Supplement suggestions are based below on your particular goal, and then in order of popularity among Bodybuilding.com customers and reviews.
There are many types of fat loss aids; the top two categories are stimulant (thermogenic) fat burners, and non-stimulant fat burners. There are also several others such as carb blockers, thyroid hormone supporters, appetite suppressants, and cortisol products.
For those that find it difficult to sum up the energy required for a lengthy cardio session, a stimulant or thermogenic fat burner would be the best option. This is also for those that just want that extra bit of edge that a stimulant can provide.
Be sure to carefully read the ingredients, dosage, and directions accurately; and always being with the smallest dosage possible, to gauge your sensitivity to some of the common ingredients.
As always these should not be taken by those with heart problems, or those who are not otherwise healthy. They increase the metabolism by increasing the body's core temperature by a very small amount. Some also aid in vasodialation, claim to increase norepinephrine levels, spare muscle and curb the appetite. Common ingredients found in these types of products are caffeine, synephrine HCl, yohimbine HCl, as well as others.
The non-stimulant fat loss products work in a variety of ways. They often contain a blend of ingredients that do different things ~ Ingredients like L-Carnitine, which claims to aid in the increase of the transport of fatty acids into the mitochondria, increasing the conversion of fat into energy and could thus make exercise more productive and last longer.
Another common supplement along this line is EGCG (Green Tea Extract/Camellia sinesis leaf) and is known as an antioxidant; the supplement EGCG or epigallocatechin gallate may as well have very powerful antioxidant properties. In an American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study, it was mentioned that EGCG caused a marked increase in the amount of energy expended and the oxidation of fatty acids.
Then there are the thyroid supporters. These are known as guggulsterones. A Guggul is a tree that is native to India; it excretes a sticky resin from the trunk that comes from behind the bark. This resin has been used for hundreds of years for various medicinal reasons, and can be purified, and then processed into its useful Guggulsterones-Z and Guggulsterones-E components.
The thyroid produces a hormone called thyroxin also known as T4; It' a form of thyroid hormone that is not active and must first be converted (changed) into triiodothyronine or T3, this is the active hormone. When a person becomes calorie deficient (eats less than needed to survive) the body will react naturally by slowing down the change of T4 into T3 to preserve that person's current fat stores so they don't ultimately die; this results in an overall slowing of the metabolism as a whole and thus any fat loss will stop.
Those aforementioned Guggulsterones Z and E are able to support an already healthy thyroid function.
Another useful tool for fat loss are the aid of lignins (chemical compounds called a phytoestrogens) such as sesamin, EPA and DHA derived from pure fish oils EPA and DHA are greatly beneficial for cardiovascular health, supporting already healthy joints, healthy levels of blood-cholesterol and overall body fat reduction. It's suggested that when these three are combined the EPA and DHA work together with sesamin increasing the benefits and reaction to sesamin.
Some of the more obscure but effective fat loss aids are the carb blockers and others. Many of the above listed products already do a combination of these things, in addition their "label stated function". The items below are more specific in their actions upon the body.
Carb blockers claim to work by using ingredients that make it hard for the body to release enzymes that are responsible and needed to break down starchy foods; if starch isn't able to be broken down, the body cannot absorb it. So in the end, fewer calories from these starchy foods will be absorbed.
Cortisol is made naturally by the body. This in turn will signal the body to then store body fat and increase the appetite. Both are certainly unwanted when trying to shed those unwanted extra pounds.
Maintain/Gain Lean Muscle Mass
Perhaps you are more geared towards gaining some quality lean muscle mass this winter season and want to learn about a few products that can help you lift heavier, last longer, and spare that quality lean mass that you earn in the gym from catabolization (muscle wasting). Catabolization will occur with insufficient nutrients to maintain muscle, over exercising and not allowing the body enough time to heal, and stress.
The first thing needed when wanting to maintain or build quality muscle is protein. Protein is mandatory for the building of muscle; it is made of many smaller amino acids aka the 'building blocks of protein'. One cannot build muscle without it.
There are so many different types of proteins out there, but here is a brief summary of what you can find;
Whey protein is by far the most popular amongst gym-goers. Its best for after work outs when our bodies need protein the most, and it's absorbed very fast, usually within 30-40 minutes.
