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The new year is here, and you know what that means. It’s time to start working toward new health and fitness goals.
Do you need to shed some of the quarantine weight you gained in 2020? Do you want to get stronger and put on some more muscle?
No matter what you want to accomplish, the right supplements, paired with a healthy diet and consistent workout routine, of course, can help you get there.
Listed below are our top 9 supplement recommendations to help you achieve your fitness goals.
1. Whey Protein Powder
Want to gain muscle? Protein powder can help. Want to lose body fat? Protein powder can help. Need help recovering from your workouts? Protein powder can help.
For just about any health or fitness goal, protein powder is a great supplement to include in your stack.
Most athletes and gym-goers see the best results from whey protein powder, specifically.
Whey is one of two proteins found in milk (casein is the other one). It is a fast-digesting protein that contains all nine essential amino acids (making it a complete protein source). It’s low in lactose, too, so many people who are sensitive to dairy can still consume and benefit from it.
There are a few different types of whey protein you can use to reach your goals, including the following:
- Whey protein isolate: Whey isolate is great for weight loss; it’s low in fat and carbs and contains the least amount of lactose
- Whey protein concentrate: Whey concentrate is higher in fat and carbs, so it may be better for people trying to gain weight or muscle mass
- Whey protein hydrolysate: Whey hydrolysate is partially digested and is the most easily absorbed; the fast absorption makes it great for high-level athletes
2. Plant-Based Protein Powder
For those who don’t want to consume animal products, as well as those who are extra-sensitive to dairy products, plant-based protein powder is a good alternative to whey.
Plant-based protein powder can be just as effective as whey protein. You can still gain muscle, support post-workout recovery, and satisfy cravings with a 100 percent vegan protein powder. The key is to look for a protein powder made with the right ingredients.
For best results, choose a plant-based protein powder that contains all nine essential amino acids: Leucine, Isoleucine, Valine, Histidine, Methionine, Tryptophan, Threonine, Phenylalanine, and Lysine.
To build muscle and support optimal recovery, you need all of these amino acids. Leucine, a branched-chain amino acid, is especially important. It plays a key role in muscle-protein synthesis.
3. Pre-Workout Powder
Some days, you need an extra kick in the glutes to get in the gym and earn your results. On days like this, a high-quality, stimulant-containing pre-workout powder is a must.
There are tons of pre-workout powders on the market today, but some of them are more effective than others. Here are some of the most important ingredients to look for when choosing a pre-workout supplement:
- Caffeine: A stimulant that increases alertness and boosts energy
- Beta-Alanine: A non-essential amino acid that improves athletic performance and causes the tingly feeling produced by a lot of pre-workout products
- Nitrosigine: A bonded arginine-silicate complex that increases blood flow, boosts energy, and improves focus
- L-Citrulline: A non-essential amino acid that reduces fatigue and improves blood flow
- Teacrine: A natural compound that increases energy and improves mood and concentration
4. Stimulant-Free Pre-Workout Powder
Are you sensitive to caffeine? Do you workout in the evening and have trouble falling asleep afterward? If so, a stimulant-free pre-workout powder can be a good alternative.
Stimulant-free pre-workout will give you the energy you need to power through your workout. However, it won’t leave you feeling overly alert or jittery later on, when you’re trying to wind down and go to bed.
Stimulant-free pre-workouts increase energy with the help of ingredients like nooLVL, which boosts blood flow and focus without caffeine or any other stimulants. Other non-stimulating ingredients, such as beta-alanine and Afromomum Melegueta can increase energy and focus, too.
L-Carnitine is a nutrient naturally produced in the liver from two amino acids: Methionine and Lysine.
L-Carnitine supports the transportation of fatty acids into the mitochondria of the cells so they can be used for energy.
This supplement may help you increase weight loss, improve brain function and reduce blood pressure associated with heart diseases. It may also help to increase stamina, improve exercise recovery and decrease muscle soreness.
If you’re trying to lose body fat, gain muscle, or just support your heart and brain health, L-Carnitine is a great supplement to add to your stack.
You can take it before training with a stimulant-free pre-workout or stimulant-containing pre-workout, or you can take it after your workout alongside whey protein. As long as you’re consistent with it, you’ll see great results.
There are three Branched-Chain Amino Acids (or BCAAs for short): Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine.
These amino acids play an important role in muscle growth, muscle maintenance, and post-workout muscle recovery. They can provide you with additional energy during your workouts, too.
If your goal for the new year is to build muscle, lose fat, or be more consistent with your workouts, BCAAs can help.
Look for a BCAA supplement that contains a 2:1:1 ratio of Leucine to Isoleucine and Valine. For example, if the supplement contains 7 total grams (0.24 ounces) of BCAAs, it should contain 3.5 grams (0.12 ounces) of Leucine and 1.75 grams (0.06 ounces) each of Isoleucine and Valine.
Consider using a BCAA supplement that contains electrolytes and added caffeine, too. This will help you to stay hydrated during your workout and have enough energy to push through even the toughest sessions.
For those who want to build muscle in 2021, Creatine is the perfect supplement to include in your routine.
Creatine has been shown to increase muscle mass and improve exercise performance in the gym. It provides your muscles with extra energy so you can push yourself to the limit and earn every last rep.
The body naturally produces creatine from two amino acids: Glycine and Arginine. When you supplement with additional Creatine, you increase your levels of phosphocreatine (the stored form of creatine).
Phosphocreatine helps the body to produce ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is a key energy source during heavy lifting sessions and high-intensity workouts.
2020 was a stressful year for most of us, and most people could benefit from including “get more sleep” on their list of 2021 health and fitness goals.
Increasing your sleep quantity and quality will help to improve your recovery and potential for gaining muscle. It’ll boost your energy and make it easier for you to lose body fat, too.
Magnesium is a great supplement to take in the evenings if you need help falling or staying asleep. Magnesium helps to increase levels of GABA (short for gamma-Aminobutyric acid), a neurotransmitter that promotes calmness and improves sleep.
You can take magnesium on its own, or you can use a sleep supplement that contains it along with other sleep-promoting ingredients, such as zinc and melatonin.
If you want to say goodbye to stubborn body fat in 2021, make sure you’re using a pre-workout supplement that contains Yohimbine.
The Yohimbe tree is an evergreen tree that grows in parts of Africa. It contains a compound called Yohimbine, which increases blood circulation and energy levels. It can help you to burn extra body fat, too.
Yohimbine supports fat loss because it blocks the Alpha-2 receptors, which are found in fat cells. Blocking these receptors allows for more efficient fat burning.
Yohimbine can suppress your appetite, too. This makes it easier for you to avoid giving in to cravings and stay in a calorie deficit when you’re trying to lose fat and improve your body composition.
Level Up Your 2021 Supplement Stack Today
No matter what your goals are for 2021, these supplements will help you level up in the gym and earn your results.