Question 3 and 4: Whey protein and Creatine supplementation:
My best friend is in the coast guard and well, works out all the time. She is all into the whey protein shakes and creatine shakes. They scare me... so you have any advice about all that stuff?
There are a lot of great resources out there supporting creatine and whey protein in the diet. Whey protein is a staple of my diet and I buy Body Fortress at Wal-Mart because it is affordable and provides my body with just what I need post workout. I love Hammer Whey protein as well so I usually have that on my order-list whenever I buy my Hammer products. However, as you can imagine, Karel and I go through Whey protein really fast. As for creatine, I do not believe in a loading phase but I feel as if 2-5g/day is beneficial to athletes performing strength exercises on a weekly basis. Just like with any supplement, if your diet is lacking or if you are putting your body under great stress, supplementing the diet with nutrients that you are lacking (or are in great need in your diet) may be beneficial. No supplement will oversee an unhealthy diet so if you want to improve your health and fitness, it is most important that you focus on your daily diet to provide you with a wide range of nutrients to support your active and healthy routine.
I have to admit that research shows that total creatine is generally lower in vegetarians at baseline than nonvegetarians. Vegetarians who supplement with creatine typically have a greater increase in total creatine, plasma creatine, strength and whole-body lean tissue levels compared with both vegetarians and nonvegetarians on placebo. Also, be mindful that with creatine supplementation you will have responders and non-responders. Karel used creatine (on a 3 week on, 1 week off) cycle throughout the past 5-6 months when he was doing a lot of plyometrics. He noticed dramatic results and still adds creatine into his smoothies a few times per week (about a tsp or two).
There are a lot of misconceptions/myths with creatine (bloating, water retention, stress on kidneys) and whey protein (bulking up, fear of milk proteins). But based on the research (I suggest just looking up "what is creatine" "What is whey protein" to understand more) of these two supplements, the evidence supporting whey protein is outstanding whereas a diet filled with processed food, fast-food, trans-fat, high sodium and added sugar is worth considering if you want to live a more healthy lifestyle.
Please let me know if you have any questions, comments or concerns.
Here are three great articles that will give you some insight on creatine and whey protein. Although research changes, these 2007 articles (written by my good friend Cassandra and the other, by myself) may fill in the gaps if you have been hesitant to use or be consistent with either supplement.
Creatine for Women
EGGS, MEAT, & MILK…Whey too many proteins!