At some point in your training you might come to a question of whether or not you should take supplements. And that’s a good question which requires a lot of thought, not only because supplements cost money but because of the effect they have on your body.
Here are 4 questions that you should ask yourself before making this decision.
Weight Loss vs Muscle Building
The use of supplements depends on your training goals, first and foremost. If you’re looking to lose weight, your nutritional needs will be slightly different than if you’re looking to gain muscle. And they’ll be yet different if you want to lose fat but gain muscle at the same time.
You should get the required nutrition from your diet first. If you’re eating junk food and expect to get the nutrition from supplements, think again. If you’re not on a healthy diet, and for instance have a big intake of sugar, your metabolism will be so broken that any supplements will be wasted in your body.
If you think your diet is lacking in nutrition, consider taking multivitamins and fish oil. These supplements will provide you with the extra required nutrition no matter your goals.
If you’re building muscle, you may want to take fast acting whey protein and creatine. But don’t make the mistake thinking that if you’re losing weight, you can’t benefit from protein supplements. As a matter of fact, loading up with proteins will provide the extra nutrition for your muscles and allow you to expend more energy during your workouts, burning more calories and increasing the fat burning intensity.
Are You Under Stress?
If you’re under a lot of stress in your life, your body will not perform well training-wise nor nutrition-wise. You may be eating bad, sleeping less and fatiguing more when under stress and that’s in no way healthy. So taking supplements can alleviate some of that stress off your body.
As a matter of fact, your muscles are under a lot of stress during a workout, more so if you are under stress throughout the day. During stress, muscles release glutamine and this can lead to dehydration. Taking glutamine as a supplement can help your performance a lot under stressful conditions.
Are You Just Starting Out?
Whether you’ve decided to shed some pounds off or to build a better muscular physique, but you’re just starting out, don’t dive in head first into using supplements. Adjust your diet, get your body used to training first before going for supplements. A good diet is actually mostly enough to get enough nutrition for great workout results so you should not start worrying about supplements in the beginning at all.
Are You a Hard Gainer?
If your diet is right, and your workouts intensive enough, but you just can’t seem to gain any muscle, taking supplements may be a good choice for you. Consider glutamin first for the reasons stated above, then add whey and creatine into the mix. Really hard gainers may consider slow acting protein like casein, to provide the extra nutrition for your body throughout the day and night.
Which Supplements to Take
If you’ve decided to take supplements, consider them in the following order, no matter your goals:
#1 Multivitamins will supplement your diet with extra nutrients which are especially necessary if your diet is lacking.
#2 Fish oils have many nutritional benefits being healthy fats, and they help your metabolism.
#3 Glutamine will help you if you train very intensively and heavily.
#4 Whey protein – taking fast acting protein just before and after workout will provide the muscle with quickly accessible extra nutrition.
#5 Creatine will help you gain lean muscle mass and is especially useful in strength training.
#6 Casein provides your body with slow acting protein throughout the day or night, and is especially good for hard gainers.