Exercise, Health & Fitness, Lifestyle, Nutrition

Do you even need supplements? A guide to the do’s and dont’s of healthy supplementation

Supplements – some love them, some hate them. I am somewhere in between. I don’t believe that you need lots of supplements to be successful in your pursuit of health and fitness but I do believe they can make the process much, much easier. With this in mind, I’ve compiled a list of supplements I take and recommend.

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Protein powder is the king of convenience. Add a scoop or two into your daily diet and you’re looking at up to an extra 50g protein per day. This can be a big help if like me, you like to eat very carb & fat heavy meals so find it quite hard to get high enough amounts of this essential building block of muscle in your day-to-day life.

Creatine

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Creatine is probably the most widely researched supplement out there on the market to date. There have been countless studies done on this cheap and cheerful powder – most of which concluding that it can increase muscle mass, strength and endurance. I bought a kilo for £10, which is unarguably fantastic value for something so clinically proven.

Fish Oil

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Although I love fish, I rarely eat it. For this reason I don’t get adequate amounts of omega 3 in my diet from food alone. If this sounds like you then invest in a decent fish oil supplement to get yourself some omegas in your life. Omega 3 is responsible for many bodily functions like muscle protein synthesis, joint and heart health and even eye and hair health.

Vitamin D 

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The sunshine vitamin. This is one of the most important vitamins for overall health. It’s such a powerful vitamin that it can reverse low testosterone and depression when administered at high enough levels. Anything over 5000iu per day will suffice but I always like to take it to the higher end just to be sure.

These are the essential supplements you should be taking without fail in my eyes. Now although it is of course advised that you get all your macronutrients AND micronutrients from whole foods, having supplements to help you along the way is a cheap and effective way to hit your goals. Below are a few more optional supplements that I believe will help you if you need that extra little push.

BCAAs

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If you’re cutting or training fasted then it’s a good idea to ingest about 5-10g of BCAAs before and after your workout to ensure that muscle tissue breakdown and catabolism does not occur. If you’re bulking or you’ve eaten prior to your workout then you can probably save your money on this one.

Pre-workout 

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This is one I’ve only just started using but it does have a brilliant effect on my workouts. If you are at a stage in your lifting career where you need that extra little kick from time to time then invest in a solid pre-workout and your sessions will skyrocket. If, however you are only just starting out or you don’t need that intense pump then just opt for a tbsp or so of coffee which is definitely enough to get you going. I am trying to take some time off caffeine so that’s why I ditched the coffee for a caffeine-free pre. If this is something you feel you want to try as well then I highly recommend the pictured pre-workout from MyProtein.

Multivitamin

I don’t actually use a multivitmain so unfortunately you haven’t got a lovely grainy picture to look at for this one. However, if your diet isn’t quite as on point as you’d like it to be then go for a multivitamin to ‘fill in’ the nutritional gaps that are apparent in your diet. Any multivitamin will do in my opinion as long as your diet is semi-decent for the most part.

So there you have it, I actually use all of these supplements myself so I’m not feeding you garbage marketing or pseudoscience nonsense. Don’t be swayed by big companies’ marketing campaigns to get you to buy their latest mass gainer or some toning potions. Just stick with the basics and you won’t waste your time or money.

Sam

 

 

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