A Beginner’s Guide to Supplements
Taking supplements has always been a controversial topic. There seems like a divide between people. There is one group that says that without supplements you can’t dream of a fit and muscular body while the other group says the former statement is a myth devised by manufacturers to sell their products. Some see them as a quick road to ripped muscles while some see them as an equivalent to drugs. Supplements, some times, do come in the form of tablets and pills at times that can explain this drastic claim. Are supplements really a vital aspect of your journey to being fit and healthy or do they just lead you to a chemically indulged body? Well, with this guide to supplements we hope to help you answer all these queries and more.
Different Eating Habits
Different lifestyles and social environments lead to different eating habits for people. Here are a few common ones you may recognize around you.
- The all-day sitting crowd – Most common in working professionals, this is when you are in front of a computer the whole day. A common trait is a coffee cup right by their desk and getting up once to get their lunch. For such people, taking short breaks every hour is highly recommended and so is eating something light every other hour, especially, fruits.
- The hardly-eating kind – This is usually referring to the people set on eating as little as possible. Having a bird’s diet. Such a crowd is strongly recommended to stay hydrated. Water, energy drinks, and even a few chocolate bars to keep up the energy.
- The munchy kind – This suits best to couch-potatoes and anyone with a habit of snacking all the time. Munching isn’t that big of a problem, what you munch is a bigger question. Eating slower, avoiding eating directly from the containers, and timing meals can help this crowd immensely.
You could be one of the above or fall in a whole another category, the point is to know what your body is asking for and what it really deserves. Once, you know what you want, only then you can move forward. You can know what is missing from your diet that needs to be fulfilled using supplements.
Should You, Or Shouldn’t You?
Before you decide which supplements you should start with, you need to understand the need for these products and if your body really needs them.
- Well, we start by debunking a quite popular myth – you need supplements and steroids to break your limits. This is just not true. Science and even history tell us that the human body has no limits.
- If you learn to listen to your body, you can easily push it to any lengths you want to. Our forefathers used to wear body armor weighing around 20 to 30 kilograms while handling a couple of 20 to 25 kilograms swords. Not just handling but swinging these swords in fluid and flexible movements. This was a time when supplements haven’t even been in production.
- So, the next logical question should be – why are supplements so in demand?
- First of all, please understand that steroids and supplements are two very different things. Supplements are an alternative source to diet and nutrition while steroids are drugs that can have extreme effects on your body if taken without medical consultation.
Do You Take Balanced Diet?
To decide whether your body needs supplements or not you need to ask yourself one simple question – are you taking a proper and balanced diet?
- When you put physical strain on your body in the form of a workout, your body needs nutrition to replenish itself.
- If your daily diet can provide you with all the vitamins, minerals, and proteins you need then you don’t need supplements.
- But if there are nutrients that are lacking in your daily food then you may need to turn to these products. Without a balanced diet, your body can break down leaving you worse than from where you started.
- We can conclude by this that there is nothing wrong with taking supplements as long as you take the right ones in the right amount.
For that, you need to have a food chart, know your nutrients, minerals, and vitamins. But we understand your interest is in having a rigorous workout and not a lesson in Biology. So, you can turn to professionals – Nutritionists. They will tell what your body needs.
Knowing Your Supplements
We get that as beginners going to nutritionists may not be on the top of your list. So, if you want to start with a basic regimen, you need to know what you are taking. There are vitamin tablets, protein powder, products focusing on particular minerals and so. Everything from the company to the quantity matters. For example, Fish oil is quite famous amongst bodybuilders. 1000 mg of omega 3 in Fish oil, according to the doctors, is the standard requirement by the human body. So, many, while buying the product, will look at the composition of omega 3 – finding it as 1000 mg, they will buy it. But most don’t bother with the main nutrients EPA and DHA which constitutes for omega 3. You will find that 80% of fish oil products have both these nutrients in 300 mg only. Thus, it becomes vital that you know which companies and which products are ideal for you.
Once you know which nutrients your body is looking for, you may want to get started on one of these supplements in the initial training period.
- Protein – Probably one of the most famous supplements out there. You must have seen gym-going people indulging in protein shakes or taking protein powder in one form or another. While pulses are a great source of protein, you will often find that lack of protein is common especially during training.
- Fish Oil – EPA and DHA – the whole of fish oil is beneficial as it helps you fulfill your body’s omega 3 needs. Omega 3 is nothing but fatty acids. Beef, eggs, fish, walnuts – all these are a great source of fatty acids and so is fish oil. It is a great supplement for building muscles and maintaining overall health.
- Caffeine – It’s not exactly considered a supplement but seriously, who doesn’t love coffee? It can help you stay alert, improve physical performance, and even help with fat loss.
- Branched-chain amino acids – BCAAs are gaining quick popularity, known for increasing performance and helping with recovery. BCAAs include leucine, isoleucine, and valine. They also promote muscle growth by reducing muscle catabolism and are naturally found in high-protein food.
- Glutamine – Muscle growth, healthy immune system, and reducing muscle catabolism – Glutamine helps in all these. It’s a type of amino acid and can help build body mass. IF you are involved in endurance and strength training or are looking for a fast recovery after a muscle injury – Glutamine can be a good way to go.
- Creatine – Usually taken by athletes, creatine is known for improving sprint performance. It is also a common supplement for weightlifters and people in strength training.
- Carbohydrate powders and drinks – Gatorade drink anyone? These drinks are a great way to fight fatigue and also help with your performance. They also help in avoiding dehydration.
These are some of the most basic supplements we have and we have seen many people taking some of these in their day-to-day life. Like coffee or protein shakes. Whichever supplement you decide to take just ensure that your body actually needs it.
Be careful, listen to your body, and have a great time sweating it out!