Part of what we do here at Natural Weapon Nutrition is demystify supplements and try to educate you on how to use them to get the most out of them. In doing this we work with F45 Studio’s directly to assist in answering questions from members around the recommended supplements and also ensuring they get supplements that are geared towards the guidelines of the challenge. A common question that’s put to us is:
Can you please explain the supplements recommended for the F45 Challenge?
Sure, we can do that. We do it in each product, but information is always better when its all in the one place right?
For your convenience we have also put together an F45 Challenge Pack which has been designed to provide you all the recommended supplements with enough serves to get you through the entire challenge. It also gives you a nice discount for buying in bulk and qualifies you for free shipping Australia wide!
Below is a breakdown of how each product recommended works and why it is useful. Each has its place in ensuring you can lose the maximum amount of fat and retain/gain the most muscle possible.
Protein is one of the most highly recommended supplements during the F45 Challenge. Protein is so highly recommended that some find themselves having shakes twice a day during the challenge, or even 3 times if they get hungry and have a shake as a snack.
Challenger Tip: If you track your macro nutrients you can calculate the appropriate amount of protein to have on a daily basis by multiplying your current body weight by 2.2. This will tell you how many grams you should be having to maintain the current amount of muscle you have. If you have been under-consuming protein, you’ll also potentially grow some more and recover much more than previously.
What it does
During The Challenge you’re in what we call a Caloric Deficit. That means you’re consuming less energy than you’re using on a daily basis. This leads the body to utilise other sources of energy, such as body fat for energy. When you work out, you damage the muscles and they must be repaired. Protein, not just from shakes, but from the food you eat goes towards the repair of the muscles.
The addition of protein shakes into the diet boosts the overall protein intake for you and means that there are more resources available for that repair to occur and is a lower calorie (and much easier to get in) option when compared to chowing down on extra chicken breasts.
Collagen Protein such as the NO-WAY by ATP Science actually goes a step further and assists in the rebuild of other areas of the body as well as it can be utilised beyond just muscle repair. Interesting stuff if you want to read into it.
When to have it
Take it as directed throughout the challenge and I suggest taking it after your workouts to aid in recovery.
It’s also suggested as a snack, but in my opinion it’s a bit useless having it as a snack if you get hungry throughout the day – most shakes are about 120 calories and because its mostly liquid anyway won’t satisfy your hunger or cravings. You’re better off snacking on the recommended vegetable options as 120 calories of vegetables will take more space in your stomach than a protein shake, effectively satisfying your hunger more.
Zinc & Magnesium
Magnesium is an essential mineral which is recommended when you do The Challenge. This means you must obtain it from your diet as you can’t produce it yourself. It is responsible for a phenomenal amount of chemical interactions within the human body, including muscle relaxation. We lose trace minerals like Magnesium and Zinc, when we sweat. Due to the conditions of The Challenge you are working out more, sweating more and consuming less food. In conditions like this it becomes more important to supplement with Zinc and Magnesium.
What it does
Magnesium assists in the recovery process by allowing your body to effectively “switch off” and allows the body to relax when needed and get a good nights sleep. Magnesium also plays a major role in the energy conversion process that takes place in the muscle while training, so if you become deficient you’ll notice degraded performance in your classes.
Commonly magnesium is paired with Zinc and sold as ZMA. This combination is even more potent for recovery and replenishment of both these essential minerals after a workout.
Zinc is essential for healthy gut and thyroid function. The thyroid controls hormonal signaling throughout the body that effect some major functions such as:
- Heart Rate
- Body Temperature
- Central Nervous System
- Peripheral Nervous System
- Menstrual Cycle
Becoming deficient in Zinc causes problems with the signaling of hormones from the thyroid. This can manifest itself in many ways, the most common of which is decreased energy levels and a lower metabolic rate which hinders fat loss.
We stock True ZMA, ATP Science ZMST and Switch Nutrition’s Adrenal Switch as our chosen sources of Zinc and Magnesium. These products have the benefits of an appropriate dose of Magnesium and Zinc, however the ZMST can be taken throughout the day and the addition of Selenium and Taurine help to increase the effects of the Zinc and Magnesium. Adrenal Switch can be taken straight after workouts as well to boost recovery which is handy as well.
When to have it
True ZMA – Take it before bed, about 30min or so. Avoid dairy beforehand as it inhibits the absorption.
ATP Science ZMST – Take one to 3 capsules per dose. Take up to 3 doses daily.
Adrenal Switch – Take it after a workout or about 30min before bed.
