Looking at human history, people have understood the importance of having a strong body, big muscles and physical endurance since the very beginning. So while bodybuilder Eugen Sandow (1867 – 1925) is known as the father of bodybuilding, workout supplements weren’t available on the market up until the late 1930s. It all started when another man began making supplements by extracting whey for muscle-building purposes. A few decades later, some of the first powders made with eggs and milk started to appear on the market, specifically made for athletes.
Creatine is a molecule that is produced naturally in your body, so when taking it as a dietary supplement it can increase muscle creatine content by up to 40% beyond what it normally is. The primal role of taking creatine supplements is to power your muscles when they need a strong burst of energy but have already burned what the body naturally creates. Although natural creatine is found mostly in animal products, vegans and vegetarians can only get it from human-made supplements. So far, studies show that it’s best to take the recommended dosage of creatine shortly before or after your workout.
Protein shakes are perhaps the most popular supplement to drink during a workout. Dairy or plant-based, when taken properly, some studies show that protein shakes can enhance your body-building plan, help you stay away from junk food and energize you during a workout. Many studies report that taking protein supplements after exercise can aid muscle recovery by reducing fibre damage and strengthen muscle performance.
Beta-alanine is a naturally occurring amino acid that you can also take by mouth to boost your performance during a workout. Beta-alanine can also be derived in small amounts from the meat, fish and poultry you’re consuming. Beta-alanine is a standard ingredient in many pre-workout supplements, in addition to being available on its own. Research hasn’t established a dose recommendation as of yet. Also, quality and active ingredients in supplements may vary widely from maker to maker so make sure to pay attention to this when purchasing.
Typically, weight gainers are protein shakes with added amounts of carbohydrates. On average this supplement contains around 1,300 calories, 250 grams of carbohydrates, and 50 grams of protein per serving. Weight gainers are recommended if you’re struggling with gaining weight and want to start building body mass and muscle. There are whey-based and plant-based weight gainers. For best results, fitness enthusiasts recommend taking a protein supplement 15–60 minutes after exercise.
Supplements for Weight Loss and Maintaining Figure
Branched Chain Amino Acids
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. Proteins activate the vast majority of chemical reactions that occur in the cell. They provide many of the structural elements of a cell and bind cells together into tissues. These components are found in most of the usual protein sources, but supplements might be helpful if you lead a lifestyle that includes a high level of physical activity. Branched-chain amino acids can be taken during or after exercise to fuel your muscles, however, be mindful not to overdose on the amount that is recommended.
Green Tea Extract
Green tea is perhaps the most popular tea on the planet. Nowadays, green tea is finding its way into many weight loss supplements. Important to note that moderation is key here since green tea is very potent in its ingredients. One of the benefits of green tea is enhanced fat oxidation, which leads to an overall reduction in body fat over time. However, it seems this effect is more noticeable in people who do not use caffeine as often.
Thermogenics such as caffeine and ephedrine are commonly used for increasing basal metabolic rate, thereby increasing energy expenditure. Thermogenics can promote weight loss because they increase your body’s calorie burn which means you might end up burning more calories throughout your day than usual. Although thermogenesis can help you burn more calories, don’t forget about a healthy low-calorie diet and regular physical activity so that you can be most successful in your weight loss.
Carnitine is a compound found naturally in most mammals, plants, and some bacteria. In support of energy metabolism, carnitine transports long-chain fatty acids into mitochondria to be oxidized for energy production and also participates in removing products of metabolism from cells. Commercially, L-Carnitine is best known as a fat burner — but the overall research if it helps losing bodyweight is mixed. However, studies support its use for disease prevention and brain function. Supplements may also benefit those with lower levels, such as in certain scenarios with infants, older adults, vegans and vegetarians.
Proper Gym Gear
Whichever supplement you decide to go for during your workout program, don’t forget about your outfit. Your whole outfit should be made of breathable material, your underwear and socks included. Comfortable enough for you to move around, but not too loose because you might catch those baggy trousers on the exercise bike. There are lots of gym wear accessories available, from belts and straps to gloves and caps. Accessories are great, whether used for comfort or safety requirements. And last but not least: shoes. It’s important to try on a few pairs until you find the one that feels just right. While at the store, test the potential shoe out by walking around the store and jumping up and down. You’ll thank yourself later.