For people who want to cut to the chase and find something that really works and covers all the bases with minimum hassle, then turn to the ubiquitous All-In-One supplement category.
Starting out in the world of nutritional supplements can be a bizarre and overwhelming entry into a dizzying selection of products, brands, chemical names, food types, ratios, complex terms and competing claims. It can often be difficult for even experienced users to distinguish exactly which products will help them reach their goals and not be wasting precious resources on items that have a lot of hype and don?t deliver value for money.
For beginners who simply want to cut to the chase and find something that will really work and cover all the bases, for those hard pressed for time and needing maximum convenience and even for advanced users who prefer not to mix and match between tens if not hundreds of varying supplement regimes, you can turn to the ubiquitous All-In-One supplement category.
You may well have heard of at least one or two of the All-In-One products even if you are completely new to sports supplementation. They are by far the best advertised and most recognisable products out in the mainstream.
The popular products include things like Maximuscle Cyclone, pHD Synergy, Sci-Mx Omni-MX, Sci-Mentor Twister and Reflex One Stop. Although these products vary in exactly which ingredients and ratios they contain, all aim towards a perfectly balanced supplement blend that takes the guesswork out of buying something to maximize your sports and training results.
An All-In-One supplement is a blended powder that mixes with water or milk* to make a milkshake containing as many of the central ingredients for muscle growth, muscle repair and recovery and enhanced performance.
(*Note ? Although many mixes suggest mixing with milk is possible this is generally not the best option as milk provides excess cheap calories that may not be entirely suitable to your goals. Wherever possible stick to water for mixing your All-In-One supplement shakes)
The shake is designed as a synergistic fusion of both typical protein shake and all the popular and well tested ingredients that are often added on in powder or tablet form. Essentially by using one or more shakes daily you can get your dose of a wide range of the Supplement Greatest Hits without having to budget for seven or eight different products and with the convenience of having everything ready to go, not carrying different bottles and tubs around, trying to schedule everything in.
Although each brand?s own All-In-One will differ they will contain most of the following important ingredients.
Protein ? Usually based around a high quality, high BV (biological value) Whey protein, this is the primary food macronutrient that muscle is made from and enhances both recovery times and provides raw material to build new muscle tissue from. Higher protein intake is essential for anybody looking to reduce body fat, maintain or increase lean muscle and perform at peak speed, strength and explosiveness. Without the raw materials, and the best quality available, your body cannot build the best quality muscle tissue you demand from regular training.
Dextrose ? This is carbohydrate is virtually identical to blood sugar and is designed to refuel exhausted muscles, provide a quick source of energy and to illicit an insulin response. This insulin response is essential to uptake all of the further ingredients and force them into muscle tissues where they can work effectively.
Creatine Monohydrate ? The world?s most famous supplement. Even after decades of availability there are not many that come close in terms of consistent results and proven safety. Creatine is one of the best possible additions to a sporting diet after quality protein and correct carbohydrates. Creatine Monohydrate helps produce more of the ATP fuel which is responsible for all explosive movements in the body. This means adding a few reps beyond your natural level in tough lifts, or increased explosive power in sprints or other sporting activities. Not only does it add strength and capability but loading with creatine draws extra fluid into the muscle cells. This not only improves recovery times but can add several pounds of clean body weight and swell muscles in less than two weeks. This effect remains in place as long as creatine continues to be consumed at a decent dose. Despite some initial over-hyped scare stories many years back creatine has a proven safety record and poses no health threat whatsoever. It is not a drug or hormone and is simply a powerful component of food that is synthesized in large quantities to produce maximum results.
L-Glutamine ? This is one of the amino acids that are the basic organic building blocks of the body. L-Glutamine is of particular importance to athletes and bodybuilders due to the fact that it represents almost a third of the amino acid pool in skeletal muscle tissue. This important amino acid is not considered essential in a normal diet however under the stress of dieting, frequent training, illness or working at peak performance, glutamine can become essential as the body cannot synthesize enough from a normal diet to replenish that lost from hard working muscle. Adding Glutamine to an All-In-One can rapidly decrease recovery times between workouts meaning more effective work. It also prevents muscle loss due to stress, illness, overtraining or skipped meals. It is also known to help boost the immune system and since illness can bring gains to a crashing halt, staying well is as important as avoiding injury. An excellent insurance policy that keeps gains coming.
