Want to build muscle?
Busy and struggle with getting your diet right?
Then supplements will play an important part in your plan. They’re not essential by any means and you can get leaner and stronger without them, but when time is of the essence, having the right supplement protocol in place can make things a whole lot easier. Hence, busy guys benefit from supplements.
If you missed parts 1 to 3 of the busy guys series, be sure to check them out.
In this article we’ll be looking at what the best, most cost-effective and evidence-based supplements are to help you out when you’re always on the go and need a little extra assistance with your diet.
- Whey Protein
I mentioned whey protein in the article on the best snacks for busy guys, as I don’t really see it as a supplement – more as a food.
Whey protein is hugely beneficial, as it’s so convenient. The protein contained in it aids with muscle growth and recovery, and it’s far quicker and easier to drink a shake than it is to cook up chicken breasts or steaks and transport those with you every day.
Most guys need around 2 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight per day, which can seem like a lot if you’re not used to eating that much, so a shake helps in that respect too.
BCAAs are the “building blocks” of protein, and as protein is so vital to your gains, it makes sense that BCAAs are too. BCAA stands for branched chain amino acids, and each protein molecule is made from 20 amino acids. The three most important of these are leucine, isoleucine and valine, and these are the three in BCAAs.
The best time to take BCAAs is before or after a workout, when you need protein that digests extra quick, or between meals. This is especially critical, as to get optimum muscle protein synthesis, you need to ingest protein every 4 to 5 hours, but if you’re busy this isn’t always possible, hence a BCAA shake (or some capsules) comes in handy.
At the end of a long day, it can be seriously tough to raise your energy and mood to hit the gym. And even if you make it there, it’s not always easy to get amped up to hit new PRs or really put the work in.
If you’re finding this, why not try a pre-workout?
They’re designed to give you both a physical and a mental boost so that no matter how stressful your day’s been, you get the drive and determination to get into the weights room and crush it.
A good pre-workout should contain energy-boosting ingredients such as caffeine and beta alanine, as well as performance and recovery agents such as creatine and citrulline malate.
- Recovery Shake
Train at lunchtime or first thing in the morning?
Then you probably don’t find time to eat a solid meal before getting to your desk.
As time-efficient as training during your lunch hour or hitting the gym before work is, most busy guys won’t find time to eat before they have to get back to the grind again. This could mean sacrificing muscle recovery, which wouldn’t be the best of ideas.
Instead of having to extend your break from work so you can get in a whole plate of meat and rice or fish and potatoes, grab yourself a recovery shake instead. A decent recovery shake should have roughly a 2:1 ratio of carbs to protein to aid with refilling glycogen stores, and delivering amino acids to the muscles.
You’re busy – do you really have time to eat your fruits and veggies?
Okay, being busy isn’t an excuse to avoid the broccoli, beans and bananas, but sometimes you don’t have greens at the forefront of your mind, and might not always be getting as much as you should.
Fruits and veggies have two main benefits – they give you vitamins and minerals, and contain fibre, which aids digestion and helps with the prevention of illness and disease.
You can fix potentially missing out on your vitamins and minerals by supplementing your diet with a multivitamin. Ideally you should still aim for a minimum of four servings of veggies and one or two of fruit every day as well, but in a pinch, a multi helps to cover your bases.
This links on nicely from #5.
A multi can help you out with potentially missing the vitamins and minerals from fruits and veggies, but doesn’t help with the lack of fibre. Not surprisingly, a fibre supplement can.
Fibre powder mixes easily into a shake or a bowl of oats, and you’ll feel the benefit on days when you know you’ve not quite hit your vegetable quota.
Supps – Are They Worth It?
I’ll always say that people can get results without including supplements in their plan, but if you can afford the investment, then adding a few well-chosen supps into your regime will certainly help out.
If you always slept for eight to nine hours per night, could rest up for a couple of hours before and after all your workouts, had your nutrition 100% on point, and never experienced stress, then you might be able to get by just fine without anything … but then you wouldn’t be a busy guy then either!
For folks like us who do have other things to contend with, pressure and stress, and work long hours, supplements can be the tipping point between getting the best results possible, and just getting by.