Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Supplements 101

Supplements. They're everywhere! If you follow any health and fitness bloggers on Instagram you've probably seen them advertising every supplement under the sun but do you know what they're actually for and what they can do for you?

Today Ben and I will go over the basic supplements available at your local supplement store and what they are used for and how and when to use them to get the best out of them!


Protein is often split into a few main types, with some less common ones available . Sometimes it's difficult to get our protein needs from our diet, so we have to call in some help in the form of a protein powder! Below are some of the types you can buy, along with some general info.


Stands for Whey Protein Isolate. Because of this, it is not suitable for vegans, or those who are lactose intolerant. It is the most common protein on the market, and also generally the most expensive. Is absorbed by the body relatively quickly (one hour or so) making it a good pre/post workout shake.

Our choice? JD Neutraceuticals 100% whey. It is the cleanest, purest WPI that I have ever come across. It is a small, Brisbane based brand at the moment, so its also awesome to support an underdog.


Also derived from milk, so it is also not suitable for our vegan/lactose intolerant friends. It is a very slow absorbing protein (taking approximately eight hours) making it a good protein for a pre-bed shake. It will also keep you fuller for longer than the WPI.

Our choice? Giants casein protein. Tastes absolutely amazing, which in my experience is a rare thing in casein proteins.


Generally made from a mix of WPI, Casein, WPC (whey protein concentrate) and occasionally egg protein as well. Will often have slightly more carbs per serve than the other two proteins mentioned so far, and will also keep you feeling fuller for longer than a WPI. This is the protein I generally recommend to beginners due to its multi-faceted use. It's good for a morning smoothie, pre bed, with any meal, and even post workout. I like to call it an all rounder, and essentially, that is what is is. Blends will also often be cheaper than a WPI.

Our choice? Cyborg 5 Phase. Aussie brand, tastes incredible, and has a huge range of flavours! A very clean product, and one of my personal favorites.


Used to get a huge amount of calories in a small amount of food, so they are very thick shakes! Protein to carb ratios in these shakes will vary from brand to brand, as will its total calorie count. They can have anywhere from 500-1250 calories in a single serve, and I have seen huge variance in the carb contents (from products with 40 grams of carbs, and 40 grams of protein, up to 120g carbs, 50 grams of protein etc. You get the idea, lots of differences between products). Generally the right product for people who can't hit their total calories easily through food, good for meal replacements (depending on brand) but are definitely not suitable for those trying to lose weight.

Our choice? Huge by horleys. It packs tons of the micro nutrients the human body needs (vitamins and minerals), tastes incredible, and isn't stupidly expensive.


Not as common as any of the above, beef protein is derived from beef (obviously). It can be clumpy/foamy when mixed, but will often also have less carbs and fat than even the cleanest WPI. And no, it doesn't taste like meat.

Our choice? CarneBolic by Ultimate Nutrition. ZERO fat and Zero carbs in its 100 calorie serving, and they have done a marvelous job on reducing the foam/clump issue. They also have some interesting flavor options ;)


Slightly more common than beef protein, there are several tried and trusted vegan protein brands out there. They use peas and brown rice to get their protein, and if a vegan can eat it, so can people who are lactose intolerant. These proteins can be a little chalky, but mixing it with a vegan suitable milk (almond milk or coconut milk for example) can reduce this, as well as make it a creamier, smoother texture.

Our choice? Power plant protein by Prana. These guys have a huge range of 100% natural and mostly vegan products, including fat burners, thermo proteins, mass gainers and more. Their products taste delicious too!


Least common of the lot. Not many companies have bothered to develop these, for some reason that I cannot fathom. These use Essential Amino Acids that have been micronised to substitute protein. To give you a basic idea of what that would mean for you as a consumer, is that a 5g scoop of the product is the equivalent of 25g of whey isolate. They don't mix like any of the above proteins, and don't work in smoothies. They mix, have the consistency of, and taste like cordial. Zero carbs, zero fat, lactose and dairy free, gluten free, everything. Suitable for just about everyone, we cannot encourage you enough to look into these!

Our choice? Ultra-leaan by Cyborg. This is my all time favorite protein. Their wild raspberry tastes like cottee's red cordial, for those of you who know what that's like. Cheaper per serve than any other protein on the market, and is perfect for pre/intra/post workout, and can also be used at any time of the day you need a protein hit.

