Have you been thinking about adding supplements to up your fitness game but not sure where to start? Well, you are certainly not alone. The world of fitness supplements can be tricky to navigate at times. Let’s take a closer look at the upside and downside of using supplements to power your workouts to the next level.
Where Do I start?
Choosing the right supplement can be an intimidating process. A quick gaze down the aisle at the different fitness supplements is enough to make just about anyone question their choice to start on a regimen. But luckily, things are not always what they appear to be, and this is one instance where things are much simpler than they look.
But before leaving home to pick out that supplement (or, more likely, going online), let’s take a trip to the kitchen table. Take a good, honest look at your nutrition. According to the National Institutes of Health, fitness supplements can’t take the place of a healthy diet. So if you are serious about improving your workout, make sure your body has all of the nutrition it needs first.
Powering Your Workout with Protein
Protein supplements are very versatile and can be adapted to almost any fitness goal. Protein is a significant all-around macronutrient that helps in both muscle building and tissue repair. Preliminary studies have shown a link between the use of protein powder and weight loss in individuals suffering from obesity. In addition to all of these benefits, protein can also reduce high blood pressure and other risk factors for heart disease.
While the different protein powder brands can seem endless, there are just two basic types, animal-based and plant-based. Animal-based protein powders usually contain either whey or casein, which are both derived from milk. Plant-based protein powders generally obtain their protein from soy, hemp, or a variety of vegetable seeds.
BCAA’a or branched-chain amino acids are three essential amino acids that assist our bodies with protein synthesis to prevent muscle breakdown. These bcaa’s also help our bodies with muscle growth and performance, but when taken in larger than the recommended amount can have severe negative impacts on health.
Fish Oil Benefits
Fish oil supplements have been popular among fitness enthusiasts and the general American public for years, and for good reason. Fish oil with Omega-3 fatty acids contains both DHA and EPA, essential nutrients for a healthy heart and cardiovascular system, and plays a significant role in preventing and managing heart disease.
But fish oil may provide adverse side effects for some people. Complaints of upset stomach, fishy breath, and loose stools are widespread for people just beginning fish oil supplementation. Still, the preliminary results for the use of fish oil in treating certain types of arthritis and joint diseases have been promising, with many reporting a reduction in joint stiffness and tenderness.
A Little Nervous About Caffeine?
Due to its rather complicated history within the medical community, caffeine’s use as a fitness supplement can be a little dicey. While studies show that it can increase endurance and performance, there can be some adverse side effects. These side effects include restlessness, muscle tremors, and irregular heartbeat.
Supercharging your workout with supplements can be a great idea but always check with your doctor beforehand to reduce the chances for a negative outcome.