Among so many different supplements today, it’s very hard to pick one that really does the job done as advertized.
And they all promise you they will burn fat, increase muscle or make you healthier. So if you are just starting or you don’t know what works and what doesn’t – here are the top supplements you should be using for losing fat, building muscle, improved health and gaining strength for calisthenics.
1. Whey protein
Whey protein is the first thing you need to consider supplementing when you start bodybuilding or any other demanding physical activity. It is a quick and convenient way for everyone who wants to eat (drink) some quality calories and reach daily protein needs. Because whey is a complete protein and also high in branched-chain amino acids, it will aid recovery from exercise and improve your immune system.
2. Fish Oil
Fish oil is a miracle supplement as it promotes muscle growth, fat loss, improves mood, reduces high blood pressure and triglycerides at the same time. The most responsible component for these benefits is the alpha-linolenic acid (Omega- 3) found in fish oil. Omega 3 contains the two fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These are acids that cannot be synthesized by our body and need to be taken as a supplement or with the food. When buying fish oil, seek for a brand that delivers at least 1.8-2g of EPA and DHA with the daily dose.
3. Probiotics and prebiotics
Probiotics are the good bacteria that lives inside our gut and are directly responsible for our digestion and immune system. Prebiotics are the food of our gut bacteria. Increasing the prebiotics intake will also increase our “good” bacteria numbers in the intestines. More probiotics in our intestines means that the food we eat will be better digested and used by our body. When buying probiotic supplements look for a product that lists at least 3 billion micro – organisms per serving.
4. Vitamin D
The deficiency of vitamin D is manifested trough a few symptoms, such as muscle weakness, depression, weak immune system and some skin conditions. In order for the skeletal muscle to function properly you need vitamin D. Unfortunately it’s very hard to get the quantities of this vitamin only from the food you eat and sun exposure. That is why it’s important to supplement your diet with around 1000 UI of vitamin D a day.
This is one of the most studied bodybuilding supplements for the last 20 years or so. It’s a supplement that works without a doubt. It gives you more strength and energy during intense exercise and increases muscle mass. You consume creatine when you eat red meat, but that’s in very low doses – around 3-5 grams per 2 lbs of red meat. There are a few types of creatine on the market, but nothing beats the good old creatine monohydrate. When taking creatine you would want to start with 5-10 grams a day (depending on your weight), divided into two doses.
If you’re looking to reduce your body fat, the idea of purchasing CLA may have already crossed your mind.
CLA reduces body fat by increasing basal metabolic rates. In other words, it helps the body convert food more efficiently into energy.
L-carnitine is an amino acid and its job is to transfer long-chain fatty acids, such as triglycerides into mitochondria, where they may be oxidized and used for energy production, meaning that glycogen is spared during exercise. In other words – you burn fat while your energy and strength levels stay increased. A good start is to take 2 grams of L-carnitine a day divided into two 1-gram doses, one of which, will be taken before an intense workout.
This spice has the ability to control blood sugar levels, by eliminating or moderating blood sugar and insulin spikes. Keeping the blood sugar levels low is the main element of fat loss. For a start you can sprinkle cinnamon on your oatmeal, on fruit, on your dessert or in your shakes. Start with 1-2 grams of cinnamon a day.
9. Magnesium and Zinc
Magnesium has many roles in the body, and is required for many enzymatic reactions, including those involved in the synthesis of fat and protein, neurological activity, muscular contraction, cardiac activity and bone metabolism.
Zinc is also important for many processes in the body like protein synthesis, immune system functioning, blood sugar control, growth etc.
When combined, these two minerals increase the production of testosterone – one of the most anabolic hormones in the body. There is also a product called ZMA (Zinc monomethionine aspartate and Magnesium Aspartate) that improves testosterone levels and sleep.
If you’re just getting started with calisthenics , check out our list of essential calisthenics equipment!