Choosing or even considering gym supplements can be a very confusing and daunting task. Without prior knowledge of gym supplements, you can get tossed around by products that make fake promises. For instance, it’s hard not to consider buying a cheap brand supplement which claims to help grow muscles directly on the chest and arms. It’s even harder, for novices, to ignore testosterone booster products which claim to be as effective as steroids, without side effects.
Say you buy these products and try them out; then find out that they don’t work—which is almost always the case. It then becomes extremely difficult for you to separate fiction from fact especially when choosing gym supplements that are scientifically proven to do what they claim to do. Going into the world of gym supplements without prior recommendation could cost you a lot of time and money.
We’re here to help. In this article, We’ve not only listed the best gym supplements on the market, but we’ve also done a thorough research on products that you should never try out… ever! Without further ado, let’s reveal those supplements that aren’t worth your money at all.
Ineffective Gym Supplements to Avoid
By ineffective gym supplements, We’re talking about those nice looking supplements which claim to help a lot with muscle building but actually don’t do nada. Before we product-shame these supplements, you should understand that their ineffectiveness is founded on solid research. Therefore, we will not be directing our barrage of refutals at brands, rather at the general categorisation that these products belong to.
For example, you should avoid…
At the sound of ‘mass’, you’re probably thinking these supplements will help you turn hulk (all ripped) overnight. With all due disproof, mass gainers cannot and will not significantly help build your muscles. There is no doubt that mass gainers will provide you massive amount of calories, however, most of these calories will be coming from sugar—that’s not right.
It definitely isn’t, because, think about it, calories from sugar won’t build your muscles, they’ll add to your body fat. Rather than use OTC mass gainers, you can make your own by blending together protein powder, a few tbsp. of peanut butter, a banana, oats and your milk of choice.
Every Testosterone Supplement
Shocker, this is. But take a moment to think about it, what do testosterone supplements really help you with? Agreed, the best testosterone supplements on the market may manage to raise your testosterone levels by 20-40% maximum. Sounds great, yeah? Not really. Unfortunately, this level of testosterone increase isn’t sufficient to enhance any significant spike in athletic performance. Best case scenario, a testosterone supplement improves your libido; and that’s about it.
Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA)
To be honest, buying BCAA supplements is a waste of money. Why, because you most likely will get enough branch chain amino acids from the foods you already eat, especially when you take protein shakes regularly. Although some experts argue that BCAAs are effective during a workout session, they do little to further your goal to build muscle, especially if you’re on a calorie surplus.
- Other Supplements to avoid are L-Glutamine, L-Carnitine and L-Arginine. Let’s face it, if these supplements sound these strange, you shouldn’t be using them, should you?
The Best 5 Gym Supplements to Use
A pretty controversial supplement, HMB is a pretty hard sell. In full, HMB means beta-hydoxy-beta-methylbutyrate acid. Don’t panic, we can explain. HMB are pretty great for people who train in a fasting state. You see, HMB is a by-product of lucine, which is the most powerful amino acid for muscle growth.
The HMB derived from lucine can delay protein breakdown rates. This is basically what muscle building is all about: slowing down protein breakdown rates while speeding up protein synthesis rates. To douse the controversy surrounding HMB, the International Society of Sports Nutrition Position (ISSN) testifies to its effectives, albeit recommending 38 milligrams of HMB for each kilogram you weigh.
This boils down to a daily dose of 3-4 mgs that can be split between mornings, afternoons and night. One of these doses needs to be taken before a workout. Keep in mind, that it may take up to 2 weeks to see the full benefits of HMB.
If you can’t afford a bunch of supplements and only have the money to buy one, you should go for creatine. A popular gym supplement, creatine is upheld by the journal of physiology as the most effective natural muscle building supplement on the market. This title wasn’t given lightly. An extensive research was conducted on creatine along with 200 other supplements on the market.
After conducting the study, they discovered that creatine had the best results on muscle mass. Creatine gives more energy and improves performance during workouts. Creatine will also increase strength, balance out your testosterone to cortisol ratio and help you recover faster. The recommended dosage is 20 grams every day for 5 to 7 days. Afterwards, you should transition to 5 grams per day for best results.
3. Pre-Workout Supplement
There are lots of pre-workout supplements on the market, yet a few are actually effective. An effective pre-workout supplement will help increase strength and energy during workout. During weightlifting, this supplement gives you better pumps.
Great pre-workout supplements have components like:
- Beta-alanine which delay the onset of fatigue and increase muscular endurance
- Citrulline Mallate which enhances blood flow, increases physical performance, improves recovery and gives a boost to growth hormones.
- Caffeine which gives a boost in energy levels.
To get the best results, we recommended you take pre-workout supplements 2-3 times a week on days when you do really intense workout—and only then.
4. Protein Powder
You’re probably thinking, “Why use protein powder when I eat lots of protein?” You need protein powder because, unlike solid meals, you can take it on the go. Protein powders also help you meet your daily required protein intake without stuffing yourself full of food.
This supplement should not be overlooked because you need protein for protein synthesis which is responsible for repairing and rebuilding muscles. If you work out in a fasting state, having a protein shake soon after a session can really help build muscles.
5. Vitamin D
If you live in a cold climate, then vitamin D is a supplement you should look at. Optimal levels of vitamin D are needed to build muscles efficiently. Most times, we get our vitamin D from the sun. For people in cold climates, getting the required level of vitamin D may be difficult.
Being deficient in vitamin D is pretty serious as your testosterone levels will be negatively impacted—we both know what that means. So, if you don’t get enough sunshine, you should add this relatively cheap supplement to your cart.
Check out our previous Health & Fitness article here.
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