Die 5 effektivsten Supplements für Anfänger

The 5 most effective supplements for beginners

Anyone starting out in fitness sports already has their hands full with the right training plan and the correct diet. Sooner or later, however, the topic of nutritional supplements comes up, which then understandably raises even more questions. The biggest challenge now is to find the relevant and correct information for you to be able to decide which supplements will bring you further and count as a must have, which ones can make your everyday life easier and which ones you don't need. Then it will be easier for you to choose from the many varieties of protein powders, pre-workout boosters, mass and diet products and amino acids. After this guide you will know which of the numerous supplements are really useful for you as a beginner and which supplements you should not spend money on at first.

First, the most important thing that is often forgotten in the variety of dietary supplements: As the name suggests, nutritional supplements are products that should complement a balanced diet and not replace it. So, as a beginner, you should first think about your diet before you start racking your brains about performance-enhancing and muscle-building supplements.

This means a protein-rich diet with at least 1.5 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, plenty of fruits and vegetables, and generally high-quality, largely unprocessed foods. Once this foundation is laid, you can get even more out of yourself with the following sensible supplements.

Content:

Vitamin D - The supplement for muscle building and muscle function

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You're probably wondering what a vitamin has to look for at number 1 of the most effective supplements for beginners and probably rather expected protein powder here. However, the fact is that over 80% are not sufficiently supplied with vitamin D[¹] and vitamin D is actually not a vitamin at all, but an important steroid hormone.

Vitamin D receptors are found almost everywhere in our body, and as a result vitamin D is needed for very many processes - including muscle building. For example, it has been found in various studies that low vitamin D levels - we remember that this applies to over 80% - are associated with poorer muscle function, and vitamin D supplementation is very likely to have slight positive effects on muscle strength. This is true for adolescents to seniors! [²]

Another, even more important factor is the impact on the immune system. This is because vitamin D supports the immune system and low vitamin D levels weaken the immune system. A weak immune system will ultimately cause you to be out with infections more often, which means that in the long run you will spend less time exercising and therefore progress much more slowly. [³]

In addition, vitamin D still contributes to the maintenance of healthy bones via its function in the absorption and utilization of calcium and phosphorus.

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Omega 3 for performance and fitness

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Even in 2nd place, you still won't find a typical supplement for fitness and strength athletes. That's because the same applies to the prioritization of supplements as it does to nutrition: first take care of the basics, which often fall short even with a balanced diet, and then specifically address performance enhancement. Because only a healthy body is able to perform at all. And for a healthy body, omega 3 fatty acids play an important role.

The omega 3 fatty acids EPA and DHA play a fundamental role in maintaining a healthy triglyceride concentration in our blood. It is important to know that a poor triglyceride concentration favors the development of inflammation in particular and slows down healing. In old age, this is particularly often manifested by inflammation of the joints, and in young years by poor skin condition. [⁴]

If we take into account that every workout, every muscle stimulus entails small damages of various tissues that trigger inflammatory reactions and the omega 3 index and the ratio to other fatty acids is suboptimal in the majority of the population in Western Europe [⁵], it becomes understandable that supplementation makes sense. The local micro-inflammations are important for muscle building, as they initiate repair and build-up processes, but these should also heal as quickly as possible. And this works optimally with a healthy triglyceride concentration, which very often depends on the omega 3 supply.

According to current scientific findings, in addition to the health benefits of omega 3 supplementation, athletes also seem to benefit from it from an athletic standpoint. [⁶]

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Protein Powder - To help build and maintain muscle.

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In third place now comes the supplement that most people probably think of first when it comes to fitness, weight loss or muscle building: protein powder. Proteins play a central role in muscle building and protein shakes are also suitable for weight loss. On the one hand, they provide the important building blocks for muscle tissue, namely amino acids, and on the other hand, protein saturates very well during dieting and ensures that the body does not go to the muscle reserves during a calorie deficit. This is why the International Society of Sports Nutrition also explicitly advocates a protein intake of 1.4 to 2.0 g per kilogram of body weight for athletes and even 2.3 to 3.1 g per kilogram during a diet. [⁷]

So why does protein powder only rank third in the 5 most useful supplements for beginners? Quite simply, because unlike vitamin D and omega 3, you can realistically get your protein from your diet. Of course, this isn't exactly easy, isn't always particularly tasty, is limiting, and requires nutritional planning. But it is possible. However, since it is often easier with protein powders, you should not make your everyday life unnecessarily difficult in terms of protein supply.

