Strength training can have tremendous benefits, but it can also be taxing for the body. It takes time and energy to repair and build muscle and to ensure your body has everything it needs to support the process is essential.
While eating a diverse diet of nutritious food should be the top priority, supplements can help bridge the gaps and support your training. Here are six must-have supplements to support your strength training in 2021.
While many weightlifters tend to gravitate toward some of the more nuanced supplements, a simple multivitamin is the best starting point. Incorporating a high-quality multivitamin into your diet will help you meet your baseline nutritional needs and correct any underlying deficiencies impeding your progress.
When looking for a multivitamin, look for something that doesn’t have a shiny coating. Cheaper multivitamins often add a hard exterior coating to extend the shelf life. However, this coating often makes absorption more difficult. Wellness Nova has a great selection of quick and effective liquid multivitamin recommendations.
Hitting your protein targets is a must when strength training. Protein plays an integral role in repairing and building muscle tissue. There are many misconceptions about protein supplements and strength training. It’s important to note that having a protein supplement isn’t necessary if you can get enough natural protein in your diet.
Your recommended daily protein intake will vary based on your goals. For context, a sedentary person with little exercise and no muscle gain goals has a recommended intake of 0.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. Conversely, someone trying to gain muscle could have a recommended intake of 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. It’s worth using a trusted, industry-approved calculator for precise recommendations.
If you can eat enough lean protein every day to hit your targets, you should. However, if that’s unrealistic, consider supplementing with protein powder.
Creatine is meant to help increase power and strength during an intense strength training workout. There have been many studies conducted on this supplement to prove its efficacy with favorable results. The overwhelmingly positive results of these studies have made creatine one of the most trusted supplements for strength athletes.
While creatine is a must-have for training, there are some pitfalls to consider when determining if it’s right for you.
Hydration is always an important consideration when trying to achieve fitness goals. However, taking creatine makes it that much more crucial. Without enough water, taking creatine can cause gastrointestinal distress, including bloating, nausea, and stomach upset.
When evaluating creatine supplements, look for creatine monohydrate or micronized creatine monohydrate. These options are the most effective at the best value, with the latter option dissolving better in water.
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are another hot topic when considering supplements for strength training. BCAAs assist with protein synthesis, supporting muscle growth and repair over time. If you’re new to strength training and experience fatigue or delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS), BCAAs can help offset the effects.
Like protein powder, there’s no need to take BCAAs if you can get enough in your diet. However, as many strength training athletes are juggling numerous responsibilities and don’t always have the time or resources to plan their nutrition, BCAAs can be a valuable asset to have in your training toolbox.
The macronutrients — carbohydrates, protein, and fat — are important focal points in overall nutrition to support your training. However, micronutrients also play a vital role in your success as well.
Some of the micronutrients you need to keep your body running at an optimal level can be found in a multivitamin. Yet, if you aren’t consuming at least five servings of vegetables each day, you should consider adding a daily greens supplement.
Greens supplements contain antioxidants, fiber, and phytonutrients. If you’re consuming a lot more protein and not balancing it with vegetables, you’re putting yourself at risk for health and digestive issues. This simple addition to your diet can balance your protein intake and provide full body support.
Omega-3s are a powerhouse when it comes to the world of supplements. Not only will this supplement have a big impact on your overall health, but it will support your strength training as well.
Taking an omega-3 supplement can help you improve your focus and cognition to help you get through a tough workout. This supplement also helps improve insulin sensitivity, which helps athletes use stored body fat for energy during training. Finally, omega-3s offer joint health support to keep you moving.
So what are omega-3s? This essential fatty acid can’t be made in the body, meaning it must come from an outside source. Traditionally, game meats and wild fish are the richest sources of omega-3s. Unfortunately, the modern diet doesn’t often include enough of these sources. Thus, supplementing is the only option for most people.
Incorporating these supplements into your routine can help you improve your strength and power, as well as support your recovery and cognition while you pursue your fitness goals.