Supplements: What & Why
Written by: Coach Slater
We’ve made the switch from Stronger, Faster, Healthier to Driven Nutrition for our in-house supplements. We went from stocking only a couple things to having EIGHT options. Let’s quickly breakdown what everything is and why you should consider taking it.
First, let me say that getting to the point where you RELY on stimulants to perform each day in the gym is a negative. You’re better served by using PreWOD stimulants sparingly for special circumstances and work on improving your focus and positive self-talk to perform at your peak day-in, day-out at the gym. That said, if you’re looking for a pre-workout, the most effective ingredients are caffeine (or its derivatives) and some form of anti-inflammatory (like aspirin). Beta-Alanine is interesting to me because it’s been linked to decreases in muscle fatigue. The downside is that Driven’s PreWOD doesn’t specifically quantify how much Beta-Alanine is present in it, and it appears to be under 5gm, which is the generally agreed upon amount where this decrease in muscle fatigue occurs. So… while they’re a little short there, the real boost you’re looking for is from caffeine anyway. TLDR? Buy it if you need a jolt from time-to-time.
Creatine is one of the best known and most studied supplements in history, as well as one of the most misunderstood. Creatine increases the amount of creatine phosphate in your cells, thereby increasing the amount of energy available to fuel muscle contraction, thereby increasing the work capacity of a muscle. So, it will extend energy bursts, giving you enough strength for one extra rep when you need it, or maintain that sprint pace slightly longer before fading. All the wives tales about water retention are bogus, so there’s really no reason NOT to take it. There can be minor stomach discomfort by taking too much, so stick to the scoop provided. Also, don’t worry about “loading” when you start taking it or even cycling off it. Simply put, take it and become stronger.
GlycoDrive / Cyclic Dextrin
Our workouts are long and intense, so supplementing with carbs in your Pre- or Intra-WOD shake can keep you fueled throughout. I like to recommend cyclic dextrin because of how quickly it clears the gut, so you don’t feel like you have a full stomach while working out. Plus, studies have proven that cyclic dextrin has a significantly greater impact on your rate of perceived exertion (how easy the weight feels) compared to alternatives, and considering that you’re probably not taking ANYTHING pre- or mid-workout, then imagine how much better this would make you feel? One thing to note: if you’re calculating your macronutrients for gaining lean muscle mass or losing body fat, cyclic dextrin does count as a carb. So, you can overdo it, like you can overdo other carbs; but, for those interested in supplementing with carbs to improve your performance, cyclic dextrin is the way to go. I could go on about why you should add carbs pre- and intra-, and about having a meal 30min post-workout, and about how waiting too long blunts your muscles’ sensitivity to glucose, but you knew that already. 😉
We’ve already told you why you should consume carbs and protein post-workout, right? Well, this just does all the thinking for you by combining both in one tub. Easy, right? If you’re new to carb-supplementation and don’t like mixing protein with Gatorade, then start with this stuff.
Aminos / BCAAs
For endurance athletes (read: anyone looking to do a mini- or full-marathon in 2017), BCAA’s can be tremendously helpful. Several studies have noted its anti-fatigue effects and increased time to exhaustion in intermediate-level athletes (which is all of us). But, if I’m you, I supplement with Cyclic Dextrin *first*, if deciding between BCAA’s and the former. However, if you’re working out fasted in the mornings or on a Saturday, you might consider adding this to your regiment.
5lb Grass Fed Whey Protein
Generally speaking, this is just a great protein. It’s got a combo of Whey Concentrate and Whey Isolate, it’s from grass-fed cows, and it includes some additional BCAAs. Some blend of Whey Concentrate is generally perfect for everyone at Derby City because you’re only doing one WOD a day. You’d generally only look at Whey Isolate if you’re working out twice a day. Over all, protein increases lean muscle mass, and increasing your lean muscle mass increases the caloric demands of your body, thereby helping you lose body fat, so would you not want to supplement with whey?
2lb Natural Whey
This is just a SUPER-clean version of the 5lb from above, at a higher price. Why higher? Because it has no sweeteners (sucralose) or artificial flavors. It’s good option for people who want an extremely clean version of the 5lb option. If you haven’t previously used whey protein, start with the 5lb tub. When your nutrition is dialed in, then we can talk about going to this cleaner version.
Casein is a slow-absorbing protein and can take hours for the body to absorb it. For that reason, casein is generally recommended for shakes prior to bed, not for immediately upon waking or post-workout. When you drink it, it coagulates in the stomach, slowly releasing amino acids into your blood stream over the course of several hours. So, add it to your pre-bed routine (maybe with some coconut oil to further slow absorption) and watch yourself gain more muscle.