There is a lot of chat around supplementation and whether it helps or whether it is a waste of money. Today I will provide you with a run down on how supplementation works and when it can be a benefit or just be a money waster.
The truth is, sometimes food just isn’t enough. Nutrient deficiencies are common - usually related to diet and access to sufficient amounts of nutrient-rich foods.
Improving the diets of the world’s population is a complex and long-term undertaking that is largely dependent on rising incomes, improved access to food, better health and nutrition services and more. So, in the short term - many lives are saved and improved through supplementation.
As far as aesthetics or performance goes this is a whole other ball game. My number one tip is to get your body, training and diet to its best possible position before even thinking about adding supplements. There is no point in spending hundreds of dollars on supplements you don’t understand, if your diet and training isn’t at its full potential without a tiny extra push.
Supplements are not miracle workers or magic pills. They are a tool that can help in the slightest percentage with recovery or performance if taken correctly with an effective training routine and diet. So, in short – it does not matter what your goal is (muscle gain, fat loss, strength gain) you will make excellent progress if you stick to a well-balanced nutrition plan and a well-structured and thought-out exercise program. The role of supplements is exactly that, to supplement your nutrition plan.
My top 4 supplements I suggest, to compliment your training are (if the above is in order):
Whey protein has been proven to help with athletic performance, muscle building and fat loss. The best natural sources are the Whey and Casein proteins in milk – which provide more Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) than vegan sources.
Pure creatine monohydrate is the most studied and the most beneficial supplement for building strength. It gives you the capacity to get through a few extra reps and increases your power output by increasing the water retention in your muscles to flush out the lactic acid that causes fatigue. This water retention is called cellular swelling and also helps with muscle growth.
This is a naturally occurring Amino Acid although not as studied as creatine still seems to aid in endurance and muscle growth. It helps to buffer the lactic acid build up to resist fatigue – this is what creates that tingly/itchy sensation on the skin.
Magnesium is used in over 300 chemical reactions in the body. If you have plenty of nuts, seeds, leafy greens, dark chocolate and coffee (yes, coffee!) in your diet – you should be getting enough – But if you are deficient it can affect energy, bone strength, the nervous system (crucial for sleep and recovery) and blood sugar control.
In summary, when used in conjunction with a good diet and great training program, some research has shown the right supplements can aid in gaining more lean muscle mass and reduce body-fat. Pre-workout supplements however, have no evidence to suggest any long-term benefits.
Head Coach - Stacey Kyle