1.) Always aim to consume a whey protein supplement within 30mins after your training session. The liquid source of amino acids means the protein is readily absorbed, and at a faster rate (Kreider, Wilborb, Campbell, et al. 2010).
2.) Consume a quick releasing whey protein first thing in the morning. The night’s sleep that you have just risen from was a long period of protein deprivation. It is highly likely that your muscle’s protein stores will have been called upon during this period, meaning a quality source of readily absorbed protein first thing is ideal (Llewellyn, 2009)!
3.) Deliver a slow release protein to your muscles an hour before going to bed! Micellar casein protein is more complex in chemical structure compared to whey protein meaning it is digested and absorbed at a far slower rate. Full digestion and absorption can take up to 7 hours, potentially feeding you throughout your whole night’s sleep (Kreider, Wilborn, Campbell, et al. 2010).
4.) Ensure you consume enough fluid alongside your supplement regime. The consumption of protein, creatine, carbohydrate (fast and slow release) and nitrates work alongside and influence your kidneys, heart, and brain and liver to name a few major organs...this is completely normal. The increased solute can lead to hyperfiltration in the kidneys....but this also is a normal response, and not damaging provided approx 35ml of fluid per kg bodyweight (e.g. 80kg male = 2800ml) is consumed over the course of the day. This is the normal fluid recommendation for general health and wellbeing (Elia, 1990; Martin, Armstrong, and Rodriguez, 2005).
5.) To maximise the absorption of your supplement add approx 15-20g of maltadextrin or dextrose to your protein, amino acids or creatine shake. The addition of quick acting sugars results in an insulin surge increasing the muscles receptivity to protein, amino acids and creatine (Greenwood, Kalman, & Antonio, 2008).
6.) Supplements should always be consumed alongside a regular, balanced diet consisting of all the major food groups and in the appropriate proportions (See the Eatwell plate). Some consumers treat supplements as outright meal replacements, thinking they serve as a substitute for food which neglects the other integral benefits of food such as fibre, and the wealth of macro and micronutrients they deliver. Some legitimate meal replacements exist, but be sure they deliver a range of micronutrients such as vitamins and minerals, as well as protein, carbohydrate and fat (essential fatty acids) (NHS Choices, Your health, your choices 2011).
7.) Avoid exceeding the recommended dosage/nutritional requirements! It is known that consumers choose to exceed the safe upper limits of a supplement in an attempt to maximise gains. The health implications could include excess strain placed on the major organs such as the kidneys, liver, heart and the brain. Some supplements such as pre-workout stimulant based products elevate heart rate, so exceeding the dosage could cause undue stress in this area. If a fitness enthusiast chooses to exceed the recommended dose, they do so at their own risk, and should always consult a Doctor or nutrition expert before doing so.
8.) Always check the list of ingredients when choosing to combine supplements. Some supplement blends such as ‘all in one’ supplements will contain creatine and vasodilators, which if taken as separate supplements alongside an ‘all in one’ could lead to an excess intake. If you are concerned about your supplement regimen, consult our or any certified nutrition expert for advice.
Elia, M, (1990). Artificial Nutritional Support. Medicine International. 82:3392-3396.
Greenwood, M., Kalman, D, S, & Antonio, J. (2008). Nutritional Supplements in Sports and Exercise. NJ: Humana Press.
Kreider, R, B., Wilborn, C, D., Campbell, B., Almada, A, L., Collins, R., Cooke, M et al, (2010). ISSN exercise & Sport Nutrition Review: Research & Recommendations. Journal of the international society of sports nutrition. 7: 1550-2783.
Llewellyn, W, (2009). Sport Supplement Reference Guide. Conjugated-Linoleic Acid (CLA). Military trail: Molecular Nutrition LLC of Jupiter.
Martin, W., Armstrong, L. & Rodriguez, (2005). Dietary protein intake and renal function. Nutrition & Metabolism. 86: 1743-7075.
NHS Choices, Your health, your choices (2011). The eatwell plate. Retrieved June 28, 2012, from http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/eatwell-plate.aspx