The best weight loss supplements for men
If you take the right sports nutrition products in the right doses at the right time you’ll lose weight, add muscle and get stronger faster. So try these 7 best weight loss supplements for men to help you look, feel and perform at your very best, says New Body Plan editorial director Joe Warner
Over the years, in trying to get a bigger, stronger and leaner body, I’ve tried every single sports nutrition supplement you can name. Twenty years ago, when I first started lifting weights, the supplement options were stark. All you could really get was mail order whey protein powder. And it tasted so bad that getting it down my neck was always the toughest part of every workout.
Today things are very different. Just go online or into any supermarket. You’ll find rows of energy-boosting gels, pre-workout powders and muscle-pumping pills. There’s cognitive-enhancing capsules, protein-pimped water, and even tummy-tightening tea bags. And plenty more besides. Whatever your health and fitness goal there’s a supplement promising to deliver the result you want.
The 7 best weight loss supplements for men
But how do you know which weight loss supplements for men will work? Which will help you look, feel and perform at your best? And which are a complete waste of your money? After all, who wants to take those “fat-loss” formulas that are simply over-priced laxatives? Who wants to end up both figuratively and literally flushing their hard-earned cash straight down the toilet? Not me.
That’s why I’ve written this guide to the best weight loss supplements for men. Use it to better understand which products can help you build the body you want – alongside a smart and structured training programme – in the fastest-possible time. Below you’ll find my list of my top 7 weight loss supplements for men. And the main advantages and disadvantages and cons, of each product. So read on to discover the supplements that can help you build the leaner, bigger and stronger body you want!
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Whey protein powder
What is whey protein powder?
Whey is a by-product of the cheese-making process and is the liquid left over once milk has been curdled and strained. It can then be dried into a powder, and whey protein powder is one of the most popular sports nutrition products in the world. Why? Because it’s very rapidly digested, so it gets to your muscles very quickly after training to repair the muscle damage caused to make your muscles bigger and stronger.
Why do I need whey protein powder?
A whey protein shake, made with cold water or milk, after training will flood your bloodstream with amino acids (the building blocks of protein). They are then quickly shuttled into your muscle cells where they are laid down as new muscle. Here’s our guide to the best protein powders to build muscle.
Advantages of whey protein
Disadvantages of whey protein
• High-end brands can be expensive
• Can cause bloating and excess gas
• Not suitable for lactose intolerant
Should I take whey protein?
Whey protein powder is a smart muscle-building and fat loss supplement investment if you want to quickly and easily increase your daily protein intake to add lean muscle mass fast and satisfy your sweet-tooth cravings.
2 Omega-3 fish oil
What is omega-3?
Omega-3 is an essential fatty acid. That means that your body can’t manufacture it so you need to consume it from your diet or through a supplement. Omega-3 is found in high concentrations in oily fish, especially those that live in colder waters.
Why do I need omega-3 fatty acids?
Omega-3 is very important for healthy metabolic function. That’s why we rank omega-3 as one of the best fat loss supplements for men. Adequate intake provides a whole host of other health benefits, including reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, certain cancers, mental health disorders and inflammation. We are advised to eat a recommended two portions of fish per week. One serving of white fish, such as cod, and one serving of oily fish, such as salmon. If you don’t, then consider taking an omega-3 supplement. And always take it with food to avoid the “fishy” taste repeating on you!
Advantages of omega-3 fatty acids
• Proven brain health benefits
• Reduces inflammation
• Might aid weight-loss efforts
Disadvantages of omega-3 fatty acids
• Doesn’t taste very nice
• Fishy taste can repeat on you
• Not suitable for vegans or vegetarians
Should I take an omega-3 fatty acid supplement?
Omega-3 supplementation can provide multiple mental and physical health benefits if you don’t eat high-quality fish very often.
3 Pre-workout supplements
What is a pre-workout supplement?
Pre-workout products are designed to be taken ahead of your training session. That’s because they contain a combination of compounds intended to improve focus, performance and energy levels. They also improve blood flow to deliver oxygen and nutrients to your muscles faster. The key ingredients typically include caffeine, the amino acids beta-alanine and arginine, and creatine, but many ingredients may be present.
Why should I take a pre-workout supplement?
Research supports claims that caffeine improves focus and concentration. And many people say they get a superior muscle “pump” during training because of increased blood flow. A pre-workout can also provide a psychological boost as part of a pre-training ritual that fires you up so you consequently perform better. That’s why we rate it as one of the best fat loss supplements. However, you should always test a product with a small sample before trying a full dose to ensure you don’t suffer any adverse reactions.
