PT-Trainers-main-image-with-Scott-Laidler-Suzana-Sorokova-and-Henlu-van-der-Westhuizen-Vitamins-and-supplements-these-London-personal-trainers-swear-by-healthista

Exactly what supplements do personal trainers take themselves?

Ever wondered what supplements personal trainers actually take themselves? Us too. So – we asked some of the best we know

Unless you can afford your own personal health advisor, deciding which supplements to take can feel like a guessing game.  That’s why Healthista have started asking some of our favourite health experts  what they swear by and why in supplement terms.  This week it’s personal trainers.

Nicholas Polo: PT and body transformation coach

Nicholas-Polo-headshot-Vitamins-and-supplements-these-personal-trainers-swear-by-healthistaWhat supplements do you take everyday?

‘It’s best to get your vitamins and BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids) from whole foods, but if you want to have an advantage supplements can help. The must-have supplements in my daily intake are creatine, omega-3, a good multivitamin that contains amino acids, as well as a sufficient intake of vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc and magnesium.

I take three grams of SAS Nutrition Creatine Ethyl Ester, 1000 mg Higher Nature Flax Seed Oil for omega-3 and a good multivitamin by Animal Pak that contains amino acids. As well as 500 mg of Kirkland and 1000 mg Animal Pak vitamin C, 1000 iu Solgar and 680 iu of Animal Pak vitamin D, 50 mg of Solgar and 30 mg of Animal Pak zinc and 400 mg of Solgar Magnesium Citrate and 400 mg of Animal Pak magnesium.’

Do you rely on a specific brand?

Animal Pak is my favourite multivitamin brand by far. It’s designed for sports people and athletes, so if you train seriously and looking for performance enhancement it’s worth a try. I find it to be one of the most comprehensive packs containing vitamins, minerals, BCAAs and antioxidants. It’s one of the products my remote clients take when they follow the 10 day fat loss programme.’

Do you take a protein supplement?

‘I have experimentally stopped taking protein shakes recently in an effort to minimise sugar intake that often comes with most powders and processed food products. The idea is to monitor physical changes like bloating and stomach definition.

This is not to say that there aren’t some very good protein powder products out there, which can make a great supplement to your daily intake and keep you fuelled throughout your day. If you are on a fat loss programme for example I would go for a pea or hemp based protein powder with no added sugar or gluten containing ingredients.’

You can try Healthista’s Lean Vegan Protein Powder.

What do you take for the following:

Energy

‘I have a pretty demanding schedule so it’s important for me to be at the right energy level throughout the day. Apart from my double espresso, I rely on a daily vitamin B complex consisting of 70 mg of B6 and 6 mcg of B12 from Animal Pak.

Colds

‘On a regular day I take 1500 mg of vitamin C – 500 mg of Kirkland and 1000 mg of Animal Pak – for immune system support. If I feel I am coming down with something, I up the supplemental dosage. Always remember to drink plenty of water when on high vitamin C dosage to avoid kidney aches.’

Sleep

‘With my schedule I never get to experience this eight hour sleep rule everyone has been talking about. It is important however, that when I hit the bed I get a quality sleep. I owe that to 400 mg of magnesium from Solgar and Animal Pak, and 50 mg of zinc tablets from Solgar and Animal Pak taken before bed.’

Muscle Growth

‘I find creatine to be great for improving stamina, strength, muscle growth as well as recovery. Both creatine monohydrate and creatine ethyl ester (EE) are good options. Depending on the product, the one side effect that often comes with creatine is water retention. Ethyl ester tablets from SAS Nutrition seem to be working better in my case. I use three grams daily, which I cycle every eight weeks.’

Recovery

‘It has to be creatine for this one, as well. I typically split my daily allowance to one and a half grams of creatine EE before workout and one and a half grams after workout both being from SAS Nutrition.’

Do you have a top eating secret?

‘To encourage the fat burning process and maximise workout effects I train early mornings and on an empty stomach. It takes a good few hours after a meal for the body to enter the fasted state. That is the point that your body starts to break down the stored fat for energy. Once I wake up in the morning, my body is at fasted state, so I have my double espresso and then I hit the gym. My breakfast, which includes a good balance of protein, fat and carbohydrates follows right after the session.’

Find more on Nicholas Polo on his website and Instagram.

Jean-Claude Vacassin: PT and W10 Performance Gym founder

jean-claude-vacassin-headshot-Vitamins-and-supplements-these-personal-trainers-swear-by-healthistaWhat supplements do you take everyday?

