Supplement (Noun) – A thing added to something else in order to complete or enhance it.
If you type ‘Gym Supplements’ into Google, you are met with 479 million results in less than a second. Safe to say, there is a lot of information and products out there. But, do you know what the different kinds of supplements do, any side effects, and which ones are best for you as an individual? If not, please read on… I will be listing the most popular supplements over this Pectomorph supplements series, starting with 3 popular choices in todays blog. These will aim to offer information to help you decide which ones are for you, to help you reach your goal, including input from my own experience with each along the way.
For reference, I think everyone at the start of their gym journeys should begin pretty much supplement free. It is best to see how far you can get completely naturally, and then introduce supplements, when you hit a point where you aren’t making gains.
The Supplements –
Creatine – We’ll start with one of the obvious ones. Creatine is one of the most researched supplements out there. Its main selling point is enabling quick recovery between sets and during explosive workouts. Scientists suggests it may also reduce the chances of osteoarthritis, which can be caused by heavy lifting.
How to take Creatine?
For me, creatine is best taken in flavourless powder, mixed with water. New users to creatine should go through a loading process, to maximise the effectiveness. This is achieved by taking 20 grams daily (split into 5g doses) for a week. After this period, 3-5g daily is all that is needed for maintenance. If the powder isn’t for you, it can be taken in tablet form.
When to take Creatine?
The age old question. This is a much debated aspect of creatine. The best time to take creatine seems to be after exercise. This appears to be the best way to maintain creatine stores in the muscle, further assisting with muscle recovery.
How much does it cost?
From MyProtein – a 250g bag of Creatine Monohydrate powder will set you back a modest £4.99. This will last for about 2 months. Alternatively, 250 tablets can be picked up for £14.99, lasting roughly 3 months. Not much in it, but the powder comes up as slightly better value for money.
Pectomorph Rating – 5/10. Personally I am not much of a fan. I feel like I put on water weight when I am using it, which then disappears completely when I come off it. Also, has no positive effect on my energy or strength. Recovery wise, as I am a young, fairly active person, maybe I am not fully reaping the benefits of this aspect of creatine. You should definitely give it a go if you are struggling with recovery after workouts.
AAKG – The lesser known AAKG is something I have been using for the last week or so. It is a variation of the amino acid arginine, and is advertised as improving strength, mass growth and performance. Similar to creatine, it is also said to assist in recovery and reduction of muscle fatigue.
How much does it cost? – 120 capsules can currently be picked up on dolphin fitness for £12.95. It is best to take these twice a day, once in the morning, and once before workout, I have found. This batch should therefore last 60 days at least (As I would only recommend taking these on days where you are working out)
Is it safe? Men’s Health had an article on AAKG that summarised ‘The compound affects bodily functions that reduce fat stores, improve both mental and physical energy, fight disease and improve your sexual performance.” Endorsed by Men’s Health and used by many, including myself, yes, it is safe.
Pectomorph Rating – 7/10. It is early days for AAKG and me, but so far, happy days!
But yes, if you were not already sold, it also helps with giving you a great pump during workout, making veins definitely more prominent. So, if this sounds like your cup of tea, get involved and let me know how you get on!
CLA – CLA stands for Conjugated Linoleic Acid, and is a naturally occurring fatty acid, which is found in meat and dairy products.
What does it do? CLA is typically advertised as useful for weight loss. So I don’t think I am spoiling much suspension when I say it doesn’t rank too highly on a Hard-Gainer post. BUT… With that being said, it does have its uses. It typically gets linked to weight loss because it is a definite aid in reducing body fat, and invariably, turning fat into muscle. It would be a great supplement to use after bulking, when looking to cut down and lean up.
How much does it cost? I would recommend having one capsule with breakfast, and one with dinner/tea (Dinner or tea is a debate for another day, along with Mom or Mum and Housecoat or Dressing Gown)*. MyProtein sell capsules of 180, so twice a day would last a few months, for £18.99, not a bad investment in my opinion.
Any other benefits? Technically yes, just not for definite. CLA is said to help the Immune System, maintain healthy cholesterol levels, and be good for metabolism, but the jury is still out on these benefits, with variable results so far.
Pectomorph Rating – CLA gets a 4/10 here. It definitely has it’s uses on its day, and would be great for vegans/people with low meat and dairy in their diets. But for those who get enough of these already, CLA is certainly a supplement you can live without and something I did not see great effects from when I used them.
That is it for this first instalment on supplements. There are plenty out there, and over the course of this blog, I will be exploring many more of the options on the market. But please, if you have any questions on supplements and want to run a few quick questions about whether they suit your goal by someone first who has (shamelessly) tried most supplements, contact me through email@example.com. I will try my best to help.
Apologies for the length of time between this and the last post, not going to make any excuses, just want to say that Thursdays weekly will be the new schedule for posts which I will be sticking to.
So, thanks for reading. If you enjoyed, please comment, like, share, tell your friends, tell your enemies, tell anyone. Let’s share the Pectomorph journey!
Have a bountiful week,
*For the record… Dinner, Mom, Dressing Gown.