When most people are interested in developing muscles and getting stronger they will normally start looking into the use of supplements and products like Whey protein in order to help them gain more mass and definition and to capitalize on the hard work they’re no doubt putting in down the gym.
However, while these supplements can often do you a lot of good and help you to genuinely get into great shape, if you’re just starting out then you might not be fully informed about how they all work and how to get the most from them.
Getting the best from your supplements is not just a simple matter of picking them and taking them regularly, you need to think about how they tie in with the rest of your routine and crucially how they tie in with each other. Just like coming up with a training routine, this takes time and understanding, so let’s look at a few factors you need to consider to help you get off to a good start.
What do they do?
First of all, you shouldn’t use any supplement without doing serious research into what it actually does and how precisely it works. In other words then, if you’re taking a protein shake then you might be aware that it helps you to build muscle, but you should also be aware of how that happens. Put simply this is a lean source of protein with a high bioavailability that is a by-product of the cheese-making product. Understanding that is important if you want to get the most from it.
When should you take them?
Different supplements work better at different times of the day. Some vitamin tablets for instance should be taken with food, while other supplements are best on an empty stomach. A protein shake is best when used before bed or straight after a workout because that’s when your body is in a repair state called an ‘anabolic state’.
Meanwhile, the when and how much of some supplements will change over time – use creatine for instance and you should have a ‘loading phase’ where you take in more than you normally would for a time before then sinking into a routine.
What you’ll find too is that what it says on the label won’t always be what’s best for you – so try reading around and see if the fitness communities recommend doing away with the loading phase, cycling your product, or using it in other different ways that can help you to make it last longer or become more potent.
How do they interact?
It’s very important that you don’t look at your supplements as individual products, but rather as a list of different ingredients made up of what’s in each product. So for instance, if something contains vitamin B12 then you should make a note of it – because if it’s in all your other supplements too then you might risk ODing.
Likewise, you might choose to use one product in order to enhance the effects of another. I use a testosterone booster called Oxavar and when I take that I make sure to get extra protein because my body will be working even faster to convert it into muscle.