May 6th, 2020
A complete beginners guide on understanding nutritional supplements in 2020
- What are supplements? (what forms do they come in)
- What are the most popular types of supplements for performance?
- 4 of the most popular and effective supplements for performance.
- 4 KEY Points in picking the right product
- 4 KEY points in avoiding the wrong product
- Where should I buy my supplements?
- What should I pay for my supplements? (optional)
- 8 point checklist when purchasing my next supplement.
- Concluding thoughts
The supplement industry is massive… according to Grand View Research the supplement industry was valued at USD $123.28 billion in 2019. They have also estimated this will reach USD $230.73 billion by 2027. This does not include the pharmaceutical industry which is anticipated to reach USD $1.3 trillion by 2020. Lets just conclude that this industry is constantly changing and getting larger year after year.
So how can normal people like our selves ever hope to keep up with the constant changing of nutritional supplements?
Well thankfully there is a lot of research on the internet that is published for free to help educate the consumer on buying the right product. A great contributor is examine who provide massive amounts of clinical data on individual ingredients such as protein powder and creatine.
Our goal for this guide is to educate you on the “basics” of supplements. There are entire books written on this topic, but our goal is to condense it into 3 small guides to give you a good foundational understanding on the basics of supplements.
- The supplement market is massive and is expected to reach USD $230.83 billion by 2027.
- The market is constantly changing and coming out with more and more products.
- You can find great contributors online to assist in educating yourself in this industry.
Guide to Supplements
As defined by the Therapeutics goods administration (TGA) The governing health authorities in Australia.
‘Supplements cover a range of products in Australia, including vitamins, minerals, sports nutrition products such as protein powders, and other goods that may improve nutrition and performance. This also includes product such as pre-workout, intra workout and creatine powders.
Supplements come in different forms such as
- Soft Gels
Types of Supplements
When it comes to athletic performance supplements can be a great addition to your training and diet. Supplements help improve performance by boosting your strength, energy and focus and to assist in faster muscle recovery and muscle growth.
Our picks for the most popular types of performance supplements include:
- Protein Powder (used to improve muscle recovery, support muscle growth, improve lean muscle mass and support lowering body fat.
- Pre-Workout (used to improve physical performance, endurance, strength, energy and focus)
- Intra-Workout (used to improve physical performance, endurance, energy and hydration)
- Creatine (used to support adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP), endurance, strength and hydration)
4 of the most popular and effective supplements
Protein Powder is probably the most well known and taken supplement on the market. Proven over decades of trial and error the market has a plethora of options when picking a protein powder, these usually come in the form of whey, casein, egg, pea and brown rice but there are many other options available.
Protein powder is rehydrated with water or other liquids to add extra protein to your diet. Timing of protein powder has been controversial with the preconceived notion that it was best taken post workout. It is now generally accepted to be effective if consumed within 24 hours of your needs.
Also keep in mind when looking at protein powders that they have different absorption and digestion rates. Whey for example, is the one of the fastest and is generally taken post training, whereas casein is much slower and taken closer to bed.
Check out our in-depth guide on Protein Powder.
A pre-workout powder is probably the most popular supplement to take to boost your energy and motivation when training. The pre-workout contains a blend of different amino acids that all have their own benefits and when combined provide you with a specific benefits such as more energy, strength, focus etc…
The idea behind the pre-workout is that you consume the powder with water or another fluid about 10-15 minutes before training (this can vary). The reason you do this is because it usually takes that amount of time to start taking effect, to which by then you will have started your workout.
All pre-workouts are different, some focus on providing you large amounts of energy through caffeine and other stimulants. Some focus on improving your strength and endurance using ingredients like citrulline malate and creatine. Others use ingredients such as tyrosine and theanine to improve your focus and cognition.
Keep in mind when looking at pre-workouts, that they are all different and you need to know what they focus on delivering, if its just energy or all the above.
Check out our in-depth guide on Pre-Workout.
Intra-workout powder is another very popular supplement that is commonly consumed during your workout to provide a sustained release of amino acids. The most common intra-workout powders are usually the BCAA (branched chain amino acids) or EAA (essential amino acids).
BCAA’s contain 3 amino acids used in assisting in muscle growth being, Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine. EAA’s contain 9 amino acids, consisting of the 3 BCAA plus an additional 6. The idea behind EAA’s is to improve muscle growth and recovery.
What makes Intra-Workouts more unique then a traditional BCAA or EAA product is the added ingredients of hydration and electrolytes. The Intra-Workout usually will include ingredients such as coconut water powder, sodium, potassium etc… This goes well when you’re training because your sweating and losing water so this can help keep your body in a good working order.
Keep in mind when looking at intra-workouts that they will either be as a BCAA/EAA and might include the hydration and electrolyte component.
Check out our in-depth guide on Intra-Workout.
You’ve likely heard of Creatine before, it is possibly one of the most researched single amino acids in the supplement industry with 745 unique references to scientific papers!
Creatine is an amino acid that is commonly taken on its own, or added to other products such as proteins, pre-workouts and intra-workouts. Because of its neutral profile it is a versatile ingredient. Creatine main function is to improve your exercise performance by rapidly producing energy during intense activity.
It stores high-energy phosphate groups in the form of phosphocreatine which are donated to ADP, regenerating it to ATP, the primary energy carrier in the body. This role in energy production is particularly relevant under conditions of high energy demand such as intense physical or mental activity. Basically, creatine will boost your ATP storages and provide you with energy!
Creatine Monohydrate is the most cost effective and common form of creatine. Along with that it’s the most researched and recommended form.
Creatine can act doubly effective when combined with other ingredients that bolster ATP production such as betaine, taurine, carnitine and magnesium.
Keep in mind when looking at creatine that monohydrate is the best, and that a blend with creatine can be very effective in training.
Check out our in-depth guide on Creatine.
Protein – Protein comes in different forms and has different digestion and absorption rates. Meeting protein needs within 24 hours is more important then a specific time of day and some forms are best taken post training(whey) or before sleeping(casein).
Pre-Workout – Pre workout is a great supplement to boost your energy and motivation to train. It is a blend of different amino acids and can designed to provide you with specific benefits such as energy, endurance and focus.
Intra-Workout – Intra-Workout can come in the form of BCAA/EAA with the addition of hydration and electrolyte ingredients. It’s best consumed during your workout to assist in muscle growth and recovery.
Creatine – Creatine is an amazing amino acid that can help with ATP production and exercise performance. Creatine can be consumed on its own or with other products such as pre-workout or an intra-workout.
Written by Zachary Harrison