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Thinking of joining us for the next Challenge and wondering about supplements? We’ve put together this quick run-down to help you understand the complex world of supplements a little better – what they are, why you would use them and what you should focus on if you decide to take on the MAX'S Challenge.
Already joined the Challenge and want to prepare by getting your supplements organised early? Below is a list of what you will need for your chosen program.
In their simplest form supplements are concentrated or purified foods. And because of this they are generally very safe to use. A good example of a popular supplement is protein powder. Most protein powders are derived from milk. We start with fresh milk, remove the fat, lactose and mineral salts, then dry off the remaining liquid and you get pure milk protein powder – the active and beneficial part of milk for building muscle. We then add some flavours and sweeteners and you have a commercial protein powder. This is a bit of a simplified version about how proteins are actually made but in principal many food based supplements are made like this.
Science has shown us that to make a positive change to your body composition (build muscle and burn fat) you need to increase your protein intake and follow a suitable training program. And one of the best ways for adding extra protein into your diet with virtually no extra fats or carbs is by taking a good quality protein powder. You just can’t get the same sorts of results by eating good food alone.
There are a number of different types of supplements we recommend you use for your Challenge to maximise your results. We’ve broken them up into the following categories to help you understand what they are and why you should use them.
Many people ask – “why can’t I just eat protein foods like steak or eggs to get the protein I need?” When you follow our Challenge diet programs you will see that they include high quality real food proteins like lean meats, chicken, fish, eggs and dairy which are all good muscle builders. However many of these foods also contain a certain amounts of fat, so eating a lot of these protein foods can add extra unwanted fat to your diet. Protein supplements are a great way to get extra protein into your diet without added fat. For example a single serve of a high quality protein has about the same amount of usable protein as a 150 gram steak, but with virtually no fat. It’s pretty easy to see the advantages.
In general, protein supplements are the cornerstone for any serious weight training program. Whether your goal is to build size and strength, get lean and shredded or just maintain a strong muscular body, a high quality protein powder like MAX’S is the best supplement to support your whole muscle building and muscle recovery metabolism and should be the first supplement you buy and use.
The 12 weeks of your MAX’S Challenge is an intense effort of focussed training and disciplined nutrition designed to produce significant positive changes to your body and metabolism. Many Challengers find the extra kick from using energy boosting supplements to be of great value when they are pushing to get the best results from their workouts. Energy Boosting supplements come in a number of forms. For your Challenge there are two basic types you should consider:
Creatine - is a supplement that has been extensively studied and is undeniably a real performance booster. Most trainer experience strength and muscle size gains in just a few weeks of use. Creatine works by increasing the amount of a compound called Creatine Phosphate (CP) in your muscles. CP provides energy when you lift weights, so if you have more you can do one or two more reps in each set, which over time leads to more gains. Studies also show that Creatine stimulates lean muscle growth and help reduce body fat – which is what this Challenge is all about. Creatine is definitely a supplement we recommend to any trainer, whether you are on the Challenge or simply just hitting the gym regularly.
Pre-Workouts & Intra Workouts - are new breed of supplements that boost energy, mental focus and stamina to help you train with maximum effort in every workout. As you progress through your Challenge, particularly if you are cutting calories to shed body fat, your energy levels can sometimes fall a bit short, and this is where these supplements work really well. We generally recommend Pre and Intra Workouts for intermediate level trainers and beyond to help push your training and progress to the next level.
Are usually based on specific combinations of amino acids. The two main categories are based on what are called “Branched Chain Amino Acids” or BCAA’s, and a single amino acid called L-Glutamine. These amino acids are all intimately involved in your body’s recovery processes and taking them at the right times, generally during and after weight training, can give a significant improvement in muscle and whole body recovery after strenuous workouts.
Are a great backup and a small indulgence during your Challenge. Keep some protein bars and cookies in your bag or at work in case you get caught out – they are a much better alternative to a chocolate sugary bar. If you are dieting hard to strip body fat you still need to be careful eating protein bars, as they often taste so good that it’s easy to overeat. A quick tip – if you just need something to tide you over to your next meal just eat half a bar and save the other half for the next time.