So last week we learned that supplements are not magical. They are not going to give you lower abs. They are not going to instantly make you stronger. Chances are, you are just coming to a point where you are no longer a beginner and need to start training as such and except the limitations of progress imposed on us by nature.
So what do I like.
I like protein supplements. I think it’s a great way to supplement the diet with more protein. I understand the difficulties of eating a lot of protein with each meal. It’s not easy to find a container of chicken laying around the office or your locker at room when it’s difficult to find time to make all your meals in advance. Or if you just don’t have time to eat full meals. So a protein shake to me is just another meal. People always want to ask if one protein shake or another will give them whatever results they want. It just doesn’t work that way. Think of it as an easy healthy meal and a great way to get protein into your system immediately following a workout, which is an absolute necessity for anyone.
I also like fish oil. With all the research being done showing positive effects of fish oil supplementation I think it’s hard not to buy into their value. I personally like their anti-inflammatory effects and believe that is a huge aid in recovery and overall health. (which is sometimes ignored in the quest for athletic prowess or looking awesome) They are also inexpensive, so it’s hard to make a case against them.
Creatine is another one I think you just can’t ignore, particularly in those looking for athletic performance goals. The research is there. More than anyone could ever read, the research is there. Most of which overwhelmingly supporting creatine use as an ergogenic aid. I feel the need to say this again, creatine is not a steriod. It will not make huge muscles appear where your muscles are right now. You may not even notice a difference. What happens when you take creatine is you increase your body’s natural inter cellular creatine stores. Very Simply, creatine, along with phosphate (which never runs low, save your money on that one) gives your body energy during the first ~8 seconds of activity. So let’s say we can increase that amount of creatine in the cells, which creatine supplementation has been shown to do, now we can last for maybe 9 seconds using creatine before having to switch energy systems.
So what’s the big deal about getting that extra second from the phosphocreatine system? Well nothing right away. But over time, that is more work being done. That extra little bit may “buy” (see what I did there) you an extra rep or two on sets where you may not have had enough gas in the tank to complete otherwise. The more work you’re able to do, the more progress you can make. The only form of creatine shown to have any effect on the body is creatine monohydrate, don’t get suckered into more expensive forms, it all does the same thing.
So if you are interested in aiding your workout progress with some cost effective supplements that do their job and don’t cost a fortune those three are a great place to start, and probably stick with from there as well. So ignore the supplements promising to “see your ribs in a week” or “biceps of a rhinoceros after your first workout.” Stick with the basics and follow a real workout program and a real diet. Results will come.