There is a whole lot of confusion around sports supplements. Bro Science is mostly to blame for this weird evolution of the fitness industry. The saturation of sports supplements even in supermarkets has a whole lot of people thinking “do I need protein?”.

Chances are you don’t.

Let’s be upfront. More often than not, the answer is “no you don’t need sports supplements” (OMG!).

Gym Bandit believes in honesty, openness and providing you with the best in customer service. For us, providing you with something that might not move you towards your fitness goals just doesn’t mesh with us. So provided you’re eating a balanced and varied diet and going to the gym regularly, you’re probably getting all the nutritional requirements your body *needs* strictly speaking.

Buuuuuut if you want to:

  • Improve your training performance;
  • Improve your focus and/or memory
  • Reduce the time you spend in post-gym agony with muscle soreness;
  • Increase your power, strength and/or 1RM; or
  • Make smoothies rather than sitting down for a meal

then chances are you could benefit from incorporating some sports supplements into your diet.

Do I Need Protein? What you should consider before taking sports supplements

Before you get started, there are a whole heap of considerations when it comes to sports supplements. Let’s focus on Protein Powder for the moment –

Practicality

Taking 30g of protein each day is cheaper than buying steak/salmon/chicken and its quicker to eat. It’s also easier to store, as it’s fine in the pantry or other cool, dark place in your house.

Timing

Timing of supplementation is important to maximise the product’s efficiency. Protein powders are always most effective when they are taken just before your workout, or right afterwards. The time the particular protein powder takes for your body to digest is also a consideration – but don’t worry about it when you’re just starting out.

Risks Of Getting More Than You Paid For

Mostly, it’s important to understand it is a pretty unregulated market and there is a huge difference in ingredients and their nutritional profiles depending on the country of origin. In Australia, sports supplements packaged here come under “Formulated Sports Food” category of the Therapeutic Goods Administration. Strictly speaking, there is no requirement for manufacturers to even test their own products to prove what’s in the package. This means, there are a whole heap of unscrupulous people out there who are willing to gamble with your health. One example of this was the recent Triple J report into Protein Powders in Australia.

Country of Origin

Australia does not produce WPI commercially so every commercial WPI is imported. Most commonly, it’s imported from United States, Europe (mostly Ireland) or New Zealand. Manufacturing standards and Product Safety/Testing requirements are very different in these nations. It’s no surprise that US WPI is the cheapest, because their standards are the most lenient.

Being Safe

We’re parents and a family-run business. We strongly believe that safety is the most important consideration when it comes to ingesting anything into your body. It’s really important to see a health professional and adhere to the recommended dosages of any supplement. There can be side effects of some substances – especially those which are more experimental, contain a lot of weird sounding botanical ingredients etc.

Science

There are so many wonderful resources you can use to check the claims sports supplement brands make pretty easily. Examine.com is our favourite. If you ever come across a product which says *it will* help you climb a building like spiderman (that’s obviously an exaggeration), then you should steer clear. The results of sports supplementation can vary from person to person.

So, What works.

The list is pretty short when it comes to effective and safe sports supplements.

  1. Protein
  2. Creatine
  3. Caffeine
  4. BCAA’s
  5. ALCAR

Other ingredients like Beta Alanine, Citrulline Malate, Taurine, Green Tea Extract, Guarana etc work to some extent, but they haven’t been proven to improve performance directly. Glutamine has been shown effective when it comes to improving your gut health, but that’s where the science stops being so clear.

The chances are that when you walk into a sports supplement shop, a whole heap of fancy sounding words are screaming out at you from the shelves (and anywhere else you look). Consider the above and what is important to you. Or ask us. We’ll always point you in the right direction.

The Gym Bandit team

Awesome! So which Gym Bandit products will help me recover faster so I don’t have days of muscle soreness!!??

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Shogun Pro is a NZ WPI Protein and comes in two flavours – chocolate and vanilla. WPI protein is great for people who have digestive issues including lactose intolerance. This is because of how it is made (which you can read more about here).

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Another product to consider, if you’re really struggling, is our BCAA 2:1:1 Pro. Sipping on this during your workout, or during a competition, will really help to keep your muscles active but keep lactic acid at bay.

More Gym Bandit Sweatshop posts about Protein – 

WPI vs WPC: What you need to know to cut through the jargon


Which Gym Bandit products could I use to improve my training performance?

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Provided your supporting your muscle growth with adequate protein, the next best way to improve your training performance is with Creatine and/or a Preworkout which contains Creatine. Creatine is the most researched sports supplement (after protein), is safe and is clinically proven to be effective after extensive and long-term studies. If you want to know more, read this blog post.

In short, Creatine has been proven to be so effective it is practically essential for all strength and power athletes like strongmen and powerlifters. Studies show it can improve your 1RM, your VO2Max, your power output and a lot more.

If you don’t believe us, check out the evidence supporting Creatine at Examine.com.


Which Gym Bandit products could improve my focus and/or memory?

All Sports Supplements

ALCAR Acetyl L-Carnitine Pro

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ALCAR, or Acetyl L-Carnitine has been around since the 1960’s. It’s highly effective at boosting your brain power with researchers calling it is a “smart drug”. Read more about ALCAR’s brain boosting power here.

Beast Mode NOX Preworkout is designed to improve your focus but also improve your lifting. Containing both caffeine, creatine as well as Beta Alanine and Taurine, it’s an effective preworkout that won’t give you the jitters/itchiness/weirdness of other products on the market.


Which Gym Bandit products could I use to add to my smoothies?

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Adding a scoop of Shogun Pro protein powder into your morning or lunch smoothie can really help to keep you powered and feeling full throughout the day.