‘I take fish oil, vitamin D, multivitamins and probiotics daily. I’m not a heavy supplements user, but these tick the ‘basics’ box.’

Do you rely on a specific brand?

‘I use Awesome Supplements Daily Dose, as it’s a blended product that contains most of what you need. You just take capsules in the morning and the evening, so it’s hassle free. They also use a powdered fish oil, which means its more stable than a liquid product. In terms of probiotics, I just buy whatever is in the fridge and I rotate my products.’

Do you take a protein supplement?

‘Occasionally, I use whey post workout or mid-afternoon if I need to top up my calories and protein intake. I also consume it at breakfast sometimes – stirred into Greek yogurt with some berries. In terms of brands I use Awesome Supplements and Kinetica, as I like the quality and brand integrity of both.’

What do you take for the following:

Energy

‘Pre-workout I use good old-fashioned caffeine – in the form of a good strong coffee – to give me a boost in focus and energy.’

Colds

‘Zinc and vitamin D in high doses. I use liquid zinc from brands like Biocare or Eidon, and vitamin D is in Awesome Supplements daily dose product. I find that high doses do very well to stave off any cold-like symptoms and take both in capsule form.’

Sleep

I use magnesium bath salts for a 20 to 30 minute soak. Magnesium helps my muscles relax, as does a hot soak.’

You can try Westlab’s Magnesium Bath Salts.

Muscle Growth

‘Most of this is about food, but I’ll occasionally use a whey protein supplement if I need to top up my protein or calories.’

You can try The Organic Protein Company’s Whey powder.

Recovery

‘After long cardio workouts I use an electrolyte blend to replace some of the salts lost through sweating, particularly in the summer.’

You can try Viridian’s Sports Electrolyte Fix Liquid.

Do you have a top eating secret?

‘I’m a fan of intermittent fasting, personally. It doesn’t work for everyone, but I function well without breakfast and having my first meal at lunchtime. It’s easier in the mornings as I don’t have to fuss about what to eat, but it’s also a very easy way of reducing overall calorie intake, which is helpful for anyone who wants to lose weight (fat). You can also apply the concept to social occasions, fasting through some of the day when you know that calorie intake will be higher in the evening.’

Find more on Jean-Claude Vacassin on his website and W10 performance gym.

Suzana Sorokova: PT and strength coach

Suzana-Sorokova-Vitamins-and-supplements-these-personal-trainers-swear-by-healthistaWhat supplements do you take everyday?

‘As a PT and an athlete-level power lifter, I do lead a very active lifestyle. Sometimes I struggle to get all the nutrients in to hit my daily macronutrient needs.’

After I train, I take a creatine monohydrate, which is a primary fuel source for sprints and other forms of high-intensity exercise and serves as a quick energy source for the brain that can boost cognition and mental capacity. I take Grenade’s creatine supplement.

I also take BCAAs by Grenade to help with greater work capacity and reduce fatigue.

Do you rely on a specific brand?

‘As a Grenade ambassador I truly believe in and support their vision – hence why I use their creatine.

I also love Grenade’s carb killa bars as they taste delicious. What’s more important to me is that they are not full of unpleasant ingredients and therefore don’t make me feel bloated or unwell.

For BCAAs (branched-chain amino acids), again Grenade ones, because they are tasty and really help me with recovery, while reducing muscle soreness after my workouts.’

Do you take a protein supplement?

I take whey protein powder by BulkPowders on a daily basis. I normally mix it with my oats and other ingredients, and have it as a post workout meal. It helps me to reach my protein goals for the day, as well as gives my muscles the fuel they need to repair broken tissues and build new ones after training.’

What do you take for the following:

Energy

‘I take vitamin C, coffee and vitamin D3. I drink coffee every day just before I train simply because it gives me that extra boost and push that we all know coffee is known for. I don’t take anything else pre-workout. Coffee is also known for helping us to recover faster from intensive workouts, and it helps us to get through the workout when we are sore and don’t feel like training.

For vitamin C and D3 I take one tablet a day of Solgar. Vitamin D3 which I believe is essential, especially during winter times as we don’t really get much sun. It helps prevent colds and strengthens our immune system. Enough vitamin D is important for our neurological health.’

