Are you planning to take workout supplements? These dietary supplements do enhance exercise or athletic performance and are available in different forms, including tablets, capsules, liquids, powders, and bars. They also contain a number of ingredients in varying amounts and combinations.
With their ability to improve strength and endurance, as well as increase exercise efficiency, workout supplements have become popular. That’s why despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the global market for sports nutrition supplements was estimated at 6.6 billion USD in 2020. This number was further projected to reach 9.7 billion USD by 2027 (ReportLinker, 2020). Such a high demand for sports nutrition supplements.
Whether your goal is to lose weight or build muscle, many workout supplements are available in a supplement store. If you are wondering which to take, here are nine workout supplements that actually work. This will give you an idea of what you need to boost your workout journey.
If you want to increase your muscle strength, you should consider creatinine. Why? Because creatine improves the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which helps in faster muscle repair and growth under stress or during a workout. It’s an important component of the energy production systems of the cells. With more energy in the cells when you exercise, the better you perform and improve over time.
Creatine naturally occurs as nitrogenous organic acid in all of us. As a supplement, it also comes in varying forms, such as powder, liquid and solids. Creatine is also present in meat, fish and eggs, but only in small amounts. That’s why it becomes more useful in its concentrated form as a supplement.
2. Fish oil
What makes fish oil an effective workout supplement? It is so rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which cannot be produced by the body. These fatty acids can only be obtained from your diet.
Although fish oil is usually taken to promote heart, brain, eye and joint health, it is also taken as a workout supplement because of its anti-inflammatory properties. The omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil fight inflammation and may help prevent heart disease and a decline in brain function.
Fish oil may also reduce muscle soreness after working out by reducing muscle damage and inflammation after resistance exercise, as well as inhibit the temporary loss of strength and range of motion after exercise (Van De Walle, 2019).
Carbohydrates are not your enemy when you are working out as others may think. They are both pre- and post-workout supplements. If you want to pack on muscle and burn fat after your workout, you should still ingest simple carbohydrates.
The supplement form of carbohydrates will regulate your carbohydrate intake. These simple sugars help increase your body’s glucose level which may be depleted after a workout. They also prevent the secretion of cortisol, a hormone that works against your attempt to build muscle (Barna, 2018).
4. Branched chain amino acids (BCAAs)
BCAAs contain amino acids valine, isoleucine and leucine. BCAA powder is commonly adulterated because of its bitter taste. It also doesn’t mix well with water which causes many manufacturers to add dissolving agents and artificial sweeteners to it.
What makes BCAA a great supplement is that it boosts testosterone and the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). As a result, it creates a better environment for your body to both burn fat and build muscle. mTOR is a body mechanism that helps in building muscle. Additionally, BCAA suppresses cortisol and increases protein synthesis. This helps the body to repair muscles more quickly after a vigorous workout (Bulletproof, 2020).
5. Whey protein powder
Although different protein powders serve different purposes, whey protein will always be on the list of protein powders that actually work.
Whey protein is a mixture of proteins isolated from whey during cheese production. Whey has the highest biological value which means it has all nine of the amino acids (Crunch Fitness, 2018). These acids are essential for your body’s metabolic process and nutrient storage.
Whey protein is best used in promoting muscle growth. It also helps with faster muscle recovery and heals the tears in muscle tissues when taken after a workout.
Why is beta-alanine popular among fitness enthusiasts? Not only does it increase endurance and enhance exercise performance, but it also benefits overall health.
Beta-alanine is a non-essential amino acid that helps to highly reduce muscle fatigue. Your body uses beta-alanine to produce or increase your carnosine level. On the other hand, carnosine helps improve exercise performance by preventing an acid build-up, thereby reducing muscle strain, fatigue and corrosion (Semeco, 2018). Another benefit of using beta-alanine is that it helps increase muscle endurance.
Do you want to avoid muscle wasting while enhancing your body’s immunity? Then consider taking glutamine. As it enhances your immune functioning, it also reduces the incidence of illness and lethargy.
Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid that is abundant in the body. It is involved in the metabolism and energy production of the body; it also contributes nitrogen for many critical biochemical reactions (ODS, 2019). Supplementing glutamine helps to avoid muscle wasting by inhibiting protein disintegration and improving glycogen synthesis, which then boosts muscle glycogen stores (Muscleheadon, n.d.). It further supports the health and integrity of the lining of the digestive tract.
Why should you take citrulline? That’s because consuming citrulline may improve your endurance and weight-training performance. Taking it will significantly reduce your muscle soreness days after exercise.
Citrulline also increases blood flow to body tissues (Tinsley, 2017). This is important during an exercise because it will help supply oxygen and nutrients to the muscles which then helps them perform well.
9. Casein protein
About 80% of cow’s milk is casein and the remaining 20% is whey (Van De Walle, 2018). Compared to whey, casein is a slow-digesting protein which means it has little effect on protein synthesis.
Nevertheless, casein protein aids in muscle recovery and losing fat. Similar to whey protein, it is also very effective for muscle growth and strength when combined with resistance training.