Menu Close
Menu

Supplements

It’s important to remember that supplements aren’t a replacement for poor diet and you should aim to get as much of what your body needs  from quality foods.  However, training does increase the demands on your body and it’s not always easy to ensure you’re getting everything you need, particularly as you age.  Therefore, supplements can be helpful to support training, a busy career and personal life.

For most major supplements there is at least some research available with a quick Google search, so it won’t be covered in detail here.  This is just The Lean Exec take on supplements and what seems to work well.  Chances are, some, if not all of it will work for you.

Note: This is not professional or medical advice (and certainly not bespoke), you should consult your Doctor before changing your diet or trying supplements. It’s also worth doing some of your own research before spending your hard earned cash on supps.

The Lean Exec Supplements (in a sort of order of priority):

Multivitamin

What is it?

You will likely know something about Multivitamins already, but essentially they are dietary supplements containing a range of micronutrients that the body needs daily.  Most of the key multivitamin products include a list of vitamins like the ones listed below:

Typical Values Per Daily Dose / (% NRV*)
Vitamin C 500 mg (625%)
Thiamin (Vitamin B1) 13 mg (1182%)
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) 15 mg (1071%)
Niacin 50 mg NE (313%)
Vitamin B6 10 mg (714%)
Folic Acid 400 µg (200%)
Vitamin B12 10 µg (400%)
Biotin 150 µg (300%)
Pantothenic Acid 25 mg (417%)
Calcium 120 mg (15%)
Magnesium 100 mg (27%)
Zinc 10 mg (100%)
*NRV means Nutrient Reference Value

Why Bother?

Quite simply to ensure you are getting what your body needs.  The reality is most of the vitamins will leave your body as a number 1, but the older you get the more susceptible you are to muscle cramps, injuries, fatigue, etc. so better to top up and ensure you have appropriate vitamins than risk missing something vital.  This has worked well for Bigger Brother and once you are “topped up” you can reduce to half a tablet a day and sometimes skip a day so you’re not constantly taking them.

Which Product?

There are lots of options out there.  Bigger Brother likes the tablets that fizz.  Often touted as energy boosters. Berocca Energy Vitamin Tablets  are a well known one in the UK and Centrum do a range.  However, the Boots or Superdrug equivalent (apologies to readers outside the UK) which come in flavours like Mango, Orange and Berry  will also do the trick!

Whey Protein

What is it?

Whey is essentially a by product of the cheese making process.  Outside of products that promote its inclusion.  It’s often found in products that are readily available in the supermarket such as Ricotta cheese, milk, and tinned rice pudding.

For whey protein supplements they use the whey liquid which remains after dairy like milk and cheese have been curdled and strained to produced into a powder.  It’s high in protein and branch chain amino acids, plus it’s digested quickly, making it a good way to get protein into the body fast after a hard workout.

Generally, unless you have a dairy allergy, research has deemed it to be safe as a reasonably consumed supplement (you can find more info here).  The key word here being supplement.  It should support, not replace a quality diet.

Why Bother?

The reality is, eating 5 or 6 meals a day in appropriate portion with the correct MACRO nutrients your body needs can be a challenge.  In particular, trying to get the appropriate amount of protein is much harder than getting the relevant carbs and fats your body needs, particularly if you are a larger individual engaged in regular intense exercise.

The key point here is, it’s easier to top up the protein you need for intense exercise through whey protein supplements.  Particularly as it’s boring and time consuming to eat big portions of protein from sources of meat 5-6 times a day.  In addition, whey protein is assimilated fast, so you can get the protein hit quickly which is very useful post-exercise.

Other Protein Supplements:

These days there are lots of forms of protein supplements available so if you have dairy allergies or don’t eat dairy for any reason there are other options available like Pea, Soy, Brown Rice protein, etc.  Although the challenge is these protein sources are not as complete, so may need to be supported with other food or supplementation.

It’s also worth noting Casein Protein which is another protein derived from dairy production.  This protein is also rich in essential amino acids.  In terms of supplementation it’s main difference to whey is that it’s a slow digesting protein and usually has less protein per gram (particularly in comparison to whey isolate).  For this reason it’s often used as a supplement before bed, as it essentially drip feeds protein to your body which is seen as useful for maintaining and growing muscle mass in a fasted state (ie. when sleeping).

