If you want to get better, you have to train. For most people, the focus should be on training hard and often. Our bodies can do a lot more than we think! Along with training, rest and nutrition are important too. If you don’t do a good job in these areas, your body won’t have the fuel or time to recover properly. When that happens, you aren’t at 100% come training time, and your improvement is limited.
Being in a tired state makes it more likely that you’ll get ill or injured too. I used to get ill towards the end of every fight camp when I was competing because my body was sick (unknown to me) and couldn’t recover properly. You need to give your body the building blocks it needs to improve, so let’s look at three supplements which can help in this area.
Whey is the most popular supplement. It’s the fastest absorbing type of protein and is a great way to boost levels post-workout. The popular choice is Optimum’s Gold Standard. What I like about this shake is that it has a good amount of protein per serving, but also mixes well with around 150ml of liquid. That means you can double or triple up on servings if you like, an easy way to stack some serious protein!
Gold Standard also has a great taste and has better performance than some other shakes because it contains whey peptides along with the protein. Peptides are partially broken down versions of protein molecules, so they can be absorbed even faster by the human body. This is why I joined the crowd on this one.
Okay, so depending on your goals you might not need to load up too much protein – especially if weight loss is the aim. I’m one of those high metabolism types that burn through cals with ease, so even at a low weight, a lot of fuel is needed.
With a mixed protein, you get fast absorbing whey and slower absorbing proteins like casein. I use these around 60-90 mins before training. That way, my body already has the fuel it needs. My choice is Gaspari Nutrition’s Myofusion – it’s the best tasting shake I’ve tried!
When you exercise intensely, your muscles produce an energy molecule known as ATP. For it to produce ATP, it uses creatine which is stored (mostly) in your muscles. The problem is that our bodies don’t store a large amount of creatine, and while it is naturally found in some foods, it’s tough to eat enough of those (every day!) for optimal levels.
The solution is to take creatine supplements, which load up your levels temporarily. The effect is increased endurance, strength and improved recovery in rest periods. This is quite a cheap supplement too and I’ve found most of them to be similar, so I go with a cheap, reliable brand like MyProtein Creatine.
The effects take a couple of weeks to fully kick in and you need to keep supplementing daily. Keep in mind that your body needs to hold some extra water for this creatine to be stored & used. That means your muscles will appear a little bigger, or fuller, and the scale might show a couple of extra pounds too. When you stop using creatine, this effect reverses too, which might be relevant to you. As a fighter, I always stopped using creatine a few weeks before fight night so I could make weight.