Our industry relies heavily upon the companies that make and distribute nutritional supplements.
Supplements are to bodybuilding and physique development much the same way as a chicken is to rice.
They go hand in hand and thrive in unity because of one very important reason; they work.
Keeping in mind that not all supplements were created equal, becoming a discerning supplement aficionado is only going to prove to be of great benefit to you.
Also, your abilities to filter out the good from the bad will ultimately save you a lot of money, and most importantly, a lot of wasted time waiting for something magical to happen.
When just starting out, it is my personal opinion that much of your attention should be focused on your training and the types of food you are consuming.
No supplement will ever be able to replace good clean whole foods and in all honesty they were never meant to.
They are called supplements for a reason; to be an addition to an already stellar nutritional and training protocol.
That being said, I have also been a great proponent of using supplements right from the start as I truly believe there is great merit in having a sound supplement regime in place even as a beginner in the sport.
Here then are what I believe to be the top five supplements every beginner should include in their arsenal as they set sail on a tremendous and extremely rewarding journey in physique development.
Unequivocally speaking and without a doubt, every single person out there looking to better themselves should be supplementing with a multivitamin/multimineral supplement.
Regardless of how perfect your diet is, how rich in variety it is, or how dedicated you are to nutrient timing if you are a hard training athlete you will need this supplement.
Our bodies are great at absorbing the micronutrients provided to us by our food, but as we train hard and meet the demands of everyday life, those micronutrients get used up pretty quickly.
This is where a multivitamin/multimineral product comes into play.
The doses contained within these products are far greater (in most cases) than what you could possibly consume at one sitting or even throughout the day and making use of this supplement will only ensure you are in surplus for what you need and have enough should you need more for sustained energy levels and overall health.
It is also the opinion of this writer that you should take your multi twice a day.
Take one serving in the morning then another at night. This way you are never in micronutrient deficit.
2#. High-Quality Whey Protein
Alright, so unless you’ve had your head buried in the sand you know the importance of ingesting quality protein sources to enhance recovery and initiate hypertrophy.
You will never become what you want in the absence of protein.
Aside from utilizing lean and clean sources of food protein sources, you are going to want to turn your attention towards high quality, whey protein isolate product.
Why a protein isolate over the other proteins that exist?
Well, the reason is very simple; as a beginner, your body is going to be in constant disarray as it tries to figure out what you are doing to it.
You’re going to be sore, your muscles are going to be fatigued and they are going to be screaming (metaphorically speaking) for you to feed them and feed them fast.
This is where your protein isolate supplement product comes into play. A cross filtered whey isolate has been manufactured so that when ingested, it is readily and quickly absorbed by the body due to the small fractions in which the protein molecule has been broken down into.
This is a great thing for starving muscles as the amino acids contained within the isolate powder can be quickly shuttled into the damaged muscle cells to get the anabolism going.
Isolates can be used at any time of the day in conjunction with a proper diet and are of the purest of quality which is what you should always be looking for.
There has never been a supplement comes under more scrutiny than creatine and more specifically creatine monohydrate.
There is very good probable cause for this; creatine works and works really well for those who are considered responders.
What I mean by that is some people react quite well to supplementing with creatine products and others not so much.
How will you know which category you fall into?
Well, you have to give creatine a try and find out. I have had the privilege of being involved in a couple of University led studies on creatine under the instruction of world-renowned researchers.
Our purpose was to identify just how well creatine works and how much of it you actually need.
The findings for our studies showed that there are definitely responders and non-responders to supplementing with creatine and for those, whose receptors enjoyed the creatine molecule, experienced incredible gains in size and strength with a loss of body fat as well.
Creatine has the unique ability to keep muscles well hydrated by forcing water into the cells; a hydrated muscle is a healthy and more viable one.
For this reason, supplementing with a quality creatine product is a must and if you are just starting out, give it a try; you may end up being very pleasantly surprised with what happens to your physique.
Glutamine is a naturally produced amino acid within the body which is why it is considered to be a non-essential amino acid.
When glutamine levels within the body drop, the body turns to break down muscle protein for additional glutamine stores, therefore, putting the body in a catabolic state and reversing any of the positive effects from training, eating and supplementing.
Glutamine also has the important responsibility of governing protein synthesis rates within your body and can only do so when there is an abundance of glutamine present.
Glutamine has also been shown to have a dramatic effect on keeping your immune system healthy and it has also been shown to increase naturally occurring growth hormone levels as well.
I personally believe, a supplement protocol devoid of glutamine supplementation is a bad idea and whoever said too much of a good thing is bad, didn’t have glutamine supplementation in mind.
5.# Omega fatty acids supplement
As you train and continuously beat on your body, breaking it down only to allow for it to build up again, something happens internally that you may or may not be aware of; internal inflammation.
Not only does your training contribute to this inflammation, but so can your diet depending on which types of foods you are consuming.
Cellular inflammation is a real thing and is extremely detrimental to your overall health and aspirations of muscular superiority.
To help combat this, you should supplement accordingly with an omega fatty acid supplement that has a high EPA/DHA ratio.
This ratio is important as the higher the EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) the better the chances are of reducing excessive cellular breakdown which is caused by this internal inflammation.
Aside from protecting against inflammation, omega supplements are also great at improving fat oxidization and providing energy should you be in caloric deficit from dieting.
Honorable mentions: Vitamin C, Vitamin D, R-ALA, BCAA’s
Listed above are my top five supplement picks for any beginner starting out in our sport.
As you are probably aware, there are many more products out there on the market begging you to use them.
Of these products, I think a few others should be mentioned in this article.
Vitamin C and vitamin D are very beneficial in any supplement protocol. Vitamin C will help boost your immune system and give you a fighting chance against resisting viruses like the common cold and using vitamin D has been shown to promote bone health and support a very important naturally occurring hormone in males; testosterone.
Next, a quality alpha-lipoic acid supplement could be very beneficial for its ability to fight off damaging free radicals that build up in the body while training and can also boost insulin levels post-workout to help shuttle protein and glycogen back into starving muscles.
Back when I first started training, branch chained amino acid supplementation was huge, then for some reason, it went away for a while and not much was mentioned of them. Then a huge resurgence of bcaa products started to appear and again everyone started to use them.
I think that especially when dieting, bcaa’s are your best friend.
They’ll help you maintain much of your muscle mass (if not all) while in a calorie-restricted environment.
So there you have it my friends; my top five picks plus a few more for the best supplements for beginners to make use of as they transition through their physique journeys.
I have been in this industry for a long time, have used almost everything the supplement companies have thrown our way, have wasted lots of money, and learned a ton.
Many beginners shy away from supplementation out of fear of the unknown and out of concern for their health because of what someone who is ignorant of the facts has told them.
If you do your due diligence and research the products that are out there, I think you’ll find that you can safely and effectively employ the use of nutritional supplements.
Like I said earlier in the article; supplements are here for a reason and that reason is that they work.
Don’t be left behind as those who choose to make use of the products mentioned above continue to experience incredible gains.
Use them concurrently with a sound nutritional and training program and get ready to experience a level of physical superiority like you never have before.