- Absorption of Magnesium is proportional to the levels of Magnesium present in your body
- If deficient in magnesium the rate of absorption is higher
- If not deficient in magnesium the absorption is lower
- If you notice watery or loose stools you have enough Magnesium present. Magnesium draws water to the intestine when there is too much or can’t be absorbed. If you notice this occurring you should reduce your dose
Amino Acids (BCAA’s & EAA’s)
Amino Acids are the simplest form of protein and are commonly associated with products such as BCAA’s and EAA’s (Branched Chain Amino acids & Essential Amino Acids) which are quite commonly seen in the gym as those coloured drinks people sip on during workouts or in Hydration Breaks. With so many fruity flavours out there packed with sugar it’s easy to pick one that’s going to do the opposite of what you want. They’re probably the most simple product to use yet they’re also one of the most confusing for people undertaking The Challenge.
Simply put though, you need to take them in as part of your diet.
BCAA’s are group of three Amino Acid’s that assist in muscle growth, repair, help prevent muscle breakdown and fatigue. BCAA’s are also part of a group of amino acids known as Essential Amino Acids. EAA’s are a group of 9 amino acids which you must take in as part of your diet because you can’t convert them from something else in your body nor can you synthesise it from something else you eat or have in your body.
What it does
Amino acid supplements are a combined approach to achieving a couple of things which are essential for success when undertaking the F45 Challenge.
- They help in repairing muscles after workouts by stimulating protein and glucose uptake to aid in the repair process. The faster and better you can repair, the better position you’ll be in to get back to the next training session and give it 100% again.
- During periods of caloric deficit (using more energy in a day than you consume) like when undertaking The F45 Challenge, amino acid supplements can help to prevent muscle loss by acting as an immediate fuel source for you while you work out. This is important when undertaking The Challenge because you want to maximise the amount of muscle you have and lose body fat.
- During periods of caloric restriction you may not be consuming as much animal products as you would normally and everyone’s requirements for overall protein intake is different. This means you may not have enough resources in your system to recover and repair. Introducing an amino acid supplement during this period helps to ensure you have the resources your body needs to continue losing fat and maintaining muscle during the duration of the F45 Challenge.
We stock the ATP Science Vegan EAA and Switch Nutrition Amino Switch range as our recommended amino acid’s for the F45 Challenge. Neither of these are loaded with sugar, both are naturally sweetened, ethically sourced and synthesised using a process which mimics the way we absorb them in our gut which makes them much more absorbable than others on the market. They are currently the best on the market and contain a great amount of Essential Amino Acid’s which will help you feed, repair and lose fat during The Challenge.
When to have it
During the final two weeks of The F45 Challenge it’s recommended you use L-Carnitine. During the last two weeks the diet changes to a Ketogenic style where carbohydrates are restricted and your fat intake is increased. The drop in carbs and increase in fat is supposed to cause the body to seek out other sources of fuel, such as fat, instead of carbohydrates. What will occur is you’ll spend a couple of days depleting the glucose stored in your muscles and fat will begin to be converted to glucose and burned as fuel.
True ketogenic adaptation can take up to 8 weeks for some people so the last two weeks can be quite gruelling for people. While your body is going through the process of switching over of energy sources (carbs to fats) the body still will use fat for fuel – just inefficiently. L-Carnitine helps in the process of using the dietary fat to fuel your body.
If you’re interested in more to do with the ketogenic diet we tested the Keto diet for you in two parts and went over the results with an expert in the field. Read Part 1 here where we introduce the diet and Part 2 here where we go over the results.
What it does
L-Carnitine is a fatty acid transporter. It transports fatty acids from the blood stream in to the muscles where it can be burned for fuel. It compliments the final two weeks of the challenge as:
- The diet is high in fat
- The body is seeking to burn fat for fuel
Adding additional resources to pull fat in to be burned as fuel during workouts is useful during this period of time.
We stock True Carnitine as it’s a completely pure, clean product from the highest quality ingredients and is excellent value for money.
When to have it
L-Carnitine can be used up to 3 times daily, however, if you feel sick/nauseous you will need to decrease your dose. More is not always better.
We suggest one scoop mixed in to the beverage of your choice in the morning, middle of the day and evening. Try to time at least one dose to be before your training session.
If desired you can also use this during the whole challenge.
Please note: All of the products are what we refer to as “Challenge Approved”. This means they follow the guidelines of The F45 Challenge as set out by F45 Training, not that the specific products mentioned are endorsed by F45 Training.
F45 Training may advise you to consume certain supplements differently to how we have outlined in this article. It is up to you to determine the method of consumption based on the information available to you.