Fitness / Food / Wellness

What Supplements do I take?

I often get asked about what supplements people should take and whether supplements are necessary. Supplements are really individual and if you aren’t sure whether you need to take a supplement then you should consult a doctor – it can be dangerous to take some supplements that you don’t need.

That said, here are the supplements that I take and the reasons why.

Protein Powder

Although this is pretty mainstream, it is still a supplement. I use this as I want to eat a higher protein diet but I struggle to hit my protein goals. Protein powder is a convenient way to get protein throughout the day. It is easier to whip out a shake in the gym changing room than it is to set there and eat a chicken breast. You also don’t need to worry about it going bad sitting in your bag all day.

Creatine Monohydrate

Creatine is one of the few sports supplements that actually is actually backed up with scientific research that supports its use.

There are various energy systems in the body that we use to perform exercise (or activities) at certain intensities and durations. For high intensity, short durations (up to 6 seconds) we use a system called the creatine phosphate system, activities that would use this energy system would include lifting weights and sprinting. The way that creatine works is that it allows you to use the creatine phosphate system for longer which means that you may get a couple of extra reps of your weights or you may be able to sprint for longer at maximum intensity. It basically gives you a couple of extra seconds before the body starts using a different energy system and lactic acid starts causing that burning sensation in your muscles. Extending the amount of time that you can lift a weight by a couple of seconds may not sound like a lot, but it will support you to reach your strength, power and speed related goals. However, if you are supplementing with the hope that it will increase your endurance then it won’t – this uses a different energy system.

I have been supplementing this for about a month now and I can feel the difference when I’m in the gym. It’s pretty incredible stuff…I’m surprised it’s legal! (I’m joking it’s perfectly safe for a healthy person).

Creatine monohydrate is probably the cheapest form of creatine and that is all that you need. It is a relatively inexpensive supplement and it is one of the most effective.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is found in certain foods but is mainly made by our bodies on exposure to sunlight. However, living in the UK, we are not exposed to the sun enough during the autumn and winter months to make enough vitamin D so the NICE guidelines advise supplementation of 10mcg per day during these months. Personally, I have found that I am less prone to colds in winter months since I have started supplementation but that could be placebo! However, placebo is enough for me and I’ll continue to pop a pill during those long, dark months!

You can pick up vitamin D tablets quite cheaply in most supermarkets but remember to check with your GP before you supplement.