That is exactly why a good protein powder, definitely belongs on the shelf of a beginner. Because especially in the beginning, one has a hard time with the protein supply. Protein powders are a very tasty and convenient, extremely versatile and incredibly delicious way to meet his protein needs and get the necessary protein for muscle building and maintenance. Whether it's as a protein shake or as a flour substitute for delicious protein pancakes, muffins, cakes, or whatever other treats you can make.

Which protein powder is right for you depends on your diet. If you follow a vegan diet, then a well-designed, plant-based, multi-component protein powder is right for you. Through the combination of different vegetable protein sources, a high biological value is achieved, which is in no way inferior to animal protein. If you also consume animal products, then a high quality Whey Protein is the right choice for you. Should you like it particularly creamy and long satiating, then you can also try a protein powder with casein.

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Creatine for the optimal energy supply

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You will certainly have heard or read about creatine if you have dealt with supplements in connection with fitness and weight training. This is not surprising, since it is the only dietary supplement that has been proven to have a significant strength-increasing effect. In addition, it is one of the best researched supplements around. It is not for nothing that the European Food Safety Authority has confirmed that daily intake of creatine can increase muscle strength. [⁸] And that in the range of 5 to 15%! [⁹]

Creatine, in a highly simplified explanation, restores the energy needed for muscle work during intense, short-duration exercise. It ensures that the limited energy donors in the form of ATP can be regenerated again. This allows for one or two more repetitions per set. Since training volume - the number of repetitions performed - is one of the key factors for successful muscle building, this also means more effective muscle building in the long run.

Since your body can only synthesize 1 to 2 grams per day at most, and you realistically only get about 1 gram of creatine per day from your diet, you're not using creatine to its full potential. The creatine requirement of normally active people is already 3 to 7 grams, which means that at best you just cover the minimum requirement. Athletically active people needed more, of course, due to the increased consumption, which is why a dietary supplement with creatine also offers a lot of potential for beginners.

In connection with creatine often fall the myths that this is to sponge up and by taking the body's own production would decrease. Therefore, creatine should be taken as a short over a few weeks at most. The first myth stems from the fact that creatine is bound to water in the body. However, creatine is stored in the muscles and not under the skin. Therefore, you do not sponge up, but the muscles become a little plumper. The second myth is not true at all. It is true that the body's own production is reduced if enough is supplied through food, but it is also immediately boosted again if too little creatine is ingested. Therefore, the current state of science is that creatine should be taken permanently. [¹⁰]

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L-Citrulline / L-Arginine for muscle pump, blood flow and metabolism.

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In last place of our 5 most effective supplements for beginners are two amino acids at once. Namely citrulline and arginine. Why both together at once? Because they have a similar effect. Both citrulline and arginine play a role in nitric oxide production, also called NO synthase. In this context, citrulline is, simply put, the precursor to arginine. Since citrulline is slower but more effective and arginine is readily available but suffers fairly high metabolic losses, it makes sense to combine the two.

You're probably wondering what nitric oxide production has to do with your training. Increased nitric oxide concentration in the blood has two effects in relation to training. The first is more visual, as nitric oxide causes blood vessels to dilate. As a result, they become more prominent and the blood supply to the muscles increases. This visual effect is often referred to as a muscle pump.

