A basic introduction to common workout supplements

November 20, 2014
Workout supplements, an introduction.
Workout supplements, an introduction.

It doesn’t matter if you spend every waking moment in the gym, already have a personal trainer or are just trying to get as much as possible out of the time you spend using your home fitness equipment; there are always ways to make your workout more efficient. One of the most common methods people employ to ensure that they’re getting the most out of their exercise is the use of pre and post workout supplements. These formulated supplements can aid in muscle recovery, build new muscle, increase energy and stamina, help you gain strength, and streamline your diet through the use of antioxidants, proteins, and other chemicals. Still, for people just beginning to enter the world of supplement use, understanding the different purposes behind these varying powders, gels and drinks can seem like an arduous undertaking. No need to worry, though; take a look at this introduction to common workout supplements and supercharge your fitness regiment today!

Perhaps the single most commonly used workout supplement, protein comes in a number of different forms. There’s whey protein, hemp protein … a seemingly endless spectrum of various sources for those who choose to use it. All of these varying types have one thing in common: they’re integral to muscle recovery and growth. When you engage in a regular weight lifting routine, you’re effectively breaking down your existing muscle when you work out. Muscle is made of many types of protein and amino acids, and your body requires it to build back up the muscle that you break down during exercise. Engaging in this process over and over again is how you build mass, or visible muscle. If you’re considering protein as a post workout supplement, it’s important that it remains just that: a supplement. As Bodybuilding points out, it’s pivotal that the vast majority of your protein come from lean meat and other foods.

Another extremely popular supplement for those looking to develop more muscle mass, creatine has risen in prevalence drastically over the last decade. But what, exactly, is it? Well, according to Medical News Today, creatine serves several purposes. It’s popularity among weight lifters has to do with the fact that it forces muscle cells within the human body to absorb more water than they would naturally, prompting more drastic muscle growth and quicker, physically noticeable, recovery. This makes it a prime tool for those looking to gain weight, but building mass is far from it’s only purpose. Creatine can also boost the general energy level of the body, allowing for those engaging in aerobic exercise to get more done, or push themselves harder, in a given workout. Taking too much of this naturally occurring substance, though, can cause some side effects, so you should discuss your diet and workout regimen with a professional before beginning to use it.

Though somewhat less common among athletes and fitness-oriented individuals, glutamine shares many of the purposes and benefits of protein and creatine. It is the most common amino acid that occurs in the human body, and can be used to build muscle mass. Perhaps more interestingly though, glutamine has the capacity to build a given individual’s tolerance to and ability to bounce back from illness. Since it occurs in muscle mass, people who have a higher amount of muscle in their body composition will often be able to recover from a sickness or immune deficiency more quickly. Glutamine is included in many composite supplements and is found in adequate amounts in most balanced diets, but can also be bought as an isolated formula.