So you’re just starting out and are stumped about which you should choose and what will give you the best results. First of all, I always advise anyone who asks this question to make sure their training and diet are spot-on. If you’re not getting results with those, then there’s no point looking to supplements for a solution – they can enhance results, but aren’t a magic pill that will let you sit on the couch, eat what you like and still end up lean and ripped.
So, what SHOULD you try when it comes to supplements? My two personal favourites are L-glutamine and Vitamin C. You also should add a good quality whey protein, and depending on your goals, you might add various other products. But those are the two I would begin with and the ones that I base my own supplementation regime around.
What’s so good about them? Well, they may lack the glamour and expensive marketing campaigns of other bodybuilding supplements, but here’s the low-down:
Glutamine is an amino acid (basically a protein component) that’s found naturally in meat and dairy products. We also manufacture a certain amount ourselves. Our bodies use it for many things, including muscle repair and recovery, digestive health and for immune system function. L-glutamine will help your muscles recover from your workouts more quickly, and also may ease the inevitable post-exercise soreness.
As well, many people find when they begin an intense exercise program, that a few weeks in they seem to pick up every bug around. This is partly because their bodies are using their available supplies of L-Glutamine to repair muscle tissue, leaving nothing much for immune system function. Their immune system starts to struggle and they’re unable to fight off minor illnesses. Supplementing with L-Glutamine ensures that you have enough to go around and gives you a better chance of staying healthy.
It's also known to reduce healing time after surgery or injury. So, just because you’re banned from the gym while you recover, doesn’t mean you should stop supplementing with L-glutamine – you may need it more than ever.
Apart from its known benefits as an antioxidant and assisting with a healthy immune system, vitamin C has many other benefits, including:
Helping to protect fat-soluble vitamins and fatty acids from oxidization
Being vital to the production of collagen – something we need to build and maintain skin, cartilage, joints and blood vessels
It’s essential for antibody production
It’s a natural antihistamine.
And importantly, adequate Vitamin C is essential for our bodies to synthesize L-glutamine. Plus they work together to make your immune system super-strong.
All of which is why glutamine and Vitamin C are my favourite supplements, and the ones I recommend strongly to anyone who trains hard, no matter what their goals.