AbFitt Supplement Guide & Suggestions For Spring 2011

Guest Athlete: Brittany Tacy

Supplements are a key component of your training and nutritional strategy, but they’re only one component. If you keep that in mind, you can get a tremendous edge from supplementation.

Supplement Intelligently

Supplements are a tool to help you achieve your goals. They are not magic pills and potions that will grant your physique wishes. You must use supplements intelligently, with reasonable expectations of what they can do for you. You still have to train and rigorously follow your diet. If you do the hard work and use supplements as they’re designed, then you’ll get the benefits that you seek from them.

Use Protein Supplements

Take a protein supplement at least once a day on rest days and twice a day on workout days. If you choose a product from a good manufacturer, this practice can give you an extra 40-80 g of protein per day, and it will help bring you into compliance with my standard protein recommendation (at least 1 g of protein per pound of body weight daily). It’s often enough to cause acceleration in muscle growth, usually noticeable within four months. It’s especially important to follow this formula when dieting. Higher protein needs and restricted caloric intake make a protein supplement essential.

Take about 20 g of protein powder, such as whey, within 30 minutes before workouts and about 40 g immediately after workouts. On rest days, consume at least one 40 g protein shake between meals.

Take Creatine

Supplementing with creatine can provide athletes with tremendous benefits, including faster recovery from intense weight training, decreased postexercise muscle soreness and increases in muscle mass and strength. Take 3-5 g of creatine immediately before and after workouts.

Try Beta-Alanine

This amino acid combines with histidine in the muscle to form carnosine. Muscles with higher carnosine have more strength and endurance. Research shows that bodybuilders taking beta-alanine in addition to creatine gain significantly more muscle than those taking just creatine. Take 1-2 g immediately before and after workouts.

Use A Multivitamin Pack

Take a multi with breakfast and dinner each and every day for insurance. Being low in any vitamin can cause breaks in the blueprint of muscle construction. A fast-food world combined with the demands of bodybuilding training can leave you short of a host of micronutrients. That’s bad when you consider that many of them are needed for the things an ironhead is most interested in, such as building muscle and burning bodyfat.

Mix Your Antioxidants

Take a mix of antioxidants; a good cocktail has an anticatabolic effect by quenching free radicals formed during and after intense exercise. In your antioxidant regimen, include our top candidates: 400-800 international units of vitamin E, 500-1,000 milligrams of vitamin C and 200 micrograms of selenium. Get the rest from your daily servings of fruits and vegetables.

Take Glutamine

Known for its immunity-enhancing properties, glutamine is not only one of the most prevalent aminos in the body, but also one of the most important for athletes. If you are overly stressed from dieting or training, supplementing with glutamine allows your body to maintain its storage supply of glutamine in muscle tissue, enhancing overall muscular growth and recovery. It is also now known to boost growth hormones and metabolic rate. Take 5-10 g of glutamine with breakfast, before and after workouts and before bed.

Add Arginine

Try adding arginine to your supplement mix. Arginine, a conditionally essential amino acid, has long been used by bodybuilders for aiding GH release. Studies suggest it speeds wound healing, which isn’t too far removed from what happens in the body after a workout. Arginine also improves blood flow by converting to nitric oxide in the body and enhances the growth and strength of muscles.

Take 3-5 g of arginine before breakfast, 30-60 minutes prior to training and 30-60 minutes before bed.

Maximize Your Minerals

Take extra calcium and magnesium. If you look at the label of any once-per-day multivitamin, you’ll notice a “mineral gap”–a place where certain minerals should be listed. Even if they’re included, most multis contain only a small percentage of the Daily Value of calcium, magnesium and potassium. Calcium is important for fat-burning metabolism, magnesium for training performance and potassium for muscle cell volume. A once-daily multivitamin simply doesn’t cut it. Correct the situation by taking 1,000 mg per day of supplement-source calcium (or two to three cups of fat-free dairy products), 450 mg of magnesium, and several servings of fruits and vegetables per day (for potassium as well as other micronutrients).

Try Tyrosine

Give the amino acid tyrosine a try to prevent burnout caused by lack of sleep, stress and/or the use of thermogenic supplements. Taking 1-4 g of it early in the day is recommended. In studies using military personnel as subjects, tyrosine was shown to increase performance under stress. It is a precursor to fat-burning hormones that stimulate norepinephrine.

Don’t Omit Omega-3s

Take a high-potency omega-3 fatty acid supplement such as fish oil. The omega-3s in fish oil capsules (EPA and DHA) are more potent than the one in flaxseed oil at stimulating fat metabolism, reducing muscle catabolism, reducing wear and tear on the joints and improving mood and cognitive performance. Take 1-3 g of fish oil with breakfast and dinner.

Take ZMA

ZMA is a specifically formulated combination of zinc and magnesium. The benefits of ZMA supplementation include improved recovery due to enhanced sleep efficiency and increased anabolic hormone levels, as well as greater gains in muscle strength and power. For best results, take ZMA on an empty stomach 30-60 minutes before bedtime. Follow label recommendations for dosage.

Repair With Glucosamine & Chondroitin

Glucosamine is the major building block of the solid parts of cartilage. Chondroitin is a major component of connective tissue, especially cartilage. Often, these two ingredients are combined in one supplement. Bodybuilders should use glucosamine and chondroitin for joint injuries, and for prevention. Take 1,500 to 2,000 mg of glucosamine and 800 to 1,200 mg of chondroitin each day. Split that amount into a morning and evening dose.

Take Branched-Chain Amino Acids

Branched-chain amino acids, also called BCAAs, include leucine, isoleucine and valine. These three aminos, particularly leucine, are known to literally act like a key that turns on muscle growth processes within muscle fibers. Supplement with 5-10 g at breakfast, before and after training sessions and with a nighttime meal.

Vitamin C Can Revitalize You

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps in the synthesis of hormones, amino acids and collagen. It also protects immune-system cells from damage and allows them to work more efficiently.

The body cannot store vitamin C, so it must be frequently supplemented. Multivitamins contain C, but additional supplementation will ensure that you don’t have a deficit. Take 1,000-2,000 mg per day.

Vitamin E Is Excellent

This antioxidant is especially protective of body tissues. Vitamin E acts as a preservative that prevents many substances from destructive breakdown in the body. Vitamin E also prolongs the life of red blood cells and is necessary for the proper use of oxygen by the muscles. Bodybuilders should supplement with 400-1,200 IU per day. Take 400 IU of E with breakfast and another 400-800 IU with your post workout shake.

Go For Green Tea

You can drink green tea and take it as a supplement for boosting metabolic rate to enhance fat burning and for a plethora of health benefits, such as improved joint recovery. The research shows that the active ingredient in green tea–epigallocatechin gallate–is better absorbed as a supplement than tea. Take about 500 mg of green tea extract before meals two or three times per day and drink green tea as desired.

Lastly I recommend you find what works best for your body, remember these are just recommendations to help guide you.