“What supplements should I take?”
“What about protein powder? Amino acids? BCAA? Vitamin D? Fish oil?”
“Do I even need supplements? Isn’t eating a healthy diet good enough?”
“Do most supplements even work? Or are you just throwing your money down the drain?”
“Can I trust the companies I’m buying products from?”
The list of seemingly unanswerable questions about supplements goes on. And on. And on. It’s safe to say supplements are a controversial subject, and the industry as a whole has a bad reputation for misleading the public into wasting their money on cleverly marketed, but useless products. Check out this blog about misleading misleading marketing.
The numerous confusing questions about supplements—and a desire to improve the state of supplement industry—are what led exercise scientist and sleep expert Rowan Minnion to found his company Blonyx. Minnion, a native of London, England, explained his brand is focused on “improving the quality of supplements for performance.”
In short, this man is well-researched and focused on the real science behind the supplement.
“I spend a chunk of my time reading published human studies on supplements, and build up files on them, until I feel there is enough data showing the product works and is safe,” Minnion said. “This generally means five or more studies with positive results in my mind.”
Considering the latter assessment process, Minnion discovered time and time again that creatine, HMB and beta-alanine are three supplements with a proven scientific track record to improve performance. For creatine specifically, there have been more than 100 peer-reviewed articles that prove its effectiveness as a supplement.
Creatine is a substance your body produces naturally in both the liver and pancreas. It is also obtained directly from food—for example fish an red meat—but the foods we eat only have trace amounts of creatine.
As a supplement, what you need to know is creatine is it is proven to help you gain strength! For more information, check out this 5-part series about creatine. Part 4 is especially interesting. It goes into truths and myths about creatine.
Beta-alanine helps increase muscular endurance during short to mid-range, high intensity training.
Beta-alanine is the building block of carnosine, which acts as a buffer against lactic acid build-up in the body. So during high-intensity intervals, you can push a little deeper into the pain cave because you don’t have as much lactic acid building up in your body slowing you down.
Athletes who take beta-alanine say it helps them push out those extra couple reps during short intervals as they don’t feel quite as fatigued. It can also help with building lean mass, and some studies have suggested it might even be an anti-aging compound.
HMB (or β-Hydroxy β-Methylbutyrate) is used in the body to protect and repair your muscle tissues. It does this by slowing the breakdown of muscle protein and speeding up protein synthesis, all the while preserving the structural integrity of your muscles.
5 ways the research shows HMB supplementation helps performance:
• Increases strength
• Increases endurance
• Increases muscle mass gains
• Reduces recovery time between training sessions
• Might help reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels
Check out more about the research behind HMB here.
Two other useful supplements Minnion recommends:
1. Vitamin D:
Especially for those athletes who live in the northern hemisphere and don’t see much sun during the winter months, he said.
2. Dehydration formulas:
“I also think athletes should consider dehydration formulas with some salt in it before a long workout that will likely dehydrate them. Dehydration can quickly mess with a number of metabolic processes inhibiting performance and recovery,” he said.
At the end of the day, the golden rule for supplementation is to do your due diligence—read and research—and then find a company (or companies) you trust, and see what works for your body.