Everything You Need to Know About Supplements for Fitness
Are you trying to improve your fitness? You've probably thought about supplements, even if you're not using them already.
This aspect of training and nutrition can be confusing. There's a lot of conflicting information out there. It can be hard to work out what you really need - and what's just pseudoscience.
At Kitbox, we ensure we're providing the most effective supplements to our customers. As a result, we've learned quite a lot over the past few years.
Are you confused about which supplements you should have in your cupboards? Keep reading - this post is for you!
Fitness Supplements to Improve Performance
There are so many supplements that claim to improve performance - but we like to keep it simple. The truth is, if you're training and recovering well, most of them are unnecessary.
There are a few we definitely DO recommend, however. Here's why:
High Quality Protein Supplements
Protein is the most popular supplement, used by everyone from long-distance runners to bodybuilders. And with good reason.
Here are just a few reasons athletes use protein powders:
- To build muscle mass and strength,
- To repair muscle damage following a workout (or injury),
- To promote weight-loss, without impacting muscle mass.
Some research has even suggested protein supplementation can improve aerobic capacity.
When choosing a protein supplement, quality matters. Here are some things to think about:
- Quality of ingredients. How do they fit with the rest of your nutrition plan? Try to avoid artificial sweeteners, such as Sucralose.
- Extra ingredients. Don't buy a product that's packed with fillers.
- Bioavailability. Can your body easily digest the protein? You need something that can be used quickly, to get the most benefit.
- Quantity of Protein. How much protein do you get per serving? Does this fit with your requirements?
- Taste and Consistency. Don't forget about the taste... Nobody wants a lumpy shake that tastes like feet!
We have a small range of protein supplements on our website - putting quality first. Our collection includes:
Xendurance Protein: a unique blend of whey protein, casein, BCAAs and essential electrolytes. This protein supplement has been produced using cold process filtration, enabling maximum bio-availability.
PurePharma PR3: three supplements in one, PR3 combines rice protein, collagen and coconut water to help your muscles and ligaments recover, as well as replenishing lost electrolytes.
Vivo Life Peform: raw plant protein, designed to provide everything you need to recover faster, train harder and perform your very best - naturally. It contains a high-performance blend of plant proteins and BCAAs, as well as a few added extras - such as digestive enzymes for faster absorption post-WOD.
Amino Acids (BCAAs)
To push your performance even further, consider adding some BCAAs to your supplement cupboard.
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are essential amino acids. Our body needs them, regardless of how much we exercise. When you train regularly, it's thought the requirement for BCAAs increases. We must get them from our diet, as the body cannot produce them.
There are many advantages associated with amino acids, including:
- Improved muscle recovery (and growth) post-workout,
- Reduced fatigue (both physical and mental) during your workout,
- Immune system support.
For more BCAA benefits, check out this article.
You can see our range of BCAA supplements here.
Pre-workout supplements are great if you need a little boost before a tough WOD. They aren't essential, but can help you maximise potential results from your training.
If you do decide to use pre-workout supplements, do your research. Just like protein, it's important to find a high-quality formula.
Each ingredient should have a purpose - and it's best to find one that isn't just pumped full of artificial stimulants.
Our pre-workout supplements have been selected as they each offer something a little different. From the simple-but-effective Beta Alanine from Blonyx, to the all-natural pre-workout coffee supplement from TrueStart.
Learn more about our range of pre-workouts below:
Fitness Supplements for Health and Recovery
If you want to perform your best in the box, you also need to keep your body healthy. If you don't, you'll never reach your peak.
A healthy body recovers faster, builds muscle efficiently, and keeps you going for longer during each WOD.
Here are the supplements we recommend to keep your body in top condition, inside and out:
High Quality Fish Oils
The health benefits of fish oils are well known. Evidence suggests they can (amongst many other things):
- Help protect against a wide variety of illness, from Alzheimer's to heart disease,
- Reduce inflammation within the body,
- Prevent mood disorders, such as depression,
- Improve bone health.
As well as keeping you healthy, there are plenty of benefits that come with using fish oils for fitness:
Research has linked the anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 to a reduction in DOMS. If you regularly get sore following a WOD, fish oils could help get you back in the box faster.
If you're looking to gain muscle, or reduce fat, fish oils might help here too. In a study published in the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, Couet et al. (1997) found that dietary fish oil significantly reduced body fat mass, when compared with the placebo group.
PurePharma's O3 is our favourite omega-3 supplement - containing premium quality, IFOS-certified fish oils.. With a small product range, PurePharma focus on the key deficiencies experienced within the typical Western diet - helping your body get everything it needs to recover fast and strong.
Vitamin D has received a lot of media attention over the past year. According to Public Health England, more than one in 5 people are deficient in this important nutrient.
Vitamin D has been linked to everything from healthy bones, to Alzheimer's disease.
Like fish oils, Vitamin D is thought to reduce inflammation within the body, making it a powerful recovery aid. It keeps your bones strong, boosts the immune system, and contribues to good cardiovascular health.
Magnesium (or ZMA)
It's not just Vitamin D we struggle to get from our everyday diet. Magnesium deficiency is another common problem - with some sources suggesting as much as 60% of the population could be affected.
Magnesium supplements, or ZMAs (which also contain zinc and Vitamin B6), are popular within weightlifting circles.
For many, it's a key recovery supplement, improving the quality of sleep, reducing fatigue, and keeping your electrolytes balanced. Just watch out for the weird dreams!
To learn more about supplements to keep you healthy, both inside and outside the box, check out the products below: