These are the five best supplements experienced gym goers recommend
When selecting the supplements you need to support your goals, it can be a bit of a minefield
The fitness industry has grown exponentially over the last 10-15 years, and with it so has the number of supplements in existence.
Some are more effective than others in helping you build bigger biceps or burn off abdominal fat.
Which supps are the most effective according to hardened gym goers?
Recent research delved into this topic. Around 1,000 people were surveyed in total and asked how they rated various supplements.
The top five most effective supps according to experienced gym goers were:
- Whey protein
- Vegetable protein
Atop the study's list of most effective gym supplements is whey protein. Originally formed from a cheese by-product, whey is by far the most popular sports supplement on the planet.
There are many kinds of protein available, but whey is highest in branched chain amino acids (BCAAs). These aminos effectively act as the building blocks of muscle tissue. A dairy source such as whey is also rich in leucine, the most potent BCAA.
Side effects: There aren't many limitations to a whey shake, but those with a lactose intolerance should clearly avoid.
The second-best supplement according to experienced gym goers, pre-workout supplements are based on pure caffeine, but often also contain a myriad of other ingredients.
Taurine, guarana, beta-alanine, green tea extract are among the most common additions to a pre-workout.
If you're in need of an extra edge to stack some more weight on the bar, pre-workouts can work.
Side effects: They aren't the most reliable of supplements, however. The ingredients can interrupt your sleep if you take them too late in the day. People with pre-existing heart conditions or anxiety should also limit their use, or at least speak to a doctor beforehand.
The main ingredient in pre-workouts, caffeine works by stimulating your adrenal glands to produce, you've guessed it - adrenaline.
It provides a boost to your training in reducing your perceived rate of exertion. Sound too sciency? This just means those heavy lifts will be seen by your body as easier to perform.
Caffeine can help you train harder and for longer due to these effects. Although it's the primary ingredient in a pre-workout supplement, caffeine can be taken via coffee or tea too.
Side effects: These generally remain the same as a pre-workout. Take excessive amounts too late in the day and you'll still be staring at the ceiling into the early hours. With a black coffee, you know exactly what you're getting - which isn't always the case with a pre-workout.
As veganism grows alongside an increasing awareness of the environmental impact of livestock farming, veggie protein is becoming quite common.
The main limitation to a plant-based diet is not being able to find a single protein source which packs as much protein as a chicken breast or salmon fillet.
The solution is to combine numerous meat-free sources into one meal - and it's this which gives vegetable protein its strength. Often made up of a mix of pea, hemp and soy, vegetable protein can prove an effective way of building meat-free muscle mass.
Side-effects: Plant-based protein isn't as rapidly absorbed as whey, for example. This makes it less effective immediately pre or post-training. However, as a meal replacement shake for the plant-based people out there, it ticks your boxes.
You'd be forgiven for thinking whey protein was the most-researched supplement on the shelves. It's actually not - that would be creatine.
Creatine monohydrate, to be precise. When you lift weights, your body taps into its ATP energy system. When this occurs, levels are reduced and pumped back into the body as ADP.
Don't be too put off by the science - creatine just helps turn ADP back into ATP energy that your body can put to great use pumping iron.
It boosts short, sharp bursts of intense power and strength - such as weight training and sprinting. Most commonly found in powder or pill form, opt for the monohydrate kind as that is the most-studied variety.
Side-effects: Creatine won't be much use if you don't lift weights or spend most of your training time engaging in endurance activities. But those scare stories about creatine causing cancer, baldness or kidney problems? None of these claims have been proven by science.
Forget fat burners
Although gym newbies ranked fat burners in their top five supplements, advanced gym goers didn't. There is ample reason for this.
The best way to burn fat is to adopt a diet that has you in a calorie deficit. Burn off or consume fewer calories than you take in, and you'll lose weight naturally.
Add some weight training on top to protect muscle tissue and BOOM - a recipe for success.
All about the essentials
It has to be said that supplements serve only as a cherry on the top of your overall training and diet plan. Get these in check before seeking help from any of the above.
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