Sport and Health supplements can be a complicated area for many people, especially those only now starting out! It can seem like a bit of a minefield when faced with so many varieties of proteins, weight gain proteins, weight loss proteins and ‘all in one proteins’. Truth is, the supplement world goes far beyond just protein and weight gainers, you’ve got fat burners, pre workouts, creatines and testosterone optimisers to consider too. Some supplements are better suited to the average person wanting to gain muscle, lose fat and tone up, and some do this better when combined with the right supplements.
Take a look at the following list and see what’s optimal for you:
- Whey Protein Concentrate… Why a whey protein concentrate? Protein can come in various forms, and from a variety of sources including milk, meat, egg, pea, hemp, soy and brown rice. Protein derived from milk i.e. whey and casein protein, is the bodies preferred type of protein because it is absorbed and used more effectively than other types. ‘Milk protein’ or ‘dairy derived protein’ can be further broken down into whey protein and casein protein, whey being the faster (and most popular) digesting protein and casein releasing more slowly (over a period of 5-7 hours on average). It can be a little confusing right… well there are also different grades of whey protein too, you have the whey protein concentrate and isolate blends, the whey protein isolates, and the whey protein hydrolysates.
Whey isolates are easily described as ‘whey protein that has been ‘isolated’ from the lactose and other nutritional components found in milk protein’. In order to isolate a whey protein the milk protein undergoes extra processing and filtration so that you’re left with whey isolate. Whey hydrolysate is simply whey protein that has been ultra- filtered and processed, and then semi-digested so that it is absorbed by the body even easier.
What does this mean in the real world? If you want a hydrolysate protein then you will have to pay a little extra to fit the bill for the additional processing it requires, same goes for an isolate. In the real world it makes absolute sense to opt for a concentrate, isolate blend whereby you get an unprocessed form of whey along with the very pure isolate… plus it’s far more cost effective, and often better tasting too.
- Creatine Monohydrate… There are few supplements, other than protein, that come close to creatine when it comes to muscle growth and development. Creatine is your muscles own unique energy source meaning it is extremely useful at increasing your training capacity, growth potential and recovery. Combining a whey protein with a creatine supplement is double pronged method of increasing muscle growth. The creatine acts as an energy source, increases the delivery of vitamins, minerals and amino acids to the muscle, and then the whey protein comes in to feed the muscle with amino acids to invoke growth and recovery.
- Pre- workout… Gone are the days when a pre- workout supplement was little more than sugar, caffeine and taurine. These ingredients were added in large quantities to cause mental stimulation and reduced perceived exertion, and little more. These days, a pre- workout supplement contains some very sophisticated and beneficial ingredients, they not only cause mental stimulation but also increase the buffering rate of the body. In other words, good pre- workout supplements act as a bit of sponge that soaks up waste products within the muscle, some of the key ingredients for this are beta- alanine and (via a more indirect route) l- arginine.
NOTE: Some Pre-workout supplements contain creatine, so it is prudent to check the creatine content of the supplement and adjust your creatine intake accordingly. For example, if a pre- workout delivers 2g creatine per serving, then you should look to consume around 3g of creatine powder to meet (and not exceed) your 5g daily requirement. Of course people’s requirements vary, so adjust accordingly.