Training supplements are exactly what the words literally mean. They are meant to supplement a nutritional diet and just add a bit more where you are coming short.
They are not a quick fix to getting a lean and strong body. Supplements can never replace the natural food we should be taking in. They are not meant replace our diet.
They cannot make you lean and strong by themselves. You need to put in the hours and hard work at training your muscles. In the workout your body will burn fat and your muscles will grow.
You need to go through the exercise and work on the fitness and supplements will add on to the nutritional food that you will be taking.
You can take a quick shot of supplements before strength training or after training because supplements are easier to digest and will go straight into the blood stream and go to work in the muscles.
You must to put in the hard work first in the gym then take the supplements as an addition to nutritional food.
Types of supplements and their purpose
1. Pre-workout supplements
These are to be taken just before a workout to give you energy and prepare your body for training such that your performance is boosted in the workout.
They may come in powdery form to be mixed with water for drinking. At times, they come as energy bars which you can just chew. The ingredients vary from different suppliers but they mainly contain :
- Caffeine which boosts your mental focus and alertness and also assists in fat burning.
- Creatine which is also produced in our bodies naturally. The pre workout is meant to supplement your natural creatine for increased muscle performance, growth and recovery. It will increase muscle mass and strength.
- Nitric oxide compounds which assist with increasing heart rate and dilating the blood vessels for increased blood flow to deliver nutrients and oxygen to the muscles needed for the workout.
- Amino Acids which are used by the body for building muscles. These are also important for prolonged muscle use and endurance.
Pre-workouts will give your workout a big boost. However, people with high blood pressure, heart problems and any nervous conditions should take pre-workouts with caution because of the stimulants in them. You must consult your doctor before taking pre workouts.
2. Intra Workout Supplements
Prolonged workouts are tiring and your body loses a lot of essential fluids and minerals. As you workout you need some fluids that will keep you hydrated and maintain high energy levels.
You sip on the fluids as you workout. Most of these intra workout supplements contain:
- Electrolytes. These are fluids found in the body containing an electric charge. They help balance the pH level and the amount of water in your body. They get lost during training by sweating and need to be replaced.
- BCCA. Branch Chain Amino Acids which help with muscle recovery and building of new muscle tissue.
- Fast Acting Carbohydrates to refill blood glucose and glycogen levels to maintain energy during intense and prolonged training
- Caffeine which works as a stimulant for mental alertness and focus
3. Post Workout Supplements
These supplements are to be taken after the workout, after you have put in the hours and hard work. They are mainly meant to replenish lost nutrients in the workout, aid muscle recovery and help with muscle growth.
Post workout supplements are more effective if taken within 30 minutes after the workout. Your body will be desperately in need of nutrition after the physical activity. Ingredients also vary from different manufacturers.
However, there are some common ingredients which mainly include:
- BCAA. Branch Chain Amino Acids which aid with muscle recovery and building of new muscle tissue
- Creatine for aiding muscle recovery and restoring energy levels. Creatine is good for energy restoration after intense physical activity.
- Carbohydrates. These restore the glycogen and blood glucose lost in your body during training.
- Vitamins B6 and B12. These are essential for reducing inflammation of muscles. They are also good for making you calm and induce good sleep and rest
- Vitamin C. When you are training there are some free radicals that are released in your body. These will cause cell damage and vitamin C will curtail the work of free radicals and reduce cell damage.
- Whey Protein. Also, contains amino acids which help with muscle building and recovery.
4. Weight Loss Supplements
Physical training and exercise will make you lose weight as the fat is burnt during the workout. However, at times you feel that you are not losing weight fast enough, you may need to take some weight loss supplements in addition to the physical training.
The idea is to get your body to increase fat metabolism and burn fat faster as you train. The supplement must also curb appetite. They make you feel fuller for longer such that you eat less.
Most of these supplements may contain :
- Caffeine. This will stimulate the body to burn more fat when you workout. It boosts your body’s metabolism even after the workout. It stimulates the release of fatty acids stored into the blood stream so that they can be burned for energy.
- Magnesium. This mineral helps the body convert glucose into energy. Although our bodies make some of it naturally we may need to supplement to boost metabolism. It also helps you to sleep better.
- Whey, Soy Protein. It also helps you to boost your body’s metabolism and preserves the breakdown of lean muscle mass. Protein helps curb your appetite by making you feel full for longer periods and suppressing hunger.
- Glucomannan. This is a natural fiber that is water-soluble and expands in your stomach when ingested to make you feel full. It suppresses your appetite and you will eat less
- B Vitamins. These increase energy levels and reduce fatigue.
- Essential Fatty Acids. These are omega 3 and omega 6 acids found in fish oils and seed oils. They improve metabolism and make you eat less.
- Green Tea Extract. Speeds up metabolism and fat burning in the body.
Supplement should complement your healthy, nutritious diet. Drink a lot of water when you are taking supplements so that you don’t feel dehydrated and you avoid constipation. Keep working on the fitness and supplements will add on to your diet for you to achieve your goals.
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