Clean eating and exercise go hand in hand. Sports supplements are an important part of good nutrition. Most gym goers use protein powder, creatine, BCAAs, or glutamine to speed up muscle growth and repair. Fat burners are popular among those who want to get leaner. Contrary to popular belief, these products aren’t just for bodybuilders. They actually work better for the average person, leading to faster recovery, greater energy, and improved body composition.
The U.S. market for sports supplements is expected to reach $20 billion by 2020. Protein powders generate the highest revenue. These products have been around for decades, and they only keep getting better. Even though supplements are not required for optimal performance, they can take your workouts to a whole new level.
Nowadays, it’s difficult to get all your nutrients from food. Most products are highly processed, or lose their nutritional value during transportation and storage. A diet that’s too low in protein can affect your gains and post-workout recovery. Additionally, certain vitamins and minerals are only found in a small number of foods, so it’s hard to obtain them from diet. These include vitamin B12, vitamin D, omega-3s, beta glucans, and more. Nutrient deficiencies may cause poor circulation, migraines, fatigue, weak bones, impaired immune function, low energy, and muscle aches.
Athletes and gym goers have special dietary requirements. Their bodies need more protein, calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, and healthy fats to function optimally. Even the slightest nutrient deficiency can affect their performance and overall health. Muscle loss, weakness, poor mental focus, and injuries are common side effects. Sports supplements may help prevent nutritional deficiencies and bring you closer to your goals. The key is to use them as part of a balanced diet. If your meals are based on junk food, taking supplements is non-sense.
Whey protein, glutamine, amino acids, and other products support athletic performance. Supplements can add convenience to your diet and give you a competitive edge. Some improve focus and ward off fatigue, which allows you to work out harder. Some boost your metabolism, helping you burn more calories during exercise. Others promote lean muscle growth and increase overall strength. However, these formulas can not replace real food. You still need to train hard and eat clean to see results.
What supplements to use depends entirely on your needs. Protein powder, BCAAs, multivitamins, and fish oil should cover the basics. If your diet is already high in protein, BCAAs may not be needed. In general, this product works best for those following a low-calorie diet or training for competitions. Its role is to speed up muscle repair and increase lean mass. Studies have found that people who take this supplement with every meal have more muscle and less visceral fat.
If you’re working out regularly, protein powder can help. It might be exactly what you need to lose stubborn fat, add an extra five pounds of muscle, or recover faster from exercise. Without an adequate protein intake, your muscles wouldn’t heal up quickly enough. This macronutrient keeps your body in an anabolic state, prevent muscle loss, and supports muscle repair.
Compared to other types of protein, whey is easier to digest and absorb into system, and contains all nine essential amino acids. Vegans and vegetarians can opt for hemp, pea, or soy protein. If you have a hard time building muscle, take casein at bedtime. This protein is slowly digested, feeding your muscles over several hours. Whey protein isolate and hydrolyzed whey are the lowest in lactose. Egg, beef, and plant-based protein powder contain no lactose at all.
Another great product is creatine. This amino acid serves as a source of fuel for the energy system that your muscles rely on during exercise. It’s actually the most widely researched supplement on the market. Creatine helps build muscle size and strength, increases endurance during high-intensity training, and lowers injury risk. More than 500 studies confirm its benefits on athletic performance and general health.
Depending on your budget and fitness goals, you may also use pre and post-workout formulas, nitric oxide boosters, testosterone boosters, l-glutamine, or ZMA. Make sure you have a good diet and training program before spending your money on supplements. Be realistic and don’t expect overnight results. It takes months or even years to build a six pack and get in peak condition.