Supplements can offer terrific benefits to your health and fitness if you are not already getting what you need from natural whole foods! Sups are exactly what they are called. They are meant to “supplement” your diet or fill the gaps where nutrients may be lacking. The best form of all nutrients comes from its original source. So to see the best improvements, get your nutritional needs from whole foods.
Now, if you are not able to do this, then supplements can come into play. Let’s say for instance, you tend to not get enough vitamins throughout the day. Then it would be beneficial to take a multivitamin in order to meet your daily vitamin and mineral needs. Otherwise you are just paying to piss out what you’ve taken. Same goes for muscle building supplements as well. If you are getting at least one gram of complete protein per pound of bodyweight each day, then taking amino acids will not give you too many benefits. Just taking them won’t necessarily beef you up. It simply supplies your body with protein, just as if you were to eat chicken, fish, or eggs. But if you are not getting enough each day, then they can aid in muscle building properties, and help your body avoid muscle tissue breakdown for fuel. They are also good for convenience, or when you’re on the go.
Lastly, there are a few other supplements that fall in a different category. These are the ones that are directly meant to enhance energy and performance, such as pre workout, creatine, and nitric oxide amplifiers. These are not something you need to take, but can help increase the intensity of your workout, resulting in better efficiency at the gym.
At the end of the day, supplements are not something you need to take if you are already getting your necessary nutrients throughout the day. They are meant to fill the gaps, and possibly aid in energy production if needed.
I hope this was easy to understand, and helpful for some of you. For more information on supplements and specific ones that I take, check out my Custom Meal Plans, some of my other site posts, and YouTube channel!
My top 5 protein supplement choices based on quality, consistency, results, and taste.
The quality is outstanding as it is 100% hydrolyzed and isolated protein with 25 grams of protein per 29 gram scoop, 5.5 grams of BCAAs, and great amino acid profile. It is very easily digested and absorbs into the muscles fast for quick recovery. The ingredients list is very low containing only necessary ingredients, but it taste great! The powder is very consistent, mixes easy, and I’ve never had any problems with the powder clumping. Over all, great product!
About Time Protein Isolate:
This is the cleanest, purest protein powder I have ever seen or had. It is 100% protein isolate and has the highest protein content I have seen as well (88% with some of their flavors). It contains 24 – 25 grams of protein per scoop and has a great amino acid profile. It only contains 4 to 5 ingredients depending on the flavor and is naturally flavored with stevia. While talking about flavor, they offer over 10 flavor options. It is very easily digested, and quickly absorbed for fast recovery. It always mixes easy but the taste usually seams fairly watered down, but this is because, as I’ve said, it doesn’t contain a bunch of extra crap.
Optimum Nutrition Pro Complex:
This is, in my opinion, Optimum Nutrition’s, best protein product! It is made with 100% isolate and hydrolyzed protein from both whey and egg. There are 30 grams of protein per 37.5 gram scoop with only 3 carbs and less than a gram of fat giving it an 80% protein plus added glutamine, and a great BCAA blend with just over 7.5 grams per scoop! They come in 3 flavors (Chocolate, Vanilla, and Strawberry) which all taste amazing. The constancy is great and easy to mix with every shake! It is a little more expensive than most products, but you get what you pay for!
Optimum Nutrition 100% Gold Standard Whey:
This is Americas #1 selling protein powder, and there are many reasons for it! First of all, it’s probably the most affordable high quality protein on the market at just under a dollar per serving with the 5 lb tub! It is the flagship product of one of the top supplement brands in the world, and is made with mostly protein isolates. It taste great and has a perfect consistency every time you drink it! They offer literally almost every flavor possible, and each one is great! Each scoop gives you 24 grams of protein, 5.5 grams of BCAAs, and 4 grams of glutamine for quick recovery, muscle growth, and general health support. There is a little bit of protein concentrate, but that doesn’t mean the quality drops a lot. It will just be digested and absorbed over a slightly longer period of time.
Quest Nutrition Protein Powder:
With some of the best tasting protein I have ever had, it’s no wonder they are known for quality products that make for a “Cheat Clean” meal! Obviously they are known for their award winning protein bars, but their powders compare very well! They offer 7 different flavors and I honestly feel like each of their shakes that I have is better than the last! It has a great thick consistency making it taste and feel more like a milkshake. They are also great for cooking with endless recipes. It is made with a protein blend, containing 60% isolate and 40% casein. This means that the majority of the protein will be very easily digested, absorbed and shuttled to the muscles for recovery. The casein however is released into the muscles over a longer period of time for increased and sustained protein synthesis. Studies have shown that mixing or making a blend from fast acting and slow actingproteins can increase your overall results over time.
I hope this helps you better understand some of these products and make a decision on your next purchase. For more help finding the right protein for you visit our last post – Finding The Right Protein.
To watch the review on my YouTube channel and learn more click here: Video: Supplement Review
Protein is a huge asset and a key factor for optimal health
Protein allows us to keep up with our healthy and active lifestyles
Protein serves as building blocks to build and repair muscle tissue
Protein helps aid bone health
These reasons are why it is important to make sure that we fuel up with enough protein for our bodies needs (especially after exercise). By taking in an adequate amount, you are more likely to be getting the most out of your workouts because of the proper nutrition going into your system right after exercise.
Looking for good protein products – 3 top things to look for
Not all products are created equal! When looking at what proteins to get it is always good to look at the:
1) The form of protein listed in the ingredients
Concentrate is the most basic form of protein powder.
Isolate is a much faster acting, higher protein content, and easier to digest.
Hydrolyzed protein is even more rapidly absorbed since it goes through the isolation process again. However it sometimes has a little more natural or artificial flavors to make it taste better.
Casein is a larger molecule, which has a sustained release. This great for taking before bed since your muscles will continuously get proteins even though you’re not eating through out the night as you sleep.
When looking at the ingredients list, the contents are listed in order from most to least. So I good product usually has hydrolyzed or protein isolates listed first.
2) Amino acid profile
Proteins are made up of organic compounds called amino acids containing both essential and non-essential compounds. The amino acids used to make up proteins are crucial for the body to grow, break down foods, provide our bodies with energy, along with rebuild and repair to grow muscle tissue. Non-essential amino acids are amino acids that our bodies produce on their own. They include Alanine, Asparagine, Aspartic acid, and Glutamic acid. Essential amino acids are ones that our bodies do not produce, so we need to get them in our daily diet. There are 9 essential amino acids including Histidine, Isoleucine, Leucine, Lysine, Methionine, Phenylalanine, Threonine, Tryptophan and Valine. In order for a protein to be considered a “complete protein” it must contain all 9 essential amino acids. The branch chain amino acids (BCAAs) are Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine, which are considered the most important and anabolic essential amino acids. Especially Leucine which should contain around 2,500 mg per 30 gram serving of protein powder!
3) Amount of protein per serving
A good quality protein supplement should contain about 23 grams of protein per scoop. But more importantly or to dig deeper into it, you should know the percent of protein in the powder. To do this, take the grams of protein per scoop, and divide that by grams per serving. So if a product has 25 grams of protein in a 30-gram serving/scoop, you would do 25 divided by 30, which would mean this product is 83% protein. Most high quality products (mostly isolates) are at 80% or higher.