I’m always asked what supplements I take or what ones I recommend. Supplements can aid in the process of getting fit and help you achieve your fitness goals faster. Of course they are not absolutely necessary and you can still achieve the results you desire without them but they can definitely help speed up the process. It’s very important to get your nutrients from food. Supplements should be used to enhance an already healthy diet. You should always check with your doctor before taking any new supplements and make sure you read packaging. Here are a few supplements I recommend and how/when to take them. Note that these are what I would be taking if I were not currently pregnant. At the moment I am only using protein powder.
Protein is essential for muscle growth and getting enough protein through food alone can be difficult for some women (it is for me). When you workout your muscle fibers tear and need protein to rebuild and to grow. Protein from a shake is absorbed into your blood stream a lot faster than food so it’s beneficial to drink a protein shake straight after you workout to begin the muscle repair process. There are so many different types on the market but I recommend finding one with low carbs and low calories.
Branch-chain amino acids have a variety of benefits and are probably my favourite of all supplements. BCAAs prevent muscle breakdown during exercise and help you have a speedier recovery with less muscle soreness. Drinking BCAAs during your workout will help keep you hydrated as well as aid in energy and performance. Not to mention most brands are super yummy!
L-cartinine basically helps the body produce energy. It is a naturally occurring amino acid that boosts fat metabolism and helps keep your body from storing fat. Intense exercise has been known to decrease l-carnitine and some studies have shown that it can improve performance and endurance. Take it before you workout (I prefer tablet form).
Glutamine is a naturally occurring amino acid and does a number of things including fuel your immune system. When you workout your body is put under stress and you may require more glutamine than you’re naturally able to produce so your muscles release glutamine to use as fuel. So taking l-glutamine as a supplement will allow there to be enough glutamine for your muscles, which will help prevent deterioration and aid in recovery. I prefer taking l-glutamine in powder form and having it mixed in with my post-workout protein shake.
Fish oil contains essential fatty acids and taking fish oil has so many benefits. Although it might not aid in muscle growth directly, it enhances your overall health, which in turn will allow you to train better and see better results. From aiding in fat loss, to managing stress and lowering cholesterol, fish oil is something everyone should have in their diet. I take my fish oil tablets in the morning but you can take them at any time of the day.
Creatine supplies energy for your muscles and boosts your performance. It allows you to perform at a higher intensity than you usually would. So you can push yourself harder and see results faster. Some people think creatine makes you bloated but this is just a myth. You can take creatine before your workout or with your post workout shake.
Vitamin C has so many benefits to every part of your health. From helping with colds, to stress, to skin problems, vitamin C is really a great vitamin to be taking. It’s essential for growth and repair of body tissues. I take it in the morning but you can take it at any time.
As you can see I haven’t included any specific brands in this post as there are so many great ones out there and it really is about trying them out and finding out what ones work best for you. If you would like to know what specific brands I recommend I’m happy to do another post about that!