Getting Back in Shape. Can Supplements Help?
Beginner's Guide To Natural Supplements
Have you been doing workouts at home and now just getting back into your gym after months of quarantine lockdown? Are you ready to take your fitness and workouts to the next level but don’t know where to start?
You look around the gym and see someone with a shaker cup chugging down something before their workout…and you ask – what is that? To which they reply, “preworkout”.
And that has you thinking…should I be using supplements to help me get to my goals quicker? I’ve been doing home workouts for the past couple of months, but I feel like my game as slipped.
What supplements should I use?
What do I trust?
What should I look out for?
IF YOU ARE LIKE MOST PEOPLE OUT THERE, YOU FIND THE WORLD OF SUPPLEMENTS CONFUSING AND YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE TO START. THIS BLOG IS TO HELP GUIDE YOU TO SEE IF SUPPLEMENTATION IS RIGHT FOR YOU, AND WHERE YOU SHOULD START.
WHAT ARE THE TOP PRODUCTS?
Protein is probably the most common supplement. It is used to help increase your daily consumption of protein, recover from your home workout or gym workout, and build lean strong muscle. There are many types and qualities of protein available, so you want to make sure you get the right one for your needs. Here’s a list of some of the most common protein supplements.
- Whey Protein – dairy-based and one of the fastest digesting proteins. This is the protein most people think of when they are talking about protein supplements.
- Plant-Based or Vegan Protein – more and more people are turning to non-dairy, vegan proteins. These plant-based proteins are slower digesting and higher in fiber and can be a great protein option for many people; especially Vegans and Vegetarians who can sometimes struggle to get enough protein in their diets.
- Collagen – many are using collagen to help with hair, skin, and nail health. Plus, it can help with ligament and tendon health as well. It is a great protein to add on in combination with a Whey Protein or Vegan Protein.
- Casein – this is another dairy-based protein and is much slower digesting than Whey Protein. Think cottage cheese – the liquid is Whey and the chunks are Casein. Many use this protein as a before-bed snack because it digests slowly.
Preworkout products are probably the second most common products used for home workouts or gym workouts. These come as preworkout products for performance and for energy. Be careful and read the lab, many of these energy products are full of stimulants. You don’t want to take a product and then feel like you need to go to the hospital because your skin is itching, your face is flushing, and you can’t seem to stop sweating…(and yes, this can happen!)
Also, be wary, many preworkout products are commonly known for making big claims but they don’t have formulas to back them up. So do your research and find out what the right scientific dose is. Ingredients in preworkouts will often be mega-dosed to make you feel something or micro-dosed to make a claim, but don’t work
BCAA & AMINOS
BCAA & Amino products are a rapidly growing category of products. There most common use is to aid in muscle recovery. They also help reduce muscle soreness, prevent muscle wasting, and support a leaner body. These products are also the most flexible and can be used before, during and after a workout.
Aminos are good to drink before and during your workout for a slight boost of energy, fasted exercising, and they help to prevent muscle wasting.
You can use them after your workout and throughout the day for a slight boost of energy, improved recovery, reduce muscle soreness, and to just make water taste better!
Fat Burners are a huge supplement category, and also the riskiest. While it might be enticing to use a product to accelerate your fat loss goals you should proceed with caution. Do your research and ask your doctor. While there are ingredients to help metabolize fat and boost your metabolism, the benefits are small and they need to be paired with a clean diet and sound exercise program. The best road to fat loss is making the right long-term healthy lifestyle choices.
HOW TO READ THE LABEL?
Doing your research is key, you want to know what you are putting in your body so learning to read labels is very important. The products you are considering will either be a Supplement Facts or a Nutrition Facts label.
To be Supplement Facts are for supplements and Nutrition Facts are for food products.
As you read the label, the ingredients are listed from largest to smallest. This means there is the biggest amount of the first ingredient listed, and the smallest amount of the last one listed. Usually, the fewer ingredients the better. You want to be able to pronounce the ingredients and look them up so you know what you are putting into your body.
See if it says on the label what the source is for specific ingredients. For example, “grass-fed whey protein” is much better for your body than “whey protein isolate.”
- Whey protein: you want it to be undenatured and the least processed.
- Plant-based or vegan proteins: look for those that are a “complete protein,” meaning there is a combination of plant-based proteins to create a complete profile of all nine essential amino acids.
- BCAA/Aminos: check the source of the amino acids – you want to look for vegan sources because many others can come from questionable sources such as human hair or duck feathers (although they probably won’t say that on the label… just look for Vegan Aminos!).
Also, many brands will use “Proprietary Blends” on their labels to hide the amount of each ingredient. Be careful of these – they are either mega-dosing, micro-dosing, or both!
In the end, look for products that tell you exactly what is in the product, how much of each ingredient, and use ingredients you can pronounce. Simple & Transparent!
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN THE COMPANY?
Trust – this is what you want from the brands you buy from. Does the company clearly tell you:
- Who they are?
- Why they are in business?
- What they stand for?
- Where they source their products?
WHAT TO START WITH?
If you are just getting into supplements, here is what we recommend.
- Pick your protein – we recommend either a Whey Protein or Vegan/Plant Based Protein to use after your workout and/or in smoothies for a meal or snack
- Pick your Amino – use a high quality, great tasting Amino product to sip on throughout the day
- Pick your Preworkout – use a safe, effective preworkout that gets you the right amount of boost and performance without the negative side effects.