Supplementing is, adding nutrients to your body from outside of your diet.
Supplements have become a big part of the fitness Industry. Athletes are looking for an edge on their competitors and supplement companies are willing to pay for promotion of their products. Supplements become huge in the 70’s and 80’s with the rise in popularity of bodybuilding. The first supplement commonly used was protein powder, adopted by the bodybuilding scene for assistance in muscle gain. Following protein powders was the use of Pre workout and creatine supplements. Now, you can walk into a dedicated supplement store and have a wide range of products to choose from.
Commonly Used Supplements
Protein powder – Derived from the creation of powdered milk, an easy source of protein was found in this powdered form. Protein is a Macronutrient that builds and repairs cells. The process of making Whey Protein Powder starts when the curd is extracted from milk for making cheese. The remaining liquid is then pasteurised or filtered, leaving only Whey protein. it is then dried into a powder. Protein powders can also be made from plant products in a similar fashion.
Pre workout – Is taken before a workout and is used to prepare physically and mentally for a hard workout. Generally preworkouts have high amounts of caffeine to stimulate the body and mind. The amount of caffeine found in Pre workouts are the equivalent of 3-4 cups of coffee. Pre workouts will also contain Amino Acids along with creatine.
BCAA (Amino Acids) – Are the building blocks of a protein. Proteins will be made up of different amino acids. There are some amino acids that are required to be ingested and our bodies are unable to make them on their own. They are called essential amino acids. BCAA’s are a supplement that give you the essential amino acids needed for the body to repair.
Creatine – Is another amino acid found in protein. It is also stored in our muscles and used for high explosive movements. Supplementing with creatine has shown to increase creatine stored in the muscle and increases ones ability for high out put, explosive movements.
My Thoughts on Supplements
These nutrients are all found in our food, start with your diet. Nutrition is key. There is a place for supplements and it will be different for each individual person, but if your nutrition is not on point, you will be throwing good money after bad.
Personally, it has only been recently that I have taken supplements. In my late teens I wanted to gain muscle, so I used supplements to assist my training. They helped. When I was training hard in The Army to be the best soldier I could, I used supplements to assist in the volume of my training. Since my mid 20’s I have not used supplements, they do not support my why. Up to the start of this year, my why has been training to stay fit and for the love of exercise. There has been no need to spend money on supplements.
This year my why has changed, my motivations have changed and I now see the value in some supplements. I have started using Whey Protein powder after my workouts. Wanting to find a good quality powder I was looking for a product with no fillers, sweetness and junk in it. True Protein was a great result.
Consider First before Supplementing
What are you actually getting?
I seen a Facebook post advertising “The Man Shake. After a quick search of the ingredients I found it to be a less desirable product. Filled with starches and gums as filling agents, along with some nasty artificial sweeteners, one of which is made from sugar and chlorine (Sucralose). I would not suggest taking this supplement.
Quality of product!
The quality of the product matters. Some protein powders are cheap, but when you look at the ingredients there is a reason why. Ingredients like starches, maize and gums are used as fillers to bring down the production cost. However, come as no health benefit to the consumer.
Does this match my goals?
If your goal is to maintain your fitness and have fun, supplementing is not necessary. If your goal is to lose weight and you find it hard to come up with healthy ideas or hard to get enough protein in your diet, supplementing will help. Same if you want to gain muscle, but find it hard to eat enough protein, then supplements will help.
Is this going to pivot me towards my goals?
If you are sitting around not exercising, I would not suggest supplements as your starting point. Get a program to follow, find a coach to help or find like minded people to train with. If your diet needs a lot of work, I would not suggest starting with supplements. Get some nutrition advice, follow some simple changes. Eat more protein, cut out sugar and refined carbs.
When I was looking for a protein powder to help gain strength and muscle, I was looking for good quality product without all the garbage. I found True Protein supplements only the ingredients necessary. Their Protein powders are not filled with gums and starches. True Protein use natural sweeteners and care about quality.