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Showing posts with label supplement review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label supplement review. Show all posts

Should personal trainers recommend supplements?

Since I've been doing supplement reviews all week this is an appropriate entry.

I like to use training supplements myself, and I've been reviewing the samples I've been trying out this week...  but they should only be recommended to clients under certain conditions.

Protein Supplements.

First up, remember what the word "supplement" means. If you want results, you need the right training plan and the right nutrition plan. A protein supplement is a tool you can use to help hit your calorie and macronutrition targets a little easier, but it is really only useful under those circumstances. I've known some seriously overweight dudes who thought adding a protein shake would give them a muscular physique, when in actual fact all it would be doing is putting them further into calorific surplus, aka making them more fat.

Similarly a lot of women are told that adding a protein supplement will make them lose weight or body fat. That's not exactly true either. You achieve these goals through appropriate macronutrition (as well as training, of course), and supplementing can be a great way to ensure that you arrive at the desired balance of macronutrients. Just taking it outside of an appropriate nutrition plan is pointless though, in my opinion.

So, there's your best example. Pushing a protein supplement in the same way as any other "magical solution" is misleading and unethical. Recommending it as an option that may assist in meeting a client's macronutritional requirements would be completely fine though.

There's a post on the No Bullshit blog about how they market Protein Supplements For Women's Weightloss that expands further on what I've said here.

Fat Burning Supplements

These ones... geez I don't know man. If they come from a company that I consider reputable, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. But it is a lot like I would tell people when I was running the supplement store at the old gym; at best they're going to give you that extra 1 or 2% of results IF your training and nutrition plan is SPOT ON. If you're not even following a nutrition plan at all, how incredible would it have to be to make up for that? Unlike most people trying to sell these products as if taking them means you don't have to pay attention to your nutrition, I'd put the signs up in the gym to create the opportunity to talk to people about getting on to a decent IIFYM plan for better results.

Branch Chain Amino Acids, Creatine etc

I like to sip on some BCAAs in water to keep my energy levels up during the latter 2/3s of my workouts. BCAAs are something you need for good health, and you get them from food if you have a balanced diet. A lot like taking a multivitamin supplement, at best your body is going to be able to use the extra nutrients, at worst you're going to piss it out and you've spent a few bucks for nothing. BCAAs are relatively inexpensive though, and recently there have been studies showing that their use is beneficial in treating children with autism, ADHD and behavioural problems. It seems to me that these are a pretty safe and perhaps logical supplement to recommend.

Pre-workouts, stimulants etc.

Stimulants are where I draw the line as far as stuff that I think is ok to recommend to people. That is to say, I use pre-workout supplements with stimulants myself... and they get me fired up and ready to do a good hard training session. Telling other people they NEED or SHOULD be taking these things though... it's a bit of a stretch. Of course, some of the pre-workout supplements are stim free, which probably puts them more in line with my thoughts on BCAAs above... which come to think of it, that's probably what they consist of anyway.

It's a bit of a strange thing that even I don't feel that recommending pre training stimulants is appropriate, but we do have energy drinks for sale in every convenience store. Then again, these supplements would be like chugging several of those energy drinks at once.

These ones I put in a category of "make up your own mind, just because I use them doesn't necessarily mean that you should".


Glucosamine is often recommended to keep joints healthy and help in managing arthritis. My friend Cat Smiley has done her own Research On Glucosamine and written it up on her blog.


Thursday Supplement Roadtest

Here's today's stash.

I went with the Amino Energy again, this time before training. About 15 minutes later, I laced up my Dunlop Volleys and thought to myself "yeah, this is some good stuff! Let's GO DO IT".

I was nicely energised and raring to go. Once in the gym I felt very strong and was pushing pretty close to my best numbers in the POWER section of my routine... which was barbell incline press today.

I actually screwed up a little here and did 4 sets of standing cable flies when I should have moved straight on to side lateral raises. Sometime in the middle of all this I started sipping on my trusty green water bottle with the Build HD supplement mixed in. I moved on to the legs section of today's routine which was PUMP sets of hack squat and leg extension. I suck pretty badly at hack squat but I was pleased with the amount of reps I got out with a decent amount of weight on leg extension.

