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The sports supplements that are actually worth taking

Updated: Apr 11, 2023

There are a lot of sports supplements out there. Of course, the companies selling them claim they’re all totally necessary for optimum health and performance. But what's actually real, and what's just marketing BS? Fortunately for our bank balances, the research in recent years has shown that many of the sports supplements on the market aren't proven to be effective and are just a waste of money. That being said, there are a few that could be worth your investment, as there's ample evidence to prove the benefits to your health, strength, and performance. Here are the top 3 I recommend - no ulterior motive, no affiliation, just the facts.




Whey protein


It’s harder for females to make and maintain muscle, especially at points in our cycle when hormones are high. That’s why it’s so beneficial for us to consume protein that’s high in leucine (the muscle-building amino acid) before exercise and replace it, ideally, within 30 minutes of finishing our workout. Whey protein is a perfect example of a protein that is rich in leucine. It’s quick and easy to consume, making it ideal to have post-workout when timings are more critical (see my article on post-workout nutrition for more on this!)

Whey protein can also be handy to have in the house if you struggle with consuming enough protein at breakfast time. Having a high protein breakfast can help balance hormones and keep us fuller for longer, meaning we're much less likely to be hank Marvin' (starving) again by mid morning and reaching for the sugary snacks. Adding whey protein to a smoothie or mixing a bit into your porridge is a really quick and easy way to get what you need first thing.


BCAA (Branched-chain amino acids)


Branched-chain amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Supplementing with them has several proven benefits. Taking 5-7g BCAA pre-workout can act as an immediate natural source of energy and fight fatigue during your session. This is especially true for women - the amino acids cross the blood-brain barrier and decrease the estrogen-progesterone effect on central nervous system fatigue.


When taken during or after workouts BCAA can also help to reduce muscle soreness, improve recovery and can help prevent muscle breakdown allowing you to build more lean muscle mass for better performance and long term health.


Creatine


This is one of the most researched supplements in the fitness industry, so we can be pretty confident in separating fact from fiction. Pretty much all of the research into creatine supplementation is actually positive; it improves our high-intensity exercise capacity and lean body mass when paired with appropriate exercise. It’s arguably even more beneficial as a supplement for females than it is for our male counterparts. Since we have naturally have lower creatine stores than men, creatine supplementation could see us experiencing double the performance improvement. Creatine is also helpful in managing PMS symptoms, feeling good through pregnancy, postpartum, and menopause, so that's pretty snazzy. For menopausal women specifically it's been shown to counteract muscle, bone and strength loss. It's all pretty appealing, right?


Take 3-5g of creatine monohydrate daily to reap the best rewards. It’s not a pre/post workout supplement, you just need to take it every day at any time.


Of course, none of the above are miracle products. They certainly boast many benefits but to get the most out of your investment make sure you're pairing your supplementation with a great exercise routine (see my previous blog post for an example of what this might look like).


As ever, if you have any questions, need some extra guidance or want to find out more about personal training in Bristol or personal training in Weston-super-Mare, get in touch.





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