GTP TV: Ep 18 – All About Sport Supplements

Hey, gang. Welcome to Goalie Training Pro TV Episode 18. This week’s episode is about sport supplements, because I know it’s confusing. I get confused, and I get at least one email a week from an athlete that I train who’s like, “Hey, what do you think about Super Stacker Ripper XP Gen 2?” I have no idea even what that is.

So I want to try and help dispel some of the myths, maybe point you in the right direction. Because sometimes I talk to parents and they’re like, “Oh, none of that protein shake crap.” It’s not all magic juice, and it’s not all crap. It has its use and its value, and so let’s figure out when should I be thinking of using this and what should I look for if I do decide to use this?


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I will mention it now and I’ll mention it again at the end, and I don’t get paid by them or anything like that, but the source that I go to when I have a question about nutrition is

So if you go to, in the top right side, there’s a link to free articles. When you land on the page … because they do a nutrition certification and stuff, and that’s what they sell. But in the top right there’s a link to free articles. You can go in there, and you can search almost anything.

If you hear about intermittent fasting, “Oh, that’s supposed to be really good.” Well, go in there and read about intermittent fasting, because John Berardi is the head guy behind it. He was at Western when I worked at the Fowler Kennedy Clinic, so he’s been at it a long time. He has his PhD in Sport Nutrition, and he really looks at it from an objective perspective.

He doesn’t get swept up in the hype of it like, “Oh, yeah, this intermittent fasting, and you’ll get ripped.” He’s like, “Yeah, when you do intermittent fasting you actually just can’t eat as many calories as you normally would over the course of the day. So a lot of people do lose weight, because if you’re only eating in a six hour window, or whatever, you’re not going to eat three huge meals in six hours.

That’s who I go to. He even has a list of supplements that he likes, and the brand names and everything. That’s the place to go if you want to fill in some more gaps for yourself. But I think the big take home point is that … and when people approach me because they want me to promote or use their supplements, I’ll say, “Okay, well what’s … ” “Oh, ours is so pure and it’s super bioavailable and…” Sometimes I’ll say, “Okay, I get it. But it’s not magic.”

And they take offense, but there is no supplement that is magic. There’s no magical pure protein that’s purer than just protein that you get from food. So always keep that in mind that you can’t make protein more pure than just protein you would get from ingesting protein from whole foods.

It’s a convenience. I can’t really put steaks in my gym bag, but I can put protein powder in my gym back.

I guess you could put steaks in your gym bag …

But there can be crappy stuff. Those brands, I think, they really pride themselves in not just getting the cheapest whey protein or whatever they can get, but really investing in trying to get some responsibly farmed, proper type of protein sources.

It’s kind of like chipboard. You can get chipboard … it’s made from just the crappiest kind of wood and it’s not going to be very durable even though it can kind of half do the job. Or you can chipboard that’s made of better types of wood that’s going to be a little bit stronger. It’s not going to be as pretty, and probably not as strong as using good, clean boards, like just eating the whole food, but it gets the job done.

That’s a weird analogy.

Okay. Protein. We’ll talk a little more about protein.

Sometimes it gets a little over-emphasized like “I need protein, I need protein if I’m going to gain muscle.” But just eating protein doesn’t make your muscles bigger. You have to be doing the training, and then ingesting protein and carbohydrates and healthy fats. Those are three macronutrients, or our fuel sources.

Carbohydrates get a bit of a raw deal, and gain it comes from popular media. People who are just sedentary individuals who just don’t want to get fat or trying to lose weight, and they talk about restricting their carbohydrates kind of tricked their body into burning fat.

This is NOT a strategy for athletes. Carbohydrates is our primary source of fuel when we do muscular work. Our muscles can burn fat for fuel. It can also burn protein for fuel. But the most efficient one is carbohydrate.

Carbohydrate is the only source of energy for our brain. Only carbohydrate can cross our blood brain barrier, so it’s important. I’m a little dismayed when athletes want to go on a low carb diet. Unless there’s some kind of health issue going on, and then I get that.

Again, it comes down to good sources, and crappy sources. I remember my dad … we drove to Florida. I think I was maybe 19 the first time our family ever drove to Florida. We drove to Florida and we stopped to fill up with gas. We went into the gas station to pay, and there was a kid in there who was like, “Hey, mister. Do you have any money so I can get something to eat?” My dad wasn’t really a give money away kind of guy, but I was really surprised when he pulled out, I don’t know what it was, two bucks, let’s say. And then my dad ends up behind line of the kid he gave the two bucks to and the kid’s buying a two pack of Twinkies.

