Top Effective and Safe Supplements For Beginners

The basics are all you need to see results as a beginner!

If you’re new to training then it’s completely normal to be curious about which supplements you can benefit from. And there are some really safe and effective options with plenty of research behind them.

Now, any performance aids should only be taken by healthy individuals who have educated themselves on the different ingredients contained in many over the counter supplements. But, we’ve listed as much information about each ingredient as possible.

Our list of beginner supplements range from protein, amino acids, fish oil, a pre-workout with a decent caffeine dose, and even creatine.

But we can’t stress enough how important it is to start small. With some compounds, you must build yourself up to using a full dose to prevent any kind of unpleasant side effects; especially where the caffeine in the pre-workout and the creatine monohydrate are concerned.

But these products are safe for most people when used properly; plus, there are a lot of great performance and aesthetic benefits…

1. Whey Protein – Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard

Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Whey Protein Powder, Double Rich Chocolate, 5 Pound

 

Whey protein supplementation is very beneficial for those looking to meet their daily recommended intake. And Optimum Nutrition is one of the best brands for protein products and other popular supplements. ON products generally taste good, mix well, and do not cause unwanted side effects for the vast majority of users. Plus, there are so many flavors to choose from.

Beginners can safely use this nutritional aid and the benefits have been proven through many studies.

Now, protein is essential for building and repairing muscle tissue. Without it, you won’t see maximum muscle gains and your hard work will be somewhat in vain. But the amount of protein needed will vary based on the individual. Health, goals, and weight are all determining factors.

And as far as how much protein is needed per day… well, there’s no one-size-fits-all formula. But a recent study found that 1.6 g/kg/day spread out over 0.4 g/kg/meal for a minimum of four meals per day is ideal for muscle-building purposes. (1)

Whey is a fast-acting protein source which is ideal after training but you can drink a shake any time of the day to repair those broken down muscle tissues after an intense training session.

But one study found that whey has a greater initial benefit for protein synthesis than a slower-digesting source like casein. (2, 3)

Make sure to always look for quality from reputable brands, like Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey; which we think is very deserving of a recommendation.

A serving of ON Gold Standard whey contains about 24 grams of protein, 120 calories, 1g of fat, 3g carbs, and 1g of sugar.

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2. Branched-Chain Amino Acids – ALLMAX Nutrition AminoCore

ALLMAX Nutrition Aminocore BCAAs, 100% Pure 45:30:25 Ratio, Blue Raspberry, 462 g

 

ALLMAX Nutrition AminoCore is one of the better BCAA products with a 9:6:5 ratio of high-quality aminos. It’s made with INSTCLEAR technology to improve Mixability and a serving contains 8,180mg of branched-chain amino acids.

A serving has 8,180mg of branched-chain amino acids, 100% of vitamins B3, B6, B9, and B12 for increased metabolic energy, plus natural and artificial flavors.

Branched-chain amino acids or BCAAS are the building blocks of protein. Therefore, they’re an essential part of the muscle-building process.

Now, the three BCAAS are leucine, isoleucine, and valine, which make up three out of the nine essential amino acids. The name comes from their structure and they’re found in food sources like meat, dairy, eggs.

But Leucine is the most prominent of the BCAAS and it’s also the most important for protein synthesis. And studies have found that BCAAS in general, do have somewhat of an anabolic effect in human muscle. (4, 5)

Also, more studies show promise for the reduction of muscle soreness, muscle breakdown, and exercise fatigue when supplementing with BCAAS. (6, 7, 8)

ALLMAX AminoCore is one of the best amino supplements you can get your hands on!

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3. Pre-Workout Supplements – Citadel Nutrition Tier 1 Plus Pre-workout + Performance

Tier 1 Plus Preworkout / Performance Supplement (387g)

 

Pre-workouts are designed to give you energy and focus so that you can crush any workout. They usually consist of a healthy caffeine dose, plus other herbal ingredients which are supposed to help you perform better.

Tier 1 Plus has 5 grams of Creapure creatine which is a pure monohydrate created by AlzChem Trostberg GmbH in Germany. Creatine is naturally-occurring in the muscles (Most abundant), liver, pancreas, and brain. And its purpose is to create energy for muscle contractions through increasing adenosine triphosphate (ATP) stores.

But creatine supplements are one of the most proven performance and muscle-building aids with many studies to back up the efficacy for muscle, strength, and fat loss benefits. So, for maximum benefit, taking a monohydrate powder is recommended for healthy individuals engaged in a weight training routine. (9)

A serving contains 3.2g of Carnosyn beta-alanine which research shows to improve exercise performance in doses of 4-6g per day for 4 weeks. The only serious side effects noticed is a tingling sensation which is quite common but nothing to be concerned about. (10)

And it actually improves neuromuscular fatigue, but more so in older individuals.

