Workout Supplements – Are They Necessary?

If you’ve ever been serious into athletics, or into hitting the gym and working out, you’ve probably thought about supplements at some point in time. You may have even been to bodybuilding.com or a forum from there just from google searching topics of health you were interested in. Chances are, you’ve purchased or have otherwise wondered about which supplements are necessary, and which the best are for your money. I’m here to tell you what is vital for performance and health, as well as what is out there just to get you to waste your hard-earned cash.

Most athletes tend to spend a lot of their time researching both recovery and pre-workout booster supplements. My opinion on both of these products varies by individuals, but the bottom line is: Neither are crucial.

Preworkouts tend to be made with lots of stimulants, with the objective of giving you an extra pump before you hit the gym or whatever activity it is you wish to do. Some are more focused on different types of proteins or amino acids, but most are focused around a few ingredients, including 1 3 dimethylamylamine, caffeine, nitric oxide, beta alanine, creatine, and various other well-known stimulant enhancers. While different ingredients work better for different people, the most universal, safe performance enhancers tend to be caffeine and beta alanine.

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Most of the pre-workouts widely available will include nitric oxide, which has caused a lot of debate. Some will tell you it is essential, others will tell you it’s all muscle-memory hype (placebo). I personally find that pre-workouts with 1 3 dimethyl enhance my short-term performance the best (for instance, the OLD Jack3d recipe), but tend to force me to wear down at a much faster rate. Others, such as Beta-Alanine (found in assault, N.O Explode) give me far less of a pump, but seem to make me sweat more and want to do more reps/have a longer workout.

I prefer to take pre-workouts that allow me to go longer on most days, especially cardio. On major, powerlifting, muscle building days, I prefer to go with Jack3d and do supersets (very few breaks, exercises compile one right into the next). The bottom line: No preworkouts are absolutely necessary, but if you do choose one, make sure to choose one that benefits you long-term, and do your research first; Read reviews, maybe even try sample sizes first.

Post Workouts work differently in that they are meant to help you recover from hard workouts. Some may decrease DOMS (Delayed onset muscle soreness), and others may just help you get ready for your next workout in minimal time. I don’t have much to say here, as there are so many products out there that it’s difficult to mention any specific ones. In my experience, if you have to supplement any post-workouts, get a good quality Whey protein. Not isolate, and not mass builder protein unless you have more specific goals.

Whey protein is a very good whole protein and BCAA (Branched chain amino acids) provider, but I am more interested in the extra ingredients that come with higher quality whey protein supplements. These include glutamate, creatine monohydrate, and several other ingredients that are proven to reduce muscle soreness. Of course, have other lean protein sources. I prefer grilled, boneless, skinless chicken breast. Tuna is another great protein source that will help in muscle building and recovery, as well as provide you with the all-necessary omega-3 fatty oils.

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While some of the above supplements may increase performance and recovery, I don’t believe they are 100% necessary for any given individual. There are great substitutes that are much more affordable, and natural. Caffeine is a proven stimulant that helps focus the mind and body. Instead of spending tons of money trying to find a functional pre-workout supplement, try making some all-natural green tea or coffee pre-workout, and get some complex carbs in (whole grain bread, etc) an hour before your workout. This should provide similar results as many pre-workouts.

My personal favorite before a workout for years was a baked potato an hour or so before, and then a cup of dark coffee 20 minutes before workout. This is cheap, and effective. Post workout, I would have some lean meat source, and some more complex carbs to keep my energy from spiking.

I hope this article has informed you of some of the common mistakes people make with supplementing their pre and post workouts – As well as potentially saved you some money! Comments are appreciated.

Workout at Home: 7 Beginner Tips for Men

Guys, we all know that regular weight lifting builds muscle and raises your fat-burning furnace. But gym membership is expensive, and let’s face it-commercial gyms are often packed with fit, toned, muscle men, pushing more weight than I’ve lifted in my lifetime. If you’re severely out of shape, going to a commercial gym can be embarrassing. For guys like me, I’ve assembled these 7 beginner tips for working out at home, based on my own experience.

Use dumbbells:

Dumbbells are a great, inexpensive way to work out at home. They don’t require a lot of space, and you’d be surprised what you can do with single set of adjustable dumbbells. You can find them at any sports store. I got mine at Walmart, but you can also try Craigslist or your local thrift stores.

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Be patient:

Building muscle takes time. Start with a weight that you can lift comfortably for 8 to 12 repetitions, and work your way up to 4 sets per muscle group. Don’t overdo it. As you get stronger and more experienced, you can increase the amount of weight as you progress. I promise, with time and work, you won’t always be a beginner.

Be resourceful:

Obviously, many people who work out at home don’t have the luxury of a personal trainer. I know I don’t. There are tons of free, instructional videos for beginners available on YouTube. I work out next to my desktop computer so that I can follow along with the instructors.

Cardio:

If you want to burn fat faster, add a cardio workout on the days that you don’t lift weights. 15 to 20 minutes on a mini-stepper is a great, space-saving way for beginners to work up a sweat. I use mine twice a week in front of the television or while watching music videos on my computer. Mini-steppers range in price, but for around $50 you can find a sturdy one with good resistance bands.

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Use a mirror:

Commercial gyms are surrounded by mirrors for a reason. Working out in front of a mirror helps you to see the muscle groups you are targeting and whether you are performing the exercises correctly. I use a cheap, full-length mirror that I found for about $12.

Rest: It may sound counterproductive, but in order to change, your body needs adequate rest. Muscles need time to recover and rebuild. Never work the same muscle groups without at least a day of rest in between. If possible, use a 7 day schedule and lift 3 times in 7 days until you gain strength and experience.

Eat:

This is a tough one. If you want to grow muscle and burn fat, you have to eat. While I can’t give you specifics for your body type, there are many good resources on the web that offer free dieting tips and eating plans tailored to specific body types and needs. Just remember, the general principle here is that you have to eat enough of the right stuff and drink plenty of water every day to see results.

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Home workouts can be an inexpensive and fun way to get in shape in the privacy of your own home. I’ve been doing it for about a year now. I’ve dropped two pant sizes and have discovered that I do have abs-all without ever setting foot in a commercial gym.