Best Supplements for 2016 So Far: PureGym's Selection
With shelf upon shelf stacked full of great looking tubs, bottles and jars, all boasting the ability to turn you into a superhuman athlete overnight; many gym-goers fall prey overpriced products, which fail to live up to the hype.
It would be a mistake, though, to assume that no supplements are the real deal. It’s simply a matter of knowing the good from the bad.
So without further ado, I present the Pure Gym 2016 Supplement Awards, a rundown of supplements guaranteed to work:
When it comes right down to it, protein shakes aren’t much different from eating a steak, or grilling a few extra chicken fillets. The benefit comes in terms of convenience and speed of absorption.
When aiming to build muscle, you’ll need to ensure you get enough protein in your diet – protein is, after all, the building block of muscle. A study from Kent University suggests that 1.4g of protein per kilo of bodyweight may be the sweet spot for strength and endurance athletes. When you’re living in the 21st Century hustle and bustle, you may find it gets difficult to fill that requirement with standard foods alone, especially right after pulling off the mother of all workouts. We wrote a post that focused on how protein shakes can help you build muscle. Go on, don’t be shy, give it a read.
This last point is important -- protein synthesis has been shown to be highest right after completing a heavy resistance workout.
Enter protein shakes, the perfect way of getting a large dose of rapidly absorbed protein into your system when it counts most, and top up your daily total, with as little fuss as possible.
Creatine is one of the few all-natural “performance enhancing” supplements, which has been conclusively shown through scientific studies to provide results. While you can get low levels of creatine via your diet (from red meat particularly), a large amount of that is lost during the cooking process.
The way this miracle supplement works is by increasing the amount of ATP (the chemical source of energy for muscle contraction) your muscles can store, which in turn allows you to go harder in the gym, for longer. This, naturally, leads to greater overall muscle growth. Creatine is also commonly used by elite endurance athletes, who need that extra bit of fuel in the tank.
To benefit from the full range of creatine’s effects, take it daily, with a break every six weeks to prevent your body from growing too accustomed to it.
Pre-Work Out Supplements
Pre-work out supplements boast the ability to get you wired, and put you “in the zone” for your workout. This can be a great benefit because, as any regular gym goer knows, there are always those days when you feel sluggish, and tempted to sink into your couch and submit to the TV, rather than push yourself at the gym.
Many pre-work out supplements are packed full of sugar and caffeine. The sugar can be a problem (so keep an eye on the quantity), but caffeine has been conclusively shown to have a positive impact on your workouts, giving you a sharp energy boost, added focus in the gym, and even increasing your pain threshold.
On top of the caffeine related benefits, many pre-workouts contain proprietary blends of ingredients. This can further increase focus and reduce some of the edginess, which can come from drinking a pot of coffee before heading to the squat rack.
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s for short) are another protein supplement, which can help to give you the edge in terms of muscle growth. BCAA’s are essentially the building blocks for protein, and although they haven’t been shown to directly aid performance in the gym, studies have found they improve muscle recovery rates and prevent muscle breakdown.
It’s often recommended that BCAA’s should be taken just before bed and just after waking, to reduce any risk of muscle breakdown, after your nightly fasted state.
If you make a habit of training in a fasted state (cardio before breakfast, for example), taking a BCAA supplement is also a must – allowing you to reap the benefits of fasted training without risking excess muscle breakdown.
Pound for pound, fish oil is one of the most beneficial dietary supplements out there. Don’t be fooled into thinking that cod liver oil is something from your grandparents’ times, which has nothing to do with your efforts in the gym, either. Numerous studies show that supplementing with fish oil improves everything from heart and bone health, to cardiovascular performance.
A great point to remember is that anything which is good for your body as a whole, is going to have a positive knock-on effect on your fitness.