Ever seen those muscle-y guys at the weight room with their shakes of varying colors and textures and wondered: what on Earth are they drinking?

The answer? Supplements: some avoid them, others can’t live without them. But let’s talk about them. What’s all the hype about? Who should take which ones, and why?

Here is a run-down of the 4 most popular supplements to try to enhance your fitness lifestyle.

Breaking Down 4 Key Supplements Everyone Needs to Try!

Whey Protein

After a strong fatigue-setting workout, everyone’s muscles need to recover. Trying to help your body out with this process? Whey protein is the answer.

Whey protein is a fast-digesting protein that helps make for your optimal post-workout shake. By using whey, fitness enthusiasts have attested to a more noticeable increase in both strength and muscle mass after only a few weeks of consistent use (2)(3). 

While most will use this powerful supplement to increase their muscle mass, whey protein has been shown to minimize hunger and enhance your appetite control, ultimately leading to weight loss (1).

So how much protein should you use? Based on your size, you should take anywhere between 1-2 scoops of whey protein within 45 minutes after your workout to get the most effect.

Whey protein is also a popular choice as an ingredient in other recipes such as, but not limited to, oatmeal, pancakes, and other tasty treats.

You can check out the top whey protein supplements here.

BCAAs

Branched chain amino acids, or BCAAs for short, are a supplement I was only recently introduced to. The specific amino acids (which, in general, are compounds in various proteins that your body uses to build muscles) in this supplement can significantly impact your advancement in muscle size and mass, increase your athletic performance, and aid in weight loss. There are three BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine and valine) that outperform the rest (5).

The best thing about BCAAs is that they can be taken anytime throughout the day. Taking them before/during your workout might be preferred because it allows for an energy source that helps with fatigue. Used post-workout, BCAAs assist in protein synthesis with your whey protein. They can also be taken in the morning to get a jump start to your day.

It is recommended to take 5-10 grams of BCAAs per day, with an optimal ratio of 2:1:1 (leucine: isoleucine: valine) (5).

My absolute favorite BCAA supplement is the BPI Sports Best BCAA Snow Cone flavor.

 

A photo posted by Pat Sadowski (@patsadowski_fitness) on

Creatine

Many consider whey protein the king of supplements. However, with over 200 studies behind it over the past decade, creatine has been rising in acclaim. It’s even been considered by many to take the crown of protein supplements, what with all the scientific research behind it (4).

Creatine is essentially the fuel source to ATP (the compound in your cells in charge of using energy to complete bodily functions such as building muscle) (4). Although some controversy has developed over the years, creatine is actually one of the safer supplements to take.

By taking approximately 5 grams of creatine a day, one can see multiple benefits, such as:

  • Increase in strength
  • Greater recovery
  • Increase muscle size
  • Enhancing brain function (as creatine is a neuroprotectant) (6)

There have been many forms of creatine created over the years, with the most popular to date being creatine monohydrate.  Creatine monohydrate is the purest form of creatine, offering the most active supplement to the body. 

Multivitamins

Yes, Flinstones Gummy Vitamins are just as important of a supplement for lifters as any other.

If you are about the fitness lifestyle, then I’m sure you know the benefits of taking your multivitamins.  And if you don’t, keep reading, because they are crucial to achieving your goals and improving your health.

It is well known that the human body needs important vitamins and nutrients to perform its best.  Without key nutrients, the efficiency and output of the body decreases.  Taking a potent multivitamin will help ensure that the body is getting what the body needs (7).

Multivitamins are the strong foundation to the other supplements mentioned above – without them, the others may not be as effective, or even work at all. 

Also, they may possibly be the easiest in forms of consumption. I mean, come on. Wake up, take your multivitamin. That’s all folks. Super simple, and it’s a great way to get your day started.

These supplements contain vitamins (A, B, C, D, etc.), minerals (calcium, iron, potassium, etc.), as well as other nutrients (amounts depending on gender) (7). 

Possibly the best part – they come in pills, capsules, and even chewables! (Told you Flinstones were important 😉 )

vitamins

Now that you are aware of some of the top supplements, I suggest you give at least one of them a try!

Check out these articles too:

References

  1. Volek, J. S., Volk, B. M., Gómez, A. L., Kunces, L. J., Kupchak, B. R., Freidenreich, D. J., … & Kraemer, W. J. (2013). Whey protein supplementation during resistance training augments lean body mass. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 32(2), 122-135.
  2. Cermak, N. M., de Groot, L. C., Saris, W. H., & van Loon, L. J. (2012). Protein supplementation augments the adaptive response of skeletal muscle to resistance-type exercise training: a meta-analysis. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 96(6), 1454-1464.
  3. Bendtsen, L. Q., Lorenzen, J. K., Bendsen, N. T., Rasmussen, C., & Astrup, A. (2013). Effect of dairy proteins on appetite, energy expenditure, body weight, and composition: a review of the evidence from controlled clinical trials. Advances in Nutrition: An International Review Journal, 4(4), 418-438.
  4. Wyss, M. and Schulze, A. (2002) Health implications of creatine: Can oral creatine supplementation protect against neurological and atherosclerotic disease? Neuroscience, Volume 112 (2), pages 243-260.
  5. Stoppani, J. (2016, July 27). 5 Reasons BCAAs Are Critical To Your Transformation! Retrieved August 22, 2016, from http://www.bodybuilding.com/content/5-reasons-bcaas-are-critical-to-your-transformation.html
  6. Robson, D. (2016, January 20). Creatine: Why Use It? Scientific Support To Back Its Benefits. Retrieved August 22, 2016, from http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/drobson181.htm
  7. Lockridge, R. (2015, December 23). Why You Need A Multivitamin To Achieve Your Health And Fitness Goals! Retrieved August 22, 2016, from http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/why-you-need-multivitamin-achieve-health-fitness-goals.htm

About The Author

Pat is a fourth year at Northeastern University. He is a part of the Kappa Sigma fraternity and his biggest hobby is, of course, working out. Although he claims cardio is a myth, he absolutely loves leg day at the gym. He is a finance and accounting major pursuing his CPA. Be sure to follow him on Instagram: @pat_sadowski & @patsadowski_fitness!

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