Colds

‘I take vitamin C, echinacea and cod liver oil. I rely on vitamin C – one tablet a day of Solgar vitamin C – because after years of training I have found out that it’s very beneficial for my body, as well as mind in so many ways. Since I train very hard – strength training five times a week – it dramatically weakens my immune system and drains my central nervous system. So, if I don’t take it, I feel run down or actually get sick. It helps me to recover faster without having to deal with colds. When I do get sick I take one or two tablets of A Vogel Echinacea .

Cod liver oil is one of the nature’s highest and richest sources of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. It’s known for helping aching joints and stiff muscles. I have one capsule a day of Seven Seas Cod Liver Oil. It lowers the inflammation, prevents blood clotting, lowers high cholesterol and high triglycerides, prevents and helps to treat diabetes and lowers blood pressure.’

Sleep

‘I take melatonin and Kalms night tablets. Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally produced in our body that helps it know when it’s time to sleep and wake up. I take 10 grams of Eurovital Melatonin to increase the levels of melatonin that my body naturally produces so I can sleep better. I only take it when I am very tired though as I don’t want to rely on it too much. I use Kalms night tablets when melatonin is not available (it’s only available through prescription) as it helps me sleep better.’

Muscle Growth

‘I use whey protein and creatine, a serving of BulkPowders protein powder and Grenade Creatine. It gives my muscles the fuel they need to repair its broken tissues and build new ones.’

Recovery

‘Sleep and magnesium citrate in a spray form. I use BetterYou Magnesium Oil and spray as much on my body as needed or required. It’s better and advised to use only one or two sprays because people who are deficient in magnesium can experience very strong tingling, which can be unbearable. Also, I use Grenade’s BCAAs because it enhances protein synthesis for bigger muscle gains.’

Do you have a top eating secret?

‘I do practice intermittent fasting, which means I do postpone my breakfast till about midday and have it when I get truly hungry. I don’t eat at regular intervals or times, nor do I eat five or six times a day. I use my fitness pal app to track what I eat during the majority of the day. Then one day a week I go and have whatever I feel like. I call this meal a re-feed meal. It resets my mind, satisfies my cravings and therefore helps me to stay focus and motivated.’

Find more on Suzana Sorokova on her Gym Box page and Instagram.

Matt Hodges: PT and the MPH Method founder

Matt-Hodges-heatshot-Vitamins-and-supplements-these-personal-trainers-swear-by-healthistaWhat supplements do you take everyday?

‘I take two capsules of Solgar Triple Strength Omega-3 fish oil for bone health, and because I don’t have any fish in my diet whatsoever – I hate the stuff. Two scoops of Sun Warrior vegan protein powder and one scoop of Sun Warrior Super Greens every day.

In the winter months I take one tablet (20,000 iu) of HUX D3 vitamin D every week. I taper this every four weeks for one week and then restart the cycle. However, it is only effective if you take it alongside two Reflex magnesium tablets every night that helps the absorption of vitamin D and increases recovery during the night.’

Do you rely on a specific brand?

All American EFX Kre-Alkalyn – a type of creatine –I always find it has worked for me and doesn’t make me bloated or give me headaches like normal creatine monohydrate. All American EFX is the only brand I can get hold of in the UK. Sun Warrior has the ‘cleanest’ commercial protein products on the market and Solgar’s vitamins come at a price, but at least you know that they’re being properly sourced.’

Do you take a protein supplement?

Sun Warrior vegan protein powder. This is to up my daily protein content and I’ve found it to be really good for people with sensitivities towards sugar, gluten or lactose. It contains no chemicals and synthetic sugars unlike most over the counter protein powders.’

What do you take for the following:

Energy

‘I use vitamin D and drink lots of water. One tablet (20,000 iu) of HUX D3 a week. The reason I take a weekly vitamin D is because I had a test to show I was deficient in it. I also take quite a high dosage in winter. It’s been proven to increase energy as it enhances the mitochondria in cells.

Water is water at the end of the day. If you’re not hydrated you can’t possibly begin to expect your body to perform properly.’

Colds

Boot’s Dual Defence Nasal Spray. I used to train the CMO of Boots, and he said there are two necessary things he would buy at Boots. One was for skin care and the other being their Dual Defence Nasal Spray. It literally keeps me going all through winter.’

Sleep

‘Magnesium, meditation and  book reading. I use magnesium to help recover from the day and workouts. I take 3 capsules per day of Reflex Nutrition’s magnesium bisglycinate. The best time of the day to recover is in your sleep, so the two work well together.

