The health and fitness market continues to grow and as part of that supplements are big business. The average person in the UK now spends £124 per month on health and fitness related items, including £39.63 on supplements according to a survey carried out by MyProtein. The list of potential supplements is endless – pre-workout, intra-workout, post-workout, fat burners, weight gainers and that’s on top of the daily vitamin and mineral supplements that are available, but are they necessary?
If you eat a healthy and well-balanced diet, then the answer is no, you should be able to get all the vitamins and minerals that your body needs from your diet. Supplements should be used to supplement your diet and not replace elements of it. However, if you are working out regularly then you may want to think about adding the following to your nutrition plan.
Protein is key for muscle growth and repair. Protein shakes provide extra protein to help muscles recover and grow after exercise, and also help to reduce muscle wastage through weight loss or ageing. They are also convenient for those people who are on their weight loss journey, as they can help people to feel fuller for longer. However, do remember that protein shakes contain calories. If these additional calories are not accounted for or are not needed, then they could lead to weight gain.
Creatine is one of the most researched supplements available. Studies have shown that it can increase muscle mass, strength and exercise performance. If you choose to take this supplement, aim for 3-5 grams per day, every day. Despite what you may have heard there is no need to cycle on and off creatine, you can keep taking it indefinitely. It does pull in water to your muscles so make sure that you stay well hydrated.
Many people take Glucosamine on a regular basis to help with joint pain. However, there is currently a lack of scientific evidence to prove that it does help, but with annual sales of nearly £300m it is still a popular supplement. On a personal level, I have found this has helped reduce my knee pain significantly.
As with all supplements we suggest consulting your GP before starting a course.