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I am 27 and I have been underweight for many years. Recently, I began to have consistent training sessions in a nearby gym. My personal trainer advise me to buy several supplements. They include whey protein, glutamine, creatine and amino acid.

I would like to know:

  1. if there are any side effect
  2. the dosage of these supplements
  3. whether I should take them daily or pre/post-workout
  4. whether I should take them for a month then stop for 2 weeks, or just keep taking them as long as I have regular training like 2-3 times per week
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    A Protein diet is used to lose weight. Don't waste your money. I wholly agree with @rrirower When consuming calories make them as nutritious as possible. I was skinny until 28, 6'2" 165lbs, 32 in. waist. The metabolism changed. Not many years later I found myself buying a pair of pants with a 40 in waist. Went on a high protein diet to lose weight, very effective. Enjoy being skinny, it's not likely to last much longer. If anything add monounsaturated fats such as, almonds, cashews, olive oil to your diet. – Misunderstood Apr 22 '15 at 18:25
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if there are any side effect

Glutamine can cause your stools to loosen a bit. The other stuff may have additional ingredients, and whey protein is a fairly typical food source found in a lot of products you probably already consume.

the dosage of these supplements

You'll want to read the labels.

whether I should take them daily or pre/post-workout

Again, you'll want to read the labels. Try to remember that supplements are supplemental and that if you have a good diet you don't actually need them. Everything you're taking is related to building muscle, and building muscle happens all day and night long. There are small highs and lows here and there but in the big picture you want a steady supply of high quality nutrients including protein.

whether I should take them for a month then stop for 2 weeks, or just keep taking them as long as I have regular training like 2-3 times per week

You don't need to cycle on and off protein and amino acid supplementation. Again, you get protein and amino acids from normal food that you eat.

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  • Thanks. So, in general it is okay to simply follow what the labels say, except those with some kind of severe disease? – S.C. Apr 22 '15 at 7:16
  • @AldourCheng In general, yes. – Eric Apr 22 '15 at 22:50
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As Eric indicated in his response, supplements aren't really necessary if you have a well-balanced diet. In fact, unless you’re planning to participate at a high athletic level, or, you plan on training very intensely, and, you don’t have ready access to nutritious food, you probably don’t need them.

The supplement industry is a multi-billion dollar unregulated industry. It’s often fraught with trainers and gym owners who “suggest” their members try this or that supplement. Gym owners typically don’t make their money on memberships. The bulk of their income comes from the extras they sell (like supplements).

Unfortunately, it’s really incumbent upon you to educate yourself if you decide to take supplements. I often tell people that if they decide to use a supplement, they should take half the recommended dosage (for a specified length of time) to begin with. Especially if you’ve never taken that particular supplement. That would allow you to determine if there are any specific side effects for you. For example, too much protein can lead to kidney disease.

The best time to take a supplement is when your body needs it. You’ll have to discover that for yourself. As for gaining weight, you should look to increase your calories with nutritious food rather than protein powders.

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  • Ya, my personal trainer suggests me to take half the recommended dosage too. – S.C. Apr 23 '15 at 4:06
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I am 27 and I have been underweight for many years.

Well this is your actual issue, and what your question should be based on. Will these products help you achieve your goal of adding weight? Realistically, no.

Supplements are meant to do just that, supplement what the body is missing.

Of that list, the only product I would recommend is whey protein (for now, at least). This will help recover and repair the broken muscle tissue after a workout. I would suggest taking a scoop (or as directed by the label) within 30 minutes of a workout.

Other than that, your goals will be achieved more so by your everyday nutrition. Knowing how many calories your diet requires for you to gain weight, and making sure to get the right amount of protein, fat, and carbs is essential.

As a base to start with, I would take a look at this page and see what it recommends in terms of the before-mentioned macro nutrients: http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/macronutrients_calculator.htm

This isn't meant to replace an actual consultation from a nutritionist, but it is a good start to get you going.

Creatine, glutamine, amino acids, and the rest of the long list of supplements aren't going to give you any noticeable improvements unless you are a serious athlete. To start, stick with your protein, know your caloric / macro-nutrient intake, and follow a diet accordingly. This with 3-5 days of exercise per week is what will allow you to gain weight.

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  • Creatine has long been proven as one of the few workout supplements that delivers. I would consider someone starting a workout regimen under a personal trainer to be a serious athlete, and probably one that would benefit from the creatine. The glutamin/amino acids, not so much. Protein powder, if needed to fulfill protein requirements in the absence of real food. – JohnP Apr 22 '15 at 22:50
  • Thank you, I will seek help from nutritionists for an accurate evaluation. – S.C. Apr 23 '15 at 4:04
  • JohnP I too suggest creatine to people often enough, but someone just starting out will not recognize the effects of creatine amongst the rest to really know how their body reacts to it. And when you put weight on, is it water weight from the creatine, or muscle, fat, etc. So taking steps and working your way up is better than bombarding the body all at once with a new diet, workout and multiple supplements. – Steven Apr 23 '15 at 13:31

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