In my humble opinion the main goal of natural supplementation is to aid an individual in pushing a little further and squeezing the most out of their respective fitness limits, mostly in regards to faster recovery from tough workouts and improving performance. A better, more well rounded physique is the byproduct of this. However, I believe that, in order for supplementation to be fully effective, the individual must be laser focused when it comes to working hard in the gym and dedication to their diet and nutrition concepts.
In this blog I want to talk about the exact natural supplements I use to improve my overall fitness. Supplementation has played a key role in my preparedness for Men’s Physique contests and fitness competitions that I have entered in the past. Through supplementation, I have greatly improved my recovery time from tough workouts and exercise performance as well. Supplements also play a key role in reinforcing my joint strength, fat oxidation and overall energy levels. Keep in mind though, every person’s body operates and responds differently to different methodology, so what works for me may not always work for someone else.
Majority of my supplementation comes in the form of essential and non-essential Amino Acids. These Amino Acids are both produced naturally in the body and in a variety of whole foods at small amounts. Supplementation of these essential and non essential amino acids are especially advantageous to nutrition when one is following a low calorie diet or engaging in intense exercise.
EXERCISE RECOVERY SUPPORT
BCAA’s stand for Branched Chain Amino Acids and play a vital role in post exercise recovery, improving protein synthesis, maintenance of lean muscle mass and anti-catabolism. This particular supplement is comprised of 3 essential amino acids Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine. In my experience using this supplement, I have noticed a great improvement in the onset of muscle soreness. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) usually occurs because of muscle damage that happens after intense workouts and can have an effect on future exercise performance.
Glutamine is a non-essential amino acid that also plays a big role in post exercise recovery. This is the most common amino acid found in your muscles. Glutamine plays key roles in protein metabolism, cell volumizing, and anti-catabolism. Glutamine also increases your ability to secrete Human Growth Hormone, which helps metabolize body fat and support new muscle growth. Glutamine’s anti-catabolism ability prevents the breakdown of your muscles after intense exercise. I supplement Glutamine 2-3 times daily and especially after an intense workout session. Without Glutamine supplementation your body can take up to 6 full days to fully restore Glutamine levels after intense training.
Arginine is a non-essential amino acid that serves as one of the main ingredients in most “pre-workout” drinks. This compound is converted to Nitric Oxide in the body and enhances blood flow and vascularity. This supplement can aid in achieving the lean, vascular appearance of fitness enthusiasts and competitors. When blood flow to the muscles is improved, it can effect your workout in a positive way allowing vital oxygen and nutrients to flow easier and better assist the working muscle.
Beta-Alanine is another non-essential amino acid that is found in most “pre-workout” drinks. This is the compound that may sometimes cause a tingling sensation after it is ingested. This supplement cain aid in muscle endurance and reduction of fatigue during your workout session. Its also been shown to increase individual training volumes during high intensity training workouts because of the decrease in the feeling of fatigue. I use this as a pre workout in combination with Arginine.
Carnitine is a derivative of the amino acids lysine and methionine. Our bodies naturally produce this and it is also found in red meats. This amino has the unique ability to transport fat cells into mitochondria muscle cells, thus allowing more fat to be used as fuel during your workout. A natural fat burner in effect, this also has the ability to increase blood flow to your muscles.
These are the supplements that I take for preventive and supportive measures and to support my overall health.
Fish oil provides essential Omega 3 fatty acids and also aids in joint health as well as serving as an anti-immflammatory
Ginger Root, Turmeric Root and White Willow Bark support joint flexibility and joint mobility.
Magnesium helps in muscle function, muscle relaxation, and supports cellular production of protein and ATP.
All of these are supplements that I take almost daily and definitely give me an advantage, I feel, when it comes to improving my fitness and my physique. Notice how majority of my supplements are naturally produced either in the body or whole foods as opposed to some supplements such as anabolic testosterone stimulants that claim to “boost” testosterone naturally. I would advise to stay away from these types of supplements or any supplement claiming “anabolic” stimulation properties.
I urge you to do your own research and find out by trial and error which supplements work for you and which ones don’t. One thing is clear however, to look and perform at the top of your game one doesn’t need illegal performance enhancing substances to get the job done. Hard work, dedication to the task, belief in yourself that you can achieve your goal and possibly natural supplementation are the keys to success.
Trey Smith is a NASM certified fitness professional with numerous accomplishments and experience. Trey is an avid fitness blogger and a fitness entrepreneur, owner-operator of Smith Advanced Nutritional Enterprise (SANE) and also a certified Crossfit Level One and Basic Olympic Weightlifting Movements Osteoblast Training™. Follow Trey’s blog at www.saneweight.com