Updated: Jun 30, 2019
In the world of fitness today there are so many 'influencers', instagram famous gurus and youtube stars, it's hard to know where to go for advice purely because there is so much out there. One guy says this, some woman says that...where do you turn?
In the area of supplements it's very easy to be influenced by your favourite youtuber, as they probably look a certain way (a way that you want to look) and you've followed them for a long time and have built that cyber rapport.
But fear not, unlike training methods, supplements have a firmer standing in scientific research and fact, so if you look just a little harder you can determine what is right for you. Below is a list of my top 5 supplements and HERE is a link to my youtube channel where i covered this topic. so, let's dive in...
1- WHEY PROTEIN
The most common of a all the supplements is whey protein. A byproduct of the cheese making process, whey protein is a multi million pound industry and its been around for decades. Whey protein certainly delivers when it comes to efficiency due to its incredibly quick delivery system. Because of its powder like form it bypasses the digestive 'break down' process and can be taken straight away to repair the muscle.
The quicker your muscles rear, the more you can train them. With an average protein content of around 20 grams per serving (different brands offer different levels but 20g is a good ballpark figure) it's a fantastic whey...WAY to supplement your protein intake.
Creatine is probably the most researched supplement after whey protein, and like its partner in crime, has been used for a long time. In layman's terms, creatine facilitates the muscles being trained by speeding up recovery time in between sets. The quicker you recover, the more you can do and the faster you can make those gains! Basically creatine improves your performance during bouts of intense exercise.
Creatine has benefits and can have side effects too. I personally think the benefits are worth it but, as with all things, it's down to personal preference. You should see results within a 1-3 weeks and you most probably will gain weight. This is nothing to worry about for the average gym goer as the weight comes from the water retention in your muscles. It's not fat, just water. Your muscles will feel firmer, fuller and there will be an increase in strength and training frequency fairly quickly.
- fun fact...combined with resistance training creatine can help with osteoarthritis in later life
Glutamine is an amino acid that is produced by the body and plays an important role in intestinal health. It is a critical fuel source for the immune cells, in particular the white blood cells. During periods of training the body can become depleted and not able to produce the amounts required quickly enough, therefore glutamine supplementation is a great way to bring the levels back up to maintain a healthy immune system.
If you suffer from bloating, intestinal cramps or suspected IBS then glutamine could possibly help with symptoms. As glutamine is an essential part of protein it is found in most high protein foods. A diet with an adequate amount of protein intake should also help keep levels adequate.
4- VITAMIN D3
Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin and is primarily produced by the body with exposure to sunlight. In the modern age with people working indoors, covering their body in clothes etc.. vitamin D deficiency is commonplace but is easily rectified with supplementation.Vitamin D3 can improve mood , prevent bone disorders such as rickets and helps to maintain healthy teeth. There are studies that suggest a link between low vitamin D levels and depression but no concrete conclusions yet.
Touching upon number 4 in the list is multivitamins. To keep your bodies level of vitamin intake, especially vitamin C, plays a crucial part in your own well being and general health. Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant and also helps the body absorb nutrients. Vitamin K helps with blood clotting, regulating blood calcium levels and bone metabolism. vitamin A helps the immune system and also contributes to the workings of the body organs. That is just 3 vitamins
and the jobs they perform, so to supplement and keep all of them topped up is a no brainer for me.
All supplements should be treated as exactly that...a supplement. A healthy, varied and balanced diet SHOULD provide everything your body needs for living a normal healthy life. That being said, society is more conscious than ever about health and well being so we exercise more often and with more vigour than ever before. The fitness industry is worth hundreds of millions globally and is showing no signs of slowing down. Research your own training regimen, find what works best for you and listen to your body. It needn't be rocket science and it shouldn't be something to fear. Train hard, sleep well and eat right...then reward yourself with a chocolate cookie cream protein shake!