Supplementation is a HUGE industry these days; it’s the hot topic around for any gym goers, and even the not-so-intense-casual-exercisers! As consumers that care about our health and wellness (and the thickness of our wallet), it’s extremely important that we are critical of the products we are purchasing and ingesting. The hard part is trying to siphon through what’s legitimate and what’s sponsored information on the internet from so called “influencers”.
I am no accredited Dietician; however, I am a critical research consumer that has sought out some evidence-based information on supplementation. Although each of these supplements could be a blog post of themselves, here is an overview that’s worth the read:
What is NECESSARY:
- For the average active individual, 2.2 g/kg/day dietary protein is an acceptable dosage. For those that are less active, half of that dosage would suffice.
- 20g of protein immediately post workout (so a 200g serving of Greek yogurt, or a boneless/skinless chicken breast) is beneficial for muscle protein synthesis if you’re doing RESISTANCE exercises (e.g. lifting weights). If you did full-body, compound movements (squats/deadlifts/CrossFit), then 40g of protein immediately post workout.
- The average person can’t metabolize protein doses above 40g. If you consume more than that, it will lead to ureagenesis (expensive pee!) and NO greater effect!
- Want to save some $$? Take your protein in the form of food to avoid costly supplements!
- Most of us overlook the beneficial effects of this supplement- it is much more superior than protein and it does all the same things (and MORE); however, it only has beneficial effects when combined with resistance training. Creatine allows you to workout at a higher intensity without fatigue.
- Dosage = 0.1g/kg of body weight in healthy individuals
- Research indicates NO greater benefit if taken before vs. after exercise. But be careful- it cannot be consumed within 1 hour of caffeine otherwise it will blunt its response.
- Creatine has been shown to have a beneficial effect on strength, endurance, power, muscle mass, protein synthesis and bone density which is HUGE for aging populations.
- 4g of Omega 3 fatty acids IMMEDIATELY post exercise
will help decrease inflammation, increase protein synthetic pathway properties and transport oxygen to the heart quicker.
- It’s true- Omega 3’s have been shown to have ANABOLIC properties! Wow!
Save your Money:
BCAA’s (Branched-Chain Amino Acids)
- BCAA’s seem to be everybody’s favourite way to waste their money!
- Leucine, the main BCAA, is the driving force behind muscle protein growth. However, whey protein generally has a higher concentration of leucine, so you’re better off getting it through your protein supplement!
- The addition of isoleucine or valine (other ingredients you may see in your BCAAs), show NO beneficial effect!
- In conclusion, there is no evidence to suggest that BCAAs are performance enhancing! Want some advice? Stick with whole proteins (whey or food)!!
- While pre-workout can be beneficial if it contains ingredients like beta-alanine, which helps delay fatigue for short bouts of exercise (lifting weights), it also contains a high volume of caffeine. Guess what else contains caffeine and is WAY cheaper? Coffee. That’s right, fire that Keurig up before your workout, your bank account will thank you!
- If you want a SUPER supplement, combine protein and creatine IMMEDIATELY after resistance training.
- If you prefer FOOD (who would’ve thought food was an option!?) to get your creatine and protein in post-workout, try seafood. Mackerel and Salmon are great options and they also contain a high concentration of Omega-3 fatty acids- BONUS!
- Liquid forms are better simply because they are absorbed immediately, but you can still get adequate supplementation through FOOD.
- If you are doing a lot of cardio (running, biking, swimming, etc.), post-exercise CARBOHYDRATES are crucial in addition to your supplement regime…. carbs, carbs, carbs!!!
Giving credit where credit is due:
- Candow, D. G., Chilibeck, P. D., & Forbes, S. C. (2014). Creatine supplementation and aging musculoskeletal health. Endocrine, 45(3), 354-361.
- Coburn, J. W., Housh, D. J., Housh, T. J., Malek, M. H., Beck, T. W., Cramer, J. T., . . . Donlin, P. E. (2006). Effects of leucine and whey protein supplementation during eight weeks of unilateral resistance training. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 20(2), 284. doi:10.1519/R-17925.1
- Hulmi, J. J., Lockwood, C. M., & Stout, J. R. (2010). Effect of protein/essential amino acids and resistance training on skeletal muscle hypertrophy: A case for whey protein. Nutrition & Metabolism, 7(1), 51-51. doi:10.1186/1743-7075-7-51
- Smith, G. I., Atherton, P., Reeds, D. N., Mohammed, B. S., Rankin, D., Rennie, M. J., & Mittendorfer, B. (2011). Dietary omega-3 fatty acid supplementation increases the rate of muscle protein synthesis in older adults: a randomized controlled trial. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 93(2), 402-412.