Urban Active Fitness Presents: "The Wild World of Supplements"
by Josh Bowen of Urban Active Fitness
On an almost daily clip, trainers are asked about supplements. From the skinny kid who wants to be a bodybuilder to the soccer mom who wants to lose just a little body fat, everyone seems to ask about supplementation. It is a touchy subject because of the enormity of the business supplement bring in and all the different options there. Quite frankly, there are more choices of supplements than there are cities in the United States (by the way, that means there is alot). Supplements is a billion dollar industry and it is also controversial in nature. There are thousands of supplements sitting on shelves in commerical stores that are not FDA approved and could potentially cause the body harm. There are also other supplements that are almost a necessity for today’s working warriors. So with this blog I thought I would tackle a few topics:
1. Which supplements are a neccesity
2. What should I eat pre and post workout
Let’s look which supplements are a neccesity. To be honest with you, no supplements are a neccessity. Neccessity meaning life can not go on without it. Now, with that said, there are several supplements that are risk free and can add alot of value to your workouts and your results given how busy people are and how difficult it can be to get these nutrients through real food. *Just so everyone knows, I personally take supplements. I, however, do not suggest nor prescribe supplements to anyone. I truly feel you can get the same results, if not better, through whole food. The point of this blog is to provide you with information so you can make an educated decision for yourself. Now that we covered that, and hopefully you respect my honesty, lets get into some of my favorite supplements.
Walk into Vitamin Shoppe or GNC and count the number of different protein brands. You will be there forever. Out of every type of supplement, there are more kinds and brands of protein than any. They really fall into these categories; Whey, Caesin, Egg and Soy.
Whey protein is a derivitive of cow’s milk. It is digested by the body very quickly, making it optimal to take after your workout to replenish your muscle tissue. Here are the types:
-Whey Concentrate: contain anywhere from 25-89% protein. The rest is made up for fat. This is the cheapest form of whey protein
- Whey Isolate: Virtually fat free and containing at least 90% protein, whey isolate has been cycled through taking most of the lactose out of its contents
-Hydrolyze Whey: The fastest absorbing protein and ideal for people that are lactose intolerant. However the taste is so bad that most protein powders will only contain 20% or less hydrolyze whey.
-A slow digesting protein (cottage cheese) that is optimal for bed time to absorb slow digesting protein while you sleep. For growth and repair
- Protein from eggs which has the highest biological value of any protein. AKA this is the best form of complete protein.
-Made from plants but soy is somewhat controversial because most soy proteins will increase the amount of estrogen in the body. Which is not advantageous for either male or female trying to build muscle and decrease bodyfat.
Other supplements that you may have interest in:
Branch Chain Amino Acids
- Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine make up the components of muscle tissue. BCAA’s allow the body to retain muscle and help repair it after resistance training.
- A non essential amino acid that keeps the body in an anbolic state, fighting off catabolism (degradation of muscle tissue).
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
- Essential fatty acid that is good for heart health and disease prevention.
OK. You probably notice there are several supplements that are missing. Testosterone boosters, energy drinks, creatine, etc. Given my audience, I do not feel it is necessary to talk about these. To speak frankly there are items on the market that will cause the body more harm than good. Keep it simple, folks.
Now that we have talked about some supplements, lets talk about what we should eat both pre and post workout. Unless you are an athlete, a bodybuilder or someone who has been working out for a long time, I do not think this is as important as people would think. However, since I was asked the question I will answer it.
There is a lot research that is done on before and after workouts and what is the most beneficial. Most of this depends on the goal but I would assume most people are trying to lose bodyfat and build muscle tissue. With that said, what you eat before you workout will fuel your workout. I suggest eating a mixture of fast acting protein (whey isolate) and a fast acting carbohydrate (fruit) before workout. This mixture will give you the stored glycogen levels you will need for a hard resistance training workout. If you are chasing or needing a “pump” a vasodialtor such as niacin will open the blood vessels up and allow for more blood driven to the muscles.
The most studied part of resistance training is what to eat after you are done working out. A lot of research will state you have to eat fast acting protein within 45 minutes of your workout to take advantage of the “anabolic window.” In the most up to date information I have, the 45 minutes is more like 2-3 hours to support muscle growth and repair. So I suggest taking in a whey isoloate protein directly after workout and before a real meal. I also believe this is a good time to have some glutamine and BCAAs as well. Again, this can all be accomplished through real food and without supplements but given the topic this is how you can opperate if needed. I am not a big believer in the simple carbohydrates follwing workouts. There is no need for extra sugar in the diet, a fast acting whey protein will be sufficent enough to tide you over until you eat a real meal.
* I must reiterate that I am in no way drawing attention to supplements and saying something has to be done a certain way. I wrote this blog as education versus application. There is more than one way to skin a cat and there is plenty of contradicting information out there that would tear this article apart. However, with all my expereince with clients and myself, these principles seem to work the best.
Please do not hesitate to email me any questions that you have on this topic or any other topic. Use cautin and common sense when it comes to what you are inputting into your body. The body is a well oiled machine that needs proper fuel to perform at a high level. Treat it with kindness and it will be good to you.
Yours in Fitness, JB
Josh Bowen will be joining Style & Wisdom every Monday for the next few weeks for a series of blog posts about obtaining maximum fitness results. Josh Bowen has been the Quality Control Director of Personal Training at Urban Active Fitness since 2007 and has trained and directed 400 trainers in 7 states. Josh has certified trainers, proctored hundreds of seminars and conference calls, and contributed to ten published articles about fitness. His mission is to spread the word of fitness to as many people as he can through personal training with a motto of "train, motivate, and inspire!" For more useful tips from Josh Bowen, you can find daily posts from him on Urban Active's blog.