The truth about supplements: Why strong is the new skinny

Katie Leyton

When it comes to working out and getting big, many women have misconceptions on nutritional supplements and heavy lifting. I’ll let you in on a secret: Girls, a little creatine and weight lifting will not turn you into a bulky body builder.

After all, body building takes a hell of a lot of discipline and time. Working your muscles and taking supplements will not cause you to turn into Arnold Schwarzenegger — we simply don’t have the testosterone for that. It will, however, cause you to form lean muscle mass and help you sculpt a more toned body.

Choosing a supplement can be overwhelming with all the hundreds of options to help burn fat, build strength, increase energy and craft that lean muscle mass. Some supplements, by nature, are more popular than others such as, whey protein, casein protein, nitric oxide boosters and creatine.

Whey Protein: There are two main proteins in milk: whey and casein. Whey (about 20 percent of milk) is digested quickly. It has peptides, which are parts of protein chains that increase blood flow. The proteins help build muscle and repair muscle tissue after it is worked. Whey protein should be taken throughout the day.

Casein Protein: Casein protein makes up the other 80 percent found in milk and is digested much slower than whey. It is often taken before bed when your body goes hours without any nutrient intake, so it can repair your muscles while you are sleeping.

Nitric Oxide Boosters (N.O. boosters): Nitric oxide relaxes the muscles in your body that contract your blood vessels. When you take a N.O. booster, your blood vessels dilate, allowing more blood, oxygen and nutrients to flow more freely. By receiving more oxygen and nutrients, your muscles can work harder and longer. N.O. boosters should be taken about 30 minutes prior to exercising.

Creatine: Muscle burns fat, so to burn fat, it is essential to increase your muscle mass. That’s where creatine comes in. Creatine helps your muscles grow and get stronger. It also helps to fuel your workout. Creatine should be taken before and after exercising in a pre- and post-workout shake.

Supplements can be expensive, but the gains you’ll make in the gym will make it well worth the price.

I know firsthand that once I started using supplements (creatine is my favorite), I saw quicker, longer-lasting results.

And sure, I’ve heard the rumors that protein makes you fat, or creatine supposedly makes you gain weight and look bloated. Supplements can have different effects on different people, and although they may not work for everyone, they do work for most people. Of course, no matter what you choose to take, always read the directions and take them in moderation.

Don’t let the fear of gaining fat, getting huge and losing your neck stop you from trying supplements. After all, everyone could use some extra help to reach their fitness goals.

Contact Katie Leyton at [email protected].