Saturday, 9 January 2010

Supplement ABC Part 2

Gym Ninja hopes you weren't all desperate for Part 2 yesterday? She had far too much to do in preparation for this weekend's PT course. Apologies...!

So where were we?

Ok...we'd covered Protein, Creatine and Thermogenics.   So how about we now finish off with a few more basic supplements you may have considered?

Energy Boosts
Red Bull, Viper, Relentless, Lucozade, Target...all known energy boosters you can pick up in most Supermarkets.  But how do they work and what do they do? Again, not all energy supplements are created equal. They are best taken during times when you need that boost to push you through a tough workout. Perhaps you've had a few late nights yet need to perform at the gym in the morning? Maybe you plan a long run and want to ensure you can sustain your pace? Whatever your reason, ensue you read the back of the bottle so you know what you are taking.
A lot of energy supplements use caffeine to give you that boost-which is why a lot of people reach for coffee when they feel their energy is flagging. Same stuff you see?  Usually higher concentrations, so be aware of this if you are sensitive to caffeine as you may have some side effects like headaches, palpitations, increased urination, jitteriness and insomnia.  You may also find that some are loaded with sugar of one 'sort' or another. Anything that lists glucose, fructose, sugar...all sugary and simple carbs which can give you a boost yet will wear off rapidly and also add calories (be aware if you are watching what you eat, that calories are also found in drinks too!). You may find exotic sounding ingredients like guarana, carnitine, ginseng, and taurine added to the list too? All stimulants and will pep you up. Talking of pep, there are also capsule versions of energy boosters. Things like Pro Plus & Pep (caffeine pills), Lucozade Glucose tablets (which are just great big sugary lumps of cack) or Viper Extreme Capsules (GN takes these if she needs a boost and they do not have the same calories as the liquid version).
So what would you need to be aware of? Well, if you are taking a thermogenic then you may be doubling up on your caffeine intake if you also take an energy supplement, which may mean you have eyes like a Bush Baby at night when you should be asleep! You may start feeling on edge, jumpy and paranoid? Be careful you do not start to rely on them as an 'alternative' to healthy nutrition and rest which is where your energy should usually come from.  However, these are a good boost if you have perhaps a long car journey to make, a shopping trip that you plan on taking ALL day to do, studying for exams, a long work shift etc. Double check if you play sports competitively that the substances in your energy supplement is approved and not banned? The Maximuscle range are clear on what you can and cannot take when it comes to sporting bodies...

Vitamins & Minerals
Ahh, there are shelves of these! Take a good Multivitamin as an insurance policy. Consider additional zinc and Vitamin C (Timed released Vitamin C though rather than bog standard so your body can use it all day rather than it dissolve straight away and ten you p*ss it straight out within hours!). Ideally vitamins & minerals are there to support as a back-up. Do not think you can pop them and then forget your 5-a-day veggies and fruits though. Food is your first port of call!
Perhaps consider a calcium supplement if female and dieting hard? Also take a quality Omega 3-6-9 oil capsule too. You need the healthy fats and they can help with fat burning ironically.  Look at BCAAs(Branch Chain Amino Acids) if training very hard or restricting your diet, to help support your muscle growth. As always, seek advice and perhaps chat with the staff at Holland & Barrett as they are trained in vitamins and minerals and will happily tell you if you are wasting your cash.

That will be all for now class. There are oodles of things out there. You would rattle if you took them all. Again, remember that a clean healthy diet comes first and foremost. Supplements are 'in addition to' these things.  We can chat about them again, and go into the more 'exotic sounding' ones like ZMA and Testosterone boosters etc at a later date if you wish?

As for when to take them?
 Read the packet/bottle/box and FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS! If it say do not exceed 3 dosee a day, then DON'T! They made it! They know better than you do!

Where to store them? 
Make space on your worktop near the blender so you can mix up  your shakes with fresh berries etc, or milk if supping at night. You can always add creatine to a protein shake. Or add powdered fibre supplements to the shakes too? Experiment!
Always pack a shaker bottle plus a few servings of bagged protein powder in your sports bag. Do not mix them until you need to.  Maybe pop the protein bars into your bag or car glove box? Always handy in emergencies when you need food yet have nothing to hand and that bar of chocolate or bag of Haribo is taunting you, the floozy! Carry a RTD (ready to drink) premixed protein shake if you cannot feasibly mix one up in front of everyone (maybe at a meeting at work?). Heat up a chocolate protein shake (a milk based one) and sup it in winter as a hot chocolate alternative? Add a scoop of your protein powder to porridge after it's cooked and mix it well for added flavour (& protein). Get the plain unflavoured protein (Like Promax Natural) and add it to pancakes and omelettes, or even a healthy (!) cake recipe to give the stuff a protein boost?  Add creatine powder to your fruit juice.  Pop your vitamins at breakfast with your meal. Take your thermogenics on an empty stomach with plenty of water. Time your energy drink for the optimum performance prior to your workout and NOT too close to bedtime or you won't sleep.   Just keep it simple for now!!!!!!!

OK. Best go! Stuff to do. More PT course stuff to look over ready for tomorrow. More stripping off and pinching each others skin folds with calipers to monitor body fat!   Assisted stretching techniques too. Oooer!

Be happy Ninjarettes!

Gym Ninja x

Forgot to say but if you are thinking of taking Thermabol as your fat burner, then be aware if you click on the Maximuscle links in this page during January, you can then go to their special offers bit and order some Thermobol and you will get a box of their Promax Diet protein meal bars absolutely free! January sales eh? Gotta love em!  If you add that to your free day pass at Fitness First then how can you go wrong? What more do you want? Do you want Gym Ninja to come round and DO your workout for you? ;-)