I am not the type of trainer who believes in using unsafe, unregulated supplements to achieve results in the gym.
I do, however, feel that there are very specific nutrients and SAFE supplements that everyone who works out regularly SHOULD be taking.
The following are my top 5 supplements that I not only recommend, but also take.
1. Collagen - Specifically, I take Super Collagen 1&3 supplements that also contain Vitamin C and Hyaluronic Acid.
Why? My esthetician actually recommended these to me. Not only do they help my hair and nails grow strong and healthy, they make my skin look amazing (and younger in my opinion). It's noticeable how much faster your hair and nails grow. I like to buy these chews because they're delicious and justifiable.
2. Magnesium (and Potassium) - If you can find a supplement with both, awesome. Otherwise, just magnesium is fine.
Why? Because when you are working out like I do, your muscles are under a lot of stress. Especially if you are eating lower amounts of carbs (like me), your glycogen stores are lower and you're more prone to muscle cramps. Magnesium helps prevent muscle cramps. I usually take about 1 500 mg capsule 1-3 nights per week before bed. Supposedly they also help you sleep.
3. Creatine - Creatine Monohydrate is the most researched and most often recommended of the different variations of creatine you can take.
Why? A lot of men are not afraid to take creatine, but women are afraid to take it because it bulks your muscles. It's true that creatine monohydrate does create swelling in the muscles, it's actually water, but there are other forms of creatine that don't have that side effect nearly as bad, and I think they do help with strength gains. Personally, I use Kre-Alkalyn by EFX sports. I don't take this as regularly as I should, but when I did, I found myself getting a lot more out of my workouts.
4. Choline - You can buy this in bulk powder form, or purchase in capsules. I like Jarrow Forumulas Citicoline CDP Choline supplement.
Why? Choline is an essential nutrient and is important for brain health and neurotransmission. Many people who suffer from ADD (like me) do well on this nutrient. It also helps your brain health, and is found in egg yolks and other natural foods. Having a healthy neurological system is vital for fitness and health. I take about 250 mg per day.
5. 5-HTP - I ONLY recommend this if you suffer from ADD, or low serotonin levels. I always recommend seeing a doctor or nutritionist before trying a new supplement like this.. but it has helped me so I'm talking about MY personal experience.
Why? I was told by a nutritionist that due to my heritage and also my personality and gastrointestinal symptoms, I was probably low on serotonin. He recommended me taking about 100 mg in the morning and 100 mg at night. I only take 100 mg once per day and it's done WONDERS for me. Who know that most of our serotonin receptors were in our gut? I didn't.. before I saw this doctor. Since taking 5-HTP my mood is more stable (an unexpected but awesome side effect) and my intestinal problems have gotten SIGNIFICANTLY better. I was once diagnosed with IBS-C. If you know what that's like, its miserable. I was in constant pain, bloated all the time, and uncomfortable. I rarely have any issues with it anymore. Even my monthly menstrual cycles regulated out on 5-HTP. It's been a miracle supplement for me.
I want to emphasize that while these supplements are amazing and work really well for me, we are all different and before you ever take anything, you should ask a doctor and/or consult a nutritionist.