My Top 5 Foundational Supplements: Atheletes or Strength Training

In a world full of thousands of dietary supplements to choose from, it can be a little overwhelming, when trying to pick out the best supplements for you. Especially if you are an athlete or somebody who is weight training to increase strength and lean muscle mass. You want to get the most out of the money you spend on supplements, and not end up buying a product that either isn’t going to yield many long term benefits or simply a product that doesn’t work. That’s why I decided to write this blog post, to help take out some of the guessing work and to put out helpful information on what dietary supplements, I think every athlete or strength training individual should have in their foundational supplement stack. Now you might notice this list is a little “boring”, because it doesn’t contain anything too cool and exciting, like pre-workout or pump products, but that’s for good reason. Pre-workouts and other sports performance supplements do have some importance and can be effective, but only if your diet and foundational nutrition bases are in order. If your diet and foundational nutrition game is subpar, your body isn’t going to be in an optimal state of strength and muscle gain, and simply put your not going to perform at your top level. That equates to selling yourself short on those hard earned gains and potentially it could lead to an injury down the road. So with that, let’s jump into the list!

1. Whey Protein

To start off, there is a lot of debate whether whey protein falls into the dietary supplement category or if it should be considered a whole food source. For the purpose of this blog I included it as a supplement, because it’s a great way to “supplement” your diet, to ensure you are getting enough protein. A lot of people fall short on their protein requirements from day to day, and as we know, proteins are the building blocks of muscle, and without the proper daily intake, you are selling yourself short on those hard earned gains. Whey protein can help you avoid that, along with improving your recovery outside of the gym. Whey is also one of the most bioavailable forms of protein you can consume and it’s packed full of nutrients. I like whey protein, because of its versatility. You can take it anytime of day, you can bake healthy recipes with it, and because of its fast digestion and absorption time, it’s great for recovery.

2. Multi-Vitamin / Greens Powder

We’ve all been told since we were little that we need to remember to take our vitamins to stay healthy. Well, there is some merit to that. Vitamins and minerals play a very important role in your bodies overall function from day to day. Whether it’s for healthy immune system function, or for more complex processes, such as cell signaling, these micronutrients are needed, to ensure all these processes can function properly. Now, the best way to get vitamins, minerals, or any nutrition, is from your diet via whole food sources. However, most of us just plain don’t eat enough fruits, vegetables, and other micro packed foods to hit our requirements. This is especially true for Athletes or hard training individuals. In this list, I’ve included both a multi-vitamin and greens powder, because some people may have preference over the other. Both are great options and certainly a micronutrient powerhouse when stacked together.

3. Omega-3 Fish Oil

This is one of the most overlooked and underrated supplements, but also a very important supplement. Fish Oil is an excellent supplement for both general health and for aiding in gym performance. As far as general health, it can help support heart health, the circulatory system, brain function, eye health, reduce inflammation, and even support healthy skin. From a gym performance standpoint, fish oil is great for keeping the joints healthy; helps regulate hormone levels, and in men, can help improve testosterone levels. With all the positive health benefits, fish oil is a no brainer when it comes to including it in your foundational supplement stack. However, not all fish oil supplements are created equal. You want to make sure you are getting a high quality and pure fish oil that has been distilled or filtered, to remove any impurities. A quality fish oil will yield a higher concentration of pure fatty acids, particularly EPA and DHA.

4. Creatine

Good ‘ol reliable creatine. Creatine is one of the most researched dietary supplements, when it comes to sports performance, and I’ve included in my foundational supplement list, for that reason. Now, there are different types of creatine out there on the market today, but the most researched is creatine monohydrate. Creatine monohydrate has been shown to increase strength and power output, during weight training. This means, with continuous use and consistent weight training over time, you can expect to see an increase in strength and lean muscle mass. Also creatine monohydrate is very affordable and cheap, coming out to pennies per serving. The price point mixed with the results and science backed research, make this supplement worth having in your foundational stack. Also something worth mentioning is that a lot of supplement manufacturers will recommend you do a “loading phase”, where you take 15-20 grams of creatine per day for a week. This isn’t necessary, and you are wasting money because your body is only going to use so much of it, before it excretes the rest out. Taking 5 grams of creatine monohydrate per day will yield the same result over long term usage.

5. Joint Support

Joint Support supplements are a little bit, broader of a category of supplements. There are a lot of joint supplements out there on the market, and a lot of different ingredients used in those supplements. For this list, I’m going to narrow it down to a few specific dietary supplements, to look for in a quality joint support product. The three supplements I would recommend for joint support would be Turmeric (curcumin), UC-II collagen, and a collagen peptides product. Now I kept it simple on these recommendations, because this is a foundational supplement list, and these supplements are something you would use more for preventative maintenance on your joints and connective tissues, to avoid any joint damage/issues. Simply put, these three supplements will work together to reduce joint inflammation, keep your connective tissues healthy (tendons and ligaments), and will help promote healthy cartilage in the joints. If you have already experienced joint issues or joint pain, there are other joint support products out there for that specific purpose, but as with anything, its important to consult with your physician to find the right product for you.

So stop by Smoothie Plus Nutrition Store next to The Gym Inc. in Downtown Watertown, SD. and I can help you pick out the products that will support your goals.

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