Best Supplements for Strength Training. What to choose?
In my last article, I was talking about diet for muscle gain. This time I want to talk more about supplementation. I want to help you answer a very common question. What supplements are best for strength training, weight loss, and muscle mass? In this article, I want to talk about different supplements, their pros, and cons, which supplements I would recommend you and which ones are not worthy of your money.
I will share my personal experience and results I have achieved using certain supplements. When I was a beginner I did lots of mistakes when choosing my supplements I was blind and became an advertising victim and believed everything I heard on TV, social media or from my friends. I spend lots of money and thought that supplements will do the magic, but sadly after a year of wasting my money, I have realized that with all those supplements I was having were not helping me to increase my strength and muscle mass.
Most popular supplement types
Protein powder – Protein powders are most commonly used to increase daily protein intake. There are many sources and types of protein powders you can buy.
- Whey Protein Isolate. Whey protein is a mixture of proteins isolated from whey, the liquid material created as a by-product of cheese production. This protein is fast-acting and your body absorbs it quickly, but it’s high in leucine, which means it is not suitable for people with lactose intolerance. However, some, expensive whey proteins don’t’ have lactose, because it is removed to make it suitable for people having lactose intolerance.
- Casein. Same as protein powder casein is made from milk and usually not suitable for people with lactose intolerance. The main difference is that casein is slow acting and your body absorbs it slower. Casein is recommended to drink before sleep.
- Beef protein. Difference between beef and whey protein is, that beef protein made from beef and it is a good alternative to Whey protein for lactose-intolerant people. Recommended to drink before or after training.
- Soy protein. Soy protein is a protein that is isolated from the soybean. And it is an alternative for vegans or vegetarians who can’t use proteins made of animal origin.
- Vegan protein. Same as soy protein is made for vegans. It is a plant-based protein. But it can be isolated from many sources like peas, rice, and hemp.
Weight gainer – same as whey protein isolate, is a protein made from milk, but weight gainers are very high in calories. Not suitable for people with lactose intolerance.
Creatine – is a substance that is found naturally in muscle cells. Creatine is produced by our body or found in seafood and red meat. Creatine helps your muscles to produce energy during heavy lifting or high-intensity exercise. Creatine helps to gain muscle, enhance strength and improve exercise performance.
BCAA – A branched-chain amino acid is amino acids which are the building blocks of protein. They are part of eight essential amino acids because our body does not produce them and they must be consumed through food.
Glutamine – is the amino acid that is used in the biosynthesis of proteins. Same as BCAA they are the building blocks of protein. The human body produces this amino acid and it can be found in many foods.
CLA – is fatty acid your body does not produce and they must be consumed through food. It is very often marketed as a weight-loss supplement.
Testosterone booster – testosterone is a key male hormone but it is also important for women. Higher testosterone level can boost sex drive and help to increase muscle size. As you get older your natural testosterone levels start to drop and testosterone boosters are made to increase testosterone levels.
Best supplements for strength training, muscle mass, weight loss
I have introduced you to the most popular and commonly used supplements in the world. Now I want to talk about which onesof them I would recommend for you and explain why. The winner for me is creatine, research shows, that creatine was determined to be the single most beneficial supplement available for adding muscle mass. Creatine can help to increase your muscle fibre growth two or three times more. I think creatine is the most effective supplement which is definitely worth your money.
The second supplement I can recommend you is a protein powder, which one to choose is entirely up to you. If you vegan, choose a plant-based protein, if you are lactose intolerant, choose a lactose-free protein, but best, fast-acting protein is Whey protein isolate. Consider taking protein when you want to increase your daily protein intake. However, I wouldn’t recommend using soy protein because 90 percent of soybeans are genetically modified and they are not good for your health.
Supplements I would not recommend
Now let’s cover supplements I wouldn’t recommend you to buy. Weight gainers are one of them because they are very high in calories and sugars. They can help you to gain weight, but that weight most likely to be fat, not a muscle mass.
I would not recommend using CLA, because there is no reliable research which proves that CLA can help lose weight. The Best way to lose weight is to stick to a good diet and training regimes. Don’t waste your money on these supplements.
Testosterone booster one more supplement I would not recommend, because I couldn’t find reliable research proving that this supplement works. I think it’s just a marketing trick for making money.
Supplements can be considered as effective
In my opinion, BCAA and glutamine can be considered as effective for taking, because there are many studies showing that these two supplements are working and they can help your muscles to recover faster after training.
However, when I was using these supplements I have never felt any difference in my recovery or energy levels. These supplements are quite expensive and I don’t think that benefits you can get from them are worth the price. But you might feel differently and will find them more beneficial than I did.
The best time for taking supplements
And finally, let’s talk what is the best time for taking the supplement. I would recommend taking creatine before training because it can help to increase your endurance and boost your strength. You have to take creatine every day. On your rest days, you can take creatine anytime.
My advice is to have your protein shake after training, especially if you didn’t get a chance to eat any time soon after your training. The protein shake will help your muscles to recover. It is not necessary to have a protein shake every day. However, if you are using casein, the best time to have it is before sleep, because casein is a slow-acting protein. You can take glutamine and BCAA’s before and after your training sessions. You have to consume glutamine and BCAA’s on your rest days as well and they can be taken at any time.
Best supplements for strength training, increasing muscle mass and losing weight with no doubt is creatine and whey protein isolate. Amino acids can benefit you as well. It is entirely up to you what supplements to choose, try to find out which one is working best for you. Don’t forget that supplements are just 10 percent of your success, your focus should be on your diet and exercise regimes, but if you want that extra boost of strength and quicker recovery, you can always add supplementation to your healthy diet.
If you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.
All the best,
Founder of ihealthylifestyle