I think I get asked this question at least 5 times a week… What supplements do you take?
So I thought I would make this weeks blog quite an easy one to write, last weeks mental health blog took it out of me so this week I am keeping it simple.
There are so many different supplements on the market, The most common being Protein, Creatine, Pre workouts and branch chain amino acids. Every gym goer looking to increase muscle mass seems to go out and buy these expecting to take them and get ‘Shredded’ within weeks. But the supplements market is so vast there are so many to choose from it can get confusing, especially when you start throwing in supplements like Pre, Intra & Post supplements, Test boosters, CLA, Leucine, Glutamine, Carnitine, Beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate (HMB), Beta Alanine & more, the training supplement list is endless, But people forget the likes of multi vitamins & Fish oils.
So I am going to do this a little different, rather than sit and write about every supplement on the market as we will be here all day I will write about the ones that I take and why.
I will never advocate replacing meals with Protein Shakes or meal replacement shakes. I take Protein for 2 reasons only:-
1) After training, I am not one of these that says you NEED to get protein straight after training (or the golden hour), The theory behind this is people say protein Boosts your body to help with protein synthesis and helps limit muscle breakdown, effectively allowing you to recover faster, now where that is true I believe eating adequate amount of protein throughout the day will do just as good of a job, But having a shake after training is habit, it has become apart of my lifestyle and routine, and when on a fitness journey it all about lifestyle change, if your habits which lead to a lifestyle change mean you have a shake straight after training then crack on, if you miss it and have it 3 hours later, that’s cool also.
2) Calorie surplus: My nutrition at present for the results I am after means I am in a calorie surplus. For me to eat the desired amount of calories I need would take a lot of time from my day, that along with training clients, busy lifestyle etc. A protein shake is quick & easy.
ZMA ( Zinc Monomethionine Aspartate, Magnesium Aspartate & Vitamin B6):-
I take ZMA 30 minutes before I sleep. With my PTSD bed time is one of the worst times for me, Insomnia, My mind wanders, Cant shut off etc. Zinc & Magnesium are two minerals that have shown to promote calmness & sleep, thrown in with a vitamin that is a pre-cursor to melatonin and sleep can be greatly increased, Note it will not make you sleepy but the quality of your sleep will be improved.
There is no better feeling than getting ready for a gym session, Taking a scoop of pre workout and waiting for the magic to happen. The tingly feeling in your fingertips, end of your nose and ears, Then getting into the gym focussed, wired and destroying your session coming away feeling pumped.
However I do not rely on pre-trainer every session, I tend to cycle it, day on day off for a few weeks then taking a couple of weeks off it, a tub of pre-trainer can last me months. The caffeine levels in some of these pre-trainers are unreal, you take too much and the come down and lethargic feeling after isn’t too good, likewise you keep taking it and your body will become more conditioned to it meaning you up the dose or lose the effect that you are taking it for, and for me putting that much stimulants into my body on a daily basis is not something I want to do.
Not everyone is going to have their nutrition ‘Perfect’, we all have crap days, fat days or whatever you want to call them, so getting the right amount of vitamins from our foods is difficult, or can be. So I take multi vitimins to top up my vitamin intake and to make sure I am getting atleast some of the required vitimins our body needs daily.
Fish oils has many benefits hence fish food being named ‘Brain food’ it can help with things from kidney problems, mental problems, inflammation of the bowel as well as morning stiffness (in the joints you dirty minded people) along with swelling and discomfort… and the latter is why I take it. I am getting old now, my body and joint have been battered after 12 years in the army carrying ridiculous weight on my back and now life as a fitness trainer. The effects are seen overnight, infact I barely even notice the effects its that slow time, but if it is going to help prolong my body then I am going to use it.
So that is that… a very small supplement intake in comparison to many, but I see it as that I am not a professional athlete, I am not competing, I train because I love training and whilst a lot of other supplement will have benefits, a lot of the benefits are very minuscule, if I was a professional athlete and them minuscule deviations mattered I would probably take more, but as just someone who loves to train and has personal targets I don’t feel I need the likes of Creatine, BCAA’s (which actually come in a lot of protein powders so check yours before you go and waste your money)