Casein is absorbed much more slowly from 2-7 hours. This is most oft used for a before bed protein as that is the longest time our bodies go without.
Egg protein digests more moderately (1.5-3 hours) so it's a good day time or meal time protein to give a controlled sustained release of amino acids to the body.
Soy protein is popular amongst vegetarians for the simple fact that it is the only protein entirely derived from plant life. Soy is an acceptable protein, but does not absorb as readily as whey or egg protein.
"What can a blend of proteins offer that a straight protein cannot? Different rates of absorption. This means you can take a blended protein any time to get quick, medium, and prolonged absorption of protein. ProM3 is one of the best in the blended proteins category."
"Weight gainers are high calorie protein products that are great for people who are looking to bulk up. If you are having trouble gaining weight, taking in extra high quality calories will usually do the trick."
Creatine is extremely popular amongst bodybuilders, athletes and gym lovers alike. It's extremely useful for increasing muscle mass. It is naturally occurring in the body but in very small amounts. In essence creatine increases ATP (the main energy source muscles use for explosive power) output in the body so that one can do more repetitions and more sets and also lift more weight.
It is recommended that creatine should be cycled on and off (example: 4 weeks on, 2 weeks off) to work the absolute best.
Testosterone is vital in building and maintaining muscle mass. There are some high quality test boosters available on Bodybuilding.com!
"L-Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid found in muscle tissue. It helps prevent muscle wasting and improves recovery. The better and quicker your recovery, the sooner and harder you can hit it in the gym!
Glutamine is safe to take year-round. Some of our favorites are listed below. Glutamine should not be taken at the same time as creatine because they compete for receptors to be absorbed. Take glutamine pre-workout and creatine post-workout." - Bodybuilding.com Product Description
Branched Chain Amino Acids
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are mentioned endlessly in the forums, in conversations about cutting and recovery, and for contest preparation. So what are they?
These are the essential amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine. As mentioned before, "Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. When you eat a protein food, it gets digested in the stomach and intestine into individual amino acids and short chains of amino acids that are small enough to be absorbed into the bloodstream. These amino acids have far reaching effects in the body from building and repairing tissues, to producing chemicals that enable our brains to function optimally."
The essential amino acids can't be made by the body alone. They must be obtained from complete protein foods (meats) or different combinations of vegetables as they are incomplete proteins. The nine essential amino acids are histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, tryptophan, and valine. The body is able to make non-essential amino acids from vitamins and other amino acids.
These essential BCAAs are very important for bodybuilders, athletes, and dieters because they metabolize inside the muscle, instead of inside the liver. Basically after digestion, once complete or partial proteins are broken back down into individual amino acids, these amino acids can now be used for energy, or to build new muscle.
The importance of a quality daily multivitamin and mineral supplement is often overlooked in many people's programs for fitness. The daily need for a high-potency multivitamin formula is paramount and may help ensure the presence of essential cofactors necessary for thousands of metabolic reactions.
Just a deficiency in one or more of the vitamins or minerals the body needs can lead to many chemical reactions not taking place. This can in turn slow down or hinder progress towards your ultimate goal of total fitness.
"It's recommended that one takes the multivitamin/mineral supplement first thing in the morning, and immediately after your weight training."
Last but certainly not least we come to the antioxidants. The media and supplement companies have hyped everyone up on the drastic need for antioxidants. What are they?
Antioxidants prevent the oxidation of cells; oxidation of cells comes from many sources, not all are readily known, but partly from what is known as 'free radicals'... but once oxidation occurs, the cell is considered damaged in a sense.
Free radicals cause many health problems and cause the cell to age more rapidly; antioxidants protect the cells from free radicals and oxidation!
This is not an end-all for the supplements you need to achieve your fitness, bodybuilding and health goals; this is simply a starting guide to all of the things you can do to improve your workout, your strength, stamina and energy; and to help you build your best possible physique. And Bodybuilding.com does this for you with the best possible prices available on the internet!
Anything you didn't find inside this article, can be easily located by doing a simple search at the Bodybuilding.com store, it has everything you ever wanted to know about supplementation, written by those who have used the products and have done the research for you! Happy health!