In the past two months, I’ve been on a mission to gain some serious muscle mass.
It’s been my latest challenge.
Today I want to briefly go over what supplements I’m using to help take my training (and results) to the next level.
If you’ve read my thoughts on supplementation, then you know that I believe certain supplements have their rightful spot in the fitness world. If we lived in a perfect world, then yes we could probably get all of our needed nutrients from the foods that we eat. But we don’t. Not even close. If you want to achieve optimal results, then supplements can give you that needed boost.
For this challenge, I’ve decided to experiment a little bit. I wanted to step outside of my ‘supplement box’. I’m going to be trying a few supplements that I’ve never taken before to see how they affect my results.
I really have no idea what’s going to happen.
It might work or it might come back to slap me in the face. But that’s the beauty of experimentation.
So here is a full list of the supplements I’m taking to maximize my results for the Visual Impact Challenge.
This one is a given. I’ve been using protein powders for a long time now and I think they are a vital component to any training program. I’ve talked about this before, but it’s worth going over again. Protein is the most important muscle building (and muscle sustaining) element in your body. It’s the essential building block for muscle.
Without sufficient protein, your muscles will not grow. Period.
What protein am I taking? Good question.
I always make sure to look for as-natural-as-it-can-get protein powders with no additives. As you’ve probably seen in my Eating for Size article, the protein that I’m using for this challenge (and have been using for along time) is the 100% Gold Standard Natural Whey Protein.
The one big factor I’ve been playing around with is time of consumption. I’ve been talking with a few experts (read: long time users) about what they thought was the best time to take a protein supplement. Before a workout? During a workout? After a workout?
After some discussion and experimentation I’ve noticed that I get the best results when I start taking my protein supplement at some point midway through my workout. This way, as my workout is coming to an end, the protein is ready for absorption.
Note: I always take my protein powder with 2-3 tablespoons of dextrose (sugar). This helps quicken the absorption process.
This was a huge addition to my supplement collection. I’ve always been on the fence when it came to Creatine. I know it is a highly effective, scientifically-backed supplement. But, at the same time, the fact that no long term studies exist on the usage of this supplement always forces me to think twice.
For the sake of this challenge, I’ve decided to go ahead and give it a shot. I get a lot of questions about Creatine and I’m tired of giving answers that I’ve only read about – now I will have personal experience to reflect on and I’ll be able to give more valuable advice. The fitness world supports it. Rusty’s program recommends it. So f*ck it – I’m jumping on board and rolling with the punches.
Remember, Creatine is a naturally occurring substance in your body. At any given time you have roughly 120g of Creatine stored in your body – more than 90% of that being stored in muscle tissue.
The average person’s daily requirement of Creatine is roughly 2g – half of that is manufactured by the body, the other half comes from our diet (i.e. fish, red meat).
The purpose of Creatine within muscle tissue is simply to help create energy. Stored in a state known as phosphocreatine, it is there to be used during high-intensity, anaerobic activity (such as sprinting, for example).
There is a lot of science behind this that I’ll try to summarize in another post, but for now all that you need to know is that Creatine helps create energy. It doesn’t magically make you bigger. It allows you to work harder. It helps you get those extra few reps in. You still have to do the work if you want the results.
The Creatine I’m getting is from a well-trusted site – TrueProtein. I’m paying $5.27/lb which is incredibly cheap. I got myself 2 lbs which is way more than I’ll never need.
If you want to learn everything there is to know about Creatine, then check out a book called Creatine – A Practical Guide by Dr. Franco-Obregón. It will show you how to fully take advantage of this incredible supplement.
There’s nothing new about this one. I’ve been in the routine of taking one multivitamin a day for quite some time now and it has helped keep me healthy and robust.
This is one supplement I recommend that you take regardless of whether you’re training or not. It will ensure you get all the vitamins and minerals you need for your body to function optimally.
4) Fish Oil
This is another new supplement I’ve decided to add to my daily routine. It is a supplement I’ve been meaning to try for a few months now and figured this challenge would be a perfect time to start.
Fish oil is a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids – DHA & DEA. Increasing your consumption of them will provide your body with some ridiculous health benefits. For this challenge particularly, since my training intensity will be pretty high due to shortened rest periods and a high volume of reps, the Omega 3s should help improve my recovery time. It should improve joint health and lower inflammation. It should also improve my testosterone levels as I’m trying to gain muscle mass.
I’ll be taking 4 capsules per day during the course of this challenge to see how it affects my body. I got my fish oil supplements from the same place I got my Creatine – TrueProtein. They have an amazing deal: 1000 capsules for $25!
I’ve never been too involved with supplements. I try to stay as natural as possible. But this challenge calls for big results so I’ve stepped outside of my comfort zone for the sake of experiment.
Let’s see what happens.
What are your thoughts on these supplements? Are there things you would add or eliminate? What would you do differently? Share in the comments below!