Supplements are great. You take the little pills, powder, concentrate or whatever else it comes in the form of and that’s it. The supplement gets to work. Just don’t expect the supplement to do ALL the work.
That’s actually one of the major problems far too many people fall into.
They assume its just going to do everything for them. That, is not how it works. A supplement is just that: it supplements. It helps. It aids your workout. If you’re going to sit around in sweatpants watching the latest Law & Order marathon the supplements aren’t going to do anything.
Best Health Supplements For Your Fitness Plan & Health
So, as long as you’re willing to put in the work, hit the gym and keep up with your cardio, the supplements will take your fitness plan to new heights. Here are some of the best health supplements for your fitness plan that we absolutely love.
Water For Supplementation
Some might not consider it a supplement.
Others might consider it the most important supplement of all.
Wherever you are, we wanted to make sure and cover this. You need to drink lots, and lots of water. Did you know Tom Brady drinks his body weight in water every single day (okay, don’t drink that much water…if you’re not use to it that much water would cause problems with your kidneys)?
Whether you like the guy or not, there’s no arguing he’s still a top QB and in his 40s, so if staying hydrated and constantly flushing out toxins works for him, it can work for you (even as a Jets fan). Drinking half your body weight in water might not be possible, but you need to be drinking at least 64 ounces of water, if not more.
Plus, the water will help deliver the other supplements to your body faster and more effectively (NY Daily News, 2018).
Whey Protein Still Important For Gains
Plenty of people scoff at the idea of protein if they don’t want to bulk up. That’s perfectly fine. However, when you workout you will damage your muscles, which means you need protein to recover and repair. Chances are, you’re not able to regularly consume enough protein during your daily diet for whatever your fitness plan is, so supplementing with whey protein is a great option.
But why whey?
Why not plant based or egg based or one of the other versions of protein?
A few reasons. For starters, whey comes with a full amino acid chain. Amino acid helps your muscles use the protein and rebuild the damaged muscle fibers. Most plants lack the full amino acid chain (only a handful of plants, such as quinoa, offer the full spectrum of amino acids…which is also why quinoa has become so popular these days). Egg protein powder comes with the full amino chain, but there are more calories per gram of protein.
So with Whey, you get the best of both worlds.
One last thing about whey. It is a good idea to drink some protein before going to bed. Your body does much of the repair work while you sleep (which is also why you need at least six hours of sleep a night). Many forms of protein powder are not easy on the stomach, which can keep you up, give you gas and cause heartburn in the morning. Whey protein is easier to digest and is much better for your stomach at night. So chalk up another win for whey (WebMD, 2018).
Creatine Used To Boost Strength
This is one of those supplements you probably only really need if you’re trying to either boost strength or boost size. If you just want to drop weight or you are interested in toning up, this might not be something you need.
Now, a bit about creatine first.
The word itself sounds almost like a steroid, so there are some people who become a bit standoffish when it comes to the supplement. However, the body produces creatine naturally. It’s the energy source fast twitch muscle fibers use to perform explosive moves (such as pushing up a heavy bench press). This energy source is also quickly depleted. It’s why you can jog for miles on end without getting tired, but you’re winded after springing 100 meters. A creatine supplement helps increase the amount of readily available creatine in the body.
This way, the body can perform longer and harder. It increases the number of reps you can squeeze off and, if you have been lifting for a while, you know the most important lift is the last lift you pump out and fight for. Creatine helps you finish off more of those last tough reps.
If you check out different sources for creatine, you’ll find some say to take it before your workout. Others say to take it post workout.
So what should you do?
In reality, as long as you’re taking it daily, the time of day doesn’t matter all that much. You need it to dissolve and enter your blood stream in order to make its way to the muscle fibers. As long as you take it every day, you won’t have a lapse, so the creatine will be ready (WebMD, 2018).
BCAAs For Restoring Your Muscles
Branch chain amino acids are crucial in your workout. You need BCAAs to help restore your muscles.
We covered a bit on amino acids in the whey protein section, but having a stand alone BCAA supplement is a good idea. Make sure you grab the three branched amino acid of leucine, isoleucine and valine, as these are the most important amino acids when it comes to restoring your muscles (and these are the amino acids that are not found in most plant based proteins).
Check the whey protein you purchase.
There’s a good chance BCAAs are already packed into the powder, which is a great perk!
However, you should still grab a side supplement of this and take it after workouts, to give your body that extra boost for recovery.
Of course, with so many different powders and scoops of stuff going on, we like to grab mostly flavorless powders except for one (like chocolate whey protein). This way, you don’t have weird flavors like chocolate and fruit punch mixing together.
If you can’t, there’s nothing wrong with just drinking two glasses of different powder supplements. Helps you keep up with Tom Brady’s water recommendation (WebMD, 2018).
