I often get asked questions about supplements:
"What supplements do you use?" "What do you think about this or that?"
As some of you know, I spent a couple years while in school working in that industry at Vitamin Shoppe in Los Altos.. So I learned a lot about what to look for in terms of supplements. I can tell you with certainty that I wouldn't use over 90% of the products out there right now. But there are some great supps out there that can really help you as well, you just have to know what to look for.
To keep it short:
The Basics -
1.) Whey Protein Isolate
3.) Creatine (Ph buffered)
At times I'll use other supps, and in the future I'll post about them, but for this post I'm sticking with these basics, the things I keep on hand the most often. This does not mean I have them ALL THE TIME, but they are things I use regularly. These also aren't blanket suggestions for everyone reading, I'm just communicating what I do and what I think. I'm also leaving out some other supps that I'll post about later for brevity.
Whey Protein, BCAA's, and Creatine all have decades of research behind them proving their efficacy and safety. These things are non-hormonal and exist in our regular food:
Whey is a protein found in dairy foods, such as cheese and milk. It has very favorable amino acid profiles (very important) and it is also very fast digesting, so the amino acids (building blocks of muscle) can be absorbed and used by your system quickly to help take advantage of the favorable hormonal environment (for muscle building) that results after strength training. Protein is your friend, especially when you are trying to build or maintain muscle mass.
Any complete protein source has some amount of the BCAA's (branched chain amino acids) further specified as the amino acids (leucine***, isoleucine, and valine) These amino's have been isolated as some of the most important ones to consume for anti-catabolic effects as well as anabolic effects. Leucine in particular appears to be extremely important, as it stimulates the mTOR pathway, which appears to be a powerful muscle building pathway. BCAA's in research are very effective at reducing or preventing muscle loss during periods of intense cardio activity, or even during long durations of rest. They are your friend if you are trying to avoid losing muscle / building muscle.
Proteins such as steak, have Creatine naturally occurring in them already. Everytime you eat a steak you are consuming creatine. It is a compound composed of amino acids, and the reason why it works is because Creatine has a lot of phosphates in it. Your body uses phosphates to replenish ATP during exercise. The result of this is typically increased power output as well as increased max strength.
Typical BCAA, Whey Protein, and Creatine products that I might have on hand:
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