If you're relatively inexperienced when it comes to workout supplements, it can be difficult to determine which supplements are essential and which ones are just a waste of money. And if you've ever walked into a GNC before then you know how overwhelming it can be. Sure, you could just walk into a store and ask a sales representative for advice but you and I both know how that scenario plays out - they inevitably try to sell you more supplements than you need or know what do with.
Most of us aren't trying to become the next Arnold Schwarzenegger, we're just trying to lose fat and pack on some muscle. With that mentality in mind, this article will cover the essential workout supplements that beginners should focus on when getting started. Armed with these supplements and solid workout routine you'll be well on your way to achieving your goals in the gym.
The mantra of increasing protein intake has been beat to a pulp, but for good reason. Simply put, you're muscles can't recover and grow after weight training without adequate protein. There are a ton of choices out there for protein supplements, but not all protein supplements are created equal. The best place to start is with a whey-based protein powder. There are two major benefits to whey protein. First, whey is absorped quickly by the body making it the ideal post-workout recovery option. Second, whey is the most affordable variation of protein so your wallet won't take a hit. Whey comes in either concentrate or isolate form. Isolate is essentially a purified form of why concentrate that contains less fat and carbs. As you can probably guess, the isolate form is going to cost you a bit more.
Another form of protein you may want to consider adding to your diet is casein. Casein is a slower digesting form of protein that "feeds" your muscles over an extended period of time. Due to this, casein is best utilized as a before bed shake. Be warned, casein protein shakes have a thick and often grainy consistency to them so the taste won't please everyone - especially as a bedtime snack.
Creatine is one of most extensively researched workout supplements out there and the benefits include increased strength, muscle mass, and testosterone levels. If you're new to lifting or workout supplements then creatine may sound a bit intense - I felt the same way when I first got into serious weight training in college. In truth, our bodies naturally produce creatine from certain amino acids already and extensive research has demonstrated that creatine supplementation is both safe and effective when taken as recommended. Creatine can be used both for a pre-workout boost and post-workout recovery.
Pre-workout supplements are supplements that are designed to be taken prior to a workout session in order to increase energy and strength during your workout. The best part about pre-workout supplements is that they provide seemingly instant results. After taking a pre-workout supplement for the first time you can legitmately expect to walk into a weight room and lift more for a longer period of time than you ever have previously. These supplements are that powerful. I can remember trying No-Xplode for the first time in college and being able to increase my weight on every exercise by 5-10 lbs. in my first session. Now that level of gain cannot be sustained workout after workout obviously, but you're certainly going to increase strength faster than you otherwise would.
A balanced multivitamin is a supplement that no person serious about working out should overlook. Most of us aren't able to to eat a diet that ensures we are getting adequate nutrients so taking a multivitamin supplement can make up for these dietary deficiencies. Furthermore, working out depletes vitamins and minerals that our body needs to function and recover, so taking a multivitamin is essential to ensuring that these nutrients are restored. Think of a multivitamin supplement as the nutritional foundation your body needs to function and grow properly.
Don't be distracted by all the noise out there in terms of workout supplement choices, the four supplements discussed above will hands down give you the most bang for your buck. These supplements are the foundation of bodybuilding nutrition whether you're a beginner or a pro and adding these essential workout supplements to your diet is guaranteed to lead to serious gains in the gym.