(These Are Actually Backed by Science!)
There are many popular supplements out there that have not been backed by scientific research. When you’re trying to improve your performance in the gym, you need to know which supplements are actually helping you, and which are not. This ebook will show you five supplements that are backed by science.
T#1 Whey Protein
Whey protein is one of the proteins found in cow’s milk. It takes up about 20% of the protein, while the other 80% is casein. Casein is also a potent muscle builder but it is slow-digesting, which could suggest that it is better to consume before bed. The debate of whey vs. casein is ongoing in scientific literature. According to some studies, a mixture of whey and casein is optimal for building muscle. This is why combining a whey protein powder with milk is best for trained lifters.
There is a common misconception that whey harms the liver and kidneys. Research shows that this is false, unless you already have preexisting damage. If you have adequate calcium and vitamin D, then increasing protein intake has no negative effect on the body, and may even enhance bone health.
When bulking, it is recommended to consume between 0.7g and 0.8g of whey protein per pound. When cutting, you should consume between 0.9g and 1.1g per pound.
Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive drug on the planet. It is a great supplement as it increases power and training volume, while suppressing fatigue.
A study of 16 rugby players found that sleep deprivation impairs training performance, and caffeine can negate the effects of a lack of sleep. The same study, along with many others, found that drinking caffeine boosts testosterone levels. Additionally, caffeine can increase the amount of calories that you burn throughout the day (about 50 calories per 300mg of caffeine).
When supplementing with caffeine, remember that caffeine is susceptible to tolerance. Consumption over a long period of time can cause effects to diminish, no matter how much you take. Try taking three to seven days off from consuming caffeine every one to two months to reset your sensitisation. Quitting caffeine cold turkey can cause withdrawal symptoms, which is why some only take it before workouts when sleep deprived.
One tablespoon of caffeine can be a lethal dose for most people, so be cautious when using it as a supplement. Avoid caffeinism by consuming less than one gram of caffeine per day and stick to around four milligrams per kilogram of body weight.
L-citrulline is an ingredient found in what is commonly called “pump products”. The goal of these products is to increase vascularity by dilating the blood vessels. L-citrulline is converted to arginine in the kidneys, and leads to higher arginine levels than taking arginine itself. You also do not experience the negative side effects of arginine when taking L-citrulline.
Studies show that L-citrulline malate can help lifters increase their amount of reps and decrease muscle soreness after exercise. Even without these benefits, the pump you get from L-citrulline can make workouts more enjoyable and make you look bigger in the gym. For these benefits, take four to ten grams of L-citrulline malate about one hour before training.
#4 Athlete Formulated Multivitamins
Whether you are in a caloric deficit or not, it can be incredibly difficult to consume the required micronutrients our bodies need. Studies show that food alone often fails to meet the recommended daily amount of micronutrients. In one study examining nationally ranked bodybuilders, women consumed 0% of their RDA of vitamin D, 52% of calcium, and fall short with many other micronutrients.
It is very likely that if you are in a caloric deficit, you are deficient in at least one micronutrient. While we should aim to utilize food before turning to supplements, food does not always meet our needs. Take one athlete formulated multivitamin a day, especially when in a caloric deficit.
Creatine is produced naturally in the body and is also found in foods like meat and fish. A standard omnivorous diet provides only one gram of creatine a day, which is not enough to see great results.
There are hundreds of studies showing that creatine improves strength and power in athletes. Creatine draws water into the muscles, making them look fuller and tighter. Unlike caffeine, the body does not develop a tolerance to creatine, so people are able to use it as a supplement for long periods of time.
Some studies suggest that creatine non-responders exist. One paper estimates that 30% of people fall into this category. A non-responder just does not get the same results as other people, but they do not face any danger when taking it. These people are usually those who already consume a large amount of creatine through diet, or older trainees. To see if you are a non-responder, test out creatine for a few months to see if you notice any benefits while keeping diet and workout the same.
Try out creatine by taking three to five grams of creatine per day after training or whenever convenient.