WHICH WORKOUT SUPPLEMENTS SHOULD I TAKE?
Powders, pills, and everything in between. There are so many supplements on the market it can be a bit of a mystery trying to figure out what’s hot and what’s really not. We caught up with sports nutritionist Josh Smart to get the lowdown on sports supplements, how to use them and whether they’re really worth the hype.
"There seems to be a supplement for everything these days! With such a large variety and different suggested benefits, do you really know what you are taking? Are you missing out?
This brief guide provides a breakdown of the main supplements, the science behind them, who should take them, and when they should be consumed.
Protein powder is one of the number one selling supplements out there. It is essential in everyone’s diet to repair tissue, build muscle, and hormonal functioning. As a powder, it is often supplied as either whey or casein, which are both dairy proteins derived from milk.
WHAT PROTEIN POWDER SHOULD I USE?
Whey is known as the fast-acting protein due to its quick digestion and absorption within the body. Due to this, it is commonly used within post-workout shakes, usually providing 20-30g of protein per serving to aid recovery and growth of the worked muscles. Casein has similar benefits however, it is digested at a much slower rate making it a good source of protein before bed.
HOW IS PROTEIN DIGESTED?
A common mistake is thinking the more protein consumed post-workout the better – this is not the case. Protein intake should instead be distributed evenly throughout the day. Try to consume high protein foods with each meal. You could also snack on foods such as eggs, meat, fish, beans, and lentils. If this is not convenient then a protein shake or bar can be an easy alternative at any time of day, providing a complete protein source with all nine essential amino acids.
Amino Acids are the building blocks of protein and are vital for muscle protein synthesis. There are nine essential amino acids, with specific emphasis placed on Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine for muscle growth. Grenade®’s Defend BCAA powder provides these in a simple powder form at their optimal ratios of 2:1:1, allowing for rapid absorption into the bloodstream.#
WHEN SHOULD I TAKE BCAAS?
BCAAs should be consumed throughout the day or during a workout, especially if in a caloric deficit or catabolic state to help prevent muscle protein breakdown.
Creatine Monohydrate is a naturally occurring compound that is stored within muscles. It can be obtained in your diet through meat and fish. It is involved with the supply of energy during high intensity, short-duration exercises like sprinting, or resistance training. To gain the benefits of creatine it can be taken as a supplement, usually in a powder or pill form.
WHEN SHOULD I TAKE CREATINE?
Unlike many other supplements, it's best consumed daily. A loading phase of 7-10g for the first week is usually recommended, followed by maintenance of 5g per day. This allows for greater stores within the muscle and higher availability of energy. It is also shown to aid recovery between bouts of exercise and increase time to fatigue, allowing you to lift more weight for more reps!
L-Glutamine is an amino acid found within the muscle and can be acquired through dietary intake. It is shown to have health benefits such as an anti-inflammatory and immune system enhancer. It is vital within the functioning of white blood cells, which help protect against disease and infection. If glutamine levels drop for a prolonged period, the immune response within the body is suppressed and this in turn can lead to illness.
Glutamine also serves as a fuel source to the cells lining the intestines; supplementation can, therefore, support a healthy gut and prevent deterioration of these cells. Evidence suggests individuals suffering from bowel irritation, gastrointestinal problems, and immune disorders may benefit from increased glutamine within their diets.
If you’re feeling tired and can’t be bothered to work out, then taking a pre-workout supplement can be a great way to get up and running. The key ingredient within pre-workout is caffeine, a stimulant, and one of the best ergogenic aids out there.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF TAKING PRE-WORKOUT?
It provides a host of benefits to performance including:
• Increase energy and focus
• Boost reaction time
• Increase cardiac output
• Support muscle activation, power, and strength
• Improve cognitive functioning
• Improve the replenishment of muscle glycogen stores
• Reduce fatigue
Pre-workout also often includes creatine and beta-alanine. Creatine, as highlighted earlier, needs to be consumed daily at a dose of 5g to be effective. Similarly, beta-alanine requires an intake of 2-5g daily. This will increase levels of intramuscular L-carnosine and act as a buffer against muscle acidity, therefore withstanding time to fatigue. A side effect of pre-workout is a tingly feeling on the skin known as paraesthesia caused by beta-alanine. This has no negative harm to the body and usually wears off once the workout begins.
If you are looking for a cheap and effective alternative to pre-workout, then consuming a coffee 30-45 minutes prior to exercise can support many of these benefits.