6 Supplement Ingredients That Will Help You Reach Your Personal Goals
Stepping into the supplements aisle is kinda like watching a new porno. It’s exciting, but also sort of scary. You’re probably not 100% sure what you’re getting yourself into and the first thing you see is a really big dude who makes you feel slightly inadequate. Well, hesitate no more. Choosing the right shake (or tab or bar) isn’t about how cool the label looks or how badass the name sounds (sorry, Ripped Freak 2.0), it’s about the supplement ingredients. And we have the low-down on what you need for your personal brand of gains. What you secretly download back at your place is up to you.
Mission: Get Huge
You need: Post-workout shake; creatine; water
If you want to build muscle, you need to make sure you’re giving your body the fuel it needs to build muscle cells. Look for a shake that contains a mix of protein and carbs. That’s right, the C-word is your body’s favourite source of energy. When you train hard, your body uses glycogen stored in your muscles as fuel. Carbs from your diet are converted into glycogen stores to replace what you’ve used. You also need protein, the building blocks of cells, to help repair the micro-tears that klapping it hard creates in your muscles. It’s through this repair process that your muscles grow. Creatine is a substance that occurs naturally in muscle cells and is also essential for producing energy. Supplementing bulks up your body’s natural phosphocreatine stores. Dietician Carey-Anne Seady recommends going straight to a maintenance dose (no loading phase) and cycle it. So you’ll be taking it five days on; two days off. Chuck your creatine into your shake and knock it all back within 30 minutes of finishing your session. And keep that water bottle topped up – like all cells, muscles cells are made up predominantly of water, so dehydration is not your friend.
You also need: Overload (challenging your muscles with weight that’s not easy to move, but also not impossible), rest days and sleep – your body only produces human growth hormone when at rest.
Nevermind Muscle, You’re Still Just Trying To Lose Fat
You need: Essential Fatty Acids
You thought we were going to say fat burners, didn’t you? TBH, while fat burners may sound like a silver bullet, they’re probably not for you. What they do is increase your heart rate (you’ll feel jittery and wired), spiking your metabolism slightly. That may help you if you’re trying to drop the last 1% to reach your goal, but if you’re just a regular dude trying to lose your gut, you’re just going to walk around like a shaky weirdo who still has a gut. Truth bomb: Like Statham is to high-speed car chases, when it comes to weight loss, cleaning up your diet and exercising regularly are still the best guys for the job. That said, essential fatty acids (Omegas) are not just good for your brain and reducing inflammation, some studies suggest they can also help curb fat cravings. So if sweet dreams are made of cheeseburgers for you, taking these bad boys every day can help you clean up your act.
You also need: A mix of heavy weights and high-intensity cardio and a balanced eating plan of real, nutrient-packed whole food.
After A Workout You’re Wrecked For Days
You need: Glutamine; BCAAs
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, which in turn is the building material for tissue, including muscle. Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body and is essential for various bodily processes, including your gut health and immune boosting. If your body is under stress and using too much glutamine, say if you’re training like a freaking beast, you could start feeling wiped out and a little fluish as a result. To get back into fighting shape, it needs the necessary building blocks. A glutamine supp will give your body the good stuff in a readily available format to speed up the recovery process. Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are also building blocks but, get this, as you use them up during hectic workouts, your body is triggered to release tryptophan, an amino acid in your brain that makes you fatigued. Get those BCAA levels back up and you’ll be back to stopping the microwave on zero (the ultimate super power, let’s be honest). Seady recommends taking five grams pre workout.
You also need: A good, balanced diet – your body needs fuel so don’t starve it. Recovery days and sleep – we’ll say it again: rest = gains. Simple.
You Get Dizzy And Cramp After Long Runs
You need: Electrolytes
Chugging water like someone’s just called on you to down us a drink? Good man. But here’s the deal… it’s not just water your body loses when you sweat. You’re also losing electrolytes, which are minerals that control nerve impulses, muscle contraction and maintaining the right water level and pH level for your body to function optimally. So, pretty important then. Individual minerals include substances like magnesium, sodium, potassium, phosphate and chloride. But what you actually want is a good electrolyte mix that contains these and others. Just make sure you don’t down too much sugar in the process – check the label for a mix of salts, like those mentioned above.
You also need: A proper cool-down and stretching. We know… snore fest. But hear us out: Stopping exercise suddenly can cause blood to pool in the extremities, making you feel faint. Slow to a brisk walk for five minutes before you hit the shower. As for stretching, the list of benefits is longer than an episode of whatever Kardashian crap your GF is currently watching feels. But right up there is the fact that smooth, supple muscles are less likely to cramp. So just get it done.
WATCH: Want to increase your cardio fitness? Sure you do! Especially ’cause more running is not the answer. Add high-intensity interval training (HIIT) into your regimen once or twice a week instead. Try this workout…