Back to upper body and since I'd already done cable flies earlier I decided to jump back on the pec dec machine and I did a few sets of ... sevens? or 21s? as a bit of a re-warm up / prefatigue before I moved on to some pump sets on the Hammerstrength flat bench press.

Finally I finished off with a massive pump / drop set on tricep push down.

Throughout the session I felt like I had a great pump going on, plenty of energy, and I did a LOT of stuff today, more than I'm supposed to. The change in weather certainly helped a lot but some credit has to go to the supplements for maintaining energy and focus for so long.

Once I got home it was the Horley's protein. I've had Horley's before and they make a damn fine chocolate shake.

That's all for today!

Wednesday Supplement Roadtest

OK, I believe you should always admit when you've screwed up. The truth is... my eyesight is pretty damn terrible (keratoconus) and I struggle to read the directions on these sample packets. Therefore, I assumed the Amino Energy would suit my needs as my mid-workout supplement. Truth be told, taking this after already having taken the Pump Fuel about 1/2 an hour before training was overkill, big time!

Here's the story.

The Pump Fuel went down nicely. I was thinking I might stop in at Kmart over the road from gym before training, but by the time I got changed into my training gear, tied my shoe laces and combed my beard, forget it! I was in "I need to get to the gym, NOW" mode

Today was a Pull routine and a hard one at that. Deadlifts, upright rows, heavy shrugs, pull ups, face pulls, hamstring curls, reverse hypers, back extensions and bicep curls. LOTS of heavy pulling movements. Once I'd started on the Amino Energy, I noticed that I just was not getting tired. I was pulling some heavy weight up and down for reps, and not feeling like I needed much rest in between sets. Once I got to my pull ups I looked in the mirror and noticed what a great pump I had going on all over, not just in the back muscles that I was actually targeting. Also my vascularity was even more pronounced than usual.

So. Seemingly limitless energy, muscle fullness, vascularity... everything you're looking for from these types of supplements. The only problem is... who knows which one of them should get the credit? I have more of this stuff so I'll give it another run and see!

Oh and the Platinum Hydro Builder protein! Very nice. Tasted like dark chocolate to me. Would recommend!

Tuesday Supplement Review

Today I decided to go with the Gaspari Myofusion & Superpump Max samples, as well as Blox Amino Acids. My pre workout shake was International Protein Banana Flavour, blended with an actual banana and a couple of strawberries. It hit the spot!

Before I continue let me take a moment to complain about the weather again. It is DISGUSTINGLY HOT. And summer is supposed to be OVER dammit. So... the heat is exhausting and oppressive, how is a man supposed to get motivated to go train under these horrendous conditions? Well that's where the pre-workout supplements come into it.

If you read about Superpump Max on the Gaspari Nutrition website you'll see that they have gone against the trend of many other pre-workouts, by using less stimulants and more useful nutrients and amino acids. So, again this is not a pre-workout that sends you nuts with the high intensity of more concentrated stimulants... but I still found that I perked right up and felt ready to get in there and train hard and heavy.

Now... today was my heavy barbell lunge day and in this heat that was really all it took for me to feel like I'd blown out all of my energy for the day. I hit some calf raises as well and then took a sip of the Blox in cold water as I went to hit the PUMP section of my routine for upper body. I really felt like it made a difference right away and I definitely felt like if not for taking the amino acids mid (actually about 1/3 of the way though) workout I would not have lasted to the end of the session under these conditions.

Finally I smashed the Myofusion after training and DAMN. This has got to be the best tasting protein supplement on the market. Absolutely delicious. They have added a pro-biotic to this one as well, which seems like a really good idea to me.


Monday Supplement Roadtest

Day two of roadtesting all the free samples I picked up at Fitx, and also day two on my Power, Precision and Pump routine.

