The Best Supplements For Your Goals
From boosting cardio performance and accelerating strength to recharging energy, these ingredients - and the supplements you can find them in - help you get the results you want.
To Boost Energy
When it comes to energy, many people think of the jolt they get from a stimulant like caffeine in coffee or a pre-workout product like 1MR. And while we all love that pick-me-up, as well as the fat-burning benefits of stimulants, the type of energy we're talking about here is the long-lasting, calm variety.
Use the right supplements to keep you alert and focused, but calm and cool at the same time.
Green tea is suggested for its possible ability to enhance fat burning. This is due to the catechins, particularly epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), found in the tea leaves.
This catechin inhibits an enzyme that normally breaks down norepinephrine, which is a neurotransmitter and a hormone related to adrenaline that speeds up processes in the body, providing a mild stimulant effect.
However, green tea also contains the amino acid theanine. Theanine enhances relaxation and provides a calming effect.
When combined with the effects of the EGCG and the small amounts of caffeine in green tea, this has been suggested to provide a calm energy boost and promote brain function.
Recommended Dosage: Take about 500mg of green tea extract standardized for EGCG 2-to-3 times per day to keep energy levels constant.
This supplement is a combination of the amino acid citrulline and malic acid (malate). Clinical studies suggest that some subjects taking citrulline malate report less fatigue and experience an increase in energy production in the body by about 35%.
Recommended Dosage: Take 1-3g of citrulline malate 2-to-3 times per day for steady energy.
This coenzyme assists reactions in the body that produce energy. So having ample amounts of it is critical for maintaining energy levels.
Japanese researchers surmised that subjects supplementing with 300mg of CoQ10 per day for eight days experienced supported energy levels during exercise and promoted recovery between bouts of exercise.
Recommended Dosage: Take 200-300mg of CoQ10 with breakfast every day to help support your body's production of the energy it needs.
To Build Strength
Muscle strength is important for every woman. It enhances every aspect of life, whether it's in the gym, playing sports, or doing everyday activities.
Of course, every Hers reader should know by now that they need whey protein before weight workouts for optimal performance and results.
Here are a few additional supplements you should also consider taking before workouts to help bolster and promote your muscle strength.
Creatine's main mode of action is to promote the quick energy your muscles need during anaerobic exercise like weightlifting to allow them to pump out a few more reps. This helps you to be stronger in the gym.
Worried about getting bloated with creatine? While only a small percentage of people experience this possible side effect, newer forms like creatine hydrochloride (Con-Crēt) and Kre-Alkalyn provide all of the benefits with none of the bloat.
Recommended Dosage: Take 1.5-5.0g of creatine, depending on the form, 30 minutes before and again right after workouts.
This amino acid is not used as a building block for muscle protein, but it is one of the most critical amino acids for muscle strength.
In the muscle cells, it combines with the amino acid histidine to form carnosine. Having more carnosine in muscle cells allows them to contract with more force and helps reduce fatigue.
Research suggests that athletes supplementing with beta-alanine may promote muscle strength and power more than those not using it.
Recommended Dosage: Take 1.5-3g of beta-alanine before and after workouts.
Scientifically known as trimethylglycine, betaine is an important amino acid because it is a methyl donor.
We'll spare you the biochemistry lesson on what methyl units are, but we will tell you that they're very important for supporting health and performance.
Research suggests that some athletes taking betaine may experience an up to 25% increase in muscle strength.
Recommended Dosage: Take about 1,000-3,000mg of betaine, as trimethylglycine, betaine anhydrous, or betaine monohydrate before and after workouts.
This is another amino acid that is not used as a protein building block, but it does perform important functions in the muscle that promote greater muscle strength and endurance.
Research suggests that muscles with lower taurine levels contract with less force than those with high levels.
Recommended Dosage: Take 1-3g of taurine 30 minutes before workouts.
To Improve Cardio
Carnitine is a critical component of the complex transporting system that brings fat into the mitochondria, where it is burned for fuel.
Several studies surmise that supplementing with carnitine supports the body in burning fat both at rest and during exercise. This is not only great for helping decrease body fat, but it also supports muscle endurance, as numerous research studies suggest.
This effect is further enhanced when taking carnitine along with caffeine.
Recommended Dosage: Take 1-3g of carnitine in the form of L-carnitine, L-carnitine L-tartrate, or acetyl-L-carnitine, 30-60 minutes before cardio workouts.
When it's tough to get motivated for some intense cardio a shot of caffeine can give you the gusto you need to bust out a tough session of HIIT or a long run. But the real reason we take a dose of caffeine before workouts is because it enhances the amount of fat you burn during the workout and your endurance, as research suggests.
Caffeine has been surmised to increase the amount of fat you burn during workouts. This happens because caffeine binds to fat cells. When it does this, it helps support the release of fat from the fat cells.
During exercise, this effect is enhanced and the increased energy demand of the workout burns up the freed-up fat for good. Not only does this help you lose body fat, but it also increases your endurance, as the increased fat burning spares critical muscle glycogen levels.
Recommended Dosage: Take 100-400mg of caffeine, depending on your tolerance, about 30-60 minutes before cardio.
This amino acid was once quite popular with bodybuilders. That's because it provides so many benefits that range from aiding muscle building to supporting the immune system. But we suggest you take it before cardio for two other major reasons - better endurance and greater fat loss.
Glutamine can blunt fatigue and increase endurance by helping to buffer acid levels that build up during exercise. In two separate studies conducted at Louisiana State University, researchers surmised that a dose of only 2 grams of glutamine helped support levels of the body's natural buffer bicarbonate over a 90-minute period.
Research also shows that taking glutamine 30 minutes before aerobic exercise increases the number of calories burned during that workout.
Recommended Dosage: Take 2-5g of glutamine 30-60 minutes before workouts.
This plant has a history of use dating back to the ancient Greeks. It is considered a stimulant because it may support the body's resistance to a variety of chemical, biological, and physical stressors.
Because intense exercise is one such physical stress, rhodiola may help your body better adapt to it. Research suggests that rhodiola may act as an antioxidant in the body and promote energy levels in muscle cells, as well as support the amount of oxygen carried in the blood to exercising muscles, promoting greater fat burning.
All of these benefits have been suggested to promote improved endurance as well.
Recommended Dosage: Take 300-1,800mg of rhodiola 30-60 minutes before exercise.
- Follow This Discussion by:
Betaine - I've never heard of it, but it sounds good for increasing strength...now is it pronounced "bay-tuh-een"
or "beh-tane"? The first pronunciation sounds right to me because it's consistent with all of the other "een" pronunciations (i.e. taurine, glutamine, caffeine)
She looks like Tifa from FFVII [/geek]
Gaining muscle doesn't seem to be an issue for me, but I wish there were a section on weight loss supplements. My budget's tight, so I'm trying to gather a general consensus from multiple articles to guide my purchase.