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What Do You Take??: Supplement 101

What Do You Take??: Supplement 101

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So, we have been over all the different types of protein sources and the ideal times to take them. Now, lets go over some of the Sports supps out there because there are TONS! I'm going to break down some of the most commonly used sports supplements and also mention which supplements you should be taking at ALL TIMES no matter what your fitness goals are.

Lets face it. There are TONS of supplement companies selling BILLIONS of products all promising you the same thing- to give you great results and have you in the best physique of your life.

Well, I can assure you now. You will DEFINITELY get results taking ANY product...but will they be the results you want?

Below I will name, describe, and suggest which supplements are beneficial. Some mentioned below will be for everyone, and some will be for the competitors, but there is great information for anyone who exercises, so read up!! :D

SPORTS MULTIVITAMIN:

First off, if you want a strong foundation on that awesome body of yours you need to be taking a multivitamin. It doesn't matter if your fitness goal is to maintain, lose, or gain-you NEED to be taking a multi. Complete nutrition is essential to your overall health and progress. I always say the way your body looks is a reflection of what is going on inside. Now, there are tons of these out there, but they are not all created equal. Make sure you read the label to see what it contains. Everyone is different and has specific needs, so be sure to factor that in when browsing for a vitamin. For example, women need more calcium and vitamin D, so be on the lookout for a vitamin that could contain adequate amounts. There is another way you could test your vitamin.

Here is the trick:
-Place some warm water inside a small container and drop your vitamin inside. In about 15-20 minutes come back and check out the progress. If it isn't dissolved, then 9 times out of 10, its not good. I have tested some vitamins that dissolve quickly and others that don't dissolve, but stick to the side of the container!!
So be sure to take your time in choosing a multi. It is going to be your MOST IMPORTANT supplement!

WHEN TO TAKE: Everyday. (Follow Directions on Bottle)
WHAT I TAKE: Gaspari Nutrition Anavite

BCAA:

(Branched Chain Amino Acids) These essential amino acids are composed of Leucine, Isoleucine, & Valine. Together they make up 1/3 of the muscle tissue. Not only is it great for building muscle (see: Why Women Should Lift Weights), but it is also used in the body for muscle recuperation and energy. When we exercise, at times our body will go to our muscles for energy. If you take a FREE-FORM BCAA product, you will be supplying your body with enough aminos, thus PROTECTING that hard-earned muscle so to speak. Well you ask, "There is already BCAA in my protein, so why should I take free-form"? You want BCAA to reach your bloodstream fast, especially before and after a training session. You also get a greater quantity of BCAA in your system. So regardless of how much meat you eat (and you would have to eat ALOT to get just 5 grams of BCAA), or how much whey protein you drink, you need to have a free-form BCAA product handy!

WHEN TO TAKE: Upon Waking, Before, During, & After Workouts
WHAT I TAKE: SciVation Xtend

ZMA:

(Zinc Monomethionine Aspartate)It is composed of Zinc, Magnesium, and Vitamin B6. ZMA supports muscles while you sleep by maximizing muscle tissue repair. This is an excellent supplement to take, especially if you hit it hard in the gym!

WHEN TO TAKE: About 30 minutes prior to bedtime.
WHAT I TAKE: Optimum Nutrition ZMA

FISH OIL:

Yes, this is an important supplement. Whether you are trying to melt off fat, or build some muscle, you need to take a good quality Fish Oil for overall health and wellness. I wont go into depth of how EFA's (Essential Fatty Acids) function in the body, but I will say that it is great for brain activity, joint, vision, nervous system, and heart health. It is derived from fatty fish such as salmon, krill, and mackerel. Most individuals don't consume a lot of fatty fish, so it is important to have this supplement in the fridge to make up for the gap.

When TO TAKE: Take 2-3 capsules about 3 times/day. (Also be sure to read the bottle)
WHAT I TAKE: Optimum Nutrition Fish Oil

GREEN TEA EXTRACT:

Not necessarily a "NEED SUPPLEMENT", but definitely something great to be ingesting. Green Tea boosts metabolism and has a high antioxidant content. Most people drink tea, and while you can gain the benefits by doing this, you will not get nearly as much Catechins and EGCG's in that cup of tea. Catechins are a type of antioxidant and EGCG is a type of Catechin that makes green tea so special. Taking this supplement can boost your energy (due to its natural caffeine content), aid in fat loss, and even reduce fat storage! Now, don't get me wrong, I love drinking my tea, but the days that I don't have my warm cup of relaxation I make sure I supplement with my extract. Its a good thing to have!

