves fat-burning during exercise and rest, and leads to greater fat loss. 1 to 3 grams of carnitine (as L-carnitine, acetyl-L-carnitine or L-carnitine-L-tartrate) with breakfast, pre-workout meals and post workout meals.
A multivitamin and mineral supplement is not purely a bodybuilding supplement in terms of directly targeting muscle growth the way creatine and L-glutamine do. Taking a high potency and high-quality vitamin/mineral product is a fundamental way in which to support the cellular conditions under which performance and muscle growth can occur.
Though certain compounds like vitamin-C (comprising, along with A and E, the so-called antioxidants) are thought to be of greater importance for immune function, it is the synergistic effect of all key vitamins and minerals taken in a specific ratio that will support the best results in health and subsequent tissue growth and function.
Doctors and nutritionists might tell us that the perfect ratio of vitamins and minerals can be achieved through eating a diet rich in certain fruits and vegetables. However, today's soil conditions, various pollutants, and the over processing of foods make it all but impossible to achieve such a perfect ratio.
Even those who eat strictly "organic" do not get what they should as far as nutritional potency and quality is concerned.