Today I hit up all of these goodies from Bioflex Nutrition, an Australian company I actually have not tried before. So... first up was the Hydroflex Protein. Since it is disgustingly hot here I blended this up in milk with some ice + one frozen banana. It went down nicely! There's not really much more to be said about a protein supplement is there? If you want the specifics you can check it out on the Bioflex Website.

Next up was Biocharge, the pre-workout supplement. This did the job nicely. It took a little bit of shaking to get it dissolved in my ice cold water, but it went down nicely and there are no complaints about the taste. Some pre-workout supplements can be pretty intense, bordering on scary if you're not used to them. This one I found was quite mild. It did get me fired up and enthusiastic, but not with that crazy level of intensity of some other supplements. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing is up to you.

Now, once I started training, that's when I new this was a good supplement. I felt strong and powerful. My POWER move on today's card was One Arm Dumbbell Rows, and I worked my way up to 60kg for 5 reps. For an 83kg guy, that was pretty good!

Finally the Recover X supplement, intended as a post-workout supplement but I took mine about 1/3 of the way through training as is my wont. I wasn't nuts about the orange flavour, but it was ok. That's a minor complaint at worst. This is one of the hardest days on my routine, it is a ridiculously hot day, and for some reason I decided to do lots of isolateral stuff. One arm dumbbell rows, rear delt laying lateral raises, glute isolation machine... it seemed like I was in the gym for a LONG time working very hard indeed. I got through everything though and was pretty happy with all of my numbers from start to finish. The supplement has to have played a part in that.

ALSO after training I hit up some International Protein Cookies & Cream flavour. Delicious!


Sunday Supplement Roadtest

As promised, here is the first Supplement Roadtest Report, testing out all the free samples I picked up at FitX over the weekend.

Raw Fusion Vegan Protein Powder

I took this as my pre-workout shake today. Now, usually my pre-workout shake is vanilla whey concentrate, blended in milk with a frozen banana. Blending a Vegan powder in with milk seemed silly so today I used iced water instead, as well as the banana as usual. The results were good! I actually used two serves of the powder, creating rather a massive shake. I wouldn't say it was amongst the best tasting protein supplements I've tried, but it was certainly not unpleasant either. It went down nicely, didn't feel gritty like other vegan protein supplements I have tried, and I didn't feel like I needed to wait as long as usual afterwards before taking my pre-workout supplement and then hitting the gym.

So, for any vegan or lactose intolerant people, I would have no hesitation in recommending this product.

Click this link for more info on this Vegan Protein Supplement on their official website.

Next up was Cellucor C4 Extreme.

Oh wow. I took the sample of this in a nice ice cold cup of water and the taste was good. Gave it a little while to start kicking in, and then headed off to the gym. It's only a short drive and I had some cool heavy metal (Blaze Bayley) on in the car... by the time I got to gym I was in an awesome mood... smiling at people, whistling, not even complaining about the horrible heat and humidity... fired up and raring to go!

And I tell you what boys and girls... once I started I was full of energy, strength and power. Didn't quite break any of my personal best numbers, but I came pretty damn close. And the harder I worked, the better my mood got.

I'll definitely purchase this great supplement in the near future when I run out of what I've got now.

More information the Cellucor C4 Extreme Pre-workout supplement courtesy of AAA Supplements. Gee I hope I am remembering who gave me what correctly!

Next up was Ultimate Nutrition BCAA 12000.

I like to start sipping on some Branch Chain Amino Acids from about 1/3 of the way through my training session, and I feel like it keeps me going when I've already burned up a huge amount of my energy reserves on my first POWER & PRECISION exercises. This stuff did the job nicely today, and tasted good as well!

More info on Ultimate Nutrition BCAA 12000, again courtesy of AAA Supplements.

Finally after training, the brand new Ready To Grow from International Protein.

What can I say really? I had this chilled in the fridge, and it was DELICIOUS.

International Protein is a great Aussie company and you should support them and enjoy the benefits of their great products.

That's it for today but I have LOTS more stuff to review in the days ahead.


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