Supplements: The Nice to Have

Last week I talked about the supplements that I believe should be taken by everyone from the sedentary to the athlete. If you missed it have a read HERE.

This week it’s the nice to have and I’m going to keep it brief and only going to talk about supplementing around your workouts.

Now listen, I don’t train Athletes, Physique Models or Body Builders. I train the likes of you and I’ll treat you the same as I do myself. If you don’t know me, know this. I’m in good nick, I’m strong and I’m fit. Am I Olympic standard? Not anymore. I’m now married with two kids and work 60-70 hour weeks.

So what’s my secret? It’s a little thing I like to call ‘Cop On!’
I make sure I do a minimum of six sessions a week and the longest is 1 hour.
I lift weights 3 times and I do Cardio three times. My weight lifting is fully programed with a goal in mind. I’m currently three weeks in to a new Strength and Hypertrophy program.
My Cardio sessions consists of either 8-10km runs (Because I enjoy running), 7 x 3min rounds boxing, or Interval training.

Other things that I do to complement my training is stretching and rolling at home in front of the TV, I love playing around with Body Weight Training (No structure, just play) and I also enjoy chilling out in my Infrared Sauna.

Before I go into my supplements you must remember the hierarchy. These are the steps I BELIEVE you need in place before even considering these or the goals you’d be aiming for that you’d require these supplements.

  • You’ll have a good understanding of nutrition for your own body type.

  • You’ve a healthy body composition <17% Males and <24% Females.

  • You have good mobility and stability of joints.

  • A good neuro connection with muscles (If I point to a muscle, you should be able to engage it)

  • A good understanding of weightlifting, Aerobic/Anaerobic training, Rest and Recovery.

  • Overall you are of optimum health.

Pre Workouts
For years lads have been getting high as kites on NO Shotgun, NO Explode and Jack3d and its comical then to see them in the gym doing 20 mins on the Cross Trainer followed by the usual Four Sets, Ten Reps and then wonder why they can’t sleep.
45 minutes before every training I take an Essential Amino Acids supplement on an empty stomach. This is to flood the bloodstream with what my muscles will be screaming for during a session.
NOTE: If you take things like BCAA’s. These will only work at your lowest Essential Amino Acid level. So if your nutrition isn’t great and you’re not supplementing Essential Amino’s then you’ve just bought an expensive tub of what will soon be pee.
If you need an energy kick, stay away from any supplements that are loaded with Caffeine, Sugar and Sweeteners. Whether you like coffee or not just down an espresso and get on with it. Even when taking supplements there is no need to ignore your standard health. Most Supplement companies that are set up in Ireland (And there is plenty) just put whatever in their products to make it sell. If it tastes ‘Amazeballs’ then it’s probably garbage.
During Workout
If I’m weight training I take a supplement of amino acids and Glucose in water. This is to keep a continual flow of amino acids in the bloodstream and the glucose helps with my fuel supply.
I can’t emphasise enough that when I say weight training I’m overloading my muscles continuously. If you don’t know what I mean then it’s probably best to invest your money in a book or two before supplementation to maximise your weight training.
If I’m doing cardio I generally just take water with Alkalising Salts for Hydration. This consists of Sodium & Potassium Bicarbonate and Calcium & Magnesium Carbonate. Once again you don’t need sugar or Powerade, Lucozade Etc. Just give your body what it needs without all the crap.
Post Workout
I choose Vegetable protein (Rice, Pea and Hemp) over Whey for a little bit of a health reason but like before if you're taking whey protein make sure it is just what it's meant to be. If you’re serious about health, training and recovery you don’t need Triple Chocolate or Banoffee Ice Cream flavour. Like the espresso, just get it into you. If you want to enjoy food then do it with your breakfast, lunch and dinner. Everything else you should do because you have to.
I take 5g of Creatine to work towards my strength, Muscle Development, Testosterone and Brain Function. (All four are proven to be a result of Creatine supplementation)
I take 60g of carbs and 5g of Glutamine immediately following weight lifting. My muscles will be depleted of their glycogen reserves, which is why taking this post-workout as soon as possible is so incredibly important.
The faster you can replenish those stores, the faster you will recover from that workout, which means you'll be that much more prepared when you go into the gym for your next workout session.
That’s as simple as it gets:

  • Good Nutrition.

  • 5 Basic Supplements to compliment your nutrition.

  • 6 Hours of intense work a week and plenty of foam rolling, stretching and mobility in your free time.

  • Add in the supplements above and you’re all set.

Until next week,
Love and happiness,
John T.