Supplements

  1. Using AM Protein & Creatine Together

    Creatine and whey protein are two of the most popular muscle building supplements around and combining them is an extremely effective way of maximising your potential gains. Both of these supplements have an effect on recovery and the creation of new muscle tissue that synergise well with one another, and because the body processes them in different ways taking them together does not cause any negative effects or reduce their efficacy.

    Taking them together

    A study published in 2001 in the "International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism" showed that those who combined creatine with whey protein experienced the most gains in strength when compared to groups using no supplements or taking either creatine or whey protein alone. They also experienced greater increases in performance and improved muscle growth and volume.

    When to take them

    As whey protein is quickly absorbed and processed by the body it is perfect for the recovery period post-workout while you have a depleted store of nutrients to provide your muscles with the fuel they need to repair the micro tears caused by heavy exercise. The time you choose to take the creatine is less important, though there is some evidence that taking a post-workout shake containing whey protein and creatine along with a drink containing simple carbohydrates can create an insulin spike, drawing amino acids and other nutrients into the muscles and in turn increasing protein synthesis and creatine uptake.

    Why don’t we put creatine in with our protein powders?

    While it might be easy to find a generic recovery product that contains a blend of whey protein and creatine, at AMSport we decided against packaging our products in this way simply because a one size fits all approach to supplementation just isn’t as effective. Every person will have different requirements in order to get the most out of their supplements, and by keeping them separate our customers are able to tailor our products to their specific needs.

    As our creatine is made from 100% high quality Creapure you don’t need a high dosage of it to get the benefits you’re looking for. In fact, as little as 1-3g a day of AMSport Creatine is sufficient for the vast majority of athletes, much less than you might find in other products that might use lower quality ingredients. Not only does using Creapure mean you need less to achieve the same effect it also helps to eliminate the unpleasant side effects some people report after taking creatine it also ensures that it has no effect on the taste of your beverage (unless you choose to use our lemon and lime flavoured effervescent tablets!)

    By keeping our whey protein and creatine separate we make it easier for each individual to find their correct dosage and achieve the right balance for them. You won’t need to worry about going through a loading phase with your creatine or having to cycle off of it, and you’re still able to ramp up your protein intake as required without overloading your body with creatine that you can’t process.

    Health benefits of AM whey protein

    • Contains essential amino acids and BCAAs
    • Helps create new muscle mass
    • Aids recovery and repair of muscle tissue
    • Complete protein source
    • Helps immune system function

    Health benefits of AM creatine

    • 100% Creapure
    • Protects muscles and makes them more durable
    • Allows you to do more before feeling tired
    • Burns fat
    • Increases protein synthesis and body’s ability to produce energy
    • Improves brain power and focus
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  2. The best supplements to stack with a whey protein shake

    If you’re looking to get more out of your whey protein supplements then past a certain point increasing the amount you take isn’t going to get you the results you’re after - in fact, it’s more likely that the excess will just turn into fat as you’re consuming more protein than your body can use effectively! Whether you’re looking to lose weight, gain mass, or just stay healthy, there is one sure fire way you can really boost the effectiveness of the supplements you’re taking - stacking.

    Stacking supplements for beginners

    When people call something a supplement stack what they’re talking about is a group of supplements that are synergistic with each other. It doesn't mean that you need to take them all at the same time though, just that incorporating each of them into your training routine will help you to see even more benefits than you would if you were taking a single supplement.

    Whey protein is one of the most popular supplements around right now because it offers a myriad of different benefits so if you’re trying to amplify one of those then taking it in combination with supplements that have a similar effect will help you to meet your goals a lot faster.

    Improving strength and endurance

    If you’re the kind of person who gets a lot of satisfaction from hearing the clattering sound as you add another 25kg plate onto the barbell then stacking your whey protein with other powerful supplements can help make you the envy of the other lifters at the gym. Creatine is one of the best supplements to help you gain both size and strength because as it’s broken down during exercise it releases large amounts of energy in your muscle cells that can be used for the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is essentially muscle fuel. It’s especially useful at giving you the quick burst of energy you need for intense, explosive exercises like weightlifting.

    Glutamine is a nonessential amino acid that can also work very effectively with a whey protein supplement to help you gain strength. It’s one of the most abundant amino acids in the body so it is often overlooked when it comes to supplementation, but when you’re exercising in ways that put your body under a lot of stress it can be one of the most helpful supplements around! Endurance athletes and powerlifters in particular can often find themselves deficient in glutamine and redressing this can lead to measurable gains in strength, endurance, and muscle mass. Glutamine also plays an important role in powering your immune response and athletes who supplement with it generally have lower levels of infection and recover from any muscular damage faster than those who don’t.

