Unfortunately, most supplements don’t work. You see, congress approved the Dietary Supplement Health And Education act in 1994 which essentially deregulated the industry. As a result, the FDA has a very loose grip on the supplement industry.
Pretty much anyone can bottle almost anything and sell it as a supplement.
So here are the bare essentials of supplementation for sexy, sculpted and toned arms:
1. Caffeine: Of all the safe supplements you can take, this will have the most immediate and powerful impact. It does a great job at mobilizing fatty acids, reducing fatigue, increasing focus, increasing coordination and increasing power output. This all happens via an enhanced secretion of stress hormones from your adrenals.
Now keep in mind that temporarily increasing stress hormone before a workout is NOT unhealthy. I recommend having a little caffeine in tablet form 45-60 minutes before working out.
2. Whey protein: Although not absolutely necessary, it helps get much needed protein to your active tissues immediately after your workout. You see, immediately after you exercise, your core temperature is so high that it blunts the hunger drive. Yet, this is a time when you need nutrients ASAP.
Fortunately, whey protein is the fastest digestion source of protein you can take. However, immediately after your workout is the ONLY time of day when you want fast digestion!
3. Dextrose: Similar to whey protein, it’s a great tool for getting much needed carbohydrates back into your muscles immediately after exercise. And it’s important to note that carbohydrates are actually more important for exercise recovery than protein.
Even more important is that your active tissues (including muscle) become less and less responsive to carbohydrates as time passes after your workout. So get that nutrition into your body ASAP!
4. Fish oil: You should only supplement with fish oil if you aren’t getting omega-3’s in your diet. If you are eating fish, walnuts and/or flax seeds, you do not need to supplement here. Otherwise, aim for 1 gram of DHA per day. And more is not better here because if you have too much fish oil, you can damage your heart.
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to see fitness “experts” recommending 20-30 grams of fish oil per day!
5. A Multivitamin: Consumption of multivitamin supplements is recommended by Harvard University and has been shown to reduce chronic disease. They key here is to not over-supplement with exorbitant amounts of nutrients. Don’t take multivitamins with more than 100% daily value of anything.
In fact, if you over-supplement with Calcium (a popular supplement among women), you are at increased risk for kidney stones! As always, moderation is key.
The majority of supplements don’t work, but that doesn’t mean you should completely discount all of them either. Keep in mind that in most cases whole food will always be far superior than supplements. Nevertheless, you should consider incorporating the above supplements into your diet.