This week we’re looking at the murky world of supplements and picking out the few options which will actually give you a return for your money.
Ever bought the latest “Revolutionary Diet Pills” promising a magical transformation due to a “little known secret used by Hollywood Celebrities”?
It’s easy to fall for, supplement companies often promote their products using scientific-sounding terms to convince people that they have the magic pill.
Unfortunately, there are only a few supplements that have stood the test of time – being proven time and again to be safe and beneficial to health and performance.
Here they are:
Protein powders exist somewhere between food and a supplement. Protein powders can provide convenience and flexibility for people having problems meeting their protein needs.
High protein diets have been proven to promote fat-loss, increase recovery between training sessions and support a healthy immune system. Try to consume around 1g of protein per lb of bodyweight.
Many sensational newspaper articles have been published demonising high protein consumption – however as long as your protein comes from a good source and not processed meats / fast foods and you eat plenty of vegetables, having a high protein diet will only benefit your health and waistline.
Fish Oils/Essential Fatty Acids
If there is one nutrient that is almost impossible to achieve enough of in the modern diet it’s the O-3 fish oils.
In a very real sense, fish oils ‘do everything’, impacting on overall health by helping to control inflammation, promote fat breakdown, reduce fat storage and a host of others.
We recommend a total intake of EPA/DHA of 1.8-3.0 grams per day. If you are eating fatty fish this can be reduced.
Within the oil, the balance of EPA to DHA is important. The ideal ratio is a 1.5:1 ratio in favour of EPA to DHA.
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While Vitamin D can be made in the body (through exposure to sunlight), Vitamin D deficiencies are epidemic, especially for people working indoors or living in cold weather countries where sun exposure is low (Ireland).
A daily supplementation level of 2000 IU’s should be safe and reasonable for most.
Zinc and magnesium are often deficient – zinc is often low in people who don’t eat enough red meat and magnesium losses occur with regular exercise.
Both are critical for optimal health and various processes in the body. Also, many find the combination of the two taken at bedtime helps with sleep.
A daily supplement of 25 mg of zinc (any form is fine) with 400-500 mg of magnesium (citrate is the preferred form) taken 30 minutes before bedtime is recommended.
If there is a single supplement in existence that can be said to boost athletic performance legally, creatine is it.
With hundreds of studies supporting its effectiveness and safety, creatine is the one must-have supplement for most athletes including team and mixed sports athletes.
Creatine has been shown to positively impact all performance measures ranging from sprinting to weight room performance and others.
Simply put – take 5g of creatine monohydrate per day.
Take for 4 weeks, stop for 2 weeks, repeat.
The old standby as a pre-workout supplement is caffeine, the most widely used compound on the planet.
Doses taken 30-60 minutes before training can improve certain types of performance, and certainly those important to mixed sports.
Caffeine hits peak levels in 60-90 minutes and lasts several hours so unless training is very long, a single dose is plenty.
So there you go guys, don’t fall for the next wonder pill extracted from a little known plant in the Amazon that doesn’t lose you any weight other than out of your wallet –
Stick to the supplements proven time and again to genuinely work, eat plenty of high quality meat and veg, drink lots of water and most importantly- Join Pure Fitness! ?
Credit to Lyle McDonald a highly regarded American sports nutritionist – more detailed information can be found on his site at the following links: