The Ins and Outs of Supplements
Do you take one or more supplements to complement your fitness and diet plan? Do you often hear from others that you shouldn’t be taking supplements or that you are taking the wrong supplements? Many people have an opinion on supplements but not everyone has the information to fully understand the ins and outs of supplements. Here’s our handy guide to supplements which should arm you with all the knowledge you need for the next time you find yourself in a supplement debate.
What Are Supplements?
First thing first, let’s clarify what supplements are. There are a few different types of supplements. We are going to focus on two types: dietary supplements and bodybuilding supplements. Dietary supplements are taken to boost levels of nutrients that a person may not be getting enough of from food alone. Common dietary supplements are vitamins, iron, fiber and amino acids. Just over half of all Americans take some sort of dietary supplement.
Bodybuilding supplements are not consumed by the general public to the same degree as dietary supplements. These supplements are usually only taken by bodybuilders or athletes who want to lose or gain weight or who want to improve their physical performance. Protein, creatine, glutamine and testosterone boosters are amongst the most well-known bodybuilding supplements.
Who Should Take Supplements?
There is evidence to support that dietary supplements are beneficial to a person’s overall health. Taking the correct supplements can help fight bone disease, heart disease and decrease the risk of birth defects. Dietary supplements are relatively safe but not everyone needs to or should take them. Blood tests can determine if a person is deficient in a certain vitamin or mineral. They can then be advised what supplements to take. Similarly, people with a restricted diet may want to take supplements to ensure they don’t miss out on essential nutrients. Pregnant or breastfeeding women and people who are due to or have just had surgery should be careful about what supplements they take. This caution is echoed for people with chronic health conditions as dietary supplements can react badly with some prescribed medications.
Bodybuilding supplements come with a few more risks than dietary supplements which is why they should only be used by athletes or bodybuilders who are following a strict regimen or guideline. If you are serious about gaining muscle or losing body fat, supplements are for you. In fact supplements are crucial if this is what you want to achieve. Some people believe that the term “supplement” is misleading as they are necessary and not merely supplementation. Bodybuilding supplements can help the body work out for longer and recover faster as well as help increase muscle mass. However, there are some pretty bad potential side effects including sudden heart attacks, breast enlargement in men, a decrease in good cholesterol, muscle cramps and issues with libido.
The Best Time to Take Supplements
Taking a dietary supplement may be pointless if you do not take it at the right time. If you take more than one type of supplement you may need to stagger your in-take throughout the day to get the optimal results. Some supplements simply work better if taken in the morning whereas others are better at night. However, when possible, try not to take supplements on an empty stomach. Before or after a meal works best for most supplements.
|Morning||Morn/Early Afternoon||Afternoon/Early Eve||Evening/Night|
|Vitamin C||Zinc||Vitamin K||Calcium|
|B Vitamins||Iodine||Vitamin D||Magnesium|
|Vitamin E||COQ10||Fish Oil||Probiotics|
Labels should be carefully read before you start taking supplements and caution should be taken to ensure that you are not taking a mix of supplements which may react badly with each other.
Timing is also important for bodybuilding supplements. A supplement taken at the wrong time will have fewer benefits than if it was taken at the right time. Like dietary supplements, bodybuilding supplements need to be spaced out across a day. Some work best in the morning and some work best shortly before a workout. Here’s a guide for some commonly used supplements:
|Whey Protein||Any time of day|
|Creatine||With a big meal (lunch/dinner time)|
|Green Tea Extract||Any time of day but not on an empty stomach|
|Caffeine||15 minutes before a workout|
|Branched-Chain Amino Acids||Before a workout|
|Casein Protein||Post workout or before bed|
If you have any more questions about supplements or if you are wondering if they might work for you, come in to BeFit and one of our trainers will be happy to dive further into the ins and outs of supplements!
Feeling better about your health or fitness shouldn’t be a chore. If you ever need some extra support, come by BEFIT to speak with one of our trainers or simply fill out a Free Consultation Request by clicking the link and a fitness professional will reach out to you within 24 hours.