While many debate their importance, supplementation is an incredible tool to boost health, increase fitness, and improve fitness, among other things.
While it will never and should never replace a well-rounded diet, supplementing with the right products for the right reasons can have a profound effect. With that said, it’s imperative to understand the supplements that you’re taking before you take them.
It goes without saying you shouldn’t take anything that you’re unfamiliar with or don’t understand.
In this mini-guide to supplementation, we’ll touch on the most common supplements for beginners and the benefits of each! Let’s get right into it.
Nutritionally speaking, protein is the building block of our bodies. It’s not only important to our fitness goals but to our general health as well. For those considering supplementing with protein powder, it’s worth noting that you should first try and get your daily requirement of protein from whole foods.
If that can’t be achieved for a whole host of reasons, then and only then is it necessary to consider supplementation. With respect to the different types of protein powder, there are several, the most popular being whey.
Others include Casein, Egg-White, and plant-based sources like Soy, Pea, Rice, and Hemp. While we won’t go into detail about each, below are the most common benefits of supplementing with protein powder.
Common Benefits of Protein Powder:
• Muscle Growth
• Tissue Repair & Recovery
• Weight Management
• May Aid in Improved Health Biomarkers (Cholesterol, Blood Pressure, Etc.)
BCAA’s, or Branched-Chain Amino Acids, are a category of amino acids that include Leucine, Valine, and Isoleucine. In short, amino acids (more specifically, essential amino acids – EAA’s) are the building blocks of protein and they’re what stimulate what’s known as muscle protein synthesis.
They also aid in muscle repair and recovery much like protein powder. Below are the most common benefits of supplementing with BCAA’s.
Common Benefits of BCAA’s:
• Enhanced Muscle Growth
• Muscle Repair
• Decreased DOMS, or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness
• Reduced Fatigue
Creatine, and more specifically Creatine Monohydrate, is arguably the most studied supplement on the planet. In short, this wonder supplement is a naturally occurring compound found most commonly in animal meat and fish. However, many opt to supplement with creatine in order to get a sufficient amount.
The benefits of Creatine are widespread, which is why it’s such a popular supplement. If you’re an athlete or you’re chasing a goal of muscle growth, strength, and size, creatine is the supplement for you.
Common Benefits of Creatine Monohydrate:
• Improves High-Intensity Exercise Performance
• Stimulates Muscle Growth
• Speeds Up the Muscle Building Process
• May Be Linked To Neurological Function
• May Aid in Improved Health Biomarkers
When most people think of electrolytes they think of the ever-famous sports performance drink, Gatorade. The unfortunate thing that many fail to realize, however, is that Gatorade, at least the original version, is packed with added sugar.
Instead, opt for a true electrolyte supplement comprised of healthy salts, calcium, and potassium. The two most common reasons why people consume electrolytes? To avoid muscle cramps from dehydration, and to hydrate!
Common Benefits of Electrolytes:
• Regulates pH Levels in the Body
• Balances out the Fluids in the Body
• Enhances Exercise & Sports Performance
• Reduces Risk of Muscle Cramps
CLA is a lesser-known supplement, at least for those just beginning on their fitness and supplementation journey. Nevertheless, CLA stands for Conjugated Linoleic Acid and is a naturally occurring compound found in fatty cuts of animal meat and fish. It’s most commonly known for its apparent magical weight-loss benefits, however, more research certainly needs to be done on the matter.
Common Benefits of CLA:
• Increased Fat Loss
• Increased Weight Loss
• Improved Bone Health
• May Aid in Improved Health Biomarkers (i.e. Blood Sugar Levels, etc.)
• Boosted Immunity