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Thursday, 18 October 2012

A Guide to Fitness Supplements


Maybe take a few seconds to re-read those words, as it is vital they are understood. Before considering supplementation you need to ensure that the more important aspects of your training are in order.
  • The training itself - by this, I mean exercise (running, lifting weights, swimming, etc.) If you don’t put the hours in you are not going to get anywhere. 
  • Diet - there is absolutely no substitute for a healthy, well balanced diet, full of protein and good quality carbohydrates. 
  • Sleep – so often over looked but SO important. Your body needs rest, especially when subjecting it to hard training regimes.
The variety of sports supplements available is outrageously huge. If you allow yourself to be sucked in you can very easily, soon find yourself spending hundreds of Pounds every month. I use four different supplements and they are -


The most important supplement that there is. In fact I don’t even really think of it as a supplement at all. I would probably include this as part of the healthy, well balanced diet mentioned above. It aids recovery after resistance training and helps promote size and strength gains. Studies have also showed that whey protein is effective in maintaining a healthy level of fat in the body. Anyone doing any kind of training should be using whey protein.

My favourite – Extreme Whey from Extreme Nutrition.


Another supplement that is almost too important to be considered a supplement. I use them as a form of insurance against any deficiencies in my diet. Choose a good quality multivitamin designed for athletes.

My favourite – Alpha Men from My Protein.


I have used two forms of amino acids. Branch chain amino acids (BCAAs) are fantastic for maintaining muscle mass whilst on a calorie deficient diet. Whilst dieting your body will enter a catabolic state and it will attempt to burn away some of your hard earned muscle mass in order to release energy. Without getting too technical – BCAAs stimulate protein synthesis, which (put very simply and probably not entirely correctly) is the process of cells making protein and in turn building muscle.

The other form of amino acids I have used is conjugated linoleic acid (or CLA). This is reported to aid the reduction of fat levels in the body. I am unsure as to how effective these are as although I did lose weight, I was training hard and it is impossible to tell how much of an effect the CLA had. For this reason I’m not sure I would buy it again. It also tasted beyond foul!

My favourite – Recover Pro from AI Sports.


Creatine is a naturally occurring substance found in the body and aids in the transference of energy to the muscles. Supplementing with creatine will give you an extra few yards in a sprint race or allow an extra rep or two when lifting weights. There are a few variants of creatine available, however I have always stuck to simple creatine monohydrate so cannot comment on the effectiveness of the others. Creatine is used in cycles, usually eight weeks on, one week off. It isn’t uncommon to notice some side effects when first using creatine. I always get headaches during the first couple of days of a cycle, although I have found that this can be combated by drinking extra water.

My favourite – Creatine Monohydrate from My Protein.

This is all simply my opinion (I don’t claim to be any kind of expert in the field of sports supplements). This is just what works for me. That said…being a rugby player my training has to be fairly comprehensive. I train for strength, speed, agility, endurance and flexibility. So the same advice could easily be applied to other sports and training goals.


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