Workouts aren’t easy and take significant dedication, focus, and stamina to get the most out of your time in the gym. Significant gains can only be made when the body is pushed to the max, and the human system can only go so far in its normal state. That’s precisely why more and more bodybuilders are turning to energy supplements to give them the boost they need to push themselves more complexly than ever in the weight room.
Are Energy Supplements the Solution?
When looking into energy supplements, it can seem overwhelming with everything on the market. With so many options, it’s hard to figure out what will work and best suit your needs. The search is over because we’ve compiled a list of the best energy supplements on the market, each broken down by the type, how they work, and examples of the best brands.
A note on how to take energy supplements: The great thing about energy supplements over vitamins or nutrition medicine is that energy supplements are meant to be short term, which means you’ll know the day of if that supplement works for you. If it does, keep it going. If it doesn’t, try something new the next day.
MUST READ: 6 Best Supplements to Increase your Stamina
The Best Supplements for Energy:
Caffeine is number one on our list because it is the most accessible energy supplement and widely accepted. How Does It Work? Caffeine works by blocking adenosine, which is a neurotransmitter with soothing properties. When adenosine is blocked, it raises your adrenaline levels, making you more alert and energized.
Caffeine Supplement Brands:
- Supplement Direct Caffeine: Supplement Direct is a powdered caffeine supplement that makes it easy to add to your daytime workout and eating routines.
- Gaspari Nutrition SuperPump 250: Though this isn’t a “caffeine only” product, it’s a great pre-workout “all in one” with plenty of caffeine to get you up and to run and keep you alert for your workout.
Cordyceps is new to the energy supplement world and is revolutionary. It’s from a natural mushroom used in the mountain climbing since the early 1930s. How Does It Work? These helpful mushrooms enhance cellular functions, allowing cells in your body to carry more oxygen and making the system feel more energized and focused.
Cordyceps Supplement Types:
- Millennium Sports Cordygen5: This supplement is considered the most effective cordyceps product because it combines over four different Cordyceps species.
Geranium supplements are known to bodybuilding as “the next level.” They are taken from the oil of the geranium flowers, and this oil is much like epinephrine in the compound and has side effects. How Does It Work? Geranium users can expect extreme energy and clarity that performs well under increased pressure.
Geranium Supplement Brands:
- ErgoPharm ErgoLean AMP2: This specific supplement is not only great for energy but is also formulated for fat loss, so you can burn the fat while you enjoy a rush of energy.
This all-natural herb has been taking the sports world by storm as it has virtually no side effects and maintains endurance. How Does It Work? Rhodiola works similarly to Vitamin B compounds, where it repairs nerve damage in the brain and speeds up cell functions metabolically. The side effects of this are energy, focus, and reduced stress.
Rhodiola Supplement Brands:
- Now Foods Rhodiola: This supplement contains the highest legal dose of Rhodiola extract on the market.
- Gaia Herbs Rhodiola Rosea: These concentrated capsules are the perfect “get up and go” to add to your day, and because they’re capsules, they will break down easily in your system.
Energy Supplement Warnings:
Because bodybuilders lead extreme lives, you’re probably used to seeing and looking past warnings. However, when it comes to energy supplements no one is immune from possible adverse side effects, and it’s essential you both a) run past any energy supplements with your medical provider and b) only take them as directed. Energy supplements increase adrenaline, and overdosing can cause severe heart damage, even death. Please ensure you only use these supplements with caution and medical clearance.
Dieting As An Alternative Source of Energy
Bodybuilders can also look into alternative sources such as caffeine or sugar for an extra burst of energy when needed.
Many bodybuilders also use protein supplements, such as creatine and amino acids. These are not required to build muscle mass but can be consumed to increase the rate of protein synthesis, which may temporarily boost energy levels or improve recovery.
Some bodybuilders enter "bulk" periods where they gain significantly more muscle mass and lose a significant amount of fat simultaneously. For these competitors, meal timing is essential to avoid the excess build-up of glycogen in the muscles.
To avoid dropping pounds of muscle and losing fat simultaneously, many people will limit their caloric intake to prevent a metabolic slowdown.
The first two days are spent getting into shape by resting and doing light exercises like riding a stationary bike or jogging in place.
On day three, dieters take up moderate cardio with jog intervals, running on an incline or hills, or high-intensity interval training. The cardio intensifies on days four and five to include steady-state or sprint intervals followed by a day of rest.
The body burns significantly more calories on days four and five, building lean muscle mass. The diet continues on a diet day for six days, followed by a moderate day of exercise for three days.
On the seventh and final diet day, those who choose to continue exercising can create an intense workout with sprint or steady intervals, or high-intensity interval training.
If you want to continue creating some change in your life through exercise, this is the best way to do so while also creating sustainable results that will last longer than just three weeks or months.
What to Avoid
Bodybuilding requires dedication and discipline, not just in the gym but also in what you eat. There are certain foods that bodybuilders must avoid if they want to stay strong and healthy.
From processed foods to sugary snacks, these unhealthy items can be detrimental to a bodybuilder's progress if consumed regularly. In this section, we will discuss the foods bodybuilders should avoid in order to stay strong and make the most out of their workouts.
Processed, Packaged ItemsBodybuilders should avoid packaged and processed food items such as chips, cookies, and other snack foods. These items are typically high in calories and low in nutrients. A better alternative would be to eat fresh fruits or vegetables for a nutritious snack.
If you're feeling hungry between meals, try having a glass of water with lemon or lime juice mixed in for quick hydration.
Refined Sugars - High-Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)
High-fructose corn syrup is one of the worst offenders regarding refined sugars. Replacing foods that use refined sugars with natural sugars such as honey or maple syrup can help avoid HFCS.
One problem with natural sweeteners is that they have a shorter shelf life than HFCS, so you will have to replace them more often.
Bread, Pasta, White Flour
If you're trying to avoid refined sugars, then bread and pasta are items you should also cut from your diet. An excellent alternative for bread would be a gluten-free option like rice bread or sprouted grain bread.
If you enjoy pasta, try spaghetti squash instead of white pasta since it is much lower in carbs. You can also try one of these 12 One Pot Pasta Dinners for a great pasta dish that won't break your diet.
In addition, white flour products like bread and pasta should be replaced with healthier options like oatmeal or if you must then use whole wheat flour.
Cow's Milk, Yogurt
There are many great alternatives to cow's milk, such as nut milk and coconut milk. Another great alternative would be Almond Mylk . Yogurt often has added sugars that should be avoided. Try to go with plain, unsweetened yogurt instead.
All the above energy routes are great for boosting your workouts and keeping you from feeling burned out afterward, so you have focus left over for the rest of your day.