What are good supplements out there? Do they work or how effective are they? How much do I need and how often should I take it? How do you differentiate amongst different protein powders?
In the world of fitness, supplements can be frustrating and a bit overwhelming, especially to anyone new to this lifestyle. Not to mention, it can be a bit pricey. I'll try to break it down to help you understand what they are and the benefits of taking it.
Let me first start off with sharing a bit of why I got into taking supplement.
My road onto sports supps:
When I started my fitness journey, I did not know anything about health and fitness. I was a broke college student trying to pay my way through school. So, supplements and even a gym membership was the least of my concerns.
My ultimate goal was to be healthy and lose weight in an inexpensive effective way. I had to come up with the best meal plan and workout plan that could fit my tight budget and rigid schedule. With determination and a strong willpower, I was successful at reaching my goal without any type of supplement, gym membership, trainer, or nutritionist. I ate well and worked my butt off six days a week, reserving one day for rest and a cheat meal.
So, what got me into supplements? It was through sponsorships that I was able to discover the world of sport supplements.
Anytime I'm introduced to new things, I become a search fanatic. I mean we all been sucked into buying products or joining phony programs that just want your money, so I researched articles, read couple of reviews, and watched various youtube videos. I found a bunch of information that reduced my skepticism and uncertainty on supplement nutrition.
However, given the influx of supplements on the market today, I can see why many, including myself, find it difficult to make a distinction between the various types-sports, performance, bodybuilding, and/or natural supplements. So, exactly
What are supplements?
Supplements simply "supply" or "enhances" something when added to
They are meant to be a part of a well balanced healthy lifestyle. I didn't say "replace" nutritious food, I said, "be a part of". My best advice would be to
- First educate yourself on the types of supplements
- Determine which fits your needs and goals
- Make sure research and review upon buying any product
MY TOP 3 SUPPLEMENTS
- Multivitamin/Multimineral-research shows that the average adult should eat at least 2 cups of fruits and 2 cups of vegetables daily (USDA and CDC) to reduce some risk of chronic diseases.
- I mean it does make sense, right? Anyone who wants to better themselves should take a multivitamin.
- Further, I found that taking a pill was the most convenient and easiest way for me to remember. It also ensured that I was getting the proper dose of goodness. Plus, the amount of vitamins and minerals contained within a dose/pill are far greater than what you could possibly consume at one sitting or even throughout the day of eating fruits and veggies. So, what mamma always told us, "eat your fruits and veggies" you can certainly dose up with a pill.
- Protein, preferably High quality Whey Protein Isolate-Though, this may be the most expensive of all types of protein sources, it has some distinct nutritional advantages. Trust me, you get what you pay for. I remember, I was desperate for protein and I bought a cheap protein powder from Walmart. First off, it smelt and tasted nasty (almost undrinkable). Second, it had clumps of powdered balls, which can indicate it's made up of BS fillers. Last, it was a waste of money.
- And what so what about protein? The reason a good protein is needed to help you as a beginner in your fitness journey is because when you start to work out your body is going to be in constant chaos mode and as a result, you’re going to be fatigue, super sore, and of course, tired. Your muscles are going to be screaming for help and the simple solution is to feed and replenish them fast. This is why I think a good protein isolate supplement product is highly recommended. Protein helps recover, repair, and grow muscles. Muscles are good.
- MYTH: Protein makes you bulky and fat. BEEP. WRONG! I'm guilty because I once believe it. I heard through the grapevine that protein is the culprit to steroid looking physiques. First of all, if you don't want to look muscular, you won't. It takes years of effort, discipline, and sometimes good genetics to build a good physique. What you should know is that lean muscle is the foundation of some of the hottest bodies out there, but that's not the point. Muscles help you move freely, keeps you strong, helps you keep your joints in good shape, and it overall is good for your health.
- So, ladies, you won't bulk up from eating protein or taking protein powder. You most definitely won't get bulky either from lifting heavy weights. We just don't have the testosterone for it. Protein helps you build healthy lean muscles.
- Omega Fatty Acids- the benefits are for reducing cellular inflammation and the fatty acids can help with joints, rheumatoid arthritis, which you all know I suffer greatly from. The only downfall to this, is it can be a bit potent and gross. It makes you gassy and on a few occasions, I'll taste it when I burp. Haha, I know, TMI, GROSS.
Other Supplements: BCAAs and Vitamin C
- BCAAs stand for Branch Chain Amino Acid. I don't think you want the chemical breakdown with leucine, iso-leucine, and valine... bottom line on why I take this is because again it helps with development of lean muscle mass and it helps reduce muscle soreness.
- Again, when you work out, your muscles are constantly being torn, broken down, and you'll have to replenish and help them recover. Supplementing with BCAA's can result in both strength and muscularity, which again, is great! I usually take BCAAs before and during a work out. It increases my overall performance
- Vitamin C: For good healthy immune system and who doesn't want that.
Results: I've seen great improvement with my overall health and this is in conjunction with a sound nutrition and consistent workout regimen. Though I lost all the weight without taking any supplements, I found that I am more focused and stronger and I've seen better results with supplements included in my lifestyle. You do not need to take all the supplements there is. You have to find out what your goals are and find what works best for you.
Conclusion: research the products that are out there. I think you’ll be able to decide and find out how you can safely and effectively employ the use of nutritional supplements. Like I mentioned earlier, use them together with a balanced healthy active lifestyle.
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