First off, let’s make it clear that it is not completely mandatory to use supplements to reach high levels of health and fitness. If you want to reach MAX levels of health and fitness however, that is a different story. There are some supplements that are more necessary than others. We will break them down in tiers below to help you get a better idea of which you may or may not wish to use.
Essentials for optimum health
- Multi-vitamins – Getting your daily allotment of vitamins and minerals everyday is a cornerstone to good health. Don’t splurge on the fancy, overpriced kind. Centrum is perfectly fine.
- Fish oil – We all know that Omega 3 fatty acids are beneficial to health. If you aren’t eating massive amounts of salmon, take a fish oil supplement. Benefits can be found here.
- Whey Protein – Especially important for those wanting to build muscle. Remember, the more muscle mass, the more calories burned at rest. You should all be striving to add muscle to your body. Consume 40-50 grams upon completing a workout.
Not essential, but helpful
- Creatine – This stuff has been around a while. A ton of studies on the subject show that creatine use will add weight to your body. (partly muscle, partly water). The best kind to take is the generic creatine monohydrate mixed into Gatorade or any other sport drink.
- Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) – These are three amino acids that are grouped together in a chemical chain. They encourage protein synthesis and the production of ATP. In layman’s terms, muscle growth and increased energy. They also help slow muscle loss when dieting. BCAAs can be quite expensive, so a cost-benefit analysis should be done.
- Nutrient Partitioners – Nutrient partitioning refers to how nutrients are delivered to cells (both muscle and fat cells alike). Nutrients you consume are sent partly to the muscle and partly to fat. Many feel the future of the supplement industry lies in nutrient partitioners. To better explain what a nutrient partitioner does, follow along with this analogy. Nutrients travel your blood stream like cars on a highway until they hit a fork in the road. To the left is fat, to the right is muscle. Everyone has a different nutrient partitioning level. Athletes partition more to muscle cells; the naturally obese more towards fat cells. Nutrient partitioners act as the traffic signal at the middle of the fork in the road. They divert more nutrients towards muscle and less towards fat. This increases muscle growth, limits fat growth, and positively affects your body composition as a whole.
- Sesathin – A fat burning supplement that is basically a sesame seed oil supplement. It has various benefits – it protects the liver, lowers bad cholesterol, and may prevent high blood pressure. It is marketed however, as a fat burning component. The active ingredient sesamin increases fatty acid oxidation in the liver and reduces certain enzymes which lead to fat storage.
Ultimately, the decision to supplement your workout routine is up to you. Depending on your goals, some of these may help you, while some of these may simply be a waste of time and money. The above list is a very small portion of what is actually out there. Always educate yourself on any supplement before deciding to use it.