Andy Cullen’s True Strength training plan: Supplements
Optimum Nutrition athlete Andy Cullen discusses his use of supplements and how they benefit his training regime.
Supplements are a big part of my training. I would never use them to replace food but I use them in conjunction with a healthy and varied diet. Here, I’ll go through some of the supplements I use on a regular basis and explain why they are of benefit to me and my training programme.
Multivitamins and Fish Oils
Throughout the day I make sure I have multivitamins and fish oils for my overall health and wellbeing.
Multivitamins: I use Optimum Nutrition Opti-Men multivitamins; they are essential for overall health and help to prevent any possible vitamin or mineral deficiencies. They help support the immune system, replenish energy levels and help stimulate the body's repair.
Fish oils: I use fish oils regularly. The main purpose of fish oils is to support healthy joints and to optimise hormonal support.
Before I work out, I use Optimum Nutrition Platinum PRE. This is a pre-workout supplement and gives me a much-needed boost before I begin a gym session. Below, I have broken down the main ingredients contained in Optimum Nutrition Platinum PRE.
Beta alanine (makes your skin tingly when you take a pre-workout supplement!)
Capsimax (this is basically a chili-extract, it has a thermogenic effect on the body)
Intra-workout supplement use
BCAA (Branch chain amino acids): BCAA are one of the most important supplements for people of all fitness levels. BCAA are my personal favourite supplement.
L-Glutamine: L-Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid found in the muscle.
Waxy maize: When bulking up or during particularly hard sessions (leg day, for example), I’ll add some waxy maize in with my intra-workout shake. Waxy maize is a fast-acting carbohydrate so I can maximise my performance throughout my workout.
Intra-workout nutrition is MASSIVELY important and I can’t stress this enough.
Post-workout supplement use
The ingredients included in my post workout supplement shake include:
Protein is made up of amino acids and its main purpose (in this context) is to aid muscle rebuilding due to the fact that during exercise, we tear muscle so protein will help speed up muscle growth. I use 40g of whey protein in a post-workout shake.
Fast acting carbohydrates: For a fast-acting carbohydrate, I’ll use Optimum Nutrition GlycoMaize. Its purpose is to create an insulin spike so your body stores the carbohydrate in the form of glycogen (your muscle’s energy source). During training we deplete our glycogen stores so it’s essential to replenish them after we train.
No matter what your goals are, in my opinion, post-workout carbohydrates are essential for the recovery process. This is the only time of the day that you should use a simple or fast-acting carbohydrate (i.e.sugar). During the rest of the day you should consume complex carbohydrates such as oats/basmati rice etc.
Creatine: Creatine helps with power and strength gains and it provides phosphate to the muscle for explosive power. I use 5g of creatine in a post-workout shake.
Glutamine: L-Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid found in the muscle. I use 10g of glutamine in a post-workout shake.
Broken down, my post-workout shake includes:
- 40g of protein
- 60g of simple carbs
- 5g of creatine
- 10g of glutamine
Pre-bedtime supplement use
I use Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard 100% Casein protein every night before I go to bed. Casein is a slow-digesting protein source. We work so hard throughout the day to ensure we are consuming proper nutrients, so it’s only right that we provide our bodies with more nutrients while we’re sleeping.
I also find when I take casein before bed that I always wake up hungry the next morning. This is due to my metabolism working through the night to break down the slow-digesting protein.
As I’ve said, supplements are an essential part of my training regime but if you’re not accustomed to using them and are looking for somewhere to start, the top three supplements I recommend for beginners are:
1. Whey protein
3. Fish oils
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