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The Ultimate Guide To Supplements: Part 1

Posted 393 Days Ago in: Training, Nutrition


When you’ve finally settled into your routine and are training regularly, you’ll start hearing about supplements you can take to increase your performance, recovery, and response to various types of exercise. The industry has exploded to the point where it is worth billions, and companies are constantly marketing products in new ways that promise to activate new muscles and make you bigger and stronger than ever before. But do these supplements actually work?

Basically, supplements are meant to either allow you to produce more force and lift more, or aid your muscles to re-build themselves efficiently, forming new fibers – which is important when you consider the microscopic tears that take place on a cellular level when lifting weights or performing at a high intensity.

According to a recent article, it is stated that “it is clear that carbohydrate (but not fat) still remains king and that carefully chosen ergogenic aids (e.g. caffeine, creatine, sodium bicarbonate, beta-alanine, nitrates) can all promote performance in the correct exercise setting.” Thus, by using supplements that work, people can maximize their training sessions and see more progress in a shorter amount of time.

As with everything though, there’s a lot out there that’s akin to snake oil. The trick is to know exactly what works, and why, and what’s simply smoke and mirrors in the realm of the moneymaking machine.  

We have consulted with professionals and researched what you should be taking if you are interested in supplements, coupled with recommendations on supplements that may be a waste of your time.

Essentially, the “food first” approach is the absolute ultimate ideal  when it comes to merging training with nutrition, but there are the extras that can give you an extra boost, and are safe to use when taken responsibly.

 Supplements That Work

Do supplements work?

Short answer - yes, some do. 

But it all depends on what you’re putting into your body and how you’re using them. It’s easy to overdo it, which could mean you’ll get the opposite of the desired effect. But when used in moderation, supplementation can definitely improve performance and boost your exercise regime to the next level.

Below, we’ll have a look at supplements that do work.

Caffeine is a powerful stimulant, and it can be used to improve physical strength and endurance. Studies show that “it is classified as a Nootropic because it sensitizes neurons and provides mental stimulation.” What is true is that caffeine is widely regarded as being beneficial to overall performance, promotion of fat loss, and to have a positive psychological effect as well. Here, it is described as an adenosine receptor antagonist and modifier of muscle contractility is the reduced perception of effort, fatigue or pain associated with exercise. Thus, it is without a doubt an ally when you are training.

One of DNAFit’s genetic markers on the nutrition side is caffeine sensitivity. Where we are able to tell you how sensitive you are to caffeine, thus showing how you can make appropriate modifications and use caffeine to your advantage.


Probably the most popular booster supplement, creatine is the next in the list as it is associated with enhancing athletic performance and a study shows how it “stimulates protein synthesis, which can make you build muscle much faster. People who paired creatine with resistance training put on lean muscle mass anywhere from 15%-200% faster than people who did the same workouts with placebo.” This is because it is made from three amino acids: arginine, glycine and methionine, promoting muscle building.

If that weren’t enough, creatine is also a nootropic. Studies show that it “enhances memory and delays mental fatigue.” Another essential aspect of training and remaining focused throughout.   


Beta-alanine is known to increase performance of a single competition, and also support the training process. A study some support for the “benefits of beta-alanine supplementation on high-intensity exercise and a potential additive effect when combined with bicarbonate supplementation.” It is widely used by athletes who are looking for that edge, without intense side effects, other than slight irritation.  


Protein is the macronutrient needed if you want to bulk up, and the best way to obtain this is post-workout with a whey protein shake. Most, but not all studies have shown that “supplementation of whey alone or with carbohydrates immediately after and possibly before and during resistance exercise can enhance the muscle hypertrophy response to resistance training in healthy adults.” It is the pinnacle of supplements and gives your body an adequate amount of nutrients in a short space of time. This is why a whey protein shake to aid recovery and build muscle is highly recommended to people who train regularly and need an extra protein boost.


A vitamin from the sun, emerging evidence suggests that “vitamin D may play a regulatory role in muscle regeneration and subsequent hypertrophy following damaging forms of exercise.” It is now clear that both innate and acquired immune function, cardiovascular health and even muscle growth and repair may be regulated by vitamin D. As the science has grown, so too has the importance placed on vitamin D.

It is also part of DNAFit’s panel of genetic markers, whereby we are able to tell you whether you need more of it, and in some cases supplement it.


Finally, beetroot juice. There seems to be good evidence that this supplementation can “enhance sports performance in moderate calibre athletes and individuals among elite athlete populations, with emphasis on adequate supplementation protocols and sports or scenarios which rely on the recruitment of the less-oxidative type II muscle fibres, and local or environmental conditions of hypoxia or acidosis.” This is especially so for endurance athletes running at high altitudes or long distance as the beetroot juice can be an effective booster of performance.


Supplements Training Nutrition Gym Workout Fitness Protein Genetics


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