Supplements can seem overwhelming at times. There are so many out there, you hear mixed reviews and you’re not sure where to start. That’s why I’m putting together my supplement guide for beginners.
First and foremost you do not NEED supplements, they are meant to SUPPLEMENT your diet. This means that supplements are a great tool for filling any gaps of nutrients, vitamins and/or minerals you may be lacking in your diet.
Here is a breakdown of the most popular supplements, how to use them, and if they are right for your goals.
First we are going to start with probably the most popular supplement out there, protein powder. Unless you’re eating tons of meat, most people struggle to get enough protein into their diet.
Supplementing with protein powder will give you a sweet (instead of savory) way to hit your protein goals. It’s important to be getting .8-1g of protein per pound of body weight each day so you can build, repair and maintain lean muscle mass.
Let’s dive into the different types of protein powders out there: whey protein, plant protein and casein.
Whey protein is a milk derivative protein. It is the most popular source of protein because of it’s high amino acid profile and its ability to stimulate muscle protein synthesis (building & repairing muscle tissue).
Whey protein, especially whey protein isolate is the best in terms of being a complete protein and fast absorbing.
Plant based protein is a great option, but isn’t my first choice when it comes to protein powder. It can be hard to get all of the essential amino acids from plant protein. In order to get all of those amino acids you have to have a combination of different plant proteins. Popular plant protein sources include soy and pea protein.
Plant protein, although it isn’t my first choice, is great for vegans or anyone who has trouble digesting whey or casein protein. Some protein is better than none!
Casein protein, like whey protein, is a milk derived protein. The difference between whey and casein is the pace in which they are digested. Casein is a slower digesting protein, which means it is great to take before fasting periods like going to sleep.
Casein helps to prevent muscle breakdown during those fasting periods. It is a high quality protein that is typically easy to digest and absorb. Examples of casein protein include cottage cheese, yogurt, cheese and milk.
BAD Athletics Protein Powder
We use a 100% grass fed whey isolate protein at Bad Athletics because it is some of the highest quality protein you can get your hands on. Not only is it high quality, but it is the quickest digesting, which means the protein absorbs into your muscles and starts building and repairing lean muscle mass faster.
The best time to take protein is after your workout. However, it’s more important to keep your eye on the goal of getting .8-1g of protein per pound of body weight throughout the entire day.
Branch Chain Amino Acids – BCAAs
Second, we have BCAAs.
BCAAs stand for branched chain amino acids. These are made up of three amino acids, leucine, isoleucine and valine. BCAAs help prevent breakdown of muscle tissue, decrease soreness and improve recovery time.
You can sip on BCAAs at any time throughout the day (and you’ll probably want to because they taste like candy). The best time to take BCAAs is before or during your workouts, especially during fasted workouts. Although it is only necessary to drink BCAAs once throughout the day, you can enjoy a serving of Bad Athletics BCAAs up to 3 times daily.
Third, we have energy supplements.
Energy supplements are great for boosting energy, getting the most out of your workouts and getting through those midday slumps. There are stimulant and non-stimulant energy products that will help boost your mood throughout the day.
Energy supplements (non pre-workout) typically have 80-100 mg of caffeine which will boost your energy but not make you go crazy. Bad Athletics Energy falls under this category. It will boost your energy without any itchiness or crazy crashes. You can take Bad Athletics energy 1-3 times daily.
Pre-workout energy supplements, typically have 150-300mg of protein per serving to really increase your energy levels. Pre-workouts are also designed to increase blood flow to your muscles so you can get a “pump” in the gym and get the most out of your workout.
Non-stimulant energy supplements tend to have B vitamins and other various ingredients that will help increase your energy levels without the use of any stimulants. There are non-stimulant pre-workouts that are great if you’re a nighttime training athlete.
I recommend drinking energy products in the mornings to wake up, before a workout, or midday when you’re feeling tired. I don’t recommend drinking any caffeinated energy supplements after 6pm. If you’re sensitive to caffeine, avoid caffeine after 2pm so it doesn’t interfere with your sleep.
Caffeine can stay in your system up to 8 hours. Keep that in mind when you’re consuming it or if you ever find yourself having trouble falling asleep.
Finally, we have creatine.
Creatine is the number one supplement for improving performance in the gym. It is also the most studied supplement on the market with the highest safety profiles.
Creatine can help increase muscle mass, strength and exercise performance. When you supplement with creatine you increase your ATP (energy) stores in your muscles. This will help you get in those final 1-3 reps, which doesn’t sound like a lot, but it adds up over time.
The most important thing about creatine, is to take it consistently. It’s not like a typical energy supplement that you can take whenever you’re needing energy. You need to take it every day to keep ATP stores high and see the best results while using it.
I hope you found my supplement guide for beginners helpful! If you’re still not sure what is right for you, I recommend using protein and BCAAs first. To keep it simple, drink the BCAAs before and during your workouts, then drink protein after. I know there are so many other supplements out there so remember, you can always message me on my instagram instagram.com/coachkaytlin and I can answer any questions you may have!