Supplements are a great addition to an already good nutrition and training program. Nutrition and training are the most important components of a exercise program, with rest and recovery next to them. Once all of those aspects of your program are maximized, then you can start thinking of adding supplements to your program.
Please understand that supplements do not make up for improper training, or lack thereof, or a low quality diet. Supplements only work when your diet and your training program are optimal. Here are some of the most used supplements and also supplements that I have used or am using:
Whey Protein - Whey protein isolate has long been regarded as the best quality, most bioavailable protein source ever discovered. Being a very fast absorbing protein, whey is the immediate choice supplement for immediate use right after workouts. It aids in rebuilding and building muscle after a hard workout.
L-Glutamine - L-Glutamine the most abundant amino acid in muscle cells. It is released from the muscle during times of stress (such as hard weight training workouts) and dieting. This amino acid protects the muscle from the catabolic activities of the hormone cortisol. Due to its anti-catabolic properties and the fact that it accelerates glycogen synthesis after a workout, glutamine is best taken 20-30 minutes after a workout with a protein shake. On days that you don't workout, just take it with your last protein shake of the day.
BCAA - BCAA (branched chain amino acids) maximize anabolic activity. BCAA's limit the excretion of nitrogen which assist the protein synthesis in muscle. BCAA's help the muscles to reduce breakdown or catabolism. These are the essential aminos, leucine, isoleucine and valine. With BCAA's 4-8 frams before a workout and 4-8 grams after is optimal. Lesser amounts are effective, but if increased performance and recovery are needed a higher dosage is more effective. Taking BCAA's immediately before or during a strenuous workout or cardio session will increase performance.
Chromium Picolinate - is needed to help the body maintain proper insulin function. It is an important supplement for athletes because intense training and/or calorie restriction can cause chromium depletion. Recent research suggest that chromium can reduce carbohydrate cravings and assist in weight loss. 200Mcg with a post workout mean and with breakfast on day off.
Fish Oil - Fish Oil is a natural source of Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). Omega-3 is an important nutrient for maintaining a healthy brain and nervous system. Fish Oils themselves are said to contribute to healthy heart function and joint flexibility as well as supporting brain, nerve, and visual function. Take 2 servings of fish oil a day to help with fat loss.
Multi-vitamin - Multivitamin and mineral supplements are perhaps the most important single supplement that can be consumed by bodybuilders and athletes. If your body is deficient in just one of the essential vitamins and minerals over a thousand chemical and enzymatic processes in your body could be impaired. Each and every vitamin and mineral is responsible for thousands of biochemical reactions, including the formation of hormones. Bottom line? If you don't use a good multivitamin and mineral formula you will never reach your fullest potential.
- Studies continue to support the use of green tea extract i the enhancement of weight loss, metabolilc rate and the greater use of fat at rest. In one study green tea was shown to preferentially target fat in the belly. Unlike other common weight loss agents that stimulate sympathetic horomone release and therefore tend to raise the heart rate and blood pressure, green tea works by inhibiting the enzyme that breaks down norepinephrine so that its biological effects are prolonged. Green tea may also act to reduce food intake and inhibit the main enzymes involved in fat storage. Green tea has emerged as one of the top supplement for promoting weight-loss available today. (Craig Ballantyne, author of Turbulence Training
suggests drinking at least 12 cups of this per day)
Glucosamine Sulfate- Glucosamine sulfate is the number-one factor for joint health because it is clinically shown to actually help your body build and repair the cartilage that cushions the joints and prevents bone rubbing on bone causing extreme discomfort, pain and immobility. A high quality of glucosamine sulfate as part of your daily regimen is the most effective way to improve joint cartilage repair, while helping to prevent future damage occuring. (Angie uses this daily and there would be no way I could work out as hard as I do without it!)
Creatine- Creatine is used to replenish ATP which acts as a quick energy source for activities that require quick bursts of energy such as strength training/weight lifting and sprinting. The more creatine phosphate you have on hand, the more ATP can be replenished during bursts of all out effort. Consequently, you can push harder and longer in your workouts, because creatine intensifies the pace of energy production in your muscle cells. Remember, more power and strength equals more weight being lifted and more reps being performed. More reps with more weight means more muscle.