The Top 5 Supplements You Actually NEED
We’ve all seen the supplements banded around that make outrageous claims or building slabs of muscle of melting away body fat.
Or maybe even both at the same time.
These claims are smart.
Who WOULDN’T want these things?
But spending pounds on junk won’t add pounds to your bench press or shed pounds from your belly.
So do you actually need ANY supplements at all?
But then again, you don’t NEED clothes, a car or even money but they sure do make things a lot easier.
You can make some progress with zero supplementation at all. But who wants ‘some’ progress?
Most of us want ALL the gains, right?
Or to get shredded quickly?
We want bigger lifts, bigger muscles and smaller waists.
And we want them yesterday. This is where supplements can be champion.
We know that the starting point should always be a well balanced diet but sometimes it is just not possible to get what we need from diet alone.
Here are the top 5 supplements you need for tip top health & performance.
1. WHEY PROTEIN
Whey? Yes whey!
If your diet is lacking in protein it’s going to slow down your progress.
Protein provides the essential building blocks for muscle growth and helps turn your hard work in
the gym into lean muscle mass.
It is also vital when getting ripped and shredded as it helps to preserve lean body mass when dietin
g down for a show, a photo shoot or that beach holiday.
Most people don’t consume enough protein and therefore over eat on lower quality carbohydrate and fat rich foods.
This is in part due to the fact that protein has been proven to be the most satiating (filling) macronutrient. This helps to control blood sugar and hunger levels.
Ensuring your diet contains adequate protein will help curb those cravings.
Whey is the most popular protein powder as it is affordable, convenient and versatile.
Sure, you could carry chicken breasts around with you at all times but that becomes expensive and inconvenient. Besides, have you ever left a chicken breast in a warm car or office? Not something I would recommend trying!
Whey can be used for shakes, baking, adding to porridge, yogurt or whatever else takes your fancy.
As a guideline, a protein intake of 0.8 to 1.2g per pound of bodyweight per day should be about right for most. For the average man this is about 140-180g per day.
Creatine is probably the most studied sports supplement in history.
Its benefits and safety are so well documented that it should be a key part of your supplement regime.
Your body already uses creatine to produce energy (ATP). ATP stores become easily depleted during near maximal lifting – you do lift heavy, don’t you?
Supplementing with creatine will therefore increase strength and endurance in the gym.
Creatine is a naturally occurring compound found in animal proteins.
The recommended dosing of creatine is approximately 5g per day.
In order to get 5g of creatine from beef for example, which has the highest concentration of all, you would need to eat 1 pound (500g) of beef every day – holy cow!
While that would be an amazing taste sensation, it is not advisable, even if you can fit it into your macro’s.
3. Vitamin D3
Living in the UK we get at least 2 good weeks of weather per year – wow!
A study in 2007 suggested that around 50% of adults have some form of D3 deficiency.
Due to the less than tropical conditions we spend most of our time covered up with warm clothes or working indoors in the warm.
Lack of exposure to the sun and therefore insufficient levels of D3 can affect our energy levels, mood, gym performance and overall health.
There is no accurate way to measure how much sun exposure will give you the correct levels as everyone is different.
Absorption is dependent on environment, skin type, weather conditions, dietary intake and several other factors.
There are two solutions to this.
The first is to quit your job and move to somewhere warm and sunny all year round where you can wear shorts & t-shirt every day – bonza!
The other is to regularly supplement with Vitamin D3 tablets.
I know it’s not as exciting but it certainly is cheaper.
The optimal dosing information is far from definite, but based on the various studies we know that depending on the amount of sunlight you see, 2,500 – 5,000 IU per day should provide noticeable benefit.
4. OMEGA 3 Fish Oils
Sometimes a Tupperware box full of fish & vegetables just isn’t going to win you the office popularity contest. Don’t be THAT guy.
Omega 3 contains 3 essential fatty acids – EPA, DHA and ALA.
ALA is commonly found in nuts & seeds. EPA & DHA however are mostly found, although not exclusively, in certain fish.
This is great is you’re a fish lover or have the calories to spare for oily fish or nuts & seeds, however Omega fish supplements are going to be a more convenient , not to mention cheaper option for most people.
Some fish also contain high levels of mercury so eating large quantities is perhaps best avoided.
The essential fatty acids in Omega 3 can help to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer, improve cognitive function, reduce inflammation in joints, improve mood, and more.
Recommended dosing is 1-6g of omega 3 fish oil tablets per day.
5. MULTI VITAMIN
How many times have you crashed your car and how much have you paid in insurance?
Chances are you’ve paid plenty more in insurance than you’ve caused in damage.
Luckily for you, when it comes to your health, a multi vitamin tablet is a much better return on investment.
Of course there are those that denounce the use of multivitamins and think that we should get everything from our foods.
While that is admirable, it can be tricky to eat enough variety in a day to get everything you need for optimal health.
A multi vitamin is a cheap way to guarantee that you are not missing out on anything.
BUT WHAT ABOUT……?
These 5 should be the go-to supplements for improving health and gym performance if you want to make the most of your efforts.
It is by no means an exhaustive list.
So I shall give a ‘shout out’ to the other noticeable performance related supplements such as caffeine, beta-alanine and citruline malate to name just a few.
Not everyone has endless pockets of cash but the 5 things listed above should set you back no more than £1 per day, which is nothing if you’re serious about your health, performance or physique.