HMB ? After Creatine Monohydrate the next staple supplement that made its way onto the market was Beta-Hydroxy, Beta-Methyl butyrate (HMB) which is a specialised metabolite of the amino acid Leucine. Leucine is one of the most anabolic (muscle building) parts of food and HMB is particularly effective at maximizing protein intake and preventing tissue loss during times of peak stress, particularly when starting a new training regime or dieting for fat loss on low calories, it also ensures protein intake is not wasted and works well with creatine.
Vitamin and Mineral blends ? Life in general requires a regular intake of the tiny and often fragile micronutrients to ensure proper function and long term health. For athletes or anyone who trains or plays sports regularly, this intake may be even higher and more specialised as the body burns up more energy and has higher demands placed on its processes. All-In-One products often contain a high quality Vitamin and Mineral blend. Sometimes these will be classed as individual compounds instead, such as Zinc or Magnesium which are of particular importance for balancing anabolic hormones in the body.
Other muscle building ingredients ? A shake containing all of the above would cover about 90% of any basic supplement package and takes a lot of the guesswork out of your sports nutrition. However different brands may choose to add extra value with some of the following as well.
Beta-Ecdysterone ? This herbal extract was originally found to be a steroid like growth factor in insects but it is only recently that useable quantities were able to be synthesized for human use. It is thought to work as a protein metabolism stimulator which means faster growth, better strength and recovery and improved focus. Essentially it works as a steroid but with none of the serious and harsh side affects of synthetic anabolic agents.
Methoxyisoflavone ? An anabolic flavone that was first designed for use in animal feed to allow larger cattle without resorting to drugs and hormones, this quickly saw use in human trials looking for a natural alternative to anabolic steroids and growth hormones. It appears to work as an anabolic primer and nutrient partitioner, meaning more food consumed is likely to be used to build muscle tissue and burnt for energy than stored as excess fat. With long term use the idea is a diet will simply be tipped in favour of lean tissue not fat storage. As it has no direct hormonal effect it is entirely safe for women as well.
Beta Alanine ? Although more commonly found in direct pre workout supplements some All-In-One formulas may feature this ingredient as well. Generally termed the ?New Creatine? Beta Alanine is also a precursor to a muscle energy system and allows a user to work harder for longer without reaching exhaustion. It enhances work load for both explosive athletes and those in more endurance and mixed discipline sports and activities.
Uptake enhancers ? compounds like ALA (Alpha Lipoic Acid), Chromium and Bioperine are all designed to improve the digestion and uptake of all the multiple supplements found in your chosen blend. These items can work by improving blood sugar regulation, insulin response and digestion. You may also find probiotics or other digestive aids in some blends too to make sure none of the items are wasted.
All-in-One products tend to be more expensive than a basic protein shake ? but they are the sum total of many different supplements and work out far cheaper than buying all the products individually. Simple to budget for and plan ahead and useful for discount schemes when bought in multiples.
Ease of use & Convenience ? no need to carry or prepare multiple formulas or tablets around. Also great for people who dislike taking lots of large tablets at different times as it covers many of the common supplements in powdered form.
Covers all bases ? excellent for beginners who are unsure of what to do or for experienced athletes who want to remain focused on core supplements. You can always be sure that simply using a set number of shakes you are getting all the main targeted nutrition and supplementation to make a big difference to your physique and performance.
Nutritionally balanced. A great all round blend of supplements, All-In-One shakes also represent great balanced meals for a wide range of sports and activities. Whether it is for enhancing gym workouts, playing football or rugby up to military endurance training. Helps with all daily meal planning.
Enhanced growth, recovery, fat loss, focus and long term energy.
