As a personal trainer I am often asked 'what supplements should I take?' This is a big question to which I could answer, none? Too many to mention? My answer will change according to the person asking the question, their training needs, diet, age, gender.....There are certain supplements though, that in the right circumstances I would always recommend. Over the next few weeks I will look at those supplements that can enhance a strength training regime.
Probably the most commonly used supplement in strength training and the one I get asked about the most. In a lot of cases I would suggest that if your diet is high in good quality proteins you may not need to supplement but supplementing with protein powder does ensure that you are getting the much needed proteins at the right time. If you are going to use protein then there is little or no point buying it cheap, cheap normally says poor quality and the benefits you get are reduced.
When to take
Consume half a protein shake immediately after training. The other half should be drunk 15-20 minutes later. My reasoning for this is no matter how advanced the formula and how much you are told it doesn't leave you bloated, for some people it still might if you consume the whole shake in one go. There is a lot of research to suggest that having a shake pre workout or just before bedtime helps with muscle growth and recovery, this may be true but the one essential time to consume some protein is always post workout.
Why take it
Protein is the most important nutrient in the world when it comes to building lean muscle. As well as contributing to muscle growth, recovery and regeneration, a good source of protein is crucial for the development and maintenance of strong and healthy bones.
Brands I would recommend
Obviously I haven't tried every brand there is on the market but I have tried these and they generally get a good write up on strength training forums and publications like Mens Health. As for flavour I personally always go for a Chocolate.
Optimum Nutrition - Natural Casein or Platinum Hydro Whey
USN - Pure Protein IGF1
My Protein - True Whey or Impact Whey Protein (slightly cheaper supplier)