I use supplements on a daily basis and I recommend anyone taking on the CE30 challenge who wants the best bang for their buck does so as well. Here is a guide of what supplements I personally use and recommend.
The brand I mostly use is MyProtein - I have used this brand for over 8 years. The two main reasons is that they have independent tests proving the ingredients and quality of their products. They are cheaper than any other high quality brand out there.
(This doesn't mean to say that you have to buy from MyProtein, there are many other good brands. Whey is still Whey, Creatine is Creatine no matter where you buy it from. Just make sure the quality and ingredients are what it says it is)
Whey Protein - super useful for hitting daily protein goals. The convenience of mixing a whey protein shake compared to preparing cooking a high protein meal makes Whey Protein almost essential for anyone with a busy schedule trying to hit protein goals.
If you are lactose intolerant there are a variety of other protein powder alternatives such as rice, pea and even beef protein powders.
When to take: Drink whey protein shake pre and post workout. When on the road and you don't have a high protein meal.
Creatine - One of the most researched supplements on the market, Creatine is important as it is the first energy source to be called on by the body. Sport scientist Colin Wilborn recently called creatine the “safest, most effective supplement that ever existed.”
When to take: Post workout
Omega 3 Fish Oil - An excellent source of fat that can help increase brain activity. Can reduce muscle soreness (DOMS) and aid recovery. On the days that I don't eat fish I take 5-10g of fish oil supplement for a source of omega-3 fats.
When to take: 5g in the morning and 5g at night
Vitamin D3 - Prevents Vitamin D3 deficiency. A fat-soluble nutrient and one of the 24 micro-nutrients critical for humans survival. Although the Sun should be the primary source for Vitamin D, living in colder countries for most part of the year it's not always possible. It is important for immune health and testosterone levels.
When: Take 5,000 IU daily anytime
ZMA - ZMA is a patented formulation containing Zinc, Magnesium and vitamin B6. Prevents you being deficient in either Zinc or Magnesium. Can help you sleep better and aid recovery.
When to take: Before sleep.
Daily Multi Vitamin - Useful as a "buffer" to ensure you are getting all of your micro-nutrients. As with all supplements a multi vitamin isn't to be used as a substitute but to supplement your 2-3 servings of fruit and vegetables a day.
When to take: Morning and night
BCAA - Recommended during your workout to prevent your body breaking down your hard earned muscle for energy.
When to take: During your workout
Caffeine - to be used on the days that you need that extra bit of energy. Caffeine has been proven to improve performance and mental focus. I prefer to use caffeine over proprietary blend pre-workouts as I can control the dose and I don't have to consume all of the other ingredients.
When: Immediately before your workout
More on supplements
Most people assume supplements make a bigger difference to building muscle and/or losing fat than they actually do (mostly down to the mass marketing of the giant supplement companies).
For me Supplements offer a few important benefits but they are a long way away from being as important as your diet and progressively increasing physical performance and work load:
Supplements are convenient and save you time - Time is very important to me. There are not enough hours in a day so if I am able to take a protein shake whilst travelling on the road then I will because that is so much more convenient than barbecuing 200g of chicken at the side of the road or prepping an extra meal a day.
Supplements can save you money - Food bills soon add up - as an example foods high in omega 3 such as Salmon are quite expensive. To cut back on costs and to avoid eating fish everyday (and nobody wants to do that) a fish oil supplement is useful.
Supplements are convenient and work as a bumper -Supplements such as a multi vitamin, vitamin D3, calcium, magnesium and zinc are all relatively cheap. Although my diet is very high in micronutrients I often take these as a "bumper" to ensure that I am not running the risk of being deficient in any.