As part of an optimal athletic diet (see further articles on the nutrition portion of our website) you should be looking at approximately 6 meals per day. This involves eating a meal every 3 hours or so throughout the day. This particular pattern helps keep muscles fed and growing while preventing overloading the body with large uneven meals causing poor insulin control, runaway fat storage and poor energy levels. A serving of an All-In-One counts as one of these meals.
Most All-In-One products are generally designed to be used twice a day for maximum effect. This is usually what the ratio of supplements included is based on to give the effective daily dose.
If you can afford to use the All-In-One regularly you can reasonably use most products up to 3 times a day in amongst 3 whole food meals. If you are budgeting and cannot reasonably afford to use this much you may need to rely on one serving of All-In-One per day. As this will not offer the benefits of creatine loading and maximum dosing you may want to set aside double servings for the first week to ensure your body is as saturated as you can expect and then return to a one a day dosing schedule to keep things economical. Please note that using only a single serving a day of the product may not result in maximum results however you can still reasonably expect an improvement over using nothing.
Remember when budgeting for your use that you will not be spending as much on extra whole food meals nor will you need to stock up on extra creatine or other ingredient supplements.
The All-In-One can be used in place of any of your scheduled meals as long as it does not exceed more than 3 a day and does not entirely replace quality whole food intake.
There are several times of day that you can target these supplements for maximum effect. This is based on both your changing hormonal status throughout the day and specific training effects.
On training days the most important time to consume an All-In-One would be in the post workout window. This is the 45 minutes or so immediately after weight training or other sport activity. During these 45 minutes your body is primed to absorb far more nutrients for repair than at any other time. Virtually nothing you eat now will be wasted as fat storage and will be used to replenish energy and begin repairing and rebuilding muscle tissue. Insulin is also primed to force any nutrients directly into used muscles so creatine and other supplements are forced to where they can work best.
Pre workout is the hour or so prior to an event or gym workout. During this time most people find eating a large meal may leave them bloated and unprepared to work out hard as their body is distracted with digestion. However working out on a completely empty stomach may mean sapped energy levels and hunger distraction. An All-In-One offers fast absorbing, fast digesting energy and pre-loaded supplements that can be used up by the body during the workout, often leading to far better results. You may need to experiment with the exact timing of this to ensure your digestion works best but it can be a real bonus.
On non training days or just as a general guideline, your insulin is more sensitive and the body more prepared for the supplements you can feed it earlier in the day. This means that meals later in the day tend to be utilised less well. Where possible schedule at least one of your All-In-One meals for early in your normal day.
Example for normal 2 a day servings
(Training day): Serving 1 ? 30 minutes prior to gym
Serving 2 ? 20 minutes after workout end
(Non-training day): Serving 1 ? 2 hours after breakfast
Serving 2 ? 2 hours after lunch
If you can afford to use 3 servings a day we would recommend one shake either in place of breakfast or as the second meal of the day and the other two either pre and post workout on training days, or several hours after Lunch and Dinner. It is usually best to avoid making an All-In-One your last meal of the day however unless you train very late and cannot schedule a workout early enough to fit in.
If you train early in the morning follow a similar schedule with a post workout shake, another an hour or two later and another in the afternoon.
If you can only afford a single dose a day it is best to target this to the most useful time. On training days this is immediately post workout. On non-training days this is either for breakfast or a second snack meal after breakfast but before Lunch.
Mixing your product
As mentioned earlier ? you can mix your shake in virtually any beverage you like, including juices, cordials, milks or water. However you will generally find that mixing with water is the how the product works as designed. Juice, cordial or milk may alter and improve the flavour of a product but you are adding in a variety of proteins, carbohydrates and other factors that may not be of particularly high quality and could interfere with maximum absorption of the supplements.
If you need to lose body fat it is very advisable to use only water for mixing your shakes as all other options add unneeded calories and carbohydrates.
If you are extremely slim and find it hard to gain weight you may use skim milk, juice or cordial but try to move over to water as soon as possible.
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