Black Coffee

This one needs no introduction.  Coffee is possibly the most widely used legal drug in the world.  Consumed moderately it’s safe and some research suggests it’s beneficial for energy levels, burning fat, minimizing risk of Alzheimer’s, dementia, type 2 diabetes and potentially protecting your liver (amongst other things).   The downside is too much coffee can have a negative impact, in particular affecting quality of sleep.

Why is it included here?  Well, because it’s a natural form of caffeine and can be an excellent kick start for training if consumed roughly 30-45 mins before a session.  This makes it a great “natural” pre-workout supp.  🙂

Other Training Specific Supplements:

There are lots of different supplements on the market with varying degrees of research.  Below are some popular supplements that are generally deemed to be safe, research suggests they are beneficial to training and The Lean Exec team finds them to be beneficial when used correctly.

Supplement What? Why?
Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) BCAAs are the amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine. These essential amino acids comprise of around 35% of your body's muscle protein. The research suggests they maintain glycogen stores, which fuel your muscles and minimize protein breakdown during intense exercise. In addition, other suggested benefits include decrease in muscle sorness, reduced exercise fatigue, prevention of muscle wasting (particularly useful when reducing calorie intake to lose fat) and even potentially benefit people with liver disease.
Creatine Monohydrate Creatine is found naturally in muscle cells where it facilitates recycling of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the body's energy currency. Creatine has been researched for many years and is possibly the most widely used sports supplement popular amongst bodybuilders and athletes to improve strength, increase lean muscle mass, and help the muscles recover more quickly during exercise.
Beta Alanine It's a naturally-occurring beta-amino acid although unlike other aminos, it isn't used to synthesize protein. Instead, your body uses it to produce carnosine, which helps improve exercise performance. Beta Alanine is often found in pre-workout supplements and some find it to have "caffeine like" affects. Research suggests its safe and one of the most consitently effective at boosting performance since creatine and will help you crank out an additional couple of reps in the gym. As with many supplements it's good to give them a rest after a cycle of maybe 4 - 8 weeks. Also, watch out for the tingling sensation, this is a sign you may be taking too much in one dose. If you get the tingle in the neck, don't worry, just drop the dosage to where it doesn't happen.
Citrulline Malate A naturally occuring amino acid, it has shown to increase Arginine levels in the body, which in turn supports the production of Nitric Oxide. It's known to help increase blood flow, oxygen transportation and nutrient uptake, as well as assisting muscle functions for improved output and growth. Research also suggests it can help generate longer workouts, less soreness and better recovery.
L-Carnitine Not quite an amino acid, L Carnitine is linked to the B Vitamins. It's found naturally in nature and is biologically active. It's produced in the body and can also come from avocados, soya and red meat. It's known to transport fatty acids to the mucles mitochondria of cells where it can be oxidized and used as fue to generate adenosine triphosphate (ATP) the body's energy currency. Research suggest it's benefits include burning fat, fatigue resistance, reducing the effect of eating carbs and becoming fat, decreased muscle soreness/improved recovery as well as better blood flow and pumps.

Others The Lean Exec and team have tried, but find them to be of less obvious benefit:

  • Cod Liver Oil – maybe most useful for people who don’t eat much oily fish or generally lacking Omega 3 in their diet.
  • Glutamine – An amino acid which is a building block of protein, is critical to the immune system and helps with intestinal health. It’s naturally found in foods and produced by the body.
  • HMB – HMB is a metabolite of the amino acid leucine. It’s naturally produced in the body and is considered to potentially help increase strength and muscle mass.  Although it would appear more research is needed.
  • ZMA – ZMA is a natural mineral supplement made up of zinc, magnesium aspartate, and vitamin B6. It is believed to support the body’s immune system and muscles. Magnesium plays a role in metabolism and muscle health and helps manage sleep. B6 may also boost energy. It’s widely used by athletes, gymnasts and bodybuilders.

For info, we’re planning to create an exact approach to TLE supplements, including exact quantity and timing at some point to make available on the site asap.

Visit us on FacebookVisit us on TwitterVisit us on LinkedInVisit us on Pinterest
Send this to a friend