5 Game-Changing Supplements for Gym Beginners

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The fitness industry is full of misleading information about supplements for gym beginners. Most influencers on Instagram and TikTok will say you need to take dozens of supplements to see results, but that could not be further from the truth. In reality, the average person only needs a handful of products to improve their progress.

After all, they’re called “supplements”, not steroids. They’re not supposed to be magic elixirs. They are simply replacements for regular food that make it easier to meet your dietary needs and reach your fitness goals. With this idea in mind, here are the five must-have supplements for gym beginners.

1. Protein Powder

Protein powder is the primary supplement that people use to support their workout routines. It helps you reach your daily protein intake without gorging yourself on high-calorie foods. Every protein supplement falls into one of three categories:

  • Protein concentrates: This type is the least processed, getting extracted from whole food using heat and acid or enzymes. They consist of about 60%–80% protein, with the remaining 20%–40% being fats and carbohydrates.
  • Protein isolates: Isolates go through an additional filtering process to remove more fat and carbs, containing about 90-95% pure protein.
  • Protein hydrolysates: This type goes through another heating cycle with acid or enzymes, which breaks the bonds between amino acids. This refinement process helps your muscles absorb the protein more quickly.

The most popular type of protein powder is whey protein isolate or hydrolysate because the body absorbs it more quickly and jumpstarts the muscle recovery process. There are many other types of protein powder, including casein, egg, pea and mixed plant protein. The latter options are great if you have vegan or vegetarian diet restrictions and can’t have regular whey.

Contrary to popular belief, there is no exact time when you need to consume protein powder. You just need to meet your daily number, which should be about .8 grams per pound of bodyweight. Take a scoop of powder whenever the time is most convenient for you, whether it’s in the morning, after your workout or before going to bed.

2. Creatine

White creatine powder

Creatine is a chemical compound that your body naturally produces in small amounts. Its main purpose is to supply energy to your muscles and help them contract during exercise. Creatine is the most well-researched supplement on the market after protein powder, so you can be confident in its performance-boosting benefits:

  • Speeds up muscle recovery: Exercising creates small micro-tears in your muscle fibers. Creatine activates satellite cells in skeletal tissue, which helps the micro-tears heal.
  • Increases anabolic hormones: Creatine increases your body’s production of anabolic hormones, which are key contributors to tissue repair and muscle growth. The key hormones include insulin, human growth hormone (hGH), estrogen and testosterone.
  • Boosts water retention in muscle cells: Creatine helps your muscle cells retain more water. This extra hydration can increase muscle growth and reduce dehydration that leads to cramps.

You can consume creatine through protein-rich foods such as red meat, milk and seafood, but supplements are more efficient for getting your daily intake. Creatine is available in powders, pills, capsules, liquids and energy bars. You only need to take 3-5 grams per day to reap the rewards of this must-have supplements for gym beginners.

3. Pre-Workout

Pre-workout is the flashiest supplement on this list because of the main ingredient — caffeine. It might contain other ingredients that give you an energy boost and improve your workout performance, but caffeine is the star of the show. Drinking coffee or a healthy energy drink will give you similar results.

The thing that sets pre-workout apart from other caffeinated beverages is the abundance of amino acids. You can find the following performance-boosting amino acids in most pre-workout supplements:

  • Beta Alanine
  • Citrulline
  • Taurine
  • Arginine
  • Tyrosine
  • Trimethylglycine
  • Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs)

Pre-workout is a great addition to high-calorie snacks such as bananas and oatmeal before you exercise. However, it’s not a replacement for a good warm-up routine. You still need to warm up your muscles before diving into an intense workout. Pre-workout is the icing on the cake of your warm-up routine.

4. Multivitamin

The modern diet doesn’t have enough vitamins and minerals to support a healthy lifestyle. Processed foods don’t have any vitamins, and even many whole foods have nutrient deficiencies that make them less reliable. That’s why a multivitamin supplement is more important than ever. 

Different multivitamins

Additionally, a multivitamin helps you get the nutrients you need if you’re in a strict caloric deficit. They are virtually zero calories, and they provide all of the essential vitamins and minerals you need to grow muscle and perform well in the gym:

  • Vitamin D3
  • Vitamin D2
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B3
  • Vitamin B9
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin K

You could also take these vitamins individually in their own supplements, but a multivitamin is more cost-effective. Besides, you don’t want to take a dozen pills every day. Your diet should still primarily consist of whole foods. Multivitamins are just helpful supplements for gym beginners to build a well-rounded eating plan while saving money on groceries.

5. Fish Oil

Yellow fish oil pills

The final must-have supplement for gym beginners is fish oil. Fish oil contains Omega-3 fatty acids, which are crucial for testosterone production and athletic performance by extension. That’s why foods like salmon, tuna and oysters are so popular among bodybuilders and powerlifters. They’re high in protein and keep your testosterone levels high.

In case you didn’t know, testosterone is the central anabolic hormone in the human body. It’s one of the biggest reasons why men are typically bigger, stronger and faster than women. If you want to reach your full potential in the gym, you need to include plenty of fish oil in your diet. This supplement is only available in capsules, but it should be easy to find.

Give These Supplements a Try

If we’re being 100% honest, no supplement is truly a “must-have”. They’re all just convenient and affordable ways to improve your diet without spending your entire budget on groceries and changing your daily schedule. Give these five supplements a try and see how much they improve your performance and recovery.

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