There’s also 3g of L-tyrosine which is an amino acid that may improve mental alertness and 300mg of Caffeine anhydrous which is a stimulant that increases energy and focus. (11)

Note: It’s very important that you start out small with any pre-workout if you haven’t built up a respectable caffeine tolerance. Not adhering to these precautions can cause some severe side effects. Start with less than half of  recommended dose if you don’t consume caffeine regularly. Then, do this for a few days before slowly working your way up.

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4. Post-Workout – Jacked Factory Growth Surge

Growth Surge Post Workout Muscle Builder with Creatine, Betaine, L-Carnitine L-Tartrate - Daily Muscle Building & Recovery Supplement - 30 Servings, SWOLEBERRY Flavor

 

Post-workout recovery is an important part of making consistent gains. And growth surge by Jacked Factory contains some pretty decent supplements for helping the process along.

In 1 scoop, there are 3 grams of creatine which we discussed the benefits of previously. But another interesting ingredient is the betaine anhydrous (2.5g).

One study where twenty-three subjects were assigned to either a betaine or a placebo group, found that betaine improved arm size, body composition, power and bench press capacity. (12)

2g of L-carnitine-L-tartrate is also added and research has shown this substance to have promising effects on hormones which can help to mediate recovery post-workout. (13)

And there’s 5mg of Bioperine (Black pepper fruit extract) which helps to increase the bioavailability of nutritional compounds.

So, all-in-all, Growth Surge should give you a post-workout boost with several proven compounds.

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5. Casein Protein – Apollon Nutrition 50/50 Formula-X

Apollon Nutrition 50/50 Formula-X | Whey Isolate and Casein Protein | 5 lb (Dutch Chocolate)

 

Casein is a slower-digesting protein compared to whey. But this 50/50 product contains 24 grams of both whey isolate and casein, so you can get the best of both worlds.

Research shows casein to be beneficial for protein synthesis for a prolonged duration. And that’s why it’s common for people to have a casein shake before bed due to the slow-release of the protein.

While whey isolate is obviously better for short-term protein synthesis. And isolate is a bit better for those who might have stomach issues with regular whey concentrate due to the additional filtration process. Plus, it contains higher protein content, although it usually comes with a slightly higher price tag. (2)

There are absolutely no fillers, added sugars, or preservatives in 50/50 Formula-X which is good news for the more health-conscious individuals.

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6. Omega 3 Fish Oils – Omega Jym

Omega JYM Fish Oil Capsules - Omega 3 Fatty acids, EPA, DHA and DPA | JYM Supplement Science | Omega, 120 Count

 

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients which the body does not produce. So, you must supplement or get enough through food sources. (14)

But many people do not eat enough fish, and/or plant-based fatty acids to meet the daily recommended Omega-3 intake. We need these fatty acids for heart health and they’re essential for cell membrane function, inflammation, and even genetic function. (14)

Omega Jym supplies 750mg of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 750mg of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) fatty acids; which are the most essential. And there’s 150mg of docosapentaenoic (DPA) as well.

Now, fish sources contain (EPA) and (DHA), while plant sources contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). But conversion from ALA to EPA and DHA is very small. So, you’d need a lot more ALA to effectively convert or you could take fish oil for the omega-3s.  (15, 16)

The American Heart Association recommends 0.5-1.0 grams per day of EPA and DHA. So it’s important to remain within this daily amount for optimum health benefits. (17)

Omega Jym is a quality fish oil supplement which will supply you fatty acid needs and that’s why we recommend it!

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Finally…

We hope you learned enough to make an educated decision when it comes to choosing your supplements. The products listed are effective with science to back up many of the ingredients. But don’t expect huge gains in a short period of time either. The permanent changes will be subtle, but that’s ok because progress takes time.

Beginners new to training or lifting will experience gains rather quickly with proper training and nutrition. But quality supplements can go a long way in helping you to maximize your fullest potential.

So, be safe with your supplementation by taking necessary precautions, and most of all… stay consistent with your fitness regime.

References:

 

1-Schoenfeld, Brad Jon; Aragon, Alan Albert (February 27, 2018). “How much protein can the body use in a single meal for muscle-building? Implications for daily protein distribution”. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 15. doi:10.1186/s12970-018-0215-1. ISSN 1550-2783. PMC 5828430. PMID 29497353.

2-Hoffman, Jay R.; Falvo, Michael J. (September 1, 2004). “Protein – Which is Best?”. Journal of Sports Science & Medicine. 3 (3): 118–130. ISSN 1303-2968. PMC 3905294. PMID 24482589.

3-Witard, Oliver C.; Jackman, Sarah R.; Breen, Leigh; Smith, Kenneth; Selby, Anna; Tipton, Kevin D. (2014-1). “Myofibrillar muscle protein synthesis rates subsequent to a meal in response to increasing doses of whey protein at rest and after resistance exercise”. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 99 (1): 86–95. doi:10.3945/ajcn.112.055517. ISSN 1938-3207. PMID 24257722.

