Tyler Robbins Fitness

B.Sc. Biochemistry, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), Certified CrossFit Trainer (CCFT/CF-L3), USA Weightlifting Level 1

Filtering by Tag: Supplements

Anti-oxidants may stunt muscular growth

Chronic versus acute increases (or decreases) in "bad" things should be a topic of discussion. All too often we hear certain buzz-words or phrases that end up sounding detrimental to our health. This can fall under the category of hearing something repeated so many times that it then becomes "fact." It turns out, however, that increasing something acutely (short-term) can be beneficial for the body to more readily manage it over the long-term. Here is a really quick list of health factors off the top of my head that can be beneficial over time:

  • Heart Rate - long-term heightened resting heart rate is generally considered to be bad. Short-term spikes in heart rate (exercise) can actually lower resting heart rate over a longer period of time.
  • Blood Pressure - similar to heart rate, chronic heightened blood pressure can be deleterious to overall health, whereas temporarily raising blood pressure due to stimulus like resistance training can improve the overall health of the cardiovascular system.
  • Blood Sugar - Increased blood sugar following intense exercise can benefit recovery efforts of the muscles, however long-term heightened blood sugar can be detrimental to overall health.
  • Reactive Oxygen Species - These are natural by-products of metabolism. They have gotten a bad rap recently which has caused a spike in interest in "anti-oxidants." Sure, chronic inflammation caused by reactive oxygen species can be bad, however, acute bouts can be beneficial in the stimulation of growth and repair due to exercise.

Vitamin C and E are quite often used as anti-oxidants. Supplementing with them may hinder your performance gains, however. Take this recent study, for example:

Vitamin C and E supplementation blunts increases in total lean body mass in elderly men after strength training.


The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of vitamin C and E supplementation on changes in muscle mass (lean mass and muscle thickness) and strength during 12 weeks of strength training in elderly men. Thirty-four elderly males (60-81 years) were randomized to either an antioxidant group (500 mg of vitamin C and 117.5 mg vitamin E before and after training) or a placebo group following the same strength training program (three sessions per week). Body composition was assessed with dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry and muscle thickness by ultrasound imaging. Muscle strength was measured as one-repetition maximum (1RM). Total lean mass increased by 3.9% (95% confidence intervals: 3.0, 5.2) and 1.4% (0, 5.4) in the placebo and antioxidant groups, respectively, revealing larger gains in the placebo group (P = 0.04). Similarly, the thickness of m. rectus femoris increased more in the placebo group [16.2% (12.8, 24.1)] than in the antioxidant group [10.9% (9.8, 13.5); P = 0.01]. Increases of lean mass in trunk and arms, and muscle thickness of elbow flexors, did not differ significantly between groups. With no group differences, 1RM improved in the range of 15-21% (P < 0.001). In conclusion, high-dosage vitamin C and E supplementation blunted certain muscular adaptations to strength training in elderly men.

Oftentimes I see individuals take a product or supplement because they hear it is good for them. Vitamin C and E supplementation (above study) are 2 supplements that many folks take simply because they feel as though, "some is good, more must be better!"

Well, according to this study out of Norway, too much anti-oxidant supplementation blunted some muscular adaptations from strength training. Here is another example of something that you may not want to supplement with, unless you have been told you are deficient in some particular category.

BCAA's - Save Your Money...

Branched Chain Amino Acids. You're a fool if you don't supplement with them, right? Well, not so fast there bro!

We've all heard either the local muscle head at the gym, the sales team at the supplement store, or those "experts" online claiming that BCAA's are crucial to your success. Well, the fine folks over at SuppVersity have done another fine job about breaking down how "effective" this supplement actually is.

I won't re-hash what SuppVersity has already done so well, so make sure to head over there and read the report yourself.

always like to give my body the benefit of the doubt. I try and get virtually all of my calories from solid, real foods, and then use supplements as just that - supplementing my diet to fill in any holes that I may have missed along the way.

I commonly see people touting the benefits of this supplement or that supplement. BCAA's are no different. Everyone suddenly becomes an "expert" as to what brand to take and how effective it has been. Whether you agree with me or not, here is the list of supplements that I personally take and wish to invest my money on, based on the evidence and research that I have read. Yes, this list is every supplement that I take. Beyond that, I aim for as well-rounded diet as I can possibly get. Then, my supplements patch any holes on a day to day basis.

  1. Shakeology - This acts as my insurance policy. Some days I nail my diet, some days I do not. But, the days that I too busy to get my regular meals, or am missing something from my servings, my Shakeology is there to back me up.

  2. Vitamin D 1000IU - I only take this during the fall and winter months since living in Southern Ontario means a drastic decrease in my sun exposure.

  3. Whey Protein - Nothing fancy. Just plain and simple whey. Sometimes I mix with water, sometimes I mix with milk. Yes, I drink milk.

  4. Fish Oil - The benefits here are too good to pass up.

  5. Creatine Monohydrate - I don't take it all the time, but often enough. Also nothing fancy here. There is absolutely no proof that any brand or "form factor" works any better than monohydrate. Save your money, don't listen to the guy at GNC.