My private session students often ask me about supplements, if they should get proteins? It doesn’t really matter if they want to lose or gain weight or get stronger, they often believe that the magic powder in the box will help them achieve their goals. When I challenge them and ask why do they think that they even need to add proteins into their diet and what do they eat during the day, they often don’t even know.
So if you are one of them, remember, these all are just SUPPLEMENTS. The key here is to have your regular diet under control and then you can start to add. Another thing to consider is if your body and work out load really requires this dietary addition. If you train 3 times a week, you will probably be fine without them. If you hit they gym every day and you train elsewhere as well or more than once a day, it would be hard for you to get your energy back even if you eat well. In that case supplements are something to consider.
So lets take a look at the two most common supplements.
Protein is the basic building block of your muscle mass. If you want to gain muscle, you need to make sure your muscles recover well and you eat enough protein. Think of how much protein do you eat in regular food, if that’s not enough and you are unable to consume more, then protein concentrate is something you should consider. But don’t skip a meal with a protein shake. After you train drink a gainer, or add some quick sugars into your protein shake (you can mix your protein with Maltodextrin or add a banana).
After you work out your body needs to quickly restore its muscle glycogen. Gainers are mix of quick sugars with a lower level of proteins. Gainers give your body both carbohydrates to supplement glycogen and are the building blocks to repair damaged muscle fibers. Unlike a protein product, I would recommend using gainers only after your WOD (if it’s not your goal to gain at all costs, then don’t drink too many of them).
So, protein concentrate can supplement a meal (even though you try not to skip your meal and drink a shake instead), gainer is an after WOD drink. However, after some time (ideally an hour) you should follow it up with a good meal.