Those who train with weights have different nutritional needs from those that do not. This even applies to those who do exercises that are not resistance-based, such as cardio, swimming, spinning, etc.
Here are 5 essential supplements to help your body cope with the stress of resistance training.
- Fish oil, extracted from the skins of various fatty fish like tuna, salmon, cod, etc., contains significant amounts of high-quality omega-3 fatty acids. It also contains vitamins like vitamins A and D, among other powerful nutrients. Omega-3 fatty acids are considered ‘good’ fats and support your body in many ways. Fish oil consumed at doses of 3000-9000mg daily can also positively affect body composition by optimizing your body’s fat-burning environment.
- Protein Supplements – Resistance training creates micro-tears in muscle fibres, which require lots of amino acids to be repaired. A quality protein supplement is very useful. There are many kinds of proteins to choose from – Whey, casein (milk), egg, soy, plant proteins, and even animal proteins. However, for gym goers, it is much better to stick to whey, casein, egg, or animal proteins as plant proteins are incomplete in their amino acid profiles, and soy proteins contain significant levels of estrogen, which could negatively affect the muscle-building process. Whey is fast absorbing and is best after exercise when your muscles are craving nutrition. Casein is much slower to absorb but can be used at any time during the day.
- Fitness Multivitamin – Resistance training increases the requirements of the body for various vitamins and minerals. A ‘fitness multivitamin’ is essential as ordinary multivitamins do not take these additional requirements into account. This applies to all people who undertake strenuous exercise of any kind.
- Sleep Aid Products – These are a surprise on this list. Daily life in the modern world is stressful, and good sleep results in better health. But, sleep is not always about how many hours of it you can manage; it is also about the quality. Deep and restful sleep for 5 hours is far better than 8 hours of disturbed sleep. Melatonin is the hormone in our body that regulates sleep and gives the ‘signal’ to our brain to fall asleep. Melatonin supplements can help induce a deeper sleep, or even act as a natural sleeping pill if you are not able to fall asleep when you want to. It is also used by travelers to combat jet lag and adjust their sleep cycle. 10-20mg of melatonin daily acts as a gentle and natural sleep aid, and, particularly for gym-goers that absolutely require deep sleep to destress and repair the body, muscles, and nervous system, it can be very useful.
- Creatine – Contrary to popular belief, creatine is not a dangerous supplement, but for athletes that are involved in explosive physical activity (not aerobic, but anaerobic activities such as weightlifting, powerlifting, and bodybuilding) it can assist in the growth and training process. The body uses ATP (adenosine triphosphate) as fuel for such activities (where oxygen is used for more aerobic exercise like jogging, etc.). In this process, ATP is converted to ADP (adenosine diphosphate) after it is used in the energy release process during explosive physical activity. Creatine allows your body to instantaneously convert some of the ADP back to ATP, essentially allowing you to add more weight and bust out more reps. It is the only natural supplement that can be considered almost steroidal in its results.
Diet, exercise, and regularity are the 3 pillars of health, fitness, and other gym-related activities. But supplements can be powerful assistive tools. Using these 5 supplements will help you progress and achieve your goals quickly.