The question about the best supplements is one that I really get asked a lot. Many don’t even ask what are really useful supplements. They simply want a faster way to reach their fitness goals. They want to build muscle mass even faster or lose weight faster and are looking for a shortcut that doesn’t exist and are looking for things that can’t be kept. This demotivates motivated people on the way to their goals and relieves them of an unnecessary amount of money.
For this reason I would like to enlighten you a little with this article about supplements in fitness sport. I will cover the following topics in this article:
- What Supplements Actually Are
- That supplements are not miracle cures
- What are useful supplements for every athlete?
- What I also consider to be useful supplements
At the end you should know which supplements you really want to spend your money on with your personal needs. You should also get a better idea of how and how much these supplements will really pay for your training.
Supplements are dietary supplements
Maintaining a really good and balanced diet is not that easy. Especially in addition to the stressful everyday life of many people, this can be a challenge to get everything under one roof. The quality of one or the other’s diet can suffer as a result.
Nutritional supplements have been developed to compensate for minor deficiencies in the supply of certain important nutrients. Originally, such dietary supplements were primarily used in the medical field. Various clinical pictures can be attributed to deficiency symptoms. A targeted intake of certain preparations can help here.
Even in (professional) sports, means were always sought to achieve more performance and thereby gain an advantage. It was also found that an increased intake of certain substances can lead to an improvement in performance.
With the time these realizations spread more and more also into the spreading sport. In the meantime, the food supplement market has grown into an absolute mass market. Almost every amateur and amateur athlete regularly takes more or less sensible supplements. Reaching into the supplement shelf is an obvious and absolutely comprehensible step. After all, the marketing machine behind this billion-dollar industry promises some true wonders.
It is important for me to emphasize at this point that supplements are always food supplements. They should not be misused as justification for a bad and/or one-sided nutrition. The need for all necessary micro- and macronutrients can also be met from the daily diet. However, there is nothing to be said against supplementing and optimizing with one or the other supplement if you have informed yourself in advance what really meaningful supplements for your own needs are.
Supplements are not miracle cures!
To a large extent, the food supplement industry promises much more than can be kept. A large part of the offer is (for most consumers) absolutely superfluous. The hope of the people that there might be a shortcut nevertheless leads many to spend a lot of money on such products. So don’t promise too much of your supplements and stay realistic!
Which doesn’t mean that supplements are to be demonized in principle. The targeted use of certain food supplements can make absolute sense. This is also and especially the case when you (like me) are on the move a lot and therefore in parts are determined by others during the food supply. The right supplements can help to compensate and optimize some minor sloppiness in your diet.
Must Have – The best supplements for every fitness athlete
Before I wrote that it is possible to take everything you need through the daily food. However, there are also supplements that it makes sense to take, even if you take very good care of your diet. I call them the “Must Have Supplements”. In the first section of the Supplement Introduction in this article, I want to introduce you to such supplements. As a rule, their intake is sensible for every active athlete, even if he or she attaches importance to a balanced diet.
1) Omega 3 – fish oil
The two fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6 are essential fatty acids. These must be supplied with food.
Both omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids are central building blocks of cell membranes. They are precursors of numerous substances that the body cannot produce without them. They are also responsible for regulating blood pressure and inflammatory reactions.
Until a few hundred years ago, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids were present in the human diet in a ratio of approximately 2:1. Our organism is still adjusted to this ratio. Unfortunately, this ratio is now somewhat out of balance.
Omega 3 has an anti-inflammatory effect, while Omega 6 has an anti-inflammatory effect if overweight compared to Omega 3. If we consume significantly more omega 6 than omega 3, this can have a long-term negative effect on our health.
2) Vitamin D – the sun vitamin
A large proportion of people in Central Europe suffer from a chronic vitamin D deficiency. This is mainly due to the fact that most of us simply don’t get enough sunlight these days.
Vitamin D plays such an important role in our organism:
Vitamin D plays a decisive role in bone health. It supports the absorption of calcium from food and its integration into the bone. Vitamin D is therefore also useful for osteoporosis prevention and treatment.
Vitamin D is important for optimal functioning of the immune system. The immune system suffers from a severe deficiency.
A sufficient supply of vitamin D also has a positive effect on well-being and cognitive abilities.
Studies have shown that there is a link between vitamin D deficiency and the onset of cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and other diseases.
Theoretically, to meet our vitamin D needs, we would have to spend about 3 hours a day outdoors at noon. During the winter months, the body is unable to produce sufficient vitamin D in this way due to insufficient sunlight. Among other things, because they have an even greater lack of vitamin D during this time, so many people get a “winter blues”.
3) Magnesium – the regeneration mineral
Magnesium deficiency is widespread in today’s society. This is especially true for athletes who have a significantly increased magnesium requirement. This is because it is involved in a large number of metabolic processes in the human body.
You’ve certainly had cramps before because of too little magnesium, haven’t you? Therefore you know for sure how important magnesium is in the musculature. In addition, a sufficient supply of magnesium is considered beneficial for stress tolerance and promotes recovery if taken before sleeping.
I therefore recommend taking magnesium regularly to every athlete. This can be done in isolation or as part of a multi-preparation (e.g. Ultra A/Z from Peak*).
4) Zinc – the immune system booster
You certainly know zinc from various cold remedies. It plays an important role in the production of enzymes and the optimal function of the immune system.
For many people it also has a positive influence on the skin. If I take zinc regularly before going to sleep, then I have significantly less pimples and blackheads and my skin appears purer overall.
In the dosage form, special attention should be paid to the type of chemical compound. Zinc citrate contains about twice as much elemental zinc as zinc gluconate. However, the amount of elemental zinc is usually indicated on the German packaging.
5) Creatine – The muscle booster
Creatine monohydrate is the only supplement which leads to a directly proven increase in physical performance and which cannot easily be supplied in sufficient quantities via the diet.
Through training and a sufficient supply of creatine, the creatine phosphate storage capacity in your muscles can be increased by up to 20%. Creatine phosphate is the fastest energy carrier in the provision of energy. Thus, the intake of creatine is especially helpful for the strength development in the anaerobic performance range.
The wildest stories about the best dosage form circulate with creatine. Creatine is available in the “normal” monohydrate form, as buffered Cre-Alkalyn or in an ethyl-ether compound.
However, the fact is that there is no reason to take these expensive designer creatine products if you can tolerate the creatine monohydrate. Even under ideal conditions, the advantage is minimal and out of proportion to the extra price.
I hope with this article I was able to shed some light on the darkness of the Supplement Jungle for you and you now know what makes sense for what reasons to really take it.
Do you have any questions? Have you been able to gain experience with these supplements yourself, which you would like to share with other readers? Do you miss a certain supplement in my list? Then feel free to send us your comments.