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What are the best supplements to get in shape?

healthy-person-woman-sportOkay, so maybe you slacked a little. Maybe your weights are looking a little dusty and your workout mat's been rolled up for so long, it looks more like a piece of furniture than fitness equipment.

Or maybe you didn't slack--maybe you've been killing it the past few months with your workout.

So why aren't you getting the results you want?

Whether you're coming back from an exercise hiatus, eager to step up your workout game, or just starting your fitness journey, getting moving is critical but it's only half the battle; the other half comes from your plate.

carrot-kale-walnuts-tomatoesIT'S ALL ABOUT NUTRITION

It's no secret that a good diet equals good physical and mental health, but nourishing your body becomes even more important when you make a lifestyle change like embarking on a new healthy living regimen.

Paired with a well-rounded diet, supplements may not only help your progress at the gym, but can also have other health benefits.

It may seem daunting. There are hundreds of supplements out there. How do you know which ones are best for your fitness journey?

SUPPLEMENTS TO GET IN SHAPE

Supplements should compliment healthy eating, not replace it.  When paired with a nourishing diet, these supplements may help you speed up and refine your fitness progress so you can rock a summer bod all year long.*

BUILD MUSCLE AND ENDURANCE

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Protein gets a lot of press for its muscle-building abilities, but it's also a building block for healthy hair, skin, nails, bones, cartilage, and blood. (x)

Our bodies need 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound--and that amount can almost double if you're working out extra hard. (x) (x) These supplements may help with muscle growth--and research shows that the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn. (x)

--BCAAs The building blocks of protein, BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) are critical for muscle growth and maintenance, and they also aid in post-workout muscle repair.

--Whey Protein is the isolated part of whey, the liquid byproduct of milk made during cheese production. Rich in amino acids, it packs a mean protein punch.

--Beta Alanine is a non-essential amino acid, meaning the body can't make it on its own and requires supplementation. Research suggests regularly taking beta alanine may increase exercise endurance and build lean muscle mass, allowing you to work harder, longer and increase muscle gains. (x)

--Creatine is a substance found in muscle cells and is frequently regarded as the "Holy Grail" of bodybuilding supplements. Numerous studies have found that it may increase muscle mass, strength, and endurance.

Want more options? Browse our full selection of supplements for healthy muscles.

CUT CALORIES

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Contrary to popular belief, calorie reduction doesn't automatically mean you'll lose weight. It's not always about eating less--it's about eating right. Often, that may mean switching out sneaky calorie-dense foods for healthier options.

Sugar, especially, can add major calories, and when consumed in excess, can contribute to some serious health problems. (x)

Skip the sugar and cut your calories with these sweet supplement options:

--Monk Fruit Extract Grown in areas of southern China and northern Thailand, monk fruit is reportedly 200-300 times sweeter than sugar and contains zero calories. An extra bonus? Research suggests it may have antioxidant properties. (x)

--Stevia Extract Powder Made from the leaves of the stevia plant, stevia extract powder is another natural sweetener that can be added to smoothies, yogurt, shakes, baked goods--you name it--to satisfy your sweet tooth without the calories. A little goes a long way: stevia is about 200 times sweeter than sugar.

--Erythritol Powder Erythritol is a sugar alcohol. It contains less than one calorie per gram and is about 60-70% as sweet as sugar. Because of its unique chemical structure, studies suggest it doesn't cause many of the harmful effects of long-term sugar consumption.

Shop our full selection of sugar alternatives here.

MANAGE WEIGHT

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Diet and exercise are the best tools in your weight loss arsenal, but many natural supplements may help with weight management.

--African Mango Extract Harvested from West African mango plants called Irvingia gabonensis, African mango extract is rich in fiber, which helps you feel fuller longer. One study suggested that African mango's soluble fiber content may have contributed to lowered bad cholesterol (LDL) levels and higher good cholesterol (HDL) levels in study participants. (x)

--Garcinia Cambogiaalso known as gummi-gutta, is a small, pumpkin-shaped fruit that grows in India, Africa, and Southeast Asia. While additional research is needed, preliminary studies found that an ingredient in the fruit's rind, hydroxycitric acid, may burn fat and serve as an appetite suppressant. (x)

--Guarana Powder A plant native to the Amazon, guarana's seeds and fruit are used in supplements due to their naturally high caffeine content. Research has linked moderate caffeine intake to improved mood and focus, and though additional studies are needed, early research suggests guarana may aid in weight management. (x)

Shop our full stock of weight loss supplements here.

With a solid diet, a challenging fitness routine, and the right supplements, that year-round summer bod should be right around the corner.

*Always talk to your doctor or nutritionist before taking any supplements.

 

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