I give my personal reccomendations for 5 supplements that are actually worth your time and money. 
There always seems to be a massive over reliance on supplements for guys and girls who want to get leaner and add some muscle mass. 
 
Let me word that better, maybe not even over reliance but a real misunderstanding of how important supplements really are to help you achieve your goals. 
 
So let me clear this up. 
 
Supplements are not essential and are defiantly not the most important thing to consider when getting in better shape. 
 
However if your diet is on point, you are training hard and understand the hierarchy priorities then supplements can be a useful aid to help get that last 5% or so out of your training and achieve some epic results. 
 
But what supplements should you use and which ones actually work? 
 
There are a lot of supplements which are just a waste of money in my opinion and will do nothing for your results but instead leave your bank account that much smaller every month. 
 
But fear not as in this blog I share 5 supplements which I can put my hand on my heart and say are evidence based and can make a difference. 
 
 
 
Whey protein 
 
First of all some people wouldn’t even call whey protein a supplement but for the case of this blog I will. We know to gain muscle and lose body fat consuming a good amount of daily protein is essential. However for many people trying to get enough protein per day (I would advise around 2grams of protein per KG of BW) is really quite hard. 
 
This is where whey is so useful. Just one serving can bump up your daily intake by 20-30g and can be consumed in so many ways. 
 
As a shake, in a smoothie, with oats, mixed up with yogurt or even added to cooking. 
 
If you are a girl reading this do not fear whey. It is just another form of protein and no different to your chicken breast or Greek yogurt. 
 
I would personally advise you take your time when choosing your whey protein and always read the ingredient list and as a very easy rule of thumb probably best to go for one without a long list of ingredients you can’t even pronounce. 
 
 
 
 
Creatine 
 
One of the most heavily researched supplements and one that has shown time and time again how useful it can be to support muscle gain. 
 
It can also be very effective for muscle maintenance when dieting and even for endurance athletes as it can help improve glycogen storage. 
 
Creatines main benefit is assisting intense bouts of exercise (weights training) as it plays a vital role in maintaining good levels of phosphocreatine and therefore assisting in the production of ATP. 
 
You will consume some creatine from red meat and fish within your diet but when you are resistant training more frequently your phosphocreatine levels can drop off so supplementing is an easy way to ensure you are always topped up so to speak. 
 
Don’t worry about issues such as water retention as this myth is mainly down to your body being able to store more carbohydrates and therefore more water when consuming creatine. But this is a good thing and not bad at all. 
 
I would advise you consume 5g a day of creatine monohydrate and you can add this into your whey shake or whatever. 
 
Don’t worry about loading it just hit 5g every day and timing is really nothing to worry about. 
 
 
 
Caffeine 
 
Now you make think ‘well yes Chris, no shit caffeine can help training’. 
 
But what if I told you your single shot of espresso or your can of monster is no way near enough to really stimulate you for training? 
 
Pre workout caffeine can be very effective to help improve energy expenditure and training performance. 
 
However there are two things to consider. 
 
First of all, is how much of a habitual coffee drinker are you? If you drink coffee 2-3 times a day most days then your tolerance and sensitivity to caffeine will be that bit lower. 
 
Resulting in that pre workout caffeine hit in most cases not doing a great deal. 
 
An easy fix is to first try and cut back on the amount of caffeine you consume each day or take a full day off it once a week. 
 
This should keep your sensitivity where it needs to be so when caffeine is taken pre workout in the right dose it actually does something. 
 
The final point is consuming enough caffeine to see a real effect. 
 
Examine.com (a bible of information on all things supplements collating the best research available) advise that for positive performance affects you need to consume 4-6 mg per KG of BW. So for a 100kg man that’s anything from 400-600mg. A can of red bull contains about 80mg of caffeine. 
 
You can see now how low that actually is compared to these guidelines. 
 
Now first of all maybe start at the lower end of these recommended levels and for ease of use I would advise caffeine tablets which can be easily found on most supplements websites and normally contain around 150-200mg per tablet and are very affordable. 
 
 
 
Vitamin D 
 
We all enjoy the effects of being in the sun when on holiday or when the British summer actually happens. A big reason for this is the benefits of vitamin D for which the sun is a great source. 
 
However one average in the UK we just don’t get enough. 
 
Vitamin D has so many benefits including improvements in immunity, bone health and mental well-being. Those who are deficient in Vitamin D may feel a consistent sense of lethargy and even reduced levels of testosterone. 
 
You can see how important Vitamin D really is. 
 
But how does this help with muscle gain and fat loss? 
 
Well it might just help you fight off the odd illness and help keep your energy that little bit higher which could lead to better training and more consistency. 
 
Of course it might well not be as acute as this but rest assured we can all benefit from Vitamin D. 
 
A dose of around 2500 IU’s a day will be good for most people. It’s not a supplement you need to worry about over supplementing and if you do fear you’re maybe deficient best to see your doctor and ask for a test. 
 
 
 
Fish oils 
 
The final supplement we look at is fish oils and more specifically omega 3’s. 
 
The benefits from fish oils are perhaps more commonly known but range from helping maintain good joint health, blood pressure and overall ensuring your blood lipid levels are where they should be. 
 
The main reason why supplementing fish oils can be wise is people generally don’t eat a great deal of oily fish and particularly when dieting as these foods can have a high yield in calories. 
 
So supplementation can be wise to ensure you stay in good health but without the higher hit in calories if you so happen to be dieting. 
 
Supplementing 2000-3000mg of combined EPA and DHA fish oils per day is acceptable for most. More if you have a high training load and lower if you consume oily fish more frequently. 
 
 
 
There you have it, the 5 supplements I would really only worry about. Remember all of the above can play a part in your diet but should defiantly not be your main priority. 
 
Focus on energy balance, plenty of fibre and some flexibility thrown in first and only should you can look at supplements. 
Tagged as: Supplements
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