Confused about which supplements to take? I spoke with the lovely fitness experts at bulk.com to discuss which supplements might be best suited to your needs; whether you are looking to enhance your training and recovery, support aspects of your diet or improve your sleep.
What is a dietary supplement?
A dietary supplement is a product that includes ingredients such as vitamins, minerals, botanicals, amino acids and enzymes. Dietary supplements are sold in forms such as tablets, capsules and powders.
Supplements are intended to support a healthy diet, not replace it. This could be for a number of reasons, such as convenience, short-term deficiencies, specific diets or a busy lifestyle. Let’s explore this in more detail.
- ENHANCE TRAINING AND RECOVERY
As leaders in sports and active nutrition, we continuously strive to create the highest quality products possible, offering a range of supplements designed to enhance your training and recovery.
If you’re serious about your schedule, or you want to take your training to the next level, this section is for you.
- BETA ALANINE (PRE-WORKOUT)
Taken before your heavenly bout of exercise, pre-workout supplements can help prepare you for an intense workout or training period, with the aim of improved performance during your session.
Typical pre-workout mixes include caffeine, a natural stimulant, but there are many variations. Beta Alanine, for example, is a naturally occurring, non-essential amino acid that’s a popular pre-workout supplement. It can enhance exercise performance by increasing muscle carnosine content.
- HIGHLY BRANCHED CYCLIC DEXTRIN (INTRA-WORKOUT)
As the name suggests, intra-workout supplements are designed to use during your workout, such as between sets, breaks or even while running.
Adding something like Highly Branched Cyclic Dextrin to your sessions could be a game-changer for supporting your strength goals.
Cyclic dextrin is produced using a unique enzyme process that breaks down starches into a unique cluster structure.
Essentially, this creates a superior carbohydrate that is easier for your body to absorb, meaning that its sharp hit works quickly to impact your session in a positive way.
- PROTEIN POWDER (POST-WORKOUT)
Of course, protein powder has made the list. An obvious, but essential, contender. Although regular protein intake (any time of day) is the most important factor in muscle growth and maintenance, post-workout protein intake can positively influence the recovery processes for both resistance training and endurance exercise.
Whether it’s Pure Whey Protein™, Vegan Protein Powder or Clear Whey Isolate, just make sure you’re getting enough to really make the most out of your training sessions.
A conversation on enhancing training and recovery wouldn’t be complete without mentioning creatine. Famously the ‘world’s most researched supplement’, the potential benefits of creatine are vast and well documented.
Creatine is a nitrogenous organic acid produced in the liver that helps supply energy to cells all over the body – particularly muscle cells.
It’s made out of three amino acids: L-arginine, glycine, and L-methionine. As well as being produced naturally by the body, we can get creatine from our diet.
Foods that contain creatine include meat and fish. However, multiple kilograms of meat/fish would have to be consumed to get a performance-enhancing effect.
There are many benefits of creatine. Due to creatine’s ability to supply energy where it’s needed, it’s mainly used by athletes to increase their ability to produce energy rapidly, improving athletic performance and allowing them to train harder.
As such, creatine is very popular amongst athletes who compete in explosive sports and activities, like rugby and weight lifting.
SUPPORT YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
- VITAMIN D
Supporting your immune system will naturally help towards your training goals. There are a range of vitamins designed to support specific needs, and a multivitamin is a great option if you’re not sure which route to take.
One of the most important vitamins for immune support, along with vitamin C, is vitamin D. Summer is a great time to naturally stock up your supplies, as your body produces it in response to sunlight (making sure you take care out there).
As we approach the summer months, now’s your time, although we can’t rely too much on the British climate. Vitamin D3 Tablets are a high-strength form of vitamin D, promoting normal bone health and contributing to the maintenance of healthy immune function, as well as playing a role in cell division.
HELP MAINTAIN HEALTHY JOINTS
- FISH OILS
It’s commonly understood that taking omega-3-rich fish oils can support joints. oils are an excellent source of EPA and DHA, two essential fatty acids that aren’t synthesised by the body.
Fish oil supplementation is perhaps something you hear about, but haven’t tried. Intense exercise can put pressure on the joints, so it could be worth considering if you’re serious about your training.
SUPPORT A VEGETARIAN/VEGAN DIET
If you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals. Your body will feel it when something is lacking.
All the nutrients you need can be found in your diet, but if there are certain vegetables you don’t like, you could be depriving your body of essential nutrients.
B vitamins, iron and omega-3 may be specific supplements to keep an eye on. And you can’t go wrong with an all-round supplement, such as our Complete Multivitamin Complex™.
RELAX AND WIND-DOWN
Also known as Indian ginseng or winter cherry, Ashwagandha is a herb derived from the roots of organically grown Withania somnifera plants. The adaptogenic properties can help maintain mental balance and support relaxation, supporting your mental and physical wellbeing.
HELP WITH RESTFUL SLEEP
The fast-paced Western world can be stressful. When we want to slow down and sleep, it can be hard to switch off.
If this sounds familiar, ZMA® Capsulesmight be just what you need. They contain zinc and magnesium, and studies have shown that these minerals may improve sleep quality.
A spokesperson for bulk.com commented: “With literally thousands of supplements available to you, the buzz and the noise around which ones to take create a blurring sense of confusion, often resulting in us never scratching the surface of supplementation potential. And that’s normal.
We hope, however, that this article opens a few doors and inspires you to discover new supplements that could light up your existing lifestyle, whether it be through better training, more restful relaxation or the simple pleasure of feeling good.”
This research was conducted by bulk.com which believes that sport, health, fitness and nutrition are for everyone – no matter who you are, what you do, or how you do it.
A healthy lifestyle is a process that never truly stops. They are committed to creating world-class nutrition for every step of your journey. This means delivering the highest quality products; the most sustainably sourced packaging; and all combined with great taste.