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What Are the Best Supplements To Take

We get constant questions from viewers and subscribers “What supplements are the best to take to build muscle?” or things like “what things can I take to maximize my results?”

The main thing to understand is that while supplements may help you reach your goals, they CANNOT be the only thing you do to get results. Taking creatine without a balanced diet and working out will do nothing for you. So, BEFORE you start focusing on supplements, think about where you are at. If you are above the 20% body fat mark and haven’t been training for at least 6 months, I do not recommend you start taking these as they will do nothing for you. If you have not trained or fixed your diet, these are all actions you MUST do before starting supplementation.

However, if you have started training and are slowly reducing your body fat, supplementation can be a good addition to accelerate growth. Here are the best supplements:

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Arguably the most important supplement. Benefits range from stimulating fat loss to higher levels of cognitive function. According to BodyBuilding.com, “If you don’t eat fatty fish at least three times a week, you’ll be deficient in omega-3 fatty acids. Studies suggest that’s the case with about 80 percent of people. Since the brain is composed of 40 percent DHA, one of the omega-3s, a long-term lack may cause aberrations in brain neurotransmitter function, resulting in depression and aggression.”

They improve insulin sensitivity and make cellular membranes more pliable so that hormones can more efficiently interact with cellular receptors. Some studies suggest that a generous intake of omega-3, at least five grams daily, blunts body fat synthesis and reduces inflammation, which can help relieve sore joints and muscles.

You should know that there’s an initial inflammatory feature of muscular hypertrophy, or growth that can be blunted by omega-3 fats and other drugs. The solution is simply not to take omega-3s before training.

The liquid form of omega-3 supplements is preferred because of less “backup” after swallowing and because it takes so many capsules to give you the five-gram dosage. Capsules will do if you can stand to swallow them.

Creatine

Creatine is perhaps the most efficient supplement if you’re doing a high-intensity activity, but if your primary exercise consists of aerobics and you’re aiming for an increase in work capacity, creatine would be a complete waste of money.

Few supplements have the solid scientific foundation that creatine has. Studies show that it’s effective for 80 percent of those who use it. Since creatine is found naturally in meat, the more meat you eat, the less likely you’ll need creatine supplementation. Vegetarians or those who rarely eat meat, however, can get huge boosts from most creatine supplements.

Creatine’s primary use is as a backup phosphate donor for the replenishment of ATP, the most elemental form of energy and the source of energy for all muscular contractions. In other words, creatine acts like a second battery in your car. It’s also a buffer, helping neutralize the acidity that blunts energy production in trained muscle.

The major controversies regarding creatine are its side effects and the best form to use. Nearly all side effects attributed to creatine, such as muscle cramps, kidney disease and gastrointestinal disturbances, haven’t proved significant under controlled scientific scrutiny. Although various claims are made for a variety of creatine supplements, creatine monohydrate, which is 99 percent absorbed, is the best form to use.

By the way, the level of creatine in the blood is meaningless. What counts is how much gets delivered to muscle, which is controlled by the so-called creatine transport protein. It’s activated by the sodium/potassium pump mechanism, which in turn is activated by insulin.

Recent studies show that combining creatine with a fast-acting protein, such as whey, enable you to get the benefits of increased creatine uptake without having to eat a lot of simple carbs.

Casein-Whey Protein Supplements

Milk protein consists of 80 percent casein and 20 percent whey, and that’s the best combination for promoting a positive nitrogen balance in bodybuilders. That’s because casein is a slow-acting protein that delivers its amino acids over a period of seven hours, and whey is a fast-acting protein, peaking in 90 minutes.

The faster a protein is absorbed, the faster the liver oxidizes its amino acids. That sounds bad, but whey’s rapid delivery of amino acids also favors increased protein synthesis. A longer-acting protein, such as casein, prevents the excess breakdown of protein, an anticatabolic effect, which ultimately promotes an anabolic effect – growth.

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