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Which Supplements Should You Use?

In the world of fitness, supplements are always promoted to have almost steroid-like effects that supposedly “enhance” your performance, help you lose fat, build muscle, etc. But what are supplements really? And, which are the products that are proven to work? In this article, let's shed some light on the most effective supplements you can add to your plan!

Stimulation & Recovery

When it comes to training, there are two primary things that happen: First, you go through your workout, where you engage your muscles and nervous system, along with many other bodily systems. After that period of stimulation, comes the recovery part, where all the components and systems that worked, recover and increase their working capacity.

Here are the most crucial things that happen during a workout

  1. Muscle protein breakdown

During heavy workouts, we break down muscle protein, in a process called “muscle protein breakdown (MPD)”. After your training session is over, that same muscle protein starts recovering in a process called “muscle protein synthesis (MPS)”. When your rate of MPS is greater than the rate of MPD, you go through a successful recovery phase that results in greater strength and size of the musculature.

2. Creatine breakdown

The main energy molecule for the body during high-intensity activities is adenosine triphosphate (ATP). However, due to the fact that ATP stores are relatively limited, intense training quickly exhausts those reserves. To continue muscular activity, the body restores ATP by using the secondary muscle energy stores: Creatine. That is to say that creatine isn’t just a non-essential supplement, but a naturally synthesized compound which serves as an alternative energy source.

3. Nervous System Activity

High-intensity workouts highly engage not just the muscles, but the nervous system as well. A well-activated central nervous system would allow you to achieve a greater strength output. There are certain supplements you can use to improve the activity of your nervous system, so keep reading to learn more!

What is a Supplement, even?

Nowadays, supplements are advertised as magical products that can somehow compensate for the lack of discipline in your training and nutrition. However, supplements don’t work like magic... By definition, a supplement is a thing (nutritional or otherwise), added to something else in order to enhance or "complete" it. In other words, supplements are added to your already well established nutrition plan, to complete it - not to replace something that lacks in it.

The 3 Supplements Worth Taking

In the context of improving athletic output (strength, endurance, etc.) and recovery after that, there are a couple of supplements that are proven to work.

  1. Protein and/or Amino Acid (BCAAs) Supplements

Contrary to popular belief, protein/BCAAs supplements contain pretty much the same elements as that in foods. However, in its powdered form, these are more isolated and can be digested more rapidly, due to the absence of other ingredients. They are also less filling, and lower in calories.