For any competitive athlete, busting your ass in the gym, nailing your diet, and being consistent are the key components to achieving success on stage.
A lot of fitness ‘gurus’ like to throw around the number that “results are 30% gym, 70% diet’.
I kinda see where they’re coming from – to a degree. What we do in the gym, time wise, pales in comparison to the lifestyle we must lead. You can go balls to the wall for an hour in the gym, however if you’re under eating or over eating, not resting enough, or not consuming the right nutrients, then progress will come slowly, if at all.
I prefer to look at it in a different manner however.
You need to put in 100% into your workouts. 100% into your diet. When you’re doing this, you then need to look into what supplements can help you out.
There are a ton of sports nutrition & bodybuilding supplement brands in the market. Each making claims that their protein powder will help you gain muscle. Their pre workout will give you the best workout ever, and that their post workout shakes are essential if you want to make gains.
However if your diet and workout plan isn’t in check, then you’re wasting your time when it comes to supplements. Providing that you are nailing the basics, then supplements can help your performance in the gym, lead to greater gains, and make life more convenient.
My supplement usage does differ year round, from pre contest phase to ‘off season’. However today I’d like to share 3 supplements that any competitor can benefit from, any time of the year. Male, female, bodybuilder or physique competitor – these following supplements are must have’s in my opinion.
Im about to make a bold statement. So bold, that I even had to emphasise the the bold in a bold font.
I almost consider protein powder as a food source. Almost.
A quality whey Protein for example contains a full amino acid profile. When we consume any protein source, or any food for that matter, our body digests it. The protein is broken down into amino acids and shuttled around the body to be used as needed.
Using a whey protein powder is beneficial for the following reasons:
- Easy to digest
- Fast absorbing
- Enhances Immune function
- Convenient To Drink
While new evidence has debunked the post workout anabolic window, consuming regular amounts of protein is important for protein synthesis and making optimal progress.
My protein supplements contain a whey protein powder for post workout, or upon waking if im doing cardio in the morning. However if im looking to use a protein powder as a meal replacement, i’ll opt for a protein blend containing micellar casein and whey protein.
I find that this blend supplies me with a more tapered release of protein, thanks to the slow digesting nature of casein protein.
A protein supplement is hugely useful for anyone looking to gain weight, and lacks the appetite to ‘eat big’. Consuming 200+ grams of protein over the course of the day can be quite an effort, on top of having to consume carbs and fats, so a protein shake is an easy solution to hit your necessary protein intake.
Protein shakes aren’t essential, but you’ll be hard pressed to find any fitness competitor or athlete without a bag of protein lying round their house.
I am not a fan of low carb diets. In my NABBA bodybuilding journal, and in my condition update videos over on my youtube channel, i always get comments about my carb intake. People can’t believe how many carbs im able to eat and still lose weight.
When training twice a day, i always ensure that i take some kind of fast digesting carb such as maltodextrin, dextrose, or a blend post workout.
This allows my recovery to kick start, and my glycogen stores to replenish faster, ready for by second weight session later in the day.
It its a low carb day, i’ll limit my reliance on carb supplements, in favour of eating foods, as it makes me feel fuller.
However when ‘bulking’ or looking to gain lean muscle mass is when i find carbohydrate supplements particularly useful.
Consuming 400-500, or sometimes even more, grams of carbohydrates from whole foods isn’t easy.
In order to gain muscle mass however, a caloric surplus is crucial, and carbohydrates should make up the majority of your calorie intake. I usually have around 50-55% of my carbohydrate content from carbs.
As much as I enjoy a big bowl of porridge for breakfast, and eating often through out the day, hitting a big carb requirement from rice, potatoes etc isn’t easy.
One of the most simple ways to increase carb intake is through the use of a carbohydrate supplement. Dextrose, maltodextrin, vitargo, waxymaize starch, and countless others carb powders are all excellent choices to have during or post workout.
During a workout, they’ll keep glycogen stores topped up, meaning that the muscle has gas in the tank to keep exercising. Post workout, any of these fast acting carb powders will quickly replenish glycogen stores to aid in recovery.
Dextrose and maltrodextrin are the supplements i personally use, however there are a ton of different carb powders you can try for yourself.
To non gym goers, this will be the most uncommon supplement on this list. Even those who have never stepped foot in a gym will have heard of protein shakes and carb powders, or meal replacement shakes. Creatine, probably not.
However within the fitness industry, everyone should know what creatine is. It is one of the most proven to work supplements on the market in study after study.
To summarise, creatine will enhance endurance during exercise, allowing to train longer, and perform more reps. It helps contribute to strength gains, along with aiding in lean muscle gain.
The most common type is creatine monohydrate powder. It doesn’t taste great. Likewise it isn’t disgusting. Just a little ‘powdery’. I take 10 grams a day, split into 2 x 5 gram doses, pre and post workout.
An old school of thought was that it was essential to supplement it pre and post workout, however, with more researching being carried out looking into the effects of creatine, I have came to the conclusion that timing isn’t hugely important.
I just like to take it pre and post workout, out of habit. I can mix it with my pre and post workout shakes, and mask the taste.
Over To You
Chances are, if you’re a competitive bodybuilder, physique athlete or participate in any kind of sport, you’ll already be using these supplements i’ve listed.
There is a reason that these supplements are so popular. They work. Simple as that. The beauty about these 3 supplements is that each one of them is also cheap.
There is nothing fancy about them. A whey protein concentrate, providing that it is 80%+ content, is the same across the board. Just double check the nutrition label if you’re unsure.
Carb powders and creatine monohydrate powder are homogeneous products. They are the same across the board. Don’t fall into the trap of believing false advertisement or marketing hype. If you’re looking for the cheapest prices you can always visit my protein discount codes website, http://cheapproteindiscountcodes.co.uk to find which supplier is offering the supplements for the cheapest prices.
Remember, if your training and nutrition isn’t on point, then don’t expect magic from using supplements. Even if your nutrition and workouts are nailed down, you still shouldn’t expect magic from supplements. Just think of them as one small piece of a larger puzzle. When everything is in place, you’ll start to see the most optimum results.
I hope this post has given you a little bit of insight, and will help you hit your fitness goals. If you disagree with any of the supplements i’ve listed here, please sound off in the comments section below.
You can follow me at my bodybuilding blog http://www.shreddybrek.com my supplement review & discount code site http://cheapproteindiscountcodes.co.uk or on social media http://www.facebook.com/shreddybreklol http://www.twitter.com/shreddybrekgym