    Strength and endurance stack: Whey Protein, Creatine, Amino Acids

    Fast muscle mass gains

    Whey protein is fantastic for helping you with your muscle gains, but if you’re looking to put on a lot of new muscle then calorie consumption is also really important. If you’re only taking in as many calories as you burn to get through your daily activities you won’t have enough available to build muscle effectively. For this reason creating a calorie surplus with a weight gainer can really help you to get more out of your whey protein supplements as you’ll be getting a much better balance of protein, carbs, and fats.

    Pre-workout boosters are also great at helping you put on muscle mass as they’ll give you the energy to exercise longer and more effectively. AMSport’s pre-workout booster contains high levels of beta alanine and creatine which keep you sharp and boost your endurance, allowing you to extract every last ounce of performance out of your whey protein shake.

    Muscle and mass gains stack: Whey Protein, Weight Gainer, Pre-workout Booster

    Fat loss

    When you’re looking to shed some excess fat fast the obvious answer is to make sure you’re burning more calories than you take in. If you don’t plan this carefully though there’s a good chance you could throw away a lot of the progress you’ve made by losing a lot of muscle mass at the same time. Cutting the amount of whey protein you take slightly can help, as can taking it in conjunction with a BCAA supplement. Whey protein itself contains a nice amount of BCAAs but boosting your intake to around 5-10g per serving can really help you see fat loss results faster. This is because taking whey protein in conjunction with BCAAs keeps your body in a state that is more conducive to fat burning and muscle building. A lot of amino acids are lipotropic, which means that they catalyse the breakdown of fat and make it more readily available to your body as energy. With more fat to burn your body doesn’t need to start catalysing lean tissues, helping you to lose the fat while building muscle.

    L-Carnitine is another popular fat burning supplement that has great synergy with whey protein supplements. Like some of the amino acids in the BCAA supplement it helps your body turn your fat stores into energy more effectively, but it does this by helping transport long-chain fatty acids across cell membranes and straight into the mitochondria where they’re used as fuel for the creation of ATP. Because your body is burning fat instead of lean tissue for energy it also keeps your muscles working aerobically rather than anaerobically, preventing the buildup of lactic acid and letting you exercise for longer before you start to feel sore.

    Fat burning stack: Whey Protein, BCAAs, L-Carnitine

    Conclusion

    Everybody’s perfect stack is slightly different, so you might find after a while that changing some of these combos up will work better for you. But for those of you looking to get the most out of your whey protein who don’t have the time or experience to formulate your ideal stack right now, our recommendations will help you hit your goals faster and hopefully lead to immediate improvements in your efforts at the gym. Whatever it is you’re looking for, stacking your supplements in an efficient way will help you get there!

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  3. Can vitamin D make you a better athlete?

    Can vitamin D make you a better athlete?

    We’ve known for a while that athletes tend to perform better in the summer months than they do during the winter. Some people have hypothesised that one of the reasons for this is that the higher levels of UV light in the summer increase the body’s production of vitamin D. A 2013 study found that while further research is needed before we can definitively say that vitamin D suplemments directly improve performance, maintaining optimum vitamin D levels should be an important goal for athletes due to its many health benefits.

    Sources of vitamin D

    One of our main sources of vitamin D is our skin’s reaction to sunlight, and in the UK from early April until the end of September it’s possible to get all the vitamin D we need from being out in the sun. If you spend most of your day indoors or wear clothes that cover up most of your skin though you won’t be getting as much as you need. During the winter months we don’t get any vitamin D from sunlight.

    Vitamin D isn’t really abundant in foods but there are some good dietary sources of it such as oily fish, liver, and fortified foods such as fat spreads and breakfast cereals.

    Potential effects of vitamin D deficiency

    Vitamin D plays a crucial role in many vital physiological functions and sub-optimal levels can cause a variety of problems that can hurt your ability to train and perform at the level you want to. As well as being a key reason for the loss of muscle mass and strength as we age, low levels of vitamin D can also leave you with poor bone density, a weaker immune system, and chronic feelings of tiredness and weakness. In a more general sense, vitamin D deficiency also increases the risk of certain cancers and cardiovascular diseases and can be a cause of high blood pressure.

    How vitamin D benefits athletes

    If you’re not getting enough in your day to day life, taking vitamin D supplements can indirectly improve athletic performance by lowering the risk of injury, decreasing chronic exercise related pain, and improving general muscle performance.

    The discovery of vitamin D receptors within muscle also suggests a significant role for vitamin D in muscle tissue function, particularly in cellular growth and inflammatory response. A common symptom of vitamin D deficiency is muscle weakness, so supplementation can also help keep them functioning properly and keep you strong.

    Conclusion

    Our bodies rely on replenishing stores of vitamin D daily to meet its requirements as we often don’t get enough in our diet generally, let alone enough for there to be any significant stores of it in the body. By making sure you’re getting a healthy amount by taking vitamin D supplements, particularly during the winter months, you can reduce your risk of injury and improve your general health. Athletes often find that they’re at peak physical fitness during the time of the year UVB levels and natural vitamin D production are at their highest, so vitamin D supplementation can be a great way of making sure you’re performing at your peak at all times.

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