Supplements 101

By Tim Rigby (copyright IFM Media)

Even before the Covid-19 pandemic rocked the world and altered just about every aspect of our daily life, global societal trends demonstrated a growing universal interest in people seeking to improve their health, strengthen their immunity, and extend their lifespan.  This modern trend, which has developed significantly over the last century, has really accelerated over the last 15 years.  Then suddenly, in 2020, out of nowhere, came a worldwide pandemic which forced billions of people on this planet to really scrutinize their health and well-being and adjust their lifestyles accordingly. 

At the very same time – and it’s not by coincidence – the health and fitness supplements industry experienced a steady growth over the last few decades, and then an explosion of development in the most recent months. Let us reiterate the point that this is not by coincidence. Supplements work.  They’re integral to the improvement of fitness levels when combined with training, and they strengthen immunity and boost your body’s endocrine system, particularly when a deficiency of certain vitamins or minerals is present.

We can appreciate your concerns about keeping your health and immune system as strong and robust as possible. The beauty of being interested in fitness during times when the world is “normal” is that you’ve already got a leg up on the general population.  With a foundation of supplements knowledge and interest already engrained into your psyche from its application as an adjunct to resistance training and cardio training, you’ve already prepared yourself to take full advantage of them. Before you check out the details of the brands and products we have to offer, here’s a brief overview of a few categories of supplements and their essential functions that are of relative importance to fitness athletes:

WHEY PROTEIN
The main purpose for the consumption of whey protein is that it helps muscles to recover from intense training and grow bigger and stronger.  This is a fast-digesting version of protein and is often consumed within 30-45 minutes after intense exercise to take advantage of the “anabolic window” that primes your muscles for growth.  In its isolate form, whey has the highest biological value (BV) on the market, which makes it the most efficient at helping build muscle.

CASEIN PROTEIN
This form of protein has really planted a foothold over the last 10 years, whereas it wasn’t very popular before then. It is a slow-digesting protein which is often consumed shortly before bed in order to give your muscles a steady stream of amino acids overnight. People who work out with less intensity, or those who simply wish to reap the health benefits of casein protein which are external to training, swear by its effectiveness.

FAT BURNERS

This is a popular grouping of supplements designed to help you lose fat and weight.  Some fat burners contain the traditional ingredient of caffeine anhydrous, however, because of the stimulant effect which can be unpleasant to some people, there’s also been a segment of non-stimulant fat burners available recently. Current science has shown the benefit of separating the fat burners from the fat releasers.  While caffeine does a good job at effectively releasing fat from your cells to be used for energy, it doesn’t actually burn fat.  L-carnitine, on the other hand, has a specific purpose of incinerating stored fat for you, after it’s been released.

PRE-WORKOUT BLENDS

These are typically a mix of ingredients which are designed to ignite your central nervous system and stimulate your brain as well as your muscles, prior to an intense workout.  Ingredients usually include caffeine anhydrous, branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), creatine, taurine and l-carnitine.  There is no “standard” blend, however, so depending on your specific purpose, you have the luxury of choosing from a whole slate of brands before hitting the gym.

POST-WORKOUT BLENDS
In the ensuing period after you’ve finished working out, it’s important to re-fuel your body.  Based on the certain manner in which you want to re-fuel it, there are a variety of post-workout blends also on the market.  Typical ingredients include certain types of protein, leucine, glutamine, and even creatine which recent studies have shown also works effectively post-workout, instead of only prior.

TESTOSTERONE BOOSTERS
An increase in testosterone is beneficial in so many ways if done naturally through the many ingredients that comprise test boosters.  Such herbal ingredients as fenugreek, tribulus terrestris, rhodiola rosea and ashwaghanda root are commonly found.  Increasing your “T” is not only beneficial for growing muscle, but it will also help your metabolism and sleep quality.  More muscle, of course, means you burn fat more efficiently.  Natural supplements work best when an individual has a deficiency in their test levels and also when intense training is involved.

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