Supplements are not always necessary for cycling. Beta-alanine, omega-3 fatty acids, BCAAs, protein powders, multivitamins and glutamine are all safe to consume in the long term and do not disrupt the body's natural processes. But does consuming more protein than the baseline result in greater muscle gains? The answer is both yes and no. Eating enough protein is essential for growth, and if you eat more than one gram (g) per pound of body weight, you will be sure to cover all your bases and not fall short.
However, eating more than necessary may not be as beneficial as cycling your protein intake. Lori Nedescu, M. S., explains that the most important nutrient after training is water. Water helps to administer nutrients efficiently and combines with proteins to repair damaged muscles.
The body repairs damaged muscle fibers up to 24 hours after activity, so it is important to replenish your body with the right nutrients within that time frame. If you want to maximize the anabolic benefits of creatine and protein supplements, it is best to take 20 g of protein and 3-5 g of creatine together. Tuna packs with crackers are a great snack option that provide 90 calories and 14 grams of protein. Neither creatine nor protein is “better” than the other, but they both increase muscle mass through separate natural mechanisms.
When selecting a protein powder, it is important to check the serving size and protein ratio to make sure you are consuming proteins that your body can use. Protein powders prioritize one of two derivatives of milk (whey or casein) or a plant-based source of amino acids. The recommended daily allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.8 g of protein per kilogram of body weight, but you may need more if you are strength training and looking to increase your muscle mass. If you weigh 200 pounds and think you need 2 g of protein per pound of body weight, you would consume 400 g of protein a day.
This amount is excessive, although it is common among many professional bodybuilders. When starting out with training supplements, it is best to take a pre-workout supplement, a protein powder, and some source of creatine. Plant-based protein powders tend to have strong flavors that are often masked by artificial or natural sweeteners. Many athletes believe that the most important thing when supplementing with creatine or protein is that you simply “eat enough on a daily basis”, so it doesn't matter when you supplement them.