Advantages of pre-workout supplements
• Improves focus and concentration
• Increases blood flow and muscle pump
• Boosts energy levels
Disadvantages of pre-workout supplements
• In some causes skin tingles or itches
• Caffeine too late in the day can distrupt sleep
• Can contain many artificial ingredients
Should I take a pre-workout supplement?
Pre-workouts taken at the right time can improve workout performance, but not all products work for all people so some trial and error may be required.
4 Vitamin D
What is a vitamin D supplement?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin-like compound that plays an essential role in a huge number of biological functions. It also improves cognition and reduces the risk of certain cancers, cardiovascular disease and dementia. It is sometimes known as the “sunshine vitamin”. That’s because 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.
Why should I take a vitamin D supplement?
If you live in the UK, or other higher-latitude parts of the northern hemisphere, 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. That’s because there isn’t enough strong sunlight for much of the year to make production possible.
Advantages of a vitamin D supplement
• Essential for brain health
• Crucial role in hormone production
• Vital for muscle and bone health
Disadvantages of a vitamin D supplement
• Taking too much can be toxic
• Better absorbed when taken with food
• May lower levels of vitamin K
Should I take a vitamin D supplement?
If you live in high-latitude countries then you may suffer from sub-optimal vitamin D levels for around half the year so supplementation can reduce your risk of a deficiency.
What are BCAA supplements?
Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are 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. That means they must be obtained through the food you eat, or through a sports nutrition product. That’s why we rate them as one of the best supplements for men.
Why do I need a BCAA supplement?
Research is fairly conclusive that BCAA supplementation before, during and after training can help induce muscle protein synthesis (MPS). That’s the technical term for the process that lays down new muscle tissue that makes your muscles 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 choose a product that also contains these vitamins or take a daily a multivitamin to use this fat loss supplement the smart way.
Advantages of BCAA supplements
• Inhibits muscle tissue breakdown
• Encourages muscle protein synthesis
• Shortens recovery time
Disadvantages of BCAA supplements
• Depletes levels of vitamin B6
• Can contain many artificial ingredients
• No substitute for high-quality protein-rich foods
Should I take a BCAA supplement?
BCAAs can be a cheap and tasty way to improve gym performance, increase muscle mass growth and speed up the recovery process.
What is a creatine supplement?
Creatine is an organic compound that exists naturally in the body and is instrumental in providing energy to your cells. Creatine is not an essential nutrient because your body can make it from other compounds. It does this from two amino acids: glycine and arginine. But you can consume creatine certain foods. Red meat, such as steak, is naturally high in creatine.
Why do I need a creatine supplement?
Taking a creatine supplement will increase your body’s natural levels, which is why it’s one of our best fat loss supplements for men. Research has shown that supplementation can improve physical performance, especially during high-effort exercise, such as weight lifting or high-intensity interval training. Why? Because creatine enables your muscles to work harder for longer. Always take creatine with plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Some people benefit from taking it with food to prevent stomach upset or discomfort.
Advantages of creatine supplements
• Increases your cells energy stores
• Improves performance during intensive training
• Makes muscles look and feel bigger
Disadvantages of creatine supplements
• Causes water retention
• Could lead to stomach discomfort
• Might result in muscle cramping
Should I take a creatine supplement?
If you want to build muscle mass faster then creatine can help but water retention can make the body look “softer” and less defined during periods of supplementation.
7 Zinc and magnesium
What are zinc and magnesium?
Zinc and magnesium are two of the best supplements for active men. Why? Because both are essential trace elements that are have a huge number of biological roles. Zinc is involved in DNA metabolism, testosterone production, brain health, and efficient central nervous system function. And every single cell in your body needs magnesium ions to produce energy. Shellfish and red meat, especially beef, lamb and liver, are the best dietary sources of zinc. Magnesium is found in nuts, leafy greens and whole grains.
Why do I need zinc and magnesium?
Research suggest that most Western adults fail to hit the daily recommended target of both minerals through diet alone. And increasingly poor soil quality due to over-farming means that produce is now less nutrient-dense than a generation ago. Zinc and magnesium are even more important if you exercise. Why? Because levels of both elements are depleted through training. Zinc is lost through sweat, and magnesium is needed for central nervous system function and muscle contractions.
Advantages of zinc and magnesium supplements
• Zinc is involved in testosterone production
• Magnesium releases energy in cells
• Supplementation increases levels depleted by training
Disdvantages of zinc and magnesium supplements
• Risk of nausea
• Might result in stomach upset
• Could suppress copper and iron absorption
Should I take zinc and magnesium supplements?
If you regularly train hard and sweat a lot, or don’t eat a lot of red meat or leafy greens, then supplementing zinc and magnesium could help optimise your levels.
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