Supplement Guide for Beginners

April 7th, 2015

Beginning a new stage in life, like getting healthy and fit, is a big step.  Add to that all the new equipment, regimens and diets and it can get a bit heavy at times.  One subject that will undoubtedly come up is supplementation.  Once you’ve established a training schedule and are ready, supplementing feels like a whole new world of confusion.  The way to start is slow and smart.  There are four essential supplements that are important and that will actually enhance your training and complete your dietary needs.  Whey Protein, Creatine, Multivitamins and Omega-3 Fish Oil are the building blocks of supplementation.

Whey Protein:  Protein, in general, is possibly the most important nutrient for weightlifting and body building.  It is a safe, natural protein derived from cow’s milk.  Whey protein is a complete protein jammed with 9 amino acids.  Protein is vital to muscle building and muscle repair.  During a workout, you sustain miniscule tears or rips in the muscle tissue.  The protein helps heal the muscle tissue and retain its mass.  The workout, the same thing happens again, thus building up the muscle.  Without the protein, it would take longer to heal and there would be less muscle mass increase.  It is a healthy way to add protein – natural, no sugars, salts or additives.  It also helps satiate appetite by increasing the hormone that naturally decreases appetite.  Whey protein contains high levels of tryptophan and serotonin comes from tryptophan.  This serotonin, causes that “feel good” sensation and results in better appetite control.  Whey protein also causes insulin sensitivity which is responsible for fat storage. A higher level of insulin sensitivity gives your body better control over fat storage.  When you combine the whey protein with a high protein diet, it will reduce weight gain from fat.  Fat free, high protein, amino acids, muscle repair and muscle mass are all things you gain by using Whey Protein.

Multivitamins:  Ever since post WW2, the pace of the world has increased and healthy meals have decreased.  Fast food, lack of time and pre-packaged meals have replaced fresh food and sit down dinners.  It has also slashed the average vitamin and mineral intake from what we require daily to stay healthy.  In came multivitamins.  They started as gigantic horse pills and swung all the way to small sweet candy-like chewable vitamins.  Thankfully research has continued and studies on what women, men and athletes need most in their diets has produced a much more spot on multivitamin.  Search for one that is geared for the athlete – one with added amino acids and enzymes.  There are formulas for men and for women.  Read the label and see what is listed first – that is the highest ingredient in that particular multivitamin.  All will have 100% or more of the RDA or recommended daily allowance.  It is best to take a multivitamin at bedtime – that is the time your body does its repair work and draws upon the vitamins and minerals to heal and restore.  It is also a lot easier on the stomach.

Creatine:  This is the good stuff.  There are several things creatine contributes to your training.  The first is the most noticeable.  Creatine provides a surge of energy.  Creatine increases the ATP (Adenosine TriPhosphate) in the muscle which is fuel for the body. This burst of energy is what makes creatine so popular in sports such as weightlifting and bodybuilding.  Due to the increase in ATP, weightlifters and bodybuilders are able to lift more for more reps at a time.  Another benefit is in lean muscle mass.  Creatine works, in short, by pulling water into the muscle tissue.  This keeps the muscle hydrated, like a well-oiled machine and causes the muscle size to increase.  This is an amazing supplement and second only to Whey protein in usage.  It is a completely safe, non-steroidal supplement.  Your body makes creatine on its own.  It gives you the energy to work out and supplies the ATP to the muscles, but, during a workout, the ATP cannot be recovered and replaced fast enough, so adding it as a supplement, makes up for this and allows you to increase your workout.  The only thing you will need to do while using creatine is to increase your water intake.  Because the creatine pulls in the water so efficiently, you can dehydrate.  Increase your water intake and you will benefit greatly from creatine.  It is best to purchase 100% creatine and add it to your favorite drink or water.  Pre-mixed creatine supplements tend to pack on sugar, salt and that is added fat and salt you do not need in your diet.  It can be safely mixed with just about any drink – even with caffeine.

Omega 3/Fish Oil – More than likely you do not consume enough fish products in one day to get the dose of Omega 3 that you need.  There are three type of Omega fatty acids that the body needs.  Omega 3, 6 and 9.  Omega 6 and 9 can be found in foods in a plentiful manner.  Sometimes you can actually get too much of these.  Omega 3 balances this all out but is found mainly in fish, which not everyone likes or wants to eat daily.  Enter the fish oil supplement.  Not only does this satisfy the missing Omega 3’s that your body needs, but, it has anti-inflammatory properties.  This is a godsend for overworked joints and aids in their recovery.  It has other properties that help on the complete body level.  It lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke, lowers blood pressure and helps with cognitive functions (brain function).  Memory and quick thinking are notably improved.    Be sure to follow the recommended dosage on the bottle.  If you are not sure of the dose, check with your physician.  It is also recommended that you take fish oil while eating or at least with a full glass of water before a meal.  This cuts down on the fishy taste and burping that fish taste back up.

These four supplements are a safe and effective way to start supplementing your training workout.  As you increase your workouts and see how your body responds to these supplements, you may want to adjust them or add to them as you go.  These will be an excellent start and will only help you improve and strengthen your body.