We hear all the time, “I drink this kind protein.” or “Drink this while you workout to get stronger or recover better.” Do we really need these supplements in our lives? The short answer, it depends. One thing I will always tell people, supplements are meant to supplement your diet. Before we even start thinking about what kind of protein or what kind of shake should I drink while I workout, we should ask ourselves if what we eat on a daily basis is keeping us healthy and fit. We here at Carson CrossFit have implemented a nutrition program into our box of tools to help each and everyone of you to become the best version of yourselves. So if you are having trouble fixing your nutrition and need guidance with what foods and supplements you may need, then it’s as easy as just reaching out to one of our coaches.
Everything that a supplement provides for us we can get from the foods we eat, and typically through food our body will use them a lot more effectively than a processed powder. Learning what foods we need is the first step to understanding supplements and with some guidance you can utilize supplements to your advantage.
A few ways we can think about these supplements can be determined on what we are eating to get us those benefits that the supplement promises us. The biggest one is BCAAs, so much research that is out there shows that we get enough BCAAs from the meat and protein sources we eat everyday, the BCAAs do not have an added benefit to us. The only suggestion I will give to someone to drink BCAAs is if that person does not like to drink water and would like a flavored drink that has no negative impact on them.
On the topic of meat and protein sources, protein powders are not bad but aren’t the best options for protein. I use protein powders myself to help me take in the protein that I need daily. As a given rule, anytime you eat the food you will benefit a lot more than drinking the food. What that essentially means is that the protein we drink does not properly absorb into our bodies like we think. I myself avoid replacing a full meal with a shake if I have the time to prepare a meal. Protein is however a very convenient way to take in some protein after a workout especially since I know some of us do not have much of an appetite after a workout. I know most of us(myself included) love to take a pre-workout drink to help us push through our workouts and in all honesty I have no problem with caffeine. Caffeine has zero calories, and can greatly enhance performance. The biggest issue are those pre-workout drinks. In all honesty, I am not even sure what they put into those drinks, that tingly feeling you get when drinking one, yeah that’s not the caffeine doing that. Our energy throughout the day should come from the foods we eat throughout the day and will also be determined on our sleep. By all means though if we need that quick pick me up than have some coffee. Fair warning, the more caffeine we drink, the less effective it gets, use it sparingly so that when you need it the most, it’s there for you. If our diet is up to the point that we are eating what we need to optimize health, than that eliminates the need for multivitamins. In actuality the recent studies done shows that there were no benefits for adults that took the multivitamins compared to those who took the placebo. One of the most researched and proven supplements however is creatine. It has proven to produce stronger, faster and bigger athletes that have taken creatine. If your diet consists of red meats and sodium then the effects of creatine may not be as prominent to you, since those already provided you with the natural creatine our bodies need. With all things said and done, if your diet, sleep and training is in line to optimize your health and performance then the use of supplements are more to give you that edge once you’ve done all you could. We are always trying to help you understand more about your body and figuring what it wants and needs to be healthy. We are here to help you and show what you need to eat and how to properly use those supplements, better to be safe than sorry, do not hesitate to ask any one of us for help. That is what we are here for! Eat. Sleep. Train. -Coach AJ