Which workout supplements should I take?
Team Grenade athlete and Nutritionist Vinny Russo outlines the top 5 supplements you should be including in your diet and what benefits they have on your body.
The “World of Supplements” is saturated with products that promise and promote false claims. Some companies (not all) try to hook you with a “Quick-Fix” product that has barely any research behind it. When thinking about supplements, they should be just that, a supplement! To have, or to take, if you cannot get enough of what you need via your nutritional habits. Below you will see a list of my top 5 supplements that you should invest in.
1. A Low Dose Multivitamin
When looking at the importance of vitamins and minerals we need to not over saturate ourselves with them. Instead, go with a lower dose Multivitamin that provides both vitamins and minerals. Here is a brief explanation of the benefits these vitamins and minerals offer us:
• Vitamin A – Functions deal with vision, cell development, health, and immunity
• Vitamin C - Helps to protect cells and keep them healthy as well as also helping maintain healthy skin, bones and blood vessels
• Vitamin D – Functions to regulate blood calcium levels, which is vital for overall bone health
• Vitamin E – Functions as an antioxidant as it stops the chain reaction of free radicals producing more free radicals
• Vitamin K – Functions in blood clotting and the formation of bone, helping wounds to heal properly
• Calcium – Builds strong bones and teeth as well as helping with proper function of nerves and muscles
• Iron – Crucial in terms of enabling cells to use oxygen
• Iodine – Promotes normal function of the thyroid gland (help manage weight loss)
• Zinc –Helps wounds heal and promotes normal growth amongst all cells. Also shown to have an impact in raising testosterone levels
2. A Greens Supplement
A greens supplement can help 'fill in the gaps' when you're in a rush and can't get your full quota of vegetables or fruit. As we know, fruits and veggies are packed with vitamins, minerals, fibre, etc. and will help us become stronger, and healthier. A green supplement is exactly that, a substitute for when you can’t get enough fruit and veggies in per day. You want to do your best to eat real, whole, fresh foods whenever possible, but green supplements come in handy as they are travel friendly and are packed with micro/phytonutrients. When buying them, you usually get what you pay for, so be aware of anything that seems cheap. For a good greens supplement, you’ll end up paying roughly £30. I would start with ½ a serving and work up to a full serving. Be sure to review the ingredient list as there may be ingredients that you could be allergic to. Also take note that Inulin — a form of soluble fibre — can often cause gas and bloating.
3. Protein Supplements
When it comes to protein powders, I prefer Whey and Casein, but specifically Whey protein. This is due to Whey’s absorption rate (meaning it gets to where it's needed in a rapid fashion), how it provides the body with the perfect amino acid profile, and how you get the most bang for your buck, since it’s about 90 percent pure protein. Casein is a valuable investment as well since it is a time released protein. This is advantageous to use if you’re not going to have another meal for an extended period of time, or before bed, due to your 6-9 hour fast. Hydra 6®, however, is a blend of both types of protein meaning your get the quick absorption from the Whey and the slow release from the casein protein. Here is a quick overview of each so you can decide which one is best for your needs.
Whey protein is a high quality protein. A complete protein that contains all 9 essential amino acids. In terms of protein supplements, it has the highest concentration of BCAA's and is the fastest absorbing protein. It absorbs rapidly due to the fact that it is able to empty from the stomach and absorb into the bloodstream from the intestine, faster than any other protein. Another important benefit is that it contains Glutathione (the mack-daddy of all antioxidants) and it actually increases the production of it (this will help neutralise free radicals). The one issue with it is that if you're lactose intolerant, you may want stay away!
Casein is an excellent source of glutamine which can help increase recovery time, rejuvenate your intestines and provide some immunostimulatory effects (having the capacity to stimulate an immune response). The process of digestion with casein takes a lot longer, so it's considered to have a sustained release of protein which equates to the anabolic response of casein lasting longer then whey protein. If the protein digests more slowly, then this will allow your body to sustain muscle protein synthesis for longer periods. The best time to take casein would be before going to bed due to bed time fasting. The down fall of casein is that it has a lower concentration of BCAAs than whey, and, like whey, is bad for lactose intolerant individuals.
Your body is said to contain more bacteria than 10 times the number of cells you have in your body. That being said, the type and quantity of micro-organisms in your gut are vitally important because they interact with your body in ways that can either prevent, or encourage the development of many diseases. They help the immune system function properly and enable us to coexist with potentially harmful microbes we encounter. This is where probiotics come in. They are vital for ideal digestion of food and absorption of nutrients. They will also help your body produce vitamins, absorb minerals and aid in the removal of toxins. Many environmental factors throw your gut flora out of balance (especially those who abuse antibiotics), in which many of these factors are difficult to avoid. Keeping your gut health in check is something most people over look. What people don’t understand is that your gut and your brain work synergistically together, each influencing the other. This reason alone is why your intestinal health can have such an extensive effect on your mental health.
Just a little insight on how this supplement is manufactured: Probiotic supplements are created by using microbes that originate from humans, not another species. These microbes are then grown in huge fermentation vessels, and once the concentration is high enough, the broth they were grown in is drained off with a centrifuge. Then the microbes are rinsed off several times with clean water or salt solutions.
Now, when investing in a probiotics, you need to make sure the bacteria strains in the product, are able to endure your stomach acid and bile. This will ensure that they reach your intestines alive and in adequate numbers. Grenade® Ration Pack utilises the Lactobacillus family as well as the Bifidobacterium, which have been researched to be able to survive stomach acid and bile and to promote beneficial health factors.
5. Creatine Monohydrate
This is my number one supplement, not only because of all the positive research on it, but the experience I have had with this product. Here is a rundown of how creatine is used in the body so you can see the true upside to this supplement.
In your body, Phosphocreatine (PCr) is stored through the combination of creatine and phosphate. This PCr is stored in your muscle tissue along with your adenosine triphosphate (ATP). Together PCr and ATP store the chemical energy of the body, and the more energy they store, the greater the output of maximal muscle performance. It is important to take a creatine supplement to maintain this higher than normal amount of creatine in your body. By adding this, it will help maintain increased levels of creatine phosphate in your muscle tissue. This so called “loading” of creatine will eventually enable your muscle tissue to increase the amount of creatine phosphate stored in them. When this occurs, it causes muscle fibres to increase in size which is never a bad thing. Now, with this supplementation, it enhances the amount of creatine phosphate used to replenish your ATP, that is being used during your workout. So, in a nut shell, the addition of creatine supplements results in loading up your muscle fibres with PCr. This, in-turn, gives your muscles the ability to work harder and store more power in the form of PCr.
Creatine has been deemed with the false reputation of only flooding your cells with water causing a bloated look, which will eventually fade after a discontinued use. The effect that this has in the body supersedes more than just the cell volumizing effects. Creatine has been researched for a countless number of years and is found to be crucial for optimal training. It promotes greater gains in lean body mass as well as increasing the bodies muscle hypertrophy. It has been researched to improve performance in endurance and strength as well as overall maximum effort output. It is also said that with the use of creatine monohydrate, athletes will experience an increase in the levels of mRNA for IGF-1 and IGF-2. The net result with the use of creatine is to fuel faster gains in strength and muscle mass. I am a huge fan of creatine especially in the form of micronized creatine monohydrate. This is for the simple reason that being micronized signifies it has the best absorption rate, and being a monohydrate represents the highest quality of creatine to be ingested.
That's Vinny's top 5 supplements your should be trying to implement into your diet. For more tips and content, you can follow his Instagram page here.