Updated: May 13
Recovery may just be the most important thing when building muscle and making progress in the gym. If you’re working out hard and breaking down your muscle fibers, it’s the rebuilding phase that makes you put on mass. Most of the rebuilding of this muscle comes from two ingredients, namely, sleep and nutrition. Nutrition entails getting all the macronutrients and micronutrients necessary to maintain an anabolic and hypertrophic state. However, to be able to really give your body what it needs, the variety and quantity of foods you would need to consume is quite large. This is where supplements come into play. A supplement should never replace your diet or substitute a real meal. Instead, they fill in the gaps in our diets and allow us to recover better and more quickly. You should always talk to your nutritionist or physician before adding supplements to your dietary regimen. Truly, there are only 4 supplements you need:
1. Whey Protein
The amino acids you get from protein consumption are what allow your body to carry out many functions, one of those being muscle repair. Whey Protein may help you with a speedy recovery after intense exercise. You’ll often hear that .5g-1g of protein per pound of body weight is what your body needs. Whey Protein, typically found in powder form, will help you reach your numbers. Whey Protein is derived from dairy products, so if you have a dairy allergy or are sensitive to dairy products there are alternatives on the market.
I have to start by saying that creatine is a chemical found naturally in the body. I’ve heard people say nonsensical things about what creatine is. Yes, you’re still “natural” if you take it. Creatine is found in red meat and seafood and is often used in sports performance and muscle building. It is involved in making energy for muscular hypertrophy, specifically skeletal muscles. Creatine does result in weight gain due to an increase in total body water retention. This happens because when creatine is absorbed in the body, it pulls water with it causing cells to swell. The result is an anabolic state in which there is less protein breakdown and muscle protein synthesis. If you don’t use creatine yet, give it a try and you will feel stronger and your muscles fuller.
Mom knew what she was talking about when she made you take the Flintstones gummy. This one matters because of the lack of variety in most diets. There are many vitamins and minerals that are crucial to metabolic function and bodily functions overall. Vitamins can affect how you’re absorbing nutrients, supporting normal growth and development. Minerals are constantly being shuttled inside your body to maintain homeostasis. There are also many hormones that function with the help of vitamins such as Vitamin D.
4. Fish Oil
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential. From improving brain health, mood, and even bone and joint health, it’s a great supplement to take. Fish Oil also reduces triglyceride levels, which can be bad for your heart health. If you can’t take fish oil because of a dietary restriction such as veganism, there are alternatives. You could give algae oil a try, which still supplies you with those essential Omega-3s.
These are a few of the supplements that are always stacked in my cabinet. It can be intimidating when stepping into the vitamin or supplement aisle at your grocer when the selections are infinite. There will always be something you may want to try to supplement your diet, but I believe that these are truly essential.
Before starting any fitness program or dietary changes, including supplementation, please consult your physician for a thorough examination.