You’ve been hitting the gym hard, but lately you don’t feel as if the time you spend is giving you the same results. You’re stuck, and you want a way to amp up your workout. You want results, and you want them fast.
Been eyeing those supplements behind the counter? Before you decide to give them a shot, read on to find out a bit more about which supplements will give your workout a boost, and which will just drain your wallet. Here’s what serious athletes have had to say in sports supplement reviews.
Supplement Reviews: BCAAs
BCAAs are branched-chain amino acids. These acids can be found in many pre-workout supplements, including pills and powders. So what are they good for?
First of all, BCAAs will help you to work out harder, without that soreness afterwards. These amino acids are valine, leucine, and isoleucine, and they make up about 1/3 of total muscle protein. In short, adding BCAAs to your pre-workout diet can help to reduce muscle fatigue, help your body to absorb protein and assist in preventing muscle loss. In other words, they’re going to help you build muscle mass.
BCAAs have also been shown in studies to reduce the amount of serotonin in your brain during workouts. This means that you’ll feel less mentally fatigued during workouts, allowing you to push harder.
For the best results, take BCAAs in the time immediately surrounding your workouts. Either an hour to 15 minutes before you hit the gym or just after you’re finished.
Supplement Reviews: Creatine
Creatine is one of the most popular workout supplements; almost every gym will have it. Creatine is best for those who are trying to build muscle mass. If you’re trying to lose weight, creatine isn’t for you.
Creatine works by pulling water into your muscle cells, which will increase protein synthesis. You may notice an immediate difference when you use creatine, but this will mostly be water gain. It’ll take a while to see actual muscle gain, so be sure to stick with it.
Take creatine before you work out. You’ll feel a boost of energy, and should put that energy into your workout. It’s said that creatine can also improve your brain efficiency. The supplement helps your cells to use energy efficiently. In that sense, you’ll be better able to focus on getting the maximum workout.
There are some possible side effects to using creatine. It’s possible that long term users can experience changes in kidney, liver and heart function. None of these has been scientifically proven, but as always you’ll want to be mindful of the supplements you take.
Supplement Reviews: Whey Protein
Whether your goal is weight loss, muscle gain or both, whey protein is a good option. It’s considered to be a safe supplement; very few side effects are known to be associated with whey protein. It’s always done very well in sports supplement reviews.
Regardless of your workout goals, whey protein will carry benefits to your workout program. First, it’s going to curb your appetite. Whey protein is very filling, and can be used as a meal replacement. Be sure that your whey protein shake doesn’t have sugary fillers. Try a protein shake or a bar such as Detour protein bars.
Secondly, it’s easily digested. It contains amino acids and proteins which are essential post workout. You’ll experience the same benefits if you take the supplement pre-workout. However, be aware that if your workout is cardio-intensive, you may experience some stomach cramping if you drink whey protein before.
Finally, whey protein is going to have great long term effects on your diet. Protein is an excellent fuel for your metabolism, and will keep your body burning calories all day. This is essential regardless of whether you’re looking to build lean muscle mass or to lose fat.
Supplement Reviews: Testosterone
Not as common, but growing in popularity, are testosterone supplements. Testosterones actually have quite an interesting effect on your workouts. In short, they’re going to make you work out harder.
There are usually ingredients which are added to testosterone supplements which are going to boost your energy. You’ll work out harder and stronger as a result. Sure, they’re marketed to increase that other type of stamina as well, but testosterone supplements can give your workout quite a push.
For example, Xtreme Testrone has an ingredient called Malaysian ginseng, or Tongkat Ali Root. This supplement has been determined to reduce stress levels and therefore cortisol in both men and women. In addition, it helps to beat fatigue, ensuring that you’ve got the energy to perform at the gym.
Now, it’s important to understand that it’s probably these other ingredients which are doing most of the work. A low dose steroid treatment will boost your testosterone by about 300%. Testosterone supplements will probably only increase your testosterone by about 20%. But the fact is that these supplements make you feel better. That, by itself, will improve your workouts.
We recommend that you balance any energy-enhancing product with a natural sleep aid to help to regulate your body’s sleep cycles. Sleep is essential to good health, and lack of rest will have an obvious and immediate impact on your workouts.
Supplement Reviews: Beta-Alanine
Beta-alanine always gets high marks in sports supplement reviews. It’s another amino acid, and in short it’s what carnosine is made of. Never heard of carnosine? Carnosine is a molecule which buffers muscle acids, and by doing that it helps increase muscle performance.
Beta-alanine helps with endurance, whether you’re lifting or doing cardio. It’ll also act as an anti-oxidant, and will prevent the buildup of hydrogen ions. Beta-alanine may or may not have a direct impact on how much weight you’ll lose or muscle you’ll gain. But by increasing your muscles’ performance, you’ll see a benefit in that you’ll work out longer and better.
It doesn’t matter when you supplement with beta-alanine; you can take it before or after your workout. But before you do take it, realize that you might experience a tingling effect in your body. This is called acute paresthesia, and it’s only temporary. If you’re uncomfortable with the feeling, discontinue use of beta-alanine.