Over the years, there has been an increase in weight lifting supplements that claim to substantially enhance gym performance or accelerate fat loss at an unnatural rate. However, very few of these supplements are scientifically proven to be successful. In this post, we are discussing three of the main supplements we would personally recommend for weight lifting, based on a wide range of published scientific literature. Before we begin, let’s answer the frequently asked question ‘do weight lifting supplements work?’.
Do Weight Lifting Supplements Work?
When used with a nutritious diet and training schedule, weight lifting supplements can be effective tools for bodybuilders. Supplements such as whey protein are heavily backed by scientific research as great choices to help enhance strength and aid muscle recovery. It is essential to remember that supplements do not replace meals and instead should be used in conjunction with them. When used correctly, they can provide effective results. Now, let’s dive right into answering the question ‘what are the best weight lifting supplements’.
The Best Weight Lifting Supplements
The best cheap and effective weight lifting supplements are:
- Whey Protein
The first weight lifting supplement we recommend is whey protein. Whey protein is highly beneficial for people who struggle to consume a sufficient amount of protein through their diet alone. Whilst bodybuilding, it is essential to consume an adequate amount of protein, as this will aid the growth and repair of the muscle tissue, thus correlating to an increase in strength performance. Morton et al (2017) found that ~1.6g/kg of lean body mass is the recommended amount of protein required to increase muscle growth.
Whey protein weight lifting supplements can be consumed in various forms, with some of the most popular being protein shakes, smoothies and bars. It can also be added to oatmeal and yoghurts, which make the perfect bodybuilder’s breakfast.
The next supplement is creatine. Along with caffeine, creatine has consistently been found to enhance training performance. The substance is found naturally in the cells of the muscle and it helps muscles produce energy during heavy lifting periods or those of high-intensity exercise. Creatine weight lifting supplements are very popular among athletes and bodybuilders in order to gain muscle, enhance strength and improve exercise performance.
During consumption, you increase the amount of phosphocreatine, which is a form of stored energy in the cells that helps your body produce more of a high-energy molecule called ATP. ATP is often called the body's energy currency. When you have higher ATP levels, your body can perform better during high-intensity exercise (Buford et al, 2007). Creatine also alters several cellular processes that lead to increased muscle mass, strength and recovery (Kreider, 2003). Consuming ~3-5g of creatine monohydrate has been found to be sufficient to aid these benefits.
Last of all is caffeine. This powerful supplement is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, and blood levels peak after 90-100 minutes. Caffeine levels remain high for 3–4 hours and then start to drop (Spriet et al, 1992, Graham & Spriet, 1995). Unlike most weight lifting supplements, caffeine can affect cells throughout the body, including muscle cells and brain function (Fredholm et al, 1999). A single dose of caffeine has been found to significantly enhance exercise performance, fat-burning and concentration levels.
Focusing on exercise performance, various literature has reported that caffeine consumption has been followed by enhanced endurance performance, high intensity exercise, and even strength performance. The recommended amount is ~3 mg/kg body weight of caffeine, which should be taken 30-45 minutes prior to training (Grogic et al, 2019).
Above we have discussed the best weight lifting supplements that are also cheap and effective. It is crucial to remember that weight lifting supplements should only complement food and should not be used to replace meals. For best results, make sure to eat a nutritious diet alongside supplements. If you are a bodybuilder looking for more information about all things gym-related, we can help. Simply get in touch with our expert team and we’ll be happy to advise however we can. Alternatively, if you are looking for home gym equipment, you can browse our complete range here.