Just like with most other industries, the fitness industry has controversy everywhere you look. Whether you are talking about dieting styles(check my last blog on IIFYM dieting), or you’re talking about supplementation, there are always going to be opinions on both ends of the spectrum. Today we are going to talk about supplements and some benefits/downsides and whether I believe they are worth it or not.
I’ll start by saying that there are literally hundreds of different types of supplements for sale out there. For the sake of time, i’m going to cover a brief but effective overview of the main supplements that are talked about most and the ones that I see as most valuable.
1. Protein powder/bars- Do I think that protein supplementation is necessary? Not necessarily. If you are not focusing on becoming a bodybuilder, there is a good chance that you will be able to hit your protein goals from your normal food consumption throughout the day. However, if you read my last blog about IIFYM dieting, you know that to build muscle, you’re going to have to have a high protein intake in your diet. Sometimes those numbers are hard to hit, so a protein supplement can be extremely helpful to get you there. Most protein powders have about 20-25 grams of protein per scoop. Most protein bars are closer to the 20 grams mark. For me, I always use a protein supplement because it is extremely hard/expensive to try and hit 240+ grams of protein each day with only food. As far as downsides go, I haven’t really found any. There have been studies that say an extreme amount of protein can damage your liver, but as long as you’re pairing it with an active lifestyle and your body it utilizing the protein, you should be fine.
2. Pre-workout- Pre-workout is an interesting supplement. Depending on the brand, it is usually a powder pumped full of caffeine, some type of “pump” product to increase blood flow, and a variety of different vitamins/minerals. The main purpose of pre workout is to help you get focused and energized for a good workout. Do I think it’s necessary? No I do not. If you are able to get the energy to go into the gym and kill a workout without it, then by all means, do it. But I will admit that I use pre workout before every workout. I personally find that my workouts feel better and more intense when taking pre workout, and without it I’m just slow and tired. This is probably due to the years of caffeine abuse, but nonetheless, pre workout works. Like I said before though, if you’re able to get your workouts without it, I wouldn’t use any.
3. BCAA’s(branched chain amino acids)- The main purpose of using amino acids is to help repair your muscle. Amino acids are what make up protein. When working out, you are breaking down your muscles, and when you need to build them back up, amino acids will help. BCAA’s are another supplement that people argue about all the time. Some say there is absolutely no point, but from experience, I can say that usually when taking BCAA’s, I am a lot less sore than when I’m not taking them. Overall they can help, but again, they probably aren’t necessary as long as you are having a proper high protein diet.
Whether you’re a beginner or someone who works out on the regular, these would be the 3 main supplements I would start using if you’re trying to get some help in the gym. I’ll do some reviews on my favorite products of each in the near future as well.
As always, thanks for reading and if you have more questions, hit me up on instagram!