8 week challenge nutrition: Supplementation
Now that nutrition is covered, one question that might pop up would the role of supplementation and if it is even a necessity?
The simple answer is that most people could have a small benefit from supplementation once they dialled their nutrition in. Convenience would be one of those benefits.
Most people would not have all the time to prepare food and cook every single meal especially when the demands of life increases. Hence supplementation can help ensure that one is not thrown off the track just because they lack time.
Here are a few categories of supplements that could be useful and might deserve consideration:
1. Protein supplementation
Protein is the essential building blocks of muscle. Having adequate protein will ensure that muscle mass can grow and during a deficit, preserved. However, when time is not on our side, preparing protein rich food from animal product can be a hassle. Hence consuming a high quality protein supplement can help ease that burden and still allow you to hit your daily protein needs based on your goals. A good source of protein would be whey and casein, both which are from dairy sources.
A quality protein would contain anywhere from 75%-85% of protein by weight and consuming it whenever you need a shot of protein but is unable to prepare a meal. This would ensure that you are not compromising your results throughout this 8 week challenge. Besides, it is pretty satisfying consuming a tasty chocolate shake right after your workout session!
2. Mass gainers
As mentioned in the nutrition section, calories is the main factor when it comes to gaining weight. Hence to put on some quality mass, one need to consume a surplus of calories. To simply put it, if you have been skinny and your weight has not changed in the past year or two, you are not eating enough! And at times you are not to blame. Not everyone is a buffet destroying machine and can consume large amounts of food in one setting, some just have much smaller appetite than others. This is when the role of mass gainers can help.
Mass gainers are simply a combination of protein powders with added carbohydrates and healthy fats to help increase calorie count. So if chewing and eating is not your thing, but you are still looking to pack on muscle, using a mass gainer might be the answer to your prayers. Just like a protein supplement, using mass gainers is simply an easy way to get your required calories to help support your muscle building goals. Nothing can be more convenient than drinking your food especially when you are not a fan of consuming large amounts of food.
P/S: Mass gainers are only recommended if your goal is to put on size and is not suitable for fat loss goals.
3. Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
We know that protein is the building block for muscle but after consuming protein, it gets broken down into amino acids and that is what fuels the muscle building process. However, not all amino acids contributes directly to the muscle building process. The ones that do are categorized under BCAAs and these 3 amino acids which comprises of Leucine, Valine and Isoleucine aid in the muscle building process.
Hence, consuming BCAA as part of your supplementation plan could aid the muscle building process especially if you are a on a low calorie diet. BCAAs are easily consumed and often come in tasty fruit flavours at almost no calories at all. So if training before a meal or first thing in the morning is your preferred time to train, consuming some BCAAs can help fuel muscle growth without making you fill too full to train! 4. Pre- Workout Most of us do not work in gyms or health clubs and lead lives other than the ones we spent in the gym. At times life can get demanding and fatigue can set in. This might make us lose motivation and our desire to train.
To help give us that extra boost, pre-workouts could be the next best thing! Most pre-workouts contains caffeine and other ingredients that will help improve our gym performance such a Citrulline, BCAAs etc. These ingredients will allow you to train hard when you are tired and in return you will be side-lined from achieving your goals. So if you are tired and demotivated when you step foot into the gym, having a pre-workout before might just be your answer!