Why should I care about supplements?

You’ve been training hard and coming to the gym consistently for weeks or even months. Why should you need to worry about supplementing your diet? We are going to attempt to answer this question and talk about some of the options you have that can improve your recovery. Keep in mind as we discuss this that eating real food needs to be the main focus of any diet that you have. These supplements will not be presented as a meal replacement option but as a way to help with performance and recovery. Sometimes, due to time or money constraints, you simply cannot get enough of nutrients from traditional food sources. Plus, the timing of your nutrients is an important key that we will address this with each relevant supplement we cover.

Consider your body and your goals to determine if supplementation would be helpful or necessary for you. As always when making a change for your health: make the change, listen to your body, respond accordingly.

Whey Protein

Why should I consider Whey Protein post-workout? Because during your workout your body is breaking down muscle, and protein is the building block of muscle. As soon as your workout ends, your body begins the rebuilding process, and it needs protein to do this effectively. Whey protein will allow you to absorb protein into your system fast. You could eat chicken post workout and get a similar effect, but it will take longer for your body to process because it is a whole food. Also, you also need to eat within 20 minutes in order for your body to have the best response to the protein.  Taking protein after a workout will spark new muscle growth, aid you in recovery, and rebuild your muscle tissue leading to a stronger, quicker recovery.

Branched Chain Amino Acids

BCAA’s are the most abundant amino acids found in muscle tissue, and are the most readily absorbed group of amino acids and are crucial for rapid recovery. These amino acids are naturally occurring in eggs and meat. BCAAs are rapidly absorbed by your body so you can take them pre, intra or post workout. If you are looking for a BCAA supplement, the ideal ratio is 2 parts Leucine to 1 part Isoleucine and Valine. BCAA’s are metabolized directly in the muscle and drive muscle synthesis. They are considered essential because the body cannot build them, and they must be ingested through your diet.

Fish Oil

Why are you sore all the time? Inflammation. What's a great way to reduce inflammation in your life? Upping your Omega-3s. That's why adding Fish Oil (the most bioavailable source for Omega-3s) into your diet can be a great idea. The main reasons for using this supplement is that ideally, you would ingest 2-4 grams of Omega-3s (DHA and EPA) daily. Most of us don't or can't afford to eat that much quality fish. Also, while foods like flaxseed do contain Omega-3s, they are not nearly as usable for your body. Furthermore, DHA and EPA are essential nutrients, meaning they too must come from your diet because your body can not create them on their own.

So if you want an extra ally to fight inflammation (support brain function and immune system, fight heart disease, promote weight loss) you may want to consider upping your fish intake or adding a fish oil supplement. If you do opt for a fish oil supplement, take it with food. Avoid supplements that toss in ingredients such as soy, dairy, sweeteners or wheat into the mix. If you are trying to supplement to reduce inflammation, you don't want to throw problematic ingredients into the mix. Also, make sure you store your fish oil in a cool dark place because rancid fish oil is helpful for no one.

Pre-Workout and Creatine

Water!  Before you start your workout you are going to want to make sure that you are properly hydrated. This is going to be a battle throughout the day, but it is so fundamentally important. If you are considering investing in supplements to improve your workouts and recovery, make sure you're not forgetting take advantage of something as basic as drinking enough water.

In certain cases, a pre-workout supplement can help you get some more energy and kick start your workout. There is a specific pre workout that we carry, but caffeine is the key ingredient. This will not always be possible for all people: for instance, if you train at 6:30pm you may not want to drink caffeine.

One of the biggest boosts to your workout can come from Creatine. Creatine, naturally occurring in meat and fish, helps deliver energy to your entire body, but particularly to your muscles. It works by filling your muscles with a high-energy compound called Creatine Phosphate (PCr), which can be used by the body as an immediate energy supply during intense exercise. Creatine also hydrates muscle cells with water, promoting muscle fiber growth. This would be a great supplement to take either before or after your workout. It’s one of the most researched, studied and effective products on the market. Studies suggest that creatine monohydrate can help:

  • Promote muscle growth

  • Support maximal strength

  • Enhance muscular energy

  • Delay workout fatigue

  • Support increased muscle size via cell hydration

Your body is able to produce Creatine, and it can be found in small amounts in fish and red meat. However, since Creatine breaks down under heat, in order to ingest a regular dose of Creatine (5 grams), you would have to either consume a few pounds of raw fish or rare meat everyday. Micronized Creatine can be more easily ingested because it has a smaller particle size. This makes it mix better with liquids and aids in absorption into the body. The best time to take this is before your workout. 

If you want to try any supplements or have any other questions let the coaching staff know!