The theory of progressive overload states that in order to continuously improve in your fitness you need to gradually increase the difficulty of your workouts. There are a bunch of ways to make exercise more challenging. You can decrease your average pace per mile. You can use heavier weights on the barbell. Another option is to do more sets and reps, thereby increasing volume (amount of work done) in your workouts. Whenever you make your workout program harder, you should see results. If you’re not, there are some ways to utilize supplements to your advantage. This post will cover the 3 best supplements for working out and the results you can achieve from your workouts.
How supplements improve working out, and the 3 best supplements for working out
There are three supplements we recommend using around your workout:
For the majority of the population, these three supplements will give you outstanding results if used appropriately. Let’s break each one down to describe why.
Creatine is a naturally occurring substance in your cells, and is responsible for power production. This is why you will very regularly hear of power lifters or Olympic lifters using creatine in their daily supplement regimen – they’re sport requires maximum power output. However, creatine isn’t only for those we lovingly refer to as “meat heads” sometimes.
Creatine gives you the opportunity to see the benefits of all your hard work – whether that hard work is under a squat rack, or out on a track working on 400m repeats. It is not an instant fix though. You need to consistently take creatine day in and day out in order to see results because it is a substance which has to reach critical mass to be effective.
Take 5g of creatine daily, preferably with food, and after about 7-10 days you will see an increase in performance. Final point – creatine will make you hold a little extra water, so do not worry when your weight goes up a little bit.
Beta alanine can be purchased and used on its own, and is often included in a pre-workout drink like what we have done with RedLeaf. Much like creatine monohydrate, beta alanine needs to be built up in your system to be most effective. While you will feel the hit from a pre-workout almost immediately, much of that effect is the caffeine. If you use your pre-workout daily, then you will naturally build up the amount of beta alanine needed in your system.
Why take beta alanine? More than anything else, it allows you to go harder for longer. You lift heavier for longer, you see bigger results. It’s very simple – and simple is always best when it comes to supplements.
BCAA’s (Branched Chain Amino Acids)
Finally, we come to BCAA’s. BCAA’s will never hurt you, but there are varying degrees of support for taking them. We support using them most when you’re in a slight calorie deficit. You get all the needed BCAA’s through food IF YOU EAT ENOUGH PROTEIN. Which, unfortunately is a big if. This IF get’s even bigger when you’re in a calorie deficit. This is why BCAA’s can be helpful when you’re cutting body fat or trying to lose a few pounds.
BCAA’s are the building blocks of protein, and although they won’t grow new muscle, they can support keeping the muscle you already have. Normally BCAA’s are best utilized when they are taken around a workout time, and some pre-workouts have BCAA’s in the mix (ours does, and so do many others) so your pre-workout can play double duty here.
Finishing off with health
You may be wondering what supplements would be useful for health purposes, now. While that is another post, the big ones we support are an anti-inflammatory supplement (fish oil, or turmeric if you are vegan), whey protein (because most people under-eat protein and this macronutrient is so important for overall health) and a greens powder when traveling.