Anyone looking to improve their health, fitness, and appearance--whether a seasoned gym-goer or a complete newbie--needs to focus on a few things when it comes to their workouts: working hard, working smart, and ensuring that their diet supports their goals. But even the most dialed-down nutrition plan and hardcore training program can become even more effective once the right supplements are added. With the insane amount of choices, though, it can be hard to figure out which ones are right for you. Read on to learn about some of the best beginner workout supplements around and why they really do make a difference.
The Best Beginner Workout Supplements You Should Be Using This New Year:
The goal of supplements is to enhance your body's recovery, rest, and response to training. As a beginner, your best bet is to keep it simple. No need for fancy, trendy, or super-intense-to-the-max options (or however some of the supplements are marketed).
Below are some of the best beginner workout supplements that are effective, affordable, and totally appropriate for a newbie.
1) Whey Protein-
This supplement is the tried-and-true of almost all fitness buffs. Not only does it help with recovery, but it can also improve your muscle mass and strength. Whey protein is easily and quickly digested by the body, which is helpful since it's best to consume protein within a short window around your workout--ideally within 30 minutes before or after. We like Stronger Faster Healthier (whose whey is sourced from grass-fed, free range cows) and Optimum Nutrition.
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2) Branched Chain Amino Acids-
Derived from protein, BCAAs give you a much-needed extra bang for your buck when it comes to stimulating muscle growth. This supplement accelerates protein synthesis from your muscle cells and prevents muscle breakdown when taken after a workout. Taken before workouts, they also provide you with energy to train even harder. We like NOW Sports BCAA Powder.
3) Fish Oil-
High-quality fish oil contains fatty acids that are amazing for your health, and it's no surprise that virtually every health expert recommends daily fish oil supplementation for every human around. Specifically, omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil have been known to have a powerful anti-inflammatory effect which can ease aching joints and promote tissue healing. We love award-winning and super high-quality Carlson's Very Finest Fish Oil.
...and a few workout supplements that may not be best For beginners
Some supplements are really only useful if you're hitting it super hard at the gym (think training for competition, performance-based goals, or world-class athleticism). Take heed if your fitness-obsessed friend recommends some of these supplements to you--they may be effective, but they're probably not necessary for you as a beginner:
This supplies energy to your muscles by increasing ATP production, and while it can help increase muscle mass and strength, it may be going overboard for the beginner and if used improperly can even lead to weight gain and gastrointestinal issues.
2) Pre-Workout Supplements-
These supplements--complete with stimulants ranging from caffeine to guarana--are supposed to make you have way more energy during a workout. In reality, they may just make you feel super amped up without making a difference in your actual results. Oh, and side effects can include flushed face, racing heart, and tingling skin--ugh.
3) Post-Workout Carbohydrates-
If your main goal as a beginner is to lose excess body fat, you really shouldn't be consuming too much sugar, especially in the form of sugary drinks or sports bars. Carbohydrates consumed after a workout can replenish your muscles and improve recovery, but no need to buy any fancy supplement for that. Instead, try a piece of fruit or some sweet potato, which have more nutrients and are healthier for you, anyway.
Go ahead--add some BCAAs, fish oil, and whey protein to your gym bag! In most cases, you get what you pay for when it comes to beginner workout supplements. There's no need to break the bank, of course, but you obviously want to make sure that you're not wasting your money on supplements that don't work. For more guidance, ask your HealthSPORT personal trainer or doctor.
Do you have any favorite supplements you've been using since your newbie days? Share in the comments below!