Hey bro! What are you on?
Anyone who’s spent any time in the gym has probably heard this question thrown around a couple of times or maybe more! Well we don’t know what you are on, but in this article we are going to look at some basic supplements you should be on if you want to get your basic nutrition right and maximise your gains.
Whey Protein is considered by most sports nutritionists to be the number 1 protein for building muscle. Whey protein is made from cow’s milk, in fact it’s a by-product of cheese making. It is considered a complete protein, which means it has all the amino acids we need in the right quantities to build muscle. Whey can be purified by different processes, but the best quality Whey is made by advanced filtering techniques. Cross flow Micro and Ultra Filtering are very gentle to the Whey molecules which produce Whey proteins that are highly bioactive – they stimulate positive changes in your body including muscle recovery, growth and immune health. The two main types of Whey to look for are: Whey Protein Concentrate
Purified by Ultrafiltration to produce a highly bioactive protein of around 80% protein content. WPC is an excellent muscle builder and a popular protein in many formulations. Whey Protein Isolate
Produced using a 2 step Cross flow filtration process of Micro and Ultrafiltration to yield an extremely pure higher protein Whey (>90%) with virtually no fat or lactose. WPI is regarded as nature best muscle builder. Hard weight training increases your need for protein to repair muscles and fuel growth. Without an adequate amount of protein our muscles will not repair quickly after training which could lead to overtraining, injury or muscle catabolism. Post workout is one of the most important times to get protein into the body so that it can be delivered to your muscles and the healing / growth process can begin. Due to the time it takes to digest food, break down the protein and send it to your muscles, a fast acting Whey protein shake immediately following a workout is your best strategy for recovery as they can be absorbed and assimilated in as little as 15 minutes.
Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the body. It is a non-essential amino acid, meaning it can be produced by the body in a quantity that is adequate for normal functioning. However in times of high stress your body’s Glutamine requirements skyrocket which can leave your muscle’s short of this important nutrient - putting you in a catabolic state. These stresses can include:
- Common cold
- Wound healing
- Excessive Burns
- Intense physical exercise
Depleted levels of Glutamine also result in decreased strength, stamina and recovery. This is where Glutamine supplementation
plays a key role. Glutamine has many beneficial functions including:
- Fuel source for the immune system
- Supports normal digestion
- Removal of excess ammonia
- Nitrogen transport into skeletal muscle
- Stimulates protein synthesis
- Anti-catabolic function – stops muscle breakdown after training
- Elevates growth hormone levels
As you can see, Glutamine is an important element to the recovery of muscle cells and prevention of a catabolic state.
Branched chain amino acids or BCAA’s are made up of three essential amino acids Leucine, Isolucine and Valine. As we’ve already mentioned, essential means they can’t be synthesized by your body and must be obtained through diet. When you subject your body to intense physical exercise such as weight training your system breaks down or catabolises proteins in order to to use the amino amino acids for fuel and repair. So in order gain muscle mass, you must make sure the rate of protein synthesis is greater than the rate of breakdown. Here lies the major function and benefit of BCAA supplementation. BCAA’s and in particular leucine, is a key signalling nutrient of your body’s anabolic pathway known as mTOR which regulates protein synthesis in the skeletal muscle. High levels of BCAA’s, particularly leucine, are highly anabolic are hard weight training. In addition, BCAA’s also reduce perceptions of fatigue during intense physical activity by interfering with the amino acid tryptophan’s transport into the brain. Why do we need to supplement with BCAA’s when they are in whey protein? Quite simply free form BCAA’s require no digestion and so can be absorbed immediately to spike blood levels quickly for a stronger anabolic response.
Creatine is an organic compound made up of the tree amino acids, glycine, arginine and methionine. It is produced by the body but also found in protein sources such as red meat and fish. Creatine is stored by your body as Creatine Phosphate of CP. To understand the function of Creatine in the body and its role in the production of energy, we first need to look at ATP (Adenosine Tri-Phosphate). ATP is responsible for providing the energy to perform almost all bodily functions, including muscle contraction. ATP undergoes hydrolysis to give off energy for muscle contraction. As a result, it loses a phosphate molecule and becomes ADP or Adenosine Di-Phosphate. During high intensity exercise your muscles have enough ATP to go all out for 10 seconds or so – before you start to fatigue and struggle to do another rep. Creatine Phosphate can immediately replenish ADP to ATP by donating it’s Phosphate molecule, which can extend your ability to keep pushing for another few reps. The more CP you have the more reps you can do and the bigger the training stimulus. Taking supplemental Creatine can increase your intramuscular levels of CP by 15 – 20%, which can make a big difference to your training intensity and volume. In short, Creatine is one of the best supplements you can use to increase training intensity and volume which leads to significantly bigger gains and better results.
Vitamins & Minerals
Unlike products such as Creatine or Whey protein, a multivitamin and mineral is not considered a bodybuilding supplement in terms of directly targeting muscle growth and recovery. It is however, a fundamental way in which we can support the optimal cellular conditions to support optimal muscle growth. When it comes to the range of multivitamin supplements on the market you may see small differences, but for the most part the individual vitamins and minerals contained are similar from product to product. It is also important to note that although vitamins and minerals are packaged together in the same capsule or tablet there are differences: Vitamins
Vitamins are organic - All vitamins are required by your bodies for survival - Vitamins control many chemical reactions within your body to convert food into energy and living tissue - Vitamins are either water soluble which must be taken daily since they are not stored in the body (Vitamin C and all of the B Vitamins), or fat soluble, which can be stored in the body (A, D, E, and K) - Vitamins are vulnerable to heat, light, and chemical agents, so food preparation, processing, and storage must be appropriate to preserve vitamins to ensure you get maximum nutritional value out of your food Minerals
Minerals are inorganic - They are much more stable in food preparation than vitamins - Minerals are categorized as: - Macro – (calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, chloride, magnesium, and sulfur) - Micro- (iron, iodine, zinc, chromium, selenium, fluoride, molybdenum, copper, and manganese) - Macro minerals are required in dosages greater than 100 mg a day. While the micro minerals we only need "trace" amounts daily for good health - Minerals are required to produce most hormones Many people think that we can get all the vitamins and minerals we need by eating a healthy balanced diet. And to some degree that is true, however in today’s mass produced world the nutrient value of many foods can be lacking to the point where many so called “healthy” diets are deficient in many of these nutrients. Even eating strictly "organic" may not provide the nutritional potency or quality required.
So taking the above supplements into account, what should my daily muscle building supplement plan look like? Well here is a simple guide you can use to help maximize your results: Upon waking up
30g Serving of Whey Protein (MAX’S SuperWhey) 1 Serving of BCAAs With Breakfast
Multivitamin Tablet 5g Serving of L-Glutamine Mid Afternoon
30g Serving of Whey Protein (MAX’S SuperWhey) Pre Workout
5g of Creatine Post Workout
10g of L-Glutamine 30g of Whey Protein (MAX’S SuperWhey) Serving of BCAAs Before Bed
30g of Slow Release Protein (MAX’S NiteTime) 10g of Glutamine
Regardless of how well balanced your diet is, studies and experience the importance of supplementation when it comes to muscle growth and recovery. To put it simply a well-planned supplement program such as the one above, will enhance your capability to meet your fitness goals and make sure your hard work in the gym pays off.