‘If like me, you get your best ideas at night and regularly ‘think,’ then mediation is a good way of slowing down the body and the brain to allow a better, deeper nights sleep. Focus on diaphragm breathing. I’ve been taught this and it’s harder than you think. Most people do not know how to breath properly.’

Muscle Growth

‘I take four All American EFX Kre-Alkalyn tablets on training days to increase strength and recovery during workouts.’

Recovery

‘Magnesium, vitamin D, kre-alkalyn, Sun Warrior protein and greens. Vitamin D – weekly tablet of HUX D3 – is less so for recovery, but more for overall health during the day. I take three capsules per day of Reflex Nutrition’s magnesium bisglycinate.

I use greens because I’m terrible at eating a lot of vegetables and salad. I supplement good greens alongside trying to get as much veg as I can when I can. As far as recovery goes, greens are packed full of antioxidants and minerals that all work to heal the body.’

Do you have a top eating secret?

‘There really is no secret. It’s literally a matter of calories in versus calories out, and it doesn’t need to be any more scientific or complicated than that. That said, however, I do think it really handy if you know how many calories you need per day and how your protein, carbohydrate and fat counts into that daily amount. This is something you will need help with from professionals as it isn’t that easy to do it by yourself. (We can do it for you here at The MPH Method.)

At The MPH Method we only ever introduce certain dieting variables like carb back loading, carb-cycling, intermittent fasting or ketogenic diet when the client has covered the basics and their bodies need a different stimulus. Otherwise it gets way too complicated.’

Find more on Matt Hodges on the MPH Method website and his twitter.

Scott Laidler: UK film industry PT and health columnist

scott-laidler-body-shot-Vitamins-and-supplements-these-personal-trainers-swear-by-healthista.What supplements do you take everyday?

‘I take a reishi mushroom supplement on a daily basis to fortify my immune system and benefit from the adaptogenic properties of the mushroom itself. I view it as a type of natural intelligence that protects me against a number of health issues. I take ZMA as zinc and magnesium are an important element of healthy testosterone production and aid in improving sleep quality.

I also take glutamine on a daily basis. One, to act as a buffer to protecting muscle mass when fasting and secondly, to help maintain a healthy gut lining and protect from inflammation and bloating. I use a broad multi mineral supplement in order to ensure a rich and diverse range of nutrients being consumed.’

Do you rely on a specific brand?

‘I tend to use Solgar where possible for the most part. I have no association. I just trust in the quality and tendency to only include the ingredients I am seeking without sweeteners and preservatives.’

Do you take a protein supplement?

‘I take a vegan blend protein powder from Bodyme that helps me top up my protein intake when needed. Typically, I will mix this in with a yogurt as a snack or take a shake prepared for bouts of travel.’

What do you take for the following:

Energy

‘Typically, caffeine for an immediate energy boost, which I will come off for a few days once a month. Other than that I rely on rest.’

Colds

‘I tend to rely on my reishi mushroom for immunity, and then if I do feel myself coming down with something I will take a powerful antioxidant like alpha lipoic acid to help battle it. I take three capsules a day of Solgar’s Reishi supplement.’

You can try Best Natural’s Alpha Lipoic Acid.

Sleep

‘I do not take any sleep aids, except sometimes a warm honey drink. I believe sleep aids can be a slippery slope. An inability to sleep is generally like a warning light on a car – masking it might exacerbate the issue over time.’

Muscle Growth

‘I take ZMA and tribulus to bolster testosterone when seeking to build muscle. I have two capsules per day of MyProtein’s ZMA and three capsules of Hectic Lifestyles’ Tribulus Terrestris. Most of my muscle gain strategy comes from training and nutritious food.’

Recovery

‘I take BCAAs for recovery when I feel my muscles are suffering from a lot of micro-damage and could use some assistance. I’ll have 10 grams a day of MyProtein’s BCAA supplement. Chewable melatonin can also help reset the body clock after extended travel. When travelling I’ll take two gummies before bed of SunDown Naturals Melatonin.’

Do you have a top eating secret?

‘My top eating secret would be keeping a big box of assorted vegetables in my freezer. It presents a 10 minute option to accompany any meal. This way, all I need to do is cook a good source of protein and then fill my plate with all sorts of coloured vegetables that way there’s very little room or inclination to reach for anything less healthy.’

Find more on Scott Laidler on his website and twitter.

