Supplements are something that we hear a lot about, but we don’t always know exactly what they do or the benefits they can provide us with. Last week I talked about some of our favorite supplements here at Black Iron that we love to take, and have seen great results from. However, there are still several supplements that we can add to our regimen that can help us maximize our results and get the most out of our workouts. Here are some of the well-known supplements and the areas that they can help us out with.
Branch chain amino acids are composed of three different amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These three amino acids are ones that are essential, meaning we can’t make them in our bodies so we must get them from the foods we consume. This is why taking BCAAs can be beneficial to us. BCAAs have been shown to provide us with several benefits, one of which is increased muscle growth. This can be amplified if we combine BCAAs with whey protein seeing as all of the essential amino acids are then present. BCAAs have also been shown to help decrease muscle soreness and reduce the effects of delayed onset muscle soreness, which is that soreness that we tend to feel 1-2 days after a workout. It has been shown that people who took BCAAs before a workout experienced less muscle soreness and fatigue than those who didn’t. While you are working out your muscles use BCAAs to help get the energy they need to work properly, so by taking BCAAs you are helping to supply your muscles with more of what they need to function properly. Because of that, it will help your muscles be able to go longer without feeling as much fatigue. Due to the increase of stored BCAAs, it also helps to prevent muscle breakdown, seeing as BCAAs account for 35% of the essential amino acids that are found in the body.
Creatine is another one of the well-known supplements around the fitness world and is one that can provide us with many benefits. Last week I talked about what creatine can do for us when it is combined with HMB, but what about the benefits that it provides us with by itself? Creatine is a substance that is found naturally in our muscles and is known to help increase muscle mass, strength, and exercise performance. About 95% of the creatine in our bodies is found stored in our muscles and is used during physical activity. Our bodies take creatine and convert it to phosphocreatine, which is then stored in our muscles to be used for energy later on. This is what helps us get those quick bursts of energy that is expected when taking creatine. This is also why taking creatine can help us increase our workload during workouts, due to the increase of energy stored in our muscles for use. Creatine has also been shown to not only help with muscle recovery but also help with the prevention of muscle injuries. Several studies have shown that individuals who took creatine had fewer muscle strains/pulls and less muscle tightness.
Glutamine, just like the two previous supplements, is an important amino acid that is a building block of protein as well as a critical part of the immune system. Glutamine is produced naturally in the body but is considered a conditionally essential amino acid. This just means that under certain conditions, our body needs more glutamine than we can produce, so we must get the rest from the foods that we eat. Glutamine is known for being used to help people who injure themselves get back on the road to recovery. This is why taking glutamine is used for working out because it helps in keeping our glutamine levels from depleting. This means that it will allow us to hold onto and maintain the muscle mass that we have without losing any of it.
Whey Protein Powder
This is probably one of the most well-known supplements on the market. With different kinds of protein powder everywhere you look, the key is finding the right fit for you. Some protein powders are designed for people trying to put on overall mass, and some are designed for people that are lean who are trying to stay lean. This is going to be the biggest difference between most of the protein powders. Generally, all are going to contain the whey protein that you need, and what it comes down to is really the small stuff. You want to make sure that you try and stay away from the protein powders that are high in sugar, as well as making sure you take a look at the caloric properties of it. Adding the protein powder to your daily diet will help you ensure that you are getting the right amount that you need for your body to recover properly. A general rule of thumb is that you consume about 1 gram of protein for every kilogram of body weight.
Like we learned last week, there are several supplements that we can take that will help us in areas that we feel like we need a little push in. They can help us fill in those “gaps” that we sometimes find when training, or even in parts of everyday life. Finding the right kind of supplement that works for you and your body is ultimately the goal at the end of the day. That will lead to you being able to feel like you’re able to go full out more frequently and feel like you’re getting more out of your workouts.
We can help show you what happier and healthier feel like! Proper nutrition is the key. Schedule a free nutrition consultation today.