By: Bob Kupniewski
When it comes to proper supplementation, the vast majority of individuals seem to be confused on what is necessary and what is excess as far as what needs to be taken to achieve specific goals. Most individuals nowadays are taking so many powders and pills and they don’t even know what is really giving them the results. In essence, your diet and training plays 95% of the puzzle towards your overall goal. In this article I will cover the 4 basic supplements every individual should take regardless of goals because they are vital for covering specific needs and have the most importance on their supplement selections. There are many benefits to everything out on the market but in my opinion these four products (Whey Protein, Multi-Vitamin, Fish-Oil’s, and Creatine) aid the most in a basic supplement stack that will help you get the results you are looking for. Keeping things very cost effective and very simple will lead athletes towards focusing on their diet and training and keeping the amount they take to a minimum for desired results.
First and foremost, Whey Protein has been a major hit on the market since its release and hands down the top cost effective source of meeting your protein intake on a given day. Whey protein can be utilized in so many ways that it makes it so versatile to hit your calories and protein intake instead of packing chicken breasts, cans of tuna, pre-cooking tons of fish, salmon, tilapia etc. Whey protein can be taken in a shaker bottle, in a baggy, or baked into cakes, loaves, muffins, or other baked goods to help an individual get those protein calories in and find easy ways to snack their way to hit their allotted calories. The great thing about whey protein is that for the cost you are really saving money instead of buying in bulk and the best part is that it wont go bad in a few days once you cook it. Leaving your protein jug in a cool, damp area will help the product from clumping or going bad (as some supplements can while exposed to heat or moisture). The only downside to whey protein in the future is the rising prices of raw materials and how the prices will continue to go up. For now, Whey Protein is an essential because for those who need to reach high protein intakes to help stay anabolic and find different ways to hit their protein intake in a given day on top of their diet this will be a must have on your list of required supplements to invest in.
Next on the list is Creatine. Most studies done on creatine were involved dealing with Creatine Monohydrate, which is the one I suggest as well. Taking creatine is simple, you will mix 5g of creatine monohydrate (bulk powder) around your workout in a pre-workout beverage, in a post-workout protein shake, or some individuals even mix it into their intra-workout beverage of choice. The thing with creatine is that once you take it, creatine will form molecules inside your body to form ATP (Adenosine tri-phosphate), which drives cellular functions to help enhance performance and decrease fatigue. The major benefits of taking creatine are aiding in strength, size, power, and overall endurance once your cells become saturated over time. Creatine does not need to be cycled or loaded, taking a steady intake on workout days of 5g will supply all you need. Another great thing that creatine has been shown to provide therapeutic effects on disorders such as Huntington’s and Parkinson’s disease! Not to mention it has an effect on decreasing stroke, brain injuries, and lateral sclerosis.
On top of creatine and whey protein, the next supplement I would consider is a multi-vitamin. A multi-vitamin is crucial because there is no way we can cover all our micronutrients in a given day regardless of a set intake for cutting or bulking. A multi-vitamin helps protect us from what we may not get in our diet on a daily basis while we strive to reach for several different food groups to meet our designed macros towards our goal. Its essential to get those vitamins and minerals that cannot be reached to help aid in losing stubborn body fat and boosting your metabolism by covering those needs. While we can eat a diverse diet, can you really say you covered all your vitamin A, B, C, D, E in a given day? Can you say you have had an adequate amount of zinc, magnesium, copper, and potassium? Most people will fail to reach all of those depending on the foods they incorporate or enjoy on a daily basis. Some people hate fruit and therefore will never get all the micronutrients they need, therefore a multi-vitamin or a greens supplement would aid in covering those out. There are plenty of other micronutrients that are covered in your mulit-vitamin but these are the major ones we strive to cover on a daily basis. The others will still aid in overall muscle building and growth. I may save another article in the future on the importance of vitamins and minerals on bodybuilding and muscle growth because it is such a very large topic, but for now a general synopsis will do.
Last but not least are Fish-Oils. Even if you eat your heart out on fish on a daily basis it would not hurt to get extra EPH or DHA from a fish-oil supplement. Individuals like me on the other hand absolutely cannot stomach fish and must supplement with a fish-oil product to cover those needs. Not only that, but there are several other benefits I want to touch on to give an overview of why you should supplement a fish-oil product.
The first advantage is it helps increase cardiovascular health and protect against heart attack and stroke. The American Heart Association has shown studies on reduction in overall cholesterol in individuals and high blood pressure! Even trials were run on individuals who supplemented omega-3’s and survived or prevented heart attack’s. There has also been evidence of lowering blood triglycerides, help lower abnormal heartbeats, and preventing plaque and blood clots in arteries.
Another advantage is the reduction of inflammation or pain in joints. Many individuals who find increasing their Fish-Oil consumption has the same effect as dosing a cissus or glucosamine product on the market. Their joint health increases as they continue to lift heavy and try to push personal records in the gym. The powerful anti-inflammatory effect that has been studied on top of a lower inflammatory omega-6 intake may benefit those who may have a lot of strain placed on their joints on a weekly basis (bodybuilding or powerlifting for example). These help destroy cartilage in the joints and reduce the activity of enzymes. Another great aspect to add on to this is increasing mental cognitive function. Psychological studies have been done on Fish-Oil consumption and the amount of recall the individual had when tested in the lab. There have also been tests to show the prevention or onset of dementia, which may be crucial for those pregnant or developing a fetus! To add onto talking about psychological effects fish-oils aid in positive mood or emotional well-being. It has been shown to decrease the effects of depression, bipolar disorder and psychosis. Those who have taken Omega 3’s on top of anti-depressants had greater improvement in symptoms than those who took anti-depressants alone with less mood swings and increased mental well-being.
A few other things to put into perspective about fish-oils that I could write paragraphs bout would be increased eye health, aids in increased fat loss, increased metabolism, and lowers the risk of cancer in individuals.
Overall, if you are on a budget and need a very simple stack that will deliver results look no further than these four supplements. It does not take much to attain your overall goal as diet and training play the majority of your success. Toss in a positive attitude and motivation to strive towards your destination and you will be there in no time. Remember supplements are just that, they supplement your diet and training program. Trying to cover the small aspects we cannot cover in diet and training can be based off what you may invest in. For those who want to keep it simple look no further than what you read about above.