In today’s world of surprising diet fads, pills that claim to cure every aliment and exercise videos that guarantee 10 minutes of work three times a week and a fitness model’s body it’s understandable that there is mass confusion on what information is accurate. The biggest question people ask me is which workout supplements actually work and which ones should stay on the counter in the box.
As you age your body changes and although you might fell like you are in your twenties or thirties your body will remind you of your real age. It was at this point when it took my muscles longer to recover after a strenuous workout that I decided l needed help. Whether you are a seasoned athlete or new to exercise your body can benefit from workout supplements and the vitamins, minerals, healthy carbohydrates and protein they provide to help fuel and nourish your body.
The first basic support you can provide your body is a high quality multi-vitamin. Studies have proven that a deficiency in vitamins can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and cancer. Vitamin B-12 is associated with increased energy, mental clarity and helping with depression symptoms. There are many more benefits from multi-vitamins that help with cell and bone growth, improving vision and helping with skin problems. Multi-vitamins come in tablet, capsules and liquid form. There are many different opinions on which form is better. I prefer the liquid as it is easier for my body to assimilate. However, everyone is different and maybe another form works better for you.
Now, the next confusing level of health and fitness benefits for the body is the multitude of protein powders. There are many different types of protein powders all claiming to be the best. Protein powders are created from four basic sources; casein and whey – from milk, soy, egg and rice. Some have a combination of ingredients so if you are a vegan or have a food allergy be careful and make sure you read the label on which one you are purchasing. Protein powders can be mixed with water, milk or juice to make a shake or mixed into prepared food. My favorite snack is to mix my protein powder which is vanilla flavored with 16 oz of water, a banana, dry oatmeal and a dash of cinnamon. I mix it in the blender Sonus Complete and have a healthy nutritious snack on the go.
Casein protein is referred to as the PM protein powder and is best taken before you go to bed. It has a long lasting effect in the body, approximately 6 – 7 hours and has a slow release of amino acids that help with muscle repair and recovery while you are sleeping. Whey protein is a faster acting protein and is most commonly used for pre and post workouts since it releases amino acids over a 2 – 3 hour period providing usable energy quicker than casein protein powder. Soy protein contains isoflavones while rice protein is made from whole grain and easily digested.
There are many different reasons to use protein powder. Weight lifting and bodybuilders have long used protein shakes for building mass and weight gain. However there are many other benefits for athletes and people who are trying to get into better shape. Protein is a fundamental building block in the human body and is known to help regulate blood glucose levels, decrease sugar cravings, and increase immune system functions. There are also protein powders specifically designed for endurance athletes who do not want to gain weight or mass.
There are also supplements that are added into protein powder an example is L-Glutamine. L-Glutamine is an amino acid that is naturally found in the muscles of the body. With exercise L-Glutamine is depleted and supplementing will help with muscle tissue repair and growth for a faster recovery. Creatine is another amino acid that is commonly added into protein powders or can be purchased separately. Creatine supplies energy to the cells in your body especially skeletal muscle and is used primarily to increase muscle mass.
For those who want to be healthier and trimmer and are still unsure about starting a protein powder supplement program a great alternative is the health benefits found in green tea. Supplements such as green tea can help speed up the weight loss process by increasing the body’s heat production known as thermogenesis and thereby increasing metabolism. Of course teas for weight loss as in all workout supplements are only aids and should be used in combination with good nutrition and exercise.