With the huge array of nutritional supplements on the market today, it is no wonder why experienced bodybuilders, athletes and especially those who just want to stay healthy are baffled as to which supplements to use for performance, maximizing gains from weight training and overall health. Supplements are an essential part of gaining muscle, strength, size and definition. I am always asked at the gym, “What should I take?” Depending on your goals and your level of training, this should determine what supplements one should take in order to make significant gains in the gym.
Supplements do vary; some are very good, while others are not so good. I train very hard and put my body through very intensive workouts so I need nutrients and my food does not always cover all that I need especially when I am following my very restricted competition diets. When one is calorie restricted and certain foods are not part of your daily regimen taking supplements is the main reason why you and I need them as part of our daily routine. While taking certain supplements helps one to train harder and recover quicker from intense workouts, we also need to supplement with protein to maintain our physiques for muscle growth and even recovery.
The first thing I would like to discuss is whether women should take supplements or not. Many women just entering the fitness realm do not think that there are supplements out there that are made for them and often many of them do not know what to take. There are supplements out there that are made especially for women and many offered by supplement companies that seem to be male dominated are also very female user friendly. One just needs to educate themselves in order to make proper supplement choices. So let’s break some of the supplement choices down so you can better understand which ones will work for you.
The first thing anyone interested in bodybuilding, fitness or sports should know is that they need to be on a very good multivitamin. Because MuscleMeds doesn’t market a multi-vitamin (at least not yet!), I highly recommend MHP’s Activite Sport for men and women. This multi maximizes protein, carbohydrate and fat utilization. It improves muscle recovery and immune support, and increases lean muscle, energy and endurance. This is an essential staple in your supplementation regimen! Women should also take a calcium supplement to keep your bones strong.
Many people do not consume the amount of protein that is actually necessary for their bodies. I have found that an easy way to supplement protein to get the quantity you need is to add protein shakes into the daily diet. And yes, both men and women of all levels typically need to add protein shakes into their diets. I highly recommend beef protein isolate, especially since many men and women are lactose intolerant or lactose allergic. To get the protein I need each day, I use MuscleMeds Carnivor. This beef protein isolate provides me with the necessary amounts of protein, BCAAs and creatine I need to make significant gains in the gym. You can use these shakes throughout the day, pre- and post-workout, and before bedtime.
For general health and body composition benefits, fish oil is essential. Fish oil is loaded with healthy omegas and provides essential fatty acids that actually help one to lose weight. Most people will try and eliminate all fats from their diets when in reality we need certain “healthy” fats in our diet. By eliminating these fats, we actually stall our progression. Make sure before purchasing fish oil capsules that you spend extra time researching a good brand that uses mercury-free fish and is of the purest form that you can buy. These can be purchased in either liquid or tablet form. I have used both, but I highly recommend the liquid form.
Many people look for ways to lose excess fats and will, in turn, look to a fat burner that will help speed the process along. Granted, there are those people out there who are looking to put on weight, so a fat burner will not be necessary. But the majority of people out there want to shed those extra pounds and are often confused about fat burners. Remember, fat burners are not a magic bullet! However, they contain very good compounds that actually aid in the fat loss journey. Just be careful and do not overdo it. Overloading any of these compounds is not particularly effective and the shotgun approach will not be cost effective, either. Rather, you should look for a product that is sufficiently dosed in several synergistic compounds. I highly recommend MuscleMeds new MethylBURN Extreme.
MethylBURN Extreme’s advanced synergistic compounds provide both fast and sustained activity to optimize fat burning, energy and power during workouts while continuing to incinerate fat for energy after your workouts and throughout the day. I have used MethylBURN during my contest prep and found it to be most beneficial in helping me to peel off those last stubborn pounds of fat before I took the stage.
Pre-workout drinks are great for getting that added energy to carry you through your workout. Some are designed to help move nutrients and other supplements into the bloodstream quickly to enhance performance. Many of these drinks come in a vast array of different concoctions, some just sugar based and some containing a range of stimulants like caffeine and guarana. Many people feel they need them to train after a hard day at work.
I use a pre-workout supplement before each training session and have found that I get in more reps and my workouts are more intense and productive. My favorite pre-workout drink is MuscleMeds CODE RED. This pre-workout drink is superior to all others on the market. The unique mind/muscle synergy created by CODE RED induces a heightened state of focus and muscle power, allowing you to train harder thus stimulating muscle growth. It contains a clinical dose of GlycoCarn which improves blood flow to working muscles, allowing you to train heavier and harder than ever before. This is a supplement staple in my contest prep and I love the taste, too!
These are some of the basic essential supplements one should take during their journey to a better body. I know that there are thousands of supplements out there and choosing the right ones can often be costly and nonproductive. The ones I have outlined here will help anyone get started and as you progress you can add new ones to your regimen. Just make sure to do your research and that the supplement you are buying does exactly what it promises and has only the best ingredients added so that you know you are doing the very best you can do to achieve your desired physique. This is precisely why I represent MuscleMeds and work with them exclusively.
If you take your time and do your homework you can answer many of your own questions regarding proper supplementation. I hope this helps and remember to train hard!