In today’s day and age there are countless things that people are trying to tell you to put into your body. Each new pill, powder or food is the next miracle solution to whatever fitness or physique problem you are hoping to fix. Walking into a grocery store, pharmacy or health store can have you quickly running out the door with all of the options. However, if you have kept with your new year’s resolution and are hoping to keep up with your new gym routine then you may have started hearing about all of the things that some of the more seasoned gym rats are taking. Maybe you hear about something from Instagram or a magazine you might get your workouts from. Looking online for more information though can often leave you reeling. Do you really need all of these fancy pills and things to look like you want to look or to just be healthier?
Do you really need all of these fancy pills and things to look like you want to look or to just be healthier? The short answer is no. Having a balanced diet and eating the correct amount of calories and nutrients for your goals is perfectly possible. However, if you’re the type who doesn’t eat the best or doesn’t keep track of things well you may want some help. If you also are new to working out or just feel you may have plateaued, then you may want to check out some supplements. When it comes to that aisle of the grocery store or the online supplement market there is a lot to choose from, so let’s focus on the basics.
Whatever your chosen type of protein powder, the idea is the same. It can be tough and expensive to get all the protein you want in your diet, especially when your appetite may not have caught up to your new fit lifestyle. If you’re someone who emphasizes carbs too much in your diet and isn’t the most consistent cook, protein powders are a great idea. They can let you put a lot of your daily need into your body just after or before a workout. Drinking your protein as a shake means you can put it down more quickly than a chicken breast or something and you can even do it on your ride home from the gym. It’s no replacement for all of your protein needs, but it can certainly make it easier to meet your goals. Protein powders are not for everyone, but they are definitely the most common thing you’ll hear talked about in the locker room. They are pretty much standard for most gym goers in some respect because of the ease they provide.
There are loads of different products out there offering great taste and a lot of protein, but the most important thing to look at is why you’re getting it, any dietary restrictions and the purity of the product. Protein has numerous health benefits and very few drawbacks which is what makes it such a popular supplement. However, make sure to take a look at some studies on what is in the product before you make a purchase. Supplement policing is extremely lax and tough to stay on top of because of all of the different companies out there. Check out a website like this in order to get a look at whether the label matches the product.
Pre-Workout or simply “Pre” is another one that gets bandied about at the gym quite a lot. For those that aren’t feeling up to the gym or a workout, this supplement can give a boost. The ingredients in many pre-workouts though can be scary. Typically there are many of the things found in energy drinks, but there are also often a load of chemicals trying to perk you and your muscles up. Many have cocktails of ingredients resembling something like speed while others are vitamins, maybe a bit of protein powder and some creatine. The important thing to look at is how long the supplement has been out, as some come and go quickly because of health concerns, and what ingredients are actually in it. Check out the companies that have a long history of safe products that have what they say is in them actually in them.
Most people though don’t really need a pre-workout supplement. A bit of something high in protein to eat and a cup of coffee a bit before your workout and water during should keep your energy high enough. If you think you can muster up the steam to get in a run, lift or whatever you do to exercise then a pre-workout may be a worse idea than skipping a workout every blue moon.
The somewhat more controversial of the three that we’ll cover here. Creatine has its place i the cupboard for many, but like protein powder it still has its critics. Creatine is naturally occurring in the body, so it’s nothing we don’t already have, but it is known to have side effects in rare cases. Creatine helps your muscles grow more quickly and hold more water which can make you look larger, but the real results won’t be seen immediately. Many who have used creatine swear by it, but others note that they lost some size (not strength) when they stopped taking the supplement.
Creatine can be found in some protein powders, pre-workouts or just on its own so look into it before purchasing anything containing the ingredient. If you are unsure of starting on creatine ask your doctor and some nutritionists about their thoughts. While it doesn’t have as many studies on it as protein powder, the stuff has been around for a while and is viewed as a safe staple in the bodybuilding community.