The Sports Nutrition market is one of the most powerful industries in the world, with hundreds of manufacturers marketing thousands of supplements that – mostly – don’t work or produce very little results.
One of the latest market reports on the Global dietary industry – aka Supplement Industry – shows that the market size in 2019 was $123.28 billion in sales worldwide and it is projected to expand by 8% during the forecast period.
Americans spend an average of $40,000 during their lifetime on dietary supplements which is roughly $500 a year or $47 monthly: meaning we are filling our cabinets with vitamins and supplements that do not produce any significant results.
Growing awareness of health concerns – cardio vascular issues, weight management, joint health - rapid urbanization, and disposable income are all factors that contributed to sky rocket the forecasts of the Supplement industry.
When it comes to training however very few supplements will actually help boosting your workout and athletic performance.
At age 40, i have invested thousands of dollars for at least 25 years before I started figuring out which supplements work to boost workouts performance and overall health.
Let me save you some money here and let’s dig a little bit into this multi billion dollar industry that is mostly made out of bullshit.
Rule number 1: Always Remember that FOOD IS KING.
Just as the name suggests, the purpose of supplements is to supplement your food sources: they are not a substitute for a healthy diet.
There are specific studies that show that a proper diet can reduce the risk of death from all causes – especially from cancer and cardiovascular disease - , and the same study shows how those benefits are significant lower when supplements are used as substitutes on a daily meal intake.
It seems obvious but I can’t stress enough that nutrients such as proteins, minerals, and fatty acids coming from food sources are invaluable and not negotiable.
So what are the best supplements you can incorporate into diet that can help boost your workouts and can be the best bang for your buck?
Here’s my list of my 5 Best Supplements that actually work and the ones you should focus your wallet on:
1 – Creatine
When I discovered and incorporated Creatine into my diet it was literally a game changer for me as it helped me boosting not only my performance but also lean muscle mass, strength and recovery.
In high intensity training it proves to increase your overall performance by 15% improving power, strength, muscle mass, recovery, endurance and brain performance.
I often take Creatine to help me with my studies and research as it helps immensely with my focus and brain activity.
There are no negative side effects to Creatine, however I would highly recommend the Monohydrate version with the standard dose of 3-5 grams per day.
2 - Magnesium
Magnesium is a key element in your body that is depleted every time you get rid of electrolytes, aka sweats.
Magnesium helps your muscles relaxation after your workouts: if you don’t replace it your body will have a hard time recovering, and you’ll likely feel soreness with your your acid lactic will build up for a prolonged time.
Studies have also found the Magnesium is a powerful sleep aid, and sleep is essential to recover from your workouts as well as for your overall heatlh.
If you are not having enough sleep quality that may be attributed to a lack of Magnesium in your system.
I usually take 1 pill at least 1 or 2 hours before I go to bed.
3 – Protein Powders
While Protein Powders are the main supplementation you can incorporate into your diet, however there is a lot of confusion and too many options when it comes to addressing this widely popular supplement.
Protein powders are concentrated sources of protein from animal or plant foods, such as dairy, eggs, rice or peas.
There are three common forms:
Protein concentrates: Produced by extracting protein from whole food using heat and acid or enzymes. These typically supply 60–80% protein, with the remaining 20–40% composed of fat and carbs.
Protein isolates: An additional filtering process removes more fat and carbs, further concentrating the protein. Protein isolate powders contain about 90–95% protein.
Protein hydrolysates: Produced by further heating with acid or enzymes — which breaks the bonds between amino acids — hydrolysates are absorbed more quickly by your body and muscles.
The main protein powder I like to focus on and I’ve been taking for the last 20 years is the Whey Protein.
Whey protein comes directly from milk and combines It is the liquid that separates from the curds during the cheesemaking process. It's high in protein but also harbors lactose, a milk sugar that many people have difficulty digesting.
There are many benefits to Whey Protein powders: it’s quickly digested, helps build lean muscle mass and is rich in BCAA – branched chain amino acids – that are essential minerals promoting muscle recovery and resistance.
4 – Fish Oil
This is another legendary supplement, promoted and used widely by athletes as it helps with cardio vascular activity, eyes, brain and joint health.
Fish oil is extracted from oily fish tissues such as salmon, herring, halibut, and mackerel, It’s high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are considered essential because you must obtain them from your diet. Your body cannot produce them on its own.
When it comes to intense strength training, Fish Oil is often referred to as a powerful anti inflammatory reducing muscle soreness.
While there are still insufficient studies on Fish Oil promoting athletic performance, Fish Oil is an essential supplement for muscle recovery especially as you age.
I like to take my Fish Oil in liquid form 2 spoons preferably in the morning. – lemon flavor helps covering the naturally disgusting fishy taste-.
5 – Vitamin C
Surprisingly enough studies have shown that Vitamin C has no direct effect on muscle growth and could potentially attenuate hypertrophy over time.
So why take Vitamin C?
While Vitamin C does not directly affect my athletic performance, it does however have a major impact on my overall health.
Vitamin C is one of the safest and most effective nutrients, experts say. It may not be the cure for the common cold (though it's thought to help prevent more serious complications) but the benefits of vitamin C may include protection against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease, and even skin wrinkling.
I take my vitamin C in the morning, just 1 tablet OR even better I take it in form of fruit as I’ve always been obsessed with oranges.
At the end of the day you really don’t have to break the bank to supplement your nutrition: focus first and foremost on a healthy balanced diet – one that you can enjoy – and only a few - good- key supplements.
Without a good diet regimen these 5 supplements will do very little to boost your workouts.