What is an all-in-one supplement?
All-in-one supplements often get confused with protein shakes, but essentially they're a lean mass weight gainer. They are a popular choice with bodybuilders and people involved in contact sports like rugby, boxing and mixed martial arts. All-in-ones can also be beneficial to field athletes who are seeking to improve short bursts of brute strength, such as shot putters and hammer throwers.
An all-in-one supplement is a calculated blend between proteins, carbohydrates, fats plus other nutritional ingredients like vitamins, creatine, taurine, HMB and digestive enzymes. The protein and carbohydrates are blended between fast and slow digesting, making all-in-ones a good all around shake to consume throughout the day if you are trying to gain lean muscle. Whey-only shakes usually contain less than 5 grams of carbohydrates per serving. In an all-in-one, it's common to see a 50:50 split between protein and carbohydrates. Sometimes there is an even higher balance of carbohydrates, but in these cases the supplement is bordering more on a pure weight gainer.
Depending on your goals, all-in-ones are a good choice for a post-workout shake due to their high concentrations of whey proteins and fast acting carbohydrates. The fast-acting carbs help shuttle the protein and the other nutrients to your muscles at a rapid pace.
Whey protein is rapidly digested and absorbed. As it's the most bio-available and fast acting protein available, it's a perfect choice to aid muscle rejuvenation post-workout. That said, your metabolic rate remains elevated for hours after you've completed a workout, and it will continue through a steady decline long after your body's digested a post-workout whey shake. With your glycogen and mineral stores depleted, it makes perfect sense to supplement those nutrients as quickly as possible. If you're not in a position to refuel with high quality nutritious food, a good all-in-one supplement can fill that void. The slower digesting carbohydrates along with slower protein sources like egg and casein help fuel a sustained recovery long after the whey has been digested. The creatine, amino acids and HMB all help promote muscle growth.
Would an all-in-one supplement suit me?
All-in-ones typically suit beginners and intermediate athletes who want a quick and easy no-hassle way of building lean muscle, and it's for this reason that they remain a popular seller. It's a common misconception, especially amongst young athletes, that it's all about protein. It's not. Both carbohydrates and (good) fats also play an integral role in a healthy lifestyle and especially muscle development. If your goal is to bulk up, then simply drinking volumes of protein shakes day in / day out won't do you any favours, and in fact it could be doing you more harm than good.
It really depends on what your goals are and how precise you want to be with your calories. As stated above, the great benefit of an all-in-one is that it takes the guess work out of the equation. If you lead a hectic lifestyle or if you workout first thing in the morning, an all-in-one might be a good option for you if time is an issue and your access to quality muscle building nutrition is limited.
All-in-ones are more of a weight gainer than a straight protein shake. If you're a triathlete, a long distance runner or a swimmer and your goal is endurance, then an all-in-one probably isn't your best option.
The bottom line
An all-in-one supplement could be an option for you:
- If you have an average body type and your primary goal is to gain lean muscle mass and get stronger
- If you don't want the hassle of measuring out protein and carbohydrates separately
- If you lead a busy lifestyle which can interfere in planning meals
- If you want a good all around shake that has both fast and slow digesting proteins along with other vitamins and creatine
- If timed cardio isn't your primary fitness goal
If you're still not sure, you can find a supplement that will suit your goals with our protein finder.