I thought this may be handy to those thinking about using supplements. There's a lot of information out there, and I'm trying to wade through as much as possible and get the basics written up and displayed here. This should make things easier and avoid any odd marketing fluff
If you spot any errors, or have something you'd like me to add in - please PM me and I can take a look - Feel free to leave comments and remember that we're trying to help eachother out with this. So if you've got some tips, then get them posted in the comments and we can see about adding them in
I'm NOT a specialist/expert nor do I have a background in diet/nutrition or anything like that. Everything provided below is from my own experience and from a lot of internet research. Hopefully this will point you in the right direct and help you make decisions when it comes to supplementing. Useful Links:
Do we NEED supplements?
In short for most people, no. The word 'supplement' just means to add to something. Take whey protein for instance, there's a misconception that in order to build muscle or lose body fat we have to use a protein powder to achieve our goals.
Protein is very useful for recovery after exercise, as well as for giving us that fuller for longer feeling. It doesn't have to come from a supplement at all though. If you can get enough protein in your diet to reach your targets, then there's no need to have extra.
A whey protein powder is perhaps one of the most convenient ways to add to your protein intake. It's quick, easy and can also be incorporated into cooking should you fancy it. In short, if you can't hit your Macro targets, then supplements could help you
What are Macros?
Protein, carbohydrates and fats are all macronutrients. These are what most would look at when choosing foods when looking to hit goals. If you've worked out what you need and you're hitting those numbers easily via food, then supplementing may not be for you.
How much protein should I consume?
This will vary for all of us due to varying weights, heights etc... A rule of thumb for muscle building is said to be around 2g per 1KG of body weight. It's not a one size fits all number, but gives you a rough idea.
What time should I take my protein shake?
Whenever you like! Some people will have you believe that you need to neck a protein shake as soon as you're done with your exercise. It's not really the case at all. Aim for your daily targets.
Casein is a slow release protein, which is usually taken before bed. Sleep is generally prime time for recovery, so a slower action protein supplement can be more beneficial. On a couple that I've tried, they can be thicker and more filling, which is nice if you find yourself getting hungry late on. Use with milk if you require extra calories and a tad more protein in there, or water is fine if not (Goes for whey & casein)
Both whey and casein derive from milk. I personally like to have both in the cupboard
Protein bars can be a fantastic way of supplementing your intake, as long as you find one that fits in with your goals. Check the ingredients to make sure you're happy with everything.
You could always get some unflavoured whey and make up your own with oats, it works out cheaper and you can tweak them however you like. Give some recipes a search on the internet and you'll find lots of things you can do with unflavoured protein powders.Why not just eat lots of protein rich foods?
You can as long as you can fit it into your daily requirements then go for it. It can however be an expensive way to do this. I'd always suggest getting as much as you can from your food anyway
How much protein do you get in these powders?
t varies! Always check the nutritional information so you know what you're buying
Isn't it expensive?
It doesn't have to be at all. We often see deals on protein powders come up and you'll be surprised at the amount of protein you can get for your money. Keep an eye HERE
for the latest deals
Also Here's an example:Tesco Willow Farms Chicken Breasts
300g / 24g protein per 100g / 72g protein in the whole pack - £1.55
For the protein powder comparison, I'll use THIS
Myprotein deal that was £39 for 5KG
5KG Impact Whey Protein at £39 contains 200 servings at 21g of protein per serving
so £39 ÷200 servings is 19.5p per serving.
That's 72g of protein in the full pack of chicken at the current price of £1.55
or 63g using a protein supplement at 59p (that's 3 servings at 21g per serving at 19.5p each)
I'm NOT suggesting you should replace all of your protein intake with a supplement, this is just an example to show you how much cheaper it can be in comparison to a popular protein source.
Creatine – What's that all about?
Creatine is another supplement that has had lots of studies over the years. From what I've read, the benefits of using it vary. Some people are “non-responders” and won't notice any changes at all while using it.
Those that do respond to it may be able to get more out of their workout (a few
extra reps) There's also a study
that suggests that it can help with increasing lean mass.
Another thing that creatine tends to do is cause water retention in muscles, making your muscles look fuller/bigger. Again, this varies from person to person. You should always drink plenty of water when using a creatine supplement
Multivits are great if you're struggling to get enough from your diet. Some take them as a kind of back up, just in case they can't hit targets every day. I'll be adding to this all the time, so keep checking back