Have you made a decision to lose weight? Have you tried numerous diets? Have you committed to a regular exercise program? Are you in good health but are still unable to shed those unwanted pounds?
With your motivation waning, have you wondered if there’s something – anything – else you can do to help you with your exercise program and to lose weight?
Exercise supplements may be the answer.
But you may wonder whether they are safe. And if you’re in good health now, could exercise supplements create potential health problems down the road?
It’s true that some supplements have safety issues. For instance, combining certain types of diet pills with an unhealthy eating plan can cause serious health complications.
But many exercise supplements are indeed safe, providing you use them in conjunction with a regular exercise program and a healthy diet.
Sam Omidi is a kinesiologist, human nutrition specialist, personal trainer and author of Secrets of the Ripped Man. His website Weight Loss and Training offers weight loss motivation tips and discusses the best exercise supplements for weight loss and good health. Some of Omidi’s supplement recommendations include: whey protein powder, multi-vitamins, creatine, energy drinks, omega-3s, glutamine and antioxidants.
Whey Protein Powder: According to wheyproteinpowders.org, high quality whey protein powder is a “complete protein” because it contains all the essential amino acids that our body needs for good health. It also boosts the immune system and will help you lose weight, as it is a superior protein for lean muscle growth and for losing body fat. It is also ideal for faster muscle recovery and post-workout restoration and is easily digestible for people of all ages.
Multi-Vitamins: Diets which include fruits, vegetables, lean meats and beans normally provide enough minerals and vitamins for good health. But when you engage in strenuous exercise to lose weight, your body may need more vitamins and minerals to recover. A multi-vitamin supplement could help.
Creatine: Creatine is a combination of three amino acids. Once ingested, it enters your bloodstream and is stored in your muscles. Creatine.ca lists these exercise benefits of creatine supplementation: accelerated muscle gains, increased performance when performing exercises such as sprinting or weight lifting, increased lean muscle mass, enhanced agility and improved strength.
Energy & Sports Drinks: According to eatrightontario.ca, most energy drinks are classified as supplements and fall under Canada’s Natural Health Product (NHP) regulations. Although water is your best choice for hydration, sports drinks may be better for long or intense exercise sessions because they contain specific amounts of sugar and salts, such as sodium and potassium. The sugar allows you to exercise longer and harder, while the salts help to replace some of the nutrients you lose when you sweat. Energy drinks tend to be higher in sugar than sports drinks, so they can upset your stomach and may be more difficult to absorb during exercise.
Omega-3s: Omega-3s are essential fatty acids that are necessary for good health. They play a crucial role in brain function, normal growth and development and may reduce the risk of heart disease. But our bodies can’t create omega-3s, so we have to get them from food or supplements. Omega-3s are found in salmon, tuna, halibut, algae, krill, as well as in some plants and nut oils. The FDA says omega-3 dietary supplements from fish are “generally recognized as safe” and do not appear to contain mercury, pesticides or PCBs that have contaminated some species of fish. If you are taking blood thinners or drugs for high blood pressure, speak to your doctor before taking a fish oil supplement.
Glutamine: Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in your body, but after an intense exercise session to lose weight, your body may need a glutamine supplement. Glutamine helps your immune system function and is necessary for digestion, normal brain function and good health.
Antioxidants: Antioxidants protect cells from damage caused by unstable molecules known as free radicals. Research has shown that antioxidants help prevent the free radical damage that is associated with cancer. However, results from recent clinical trials have inconsistent conclusions. For good health, commonly used antioxidant supplements include vitamins C and E, selenium and beta-carotene.
As you can see, when it comes to exercise supplements to lose weight and for good health, you have a lot to choose from. See your doctor if you need help deciding what’s best for you.