Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Supplement Guide

Supplement Guide 101

This is my personal take on the most important supplements, what they do, why you need them, when to take them, how much to take, etc. 

Branched Chain Amino Acids are a combination of three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine, and valine. All three of these essential amino acids have a branched-chain molecular structure (remember, we all learned about this stuff in chemistry and thought we would never need it again). The combination of these three aminos is especially important because they muscle metabolizes them, not the liver- nom nom nom. 

BCAAs can be used to build new protein or used as energy. Muscles are super high branched chain amino acids so adding in a BCAA supplement can help build muscle, aids in recovery, and reduces the risk of overtraining.

BCAAs are great throughout the day if you want your muscles to nom on aminos all day long and especially beneficial while you are lifting. Powder BCAAs are extremely delicious but they also come in pill form too. 

Pre Workout
A pre workout supplement is basically a stimulant formulated to give you energy to power you through your workouts. The energy usually comes from caffeine and other herbal compounds. Many pre workouts are formulated to help your mental focus as well as boost your energy. Many are nitric oxide boosters (reference the arginine post later in this blog) and that helps improve circulation and the muscular pumps you will get during your workout. Summary- it's freaking bad ass and makes your muscles fill with blood and get super big and strong.

This one is easy, take one scoop 30 minutes before your workout. And then love life. 

So this guy can be found in food and whey protein but to harness it's amazing powers, it needs to be free form (cue free fallin background music). L-Glutamine is very important in protein metabolism and can reduce the amount of muscle deterioration that occurs when other tissue in your body needs glutamine- damn selfish tissues (kidding but not really).

It's important to re-stock your body full of glutamine and the best way to do that is either taking pure glutamine either in pill or powder form. It's best on an empty stomach, as mentioned above, it's absorbed best when it's the only thing in your tummy. 

This amino acid, like L-Glutamine, is a semi-essential amino acid. They are both building blocks of protein and L-Arginine is also known as a precursor of the gas nitric oxide (which is partially what preworkout is for). Arginine's is very popular due to its nitric oxide producing ability, its ability to scavenge free radicals, as well as its ability to signal muscle cells, release growth hormone, remove bad cholesterol, helps regulate salt levels, and enhance fat metabolism. 

Bodybuilders love arginine for the fact that it regulates salt levels and is well known for muscle growth due to its ability to participate in protein synthesis.

Again, pill or powder- follow the directions on the type that you purchase.

Multi Vitamin
If you, as human, want to perform at your peak, start taking a damn multi vitamin. It can even be the Flinstones chewy gummy ones- it's better than what you are currently taking- nothing. Multi vitamins are vital as they contain a ton of stuff you need like minerals and vitamins. Majority, like 99% of us, are deficient in something- therefore, supplementing with a multi guarantees that there is always a presence of vitamins and minerals in your body. 

Protein Powder
Protein is, without a doubt, the best supplement for building muscle. 60-70% of your body protein is in your muscle. You can NOT build muscle without protein- protein literally builds muscles. There are many different types of protein, but out of the top five (whey, casein, soy, egg, and milk), whey protein ranks supreme. Whey protein is very high in BCAA's (mentioned above) and contains an almost perfect combination of muscle-building amino acids (nothing is 100% perfect). On average, it takes the body 2 hours to digest compared to casein, which can take up to 7 hours. 

The amount of protein you should be consuming per day is dependent on your macros (mentioned above). Some athletes may get enough protein on their own without supplementing, but for many, whey protein shakes are the way to go. They are best absorbed within 1 hour post workout with a simple carb. 


  1. Hi Sarah! First of thanks for a great blog- really useful and inspirational. I follow you on insta as well. I have a quick one for you: you don't mention creatine anywhere- what are your thoughts on it, and do you personally take it or would recommend for a female? Thanks heaps, V.

    1. as a female- it will make you bloat and retain a lot of water. so i don't recommend it unless that's the look you're going for

  2. Hey. So I take c4 pre workout which has l-arginine in it 1000mgs I believe. Is it still alright to take it in pill form as well? What's a good limit on intake?

  3. How much protein intake is too much, though, if your body can only absorb up to 30-40g per meal and only 0.5-1.8g/kg of body weight?

  4. What. Protein powder do you recommend if your lactose intolerant? And what are your thoughts on enzymes and do you recommend? Please help.. So lost and thank you.

  5. Skip a soy protein and go with a beef protein if you are lactose intolerant.

  6. Your post really useful for us. thank you for your share.
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