People like to complicate things - supplementation is not complicated. Make no mistake, consistency with your nutrition plan and consistency with your workout program will yield 95% of your results. Nutritional supplements are intended to SUPPLEMENT your nutrition and training - not replace it.
Supplements, as the name implies, are intended to fill nutrition gaps in an already healthy diet. You may consider supplements to help boost your protein intake, vitamin deficiencies or hydration. They are intended to supplement the foods you eat, not replace them.
Supplements should never replace a good nutrition plan and hard training, but they can definitely improve and enhance your results. The extra nutrition can help you hit your dietary macros and assist in recovery between workouts.
Here are a few essential supplements you can consider.
Whey protein is probably the most widely used supplement in the fitness industry. If there is one nutrition tip that can support almost any fitness goal it would be to consume more protein. While there are probably hundreds of brands to choose from, for most people any will do. The one thing I really look at though is added sugar - you don't want any of that! Below are four of the brands we recommend if you're looking to buy your first tub of whey protein. These brands are: MusclePharm, Optimum Nutrition, Dymatize and MuscleTech.
All of these brands are well respected and have been around for a very long time. All are also certified substance free.
Branch chain amino acids (BCAAs) have had an astronomical rise in popularity. It all started with the company Scivation and their flagship product called Xtend. There was already a huge pre-workout market, post workout market, but Xtend really cornered the "Intra-Workout" market.
Made up of three essential amino acids—leucine, isoleucine, and valine—branched-chain amino acids or BCAAs have been shown to promote growth and recovery. If you are following our intermittent fasting diet plan you can also sip on BCAAs during your fasting window.
The best amino acid blends also include electrolytes and other performance and recovery-enhancing ingredients, making them a favorite for lifters to sip during a workout, or any other time of day.
Daily creatine supplementation can improve strength and power output and performance during lifting and interval-style work. It can also help training result in greater muscle and strength gains.*
Despite what lifters and athletes told one another once upon a time, you don't have to follow an intensive 1-2 week "loading protocol" to see these benefits. Just 5 grams a day will get you the same benefits over time. But here's the kicker: For creatine to work, you have to take it daily for weeks—or even better, months—at a time.
A multivitamin helps to support your overall health and wellness along with possibly boosting energy levels and muscle recovery. Regardless if your goals are to lose weight or build muscle, the nutrients a multivitamin provides can help with both goals.
It is widely accepted that the best time to take a multivitamin is right away in the morning.
For a beginner, pre-workout powder is often times the very first supplement a newbie will try. However, it is probably not the best supplement to get started with. Pre workout powders feel awesome because they are typically packed with stimulants, however, many people get used to the pre-workout rush and think it will help them reach their goals before first having a solid nutrition plan.
While pre-workout powders can have a place in your supplement regimen, your protein, creatine, multi-vitamin and BCAAs and other amino acids should probably come first.