Friends and others at the gym often ask me which supplements I take and what I recommend they take to get their best possible results. My supplement use is dependent upon my specific goals at that time as they can change throughout the year. My standard “go-to” supps” I use on a regular basis are whey protein, a multi vitamin and creatine. All three of these are essential in producing lasting and hardcore results. For many of the people asking me for advice, these are good options for them as well.
So why are these important? What people might not realize is when your training even at a low intensity you are breaking down your muscle and that’s why proper supplementation is very key. Let’s take a quick look at these three supplements and why they are essential for you.
You can consume it in a few different ways whether it is from a powder such as whey or from solid foods like chicken, fish or tuna. When training and on a nutrition plan you should consume about 40% of your calories from protein. The most important times to have protein would be first thing in the morning as your body has been fasting for 8 or more hours and right after your workouts. You have a window of about 30 minutes in which your body is thirsting for protein to aid in recovery post workout. Try getting about 40-50 grams of protein after your training session. Less may not meet your requirements if you are training hard whereas more is an excess of calories and waste of money.
Vitamins come into play as it very hard to get all the nutrients you need from food. People take a multi-vitamins for a few different reasons. Let’s say your in your diet you aren’t getting enough vitamin C or vitamin D, taking a multi-vitamin will bridge that gap. Let’s face it, we usually don’t eat enough fruits and veggies so we need to be sure we are filling these “gaps.“ This is very true especially if you are on a low-calorie diet which lack certain nutrients and minerals. A simple one a day vitamin first thing in the morning can help provide you with everything you need to keep you alert and get your thru the day. Of all the supplements out there, it is conceivable that investing in a quality multi-vitamin could be your best investment.
Their have been countless studies on Creatine and its relationship to muscle growth. Creatine can boost maximal strength and energy output during exercise, which allows you to lift heavier and longer. Creatine is best used in doses of about 5g a day. Of the different creatines the monohydrate version is the one that has been around the longest and been the most tested. Standard dosage of Creatine consists of a loading phase of 4 servings of 5 grams a day for 5 days (20g a day total for the first 5 days) then just 5 grams a day thereafter. Some suggest coming off of Creatine after a couple months. As to whether this is “necessary” is open for debate. If you don’t want to “load” with the 20g per day for the 5 days you can skip directly to the 5grams a day. You should know that loading will saturate your muscles more quickly where as the slow dose can take up to 4 weeks for full effect. On a side note, Creatine Monohydrate is very reasonably priced now versus 15 years ago when it first started getting popular.
These are just THREE of the many different supplements I use during my training and dieting. Be sure to check back in for Part II as we discuss Fish Oils, BCAA’s, Glutamine and what they mean to you.