Have you considered sport nutrition supplements to help your transformation?
Now that you are following the nutrition program here @ New Leaner You, you should be getting most of what you need from the food you are eating. However, if you are like most people, there aren't enough hours in the day for you to eat right 100% of the time. Also, there are times when you just need more than your food can provide. In addition, your body is going through some huge changes (along with your lifestyle) and you need to give your body all the support that you can. That is where good quality sport nutrition supplements can help.
There are an almost limited variety of supplements that you can purchase. Almost all of them have a place in the nutrition plan for various people. Some of them are really focused on competitive body builders. The ones I will discuss on this page are targeted, in my opinion, to those of us just trying to get our bodies in the kind of physical condition that we can be proud of. Body builders use them, too. That tells me they are effective. Several of them have helped me, that is for sure.
As you can see from this picture, there a lot of supplements available. It can be pretty intimidating to walk into the local sports nutrition store and know what to buy. Plus, it is easy to over-pay for them, too. I've been using sport nutrition supplements for many years and have tried quite a few. Some helped me, some did not. However, the 5 that I want to discuss (plus one that is relatively new) are universally supported as effective in growing lean muscle. The key is to find the right manufacturer for you. I will write a full page on each of these, but use this summary to get started. These are in my personal order of importance.
1. Protein - Protein is the building block of lean muscle. That is what you are doing with your strength training program. If you buy only one supplement, this is what you must have. Now there are a lot of different types of protein and different formats you buy. There is whey (quick digesting, high bio-availability), casein (slower digesting), soy, egg and blended proteins. They come as powders, ready-to-drink cartons and bars. The latter 2 are very handy for traveling. I recommend the powders as my first choice. Just mix them in a shaker bottle with water, skim milk or juice as meal 2 or 4 and immediately after a workout (use whey for this one). You can also use it to get a little more protein with any meal. Remember, you need 1 gram of protein per pound of targeted body weight each day.
2. Multi-vitamins - I could really consider this supplement as "1a" because it is very unlikely that whole foods will give you all the vitamins your changing body will need. Now, don't just go out and buy a cheap drug/grocery store brand. Get a gender-specific formula from a reputable sports nutrition company. These usually recommend more than one dose per day. We use Opti-men and Opti-women from Optimum Nutrition in our home.
The order of importance of the next 3 sport nutrition supplements is debatable, but the need for them is not. I know we all have budgets, so it is often necessary to pick and choose within the budget. Again, based on your goal of weight loss, I have them prioritized.
3. L-Carnitine - Carnitine is an amino acid that is present in all of our bodies. It dissipates with age, as most of them do. The benefit of supplementing with Carnitine is that it helps your body do a more efficient job of turning food and stored fat into energy. This leads to more efficient fat reduction, muscle growth and strength improvements. Since you will be lifting more weight, you should see an increase in bone density, too. Carnitine is also very prevalent in beef and dairy products.
4. L-Glutamine - Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in our bodies; found primarily in our skeletal muscles. It is naturally produced by our bodies and, among other things, is primarily responsible for effective immune, digestive and brain systems. When we engage in intense exercise (or just live a stressful life), we use up our glutamine stores quickly. Using this supplement will get your glutamine back into balance in your body. It is also thought to help reduce post-workout soreness and speed recovery, due to it's impact on digestion and immunity. Good quality protein/meal replacement powders often will include glutamine and its precursors. It's a good way to get 2-for-1 when spending your hard earned money.
5. Creatine - Creatine is an organic acid that occurs naturally in our bodies and helps to supply energy to all cells in the body. Obviously, this includes muscle cells. Creatine helps to hydrate your muscles cells which helps improve their efficiency and, therefor, their rate of growth. Creatine does not magically make you stronger. Work is still required; it just makes your workouts more effective. You will notice that your muscles feel fuller when using creatine in your sport nutrition supplement regimen. There has been a ton of research on creatine, as it has been used for many years by athletes world-wide. The latest research points to creatine HCL as the most effective version with very little stomach distress (some have reported that creatine is hard on their stomachs. Most of the time, they aren't staying properly hydrated, but you know better than to do that).
I mentioned above that I would discuss a relatively new sport nutrition supplement. That product is citrulline. Like other amino acids, citrulline is found naturally in the body. It can also be found in foods like watermelon.
L-citrulline has been found to play a major roll in the body's creation and regulation of nitric oxide (NO). A group of doctors discovered nitric oxide (for which they won a Nobel Prize) and found that it helped to relax the muscles around our blood vessels to improve blood flow and, possibly, reduce blood pressure.
We cannot just take an NO pill, so the initial recommendation was to supplement our diets with L-arginine, which helps produce NO in our bodies. The use of arginine was underwhelming. This was due to the liver eliminating some of the arginine. Cirtulline, however, does not experience this elimination. Now it has been determined that supplementing with citrulline is much more effective in producing both L-arginine and NO in the body.
Why is this good for you? Dilated blood vessels resulting from NO production will deliver more nutrients to your muscles. This will allow them to grow more efficiently and burn more fat; exactly what you are trying to accomplish.
I have just purchased some L-citrulline. When I have used it for a while, I will share my results.
Using sport nutrition supplements can definitely help speed up your progress and help keep what all that hard work has helped you earn. Try different brands and formulas to see what works for you. I will report on separate pages more details on all 6 of the supplements.