Tag Archives: supplements

To Supplement or Not To Supplement

26 Oct

When I first started getting into fitness I was all about getting as many supplements as I could because it was all so exciting and I felt really professional. I was hooked on pre-workouts – first JACK3D, (which is no longer available in Australia..), then Phenadrine (which is also no longer sold here)… they made me feel jittery, anxious, and JACK3D gave me pins and needles in my hands. But they felt good whilst I was exercising, which is all I cared about.

I stopped taking pre-workouts at the start of this year, when I was clinically diagnosed with depression-anxiety. I don’t know if these supplements caused it but I think they may have had some contribution. Nowadays if I feel like I  need an extra boost before heading to the gym I’ll have a coffee, green tea, or an apple, and I don’t have to worry about harmful chemicals that I’m putting into my body, or the affect that it’s having on my mental health.




However, I do take other supplements. Here’s my daily supplement menu:


1 women’s multivitamin

1 tsp flaxseed oil (on my pancakes)

1 ferritin (iron) + vitamin C

1 fish oil

1 magnesium

During Workout:

1 tsp ON Micronized Creatine Powder

1 scoop Scivation Xtend BCAA

Post Workout:

1 scoop ON Gold Standard 100% Whey Powder


I’m a big believer in getting your vitamins and nutrients naturally, through food sources, however those that are involved in body building and fitness may require those extra vitamins in order to keep up with their body’s demands.

There are so many crazy scientific-sounding supplements available, so I thought I’d break some of them down and explain why you should, or should not, take them.


Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) – leucine, isoleucine, valine

These are compounds that are essential to the human body – in other words we do not produce them in our body and therefore they need to be ingested. Intake (especially leucine) increases protein synthesis (muscle growth) and may even decrease protein catabolism (muscle breakdown) as your body uses the BCAAs for energy rather than breaking down muscle.

Any loss of amino acids is detrimental if it could have been used to maintain or increase skeletal muscle mass

Natural sources: meat


Unlike the BCAAs, beta alanine is a non-essential amino acid (i.e. your body makes it). Studies have found that intake before or during prolonged exercise conserved carbohydrates energy stores and enhanced protein synthesis.

Deficiency in any amino acids (essential or non-essential) will cause the body to break down body proteins = breakdown muscle

Natural sources: beef, lamb, milk products, corn meal, peas, potatoes


Another non-essential amino acid, glutamine has many roles in the body. The most significant to bodybuilding/exercise is that it stimulates protein synthesis and regulates muscle protein levels.

Decreasing intramuscular glutamine concentrations has been shown to increase muscle catabolism (breakdown)

Natural sources (from highest content to lowest): chicken breast, pork chops, beef T-bone, wheat germ, tuna, salmon, turkey breast


Creatine is natural stored primarily in muscle and every individual has some level of creatine. Depending on their level, creatine supplementation could give varied benefit… there is such thing as a creatine non-responder!!  But hundreds of studies that that maximising creatine stores can improve exercise and training adaptation. If you cease taking creatine, it takes 4-6 weeks to return to normal levels. Once maximum is reached, only 3-5g per day is required for maintenance.

Studies have found that ingestion of creatine with carbohydrate helps maximise creatine stores

Natural sources: salmon, herring, raw beef, pork, tuna, cod


Produced naturally in the body, glucosamine is generally used in the treatment of osteoarthritis as it a component of cartilage and is believe to have some anti-inflammatory effects. Many athletes take supplemental glucosamine regularly to protect joints and ligaments from damage. There is no actual evidence that this helps for sports injuries.

There is widespread use among athletes even though there is no evidence for efficacy

Natural sources: none

Omega-3 – eicosapentanoic acid (EPA), docosahexanoic acid (DHA), alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)

ALA must be converted to either EPA or DHA to be used by the body. Fish oils contain high levels of EPA and DHA, whilst flaxseed oil contains ALA.  However, omega-3 has many other health benefits, such as reducing risk of cardiovascular disease, anti-inflammatory effects, treat depression etc.

Omega 3 is believed to have significant metabolic effects which would influence exercise capacity, but this has not yet been proven

Natural sources: fish (especially sardines, salmon, fresh tuna), eggs, lean red meat, turkey, linseed/flaxseed, walnuts


They are the only ones I’m going to cover today, but if you have any questions or would like me to look into a certain product/supplement just let me know!!

Hope this was helpful x