There’s no denying it, the fitness lifestyle has taken over in the last few years. With everybody wanting to look and feel their best, you’d be hard-pressed to find a person who hasn’t hit the gym at least once in their lives.
But as the number of gym memberships rises, so does the number of sports supplements, all promising better performance, bigger muscles, and flatter stomachs.
From branched-chain amino acids to creatine and mass gainers. With so many products flooding the market it can be a confusing and difficult task deciphering where to start and what to use.
So, whether you’re looking to bulk up, get lean, or build muscle, check out our list of the best supplements to help reach your fitness goals; and if you’re still unsure after that, why not try some American made free supplement samples to get a little bit of everything you need.
Protein Powders – Best for Muscle Maintenance
Everyone needs protein, no matter their activity levels. It is essential for creating energy and growing and maintaining muscle mass. Research showing that high protein diets will improve muscle recovery, reduce fatigue, and develop strength.
When you are training, an extra kick of protein fuel becomes even more important to repair the muscle fibres broken down through exercise. While it is possible to get enough protein through diet alone, some people may struggle, this is where it might be beneficial to up your intake with a protein powder.
When it comes to protein powders, whey is the gold standard. Providing all nine essential amino acids your body needs to build muscle.
On the other hand, while all animal proteins such as whey are complete (meaning they contain all nine amino acids) plant proteins are not. So, for vegans looking to build muscle the best option here would be a mixed plant protein powder, such as pea and rice protein.
Creatine – Best for Performance
Creatine is made from three amino acids that naturally occur in your body. It is stored within your muscles to provide energy. Taking it as a dietary supplement can increase muscle creatine content by up to 40%.
Taken before your workout, creatine can provide an extra boost to your workout. Increasing the amount of fast energy in your muscles, meaning more reps, better performance, and greater muscle gain.
Recent research shows that creatine also has the potential to increase levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) in muscles, stimulating growth and increasing lean body mass.
Green Tea Extract – Best for Weight Loss
Green tea extract is a popular ingredient in many weight loss supplements. The caffeine content can help you feel alert and energised, and another of its ingredients, catechin can even increase your body’s metabolism.
One of the main antioxidants in green tea, EGCG, is also believed to increase the activity of norepinephrine, a hormone the burns fat through oxidisation. It is also fantastic for overall gut health.
For best fat burning capabilities it is best to look for a green tea supplement with 50% EGCG content and 90% polyphenols.
BCAAs – Best for Recovery
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) consist of three individual amino acids – leucine, isoleucine, and valine. They make up about 14% of the amino acids in your muscles and are essential for repairing and building muscle tissue.
A BCAA supplement is best taken before workouts to provide a steady supply of proteins to the muscles. This can aid in muscle growth as it reduces the amount of muscle loss during exercise and improves protein synthesis, building new muscle tissue. Resulting in reduced delayed onset muscle soreness and muscle fatigue.
Mass Gainers – Best for Hardgainers
Mass gainers are supplements designed to help you get more calories and proteins in one convenient package. They can be advantageous to those who are naturally skinny and struggle to put on weight.
In terms of protein, many mass gainers use a combination blend of whey and casein protein. Since whey is absorbed quickly and casein slowly this provides both a high spike of protein immediately after workouts as well as a steady stream of it through the rest of the day.
Alongside the protein, mass gainers also contain a hefty amount of carbs and some fats, providing a huge number of calories (over 1,000 calories in some cases) per serving. For those that struggle to eat enough to gain weight, mass gainers are an effective option to easily increase calorie intake.
For the highest quality mass gainer, look for supplements containing whey isolate, complex carbohydrates, and low sugar content.