That’s probably the last time my dad ever a gave a kid money for something to eat. He was just like, “Man, the nutritional value…”

So Twinkies are a crappy-ass option for carbohydrate, but vegetables, fruits, lentils, nuts, sweet potatoes, those are good sources of carbohydrates. Don’t just think carbohydrates is like Wonder Bread, or something like that. That’s also where we get tons of our fiber so carbs are good.

If your goal is to gain muscle you need to be doing the right training and getting sufficient calories.

Think of your food just as a building blocks. If we’re going to build a big house … it’s like, okay, we’re going to build an addition onto the gym. We’re going to add another story to the gym. We’ll use these protein containers to do it. Number one, it’s not enough protein containers. Number two, it’s not a good source.

We need to get enough calories, and we need to be getting quality calories if we’re going to build muscle. Then we also need to actually do the work. We can’t just put the building blocks all down here and be like, “Okay, we’re going to add another story to the gym.” It will never happen.

The way to know for sure if it’s working is to monitor your body composition. We’ll monitor body composition in they gym.

If you are adding muscle and adding fat, you’re probably eating too much. If you are adding muscle and losing fat, you’re probably not getting enough calories. So you probably could be adding even more muscle, because you’re going into your fat stores to get more energy to do your training. If you are adding muscle and your body fat is staying about the same, and if it’s at the level where you want it, then we’re pretty good.

This is the other one, if you are adding fat and not adding muscle, you’re either not doing your work outs, or you don’t have a good work out program.

But body composition is a way to monitor that. Probably the simplest way is to do calipers. You can do those ones where you stand on the scale and it checks your water composition. I think they’re somewhat reliable if you do it the exact same time of the day, same hydration status. I think they’re somewhat reliable, because it’s based on your hydration status. It sort of can vary if you’re dehydrated or whatever. If you have access to a BodPod, or something like that, that’s the best.

These are some of the ones that we use in the Revolution Gym. We’ve been using Thorne Research for a while. I really, really like it. I go out of my way to buy NSF Certified For Sport products. Because we have some professional, Olympic level athletes that train with us so we don’t want them to accidentally get something that they shouldn’t get and test positive. Then I would be on the news saying, “Oh, we thought it was safe.”

NSF Certified For Sport means that every batch is tested. Just regular NSF Certified means that it’s randomly tested. Again, it’s not the be all and the end all. I think that companies have to pay quite a bit to get that testing, but it just tells me that this company is invested in making sure that something doesn’t end up in there that shouldn’t.

So the Thorne product we use is just a whey protein isolate. If we look at what’s in it, it’s 21 grams of protein, and the ingredients are whey protein, cocoa powder, sunflower lecithin, evaporated cane juice, sugar, stevia, xanthan gum (I don’t know what that’s for), carboxymethylcellulose gum. But that’s it. There’s not a bunch of crap in it.

If we look at another one, this is SuperHuman Strength. This is their recovery which has 27 grams of protein. When we look at the other ingredients … Pea starch, natural flavors, citric acid, potassium citrate, sodium chloride (which is salt), beet root red, calcium lactate, lecithin. That’s the whole ingredient list.

Both of these, they have vegan versions as well. SuperHuman, you can get grass-fed whey protein. So they have some nice variety there.

Just read the label and it should be pretty simple. There shouldn’t be a whole bunch of ingredients in there.

We even have sort of our during or pre/post powders. The ingredients … citric acid, natural flavours, sodium bicarbonate (which is a buffer), turmeric powder (really just for the colour they say), stevia leaf extract, sunflower lecithin … oh, it’s an emulsifier so that it shakes up. And then amino acids, vitamins.

Again, it shouldn’t be … look out for the things that are like it’s our proprietary blend of blah, blah, blah, blah, and all sorts of things. That’s a red flag.

It shouldn’t be 40 items long, and watch out for anything that the name is just sensationalized. Like Super Duper Ripped Monster Animal Beast Mode Juice. Either it’s just a bunch of bonk, or it has something in that it shouldn’t have in it.

All natural doesn’t mean healthy. There are lots of things that are all natural that are not good for you. Curare is one that comes to mind that’s a lethal poison that will kill you like that. It’s natural, but not healthy. So don’t get tricked.

