In my opinion there is a huge misconception about supplements in the mind of people who want to change the shape of their body. They think that no matter how they train, no matter how they eat, there will be a certain supplement that will drastically change the way their physique looks, hopefully even overnight! Sadly, this is not the case. In fact supplements, as the name suggests, are supposed to “supplement” a balanced diet, not replace or fix it.
That being said, there are a few supplements that can be quite useful in your fitness journey. Some of these i ocnsider “comfortability” supplements, since they can replace a meal and thus make your day easier (less cooking, less food to carry around). Think 100g of chicken breast vs a scoop of protein powder.
Some others can actually help you get nutrients that you would not, or would have a hard time getting from your every day foods unless you have a very specific diet, like Omega-3 oil for example.
So here is a list of supplements that i retain useful and worth considering. The products i picked are either the ones i personally use or those that I believe are best value in their category! I provided links to Amazon which, along with the free/Prime shipping it offers for many products is one of the cheapest places to get these supplements. If you know that a specific product can be bought cheaper somewhere else, please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and i will update the links.
Whey protein is the quickest and easiest way to make sure you’re getting enough protein through your diet. Such powders are quite tasty and very versatile, since they can be used in shakes, to bake, to make oatmeal…the options are endless. I don’t really consider whey protein a real supplement, but rather just powdered food.
It’s either a scoop of whey, or cooking a meal. The actual advantage whey has over regular meals, is that it is absorbed very fast into the bloodstream, thus making it optimal to be taken pre- or postworkout. My favorite choices of whey is the Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard, which comes in a variety of great tastes.
Gaspari Nutrition Myofusion, while not being a pure whey protein, but a blend of multiple types of protein, is a great choice as well. And the Amazon price of $42.89 for a 5lbs tub is hard to beat!
Branched-Chain Amino Acids
Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s) are the building blocks of proteins, so most of the time a diet rich in protein ensures adequate amounts of BCAA’s anyways. There are situations where BCAA’s as a separate supplement make sense though, I use them for example whenever i train fasted.
A lot of people believe (or hope) that creatine will make their muscles grow overnight. The truth is that it actually increses your strength levels by increasing the resynthesis of ATP (your muscle’s fuel). This way you can train longer and harder, which in the long term will eventually lead to more muscle gains. The quick weight gain that many experience when using creatine is mostly water weight which will be lost as soon as the the creatine intake stops. For creatine, I often just go for the cheapest bulk powder available! The Dymatize Nutrition Micronized Creatine which comes in a 2.2lbs package is a good bet.
There’s a lot of debate whether you actually need a multivitamin supplement to ensure you get enough vitamins and minerals or not. I’d rather be on the safe side so i usually take some with my first meal. Currently I’m using the Controlled Labs Orange Triad Multivitamin
Omega 3 Fish oil
This supplement is actually something i reccomend not only to fitness enthusiasts, but pretty much to anyone, since the omega-3 to omega-6-ratio we get through our diet is important for general health, and we just get too much omega 6!
I prefer softgels over liquid form fish oil, so my choice is the Now Foods Ultra Omega 3