When it comes to getting results from your workouts, the primary drivers are consistency, solid planning and recovery. However, supplements can give you an edge in pursuing your goals. Whether you need a boost to get going, a convenient protein source to fill in nutritional gaps, or a recovery aid to get you through to your next training session, the benefits of sports nutrition supplements
can go to work for you.
Are workout supplements good for you?
Workout supplements can undoubtedly contribute to a healthy eating and fitness plan
, but not all supplements are created equal
. Check for quality assurances and your desired ingredients before purchasing. The right supplements can round out your health and wellness regimen in the following ways:
1. They can provide energy
Feeling energized for a workout
is best obtained through a proper night’s sleep —but life often gets in the way, and sometimes, we need a little extra pep in our step. It’s good practice not to rely too heavily on stimulants like caffeine, but using stimulating ingredients a couple of times a week is OK, especially if your sleep and recovery habits are up to par.
Look for supplements with ingredients such as:
Try ARO-Vitacost Black Series Pre-Workout Concentrate
, which contains caffeine, beta-alanine, ginseng, guarana, and creatine.
2. They can help replenish electrolytes
are lost through sweat during prolonged activity, especially in hot and humid weather. They are minerals, including calcium, sodium, and potassium, which are necessary for a variety of bodily functions.
A proper balance of electrolytes
is crucial, which is why water, lacking in these minerals, is not enough if you are exercising for over an hour or in hot and humid weather. A deficiency of electrolytes can cause headaches, fatigue, cramping, nausea, and blood pressure issues.
Popular sports drinks are not the best option
when it comes to replenishing your electrolytes. High in sugar and low on the actual electrolytes you need, they are unnecessary for most people. Choosing a high-quality electrolyte sports nutrition supplement is best.
Try Vitacost Vibran-C Effervescent Drink Mix
, which contains electrolytes plus vitamin C, and other beneficial vitamins and minerals for active individuals.
3. They can give you a protein boost
Active individuals may require more protein than the average person, approximately 1.2 to 2.0 grams per kilogram of bodyweight
. Protein is necessary for optimal recovery, muscle growth and maintenance, particularly if you reduce your calories.
For some people, obtaining enough protein through diet is difficult, especially if you eat a plant-based diet. Plant-based protein is less absorbable
than animal sources and rarely contains all of the necessary amino acids in a single source. Thus, plant-based athletes may wish to supplement with vegan protein powder to meet their increased needs.
Omnivores can reap the benefits of sports nutrition by supplementing whey protein, which is highly absorbable, can increase muscle gain
, prevent muscle loss
during weight loss and prevent fat gain.
Look for a high-quality protein powder
that includes all essential amino acids. Try Vitacost Whey ISO Protein Isolate
or for a plant-based option, try Orgain Organic Protein Plant Based Powder
4. They can increase results
However, there are a lot of unsubstantiated claims and empty promises. It’s important to know what to look for. Two of the most well researched and effective supplements for increasing results are creatine and protein powder.
As discussed, protein powder helps build and spare muscle during weight loss. Dieting and the resulting weight loss can cause a decrease in muscle mass by 20-30%
. Muscle loss can lower metabolism and leave you looking less firm than you’d hope. To prevent this, supplementing with protein powder
can help boost your ability to gain muscle when combined with a solid strength training routine. Look for creatine monohydrate, which is affordable and the most effective form. Try ARO-Vitacost Back Series Creatine
5. They can aid in recovery
Arguably the most neglected yet vital aspect of training is proper workout recovery
. If your training sessions are like mixing dough, the recovery process is baking the bread —it’s when the real results unfold.
For the best results, rest, and focus on high-quality nutrition. Utilizing the benefits of sports nutrition to augment your recovery process
can provide an edge, covering your bases when it comes to optimal nutrition. Some supplements that have been shown to aid in the recovery process include:
- Amino acids — while you can obtain these from protein, if you are on a keto diet or wish to obtain your amino acids in a calorie free form, amino acid supplements are for you.
- ZMA — a popular combination of zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6, which are all often lacking in athletes.
- Omega-3 fatty acids — may aid in reducing the inflammatory effect caused by intense training.
Try Vitacost ARO 3X Amino Plus BCAA
, ARO Vitacost Black Series ZMA
Making the most of your sports nutrition supplements
Just as with your training, being consistent with your sports nutrition supplements will increase their benefits. If one supplement doesn’t seem to work for you, experiment with another brand or type to find what you like best.
It’s essential to speak to your health care provider before taking any supplement