The best supplements for men
Do you want to lose fat, build muscle, get fitter, stronger or faster? There’s a sports nutrition product that can help you achieve any physique or performance goal. Here’s our expert review of the 10 best supplements for men so you can look, feel and perform better than ever, says New Body Plan creator and Men’s Fitness cover model Jon Lipsey
Welcome to the New Body Plan complete guide to the best supplements for men!
In this article you’ll discover the best sports nutrition products all fit, active and healthy men need. We reveal the right supplements to take – in the right amount at the right time – to look, feel and perform at your very best.
So, if you want to shift stubborn body fat, pack on lean muscle mass, boost your sex drive and improve all aspects of your mental and physical performance, you’ve come to the right place!
In this article:
Sports Nutrition Overview
Supplement Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
The 10 Best Supplements For Men
Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
The best supplements for men: Overview
If you’ve ever had an isotonic drink after playing sport, a protein shake after the gym, or popped a daily multivitamin pill? Then you have taken a sports nutrition product. The best supplements for men aren’t magic pills: a smart exercise programme, a delicious and nutritious diet, and quality sleep are the three big-picture pieces to priortisie when you want to lose fat and build a stronger and fitter physique. But supplements can make a positive difference to how you look and feel by providing your body with all the essential macronutrients and micronutrients it needs to build muscle, burn fat and function optimally.
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So think of supplements as an insurance policy to fill in any nutritional gaps that are hard to fill from your daily diet. Below are the best supplements for men – all fully supported by science – you may want to consider taking to accelerate your progress towards a bigger, stronger and leaner body.
The best supplements for men: FAQ
Should I take sports nutrition supplements every day?
It all depends on the product you’re taking! Some of the best supplements for men are to be taken daily, including multivitamins and omega-3 fish oil. That’s because they are proven to improve general health and well-being. Others, such as whey protein powder, are a quick and easy way to increase your daily protein intake. Pre-workout formulas should be only taken before training. In any doubt about when or how often you should take a certain product? Simply check the product label or manufacturer’s website for guidance.
Can I take sports nutrition supplements instead of eating regular meals?
Some supplements, especially in the weight-loss sector, are promoted as meal-replacement products (MRPs). But whether your goal is reducing body fat, building lean muscle or improving general health and fitness, fresh, whole and natural food should always be your preferred nutrition option over pills, bars or shakes. MRPs help when you have no alternative other than going hungry. But remember they’re called “supplements” for a good reason. An eating approach based on high-quality food is always best.
Does it matter where my supplements are made?
All supplements made in the UK and the EU must adhere to strict regulations designed to ensure consumer safety. Products from outside of Europe may be cheaper, but they’re not likely to be made to the same exact standard. Cheaper component ingredients are common, and cross-contamination with other compounds is a risk. It’s always worth checking where a product is made. Most big-name brands will provide details of its production process on its website.
The 10 best supplements for men
1 Whey protein powder
What is whey protein powder?
Whey is a by-product of the cheese-making process – the liquid left over once the milk has been curdled and strained. In its powdered form whey protein is one of the most popular in the world. It’s one the best supplements for men because it’s very rapidly digested. This means it gets to your muscles very quickly after training to kick-start muscle protein synthesis (MPS). That’s the process of repairing muscle damage caused by training to make your muscles bigger and stronger. Whey protein powder comes in four different forms: concentrate whey protein, isolate whey protein, hydrolysate whey protein and native whey protein.
Why is whey protein powder one of the best supplements for men?
If you are following a New Body Plan training programme to the letter – as you should be if you are serious about making positive changes to your body – then you should invest in a tub of high-quality whey powder. A whey protein shake, ideally made with cold water or skimmed milk, taken within 30 minutes of the end of your training session will flood your bloodstream with amino acids (the building blocks of protein), which are quickly shuttled into your muscle cells where they are laid down as new muscle tissue.
Check out our review of the best whey protein powders for building bigger muscles!
2 Omega-3 fish oil
What is omega-3 fish oil?
Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid, which means that our bodies can’t manufacture it so we need to consume it from our diet. It is found in high concentrations in oily fish, especially those that live in colder waters. Omega-3 is very important for healthy metabolic function and adequate intake provides a whole host of other health benefits, including reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, mental health disorders and inflammation. That’s why we rate it so highly as one of the best supplements for men.
Why is omega-3 one of the best supplements for men?
The consumption of fish is a very important component of a healthy and balanced diet. If you’re not getting the recommended two portions of fish per week, one white and one oily (and the chances are you’re not because the UK average is only a third of a portion per week), then you should consider taking a high-quality omega-3 supplement. And in case you were wondering, a fish fillet covered in batter alongside a huge pile of thick chips and mushy peas isn’t the right option to increase your intake of omega-3 if you want to burn off as much body fat as possible!
3 Pre-workout supplement
What is a pre-workout supplement?
Designed to be taken ahead of your training session, pre-workout supplements contain a combination of compounds intended to improve focus, performance and energy, as well as better blood flow to deliver oxygen and nutrients to your working muscles faster. The key ingredients typically include caffeine, the amino acids beta-alanine and arginine, and creatine, but it may also contain other compounds.