So basically, protein shakes or protein and carbohydrate shakes, it’s just a convenience. You could eat a peanut butter sandwich and that would be fine too. But it’s just a nice, convenient way to get the food and to get the calories.

We look at creatine. It also gets a bad rap sometimes. People can be like, “Oh, that creatine garbage.” It actually isn’t garbage. It’s actually probably the most studied sports supplement, maybe, other than whey protein. It’s been studied for years and years. Scientifically studied for years and years.

There doesn’t seem to be really any long-term health risks associated with using creatine. You get creatine in red meat anyway, so if you eat a lot of red meat you probably don’t need it. If you’re not eating a lot of red meat, then maybe you do.

What it does is it really works on the energy system that you use just in the first three seconds of activity. So that start up from zero to three seconds. Like I’m just hanging out and a lion jumps out of the bushes and I’m off like a shot. That’s when it works.

And what it does is it bonds with a phosphate molecule to make creatine phosphate in the muscle. We’re getting a little geeky, but when your muscle fibers contract … if you look at this is microscopic, the microfiber. It’s called a sliding filament theory. There’s a little hook that grabs on the actin and it grabs on the myosin, and it swivels, and that’s what makes your muscles contract. There’s millions of those doing that.

In order for this thing to unhook and reload, you need a phosphate molecule, which is crazy. That creatine phosphate, it bonds to phosphate, when I swivel, now I have an ADP, an adenosine diphosphate, because I used one of those phosphates from the ATP molecule. Now my creatine phosphate gives up the phosphate molecule, and it can swivel again and do more muscle work.

Imagine that a gajillion times.

That system replenishes almost to 100% after three minutes of rest.

So why would we use creatine? Creatine can be helpful for repeated bursts of short duration activity. For example, if we’re in the gym and using that creatine helps us use or replenish that ATP system a little faster, then maybe we can get an extra rep on every set or use a little bit heavier weight on every set.

There’s nothing magic about it, but over time if I can get an extra rep or use a little heavier weight and still be explosive, over time that’s … Let’s say it’s a 3% improvement over time. If you’re already eating properly, doing all your training, getting good recovery, and this is something we can use to get that little extra, it’s worth it.

Then people are like, “Oh, yeah. He used creatine and he got so big.” It’s not a steroid. It doesn’t work like that. It doesn’t make you big. If you’re not doing the right kind of training, you’re not training consistently, you’re not training hard enough, then it doesn’t matter.

Again, it’s not going to do anything. It can just help you, maybe, do some short duration repeated burst of activity.

It’s a five gram dose. You don’t have to do a loading phase. Back in the day they would talk about a loading phase. We don’t do that. It’s just five grams.

For every gram of creatine that enters your muscle … I can’t remember the number now. I think it’s three or five grams of water goes with it. So there have been some anecdotal reports of people getting muscle strains when they’re using creatine, and it could be that if you’re bringing more water into the muscle cell it actually makes the muscle cell a little stiffer. So that’s not been proven, but it’s just one of those things that you kind of hear about. You just want to make sure, too, that you’re staying hydrated if you decide to use it.

Amino acids. Again, they’re not magical. They don’t give you energy. It’s not like, “Oh, yeah. They give me good energy.” They’re the individual building blocks of a protein. Instead of ingesting a protein that’s a chain of blocks that your body then has to digest and chop down into its initial substrates, it’s just giving you those building blocks so you can digest it faster. That’s all.

Really, that’s more important especially if you don’t eat meat, because meat gives you complete protein. If you’re vegetarian, some things give you some of the amino acids but not others, and then you can be deficient in amino acids.

Greens. A greens plus supplement, probably a good idea. Again, just keep it simple. There’s lots of health food companies out there that make a nice green supplement. You can just add it to your shake. It gives you some vegetables.

I know a lot of the hockey players I work with, when I see their nutrition recall there are not a lot of vegetables being eaten. Again, still eat your vegetables. Get your fiber. Just eat whole foods. But that can help. That’s not a bad idea to throw in your milkshake.

Fish oil supplement, probably isn’t a bad idea. There’s stuff called beta-alanine, which I’ll just mention because I do think it works. It helps buffer free hydrogen ions, which changes our blood pH. It makes it more acidic. Again, lactic acid doesn’t linger in your muscle or in your blood or in your legs or anything like that. Lactic acid actually disassociates very, very quickly. But those free hydrogen ions will increase the acidity in the muscle, and then it gets very hard to do muscular work, which is what we feel.

