As we reach week five of the Sci-MX
Challenge, Sport360°’s Dan Owen
and Alex Rea talk about supplements
and how they are using them
to complement their nutrition plans.
Dan Owen @MyPropLife
I have been taking supplements, in some form, for around 17 years.
This have ranged from protein to creatine, BCAAs to ZMA.
I’d like to think I have entered into this with a decent amount of knowledge and understanding of each of these products and how they would be able to help my training.
One of the biggest issues in the past has been consistency, I’d try something for a month, then not carry on, or forget to take a supplement for days on end, and therefore my experiences have generally been mixed.
There have been periods of success, such a seeing strength increases with the use of creatine, to mass increase when using protein.
One thing that now always rings true though, is these are ‘supplements’.
They are not ‘replacements’, and nothing can be the value of good, wholesome, natural food – the virtues of which are extolled by my coach and Sci-MX athlete John Britton – eating clean is the cornerstone of his nutrition plan.
However, taking on the nutrition we need to excel in terms of training can be hard. A lot of protein tends to mean consuming a lot of meat which can be hard work. I am not necessarily looking to drop weight, so maintaining a decent calorie count whilst eating clean can mean consuming a lot, and you don’t always feel like it.
That’s where the supplements fit in.
Throughout the course of this challenge I have been keeping things simple when it comes to supplements.
My main go-to is Sci-MX Ultra Whey Protein. I have this in vanilla so I can blend it with fruit. I usually have it with some almond milk and a few frozen strawberries – and it tastes amazing! Mixes really well, is easy to drink and is packed with 35g of protein. Depends on how much I have eaten I will have one of these after I train, and maybe another during the day.
Next up is the Pro2Go Duo Bar.
These are really convenient, and pack in another 20g of protein. Arguably the biggest thing for me though is the taste. They are incredible, and also scratch the itch that my sweet tooth inevitably brings.
Last on the list is the BCAA Intra Hardcore. This is for during my workouts. I like a BCAA drink when I train, just to push me through and keep me fueled – and this does the job perfectly.
Alex Rea @AlexReaFitness
One of the biggest question marks hanging over the fitness industry, right through from the amateur lifter to the physique competitors on stage, centres on the importance of supplementation.
Do you really need them?
If this process has taught me anything, it’s of the significance of supplements but as with anything, education is pivotal to know what is necessary and what isn’t.
Essentially, supplements are an easy avenue to ensuring your body takes in the crucial nutrients which aid muscle development, mental focus and recovery.
Broken down into three simple elements you have pre, intra and post-workout and all three when taken right and combined with a good nutrition – check out last week’s column for more information on that – can enhance training immensely.
We’ll start with pre-workout and for me personally this is arguably the most vital, especially when you consider the diet being followed is relatively low in carbohydrates.
Now, some corners of the industry will argue pre-workout shouldn’t be necessary if you’re getting enough good quality sleep.
And they’d be right. However, pre-workout isn’t a supplement to ‘wake me up’, it’s a trigger.
Preparation for training is an important process and when transitioning from a work state of mind to hitting the weights, pre-workout is a handy tool – a positive placebo if you will – in switching my focus.
Moving onto intra-workout and as Dan mentioned already, BCAAs are a staple supplement with Sci-
MX INTRA HARDCORE – mixed berry, thank me later – the best option.
Typically, sessions are a grind.
Operating on low calories and low carbs means the fast-tempo structure is grueling.
Using BCAAs and their hydrating-promoting electrolytes, the supplement champions harder and longer workouts.
Finally, there’s post-workout.
Like the man above me, Sci-MX Ultra Whey Protein is the option, this time in chocolate (have to get your dessert flavour in somewhere) and it’s a great taste married to excellent quality. Quite often I will be put off by the sweetness of certain protein products, but in this instance Sci-MX have the right balance.
Something I’ll certainly take away from this challenge is mixing the whey with oats, one of the few ways you can make them edible.
There’s no need to over-complicate supplementation and when taken correctly and with the right brand, they’re a great addition to training and diet.
You can find out more about the Sci-MX range of products here.