Why are pre-workouts one of the best supplements for men?
Research supports claims that caffeine improves focus and concentration, and many people say they get a superior “pump” because of increased blood flow to the working muscles. For some, taking a pre-workout formula also provides a psychological boost that gets them fired up for their session and so they consequently perform better. You should always test a small sample of a product before taking a full dose to make sure you don’t suffer any adverse reactions.
Find out more about Torch-20, the pre-workout supplement from New Body Plan.
4 Vitamin D
What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin-like compound that plays an essential role in a huge number of biological functions, as well as improving cognition and reducing the risk of certain cancers, cardiovascular disease and dementia. It is produced by your body when your skin is exposed to direct sunlight, but is also found in low doses in some foods, such as fish and eggs.
Do I need vitamin D?
If you live in the UK, or other higher-latitude parts of the world, then the chances are that you will have some level of vitamin D deficiency. One study found more than 50% of the UK adult population have sub-optimal levels because there isn’t enough strong sunlight for much of the year to make production possible. That makes vitamin D3 one of the very best supplements for men, especially if you live in the northern hemisphere.
5 BCAAs (Branched-Chain Amino Acids)
What are BCAAs?
A combined form of three of the nine essential amino acids – leucine, isoleucine and valine. They are called “essential” because your body can’t manufacture them and so they must be obtained through the food you eat.
Why are BCAAs one of the best supplements for men?
Research is fairly conclusive that BCAA supplementation before, during and after training can help induce muscle protein synthesis, which is the technical term for the process that lays down new muscle tissue so your muscles grow bigger and stronger. BCAAs also improve muscular endurance, increase energy levels, and reduce recovery time. High use of BCAAs can deplete levels of other nutrients, especially vitamin B6, so either choose a product that also contains this B vitamin, or take a daily a multivitamin.
What is creatine?
Creatine is an organic compound that exists naturally in the body and is instrumental in providing energy to your cells. Creatine is one of the best supplements for men because its benefits are so well researched, although it is not an essential nutrient because your body can make it from two amino acids (glycine and arginine). You can increase your levels through certain foods, with red meat, such as steak, especially high in creatine.
Do I need to take creatine?
Even if you eat a lot of red meat, supplementing with creatine will increase your body’s natural levels to provide significant performance and physique benefits. Research has shown that creatine supplementation can increase physical performance. It’s especially potent for successive bursts of short-term, high-intensity exercise, such as weight training or interval training. That’s because the energy it supplies enables your muscles to work harder for longer. Always take creatine with plenty of water to avoid any risk of dehydration. And some people may benefit from taking it with food to help prevent avoid any potential stomach upset or discomfort.
7 Casein protein powder
What is casein protein powder?
Casein is type of protein that takes a long time to be digested. That means it releases its amino acids slowly and steadily into the bloodstream, where they are “drip fed” into your muscles. That’s unlike whey protein, which is rapidly digested and absorbed. It is found in its natural form in dairy products including cow’s milk, where it makes up to 80% of the milk’s protein content.
Why is casein protein powder one of the best supplements for men?
Its slow-release nature makes casein the perfect type of protein before bed. Why? Because it feeds your muscles slowly overnight while you sleep to assist the repair and recovery process. You can take casein during the day when you’re very busy or have long periods between meals.
What is zinc?
Zinc is an essential trace element that’s found in up to 300 different enzymes and plays a part in a huge number of biological roles, including DNA metabolism, hormone production and function (including testosterone), brain health, and efficient central nervous system function, among many others. Shellfish and red meat, especially beef, lamb and liver, are among the best dietary sources of zinc.
Do I need to take a zinc supplement?
There’s no official UK recommended daily intake, but in the US the RDA is 11mg per day for men, yet only 58% of Americans meet this target, according to the US Department of Agriculture. Eat more organic fish and red meat to hit the target. Zinc is also found in plants, but poor soil quality from over-farming means produce is less nutrient-dense than ever. Zinc is lost through sweat, so supplementation could be a smart move.
What is magnesium?
Like zinc, magnesium is an essential trace element – every single cell in your body needs magnesium ions to function because they’re involved in the production of energy, while hundreds of enzymes require its presence to work optimally. Nuts, green leafy vegetables and wholegrains are the best dietary sources.
Do I need to take a magnesium supplement?
The UK recommended daily intake for magnesium is 300mg for men. But 68% of Americans don’t hit their daily target, according to the US Department of Agriculture. It’s likely that percentage is replicated in the UK too, given our similar diets and lifestyles. Magnesium is needed for central nervous system function and muscle contractions, both of which are a big part of training. And exercise can deplete your levels, so supplementation might be worth considering.
What is a multivitamin?
Exactly what is sounds like. A tablet or capsule that contains either all or a significant dose of the recommended daily intake of all the essential micronutrients.
Do I need to take a daily multivitamin?
If you eat a varied wholefood diet you should get all the vitamins and minerals you need. However, mass-produced factory foods dominate our supermarket aisles. And soil and air pollution and pesticide use means many foods now have fewer nutrients than ever before. Multivitamins are one of our best supplements for men because they’ll ensure you hit your daily target of essential nutrients.
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