Your quest for a lean physique and developing those perfect six-pack abs isn’t an easy one. You’re eating right, doing your core exercises, and trying to do everything you can to achieve that toned look you see in bodybuilding magazines.
For all your efforts, you might not be seeing the exact results you hoped for, but that doesn’t mean all is lost…
There is a supplement stack that you can add to your daily routine to help. Here we will take a look at the most popular types of supplements in the fitness world that can help you get past that plateau:
If you’re familiar with bodybuilding supplements and working out, you will have heard of protein powder.
Protein is an essential part of anyone’s diet and is available from several food sources. But it is more crucial to anyone taking part in a sport or taking their weight training seriously and looking to build muscle mass or get lean.
Protein supplementation will jumpstart your body’s muscle recovery process post-workout due to its fast absorption to kick-start muscle protein synthesis.
It is considered the best supplement to build muscle as the amino acids in protein supplements are the key building blocks building muscle fibers. This helps your body’s strength to improve and can assist with reducing muscle soreness or DOMS.
Additionally, it can help reduce your appetite by stabilizing your blood glucose while also raising your resting metabolic rate. These supplements are also used regularly when on a calorific deficit or in a cutting phase. By maintaining a reasonable level of protein intake when dieting, bodybuilders can maintain their muscle tissue and burn fat.
A general rule is that 1g of protein per pound of body weight should be consumed daily
Supplementation is also ideal if you aren’t getting enough protein in your daily food intake. Let’s face it, there is only so much lean chicken and beef that you can eat before you get sick of it. By taking whey protein (or another form) you can make sure you get the amount of protein you need in a day without worrying about prepping and eating food.
All you have to do is mix a protein shake and drink it. It’s also digested quickly so you’ll benefit from it internally quickly and still have room to eat your normal meals. When combined with other nutrients, it can also make up a meal replacement.
Honestly, if you’re at all concerned about your muscle growth, protein powder should be a permanent staple in your routine. There are so many advantages to using it that you’d be at a disadvantage by not using one. Here is a brief breakdown of the different protein powders available:
- Whey concentrate: a basic form of protein that is the most popular on the market. It’s inexpensive and great for beginners looking for a cheap and effective whey protein supplement. These are quick to digest but can sometimes cause bloating or gas due to the lactose. It’s best used during the day pre- or post-workout or between meals as a snack.
- Casein protein: this breaks down slowly in the body and is best used before going to bed so you stay in an anabolic state during the night where you’ll be absorbing nutrients even while you sleep. You can also take this during the day to stay full longer.
- Whey isolates: this absorbs quickly and is more expensive than standard whey protein. They’re best for people on low-carb diets as they contain little to no carbs and sugars. They’re great for post-workout recoveries as they’ll be absorbed into your muscles faster than other forms.
- Hydrolysate protein: this is the most expensive protein powder but it’s the best quality, too. It’s made up of absorbable peptides for the best anabolic effect on your body. This option is a lot easier on your digestive system, too.
- Soy protein: this isn’t used much by bodybuilders but it is a good source of protein if you’re looking to avoid dairy products or are vegan. It helps in recovery, helps with blood flow, and contains essential amino acids. This can help regulate your thyroid, speed up your metabolism, and aid fat loss. It’s best to use it before or after your workout or as a meal or snack during the day.
Did you know: LA Rams Quarterback Jared Goff has an enzyme deficiency which prevents his body from properly breaking down proteins
Caffeine, a common ingredient in most pre-workout supplements, is an essential ergogenic aid. It enhances motivation, allowing you to exert more effort during your training and achieve your desired results.
Increased energy levels can enhance your workout performance, allowing you to challenge yourself and perform at your peak throughout your training. Improved workout performance translates to more substantial progress, enabling you to meet your fitness goals.
In addition, caffeine may also have a mild anorectic effect. This quality can aid you in reducing food cravings and maintaining a strict diet when aiming to lose weight.
These sometimes contain similar components as fat burners because they’re meant to boost your energy. The difference between the two is that pre-workout supplements are supposed to enhance your performance so you can get the most out of your workout routine.
Pre-workout supplements usually contain caffeine, L-Citrulline (which is found in watermelons and boosts endurance), L-Tyrosine (an amino acid that increases focus and muscle strength), beta-alanine (improves workout intensity and endurance), and L-Arginine (an amino acid that increases blood flow to carry oxygen and nutrients to your muscles).
Each pre-workout supplement is different so be sure to read the packages to see what each one offers. One might have more caffeine than another while others might offer other things such as nootropics that can help improve your mental abilities, too. You can also find stimulant-free ones if you need to stay away from those for medical reasons or if your session is near bedtime.
When you’re lifting weights it’s best to stay hydrated and prevent muscle breakdown as you go. Amino acids help you do both of these things.
Remember, your metabolism is high when you have more lean mass.
When you take in amino acids in either liquid or powder form, they go straight to your muscle cells by bypassing your liver. Once in your muscle cells, they can give you energy and help decrease the amount of muscle breakdown you experience as you cut your calorie intake and workout.
All you have to do is add three branched-chain amino acids (leucine, isoleucine and valine), known as BCAAs, to water during your day or take them in pill form. These can improve your endurance while reducing muscle soreness.
Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
This is a standard part of many bodybuilding enthusiasts’ routines. CLA is a group of omega-6 fatty acids that are found mostly in dairy and beef and researchers suggest that it aids in a fat breakdown while inhibiting the production of new fat, too. In addition to overall fat loss, CLA can also help with insulin sensitivities which can help your body use the carbs you eat for energy instead of storing them in your body as fat.