Low Vitamin D Equals Low Testosterone
Do you know people who suffer from winter depression?
When the sun just seems to dip behind clouds for months at a time. Compounded with shorter daylight hours and you just don’t get your Vitamin D from the sun. This directly causes depression issues but it can also lead to other substantial health problems.
Did you know low levels of Vitamin D can kill your testosterone levels?
This in turn will hamper your workout, cause problems with bone density and even zap your energy. All because you’re not getting enough sunlight! There’s a reason why people who surf all day seem to be super happy. So while you probably can’t quit your day job, move out to SoCal and take up the beach bum life, you can up your Vitamin D intake (Mayo Clinic, 2017).
Skipping Vegetables? Go With A Green Superfood Drink
Your mom had something when she tried to force feed you spinach as a kid. Greens are fantastic for your diet and the overall quality of your health.
Like many other vitamins and minerals though, you might not have time to stop and chop up a salad on your own.
Thankfully, there are some surprisingly healthy salad options at your local drive-through…as long as you steer clear of the dressing, fried chicken and all the corn strips tossed in (nothing wrong with keeping some Newman’s Own lite vinaigrette in the glove compartment).
But when you just can’t eat a salad, there are greens supplements out there. Sure, it might sound a bit odd to take a pill for your greens. Kind of sounds like some science fiction movie of a bleak environment (it’s not solent greens, so that’s good to know), but in a pinch, make sure to grab this.
You can even grab a green powder that is perfect for making breakfast smoothies.
Fish Oil Actually Helps Burn Fat
Here’s one of those supplements everyone needs to be taking. No matter your workout or fitness plan, this one is for you.
Omega 3 fatty acids are essential parts to improving your overall health. It also helps with burning fat and regulating your hormonal output. Most people don’t eat enough oily fish in the diet (because let’s face it, when it comes to food, oily fish just doesn’t sound all that appealing).
Fish oil is a great way to do it. Plus, if you don’t like the dissolvable pills, you can actually purchase a pump, so you pump fish oil right into a shake (Mayo Clinic, 2017).
Caffeine For Longer More Energetic Workouts
Yup, caffeine really is a good supplement to consider adding into your diet. It helps give you added energy, which is perfect for your workout.
Sometimes that added cup of coffee on the way to the gym is all you need for a fantastic workout.
However, there are a few problems with caffeine you need to watch out for. First, don’t be the guy that downs a half-dozen Monster energy drinks while playing video games at night. We can’t even get into all the health problems with that. It goes beyond your heart not being able to handle all of that caffeine at once and the amount of sugar you find in those kinds of drinks.
Just focus on tea and black coffee (WebMD, 2017). Tea doesn’t give you anywhere near the same amount of caffeine as coffee, which actually makes it a nice drink to sip throughout the day. This helps avoid that caffeine crash while giving you a steady little pick-me-up. We prefer green or black tea, but really any unsweetened natural tee is good.
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And yes, we said go black with your coffee.
It will taste a bit odd when you go from that Starbucks frap to black coffee. The amount of sugar, fat and calories you cut out of that single cup is pretty startling (we’re talking about thousands of calories saved every week if you pick one up daily).
However, you’ll get use to it. It’s kind of like making the move from whiskey and Coke to scotch, neat.
Yes, it’s startling at first, but it slows down your consumption and allows you to enjoy the true flavors more (we’re not saying you should start drinking scotch, of course). If it is still a bit harsh for you, experiment around with different kinds of beans. A lighter roast will not have as harsh of a taste to it. You can also add cinnamon to the drink instead of sugar.
It will perk up the flavor a bit and, as an added bonus, cinnamon is fantastic for your metabolism (a double bonus!). You might also want to consider picking out a flavored bean. These have a slight flavor addition coating the bean.
When it comes to flavored coffee, we like it with a subtle hint of dark chocolate.
The robust flavor of the coffee goes exceptionally well with hints of chocolate, so it feels more organic.
Probiotics, Feeling Gassy From All The Supplements?
This is something to consider.
When you wake up, do you feel a bit gassy (or maybe your partner in bed complains about you blowing up the bed at night)?
It might be because you don’t have enough of the good bacteria in your stomach and digestive track to handle all of the protein and other supplements you’re taking. So consider tossing in a probiotic into your supplement regimen.
Each and every one of us have different fitness plans and goals. Reaching these goals can sometimes seem difficult, if not impossible, but these supplements aim to help you out and make reaching your fitness plan that much easier.
But always, and we can’t stress this enough, listen to your body. If your body reacts negatively to something, pull back on your dosage or stop using it all together.
Thankfully though, as most of these supplements are fully naturally, you shouldn’t have much (if any) issues with these fantastic additions to your workout routine.