Check Out My Updated Supplement Guide !
Supplements are "something that completes or enhances something else when added to it." In the workout world, supplements appear crucial as everyone is taking them to "gain muscle" and "stay healthy." First things first, supplements are 100% (for the most part) unnecessary and you can get the same benefits by just eating. I know a post about supplements and disclaiming that you do not even need them sound bizarre. However, supplements are often a quicker option to get necessary nutrients that you aren't getting from food. Here is what I use:
I take 11 capsules daily and at 3 different times a day (with a meal). The majority of my supplements are taking in the morning. Remember that with all vitamin and mineral pills you should drink with at least 8 oz of water and along with food (depending on the directions on the actual bottle.)
This is probably the most standard of all supplements. Most of us aren't consuming adequate amounts of our daily vitamins or minerals and our bodies have to suffer the consequences. Luckily multivitamins have come to our rescue fulfilling our daily needs. This one needs to be taken 3x a day. Caution: Overconsumption of any vitamin can be detrimental on your health and you should consult a doctor to see what your recommended amount shout be.
Green Tea Extract -
This is basically green tea in a capsule. I like talking these to help boost my metabolism if I do not have time to drink tea in the morning. In addition to boosting your fat burning mechanism, the capsules often have higher dosages of green tea than any cup of the tea can provide. This one can be taken once daily.
Vitamin E -
This vitamin has many benefits but I take it for the effects it gives my hair, skin and nails. It helps naturally lubricate your skin, keep your nails strong and your hair shiny. You can even topically apply it to your skin as well. This one needs to be taken daily.
Omega- 3 -
If you aren't eating fish (dark pink colored) daily, you are probably somewhat deficient in DHA, EPA and your Omegas. Omega-3 is a fish oil supplement that can supply your body with these nutrients and support a healthy heart. I like to combine this with my green tea extract, as well, to really encourage a faster metabolism. This one needs to be taken 2x a day.
Fat Burner -
This supplement is not one that I take daily. This is a fat burner that helps encourage a faster metabolism, appetite control and promotes a positive mood. I like to use this when I want to trim down for a particular reason. I usually have no cheat meals and just eat really clean while taking these in addition to increased cardio and regular workouts. If you are just started off with supplements, however, I would not recommend you get these just yet.
This supplement can help you get more reps out of your workout by reducing muscle fatigue and soreness. I like creatine when I want to get bigger. You start by creatine loading, which is the process of taking enough creatine to absorb in all your muscles, followed by the maintenance phase. Creatine can make you bloated at times so beware. If you workout mostly at home and are interested in weight loss, I would skip creatine and opt for another supplement.
Whey is probably the universal sign for someone who workouts. Whey is a great source of protein and a great substitute for protein foods. I like whey because I am able to consume more protein without having to eat more foods. Whey is mostly used by people trying to get bigger as it allows them to get more protein, however if you are trying to lose weight you can use whey too. Making sure you correctly consume it, within the parameters of your goal is key. Whey can make you a little bloated as well.
Branch chain amino acids (BCAA) is a great supplement that is usually taken before a workout. It helps to reduce muscle breakdown, supports muscle growth and reduces fatigue. Although BCAA are helpful, you can get the same benefits by munching on an high protein snack before working out. I like using BCAA for fasted cardio or other times I don't have time to eat before a workout.
Other Supplements to Consider:
Biotin: Hair/skin/nails pill that helps increase hair growth, skin appearance and nail length retention. Although I know a lot of people use it and love it, biotin causes me to break out in rashes and have swells all over my body. Yikes!
Pre-Workout: Helps give you energy before a workout. I have tried some but I just like drinking my coffee before I workout and get similar effects
Glutamine: Similar to BCAA in that it supports muscle growth and encourages metabolism. I have not tried it yet but I heard great things about this supplement.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and cannot prescribe anyone to take anything. Please consult your physician before taking any new supplements to make sure you are consuming them safely.