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Nutrition Only, or Supplementation? (Part 1/2)

February 7, 2014 - By Nautilus Plus

Temps de lecture 3 minutes

Who doesn’t have a friend or a co-worker who seems to be using all kinds of products to maximize their training and recovery, or get faster muscle gains? It is really worth it? Can it be detrimental to your health? Let’s take a look…

Safety Issues

Whether it is whey protein, creatine, L-glutamine, or even caffeine, all of these products fit into the “ergogenic” aids category. These are “substances that can be determined to enhance muscular work, and therefore, sports performances.” They are classified as “natural health products,” and not as foods. What is the difference? Natural health products do not require quality control testing that meets Canadian standards. This is why when the contents of these products get tested, very often the quantity of the said active substance can vary greatly, being quite often much lower than indicated on the label. To make sure you are purchasing a legal product free of contaminants, and with the most active ingredients possible, make sure they are certified by the following organisms: NSF, HFL, and Global DRO, all of which insure Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). Also, the presence of a Natural Product Number (NPN) confirms that the product was tested by Health Canada, and as such that the product meets manufacturing standards.

Whey Protein

  • Objective: maximizing post-workout recovery; building more muscle mass;
  • Use: useful if we have a hard time eating enough, especially dairy products as well as meat and alternatives. For example, if a 80 kg man isn’t able to eat 4 servings of dairy products every day (4 cups of milk/day), and 4 servings of meat and alternatives (400 g meat/poultry/day), these supplements can prove useful;
  • Directions: consume using a combination of 3 times as much carbs as protein. For example, 1 scoop of 20 g of protein, diluted with 500 ml fruit juice (60 g of carbs), for optimal recovery.
  • When to use: consume within 30 minutes following the end of your workout. If your protein intake is still insufficient, eat some more during the day, for example in a smoothie for your breakfast!;
  • Effectiveness proven by available scientific literature.


  • Objective: improving performance (strength/power); maximizing muscle mass gains;
  • Use: useful for a workout that requires muscular efforts in intervals ranging from 10 seconds to 2 minutes (sprint/hypertrophy/strength). Not recommended for endurance training;
  • Directions: 2-3 g of creatine/day, according to a planned period of time. Consume with 60 to 100 g of carbs (500 ml to 800 ml fruit juice).  In addition, make sure to drink at least 5 l of water per day to avoid overburdening your kidneys. It is possible to begin with a loading cycle of 20 g/day, but only for a limited period of 5 to 7 days;
  • When to use: you will get betters results by consuming it post-workout (within 30 minutes following your workout);
  • Effectiveness proven by available scientific literature.

In all cases, consult your nutritionist and personal trainer in order to determine if you really need these products. These are only two of the most popular supplements. Be careful when using these products, and avoid excessive use.

By Caroline Proulx


Office Québécois de la langue française. (2013, February 27). Ergogène. Retrieved from http://www.oqlf.gouv.qc.ca/ressources/bibliotheque/dictionnaires/terminologie_olympique/ergogene.html

Clark, J. (1998). Creatine: a review of its nutritional applications in sport. Nutritinal Pharmaceuticals, 14(3), 322-324. doi: S0899-9007(97)00482-6

Wilborn et al. The Effects of Pre- and Post-Exercise Whey vs. Casein Protein Consumption on Body Composition and Performance Measures in Collegiate Female Athletes.  Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2013) 12, 74-79.  Retrieved from: http://www.jssm.org


Nutrition Only, or Supplementation? (Part 1/2) is a post from Nautilus Plus. The Nautilus Plus blog aims to help people in their journey to fitness through articles on training, nutrition, motivation, exercise and healthy recipes.
Copyright © Nautilus Plus 2014

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