THE BLOG

Top Three Supplements You Should Be Having

13/02/2017 12:00

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My low down on supplements

When you've had a certain degree of success in your fitness goals you are often faced with the notion that perhaps supplementing your diet in some way could accelerate your progress. I don't want to get into a long rant on the efficacy of the multitude of supplements out there so, here is the low down on my top three supplements that I do think have positive effects and scientific backing.

Firstly, I will say that I am not sponsored by any supplement company so none of this is written with bias. It is purely from over 20 years of weight training, personal training success and personal research.

Protein powder

Protein for me is a staple in one's diet if you're trying to increase muscle mass, reduce fat mass, or simply eat in a balanced way. One of the many issues I encounter with clients is being unable to consume enough protein calories in their day. I will always champion whole food over powders but they do have their place.

The main two contenders are whey and casein. These are both proteins derived from milk but they do have differing properties. Both are highly bio-available and have high leucine levels. This means they are both good at promoting muscle protein synthesis and are easily absorbed. To contrast, pork has low leucine levels and is therefore a poor protein to promote muscle protein synthesis. The main difference between the two is the speed of absorption. Whey is highly insulinogenic and is rapidly absorbed. This gives you an immediate spike in blood amino acids but it is short lived. Casein is slower to be absorbed so gives a more even delivery of amino acids over longer period of time. This gives a longer period of muscle protein synthesis. Practically this means that if you're going to supplement with either of these powders, choose whey for post workout consumption, where you need an immediate hit of protein, and use casein at any other time i.e. pre-bed or in the day to bolster your protein calories.

Creatine

Creatine is one of the most widely studied supplements and has an enormous level of proven efficacy about its use in endurance and power based sports. There are a lot of myths or bioscience around what it actually does and how it helps. It does get a bit technical so you can read up in more detail, but, I will try to summarise it for you. Creatine is a naturally occurring molecule in every cell in your body. It is primarily used in the formation of energy (ATP). Your body can create ATP by breaking sugars, fats or by using creatine phosphate. You only have a small supply of creatine phosphate so you run out quickly (3-5 seconds). It is mainly utilised at a level where your muscles are working at a maximum effort i.e. the last couple of reps. Because you have so little stored your supply is exhausted quickly. Your body can replace it but it takes time i.e. rest. Therefore, by supplementing it into your diet you can increase your stores and prolong the high intensity portion of your workout. In turn this allows you to work harder and potentially stimulate the muscle to grow more.

The main point is that it will do nothing for you unless you're working at maximal levels. You may also gain a little water weight, but it is only temporary. With regards the myriad of varieties out there, creatine monohydrate is the cheapest form and is perfectly effective. Other forms i.e. ethyl ester, hydrolysed or micronized etc. do not show any statistical benefit and cost a far more. So don't waste your money

Omega 3

I'm seeing this pop up everywhere more and more. Cereals, fishfingers, fancy oils, eggs, oily fish all seem to have it in them these days. Gone are the days when your mum forced cod liver oil down your throat as a kid. We have well and truly jumped on the band wagon. However, what does it actually do?
Omega 3 is a type of polyunsaturated oil. This is basically the same as all other oils or fats, in that, it has the same number of calories, but, it does do a few great things. Omega 3 is a very good anti-inflammatory. This is opposed to omega 6 that is pro-inflammatory. Inflammation of our body during the day is unavoidable, and this inflammation can lead to cell membranes being damaged and the creation of free radicles. Omega 6 exacerbates this situation and is found in things like nuts and vegetable oils that are used a lot in day to day foods. By supplementing with omega 3 you can shift the ratio of 3-6 more in the favour of 3. This will help your body repair faster which will aid your training and will promote numerous other health benefits.

Dosage

You may notice I've not spoken about specific dosage. That is mainly due to the fact that as individuals, we need different volumes of each, therefore, it is not professional to make assumptions. If you're interested in learning more about supplementation or dosages contact me at www. FatAlsGym.co.uk.

Image taken from www.cookcleanwithkate.com

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