We all have to grow up at some point in time. Whether that means moving out of your parents house, getting a real job, cutting your hair, or maybe you just need to make healthier life choices. I can remember when I started working out in high school. I had absolutely no idea about what to do at the gym and even less knowledge about what supplements I should take or even the best time to take them. I remember mixing creatine with a iced tea before school and I still feel stupid about it to this day because doing that was such non-sense.
Fast forward… I can remember spending way too long in GNC in the mid 2000s. I used to go there with my gym rat buddy and we’d spend up to an hour in the store. We would read and compare literally every label and price. Half of the time, we wouldn’t even buy anything. I think between the two of us, we probably tried everything on the market. Back then (and maybe still today), GNC had/s a policy where you could return any supplement even if it was opened and you used half of it (haha yea). Good times. Well anyways, we tried all kinds of supplements (even stuff that’s banned or not on the market anymore), but in the end all that really mattered was protein and some kind of pre-workout.
What’s wrong with protein?
Well, nothing significant in my opinion. When it comes to buying or using the right protein, the most important things are what ingredients are in it and what company produces it. First of all, any protein other whey protein isn’t worth your time and money (and that’s another blog in itself). Most of the really inexpensive proteins out there are filled with a lot random additives and taste extremely chalky. Most of the averaged priced proteins, out there taste pretty good and are filled with artificial sugars. Expensive proteins, like Isopure, are great..however they’re almost twice the price of a mid-grade protein like Optimum Nutrition.
Cabot’s whey protein is inexpensive, healthy, and widely available in a lot of markets. I paid $13.99 for a 1.75lb bag in Hannaford last week.
One gram of sugar and obviously no artificial sugars because its unflavored. People seem to shy away from this protein because its unflavored, but this actually gives you an opportunity to blend it with whatever fruit you like. An optimum ratio is 2 scoops of protein, 1 cup of fruit, and 2 cups of milk. If you make a shake with blueberries and skim milk the macros come out to: 58 grams of protein, 3.5 grams of fat, and 49g of carbs. That’s pretty decent for a post workout shake in my opinion. You could even use it as meal replacement if you were in pinch.
What’s wrong with pre-workout?
A lot of stuff is wrong with pre-workout supplements. I’m not sure where to start, but I can say that myself and many others used to/still do depend on these supplements to drag ass outta bed to get to the gym (as a prerequisite). I literally lived off of NO-Xplode and Jack3d in college and afterwards. “It was a different time back then.”
The first problem is that you literally have no idea what the ingredients are. There’s substances in pre-workout that were created in a lab yesterday and are banned in professional and college sports. When you use them, there’s a lot of side effects. You get extremely dehydrated due to all the different stimulants they contain. You tend to lift more than you should be safely (its like beer muscles, but you’re sober). I once completed trashed my shoulder and couldn’t workout for three months due to this.
A lot of the pre-workout supplements on the market contain creatine, which gives you really strong body odor. You also need to remember to cycle it (usually six weeks on, four weeks off) or it will stop working correctly. There’s also other weird things that happen like in my case where my ears get itchy and my scalp feels really dry. I’d imagine these supplements are horrible for people with any sort of heart issues or issues with organs like your kidneys.
Black coffee. You can put sweeteners and creams in it, but those things really aren’t very good to consume before a workout. Black coffee will get you charged up for a workout, it counts as negative calories, goes great with breakfast, and its delicious.
If you aren’t a coffee person then you can try a BCAA supplement. These supplements definitely have some unknown substances in them, but are much more healthy an a pre-workout supplement.
End of rant.