In addition to the optical effect, the whole thing also has another advantage. The improved blood circulation makes the supply of nutrients and the removal of metabolic products more efficient, which can have a positive effect on muscle endurance and regeneration during and after training. Beginners seem to particularly benefit from citrulline and arginine. [¹¹][¹²][¹³]

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What beginners do not necessarily need yet

Of course, there are still a lot of useful supplements. However, these should only be supplemented as training progresses and performance increases, as they only then exploit their full potential. A very good example is EAAs or BCAAs. Supplementing essential amino acids, which include BCAAs, is useful and effective under certain circumstances. Especially during hard diets or hard training phases. However, as a beginner, you are very unlikely to venture into these borderline areas yet.

If you are unsure and still have questions, feel free to contact our experts. We will be happy to help you!

Sources

[1] Max-Rubner Institute (ed.). National Nutrition Survey II. Result report part 1. The nationwide survey on the nutrition of adolescents and adults. Max-Rubner Institute, Karlsruhe. 2008.

[2] Halfon M, Phan O, Teta D. Vitamin D: a review on its effects on muscle strength, the risk of fall, and frailty. Biomed Res Int. 2015;2015:953241. doi: 10.1155/2015/953241. epub 2015 Apr 27. PMID: 26000306; PMCID: PMC4427016.

[3] Aranow C. Vitamin D and the immune system. J Investig Med. 2011 Aug;59(6):881-6. doi: 10.2310/JIM.0b013e31821b8755. PMID: 21527855; PMCID: PMC3166406.

[4] Calder PC. Omega-3 fatty acids and inflammatory processes. Nutrients. 2010 Mar;2(3):355-74. doi: 10.3390/nu2030355. Epub 2010 Mar 18. PMID: 22254027; PMCID: PMC3257651.

[5] von Schacky, C. Confusion about the effects of omega-3 fatty acids. Internist 60, 1319-1327 (2019). doi: 10.1007/s00108-019-00687-x

[6] Thielecke F, Blannin A. Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Sport Performance-Are They Equally Beneficial for Athletes and Amateurs? A Narrative Review. Nutrients. 2020 Nov 30;12(12):3712. doi: 10.3390/nu123712. PMID: 33266318; PMCID: PMC7760705.

[7] Hunter R, Kerksick CM, Campbell BI, Cribb PJ, Wells SD, Skwiat TM, Purpura M, Ziegenfuss TN, Ferrando AA, Arent SM, Smith-Ryan AE, Stout JR, Arciero PJ, Ormsbee MJ, Taylor LW, Wilborn CD, Kalman DS, Kreider RB, Willoughby DS, Hoffman JR, Krzykowski JL, Antonio J. International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: protein and exercise. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2017 Jun 20;14:20. doi: 10.1186/s12970-017-0177-8. PMID: 28642676; PMCID: PMC5477153.

[8] https://doi.org/10.2903/j.efsa.2016.4400

[9] Kreider, R. B. (2003). Effects of creatine supplementation on performance and training adaptations. Mol Cell Biochem. 244(1-2):89-94. PMID:12701815.

[10] Kreider RB, Kalman DS, Antonio J, Ziegenfuss TN, Wildman R, Collins R, Candow DG, Kleiner SM, Almada AL, Lopez HL. International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: safety and efficacy of creatine supplementation in exercise, sport, and medicine. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2017 Jun 13;14:18. doi: 10.1186/s12970-017-0173-z. PMID: 28615996; PMCID: PMC5469049.

[11] Rhim HC, Kim SJ, Park J, Jang KM. Effect of citrulline on post-exercise rating of perceived exertion, muscle soreness, and blood lactate levels: a systematic review and meta-analysis. J Sport Health Sci. 2020 Dec;9(6):553-561. doi: 10.1016/j.jshs.2020.02.003. epub 2020 Feb 8. PMID: 33308806; PMCID: PMC7749242.

[12] Sureda A, Pons A. Arginine and citrulline supplementation in sports and exercise: ergogenic nutrients? Med Sport Sci. 2012;59:18-28. doi: 10.1159/000341937. epub 2012 Oct 15. PMID: 23075551.

[13] Pérez-Guisado J, Jakeman PM. Citrulline malate enhances athletic anaerobic performance and relieves muscle soreness. J Strength Cond Res. 2010 May;24(5):1215-22. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181cb28e0. PMID: 20386132.

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