While CLA is supposed to be found in beef and dairy, experts believe that the amount of CLA in foods has been diminished by farming techniques used in most countries. This is why taking supplements for this is useful if you’re looking to hit your fat-burning goal and achieve a leaner appearance.
The fat-burning process can also increase your energy levels and help raise your lean muscle mass. As you raise your muscle mass, you’ll be able to burn more calories as you strengthen your skeletal muscles. CLA can also strengthen your immune system to help you recover from workouts and general ailments better. A decrease in cholesterol and a lower chance of breast cancer are also advantages of taking CLA. It’s recommended to take one to three grams of CLA with all three of your daily meals.
A lesser-known supplement that can have many benefits is the naturally occurring amino acid l-carnitine. L-Carnitine is a naturally occurring amino acid derivative synthesized from Lysine and Methionine. It is frequently present in fat-burning supplements due to its ability to aid in the breakdown of fatty acids for energy.
Recent studies suggest that L-Carnitine to help increase fat loss and aids recovery during strenuous exercise
L-Carnitine supplementation may increase metabolic rate, leading to the burning of more calories during workouts. In addition, it can boost energy and endurance, enhancing exercise performance, and accelerating progress. L-Carnitine may also improve post-workout recovery, which facilitates muscle building, strength gains, and overall well-being.
As well as improving performance, muscular endurance, and aiding weight loss, it can also improve heart health and potentially brain function too.
L-Glutamine is an amino acid that is naturally produced by the body. It can reduce soreness after training, prevent muscular breakdown and promote natural growth hormone synthesis. It can also control glycogen levels in the body stimulating muscle growth.
L-Glutamine can also improve endurance and strength.
Research studies also suggest that it can provide an improvement in the immune system even resulting in shorter hospital stays after surgery. It also has benefits for intestinal health, being an important energy source for intestinal cells.
This is naturally found in fish and meat. It is an effective supplement for providing extra energy during exercise as well as some potential cognitive benefits.
Research has proven that the consumption of creatine supplements causes an increase in power output and strength during weightlifting, meaning an increase in lean body mass and a competitive edge.
Fish oils have several health benefits. Being rich in omega-3 fatty acids means that they help lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure. For athletes, the omega fatty acids in fish oil offer anti-inflammatory properties. Research suggests that they also reduce muscle soreness, and improve muscle strength and muscle health.
Much of the food we consume can be less nutritious than we think due to farming methods and hormones fed to animals. A good quality multivitamin can fill in the nutritional gaps to ensure that the basic requirements that we should get from food are covered.
Consistent use of a multivitamin can help to prevent illness and promote good health.
Yohimbine is an alkaloid compound that is extracted from the bark of the Yohimbe tree (Pausinystalia yohimbe). This is a species of evergreen tree that is indigenous to Western and Central Africa.
It is commonly included in pre-workout supplements because of its stimulatory effects, including fat-burning and energy-boosting properties.
Yohimbine has been shown to elicit significant thermogenic and lipolytic effects. This is because of its ability to increase sympathetic nervous system activity. So it can enhance the release of fatty acids from adipose tissue and increase the heart rate, leading to an increase in energy expenditure and calorie burn during exercise.
Furthermore, Yohimbine acts as an antagonist to the Alpha-2 adrenergic receptor, which is highly expressed in adipose tissue. By inhibiting these receptors, it promotes lipolysis, resulting in better utilization of fat as an energy source.
A high-quality fat burner can help you lose body fat while also giving you a great energy boost that can fuel your exercise for optimal performance in each gym session. There are different types available that have certain effects and different compounds. Some are more suited for males and many are good fat burners for females specifically.
There are fat burners that can increase metabolism, suppress your appetite, and optimize energy production, and some that can do all of these. These supplements can make your workouts easier, help you shed some unwanted pounds, and even get you shredded. If you have a solid diet and a good exercise routine, these are the best supplement to get ripped quickly.
They often also include antioxidants such as green tea.
Beware, weight loss isn’t as simple as taking a few capsules in the morning.
The main types of fat burners available are thermogenic ones, carb blockers, fat blockers, appetite suppressants, thyroid regulators, and cortisol blockers.
- Thermogenic fat burners: raise your body temperature internally and increase your resting heart rate to increase your metabolic rate and lose weight. The main ingredients are usually caffeine, synephrine HCL, Yohimbe, and cayenne pepper.
- Carb blockers: usually made of a white kidney bean extract that binds to the carbohydrates you eat. This stops your body from digesting them.
- Fat blockers: often from chitosan and work in the same way as carb blockers do. They do this to the fat that you eat instead of the carbs.
- Appetite suppressants: great to help you fight cravings. The main ingredient is often hoodia which helps keep hunger away so you don’t cheat on your diet.
- Thyroid regulators: useful if you have thyroid issues. These can help regulate your metabolism as well as your energy levels. If you suspect you have a thyroid problem or were diagnosed with one, this type of fat burner can help to regulate it. The main ingredients in these are usually forskolin and guggulsterone.
- Cortisol blockers: these block cortisol. This is a stress hormone that stores belly fat and is the enemy of visible abs. Inhibiting the release of cortisol can help you in fighting off belly fat. The main ingredient in this type of fat burner is phosphatidylserine.
As you can see, there are quite a few options for you to turn to in the sports nutrition world when you’re looking to get some help from supplements to get leaner.
If you have any medical issues, it’s recommended to talk to your doctor before taking anything to avoid any side effects or serious issues. Luckily, there are so many options that you’ll be able to find something safe and effective to help you.