Health and well being

Supplements: advice from a bodybuilder

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Not only is Bruce a bodybuilder with muscle that dictates he knows a thing or two about fitness, he works part-time in a shop entirely devoted to supplements. Currently preparing to hit the stage again for Men’s Classic Physique-training on conditioning and symmetry, I was keen to find out more about the heavily advertised, sometimes controversial, subject of supplements. The market is littered with brands and companies promising claims. Bruce breaks down the important facts; what do we really need to know?

Would you say it’s a vital part of a fitness regime to take supplements?

“While I view supplementation as an advantage in multiple regards, it’s by no means 100% necessary. If you are spending more money on supplements than on your food and nutrition, you are doing it wrong”.

Should women and men differ in the products they take?

“While the majority of supplements are gender neutral, there are ingredients in specific multivitamins that some companies produce. These could potentially promote the healthy release of gender specific hormones; e.g, increase estrogen/infant nurturing hormones for women, increase testosterone/libido for men). Overall, the best thing to do is to look at the label on the back (even though it says ‘for men’ or ‘for women’) and if you are unsure about any ingredients, look them up on a government site called ‘pubmed.gov’. They have very in-depth studies on multitudes of different supplements and raw ingredients”.

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What do you suggest for a good protein powder?

“As far as protein powder goes, I would look more at the type of protein vs. specific brands. There are quite a few different types-all of which serve slightly different purposes. Whey (isolate) is probably the most versatile, but best suited for post workout when you do not have access to a meal-it digests very fast and floods muscles with vital recovery nutrients). Casein powder is dramatically slower at digesting and is ideal for in-between meals, or right before bed to aid in muscle recovery whilst sleeping. Plant/grain based proteins (hemp/pea/rice etc), are ideal for vegans and those who are severely lactose intolerant.  Although, if you’re neither of those, you’re better off with the milk based proteins as they have a more complete amino acid profile.

I don’t believe in the beef based protein powders that are on the market. More often than not, they’re based on VERY low-grade beef (think McDonald’s). If it was of a higher quality beef, they would be quite a bit more expensive”.

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Besides protein powder, what are other supplements you consider to be important?

“As far as supplement staples go, I would suggest the basics: whey isolate for post workout, BCAA for intra workout energy, fish oil for overall health and potential fat loss, digestive enzymes/probiotics, and if you need the energy, a pre-workout drink that’s suited to your stimulant tolerance. Honestly, you can pick and choose any supplement according to what you think you’re lacking or what would give you a boost in a certain area”.

How much slower are results without taking supplements?

“Results will always vary depending on your metabolism and genetics. Supplementation is not necessary, but when used properly can augment certain attributes to a degree. They are widely available, so I don’t see the reasons not to take them. Unless you’re allergic to certain ingredients or you’re all natural and do not want to take anything. Although most of our food is anything but all natural”.

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How much should you be looking to spend on a decent product?

“As far as spending goes, I’ll say again that if you’re spending more money on supplements than on a good diet orientated to your goals, you’re throwing your money out in the trash. There is not one supplement that will help a bad diet. On the contrary, when eating according to your goals, supplements will only aid in that goal (granted that you stay consistent)”.

Keep up to date with Bruce and his incredible mix of motivation and progress. Follow: @bruce_almighty_fit 

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