Activ8 Advice: Supplements

By PCYC Deception Bay Gym+Fitness Trainer, Jade Parker

Supplements are something that a lot of people are always willing to jump on if the packaging states that it works for something that aligns with their goals. Although, are they really needed?

Yes and no. There is no set answer.

If you are tight on money and/or are hitting your macronutrient goals each day through the foods you consume, then this is generally enough and all your body needs.

If you are deficient in something, calcium, vitamin D, and iron being the most common, then addressing these are where supplements are necessary if suggested by a healthcare team.

In saying that, the following are scientifically proven to help.

    • Protein Powder: this is a quick and easy way to help hit your protein target for the day as it is versatile and can be added to foods such as oats that would otherwise be mainly carbohydrates. They’re also easy to have on the run as a shake. Differentiating between the different protein powders on the market only has to do with the purity.


    • Protein Isolate: this is more pure containing less carbs and more lactose, taking 30 – 90 minutes to digest.


    • Hydro protein powder: hydrolised meaning the amino acids are broken down causing faster digestion at a rate of 15 – 30 minutes.


    • Concentrate powders: contain less protein therefore taking 2 – 3 hours to digest.


    • Caesin protein powder: also considered a “slow” protein.


    • Creatine: a supplement that increases a person’s HIIT capacity, PCr concentrations and lean body mass whilst preventing injury and possibly managing select medical conditions by increasing the capacity of Phosphagen. This is something that vegetarians struggle to get enough of. Studies also show that, Creatine Ethyl, was not as effective at increasing serum, creatine levels, body composition, muscle, strength or power as Creatine Monohydrate. 3 – 5g per day 60 minutes before exercise on an empty stomach will maintain elevated creatine levels for 28 days.


    • Caffeine: cheap and effective as it increases fat oxidation, thermogenesis, heart rate, spare glycogen, concentration and endorphins whilst delaying fatigue. The consumption of 3 – 6mg 30 minutes pre-endurance enhances the exercise ability. This doesn’t directly include straight coffee as such, caffeine tablets are available for purchase although coffee consumption may decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes.


    • Beta-alanine: the rate-limiting precursor to Carnitine as it has been shown to increase intramuscular carnitine. It prevents fatigue, increases power output, buffers H+ ions, and all-round enhances exercise performance.


    • Omega 3 Fish Oil: affects hormones whilst strengthening the bones and skin. It increases insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism whilst managing inflammation, and joints, muscles or nervous issues. It has cardioprotective and fat loss benefits whilst being high in fats of fish such as salmon.


    • BCAA’s: consuming 10 – 15g of Branched Chain Amino Acid’s such as Luicine, Isoluicine and Valine during prolonged endurance exercise might have an anticatabolic effect on skeletal muscle. 20 grams of the essential amino acids plus 20 grams of sugar taken pre workout has also been scientifically proven to have the greatest effect on muscle protein synthesis. Supplementing with a mixture of essential amino acids or protein post-workout will result in an increase in muscle protein synthesis. Luicine and Glutamine are the two amino acids that the body frequently uses during sustained energy.


  • Immune enhancing supplements: Glutamine, Vitamin C, Zinc and Echinacea. Therefore, to prevent getting sick, or last case scenario, if you feel you are getting sick, taking these daily will help to prevent and/or lessen the severity and length of your illness.