One of the most common questions I get is, “What are the supplements that I should be taking?”
I always laugh when I hear or read fitness experts say, “You should get your supplements through your food. Eat whole foods, and you won’t need to take supplements.” Yes, they are correct, but I laugh because it is such a righteous and frankly douchey response to a question they could easily give. Not to mention those people are probably taking some supplements.
When it comes to supplements, there are a lot of them out there, and they all claim to make you bigger, stronger faster. The truth is the supplement market has very few regulations on it, and they can pretty much do or say whatever they want. So when you see supplements claiming they can do something, they do not know if it can or not.
Supplements should be used to help your recovery from your exercise. All the other stuff can be fluff to try and get you to spend more money. I only suggest people take three supplements: Protein Powder, Fish Oil, and Magnesium.
If you were to only buy one supplement for recovery from exercise, it would be protein powder. I have changed my view on types of powders and suggest any protein that has a complete amino acid profile. (contains the amino acids your body cannot produce.) Taking between 20-40g right after your workout has been shown to speed the recovery of your muscle between workouts and stop some of the catabolic effects that exercise has on your body.
If I had to suggest only buy one supplement for overall health, it would be Fish Oil. Most wouldn’t think this to be a supplement for exercisers and recovery, but what the omega 3’s in fish oil can do for your body are truly amazing. Omega 3’s has a range of benefits like brain & heart health, muscle recovery, and excellent anti-inflammatory properties. What to look for in a Fish Oil supplement is the Omega 3’s, in particular, the amount of EPA & DHA. My suggestion is healthy individuals should be taking between 5-7g of EPA & DHA each day. Make sure to take a high-quality fish oil supplement that each serving is close to 1g of EPA & DHA. Cheaper supplements will say 1g of Fish Oil but have less than 500mg of EPA & DHA.
My third supplement suggestion is Magnesium. Most of us are deficient in this mineral, and supplementing with it will improve many functions in our recovery, including blood pressure and creating ATP. (energy) Also, people who are low in Magnesium often struggle with sleep. So supplementing with it could help you sleep better as well. Somewhere in the range of 300-400mg of Magnesium should be enough for most healthy individuals taken post-workout with your shake or an hour before bed. Be careful with cheap versions of Magnesium because it can cause you to have an upset stomach.
Recovery is key to being more fit. If we can aid our recovery with some supplementation, DO IT. You don’t have to go crazy with your supplements, keep it simple and regular, and you will see the benefits of these!