The fitness and sports supplement industry is a booming business, and it continues to grow on a daily basis. There are thousands of products on the market all of which promise this and promise that, it’s very easy for the audience to be sucked into buying a product only to be very disappointed. Cutting through all the BS, taking a magic pill claiming to shed pounds of fat or pack on lean muscle overnight is probably a fad. They may assist you achieving your goals, but without putting in the hard work in the kitchen or gym you aren’t going anywhere!
On a more positive note there are many great supplements out there that are not a waste of money and have solid scientific evidence backing them up. In my opinion the following five supplements should be part of anyone's diet looking for more muscle, less body fat and optimal performance. I regularly use them and have the confidence knowing that they are supporting me in achieving my goals. Try them too, and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.
1. Vitamin D3
So what do you know about vitamin D? You probably know it can be made in the body with the help of sun light and that low levels could result in rickets or osteoporosis. What you probably didn’t know is that a deficiency could be linked to obesity due to the lack of production of the ‘fat regulating’ hormone leptin. It can also be linked to muscle weakness and depression. Now provided you don’t live in the Caribbean or Africa etc. do you really think you’re getting enough sunlight all year round to produce optimal vitamin D levels?
2. Omega 3’s
I could quite easily talk about the benefits of omega 3’s for the rest of this post, so I’ll try and keep it short and simple. The greatest benefits from this supplement are reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, lowered blood pressure, lowered levels of fats in the blood stream, greater brain function and a speedy recovery from exercise due to their ability to reduce inflammation in the joints and muscles. If that’s not enough reasons to start taking them I don’t know what is!
For the male athlete, zinc is so important. Did you know even a mild deficiency could reduce testosterone, decrease lean body mass and slow muscle recovery? Exercise increases your need for this vital mineral, so what are you waiting for!?
4. Hydrochloric acid (digestive enzymes)
HCL is a naturally occurring chemical in the stomach that breaks down fats and proteins. There are no tricks to this supplement; quite simply it’s going to help break down all that food your putting into your body for optimal digestion and absorption.
Conjugated linoleic acid is an unsaturated fatty acid found in small amounts in meat, milk and cheese. It’s marketed as a fat loss supplement as studies suggest it limits fat storage and increases fat burning. However when combined with resistance training studies have also shown it to increase muscle mass and strength. This suggests it would be the perfect supplement for a lean muscle bulk phase or a fat loss phase whilst maintaining as much size and strength as possible.