When it comes to nutritional supplements these days, there are more products than you can shake a barbell at. Marketers are constantly trying to promote the newest and latest products that have claims to get you ripped in no time. The truth is that the only things that will get you to your fitness goals are hard work and dedication. There are no such things as shortcuts.
Of course there are optimal ways to go about our training and nutrition . For anyone considering taking nutritional supplements, please do not waste your money on supplements that provide little to no benefit for you. Even if they do provide any sort of benefit, it is not significant enough that we would advise buying it. Stick to the basics mentioned in this article to help you become the best athlete you can be.
Ahhhhh good ole’ whey protein. It has been a staple supplement since people began taking nutritional supplements. In fact, Whey protein has the highest overall leucine content of any available protein source. Leucine along with isoleucine and valine make up the essential branched chain amino acids (BCAA’s) and are building blocks of protein. For those of you that aren’t aware (misc reference), leucine content is a key factor in determining protein consumption necessary to stimulate muscle protein synthesis1. Your overall net difference between muscle protein synthesis and muscle protein degradation determines how much muscle you put on. The key here is to optimize your protein intake. A good serving suggestion is about 35-40 grams of whey to optimize muscle protein synthesis. A carbohydrate source should be digested along with the protein source as the insulin will help increase muscle protein synthesis. Click here to find out why whey is they best protein source is available
What’s not optimal: collagen protein, casein protein, and soy protein with claims that it is better than whey. Don’t buy into the casein protein b.s. that you should take it at night because it’s slow digesting. It doesn’t help build muscle any more than whey does.
Our Pick: Optimum Nutrition 100% Whey Gold Standard, Double Rich Chocolate, 5 Pound
Video: Dr. Layne Norton Debunking Common Misconceptions about protein
Creatine Monohydrate is one of the most studied nutritional supplements and also one of the most effective. Supplementing creatine monohydrate along with a resistance training program has been shown to increase overall muscular strength2. There is no evidence suggesting it is harmful in any way. We recommend taking 5 Grams daily at any time during the day. There is no need to “load” as the supplement label will most likely recommend. They include this so you use up all your creatine monohydrate and have to buy more of their product. On top of being effective, it is also one of the cheapest.
What to avoid: buffered creatine and any other creatine forms besides creatine monohydrate.
Our Pick: NOW Foods Creatine Powder, 2.2 Pounds
Video: Creatine For Dummies
Do you think any other nutritional supplements are worth mentioning in this list? Let us know in the comments below!
1)Norton LE, Layman DK, Bunpo P, Anthony TG, Brana DV, Garlick PJ. The leucine content of a complete meal directs peak activation but not duration of skeletal muscle protein synthesis and mammalian target of rapamycin signaling in rats. J Nutr. 2009 Jun;139(6):1103-9.
2)Percário S, Domingues SP, Teixeira LF, Vieira JL, de Vasconcelos F, Ciarrocchi DM, Almeida ED, Conte M. Effects of creatine supplementation on oxidative stress profile of athletes. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012 Dec 21;9(1):56.
3)Stark M, Lukaszuk J, Prawitz A, Salacinski A. Protein timing and its effects on muscular hypertrophy and strength in individuals engaged in weight-training. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012 Dec 14;9(1):54.