A good shaker cup or two is a must if you do decide to get some supplements. The shaker cups you see at GNC or similar stores are cheap, thin plastic that will soak up stench and bacteria if you forget to clean out your cup overnight. Contigo makes a great shaker cup with thicker, less porous plastic preventing the awful smell of rotting protein soaking in. They also have rounded bottoms and a little ball to help mix the protein and make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom. The rounded bottom is a nice feature that most cups don’t have and makes it easy to shake up even the thickest of shakes. Bring one of these with protein in it with you to the gym and keep it in your locker for quick access after your workout.
A pre-workout supplement isn’t a bad idea if you find yourself slow and sluggish before your trip to the gym. Pre-workout supplements often contain caffeine and other chemicals similar to energy drinks that boost your energy, but they often have other ingredients that aid in recovery times and maintaining energy output, such as branched chain amino acids. A pre-workout isn’t absolutely necessary, but personally I find it helps if I am in a rush to get to the gym and haven’t eaten a meal long enough beforehand. It just helps keep you going so you are able to enjoy your workout once you get there. My personal favorite is Cellucor C4 which also contains creatine which helps your body produce more ATP or more simply frees up more energy for use in your body. For under a dollar a serving, why not give it a shot.
A good post workout protein is a must if you want to see results at the gym. You won’t get huge muscles over the course of a month just because you are taking protein – it takes time for your muscles to build and grow stronger – but it does help. Your body needs a ton of protein to actually build muscle and repair all the damaged muscle fibers, and taking protein within 20 minutes of your workout (known as the anabolic window) is crucial for protein digestion, uptake, and utilization within your body. When buying protein, you can get pretty cheap stuff that usually contains fillers and lots of chemicals, so it’s worth it to spend a little more and make sure you get a clean protein with minimal carbs (usually by way of sugars for sweetener) and fillers. Check out Promasil by Rivulus for a good tasting, mid-priced, clean protein formula.