My Top 4 Supplements
There are a ton of different supplements out there and, throughout my 12 years in the gym I’ve gone through a few.
Here is a small breakdown of what we find to be the best options to help muscle recovery, regardless how many times you train per week.
Creatine is a naturally occurring substance within our muscle cells, and it is one of the primary sources of cellular energy. Whenever you blink your eyes, scratch your elbow, chew your food, or perform most other movements, it’s creatine—or rather, the creatine phosphate energy system—that’s powering you through it.
As a supplement, creatine has been popular since the 1990s, and has been the subject of hundreds of studies since then. It comes in numerous forms, but none have been shown conclusively to be as effective as the cheapest and most popular variety, creatine monohydrate.
BENEFITS OF CREATINE SUPPLEMENTATION
- Increased lean muscle mass, particularly with strength training.
- Improved muscular strength.
- Decreased muscle soreness and lower levels of exercise-induced inflammation.
- Improved blood flow during training.
- Improved performance during high-intensity training.
Recommended Dose: 5 grams per day, taken whenever works best for you. If it helps you remember, take half of your daily serving pre-workout, and the second half post-workout.
I currently do not use creatine, as I have a more relaxed approach to my training regime, but from my experience creatine is a great supplement which provides very fast, visible results.
Its also important to note that creatine is a substance that will absorb larger quantities of water and fluid, meaning if you stop your daily dosage you’ll see a small decrease in muscle mass, almost immediately.
Last I purchased creatine, I got it from Protein Dynamix – a great site for high quality supplements for training. Specifically, I opted for Creatine Monohydrate, which did give very significant and immediate results whilst being a part of my diet.
2. WHEY PROTEIN
My supplement of choice!
No supplement says “I’m a lifter” as much as the post-workout shake! And with good reason. Whey protein supplies the body with a high amount of protein and amino acids that help to jump-start the muscle-growing process.
Whey is most often consumed after a workout to increase protein synthesis and to improve muscle recovery and restoration, although it can be equally effective when taken before training.
BENEFITS OF WHEY PROTEIN SUPPLEMENTATION
- Fast digesting and more easily absorbed than other protein sources.
- Increased muscle mass, especially when taken post-workout.
- Improved appetite control, and greater feelings of fullness when dieting.
- Contains more leucine than any other protein source.
Recommended Dose: 20-30 grams of whey protein at a time, preferably before or after a workout. You can also take it as a meal replacement or to boost your protein intake at other times. Supplemental protein should not be your primary protein source, though. You still need to get the majority of your protein from food.
From past experiences with various Whey Protein supplements, I find that Whey Protein Isolate gives the best result – both for recovery and for building lean muscle mass.
Whey protein isolate will typically contain a higher percentage protein as well as feature a small amount of Amino acids, known as building blocks of muscle tissue. The perfect combination for a lean and trimmed physique!
Can you hear your body talk? Presumably not—but if you could, it would probably tell you that working out takes a lot out of you, including the loss of vitamins that you need to sustain yourself. Unfortunately, research indicates that many who train hard while desperately trying to maintain a specific body weight are often vitamin-deficient. Multivitamins should help remedy that loss. Start your day off with this supplement and be sure to take only the recommended amount.
Vitamin insufficiency is no joke and something we all should be aware of. Its also something that can easily be incorporated into your diet by adding various foods and vegetables.
For example, a few months ago my body was low on iron. My solution was to incorporate more red meat and spinach into my meals (which also happen to be rich in protein and lean in fat), after 1 month my iron levels were back up to scale.
4. GREEN TEA EXTRACT
I previously wrote an article about how green tea could substitute (or reduce) your daily coffee intake, as it contains natural caffeine.
Green tea also provides numerous health benefits. For one thing, Green Tea Extract (GTE) is loaded with antioxidants. They come in the form of catechins, which are believed to lower cholesterol, help prevent cancer and support healthy bowel function. It has also been shown to help with weight loss. If you’re looking to boost your caffeine intake, you should try GTE it’s considered one of the top fat burners.
Always check the nutrition label when choosing a green tea extract to see how many milligrams of catechins are in a single pill. Most GTE supplements contain about 50% ECGC and contain appetite suppressants.
If you are like me and prefer not to take use of pills in your diet, you can just as easily drink green tea. You will not see results as significant and immediate (as its natural and not extract), but it will serve a purpose if you make it a part of your daily routine.