Supplement time

I recently received an email from Kay, one of the readers of my regular articles in ultra-FIT magazine.

Kay asked me: I need answers to question about the role of Testosterone and Growth Hormone supplements efficacy in older people, what is your view? I am a doctor and the Internet publications on the subject are inconclusive. Would adequate protein intake and weight training be sufficient in stopping the muscle wasting of old age?

My response to Kay was:

Firstly on supplements: I’ll say up-front that that I’m not a fan of too many supplements, I believe that most people should concentrate on getting their diet right first. Supplements are only a valid supplement to a good diet. I wouldn’t touch Testosterone or Growth Hormone, ones you mention. Having said that, I do take three supplements on a regular basis. I choose the ones from True Performance Nutrition, as I am an Ambassador for the brand – I’ve found their products to be the highest quality and generate results, and I am a 100% believer in the people involved in the brand and development of their products.

I take BCAA 4:1:1 capsules which I take before and after training to supply specific proteins to help build and repair muscle. The three BCAA’s are the most fundamental amino acids used by the body for muscle repair and growth, and the numbers 4:1:1 refer to these tablets delivering a four-fold amount of Leucine compared to the amounts of the other two BCAA’s, Isoleucine and Valine. This is the ratio that I believe has found to be the best to promote delivery to muscle cells.

My second supplement is Tri-Creatine Malate which helps the body to deliver energy to the muscles, further assists muscle growth, and also helps control muscular fatigue and pain. The name here refers to the structure of three Creatine molecules linked to one molecule of Malic Acid – a combination determined by the company to be the optimum for delivering results.

Finally on supplements, I like and use the RIPPED product, and use it pretty much daily to help keep body-fat levels under control. I’ve used RIPPED since pre-launch, as I was in the trial group as the over 50′s representative back in September 2012. I now use it most days of the week as my only consumed item before morning cardio – so that’s usually 4 or 5 days per week. In the two-month run-up to my World Championship contest in April 2013, I used it every single day – and am convinced I would not have achieved my lowest ever levels of body-fat that I had at that time without my pre-cardio RIPPED. And even though I’m not heading for another contest at present, I still take it on morning cardio days – and as always come home to a great high-protein, high-carb breakfast afterwards.

I also use Whey Protein Shakes from True Performance Nutrition as part of my regular diet, including that breakfast I mentioned. I don’t really call whey protein a supplement, as such, to me it is basic nutrition, as without protein shakes I couldn’t make the levels of protein that I want to consume daily (delivering 40% of my calories). My favourite flavour is Chocolate Mint, and two scoops stirred into my 60g of breakfast oats, nuts and fruits gives me the protein I need to add to the carbs from the oats and fruits to get my preferred macronutrient split for breakfast. An extra benefit is that it turns the oats into a delicious chocolatey flavour! Another favourite of shakes is Banoffee, which is my preferred post-workout flavour and I take a couple of scoops at that time with an apple and the BCAA’s I mentioned before.

Secondly, on exercise: I’m a massive fan of stopping muscle wastage/atrophy in old age through 40 minutes of cardio and 5 minutes on an Abs:100 set pre-breakfast, then an afternoon or evening resistance training bodypart split workout – cycling around days for Arms, Back, Chest, Delts and Elevators (that’s legs!). For each of those body-parts, on the appropriate day, I do 3 sets of 6 exercises, plus a final set of a seventh exercise on more of an endurance basis. So, for example, that’s 19 sets (spread across 7 exercises) for back in workout B, the same for chest on workout C, and covering all body-parts cycling through A-E, then back to A on day six. All done on an incremental progressive overload basis, where every time I do an exercise I make it that tiniest bit harder than the previous time. Much more on all this on my website.

Thirdly, nutrition: You don’t ask about this subject, Kay, but – in one sentence, keep the protein, healthy fats, natural products and fibre up – and keep the calories down, especially those from processed food, sat fats and sugar.

In summary, I’m a massive fan of stopping muscle wastage/atrophy in old age through good nutrition, daily cardio and challenging resistance training – adding (if you like) reasonable amounts of quality supplements. This forms my recipe for keeping fit into one’s old age.

Thanks to Kay for her question, and everyone please keep those questions coming to – including if anything in the above needs a bit more detail. Have a fit and healthy weekend!