Fitness & Fat Loss

Two Powerful and Often Overlooked Weight Training Supplements

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Bodybuilder training his backIf you’re into weight training, you almost certainly know about the importance of having a high daily protein intake. You are probably taking protein supplements and maybe creatine. You are doing your best to eat a healthy diet and get enough sleep. You think you have all your bases covered. Not quite.

Protein and creatine supplements are essential weight training supplements if you want to be able to perform at your best. However, protein and creatine alone are not enough to enable you to reach peak performance. If you want to be able to perform to the limit of your potential, you should seriously consider supplementing with green tea extract and, perhaps, DHEA.

Green Tea Extract: More Energy for Longer Workouts

It’s no secret that caffeine increases energy levels and speeds up metabolism, at least for a good number of people.[1] Green tea extract is the healthiest source of caffeine to take because not only does it enable you to take advantage of the energy boosting effects of caffeine, but it also supplies you with potent antioxidants called polyphenols.[2]

These polyphenols do not enhance athletic performance directly, but they do help your body heal faster. That means more time lifting and less time resting. (Weight training supplements that reduce recovery time are every bit as valuable as supplements that directly increase muscle mass.)

The Healing Polyphenols in Green Tea Extract:

  • Gallocatechin gallate (EGCG)
  • Catechins
  • Flavanols

Green Tea Extract Dosage

How much green tea extract you should take each day depends a lot on your tolerance for caffeine. (Of course there are decaffeinated green tea varieties too.) If you have a normal tolerance for caffeine, you should take somewhere between 300 and 400 mg of green tea extract daily. If your tolerance for caffeine is lower than normal, between 200 and 300 mg of green tea extract a day is a good starting point. And, of course, if you are one of the people with a high tolerance for green tea extract, you can take significantly more than 400 mg a day.

Green tea extract has few side effects and they tend to be transitory. Most people that have problems with green tea extract are usually due to the caffeine content. Of course, as with anything else, some people may have or develop intolerance.

What is DHEA?

DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone)is a hormone that has a broad range of positive health effects. Several health authorities regularly recommend it to men over the age of 40, but there is some good evidence that it may enhance physical performance in younger individuals.

Side note: While DHEA is legal in the USA, you may want to avoid if you are in competitive sports as it is banned by several sporting bodies.

DHEA Benefits

  • Many help build muscle mass.[3]
  • Decreases the body’s response to cortisol (a harmful stress hormone).
  • May improve energy levels and mood.

Using DHEA Safely

Because DHEA is such a powerful substance and has significant effects on a wide variety of organs, you need to make sure that you use an appropriate dose. You may safely take up to 200 mg of DHEA a day.[4] This dose is high enough to let you get all the maximum benefits out of your DHEA use but low enough to allow you to avoid most side effects.

Where to Find DHEA

Due to the fact that DHEA is a hormone and not a nutrient, some people interested in taking it are confused about where to look for it. In the United States, DHEA can be purchased legally over the counter or online at discounted prices. It is also available in prescription form.

Which is better, over the counter or prescription? It depends on the quality of your over the counter DHEA supplement. If you only purchase DHEA from a reputable manufacturer, there should be hardly any difference between your DHEA supplement and the prescription form of DHEA.

Green tea extract and DHEA are two weight training supplements often overlooked by even serious athletes. Start taking them daily in and you may soon be able to break through plateaus and reach your full weight lifting potential.


References:

[1] Tufts Journal: Why does caffeine give you energy?

[2] Wishard: Green Tea Extract

[3] American Journal of Physiology: DHEA enhances effects of weight training on muscle mass and strength

[4] Mayo Clinic: DHEA

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