Supplements are a key component of the diets of many fitness enthusiasts. They can help you reach your daily intake of any given macro or micronutrient, whilst giving you a performance enhancing boost.
Whether you’re a student on a strict budget, or just looking to save money, there are plenty ways to supplement your diet that will help you to reach your goals whilst also leaving you some pounds in your pocket.
1. Whey Protein
Anyone who’s looking to put on mass or even lose weight will be eating larger quantities of protein. While helping you to build quality, lean muscle, it can also come at a cost. Lean protein sources such as chicken breast, beef, fish etc. aren’t the cheapest of options, so many turn to the protein shake.
Protein is needed for protein synthesis (building muscles), since working out will increase protein and muscle breakdown, you need to take in more to help build your muscles back up stronger and fuller.
Whey, a by-product of cheese manufacture, is very high in protein and low in carbohydrates and fat. It’s perfect for bulking up without gaining a lot of fat, or someone looking to slim down as a high-protein diet will help you feel fuller for longer. Protein is also very fast absorbing which makes it ideal to consume post workout to speed up recovery.
Recommended Serving: 25g (1 scoop)
Price per Serving: 23p
Creatine occurs naturally in our bodies and is stored within our skeletal muscle tissue. It’s also one of the most popular supplements around thanks to the extensive research into its performance-enhancing benefits and can be bought at a fantastic pound-stretching price.
Usually consumed in small quantities from meats such as beef, creatine works by providing your body with a phosphate molecule to turn adenosine diphosphate (ADP) into adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is your body’s preferred source of energy. This makes it a great choice for athletes who looking to build slow twitch muscle fibres that respire anaerobically, such as weight lifters and sprinters.
It can be expensive to constantly eat meats such as beef to consume larger quantities of creatine — and even more so an inconvenience for vegans and vegetarians, so supplements are recommended. There are several different types, but the cheapest, most common and most popular is creatine monohydrate. This can be found in several forms, from powders to pills and chewable tablets.
Creatine is an excellent supplements to give you more energy during your workouts, helping you to push harder, recruiting more muscle fibres so you can grow them even larger as well as decreasing recovery time and giving your muscles a fuller look.
Recommended Serving: 5g (1 tsp.)
Price per Serving: 5p
3. Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
BCAAs make up a third of the specific amino acids which make up our skeletal muscle tissue. They may help reduce tiredness, meaning they could significantly boost your workout. This is one of the key reasons why they’re great to take before your workout.
This is done by inhibiting the production of serotonin, which often rises during exercise. Serotonin increases your ‘perception of fatigue’ meaning during your workout and throughout the day you’re likely to feel more tired. By inhibiting the production of serotonin, BCAAs can help to reduce this.
Furthermore, they intend to help to reduce muscle soreness, meaning that you can push even harder each and every day without worrying about the aches and pains of the previous day’s workout(s).
BCAA’s may also reduce muscle breakdown when following a metabolic diet where you are eating less with the aim to reduce your body fat, such as the ketogenic diet, paleo diet or on an intermittent fasting plan. When you are training fasted, they can be an excellent calorie-free way to give yourself an energy boost.
You can buy them in different ratios, commonly 2:1:1 or 4:1:1 with the former being more budget friendly, and the latter potentially being a little more efficient. BCAA’s are available in powder or tablet form so they are suitable for all!
Recommended Serving: 5g (1 tsp.)
Price per Serving: 17p
When following any diet or meal plan, we ensure we hit our macronutrient goals for protein, carbohydrates and fats daily. It is also important however to ensure we do not forego our micronutrients, which can be extremely beneficial in weight loss and ensuring you are as healthy as you possibly can be.
Multi vitamins are ideal for anyone looking to increase their daily micronutrient intake on a budget, since they include all of the key vitamins and minerals that we require in one easy to take pill/powder, without worrying about buying them all individually. This saves us time and money.
Vitamin B, such as B2, B6 and B12 could help to potentially reduce that tiredness and stress to keep us energised throughout the day – something definitely needed to boost our workouts and daily activities!
Vitamin C is important for our cells, it ensure they are healthy and functioning in the proper way. Most people do not get enough vitamin C through fruits and vegetables, so supplementing it is a great way to increase your intake. It also helps to boost the immune system and fight the symptoms of cold and flu. You can read more about Vitamin C here.
Vitamin D is obtained mostly from sunlight, with many not getting enough of it. It is vital for our day to day wellbeing. You can read about the full benefits of Vitamin D here.
Multivitamins, such as our Daily Vitamins contains Vitamin A, C, D and E as well as Thiamin, Riboflavin and Niacin which have been shown to include Vitamin B.
Recommended Serving: 1 tablet
Price per Serving: 3p
5. Fatty Acids and Omega-3s
Omega-3 fatty acids could be considered as one of the most vital nutrients that our bodies require. We cannot produce them ourselves, which means it is vital that we get enough through our diets alone.
The main natural source of Omega-3 fatty acids is from oily fish, which can be expensive and tough to eat regularly for some. Due to the low cost and convenience of capsules, they are a great alternative for those on a budget.
Fish oils may even reduce post exercise soreness, meaning that you can push harder each day without worrying about feeling sore, in addition to reducing general pain and swelling. They could potentially help you to achieve full range of motion during exercise and ‘lubricate’ your joints.
Omega-3’s are also favoured for the potential to regulate normal heart and cognitive function and lowering blood pressure (1) meaning they could be a great staple supplement in your diet.
Recommended Serving: 1 tablet
Price per Serving: 2p
Take Home Message
Contrary to popular belief, you can consume a variety of essential daily supplements without breaking the bank.
Your daily expenditure for all of the supplements listed, following the recommended dosage would be 50p! That’s right, only 50p for all 5 of these supplements.
Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you’re concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.