Like milk and cookies, some things are just meant to be consumed in pairs. This is also true when it comes to supplements. Take these important 4 food and supplement stacks to build muscle with your protein – max out your health and results.
Best to take with your pre-workout protein
Betaine and citrulline
Your pre-workout swill should be a Jekyll-and-Hyde-like mix that turns you into a man possessed. To do this it needs to mask pain, increase intensity and give you oomph. The first ingredient in this duo – betaine – ticks all those boxes. It dramatically increased squat and vertical jump strength in a study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. It works by hiding the burn that you feel when you train hard from your brain. This effectively pushes the pain barrier further away. Citrulline improves your ability to digest not only the betaine, but also your pre and post-workout protein while scavenging lactic acid by-products from exercise. It’s a match made in heaven.
Best to take with your post- workout protein
Dextrose and palatinose
The main reason you should have carbs directly after a workout is to replenish the muscle glycogen that you’ve burnt during your training session. To do this it’s best to use a really fast digesting carb like dextrose. This gets shuttled to your working muscles double quick. This holds true even if you’re lifting weights, which doesn’t really burn a lot of energy because replacing what you’ve lost will always accelerate recovery. If you’re doing something calorie intensive like interval training then you actually continue to burn extra calories long after your workout has subsided and this is where taking a small amount of slow-digesting carbs, like Palatinose, can help you. Research in Forum One Nutrition found that your body digests Palatinose slowly, so you’re drip-fed carbs for the hours following your workout. Team that up with your protein and you’ll accelerate to a faster recovery with every passing minute.
Best to take with your nighttime protein drink
Zinc, magnesium and vitamin b6 (zma)
Muscles do a significant portion of their growth at night so if you’re taking a slow-digesting protein like casein before bed then you can optimise the conditions for growth by washing down a testosterone booster before bed. Research in the journal of Excerise Physiology found the ZMA increases testosterone levels. These supplements will optimise your natural levels of testosterone to their highest baseline levels.
Watch yourself, though. ZMA and Calcium notoriously don’t play well with each other and compete for absorption. Get your shake in an hour or so before you take your ZMA. It might be worth leaving your ZMA by your bedside table so you don’t forget.
Best to take with your meal replacement protein shake
Greens and omega 3
A meal replacement might give your body a neat fix of calories, carbs and proteins, but it’s not quite the nutritional equivalent of eating a chicken salad. If you’re using protein shakes as a mid-meal snack or as a replacement for a meal, it’s worth taking some extras to shore yourself against any nutritional shortfalls.
Since green supplements made of ingredients like ground-up wheatgrass, alfalfa and spirulina are still relatively new to the market, there isn’t an abundance of consequential research that proves their benefits.
However, their ingredients lists do not lie and they are densely packed with an array of good vitamins, trace elements and minerals – much like those you’d get from regular foods. What’s more, protein shakes don’t always have enough healthy fats like omega-3’s. By combining fish oils with these green supplements and your protein you can give yourself the best possible chance of getting a complete meal
Try these 4 food and supplement stacks to build muscle and let us know how it went for you in the comments below. We’d love to know your food and supplement pairings too.
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