It helps buffer, it helps sort of bind some of those free hydrogen ions. But again, it’s sort of a 1% thing. Our professional athletes that really are doing everything they’re supposed to be doing, it’s worth a try. But it hasn’t been studied as much as creatine. I think it does, again, help with sort of short duration repeated burst. Maybe let you go a little longer, a little harder on your intervals. Unless I was doing everything else perfectly, it’s nothing I would ever consider.

Basically, pre work out you have your amino acids kind of shake. Some people have their protein at that time, too. It’s not bad, it’s just that sometimes your protein shake doesn’t sit very well in your stomach. So these ones are a little more just like a sport drink, although they don’t have sugar in them or anything like that.

So it’s a little easier to sip. I kind of like it, because it gets people to drink fluid during their work out as well.

Then post work out you want to get about 20 grams of protein and 40 grams of carbohydrate. Again, carbohydrate is key right after your work out. Say you’re an athlete or say you’re a goalie that has a bit too much fat, and you’re trying to lose body fat. Then the time to eat your higher glycemic carbs, like your pasta, your rice, your potatoes, is immediately after a work out.

Because what happens is the higher the glycemic index of the carbohydrate the more insulin my body releases. When my body releases insulin, that signals my cells “hey, there’s going to be some energy substrates floating around in the blood. Take those up.” So it tells them to pull it into the cells.

After we’ve worked out, we’ve done some micro-damage to our muscles so we need some protein to help rebuild and repair. We’ve used up tons of our carbohydrates doing energy so we need to replenish that. Then we put those energy substrates in. We have a higher glycemic carbohydrate, it triggers that insulin response, so then our body is like, “Yes! Pull these nutrients into our cells.”

And then when it gets there it’s like, “Wow, what do you know. This must be our lucky day, because we needed protein and we needed some carbohydrate anyway to recover from that work out.” Rather than dumping that kind of stuff into our body when we’re at rest, triggering a big insulin response. And then it’s like, “Well, our cells don’t really need that stuff. So we just package it and store it as fat.” Convert it to fat and store it.

If you’re trying to gain weight, so if you’re a skinny goalie and maybe you’re a teenager and you’re trying to gain some weight, then a protein shake is a good idea before bed. Or just a protein snack, but not carbohydrate. We don’t want that insulin response before you go to bed. We want to try to keep that protein circulating in the blood rather than just all get sucked up and maybe stored as fat. So we want it to linger in the digestion. So protein shake before bed is good.

Also, if you’re trying to gain weight, we’ve had really good success, especially with high school kids, just doing what we call the Peanut Butter Diet. (If they don’t like peanut butter this is not going to work)

Basically, when you go to school and you make your lunch make an extra peanut butter sandwich. And then you’re going to have half of that sandwich before first and second period, and half of that sandwich between fourth and fifth period. It’s just a very easy way we can give them more calories. They can grab it out of their locker and just eat it going between classes. It’s not a big thing and it works great.

If you’re gaining mass, great. Stay on that. If you’re still not gaining mass, you’re still losing some fat, then we just dial it up. Okay make it peanut butter and a half sandwich, until we get it where we want it.

So here’s a summary. Training and skill development are what going to give you the biggest bang for your buck. Period.

Then you’ve got to sleep. You’ve got to be eating proper food. Again, these shakes don’t replace any of the garbage you do. These shakes aren’t as good as just eating whole food, but, again, I’m the same. I don’t want to come out of the gym and sit down and make myself a meal right there in the lobby. I want to just have something and get on with my day.

Then, start worrying about supplements. If you’re doing the right training, working on your skills, eating proper food, getting enough sleep, then it’s time to start the “maybe I can do some supplementation. Or maybe I’ll use some of these amino acids.”

Just to look for those little incremental advantages.

I like the companies mentioned in here because they test what they put out. They gear towards working with athletes. Be a little bit careful when you go into the supplement shops, because some of the supplement shops, not all of them, they’ll have promotions. If you can sell four tubs of Super Ripped XYZ, you’re going to get a free tee shirt. So then the guy working there is like, “That’s a sick tee shirt. I want to get that.”

I think the best resource, again, Go to the top right, and click on there for the free articles, and they got really great stuff.

So that’s some talk about supplements in sport nutrition. See you gang!