WHEN TO TAKE: Read your bottle for instructions. You can also take this before your workout to give a little boost.
WHAT I TAKE: NOW Green Tea Extract

GLUTAMINE:

This is the most abundant amino acid in the body. It aids in lean muscle gains and even helps out your immune system. When we exercise, Glutamine decreases significantly, which is why it is a good idea to supplement. A free-form is always a great route to go, but if you cant get your hands on that, there are many free-form BCAA products that adds Glutamine in the mix.

WHEN TO TAKE: Before and after a training session.
WHAT I TAKE: (Sometimes) MHP Glutamine/ (All time Time) Scivation Xtend

CREATINE:

A "tried-and-true" supplement of all types of bodybuilders and exercise fanatics, Creatine aids in muscle strength, power, and speed movements. The more strength you have in a workout --> the more you lift and rep out --> the more muscle gains and results you get. That simple. There are three types of creatine products out there that you might see. They are Creatine Monohydrate (the most common), Creatine Ethyl Ester, & Creatine Megnesium Chelate. The only difference between Ethyl Ester and Magnesium Chelate are the absorption rates. Both are said to absorb faster (Magnesium Chelate being the faster) and to cause less digestive issues (Alot of people complain of bloating from Creatine Monohydrate).

WHEN TO TAKE: Before and after your training session.
WHAT I TAKE: Gaspari Nutrition SizeOn Maximum Performance (I take SizeOn PreContest during prep).

BETA ALANINE:

A "new" amino acid that promotes muscular energy. It is usually taken pre-workout, which is why you find most pre-workout supplements containing Beta-Alanine. It can also battle fatigue, which is beneficial during an intense workout, and can help other vitamins and amino acids with absorption into the muscle. For those who have never experienced the "Beta effect", it can make you "flush", so there is usually some tingling. After awhile, this should diminish or decrease significantly.

WHEN TO TAKE: Prior to workout
WHAT I TAKE: Gaspari Nutrition Anavite (There is Beta-Alanine within the product)

NITRIC OXIDE BOOSTER:

Pre-workout supplement designed to dilate your blood vessels to receive a better oxygen and blood flow. Due to this increased blood flow, your vitamins and previous ingested supplements will be able to reach your muscles alot faster, thus allowing you to lift longer, lift harder, and recover faster. The ingredients you will see in a N.O. product may include Arginine, Beta Alanine, and/or Citrulline for their N.O boosting properties.

WHEN TO TAKE: Before your training session
WHAT I TAKE: Gaspari Nutrition SuperPump MAX

ACIDOPHILUS:

Another supplement that isn't needed, but HIGHLY recommended-especially for women. Acidophilus is an important probiotic (healthy bacteria) that is found in the intestinal tract. It plays a role in the absorption of nutrients and supports liver detoxification. It is great for your intestinal health, but there are also some bodily and immune system health benefits. For women, ingesting adequate amounts of this healthy bacteria can prevent and treat yeast infections. If you cant get your hands on a bottle of this great stuff, you can easily consume enough through your food. Yogurt is your best option (Greek Yogurt is also awesome for your health!). Some other foods that contain Acidophilus are cottage cheese, kinchi, kefer, kombucha, and sauerkraut.

WHEN TO TAKE: Usually 2-3 times a day (Follow instructions on the bottle)
WHAT I TAKE: NOW 8 Billion Acidophilus & Bifidus


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Alot of information to walk away with, but I believe all of these supplements should be in your cabinet. There are some staples listed up there for sure. Next time you go supplement shopping check out some of these products and feel how well they work for your body! If you dont want to buy an entire months-worth, see if you can get a sample from someone who is already taking it, or check out if www.bodybuilding.com has some samples! :) Aloha!


Author: Alphradezsa Lezama
musclemama87@aol.com

Member Comments

This is very helpful information! Thanks again! :)
--lizclines27

Great article and lots of research put into it! Unfortunately, I can't do the Beta Alanine, but found out the hard way. Back in July, my (then) trainer suggested it, but didn't tell me about the itching and burning sensation (lips). Wasn't until I emailed her, then it was BTW! (And she's also an RN by profession). Was also told these effects would go away in a month. Never happened so I stopped using it. A waste for me b/c the itching (which was severe) resembles allergic reactions that I've been getting treatment for over the past 8 months. So no more B.A. for me! As for a few others listed, I use and enjoy :-) Thanks again!
--jcsmitty2

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