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Sports Supplements That Aren’t Just Hype

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The fitness supplement world is filled with promises of getting your dream body
virtually overnight by just popping a few high priced pills. Whether it’s losing
30 pounds of fat in 30 days, gaining 30 pounds of muscle in 30 days, or adding
30 pounds to one’s bench press in 30 days, there’s a pill that promises to do it all.
With all the ads and hype, it’s no wonder I hear so many people asking me about
XYZ supplement to burn fat or gain muscle and strength. As much as I think
supplements can be useful, in my nine years of trying almost everything under
the sun, I can say pretty confidently that the vast majority of these supplements
don’t live up to their hype. Many don’t work, and the ones that do work aren’t
worth the money.
But every now and then there’s something that comes along that is totally worth
the money. Here are my favorite supplement recommendations for fat loss and
fitness.
Fat Loss:
Caffeine – While I don’t recommend people go crazy with stimulants, there
is no doubt that caffeine works for suppressing appetite and enhancing fat
loss. I recommend coffee and tea over synthetic caffeine pills, but either
way works. My biggest issue here would be to be careful with supplements
that contain a lot of caffeine. A couple cups of coffee or tea is cheaper and
safer, and some over the counter fat burners/energy drinks can be dangerous
leading to worn out adrenal glands.
Green Tea Extract – This isn’t a miracle cure for burning fat, but then again,
few supplements are. I recommend green tea extract due to its other health
benefits along with its fat burning effects.
MCT Oil – Already addressed this early, but I’ll repeat that this is a safe and
simple way to promote fat burning as well as provide a good source of
energy.
Caralluma – Caralluma is a cactus that offers similar appetite suppressing
qualities as hoodia, but without all the hype surrounding it even though it
may be more effective. It promotes appetite suppression and fat loss while
preserving muscle. Caralluma can be purchased from
http://dragonherbs.com
Yohimbine – Yohimbine is a stimulant that may not be tolerated by some.
While I don’t recommend the majority of people utilize caffeine or
yohimbine (instead utilize adaptogenic herbs) for fat loss, it can be effective
at burning fat in trouble spots. Certain areas of the body, like the hips and
thighs on women, may be resistant to fat loss while other areas lose fat
easily. This is because these trouble spots have higher levels of Alpha 2
Adrenergic receptors which prevent fat oxidation (fat loss) in those areas.
Yohimbine is effective at specifically reducing trouble body fat by blocking
these Alpha 2 receptors and allowing more fat to be burned from those
areas. It is an incredibly common supplement among bodybuilders and
figure models who need to reduce stubborn body fat. Dosage is .2mg per
kg of bodyweight.
Muscle And Strength:
Creatine – The most researched and proven sports supplement for
enhancing muscle and strength. It will increase water in muscles adding
some water weight, but the additional strength will allow many to increase
their muscle mass more than normal. 5 grams after a workout is the typical
dose, and loading is not necessary. I recommend products that use
Creapure creatine for purity.
Beta Alanine – Beta alanine is not as heavily researched as creatine, but it
can be effective for increasing muscle carnosine levels which help resist
fatigue. This means more reps done with a given weight potentially
increasing muscle mass.
BCAAs and L-Leucine – Branched chain amino acids are found in
significant quantities in protein sources like whey making them somewhat
unnecessary for the average person. But I’ve found benefits from taking
additional BCAAs when utilizing very intense training programs to enhance
recovery. L-leucine is a particular BCAA that is the signal for muscle
growth. Adding in additional BCAAs or leucine (3-5 grams) with meals
may help enhance muscle growth when training intensely.
A note on Nitric Oxide and pre-workout supplements: I don’t have an issue with
any of these things per-se, but I’ve found them to have minimal impact and not
be worth the money. Most of the energy and strength comes simply from the
caffeine. The money spent on these high priced supplements can be spent on
quality food, adaptogenic herbs, and a greens formulas that will do more to
enhance your health (and therefore resistance training efforts) far more than the
vast majority of the “muscle-mag” supplements pushed at supplement retailers.
Omega Sport’s Ultima is my favorite pre-workout formula.
That being said, there are plenty of other effective supplements that may be
worth the money depending on your goals. Every now and then I mess around
with new herbal formulas and find something I like, but it’s rarely worth the high
price for the minimal increase of muscle and strength. I suggest not getting
caught up in new product hype unless coming from a very reputable company,
and giving new products a couple years to see if they stand the test of time.

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