When we consider the factors that are important in developing the physique that we want, diet and exercise are the two important factors that will help us reach our goals. Therefore, when it comes to providing our bodies with the nutrients it needs to be healthy and to promote the ‘look’ that we are after the first port of call should always be the foods we eat.
Despite the fact that the diet has the potential to reach all our essential macronutrient and micronutrient needs, it is entirely possible that supplements that provide key essential nutrients can be of help, as even with the most balanced of diets we can be at risk of missing out essential nutrients that are important for maintaining health and helping us reach our goals. Here we have outlined our top 5 supplements that we believe are beneficial and are often beneficial in supplement form, to help people reach their goals.
Making sure we hit our micronutrient needs is something that many of us fail to do. Even those who focus on hitting their daily macronutrient requirements often miss out on at least a few of their micronutrient needs and this has been demonstrated even in athletic populations who, in theory, should have a pretty healthy and balanced diet.
We are not saying these should replace whole foods, however for many people who are first starting out on their fitness journey, especially when coming to terms with how to structure their own nutrient dense diets and the importance of certain foods (or for those who are just a bit lazy!), then multivitamins and minerals are an effective way to make sure these needs are met. View CSN's multivitamins and minerals range here.
Fish oils contain an essential fatty acid called Omega-3. This is essential from the diet, alongside Omega-6 and Omega-9 fatty acids. Omega 6 and 9 tend to be abundant in the diet due to their presence in grains, vegetable oils, meats, nuts and seeds, however, Omega-3 in its most useful form, is only available from oily fish.
If you don’t eat oily fish regularly then omega 3 supplementation is a great way to ensure you are getting enough of this fatty acid in the diet. But why is omega 3 so important? Well it plays roles in pretty much every system in the body, from promoting heart health, supporting brain function, to promoting more favourable structural properties of the cells in the body allowing them to work more efficiently. View CSN's Fish Oils and Omega 3 range here.
3. Vitamin D
During the spring and summer months we can typically get enough Vitamin D directly as we can synthesise this essential vitamin in the body with only the need for a little bit of sunlight. Unfortunately, Vitamin D deficiency is fairly common in the winter months due to a lack of sunlight. This deficiency might not have any overtly pronounced effects on your health, however Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with poor cognitive function, lower hormone levels and reductions in performance in athletes due to the wide variety of roles vitamin D plays outside of its most ‘famous’ role in supporting bone health. View CSN's Vitamin D range here.
Although creatine is found from sources in the diet such as meat, it is without doubt one of the supplements that can have the greatest benefits for both beginners and more advanced trainers. This is because the amounts we get from the diet typically don’t reach the levels that can saturate our muscles fully. Therefore, for those who take part in strength or power sports creatine is definitely an essential part of an athletes supplement routine that will be of benefit sooner rather than later.
Creatine is one of the most researched and proven to be beneficial supplements. Creatine tends to only not be effective in those with very limited muscle mass as they cannot store as much creatine to have its benefits, or in those people who are lucky enough to have naturally high creatine stores, but for most people it is definitely of benefit.
Creatine causes its positive effects by allowing more phosphate to be stored in the muscles in the form of phosphocreatine. This is important for high demand, high-intensity energy production, as the extra phosphate can be used to make our body’s energy ‘currency’ ATP (adenosine triphosphate) more rapidly and therefore higher intensity exercise can be maintained for longer, helping to increase performance and build muscle. View CSN's creatine range here.
5. Whey Protein
For a vast majority of people they can meet their protein requirements through a diet containing sources of complete protein such as dairy, meat and fish, however for those who train regularly making sure they have enough quality protein in the diet can be challenging, time-consuming and not to mention expensive.
Whey protein is therefore, a great supplement, not for any magical reasons, but that it is quick, convenient, affordable source of protein that is of high quality. By protein quality we are referring to providing all the essential amino acids to support health (and muscle growth) and high levels of an amino acid called leucine, which is an important trigger for muscle protein synthesis (MPS). MPS is the process by which the body builds new muscle protein… in short providing the raw materials to make new muscle tissue. View CSN's Whey protein range here.
So there you have it, our ‘essential’ supplement guide
Remember, the diet should always come first with supplements being used to ‘supplement’ the areas where we are at risk of being deficient, might require more than the average person or just for convenience when getting in whole foods might be challenging or impractical. Of all these supplements creatine, omega 3 and vitamin D (at key times of the year) are typically on all of our own supplement regimes for the reasons outlined above and we all use whey as a convenient and effective high-quality protein source to meet our high protein intake in the most cost effective way possible.
As always Team CSN are here to help, call or email us today and we can give you professional, unbiased advice on all your nutrition and supplement needs.