Whether it’s a vitamin C tablet during winter or a protein shake post squat session, recent research estimates that over 60 per cent of Australians are using some form of supplementation. Fiona Tassone shares the best supplements for your specific fitness goals.
» B vitamin complex: “B vitamins are important as they help your body pull energy from the nutrients you eat and help get oxygen to the muscle tissue. They are also necessary for metabolising food into energy,” says Ratner.
» Espresso: When consumed before a workout, coffee can cause fat cells to replace glycogen as your energy source. Additionally, the high amount of caffeine in an espresso will increase your metabolism throughout the day, says personal trainer and sports nutritionist Shannon Smith.
For muscle gain and maintenance
» Glutamine: “Glutamine is an amino acid that provides numerous benefits for gaining muscle, such as aiding muscle growth by increasing levels of leucine in muscle fibres, helping to decrease muscle breakdown. Glutamine taken before workouts can help decrease muscle fatigue and boost growth hormone levels. Additionally, glutamine can also play a role in fat loss by increasing the amount of calories and fat burned at rest and during exercise,” says clinical nutritionist and health coach Gabriella Ratner.
» Creatine: Creatine is another type of amino acid and occurs naturally in protein-rich foods. It assists with the production of energy, so taking a creatine supplement can aid energy stores and increase your workout output. “The only supplement that I can measure and have personally experienced that will help you build more muscle is creatine,” says Smith.
For fat loss
» Alpha-lipoic acid: “Alpha-lipoic acid is fatty acid present in the mitochondria (energy-producing portion of the cell). Originally used to assist with type 2 diabetes, it enhances our ability to metabolise food into energy,” says Ratner. A recent study showed ALA contributed to approximately two kilograms of extra weight loss over the course of 10 weeks.
“It is recommended that it be taken on an empty stomach or two hours after eating as food intake may reduce its bioavailability,” says Ratner.