The world of supplements can be confusing and overwhelming, but adding them into your diet is great way to improve your overall health and make the most of your exercise.
We’ve put together a list of our top supplements which are suitable for any kind of fitness journey and are perfect for even beginners.
Protein is a natural molecule found throughout the body which helps to build muscle and repair tissue (1). Whilst protein should be consumed daily as part of our diet via foods such as meat, dairy and superfoods, protein powder supplements can be an easy and convenient way to increase protein intake if a goal is not currently being met through meals.
Protein supplements usually come in the form of powdered shakes or bars, and help to promote muscle growth whilst also aiding metabolism (helping with weight loss), meaning it can be useful for a variety of fitness goals (2).
Creatine is also naturally found in the body and provides a continuous supply of energy to muscles and other tissues (3). Creatine is usually consumed as a powder mixed in water and believed to improve strength, increase lean muscle mass and aid in recovery (4). Creatine is one of the most researched supplements and evidence has shown that consumption of the supplement improves muscle strength, meaning you can lift heavier and increase muscle mass over time (5).
Not only this, but Creatine can also increase the content of water in muscle cells, causing them to swell and appear bigger (6). A Creatine supplement would be beneficial to anyone who is looking to improve workout intensity and increase muscle mass (7).
BCAAs (Branched-Chain Amino Acids) consist of three amino acids: leucine, isoleucine and valine. These are proteins found in food in which your muscles burn for energy (8). BCAA supplements can help increase muscle mass whilst also reducing fatigue and therefore allowing you train with higher intensity (9). Not only this, but research has shown that BCAAs can aid muscle repair and help delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) (10). BCAAs would be helpful to anyone exercising regularly, and may want to help to enhance performance and recovery.
Vitamin D is fat-soluble vitamin and is commonly produced by the body when the skin is exposed to sunlight, but can also be found in foods such as fish, red meat and egg yolk (11). Research into the benefits of Vitamin D for fitness has shown that not only does it maintain strong and healthy bones, but the vitamin can also reduce inflammation, pain and myopathy (muscle weakness) (12).
Vitamin D should be supplemented by anyone who does not have much sunlight exposure throughout the autumn and winter months, regardless of fitness goals. Throughout warmer months, the body can create Vitamin D from direct sunlight when outdoors, but if this is not possible then a Vitamin D supplement is recommended in order to promote healthy bones and muscles (13).
Fish oil is the fat extracted from fish tissue and is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Research has shown that fish oil supplements can reduce muscle soreness and inflammation (14), helping to aid recovery after an intense workout. Fish oil has been shown to be beneficial for joint health, and for this reason fish oil is also commonly used to improve range of motion when exercising. Fish oil is often consumed as a capsule and is especially recommended if oily fish is not part of your regular diet (15).
Whilst supplements can be a great way to meet your fitness goals and feel your best, it’s important to remember that supplements should not be a replacement for proper nutrition and exercise, but can aid progress when combined with a healthy and active lifestyle.