Health 

Kirsty Godso Breaks Down Everything You Need to Know About Workout Supplements

The Nike Master Trainer explains the fundamentals of protein powders, vitamins and more.

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There are many different kinds of supplements one can take pre and post-workouts. To help those who are trying to figure out which type of protein powder works best for their body, or what vitamins can help assist muscle repair, we spoke to Kirsty Godso, fitness trainer and founder of Made Of, about the benefits of workout supplements and various ways you can incorporate them into your regimen.

In addition to whey protein powders (which help build muscle and repair tissue), for beginners, Godso recommends starting out with magnesium, CoQ10 and vitamin C. Read on for more tips from the certified Nike Master Trainer, her daily supplement regimen, as well as her go-to pre-workout smoothie recipe.

While you’re here, check out Godso’s “Fast Fire Glutes” at-home workout routine.
What are the different types of protein powders and what exactly do they do?

When you look at protein powders, it can be completely overwhelming due to the array of choices. However, the three big categories to know are:

  • Whey protein powders (contains isolate, concentrate, hydrolyzed or whey blends, which are all derived from dairy).
  • Vegan protein powders (contains plant-based ingredients like hemp, pea, rice, pumpkin seed, chia seed, soy or sachi inchi).
  • Collagen protein powders.

Whey protein isolate is the real hero of protein powders when it comes to results and recovery. If you find clean whey protein powder without unnecessary additives, it is an excellent way to get high protein content with little to no fat and almost no sugar. This type of protein is so popular because of the superior support it gives the body. For those looking to hold lean muscle, it is your best choice to fuel your training, recovery and nutrition. Now keep in mind that lean muscle is a good thing. The more lean muscle you have, the more calories you burn at a resting rate. Whey protein powders are derived from dairy, but the benefit of whey isolate is the process it goes through as it essentially removes all the lactose, making it accessible for many people who are lactose intolerant. As with any supplement, this will vary from person to person. However, I have seen many lactose intolerant individuals use my whey protein powder, Made Of, with no issues.

If you follow a plant-based diet, you will be geared towards vegan protein powders. It might take a bit of trial and error to find which type works best for your body as a lot of the ingredients can be inflammatory to the gut. As a general rule of thumb, I would advise everyone to avoid soy due to the added hormones it contains.

Collagen is the most abundant protein in our body and produces naturally in the cartilage and other connective tissues, making up about 25 percent of our protein mass. Over time, our ability to produce collagen diminishes, so supplementing with collagen powders has become popular. It is important to note that collagen powders are not plant-based or vegan, and can often be filled with unnecessary additives and flavoring to make them appear plant-based. When selecting one, I would highly recommend getting something unflavored. Like any supplement or food you are consuming, read the ingredients — the details matter.

How should you use protein powders?

There are no hard rules for how you should use protein powders but what I would say is not to use them as a substitute for food altogether. Protein powders should be an added support to your healthy eating regime. Some common ways to use them are:

  • Pre-workout: For a quick boost of energy before you crush a workout or run. It’s a good way to have a little bit of food in your system that you can digest easily. I recommend allowing at least 20 minutes between drinking it and starting your workout. I like to mix half a scoop of my Made Of whey protein powder with six ounces of water or cold brew coffee.
  • Post-workout: This is probably how most of us first learned about protein and when it should be taken. Having a scoop of protein powder post-workout should ideally be only mixed with water. This will get essential amino acids into your body to help accelerate muscle repair and recovery. This is less of a meal and rather acts as support. You will want to eat an actual meal approximately one hour later.
  • Smoothie add-in: This is a big favorite of mine and many others. I love to add a scoop of protein into my morning smoothie to get a good source of protein if I’m not having something like eggs for breakfast. My favorite smoothie recipe is:

What other workout supplements can beginners start taking besides protein powder?

There are things that we naturally produce in our system, and at the same time, we get vitamins and minerals from our diet. Supplements should always be a form of added support to the body. However, added support is also useful and in some cases necessary as the body starts to create less of these things as we age. Here’s a quick list of good add-ins for beginners:

  • Magnesium: Magnesium is a food element that is involved in over 300 metabolic processes that occur inside the body. When we are stressed, our bodies will burn out magnesium. It helps with recovery, sleep, digestion and calming the nervous system. Take it before bed and like everything, follow dosage recommendations.
  • CoQ10: This can assist in muscle repair, physical performance and help combat age-related depletion.
  • Vitamin C: We should already be getting a lot of this from our food but it also helps as a supplement. I love taking liposomal vitamin C products due to their bioavailability, meaning they are absorbed by your body faster.

Other than building muscle and burning fat, what are the other health benefits of supplements?

Supplements help support what you naturally have in your body and what you’re getting from your food. It is important that we are proactive about our health and are always at the forefront of keeping our immune system healthy. We should also support our cells for optimal repair and combat the daily stressors of life and aging. Supplements not only assist the body but it also boosts your mood and mental energy. However, if you currently don’t have healthy habits in place, you cannot simply rely on them to do the work for you. Understand what your body needs but also bear in mind that you don’t want to over supplement. Having regular blood tests can also be very helpful to know what your body might be lacking and where it needs a helping hand.

How often does one have to consume their protein powder shake or vitamins for it to be effective?

If you’re working out regularly, you should have your protein powder daily. Your body will get used to a routine, so you want to have a daily regimen that consists of vitamins and supplements — unless you are advised by a professional that something should be taken in set doses.

What type of ingredients should beginners avoid when it comes to purchasing new protein powders and vitamins?

Look out for unnecessary additives and fillers — these things can wreak havoc on your body and do more harm than good. I advise all my clients to avoid anything with added soy (including soy lecithin), sugar, (usually listed as cane sugar or sucralose), gums (often used as a binding agent), oils (palm, rapeseed and canola), corn fiber/starch and erythritol (sugar alcohol). Additionally, you should be careful of “natural flavors.” Look for organic flavors or organic natural flavors instead. You’ll see a lot of these ingredients in protein bars and packaged foods. My best advice is to always read the list of ingredients.

Can you share with us your daily or weekly supplement routine?

The supplements I consume every morning are NAD+ (I use Basis by Elysium Health), CoQ10, vitamin C, D3K2, glutathione and adrenal support — I work with my doctor Dr. Paulvin on this for personal things I’ve been working through that have to do with adrenals, cortisol and hormones. For breakfast, I usually have a protein smoothie. As for my daily evening routine, I make sure to take magnesium, CoQ10, vitamin C, cortisol stabilizer, ashwagandha and lemon balm herb.

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