Here’s my favorite list of supplements for diet and exercise:
- 25-30 grams of high-quality “isolate” protein powder (I do a shake before and after each workout).
- Glutamine (5mg in every protein shake)
- Creatine (monohydrate, 2 pills in the morning)
- CLA (Conjugated linoleic acid fat-burner, two pills morning, two in evening)
- Nitric Oxcide (NO) pre-workout (there are many good ones, and I switch after every empty jar)
- Branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) during every workout
- Beta-alanine/L-arginine/citrulline malate combo-mix
- L-Carnitine (great fat-loss combo with fish oil and CLA; one cap-full first thing in the morning)
There’s lots of supplements out there on the market. Some are highly recommended, and some are not. Some are a waste of money. Talk with the trainers to get their recommendations. Take a supplement that provides focused, long-lasting energy, and does not result in an energy crash. Watch out for supplements with side-effects, water-retention, hidden sugar and caffeine…stay away from those! Don’t buy the cheap protein powder…most of it is made with low-quality protein and includes some unwanted chemicals. Stay away from cheap whey-based protein if you can, and get an “isolate” whey protein mix.
After protein, BCAA’s are the next most important, in my opinion…I never do a workout without BCAAs!
BCAA : branched-chain amino acids. Don’t skip this important supplement if you are working out hard! I sip it during my workouts for best results and decreased muscle soreness afterwards. Read all about it at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Branched-chain_amino_acid
Creatine is great for muscle strength. It helps the muscles by prolonging anerobic glycolysis even though the lactic acid level has risen because of increased activity. So, that means that it helps push your muscles past their normal limit and beyond, leading to bigger, leaner muscles. I have used both powder and pill forms…currently, I’m taking a pill with my morning meal…it’s just faster, and since it’s a monohydrate, it doesn’t cause water-retention.
Glutamine is great for muscle repair. I take 10 grams per day, 2 servings of 5 grams, before and after workout, with my protein powder. I read somewhere that Jack LaLane used to take 50 grams per day…just saying…it’s good.
Beta-alanine (taken separately, or in other powder supplements) are especially great, because it’s a naturally occurring amino-acid. Supplementation with beta-alanine has been shown to increase the concentration of carnosine in muscles, decrease fatigue in athletes, and increase total muscular work done…it’s one of the best muscle building supplements available.
Citrulline malate (found in watermelon) is found to increase workout intensity, improve blood flow, decrease fatigue and soreness after your workout…you’ll do more reps, and not be as sore if you take this supplement.
L-Arginine is another good supplement that helps stimulate protein synthesis, thereby building muscles, strength and endurance. By taking 10-15 grams per day, the body’s insulin levels will decrease by 20-30%, and there’s many references in my blog that talk about reducing insulin to reduce fat. L-Arginine will also increase nitric-oxide production in blood vessels, which increases their diameter, without raising blood pressure. When blood vessels dilate, more nutrients reach the muscles. Many of the better supplements will include it.
L-Carnatine: plays a crucial role in the production of energy by transporting fatty acids into your cells’ mitochondria (1, 2, 3). The mitochondria act as engines within your cells, burning these fats to create usable energy. Your body can actually produce L–carnitine out of the amino acids lysine and methionine. I take a cap-full in the morning, and it keeps the fire burning all day.
CLA : Available at any bodybuilding/supplement store (Wholesale Nutrition or Bodybuilding.com) to get the best combination of milligrams and price. It’s a great year-round fat-burner. Read more here… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conjugated_linoleic_acid
D-Aspartic Acid: Aspartic acid, also known as aspartate, is an endogenous, or non-essential amino acid. Non-essential amino acids are amino acids (the building blocks that make up proteins) that can be made by the body, so they don’t have to be provided by food. Some people swear by it. I have used it, and I combine it with my BCAAs during workout. However, the research on D-Aspartic indicates that it might not be necessary or cost-effective. Read more here…https://healthybutsmart.com/d-aspartic-acid/
If you are working out hard, you’ll need some or all of these supplements…and stay with the natural ones above, available in the best nutrition shops, nothing “off the street”.