Here are my recommended supplements for the intermediate/advanced gym go-er or competitive
There are three types of whey protein: concentrate, isolate and hydrolysate. Whey protein is derived from whey, a natural by-product of cheese making. Highly digestible. Ideally consumed before, during or after workouts.
Concentrate: 50-90% protein, slower to digest. Great for meal away from workouts
Isolate: 90-97% protein, digests very quickly. Great for post workout.
Hydrolysate: partially digested and broken down into di and tri peptides. Enters the blood stream quickly. Great for post workout.
When buying protein powders, keep in mind the macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, fat) it contains. Its easiest to buy a protein with little to no fats and carbs when you are in a cut phase, cutting calories or watching sugar consumption. That way, it is easiest to fit into daily meals.
There is a lot of debate on which types of proteins are better. To keep it simple, find a protein powder you like and stick with it. If you want to get technical, have different types of protein for different times of the day. The proteins that are more highly digestible should be consumed around your workouts.
Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s), drink form
These are usually sipped on during your lifting session. They bypass digestion and are a highly absorptive amino acid source during your workout. Studies have shown BCAA’s aid in increase lean muscle mass.
Taking a whole food multi-vitamin is a good idea for highly active people as your nutrient requirements increase with activity. Every metabolic reaction in our body occurs from the inside out, which means muscle building and fat loss begins internally and progresses externally (visually). Consider that magnesium is responsible for over 300 metabolic reactions in your body. If you are deficient in just one mineral or vitamin, you will never reach your fullest potential.
Creatine is a combination of 3 amino acids normally produced by the body; glycine, arginine and methionine. Two forms are available, creatine monohydrate and creatine HCL. Creatine is very important in energy production and replenishment in skeletal muscle. This aids in recovery, strength and performance. Even though optimum dosage has yet to be scientifically determined, 5g – 10g per day is an average dose. You can take creatine before during or after your workout- some do all three; Optimal timing if your dosing once per day is with your post workout meal.
Typically taken 20 minutes before your workout. They usually contain caffeine and other herbs and supplements to help boost your energy levels. Your body will adapt to them over time which decreases their effectiveness. I myself swear by a regular cup of coffee pre-workout for that added caffeine boost.
This is the most common amino acid found in your muscles. It plays a key role in protein metabolism, cell volumizing and anti-catabolism. Glutamine is depleted during your workouts and should be supplemented in the morning, after your workout or before bed. Many protein powders have this added already so check its content before adding additional glutamine to your diet. You could take glutamine with creatine during and after workouts (5g during, 5g after).
Fish Oil (Essential Fatty Acids)
These cannot be manufactured in the body, but are critical to health and metabolism. So we are required to provide our bodies with this essential nutrient through our diet. And the type of essential fatty acid which is most important is the Omega 3. Here are just a few of the many health benefit of EFA’s: Improved concentration and memory, protection for cell membranes, healthy nervous system function, improvement in cholesterol, support a strong immune system, a healthy heart, and fights the damaging effects of aging.