Have you ever been into a supplements store? Talk about feeling out of place. From the jacked-up man behind the counter to the rows of ‘OxyShred,’ it’s not surprising most people find it daunting. But when it comes to supplements, it’s important you know what you’re taking. So if you’re new to the gym or you’ve just never ventured into the world of supplementation, this may be a good place to start.
First off, supplements are just that: supplementation. While we aim to get all our nutritional needs from food, sometimes we might be lacking and this is where supplements can come in. Although we may not need supplements, they can certainly help us to perform at our best.
“Many women underestimate the benefits of supplementation on optimising overall health and wellness. From boosting energy and improving weight loss to preventing disease, supplements can help us target and allow our bodies to work efficiently and effectively,” says Holly Vogt, pharmacist, PT and expert for Body Science.
Before you start, it might be a good idea to get tested. Finding out what you’re deficient in will help you tailor your needs. That being said, the best gauge of your health is always yourself. Find it hard to bounce back after a tough workout? Try magnesium. Switched to a vegan diet? Protein powder could help.
As with anything, before you start it’s important to consult the experts so we turned to five personal trainers to find out what supplements they take to fuel their workouts and aid their recovery.
I am super pro-protein! My preference and what works best for my body is whey protein isolate. Performance wise, whey isolates have the highest percentage of pure protein and can be absorbed very quickly into the body so this is a great choice to support your training. Plus, for those that are lactose intolerant, whey isolate can be so pure that it can virtually be lactose-free.
Finding the perfect protein powder has been an ongoing search for me. I’m very conscious of what I put in my body and am always reading ingredients labels. You would be horrified by how often you are consuming added ingredients and proprietary blends – that have no purpose being in your protein – that manufacturers use to cut down on cost. Or worse, many companies don’t even have to fully disclose the true nutritional value and ingredients of their products including the actual amount of protein per serving. Thanks to websites such as LabDoor, we now have access to more information and can get a bit more transparency around the true quality of protein and many other supplements.
After years of trying countless protein brands, I’ve finally admitted defeat on my search for the perfect protein that is both nutritionally sound, honest, pure and reliable, but also tastes good and represents a lifestyle I want to be part of… so I’ve made my own. This is something I am incredibly passionate about and cannot wait to share with other like-minded people. You can RSVP now for the release here.
Dosage: half a scoop pre-workout mixed with 125mL water and 1 full scoop post-workout mixed with 250mL water
Another supplement that has been a game changer for me is magnesium.I used to suffer from really bad muscle cramps until I started taking a very high-quality magnesium. Magnesium is an excellent supplement to help speed up your muscle recovery and to help you wind down at the end of the day. My personal favourite is UberMag Px by Poliquin Group.
Dosage: 4 capsules at night: 2 when I first get home at the end of the day and 2 before bed.
Fish Oil & L-Theanine
At the moment I’ve been spending more time learning about cognitive health and nootropics – this is an area that fascinates me. I take fish oil each day and most days have a capsule of L-Theanine in the morning when I’m drinking my coffee – it helps me to really zone in on what I’m doing.
2. Kate Kendall – Flow Athletic
I love the Blackmores Superfood range. Cacao, Coconut Water, and Matcha Green Tea + Nature Boost are my favourites. I have a scoop of each in the morning as they’re perfect for powering up my smoothies.
Dosage: 1 scoop of each with my morning smoothie
I have one Blackmores Exercise Multi when I get to work every day.
Dosage: 1 capsule every day
I use the Blackmores Muscle Magnesium. I take one scoop at night before bed to induce a restful sleep and ease my active body.
Dosage: 1 scoop before bed
3. Claire Grieve
I take a high-quality probiotic every day to help promote a healthy digestive and immune system. Gut bacteria affects our overall physical and mental health so it’s important to keep it balanced. I take Nutrikon GI Flora Plus. It’s a 60 billion blend of 50/50 Lactobacillus Acidophilus/Bifidobacterium Lactis.
Dosage: 1 capsule every day
Magnesium is an essential mineral for staying healthy. It assists in regulating everything including blood sugar, blood pressure, muscle and nerve function, fatigue, detoxification, and moods swings. I take Nutrikon Magnesium Glycinate. It is a chelated form of magnesium that is not as strong and is easily absorbed by the body.
Dosage: 400mgs of Magnesium Glycinate every day
As I follow a vegan diet, I need to supplement my protein intake. I add vegan plant protein to my daily smoothies. It can be used after workouts to enhance the recovery process and also contains a high percentage of amino acids. This also helps to boost the immune system and increase the production of glutathione, a natural antioxidant. Raw protein is absorbed quickly into the intestines promoting rapid recovery, healing and maintaining muscle mass. There are many vegan options including pea, hemp, and brown rice.
Dosage: 1 scoop Sun Warrior Organic Vanilla protein with my daily smoothie or after a workout
Rhodiola Rosea is a herb with amazing benefits. It’s fat burning, energy enhancing and brain boosting. It’s an adaptogen plant which helps your body adapt to physical, chemical and environmental stressors. I take of Gaia – Rhodiola Rosea at night to help de-stress and promote restful sleep.
Dosage: 120mgs at night
L-Theanine is another great amino acid supplement that I use to promote relaxation, reduce stress and improve sleep naturally. It also promotes concentration for mental tasks, which we like to call mental calmness.
Dosage: 1 capsule of Jarrow Theanine 100 every day
PhosphatidylSerine is a brain nutrient. It helps to energise the brain and improve short term memory, mood, focus and co-ordination. It nourishes the brain cells and reduces stress. I take this at night or if I have an important project to focus on.
Dosage: 1 capsule of Jarrow PS 100 at night
Papaya digestive enzymes are great for anyone who has difficulty absorbing nutrients from food, or suffer from intolerances like dairy. Papaya breaks down food in the stomach reducing heartburn, acid reflux, bloating and other GI issues. I take it at the beginning of a big meal.
Dosage: 1 capsule before a big meal
Vitamin D & K
Even though we are in the sunshine every day, most people are deficient in Vitamin D. I take a high dose of Vitamin D and Vitamin K supplements once a week. They work together to maintain healthy bones, immune system and prevent against multiple inflammatory diseases in the body.
Dosage: once a week
High-quality Omega 3 Fish Oil is an essential supplement that supports overall health including cholesterol, eyes, cardiovascular and joint health to name a few.