What do you think of when you hear “supplements”? I always considered “supplementation” an extreme aspect of body building for the vein-popping, testosterone-driven, hulks of the gym. Supplements, in my brain, equated to freaky chemical-laden concoctions that artificially promoted muscle mass.
I was wrong.
I am now a member at GNC. Something I never thought I would say.
After being introduced to supplementation in Jamie Eason’s program, I learned that simple additives like a multi-vitamin, calcium, and whey protein are part of supplementation. I do this already! So I began more research on some of the more unfamiliar products like BCAA’s and Glutamine. And then I bought some myself.
Branch Chain Amino Acids: (According to WebMD & Bodybuilding.com) the essential amino acids our bodies require in order to build muscle (and function in general). They can prevent fatigue by reducing muscle breakdown during workouts. Most of these we can get through a healthy, natural and balanced diet. BCAAs are also prevalent in whey protein; however the best time to ingest the BCAAs is during a work, while protein is used afterwards. Separating the BCAA from the whey protein leads to faster-digestion and efficiency. *This is the most science I have learned/used in the past three years of college!*
Sometimes there are “gaps” in our nutrition plan. Jamie describes taking BCAA supplements as our “insurance policy” to make 100% sure that our gaps are filled in. Nothing crazy or magical about this supplement, it’s just like taking any other vitamin or mineral.
On Friday, I spontaneously pulled in the GNC parking lot on my way home from a class. My thoughts had been consumed by my new LiveFit program and I wanted to find a BCAA supplement to add to my training plan. (Obvi I got more Quest bars while I was there. The cashier now knows me by my Quest Bar consumption.) The guy working the store, who was familiar with the bodybuilding.com training programs and Jamie Eason, gave me tons of helpful information when picking out my product. He was really patient with me and explained the differences in all the BCAA products. Ultimately I chose GNC’s brand (I wanted one that contained Glutamine) in Watermelon flavor!
This is a powder that I add to my water bottle and drink during my workout. It also ensures that I am fully hydrated during the workout as well, always a bonus. You can’t really have too much water. Drinking water isn’t really something I struggle with anyways but it will be nice to have some fruitiness added to the mix :)
Whey Protein: Whey Protein powder has gotten a bad rap. One diet-extremist tried to convince me that whey protein and dairy products in general were the devil, never meant to be ingested by humans. Just like anything, there are pros and cons and I always do my own research with *hopefully* reliable sources. So I’ve concluded that whey protein is an acceptable means to post-workout recovery mix and I stocked up with a chocolate flavor (duh) to mix with unsweetened almond milk for post-workout nourishment after intense strength workouts. For ideal recovery, we should aim to intake our protein source within half an hour of our workout. I’ve included more facts on whey protein and isolates in this delicious Chocolate-covered Strawberry Protein Smoothie post from last year:
Calcium, Iron, Minerals, Oh My: Even the individual vitamin pills you can find at Target and Walgreens are considered supplements. They are an important part of professional body builders’ training regimen too, because strength training is extremely stressful on our bones and tissues, so they may need a little extra help.
All these new habits to form and products to try out has me PUMPED. The shopping and stocking up my kitchen was the fun part. Now I get to use it all and see how it enhances my training.
How about some more throwback smoothie posts to my brunette days…
This track workout is followed by another Berry Protein Smoothie:
And yet another post-raquetball “workout” smoothie with some greens:
Another favorite is to just mix chocolate protein powder with almond milk in a blender so it’s frothy, and freeze for half an hour. It’s honestly like ice cream :)
What are your thoughts on supplementation?