With so many supplements floating around in the fitness world, it’s hard to know which you actually need to help you achieve your body composition goals faster!
Let me start by saying, it’s a sad truth that most recommended supplements on the market are not backed by proper research. These supplements are more focused around “marketing hype” rather than proper research and trials for effective results.
Something to keep in mind, the following points should always be prioritised before supplements:
- Energy Balance
- Micronutrient ratio & Fiber
- Macronutrient ratio & Hydration
- Nutrient Timing & Meal Frequency
(I explain each priority in more detail with the 90 Day Fitness Model Challenge)
But as you can see supplements aren’t and shouldn’t be at the top of your priority list, there are far more important areas which need to be prioritised as listed above.
Now let’s dive into 3 key supplements to transform faster!, which are backed and proven within scientific literature off course.
Whey Protein Isolate To The Rescue
Whey Protein Isolate is a an excellent way to ensure you’re hitting your daily protein targets. Whey protein is absorbed faster than other forms of protein and delivers a large amount of the amino acid L-cysteine, which can actually alleviate deficiencies that occur during ageing and other conditions like diabetes.
When performing resistance training, studies have shown whey protein will help your muscles repair faster with aiding muscle protein synthesis. Studies show that higher rates of protein synthesis will generally occur within 2-3 hours after training, however the total protein consumption will be the main determining factor, with one study suggesting sensitivity of muscle tissue with amino acids can last up to 24 hours.
How much protein should you be ingesting?
- Athletes or someone with a highly active job for example wanting to drop body fat while preserving lean body mass (muscle) would want to aim for a daily intake of 1.5-2.2g/kg body weight.
- For someone who is sedentary and not interested in having any specific body composition goals, then a daily intake of 1.0-1.5g/kg body weight would be a suitable amount for general health.
Additionally, protein in general has the highest thermic effect of food (TEF), which means your body will utilize more energy to digest protein over other macronutrients such as carbohydrates and fats. This leads to a decrease in appetite and body fat reduction.
Creatine Is Your Friend!
Creatine is a molecule produced in the body and stores high-energy phosphate groups in the form of phosphocreatine. When the phosphocreatine releases energy to aid cellular function during stress, an increase in strength occurs.
The increase in overall cellular phosphocreatine can actually accelerate the recycling of ADP into ATP. Meaning when performing intense strength / resistance based training which will deplete ATP stores, creatine supplementation will regenerate ATP stores faster and promote an increase in power output.
Creatine supplementation usually comes with water retention with higher doses. This extra water weight can account for 2-3 kg, with lower doses results in less water stores. Studies have shown this can have a positive influence in the increased rate of muscle growth.
The best form of creatine is “creatine monohydrate” which has the most research and trials & the most effective. So how should you take creatine monohydrate?
- To start a loading phase, you can take 0.3 grams per kilogram of bodyweight per day for 5–7 days and than reduce to 0.03 g/kg/day
- Typical regular doses of 5 g/day will have increased benefits. Higher doses (up to 10 g/day) may be beneficial for people with a high amount of muscle mass and high activity levels.
Also note that stomach cramping can occur without sufficient hydration. Make sure you’re getting at least 2-3L of water per day.
Beta-Alanine For Performance & Gains!
Beta-alanine is the building block of carnosine, a molecule which helps buffer acid in muscles, this can have a significant increase in muscular endurance as well as lean-muscle gains. Studies have also found carnosine to be an antioxidant and anti-ageing compound.
Studies have also shown beta-alanine supplementation to give athletes an increase in resistance exercise repetitions when training in the endurance phase of sets (8-15). Beta-alanine has shown to have significant benefits for both men & women at a beginner or advanced level.
Beta-Alanine is typically found in most pre-workout supplements, however the actual timing for ingesting beta-alanine is not significant, taking first thing in the morning is sufficient. How much beta-alanine should you take?
- Generally you should stick to a daily dose of between 2-5g
- Larger doses may result in a tingling feeling called paresthesia, which is a harmless side effect
Wrapping It All Up
As you can see these 3 supplements are a great addition to any training program, they are all backed by large amounts of research and trials.
But, remember you need to be prioritising supplements in the correct order as discussed in the beginning of this post. There is no magic supplement on the market which is going to fast track results over the fundamentals.
These 3 supplements are outlined in the 90 Day Fitness Model Challenge, if you aren’t sure where to start for a complete transformation program focused primarily on evidence-based training & nutrition for women, be sure get started with the current 80% Off discount.
Happy lifting everyone!
- Hoffman J, et al. Effect of creatine and beta-alanine supplementation on performance and endocrine responses in strength/power athletes. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab. (2006)
- Peñafiel R, et al. Gender-related differences in carnosine, anserine and lysine content of murine skeletal muscle. Amino Acids. (2004)
- Haraguchi FK, et al. Whey protein precludes lipid and protein oxidation and improves body weight gain in resistance-exercised rats. Eur J Nutr. (2011)
- Hulmi JJ, et al. The effects of whey protein on myostatin and cell cycle-related gene expression responses to a single heavy resistance exercise bout in trained older men. Eur J Appl Physiol. (2008)
- Harris RC, Söderlund K, Hultman E. Elevation of creatine in resting and exercised muscle of normal subjects by creatine supplementation. Clin Sci (Lond). (1992)