A basic guide to supplements - Part 2 - Result Fitness Durham

A basic guide to supplements – Part 2

Before you go and buy any supplements, you should make sure that you do not have any health problems or medical issues that could make it difficult for your body to, for example, digest your supplement (e.g. liver / kidney dysfunction). Additionally, do your research or ask an instructor so you know you are choosing a high-quality brand and are not wasting your money. Always follow the instructions provided on the product packaging.
 

Pre-workout

  • What is it?
    Pre-workout supplements are usually a blend of several different ingredients, among them caffeine and creatine.
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  • What are the advantages?
    The purpose of pre-workout is to increase blood flow, increase your heart rate, and your focus/ alertness. These physical effects will not help you increase muscle mass, but will give you a boost of energy before and during your workout.  Most supplements are likely to contain caffeine, creatine and beta-alanine, and sugar. Whether there are benefits or not from taking these supplements are uncertain, but it is likely to have a greater psychological than physiological effect on performance – and if you really need to take a stimulant to perform during your workout it might be time to make some changes.
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  •   Who might benefit from it?
    It is unclear whether they have any benefits at all. Nevertheless, there is a possibility that you might benefit from a pre-workout supplement if your nutrition is not ideal and you need more energy during your workouts. For example: a boxer trying to fit into a lower weight class but has intense workouts.
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  • Timing:
    20-30 minutes before your workouts.
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Take-home points: Pre-workout supplements are designed to give a physical boost before a workout, often caused by high levels of caffeine and great amounts of sugar. (Also note that caffeine can worsen underlying conditions such as a heart arrhythmia, so make sure you stick to the recommended dose.) Instead of drinking a cocktail of different ingredients you might be better off choosing a different supplement – very likely with better effect (if size and adding muscle is your main goal). However, if you do decide that it is for you, make sure you go with a high-quality brand.
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Pre-Workout – Image from Google Images

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Glutamine

  • What is it?
    Glutamine is another essential amino acid that improves muscle growth and athletic performance. It is a primary source of energy for your immune system.
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  • What are the advantages?
    Glutamine supplements can minimise muscle breakdown during intense exercise and improve strength, stamina and recovery. It helps maintain cell volume and hydration, and speeds up recovery. Glutamine is also an important nutrient in maintaining intestinal function and gut health.
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  • Who might benefit from it?
    Bodybuilders and other athletes might get the most out of taking a Glutamine supplement, but regular gym goers could potentially benefit from it too.
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  • Timing:
    In the morning, before your workout and at night before you go to bed.
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    Take-home points: Glutamine is a safe supplement that prevents muscle loss and athletic performance. It may boost your immune system by avoiding depletion of the Glutamine levels in your body after heavy or long workouts. Glutamine is often added to other protein supplements, so check the labels of your supplements to be certain before incorporating Glutamine.
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    Glutamine powder – Image from Google Images

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CLA

  • What is it?
    Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) is a mix of several different essential fatty acids and belongs to the Omega family of fatty acids. It can be found in common animal products, like meat and dairy.
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  • What are the advantages?
    It has been suggested that CLA in combination with a good diet and exercise regime can help decrease body fat through biomechanical reactions that act to increase the basal metabolic rate. It is also proposed that CLA can enhance muscle growth.
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  • Who might benefit from it?
    If you are looking to reduce your body fat percentage, a CLA supplement might be of help.
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  • Timing:
    To be consumed with meals, 1-3 times daily.
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    Take-home points: It is not a miracle pill and does not guarantee neither weight nor fat loss. However, research have suggested that a CLA supplement can effectively reduce body fat and enhance muscle growth when combined with a healthy diet and an exercise regime.
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    CLA – Image from Google Images

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Multivitamins

  • What is it?
    Multivitamins provide you with a range of different essential vitamins and minerals.
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  • What are the advantages?
    Multivitamins can effectively strengthen your immune system, and provide the body with the nutrients it needs to recover and/ or prevent illness. It helps ensure proper nutrition, especially if you have certain dietary requirements or restrictions. It is also proposed that multivitamins improve energy levels and cognitive functioning, and prevent negative stress responses.
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  • Who might benefit from it?
    Everyone could benefit from a multivitamin supplement, but especially older people (to improve cognitive functioning), students (improved energy levels and prevent negative responses to stress), pregnant women (higher nutritional needs because they are also supporting the nutritional needs of the baby), people in a calorific deficit and athletes.
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  • Timing:
    Preferably with a meal that includes a source of fat (like egg, omega3, fish, avocado, butter, oil), as the body’s ability to absorb certain vitamins improves when they are consumed with fat.
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    Take-home points: Multivitamins strengthen the immune system and is a good way of ensuring that the body gets the micronutrients it needs. Try to take it at the same times every day, with a meal that includes a source of fat.
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    Multivitamins – Image from Google Images

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Omega 3

  • What is it?
    Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid found in foods like nuts and fatty fish.
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  • What are the advantages?
    It is an important component for a well-functioning nervous system, as well as being important for eye health, the development of the brain and a healthy heart. It has been shown to reduce inflammation. Omega 3 could increase the body’s ability to burn fat, and adding Omega 3 to a diet has been shown to improve protein synthesis. On a cellular level, it is a component of the cell membrane makes the membrane softer.
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  • Who might benefit from it?
    Everyone, but especially children as their brains are still developing and people with specific dietary requirements or restrictions which eliminates a lot of the sources for Omega 3 and Omega 6. People with arthritis, fibromyalgia and other inflammatory diseases might experience some relief/improvement when incorporating Omega 3. It has also been shown to have potential positive effects for hypertension.
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  • Timing:
    Any time, but best consumed with food.
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    Take-home points: An Omega 3 supplement is important for the functioning of the nervous system, eye health, brain development, a well-functioning and healthy heart, and a normal blood pressure. Consume at the same times every day, preferably with a meal.

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Omega 3 – Image from Google Images

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That is it for our basic supplement guide!

Remember that healthy, unprocessed foods can never be replaced by supplements like powders and pills, however, supplements might be helpful depending on your current diet and nutritional needs.

If you are spending £200 on supplements every month and has little money left for proper food, you are doing it the wrong way.

A supplement should be exactly that; a supplement – not a replacement for normal foods.

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Healthy regards,

The Result Fitness Team