The market is filled with all sorts of supplements, some of which work, some of which don’t and some of which can be even dangerous. When I talk to someone about exercise and say I take supplements, a common response is: “You drink those poisonous drinks too?” There is often a widespread negative view of dietary supplements among the non-exercising population. However, there are supplements that not only work, but also improve your health. And as a bonus, you won’t pay a fortune for them. But how does one choose the right ones? Well, honestly, without a detailed research, it’s pretty hard. In this article, I will try to outline which ones to choose, and for what purpose.
Definitely the best supplement for building muscle and strength with an excellent price/performance ratio. Creatine occurs naturally in our body as an energy reserve for muscles and for short strength-based work. Increasing the number of repetitions in a set from 8 to 10 with the same weight within 2-3 weeks and weight gain 3-5 kg in a few months is very normal. 300 grams can be bought from 300 CZK and a daily dose of 5 grams is quite enough. Its other benefits include:
- Proper brain fiction
- Better regeneration
- Better healing of injuries
- Improvement of degenerative diseases in which muscle loss occurs
I won’t go too much into the theory, because everyone knows what protein is today. The basic type of protein is whey protein, which is extracted from milk. It is quickly absorbed and is the second most important supplement for gaining muscle mass after creatine. Another type is micellar casein, which takes a long time to digest and is often referred to as night protein. In terms of total protein intake from diet and supplementation, most people only need 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of weight. People with a high output or fast metabolism may need more, but there is no need to go above 2 g/kg. It is true, however, that nothing can replace a good quality meal. If you slack on your diet, you won’t make it up with protein powder. It’s just a meal supplement for times when you don’t have the time or frame of mind for a proper meal.
Our grandmothers have long known about fish oil and its health benefits. Today, however, we no longer have to consume it in liquid form; it is available everywhere in tablet form. But look for quality and don’t buy the cheapest ones. The current hit is krill oil from sea crustaceans, which has better absorption and a higher omega 3 content. As for dosage, 5 grams a day is enough, I recommend taking it before a larger meal that includes fat. Otherwise, burping could occur and the stomach may not be comfortable. The health benefits are many:
- Lowers bad cholesterol and thus protects the heart
- Reduces inflammatory processes in the body
- Improves hormone production
- Relieves joint and tendon pain
- Improves imunity
There are of course many more supplements for gaining mass, I have only mentioned the ones that should be your first choice. For some people they are also suitable for fat reduction, but not for everyone. For people who are overweight and have a slow metabolism, creatine and protein are definitely not apropriate for dieting. It could prevent fat loss or even cause a weight gain . Gainers are even worse, those are really only for people who can’t gain weight even if they overeat daily. Among other supplements, I choose those that promote performance while improving health. But that’s up to each person to determine what they need most and how much money they want to spend.
These are herbs with positive effects on a range of bodily functions. Better sleep, stimulation, improved metabolism, physical performance, immunity or libido. These are the main benefits of these herbs and the effects vary a little for each one, so you need to choose one that suits you best.
I probably don’t need to elaborate on what caffeine is. The healthiest form of caffeine is ground coffee beans or green tea, 3-4 cups a day. They contain lots of minerals and other health benefits. But this is certainly not true of all coffee; there isn’t anything beneficial to your health in instant coffee, for example. Quality coffee is a far better form of pre-workout than any preworkout drink with often not-so-healthy ingredients. Again, everyone has to adjust according to his sensitivity. Some people can’t drink coffee after 4 pm because they would have trouble sleeping and on the other hand there are people who can drink coffee and fall asleep right away.
If you are always tired, both physically and mentally, and suffer from muscle cramps, it is quite likely that you are deficient in magnesium. Especially if you don’t have a diet rich in this mineral, I definitely recommend supplementing in tablet form.
This unicellular algae in tablet or powder form has a really wide range of health benefits. It contains a lot of vitamins, minerals and also chlorophyll. It positively affects the function of almost every organ in the body, but mainly prevents inflammation of all kinds, cleanses the intestines and regenerates the intestinal microflora. It’s definitely worth considering for inclusion as we are the nation with the highest incidence of colon cancer in the world, especially for those of you just starting out and transitioning from a poor quality diet.
Finally, I will just quickly discuss which supplements to avoid:
- Suspiciously cheap, where the quality is poor and your stomach may not be happy.
- With more than 5 – 7 ingredients, because then the bioavailability of the individual ingredients is significantly reduced.
- With exaggerated health claims. If they try to tell you that you don’t need to do anything else, results are guaranteed and you will grow a third arm, don’t take it. You always need to find information from multiple sources and distinguish marketing bullshit from reality.
- Supplements that claim to replace normal food. No such thing exists to this day. Period.
- If you are unable to keep up with regular eating and training regime, party every weekend, and on the rare occasion that you do manage to keep your regime two days in a row, you always reward yourself with five desserts or McDonalds. Then ditch all the supplements, they really won’t save you.