Pre workout/ Simulant Free pre workout

Ah pre workout. I feel like I have tried thousands of them. Some of them do nothing and then you have others that keep you up for two days straight with the amount of caffeine they have in them.

If your body isn't too familiar with caffeine, it's a good idea to start with a stimulant free/low caffeine based pre workout to build up to stronger products. This also allows you room to move. If it works fine for you, and you don't want anything stronger, perfect. If you do, there is tons of room to move up the ladder. Starting with the strongest you can get your hands on can ruin you for any pre workouts with less caffeine.  

The difference behind stim free and stim based are the effects the active ingredients have on your body. Stim based will generally provide more of an energy hit, while stim free will generally give you a bigger "pump" (though of course they both also give you some of each. In the end, it comes down to personal preference).

Pre-workouts will work best when taken 30-40 minutes prior to your workout with around 500ml of water. Back in the day when I first started taking pre-workout, I would put it in a drink bottle with the smallest amount of water I could stand, and smash it just before I walked into the gym. Whilst this is great for a quick burst of energy, if you want it to last for longer, reduce the "crash", and add the bonus of extra hydration, it's best to have it with more water and drink it well before starting exercise.

Tahana's choice? Gold standard pre workout from Optimum Nutrition. A middle of the range amount of caffeine, with a few cheeky extra's in there, it is a fantastic pre workout for anyone who hasn't had one before, and even seasoned gym goers.
Bens choice? Rocket Fuel, by JD Neutraceuticals. Containing 350mg of caffeine, it is one of the strongest you can get. It also has some Thermogenic compounds in it, which assist with fat burning.

Thermogenic (fat burner)

I (Tahana) find these to be really effective but you really have to have everything on point (diet and exercise) for them to aid with your fat loss. It really is amazing the difference they make and how they speed everything up when added to your diet and exercise routine.

Tahanas choice? Beast 2shredded (tablets). These worked wonders for me! So definitely something I'll try again!
Bens choice?  Melt, from Cyborg. Mixes well, tons of serves per tub (60), tastes awesome, and the scientific proof is there that the active ingredients in this product do, indeed, work. It is a fantastic product, highly recommend it.


This is the magic supplement for anyone trying to increase strength/power/weight gain. I (Ben) personally have had incredible results using creatine, and I haven't met anyone who HASN'T had results from its use. It will help your body hold water, giving you a "puffy" look (this will go away when you stop taking it, as this is what we call water weight), it will increase your strength and power, and these effects generally last even after you stop taking it. This is literally THE supplement for anyone trying to put on weight.
If you are looking into this product, the correct dosing for serious growth is 0.3 grams per kilo of body weight per day, for 5 days. It is then 0.03-0.1 grams per kilo per day after that. It is not a steroid, it is not going to kill your liver, it is generally safe for everyone.

Bens choice? In this one, I am going to have to go with a tie for first place. One of these two is the Creatine Complex from the Milos Sarcev signature series. This is a creatine I have used many times in the past, and it has never let me down. The taste can be a little strong, and it can be a little gritty, but it is an amazing creatine, and I stand by it.
The other one is Gains from Cyborg. Apart from containing creatine, the guys at Cyborg have packed a whole heap of extra ingredients into it, making it a truly amazing product. All the extra ingredients in it will help your body in a myriad of ways. An absolutely awesome product.


 These are used to prevent your body breaking down muscle. The number one product for recovery and muscle repair, they are a fantastic thing to add to your day if you are constantly waking up sore etc. Best taken during and after your session, but you can also feel free to sip on them throughout the day. Also comes in tablet form.

Our choice for a powder? Fusion from Cyborg. This product is matched to their ultra-leaan exactly. you cannot tell them apart when mixed together, and the effects of one compliment the other. A truly delicious product, it is a pleasure to drink.
Our choice for tablet? Recov Bi-peptides. Don't get put off by the name, they aren't illegal or dangerous! I love these, they helped me massively when I was taking them, and I certainly noticed when I stopped! An expensive product, but well worth it.