Helle Hammonds: PT and GymClass founder

helle-hammonds-Vitamins-and-supplements-7-London-personal-trainers-swear-by-healthistaWhat supplements do you take everyday?

‘I take a magnesium supplement and probiotic.’

Do you rely on a specific brand?

‘I like to use Healthista’s Vegan Protein Powder.’

Do you take a protein supplement?

‘I like to try and get as much as possible from what I eat – a couple of things I find helpful is your vegan protein. When I am on the go really easy to make a yummy shake for breakfast or a mid afternoon snack.’

What do you take for the following:

Energy

‘I like to use food as my energy making sure I have a varied diet, which includes complex carbs. Plus, I do like to have short term fix of a caffeine just before training if in the morning.’

Colds

‘I don’t tend to get many colds as most of the year I am eating well and training well. The time when I tend to get a cold is when I am working too many hours and not getting enough sleep.The one thing I try to protect is my sleep – this stops me from getting ill.’

Sleep

‘I use a super greens powder. I like to have it before bed, so I have a whole eight hours without eating anything that might upset the positive balance of the alkaline effect.

I also like to use a magnesium supplement. I feel like this supplement is important as many of us are so low. This can help keep your mood stable and helps me sleep better.’

You can try BodyMe’s Organic Super Greens Powder and Floradix’s Magnesium.

Muscle Growth

‘I sometimes take protein powder – a serving of Healthista’s Vegan Protein Powder – as this can be a really fast way to get what my body needs fast for recovery and repair after workout. It can be difficult to have the time to prepare a full meal straight after a workout.’

Recovery

‘I take L-glutamine when training hard and I should really take it all the time as I feel this helps with the stresses we put on our bodies. This supplement is said to help with muscle wastage, gut health by aiding repair and sugar cravings.’

You can try Biocare’s L-Glutamine Powder.

Do you have a top eating secret?

‘I must say though nothing is more important than a good diet and a suitable training program to keep you active, except for rest and recovery. This is chill time and sleep time. It’s also when the results of the training, eating right and supplementing actually happen.’

Find more on Helle Hammonds on the GymClass website and Instagram.

Henlu van der Westhuizen: PT and co-founder of HHH Health Retreats

Henlu-van-der-Westhuizen-Vitamins-and-supplements-these-personal-trainers-swear-by-healthistaWhat supplements do you take everyday?

‘I use whey protein as a meal replacement some very early mornings to keep me going until breakfast. Alternatively, I’ll use it as a post-workout shake to refuel after training.’

Do you rely on a specific brand?

‘I use the relatively new, but amazing brand called Whey’d. I use it as it’s one of the best whey protein companies in the UK. No frills just quality.’

Do you take a protein supplement?

‘A Whey’d protein shake. If I have the time and if I have fresh fruit I will add some berries (blue-, straw-, or raspberries), banana and sometimes a handful of mixed raw nuts.  I use it to mainly to add some extra calories if I’m gonna have a long day, and it’s another way of getting my fruit in and the good fats from the nuts.’

What do you take for the following:

Energy

‘Coffee in the cold London winters are a non-negotiable for a PT working in the parks. I love the black stuff and will have up to two in the morning, and maybe one in the afternoon if I’m very tired.’

Colds

‘I rely on Berocca and I double up with different vitamins and fresh fruit. I grew up with Berocca, my late mother always gave it to me when I was getting sick. I believe it works for me.’

Sleep

‘No need for anything to help me sleep as I’m usually knackered after a long day of running around with clients. I also have a small baby who doesn’t help the sleeping at the moment.’

Muscle Growth

Whey’d protein shakes. If I have fresh fruit I will add some berries (blue-, straw-, or raspberries), banana and sometimes a handful of mixed raw nuts.’

Recovery

‘Sleep and Whey’d protein shakes.’

Do you have a top eating secret?

‘The old cliche of having a balanced diet definitely works for me. I eat and drink very healthily during the week, and then have a fun eating and drinking whatever I want on weekends. Make sure your diet is a lifestyle that’s sustainable, actually I don’t like the word diet at all.

Find more on Henlu van der Westhuizen on his website and the HHH website.

It’s important to remember that although these PTs have given brands and dosages for supplements, everyone is different and should therefore check with a GP before beginning to take anything.

14 best supplements of the year

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6 diets to AVOID this year

Fasting for weight loss – the nutritionist’s guide

Weight loss transformation diaries week 2: Intermittent fasting is tough but effective

 

 

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