4-Blomstrand, Eva; Eliasson, Jörgen; Karlsson, Håkan K. R.; Köhnke, Rickard (01 2006). “Branched-chain amino acids activate key enzymes in protein synthesis after physical exercise”. The Journal of Nutrition. 136 (1 Suppl): 269S–73S. doi:10.1093/jn/136.1.269S. ISSN 0022-3166. PMID 16365096.

5- Norton, Layne E.; Layman, Donald K. (2006-2). “Leucine regulates translation initiation of protein synthesis in skeletal muscle after exercise”. The Journal of Nutrition. 136 (2): 533S–537S. doi:10.1093/jn/136.2.533S. ISSN 0022-3166. PMID 16424142

6-Kim, Dong-Hee; Kim, Seok-Hwan; Jeong, Woo-Seok; Lee, Ha-Yan (2013-12). “Effect of BCAA intake during endurance exercises on fatigue substances, muscle damage substances, and energy metabolism substances”. Journal of Exercise Nutrition & Biochemistry. 17 (4): 169–180. doi:10.5717/jenb.2013.17.4.169. ISSN 2233-6834. PMC 4241904. PMID 25566428.

7-Shimomura, Yoshiharu; Inaguma, Asami; Watanabe, Satoko; Yamamoto, Yuko; Muramatsu, Yuji; Bajotto, Gustavo; Sato, Juichi; Shimomura, Noriko; Kobayashi, Hisamine (2010-6). “Branched-chain amino acid supplementation before squat exercise and delayed-onset muscle soreness”. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. 20 (3): 236–244. ISSN 1526-484X. PMID 20601741.

8-MacLean, D. A.; Graham, T. E.; Saltin, B. (1994-12). “Branched-chain amino acids augment ammonia metabolism while attenuating protein breakdown during exercise”. The American Journal of Physiology. 267 (6 Pt 1): E1010–1022. doi:10.1152/ajpendo.1994.267.6.E1010. ISSN 0002-9513. PMID 7810616.

9-Kreider, Richard B. (2003-2). “Effects of creatine supplementation on performance and training adaptations”. Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry. 244 (1–2): 89–94. ISSN 0300-8177. PMID 12701815.

10-Trexler, Eric T.; Smith-Ryan, Abbie E.; Stout, Jeffrey R.; Hoffman, Jay R.; Wilborn, Colin D.; Sale, Craig; Kreider, Richard B.; Jäger, Ralf; Earnest, Conrad P. (July 15, 2015). “International society of sports nutrition position stand: Beta-Alanine”. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 12. doi:10.1186/s12970-015-0090-y. ISSN 1550-2783. PMC 4501114. PMID 26175657.

11-Young, Simon N. (2007-5). “L-Tyrosine to alleviate the effects of stress?”. Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience. 32 (3): 224. ISSN 1180-4882. PMC 1863555. PMID 17476368.

12-Cholewa, Jason M; Wyszczelska-Rokiel, Monika; Glowacki, Rafal; Jakubowski, Hieronim; Matthews, Tracey; Wood, Richard; Craig, Stuart AS; Paolone, Vincent (August 22, 2013). “Effects of betaine on body composition, performance, and homocysteine thiolactone”. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 10: 39. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-10-39. ISSN 1550-2783. PMC 3844502. PMID 23967897.

13-Kraemer, William J.; Volek, Jeff S.; French, Duncan N.; Rubin, Martyn R.; Sharman, Matthew J.; Gómez, Ana L.; Ratamess, Nicholas A.; Newton, Robert U.; Jemiolo, Bozena (2003-8). “The effects of L-carnitine L-tartrate supplementation on hormonal responses to resistance exercise and recovery”. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 17 (3): 455–462. ISSN 1064-8011. PMID 12930169.

14-Boston, 677 Huntington Avenue; Ma 02115 +1495‑1000 (September 18, 2012). “Omega-3 Fatty Acids: An Essential Contribution”. The Nutrition Source.

15-Gerster, H. (1998). “Can adults adequately convert alpha-linolenic acid (18:3n-3) to eicosapentaenoic acid (20:5n-3) and docosahexaenoic acid (22:6n-3)?”. International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research. Internationale Zeitschrift Fur Vitamin- Und Ernahrungsforschung. Journal International De Vitaminologie Et De Nutrition. 68 (3): 159–173. ISSN 0300-9831. PMID 9637947.

16-Plourde, Mélanie; Cunnane, Stephen C. (2007-8). “Extremely limited synthesis of long chain polyunsaturates in adults: implications for their dietary essentiality and use as supplements”. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism = Physiologie Appliquee, Nutrition Et Metabolisme. 32 (4): 619–634. doi:10.1139/H07-034. ISSN 1715-5312. PMID 17622276.

17-“Office of Dietary Supplements – Omega-3 Fatty Acids”. ods.od.nih.gov.

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