Supplements...an ever growing industry. I’m sure we have all read, or been told at some point we should be taking this, that and the other to improve our health, wellbeing or performance. There are new and wonderful ‘miracle pills’ appearing all the time that promise us the world...unfortunately, in reality, they can be very misleading and often just a clever ploy to get us to part with our cash!
That’s not to say that I am against supplementation – they certainly have their place, most of my clients, athletes and the general public have benefited at some stage from supplementing the necessities in the correct doses. Conversely, I have also worked with people who have chosen not to use supplements, yet have still made outstanding progress and lead completely healthy lives.
We should realise that ‘supplements’ are do exactly what they say on the tin...they ‘supplement’ or are an addition to a healthy balanced diet. At no point should we be prioritising tablets and powders over real foods.
Below are 5 of the most common supplements used in my protocols to help optimise health and performance. I have also provided alternative natural food choices that will give you the same benefits without breaking the bank, so you may decide to kick the supplements into touch!
Should we or shouldn’t we....Needed or not needed? There are lots of views at present regarding the importance of a daily multivitamin tablet. What I can tell you for sure is that vitamins and minerals are extremely important and it is a fact that our bodies can’t produce all the nutrients we need to function properly, therefore we need to eat or supplement them.
However, nutrients are much better absorbed in their natural form rather than in a processed pill, so following a whole foods diet and eating a wide variety of colourful fruit and vegetables is a much better option, in my opinion.
Give the following vitamin-rich super foods a go – they contain far more nutrients than your average multivitamin!
Kale, Liver, Shellfish, red & yellow peppers
Omega 3 fats are essential to your overall health, in particular they are of huge benefit to your heart and help normalise and regulate your cholesterol levels. They can also help reduce pain and inflammation – and it’s safe to say we will have all experienced these symptoms at the final whistle on a Saturday afternoon.
Omega 3 fats are acquired from both animal and plant sources, so ensure you are eating plenty of oily fish such as salmon and snack on walnuts, chia and flax seeds.
Often underestimated, this trace mineral is involved in over 300 cellular functions. That’s 300 reasons to be getting sufficient magnesium! The main benefits include an increase in testosterone production, which is associated with increases in muscle mass, but it also improves mental drive. Studies have shown for Mg to increase strength, power and explosiveness as well as playing a vital role in improving recovery and sleep. I’m sure you would agree all of these being key elements and attributes for the rugby player.
Want to swerve the Magnesium tablet? Ensure your diet is high in the following natural foods.
Nuts, seeds, beans, dark leafy greens, avocado’s and yoghurt. Fancy a treat? Go ahead and grab some dark chocolate!
Pre – Workout
I have come across hundreds of different pre workouts over the years (some with the craziest of names), lots of them resembling a witch’s potion! I have also seen some adverse effects it can have on people who just can’t stomach some of the many mystery blends contained within.
Simply put, pre workouts are designed to increase energy levels, muscle power or endurance during your workout.
A natural alternative – Take advantage of the E4R Member Card and sip on a free coffee from Patisserie Valerie, before you hit the gym!
Caffeine in coffee has been shown to improve endurance, vigilance, passing accuracy and explosive, high intensity movements. Exchange the milk for a teaspoon of coconut oil and you have a recipe for fat loss! What more could you ask for in a Pre workout?
Last but not least we have the big seller. We’ve all seen this guy in the gym...a couple of sets on the bicep curl machine and then the next couple of hours spent chatting to mates and swiping right on his phone! And then it’s time to swagger out supping his well-earned ‘Bro shake,’ believing that this magic formula will add some serious slabs of muscle to their skinny frame..
Yes, protein is vital for growth and repair so getting enough protein in your body is clearly essential if you want to maximise muscle growth and strength gains. The amount of protein needed by your body depends on your goals, and even then there is huge debate on the exact requirements.
For myself and my clients, I can confirm that the following equation has always been my go- to in increasing size and strength:
Total daily Protein (g) = Bodyweight (kg) x 2
So for me at 95kg I am required to consume 190g protein daily – that’s over 6 large chicken breasts or 31 eggs everyday! So as you can see, some people may struggle to eat that quantity of food so protein supplements are used to add in additional easy absorbed protein and branched chain amino acids especially straight after a workout.
And just a note to remember about ‘that guy’..as we said protein is used to repair damaged muscle, meaning you need to be training hard enough to actually damage the muscle fibres in the first place so they can grow back bigger and stronger..’that guy’s’ methods just don’t cut it!
Here are my top 5 natural high protein food choices…
Chicken/Turkey breast, Lean beef and Veal, Pork loin chops, Fish (Tuna, cod, salmon) and Dairy (Cottage Cheese and Eggs)