Why 3? Why not top 5 or 10? While I definitely could write a top 10 list of supplements you could take from most effective to least I really just want to stick to the one’s that I feel are the most beneficial. The most bang for your hard-earned money. Supplements can be very expensive and buying 3 different supplements a month over 5 or 6 will feel much better on your wallet. Let’s get one thing out-of-the-way, Supplements are just that, Supplemental. There are a million different types of supplements on the market and choosing can be hard. These are my top 3 overall supplements that I believe can help anyone for any fitness agenda. You have to be sure you’re getting what you need to meet your fitness goals. With that said let’s talk about what supplements are not.
NOT MAGIC-They are not a magic pill or powder you can take in place of something else. Supplements exist to provide with a nutrient that you are lacking in your diet or nutrition (essential or nonessential). For example protein powder would be used in most cases if you can’t have a whole food meal. whole food is always better. Also no fat loss pill will replace hard damn work.
NOT DRUGS- Just because some claim to be” performance enhancing” does not mean it’s a drug.
NOT A FOOD SUBSTITUTE- I’ll say it again nothing beats whole food. Supplements can provide you with missing parts of your diet. You should always start with a nutrition plan. You can have an amazing nutrition plan and still be missing key nutrients, that’s where supplementation comes in. You should be making your nutrition number 1 then worry about supplements.
Relying solely on whole foods can be tricky and not very easy. For most people getting in all of our meals throughout the day can be tough. Not everyone wants to food prep all their meals or have the time and carry them around all day. That’s where protein powders comes in. Protein powder’s can be a massive help saving prep time, ease of transportability, makes a fast and easy snack as you can mix it with things like fat-free greek yogurt or us it to as a substitute for a full meal to save yourself from making a terrible food option in a pinch. Protein powder can be very low in carbs, sugars and fats, makes for a much simpler meal plan. The Price per gram of protein powder is affordable and well worth it when you think of all the time it can save you. There are many different types of protein powder’s from egg based all the way to plant-based powders, the most popular being whey protein. My recommendation is always use what works for you and gives you the best results. However if you’re looking for somewhere to start my go to is whey isolate. Whey isolate is a form of whey protein that has been processed to remove the fat and lactose. This means better digestibility so if you have a sensitive stomach or lactose intolerant it shouldn’t upset your stomach or give you that bloated feeling. Whey isolate is fast absorbing and high in leucine. The faster the protein is absorbed the faster the liver oxidizes it’s amino acids. That rapid delivery of amino acids increases protein synthesis, perfect for post workout recovery to change your body from a catabolic state (muscle breakdown) to an anabolioc (muscle building) state. Always go with a company that has their protein tested by a third party. You want to make sure you’re getting exactly what the product is claiming for protein per serving.
2.Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fatty layers of cold-water fish and shellfish, plant and nut oils, English walnuts, flaxseed, algae oils, and fortified foods.Studies suggest that about 80 percent of people are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids. There are the two main types of omega-3 fatty acids:
- Long-chain omega-3 fatty acids are EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). These are plentiful in fish and shellfish. Algae often provides only DHA.
- Short-chain omega-3 fatty acids are ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). These are found in plants, such as flaxseed. Though beneficial, ALA omega-3 fatty acids have less potent health benefits than EPA and DHA. You’d have to eat a lot to gain the same benefits as you do from fish.
Omega 3’s provide enormous health benefits. Studies have shown that middle-aged people who eat diets rich in omega-3’s help prevent several types of cancer, including breast and prostate cancers. Some studies also suggest that diets high in omega-3’s are associated with a reduced risk of cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia and a decrees in depression. Because DHA is an essential component of cellular membrane phospholipids in the brain.
So where does Omega-3’s come into play on your fitness journey? Well besides being amazing for your overall health, if that’s not enough let’s talk about some other benefits that you might like. How about increased recovery and the supporting of building lean muscle? EPA and DHA supplementation has been suggested to support muscle protein synthesis and limit muscle protein degradation. This can mean less muscle breakdown and more muscle growth. exercise and weight training cause increases in inflammation and oxidation. while the studies are still emerging but it looks like EPA and DHA might act as an anti-inflammatory. If you’re not eating fatty fish at least 3 times a week you’re probably deficient of these essential fatty acids. Supplementation come in liquid or pill form. Be sure to look on the nutrition label and make sure there is a clear EPA and DHA amount per serving. To improve athletic performance it is suggested that 3.2 grams of EPA plus 2.2 grams of DHA be taken daily.
I admit creatine will not benefit absolutely everyone such as people who’s workout primarily consisted of aerobics and your goal is increased work capacity. With that said creatine is one of the most effective supplements if you’re doing high intensity activity. I feel like creatine has been the subject of a lot of misguided hate, so much so that it has become one of the most studied supplements. While studies show a number of benefits from using creatine it’s primary functions are enhanced muscle mass, strength and endurance. How is this achieved?
Creatine is a naturally occurring amino acid. That’s right natural as in made in your body. (protein building block) that’s found in meat and fish, and also made by the human body in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas. It is converted into creatine phosphate or phosphocreatine and stored in the muscles, where it is used for energy. During high-intensity, short-duration exercise. phosphocreatine is converted into ATP, a major source of energy within the human body. When you supplement with creatine you increase the body’s creatine stores with most of it going to your muscle cell. This means your body has significantly more available energy. Creatine is a backup phosphate for the replacement of ATP. Just like everything else there are a bunch of different types of creatine’s on the market. Creatine monohydrate being proven to be the best with its 99 percent absorption rate is the one I would recommend. Lucky for us it also happens to be the cheapest. At least for now until the supplement companies find a way to drive the price up.
So there you have it. Three safe and effective supplements. All supplements are not created equal. Please remember it’s important to research any supplement you might be thinking about taking. Talk to your doctor about it. Most do nothing, some are very dangerous and i’m sure don’t work half as well or have the quality ingredients the manufacturer wants you to believe. Supplements alone won’t build a great physique, Hard damn work, time and dedication are the true PROVEN methods.