How do you find out what supplements will benefit you in a growing world of names and companies selling the stuff? From ‘Chromium Picolinate’ to ‘Hydrolysed Beef Protein’ to ‘Whole Psyllium Husks’ amongst other products, which, to the untrained eye look like they’ve been written in hieroglyphs.
Is it easy to think that purchasing Whey Protein from Holland & Barrett’s and drinking the gloopy, unforgiving ‘chocolate’ flavour substance after a workout will aid recovery and put an end to walking like a plank of wood (not that wood walks of course, unless you’re Matt)?
Well, whilst I’ve been training for my first ever 10k run, I decided to test out a few products on the market and see what effect they had on my recovery and performance. The products I tested are; L-Glutamine, Creatine Mono-Hydrate and Whey Protein Isolate. Here’s why and what happened;
- L-Glutamine is supposed to reduce onset muscle soreness (basically when your muscles feel like rusty cogs in dire need of a squirt of WD40). Lo and behold I wasn’t sore once, even after sprint training (mornings) and heavy weight sessions (evenings). Fantastic, I thought, but is this attributed to taking L-Glutamine alone, since I was consuming other products. So, for the second week I decided to stop taking L-Glutamine altogether. It seems that L-Glutamine was the reason for the lack of onset muscle soreness (OMS) in the first week, due to the fact that after a good session in the gym and on the road, my calves just plain refused to carry me up the stairs for a couple of days.
- Creatine Mono-Hydrate is reported to minimise OMS as well as helping to increase the power, strength and growth of the muscles. Obviously, this didn’t do much for me in the way of stopping me from walking like I’d just had an accident in the second week, however, when I upped the dosage in the third week, it felt as though my legs were telling me to run everywhere and do 100 heavy squats! Now! GO!! I felt like I had a lot more explosive power in my legs, which was great for training.
- Whey Protein Isolate is meant to be the best kind of supplemented protein at an affordable price. As we know proteins form the building blocks for muscle growth and repair. Since I was performing weights as well as running, I thought it was a standard, top of the shopping list, kind of product to buy. However, from what I found, it couldn’t be further from the truth. I started the programme off at 12st 2lb, after 3 weeks I was a hefty 12st 8lb and as I looked far leaner than previously, I knew this wasn’t fat. This was far too much weight for me to carry if I wanted to run a decent 10k time. As soon as I ‘came off’ the protein I went back down to 12st 3lb and left it in the naughty corner of a cupboard somewhere.
Another common mistake people make when purchasing protein products is that they don’t look for the carbohydrate content in them. One day I travelled home to find that my sister had joined a gym and purchased what she thought was protein powder! To be honest, at first glance it did look like a big old tub of protein, ripped guys and slender girls covering the tub from top to bottom. That is, until I looked at the nutritional information, 16grams of carbs! Granted they weren’t sugars, but the thing was a meal replacement!
Personally, whilst training for a run, I will never supplement protein again. I’m not saying its bad for you, for some people it may have its benefits, but based on my experience I would stick to L-Glutamine and Creatine Mono-Hydrate. Then again, I have a protein rich diet, which mainly consists of peanut butter (love it), chicken and fish (sometimes on the same plate), if you’re a vegetarian then you may want to try hemp protein powder.
The weights and measures I found to work the best are;
L-Glutamine – 10g every 3 hours you’re awake.
Creatine Mono-Hydrate – 7g upon waking and before bed.
I bought these supplements from myprotein.com as well as a bottle/shaker to drink them from in total they came to around £25 and will last for 2-3 week, the creatine will last a lot longer (the L-Glutamine and Creatine Mono-hydrate costs £10.18).
Thanks for reading,
If you have any thoughts or questions write in the comment box below or email me on [email protected]