How to Survive on a College Student Budget while Still Buying Supplements

supplements on a college budget

If you are a typical broke college student or recent graduate, then you certainly do not have any extra money to throw around. And for those of us concerned about working out and keeping healthy, there is one huge additional expense that eats into our food budget: supplements.

Come on, you are already paying through the nose for tuition, books, and room and board. You do not need to keep paying more than you should for these big name-brand supplements. Do not sacrifice your monthly or weekly food budget any more, forcing yourself to live on ramen noodles and that famous protein pill that you just have to have.

Did you know that most nationally-known big-brand supplements cost a lot more than they need to? A large portion of the product prices are based on the flashy packaging that you see in the stores and the magazine ads which are meant to catch your eye. Well, who do you think pays for all that? You do through higher prices.

Beating the System:

The first step to getting around the seeming monopoly of these big brands is to step back and consider what you really need. It might not be as easy to do as it seems, especially since the big supplement companies have been brainwashing you into thinking that you really NEED their stuff. A solid research tool is the site Spend a little bit of time here and you will have a much clearer idea of what you ultimately “need” in terms of supplementation. It will most likely be a lot less than you thought.

After doing this research, let’s say you have decided to buy beta-alanine, creatine monohydrate, and bulk caffeine powder. It should also be pointed out here that the powder versions tend to be the most economical. You not only end up spending less money on a cost per use basis, but you generally get a lot more product as well. Sure, it is a little less convenient to actually take an extra couple seconds and mix this up in a blender or by hand, but the significant savings are certainly worth it.

Your Supplement War Chest:

The first supplement you decided upon was Beta-Alanine. This is a non-essential amino acid which is a hybrid between powerful neurotransmitters L-glycine and GABA. When it is consumed as a dietary supplement, beta-alanine is transported into your skeletal muscles through the use of sodium and chloride. Once it enters into the muscle, it binds with the essential amino acid histidine and forms the dipeptide carnosine. Without getting overly technical, by increasing the muscular concentrations of carnosine, it helps to fight off muscular fatigue. This fight allows you to train harder and longer before getting tired.

The second supplement chosen was bulk creatine monohydrate powder. Creatine is one of most well-researched supplements around and it just plain works. Creatine helps to increase the body’s ability to produce energy. This energy is transported directly into the working muscle cells, which allows you to train harder, longer, and even more often. You will likely find yourself being able to lift an extra rep or two, or add 5 more pounds to the bar.

The third supplement you are using is bulk caffeine powder. Of course everyone knows that coffee and tea have naturally-occurring amounts of caffeine in them. But as a supplement, caffeine powder is actually quite useful and effective. This usefulness includes being able to increase the capacity of a workload someone can handle and building extra muscle fibers. These increases will allow you to have more energy, work out more intensely, have increased alertness and endurance, and improve your concentration. Many people will also see an increased uptake of oxygen and it can help to spare glycogen usage.

Give these a try and we think you will find out very quickly that you can still have some money left over for other things. Things like eating and paying for school!

Is Vitamin C an Effective Addition to a Pre-Workout Supplement Routine?

vitamin-c is an effective preworkout supplement

Introduction to Vitamin C:

Many weight training athletes seem to think that Vitamin C is simply something that comes in their daily multi-vitamin and mineral supplement. However, this lowly vitamin is probably the most important and popular nutritional ingredient of all time. After all, it has so many benefits and helps to work on a number of different levels that even if it did nothing to help a workout directly it would still be worth taking.

Nevertheless, there are a number of benefits that actually relate to how Vitamin C will help your workout. It is a powerful anti-oxidant, which means that it can help to improve the use of oxygen. Certainly this will benefit aerobic training like running, jogging, and bicycling. However, it may even help weight trainers to recover more quickly between intense sets under heavy loads. Also, this vitamin has recently accumulated a lot of evidence that it can help to reduce cortisol levels. This can be huge in helping to improve a workout as well.

The Cortisol Problem:

One of the major problems with cortisol is that it is the ultimate stress hormone. This actually signals the body to store fat and fight your best efforts to build muscle. Not to mention the fact that it also helps to keep you feeling tired, run down, and of course, stressed out.

Of course, we also need to remember that the whole point of a workout is to place more stress on your body. The idea is that by shocking the body with an intense load, the body needs to take drastic efforts in order to adapt (i.e. produce bigger muscles and lower fat levels, etc…). More intensity can mean more stress and more cortisol.

Vitamin C and Cortisol:

When taken before a workout, Vitamin C is able to help block the effects of cortisol. This blockage leads to the body being able to more readily adapt to the stress which your workout places upon it. Many researchers even think that Vitamin C may have properties that resemble hormones and is a powerful enemy of cortisol.

Taking around 500mg of this vital nutrient as a pre-workout supplement is certainly an excellent insurance policy. At the very least, you will see your energy levels increase and should also have an improved workout. You may even want to try taking some more immediately upon finishing a workout to help aid in the recovery process.

Extra Benefits:

Another excellent benefit of using Vitamin C on a regular basis is that it helps to clear any excess caffeine and other stimulants from your system. Not to mention that regular usage over a period of time can even help to increase testosterone levels. And this is certainly good for helping muscular recovery and rebuilding!