The fitness supplement market is huge, and if you’re looking for the right natural supplements to max your workout results, it’s easy to become confused. After all, your choices range from the mainstream nutritional options to the extremely dicey (and probably black market) products.
They all claim to be perfectly safe, but if you’re raising an eyebrow at that claim, you’re probably right. The scandal of a fitness supplement containing DMMA, which claimed the lives of two soldiers, is still fresh in our minds. Thanks to Federal crackdowns, that’s one worry you can exclude, but nevertheless, it pays to know what you’re looking for before you go shopping for a fitness supplement.
1. Whey Protein to Build Muscle
It’s based on proteins found in milk and it packs a protein punch. If you’re bulking up muscle, you need extra protein, and this is one of the fitness world’s top sources of easily-digestible protein. Choose a mainstream product and read a few reviews before making your choice. After years of nutritional research, whey protein is still considered one of the best sources of protein for fitness.
2. Cannabis? It Depends
Marijuana has been enjoying attention for its potential benefits to fitness performance. And in case you were wondering, most athlete’s don’t smoke. Instead, they choose extracts containing a spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes.
CBD, a non-psychoactive extract, has enjoyed attention for speeding recovery and reducing post-workout inflammation. Others swear by THC, but do be aware of local marijuana laws. For example, weed isn’t legal in Florida.
3. Caffeine for Fat Burning Performance
Turns out the ingredient that gives coffee-lovers a kick could be the wake-up ingredient to use before a workout. Experts say that it reduces our dependence on glycogen to fuel workouts, and helps our bodies to target fat as an energy source. But don’t overdo it.
Caffeine overdose can be harmful to your health and even increase your risk of cardiac arrest. Although there are caffeine pills and supplements on the market, an old-fashioned cup of coffee is probably your safest bet.
4. Fish Oil: A Good Overall Health Supplement for a Safe Choice
Fish oil is widely said to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. That means faster recovery after a stiff workout which helps you go for it when the next one comes around. Some sources say there’s evidence that it improves protein synthesis, so it could be good for bulking up. Choose a mainstream product to ensure it really is what it claims to be and only use it as directed. Fish oils are a great source of fatty acids.
5. Creatine to Fuel Your Workout
Creatine is a natural protein found in meat and fish. It helps you to fuel your workout with a bigger energy reserve and may even help with increasing muscle mass. However, some research has found that it also increases water retention, so some of the weight gain observed by fitness enthusiasts could be water rather than muscle.
Use the supplement in moderation. The best sources of this amino acid come from your diet, and overdosing on creatine can harm your digestive system and liver.
The Bottom Line on Fitness Supplements
Most fitness supplements are purely dietary supplements containing ingredients you can find in ordinary food – provided you eat smart. If, despite your fitness-oriented diet, you still feel like you need a boost, use them in moderation. It really is possible to have too much of a good thing. A healthy, balanced diet is the first step to fitness, and the supplements should be just that, supplemental.