A Word on Supplements
Supplements can help add to a diet that is lacking in protein or for people who are time crunched. There are a lot of supplements out there and only a few actually do something. I will only ever recommend two brands due to their transparency and honesty regarding ingredients. Those two brands are GNARLY Nutrition and Stronger Faster Healthier (SFH).
There are three main supplement types.
1. Pre-Workout – Contain caffeine, beta alanine, and vitamins to increase energy
2. BCAA’s – Branch Chained Amino Acids and electrolyte replacement
3. Protein – Recovery for after a workout or meal replacement in a pinch
Pre-workout is exactly as it sounds. It is a drink or gel taken 30-45 minutes before the workout and should contain natural, mild caffeine, a nitric oxide compounds to increase blood flow and alertness and, a few natural vitamin stimulants. Some also contain BCAA’s to replenish muscle glycogen stores. Avoid Pre-workouts with excess stimulants or other cardiac agents. The ones I recommend are: SFH Push, GNARLY Pump, or Gnarly Maximus.
BCAA’s help to keep blood sugar levels constant during workouts and prevents muscle catabolism. They can aid in recovery by replenishing glycogen stores faster, leading to quicker turnaround times for training. BCAA’s can be taken before, during and after a workout. I recommend taking them right before and during a workout for the best effect. (GNARLY BCAA).
Protein is the most important post workout. 20-25 grams of protein should be consumed within an hour of finishing a workout to gain the most benefit. The proteins I have recommended also contain BCAA’s in their profile. When choosing a protein, it is important to distinguish a meal supplement (GNARLY Feast, SFH Fuel, or SFH Recovery) From a pure protein (GNARLY Whey or SFH Pure). The first three are meant to be a full meal replacement while the last two are concentrated proteins with very little carbohydrates, fats and vitamins and minerals. Determine what you will be using your protein for. Is it for a post workout meal, or is it for a morning or afternoon meal supplement? This simple question answers what type of protein is best for you. Avoid any product with soy in it. (No product by GNARLY or SFH contain soy)
It is important to eat throughout the day. The best source of protein is from food but I understand sometimes, this is not possible. My typical breakfast at 4:30 AM is a smoothie made with Greek yogurt, almond milk and a scoop of GNARLY Feast. This holds me for at least three hours, until I can get some eggs, vegetables and other whole foods. I typically do not rely on a pre-workout for every training session, but I will take one if I feel like I am dragging. I do take a dose of BCAA’s almost every day while I train. My post workout is typically a meal with chicken, rice and vegetables.