The king of beach: supplements and nutritions with no lies

I'm sure you have seen many adverts with various products, and the companies which produce them promise bags of gold, mass, strength, definition, pump – this matter looks like in case of beer ads – it was supposed to be fun, women and joy, and there's only headache and disappointment. How should we choose good products? Fortunately, there are thousands of scientific studies, which concern nutritions and diet supplements. Every person can easily find raw data, or look for ready-made articles about supplementation. Here is a quick review of what's best on the market.

You should definitely read:

The king of beach: RESISTANCE + INTERVAL training

The king of beach: RESISTANCE + INTERVAL training

Hit no. 1: “creatine”

Until present, there isn't any better (legal) support of physical effort. Of course, it may happen that you are in the group of the unlucky fellows who are insensitive to creatine – then you are left with other products. It's possible to supply creatine e.g. with meat. Unfortunately, there's so little of it in meat, that you will be not able to increase the amount of phosphocreatine in muscles this way. Supplying few grams of creatine a day increases its amount in blood and muscles. Some part of it is transformed into phosphocreatine (this process is catalysed by creatine kinase). For an average person who trains, supplementation increases the amount of creatine in muscles by 20%, and 10% out of it is phosphocreatine. The best benefits are for people who have low level of creatin in blood (e.g. vegetarians), whereas, people who have high level of creatine at the beginning (150-160 mmol/kg) will notice insignificant results [1]. The energy in resistance training is:

  • phosphocreatine → creatine,

  • ADP → ATP,

  • glycogen → glucose gathered in muscles as an easily-available source of energy.

Glycogen assures energy in the inefficient process of anaerobic glycolysis. Phosphocreatine supplies muscles and within 3 seconds the breakdown of phosphocreatine provides 70% of energy in a form of ATP. After 6 seconds of working out, the main source of energy are carbohydrates (glycogen). Phosphocreatine is renewed instantly. After 30 seconds of rest, half of its resources is back, whereas, lactates are removed from muscles very slowly – half of them disappear after 10 minutes. Because of its characteristics, creatine is best for short, intensive anaerobic work, such as: cross-country running, intervals, climbing a rope, jumps, sprint, jerks, wrench and other resistance exercises. The main source of producing ATP is phosphocreatine.

What is the best form of creatine?

According to many studies, monohydrate is still one of the best forms of creatine.

For example, creatine ethyl ester (CEE), or kre-alkalyn are much weaker, they breakdown much faster, less of it reaches muscles [2]. This topic was developed here: Controversies - new forms of creatine.

What should you pay attention to?

  • It's best to buy powder monohydrate, and check the content – I don't recommend the monohydrate with taurine or vitamin B6 – they are just fillers, which lower the quality of the product,

  • there's no point in supplying excessive amount of creatine if it's going to be wasted, more is not always better,

  • for majority of population it's possible to supply 20 g of creatine for 4-5 days (the saturation phase), then 0.03 g per 1 kilogram of body mass for the next 6-8 weeks (the sustaining phase),

  • another option: constant dose of 3-5 g a day for 2-3 months,

  • according to the studies, the best time to provide creatine is the period of time after finishing resistance training,

  • not everybody is sensitive to creatine,

  • not in every kind of work creatine is ergogenic,

  • creatine rather creates the environment than builds the muscles, use it as a catalyst,

  • creatine is safe for health, there is no information about its harmfulness, apart from doses of 50 g, which may cause purgation...

Hit no. 2: "whey protein conditioner"

Don't be taken in for cheap whey protein of unknown origin. Few years ago, one of the "companies" producing unknown raw material in their basement, caused a campaign of aspersion, because I proved that the product they sold couldn't be original. What should you pay attention to? You can find the cheapest WPC for £6 per 750g, i.e. £8 per kilogram (in the Internet shop, under private brand). If the product is suspiciously cheap, the company is unknown, there are no certificates, research, or basic information – you can expect trouble. Once there were thousands of people cheated by sellers offering whey protein (dairy waste), advertised as a product for sports people. Besides, if you buy the cheapest product, consuming it often will be a nightmare, and it should be a pleasure. Taste and solubility depend on the process of production, raw materials, technology – and it can't be cheap. Protein of the best quality may be 2-3 times more expensive than its replacements intended for less fussy clients. American companies also seemed to make fun of their clients, because the real content of protein in a product equalled from 10 g (DYMATIZE) to almost 40 g less than the declaired one (SPORTS ONE).

What should you pay attention to?

  • Powder protein does not replace diet, it is only an additive,

  • how much protein should I supply? As much, as you are not able to eat in a form of chicken, fish, turkey, beef, pork or quark,

  • without proper supply of carbohydrates and valuable fats, even consuming many "shakes" a day will give no results,

  • the best time for protein – right after resistance training, but... you have time for that, a lot of time. And the mythical anabolic window? It's not worth thinking about,

  • you can increase your insulin sensibility, if you eat protein and fat first, then carbohydrates, according to a study from 2015 [3], the level of blood glucose among people who ate protein (grilled chicken breast without skin) and vegetables (salad: tomatoes and lettuce, steamed broccoli with butter) before carbohydrates (orange juice, ciabatta), was lower by 29%, 37% and 17% (appropriately 30, 60 and 120 minutes after the meal) comparing to the situation when they ate carbohydrates first; whereas, after 60 minutes the level of insulin in serum was almost 50% lower, if the people ate fats and protein first, not the carbohydrates.

Hit no. 3: "pure caffeine"

According to research, caffeine has differentiated influence on the human efficiency. Unfortunately, drinking coffee or tea is not adequate to delivering pure caffeine from diet supplements. 3 to 5 miligrams of pure caffeine per 1 kilogram of body mass 1-1.5h before training should be enough. But you shouldn't drink "energy drinks". Not only don't they influence the efficiency, but they are also harmful for health – practically speaking, it's all sugar! This way you fatten your body and load the pancreas. You should aim at the lowest insulin excretion in the body. Excessive amount of caffeine is harmful for sports effects, so you should use it only on hard days, not as a routine.

Sources: Muscle Energetics During Explosive Activities and Potential Effects of Nutrition and Training Sports Med. 2014; 44(Suppl 2): 167–173. 2. The effects of creatine ethyl ester supplementation combined with heavy resistance training on body composition, muscle performance, and serum and muscle creatine levels 3. “Food Order Has a Significant Impact on Postprandial Glucose and Insulin” Levels Diabetes Care 2015