10/03/2016 04:37 GMT | Updated 10/03/2017 05:12 GMT

A Beginner's Guide to Supplements

When you start taking your training to the next level, it can be confusing knowing which supplements to incorporate into your diet, which ones will work harmoniously with your exercise and training goals, how and why they work.

A big problem is that we are bombarded with supplement advertising. Everywhere we look there are products promising the world - 'just take one scoop or 1 tablet per day' - You've seen them! The truth is, anything that is promising something this spectacular is often over-hyping the miraculous formula. Having said this, supplements do help you to achieve results (the keyword is help) but the limiting factor to getting into shape will rarely be supplements; it is nearly always training and food related.

Before considering supplements it's worth making sure your training and nutrition are on point. The supplement aspect should be brought in to reinforce your training and nutrition, never to replace it.

There are millions of different supplements on the market and each of these can be associated with separate needs and goals. Here are some tips to get you started.

Different products for different goals

To show how supplements are GOAL SPECIFIC we can look at these three imaginary people: Gary is looking to regulate blood sugar so to reduce sugar cravings he can use chromium and cinnamon. Susan is aiming to improve fat metabolism to drop some body fat. She could use L-Carnitine. Tim is looking to naturally boost his testosterone levels so to help build muscle he could use tribulis or d-aspartic acid.

You can see here how there is a product for many different scenarios. These are all products I use with clients and they do work very well. The end result however still comes down to effective training and nutrition. Gary still needs to reduce the sugar in his diet to control his blood sugar. Susan still needs to be training with weights and cardio, and be in a calorie deficit to drop body fat. Tim still needs to effectively stimulate his muscles to grow and to be in a calorie surplus with adequate protein to build muscle.

3 products you should get to know

These three products work well across many goals and should be considered to help achieve a variety of goals.


The branched chain amino acids, leucine, isoleucine, and valine are essential to human nutrition. It is very well established that branched-chain amino acids stimulate protein synthesis; even to a greater extent than a normal protein by itself. They may also extend life and combat age-promoting cellular injury perhaps through BCAAs' ability to boost mitochondria (the powerhouse of the cell).

2) Vitamin D

Vitamin D is often overlooked and nearly always under-consumed. It is known as the sunshine vitamin but unfortunately most of us don't get anywhere near enough of it. This nutrient plays a major role in your overall health and performance for reaching fitness goals. It can improve muscle function, improve cardiovascular health and reduce the chances of cancer and cardiovascular disease.

3) L-Carnitine

L-Carnitine is synthesized in the body from the amino acids lysine and methionine.

Regardless of what your fitness goals are, losing fat, gaining muscle or boosting fitness, l-carnitine will help support you. As well as supporting body composition goals it will also help boost immune system as it is an antioxidant and improve brain function. Your chances of success for any goal can increase with this in your supplement arsenal.

All of these reasons are why these are my top 3 supplement recommendations for people new to supplements. As you become more confident, you can begin to integrate more but, to begin with, these are a great place to start.

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