For a long time, supplement companies have made bank on the idea that consistently using their products can completely change your physique.
One scoop (or two if you’re reckless) promises to help you gain muscle, “burn” fat, and improve your performance, but unfortunately, it’s not so easy.
Supplements can be used to improve your performance and appearance however not in the way youmay think.
Here is a list of the only supplements that are worth your money.
What is Creatine?
Creatine is a natural compound that’s primarily stored in the body muscle cells and used to create ATP, the energy-carrying molecule. Because creatine is naturally occurring in the body, it is a low-risk supplement. In fact, creatine can be found in foods like meat and fish.
At the same time it is one of the most inexpensive and most-studied supplements out there and luckily for us, it can be very effective.
When shopping for creatine, you’ll find that there are many different types.
Creatine monohydrate is the most common form and the most studied, so if you’re looking to reap the benefits boasted by studies, this is probably the version for you.
Since creatine powder can be bought at a low cost, there are a few ways that companies try to get you to pay more.
One of those ways is by offering different flavors and convenient forms of ingestion such as liquid, pills, and even gummies.
Whichever form you opt for, make sure you’re getting the correct dose; about 5g per day is suitable for most people.
Is Creatine worth it?
Creatine has been shown to improve performance, explosiveness, and endurance in athletes. This is because it increases the body’s ability to produce energy rapidly which translates to being able to lift more weight resulting in the creation of more muscle fibers.
As incredible as it sounds, creatine isn’t a one-off supplement; it must be taken daily. If you’re taking it for the first time, it’ll be between 1-3 weeks before you notice its effects.
What is cafeine?
Another well-studied substance, caffeine is one of the most widely used supplements not only by athletes and non-athletes alike. This is because a lot of foods contain at least a small percentage of caffeine such as chocolate, soft drinks, and even in fruits like guarana. Caffeine is an effective stimulant but when abused, it’s possible to build up a dependence.
Over uses can often experience headaches or trouble sleeping when they don’t get their fix.
On the other hand, some people begin to develop a tolerance towards caffeine, finding that they need a higher dosage to feel the effects.
For this reason, it’s recommended to start with a small dose and then build and taper gradually to establish your sensitivity again.
Widely sold as pills, powders, and energy drinks, you can use up to 400mg per day 30-60 minutes before training, but you should aim to reduce your intake during the rest of your day and on the days that you don’t exercise.
Is Caffeine worth it?
Simply put, caffeine allows you to harder for train longer. It boasts advantages for both mental and physical performance by boosting energy and increasing mental sharpness
What creatine is for explosive or power activities, caffeine is for endurance activities.
Caffeine offers various benefits for high intensity training, but its ability to increase tolerance to fatigue makes it a powerful tool for those who train for extended periods.
Furthermore, caffeine has been shown to have a positive relationship with fat burning by stimulating lipolysis: the mobilization of fatty acid cells.
It also has a thermogenic effect which often makes it an ingredient in many fat burning supplements.
What is Protein Powder?
Proteins are molecules that your body need for creating and repairing tissue and thus, building muscle mass. Intense physical activity (such as resistance training) breaks down your body’s proteins by creating microtears in your muscle tissue.
Ingesting protein stimulates protein synthesis allowing new tissue to repair and replace the damaged ones. This is why protein is often taken during or after exercise to increase the impact of muscle growth.
Supplementing with protein can be overwhelming because there are endless options.
It is available in different varieties depending on the source (whey, beef, plant-based) and processing (concentrate, isolate, hydrolysate).
Look for a product that is at least 80% protein and that is easy for you to digest.
Is Proteina powder worth it?
If you’re interested in gaining or maintaining muscle mass, getting enough protein is crucial as it aids in recovery by speeding up muscle repair and glycogen replacement.
Can you get your protein from foods instead of using protein powder? Yes, but if you’re trying to lose fat, it can be tricky.
There are many healthy and delicious foods that are high in protein however they also tend to include a considerable amount of fats and/or carbohydrates.
By taking protein powder, you get more of the macronutrient that you need without having to consider unnecessary
That said, protein powders are great in a pinch.
They’re easy to take, they travel well, and they come in almost any flavor imaginable.
Aim for 1.2-1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.
Evenly distribute your protein intake across your meals throughout the day including a protein shake during or after your workout.
Avoid brands that dilute their powders with extra ingredients like excessive sweeteners, flavoring, and emulsifiers.
Honorable mention & Conclusion
This article is meant to talk about supplements, but I just couldn’t go without mentioning that there are two elements that are way more effective for improving your performance and changing your physique than any supplement listed above.
It’s not the answer that you want to hear but the reality is, recovery and nutrition are two of the most important variables that can help or hurt your training.
In fact, I would even be as bold to say that you shouldn’t worry about supplementation until you can commit to regularly getting enough quality sleep and nutrients to correctly fuel your training.
Remember that supplements serve the purpose for which they’re named. They are meant to compliment a progressive training plan, adequate recovery, and proper nutrition to fuel your workouts.