There’s a ton of misinformation about what basic products to take to aid performance.
These are the essentials for any serious gym goer’s cupboard:
Creatine, an amino acid derivative constructed from arginine, glycine and methionine, is at the top of the list of must-haves for any serious gym goer. It is one of the most researched and popular sports nutrition products available. It basically provides you with the fuel that will power you through a high-intensity workout. The body produces a limited amount of creatine, which means additional requirements need to met through our diets, be it from foods such as red meat or through supplementation. Creatine fuels the production of ATP, the muscle cell’s primary and most energetic form of fuel. Creatine monohydrate is the safest and most widely researched form of the supplement and consuming it post-workout can aid in the recovery process, add muscle size and help develop greater strength.
Glutamine is an often overlooked product, despite its role in the process of repairing muscles. A reliable glutamine and collagen supplement can assist athletes to recovery more quickly. Collagen also plays a role in joint health and should therefore be considered because bodybuilders with large muscles but weak joint structures are more prone to injury.
The more you train, the more protein your body will need daily to repair muscle tissue, among other biological functions. Whey protein is described by many as ‘the king of proteins’ because of its high L-leucine content, a branched chain amino acid (BCAA) that can induce muscle synthesis. Whey protein plays an important role in the recovery process because it helps to spare muscle during training and kickstarts the muscle-building process after weight training sessions. Whey’s amino acid profile makes it an ideal choice for bodybuilders and strength athletes. With its mixture of nine essential amino acids, studies have shown other possible health benefits such as supporting healthy weight management, maintaining cholesterol and blood pressure in a normal range, and promoting the growth of lean tissue mass.
In more than one study, athletes who consumed beverages containing BCAAs reported much lower muscle soreness and fatigue after training than those who consumed a placebo. Another advantage is its fast rate of digestion and absorption compared to other protein supplements such as casein, plant-based proteins and even whole foods.
Vitamin and mineral complex
Daily supplementation with a high potency multivitamin and mineral complex, or a daily multipack helps prevent the vitamin and mineral deficiencies that can result from limited dietary variety, increased vitamin depletion from exercise and/or a reduction in calorie intake while dieting. People who train hard and are serious about their health, physical appearance and performance cannot optimise any of these traits if they have even a slight deficiency in any of the numerous micronutrients that are essential for peak physical performance and optimal health. Fortunately, by combining a balanced diet with daily supplementation with a high potency multivitamin or daily multipack, it shouldn’t be difficult to meet your optimal daily micronutrient requirements.
Essential Fatty Acids
Essential Fatty Acids, or EFAs play an important role as a structural component of all cell membranes and are essential for the formation of vital chemicals in the body called prostaglandins. They are hormone-like substances that play a role in an enormous variety of functions, including the proper regulation of blood pressure, heart function, inflammation and nerve transmission.
EFAs also assist in improving body composition and exercise performance. They have been shown to affect insulin sensitivity and even anabolic hormone production, and also have anti-catabolic effects, enhance weight loss and positively influence exercise performance. Adequate EFA intake is essential for building muscle and effectively losing fat. However, due to modern day food processing techniques, which destroy EFAs, along with the typical low fat diet of physique-conscious gym-goers, supplementing with EFAs in the form of soft gel capsules, flax seed, or fish oils can prove to be