Beta Alanine

The ingredient in pre workout that makes you tingle and itch and sometimes, like you have ants under your skin (nose/lips/tounge/face are generally where you will feel these effects first/most intensely) Beta alanine does really do some awesome things inside you (boosts strength and power, increases exercise capacity, increases aerobic endurance and increases muscle mass), but for these things to happen, you will probably need to take enough to get the side effects (be aware though, the itching is completely harmless). If you want to avoid the tingles, a 20mg/per kg dose will produce moderate itching in most people, and a 40mg/per kg is enough to make almost everyone severely itchy. If you can put up with it, awesome, get into it. If you can't, don't sweat it.


Conjugated Linoleic Acid is marketed as a fat burner, but the dosage required for it do this is extreme. In my humble opinion, not one of the most effective fat burners on the market, but it cant hurt to take it/buy products containing it, and hey, It might work better for you.


Green Teas

We have covered this before here, but "Detoxing" isn't a thing. If you have a functional liver and kidneys, they will do the detoxing for you. Please be very, very skeptical about any product claiming to detox you.
I bring this up here, because many green teas are marketed as detox-ers. They aren't.
However, that being said, they can still have health benefits, like helping your immune system, improving mood etc. They are nice to drink, and are a much better option than coke etc.
I would recommend buying one if you want to spruce up your normal daily drinking habits, and just want that little pick me up.

Our choice? Vi-tea, by Vitawerx. It is the most delicious drink I have ever bought from a supplement store. Comes in a range of flavours, has very little caffeine, no sugar, no artificial colourings or flavourings. A very good product

Estrogen blockers

You will see a few of these kicking around out there. They are a product that (notionally) decreases your bodies estrogen level, which is the female growth hormone. The reasoning there is that since estrogen doesn't help with muscle growth, reducing its levels within your body will allow you to become bigger and stronger due to a higher testosterone count. I'm not a big believer in them, as the "effectiveness" of most of them is heavily disputed. Due to this, I don't have a "choice" product per se, but if I was to recommend any particular one, I would push you towards the products from ATP. Their products try to be the healthiest, and safest for things like this, and I have heard anecdotal evidence to support some of their claims.

Greens drinks

These are a way to get your body the vitamins and minerals you would normally get through veggies. It is a novel idea, and there aren't a whole lot of options for those wishing to take this path, but should you decide that these are the right thing to suit your needs, there are some awesome products out there.
Our choice? Chocolate silk greens, by Barleans. Mixes like a nesquik shake, and tastes like one too. An awesome product!


Is an easy way of getting carbs into your system. One gram of dextrose is the equivalent of one gram of carbohydrate. I use quite a bit of this every day. Very helpful for people on high calorie diets. You can buy it from supplement stores, but there it is generally over priced. I buy mine from Woolworths for $3.35 a kilo. It will be found with their beer brewing stuff, you can also buy it online, and from beer brewing shops, home brew suppliers etc.

Testosterone boosters

Most of these do not work. Period.They are made to work in conjunction with estrogen blockers, to ensure your body has the highest possible amount of testosterone to help with muscle building and repair.
If I had to recommend one, I would point you at 6-mass or OH-C21 (both from LG sciences). They are the only ones I have ever seen people return to buy, due to its positive results. If this is a placebo effect or not would have to be tested by Drs, unfortunately. Creatine is a safer, cheaper alternative which is more likely to actually do something for you.

Go back and read it. I promise you'll find something useful ;)

If you have any other questions about anything health & fitness, join our Facebook group here!

Writers note: None of these above statements are intended to treat, cure or prevent any illness of disease. This is not intended as medical advice. Always consult a physician before taking supplements, especially if a child/teen, a pregnant or breastfeeding woman, or someone with health complications. Photos from brand websites.


  1. I've found the Raw Protein Isolate by Amazonia is amazing (vegan), never thought I'd end up writing about a protein powder on my blog but low and behold I'll have a few words posted about it on Thursday afternoon. May not be as smooth as Whey proteins but what can you really expect?! I love it.

    Taylor | www.alittletaylorlynette.blogspot.com.au

  2. Such an awesome read!!! I am definitely saving this for future reference to look back on. I am almost out of protein and think I will be giving the Cyborg 5 Phase a go!! AMAZING job guys!!! So informative!!!

    Sarah | Bows & Pleats

  3. Really great post and very informative! I've never tried a protein powder before.


  4. Wow I didn't know there were so many different supplements on the market, very informative post Hun and for someone like me who didn't know really anything about this kind of stuff before you have made it easier to understand.

    Nicole xx | www.nicolesbeautybabble.com

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