Just when you thought that you had finally gotten your head around each aspect of building your dream physique, another supplement is added to the market.
One of the longest running supplements on the market the “All in One“. A sports supplement that is marketed as guaranteed to take your training and physique to the next level.
I wanted to take a closer look at the concept of an all in one supplement, by looking into the ingredients of popular All in One’s, and providing the low down on whether you would be better off sticking to what you know best.
Here it goes!
What You Need To Know
- All in one supplements are nothing magical
- Many do contain a full break down of ingredient quantities
- They are convenient
- With some research, you can easily make your own all in one supplements to suit your dietary requirements
What is an “All In One Supplement” ?
Almost all of the big supplement companies now offer an All in One product under one name or another.
Supplement companies market this product as convenient, and a cutting edge way to gain body fat… I mean lean muscle.
All in One’s generally consist of 3 main ingredients. However some of these products do have their own slight variations. You can expect to find a bit of protein, a source of carbohydrate, a form of creatine, with the potential of added BCAA’s and ingredients such as HMB or digestive enzymes.
For the purpose of this article however, I will be focussing on the “big three” – Protein, Carbohydrate and Creatine.
To put this evaluation of all in one supplements into an easy to follow piece, i’ll be looking at;
MyProtein’s Hurricane XS
PhD Synergy ISO 7
The Protein Works All in One Supplement
This isn’t a supplement review however. It’s an appraisal of the “all in one supplement”. Im simply using these 3 products to help demonstrate my findings.
Its no great surprise that protein is a main ingredient in an All in One product, after all, if you are looking to upgrade your standard whey protein shake, you would still expect to be getting protein in from your new and improved supplement.
After having a look at some of the UK’s main supplement providers including MyProtein, The Protein Works, and GoNutrition, it became apparent that each of their own style of All in One products contained a source of protein.
We all know that Protein is a key Macronutrient in the game of muscle building. There has been much controversy of too little, too much, and the source of protein within supplements.
The supplements I have looked at generally contain a blend of Whey Protein Concentrate and Whey Protein Isolate, much like True Whey does. The ratio of each is not disclosed, however, as Whey Protein Concentrate is cheaper to use, it is pretty safe to assume that there will be a higher percentage of this form of protein.
This isn’t always a bad thing, Whey Protein Concentrate is consumed within normal protein supplements, and has been shown time and time again to be a great source for your protein.. and gains.
The MyProtein and The Protein Work’s version of All in One supplements contained 31 grams and 34 grams of protein respectively, whilst Phd’s Synergy ISO 7 comes in at 41 grams of protein.
Recent research is debunking the myth that there is an upper limit of how much protein can be absorbed by the body, but it’s good to see that companies have got their heads screwed on and aren’t offering products with excessively high servings of protein. After all, personally, I do believe that consuming a ridiculous amount of protein in one sitting isn’t going to be optimal for protein synthesis.
For me, it is much better to see a standardised offering of protein which will give you what you need in your shake, tiding you over until you get the opportunity to get a solid meal down your neck.
It’s interesting to see that Synergy ISO 7 offers Hydrolysed protein, whereas both Myprotein and The Protein Works do not within their All in One supplement. However, this is reflected in the higher asking price. Hydrolysed protein is touted as more effective than Whey Protein Concentrate and Whey Protein Isolate.
As above though, although Synergy ISO 7 contains Hydrolysed protein this will likely be at the smaller end of the ratio scale. Pretty hard to say exactly how much you are really getting from the supplement, unless the companies offered a full disclosure and ingredient quantity breakdown.
If you need some more information on the differences between the different types of protein sources, such as the differences between concentrate, isolate and hydrolysed, check out our beginners guide to whey protein.
An added source of carbohydrate is the selling point of any All in One supplement – this is what is deemed to make the product so convenient, and I can see where the marketing gurus are coming from.
All in One supplements generally contain “fast acting carbohydrate sources” named as such due to the effect that they have on our blood sugar – gotta spike that insulin you know!?
The ingredients can vary, however, generally, you can expect to find a carbohydrate blend made up of oats along with dextrose or maltodextrin.
Dextrose and maltodextrin are essentially sugars which are rapidly absorbed by the body – anyone making their own All in One product will add these to their supplements as it is super cheap and research driven.
There’s no denying the effectiveness of either and as they are cheap to use and produce, companies are willing to use them.
The addition of oats offers some nutritional value and adds to the thick texture found with All in One products. Beware though, you really do have to put some effort into shaking these otherwise I can guarantee a lumpy shake, and aint nobody got time for that!
Research regarding consuming carbohydrate immediately postworkout is fairly mixed. Some researchers have suggested that a protein supplement alone is just as effective as a protein and carbohydrate combo.
A growing trend that we are now seeing within the fitness industry, and flexible dieting scene is the use of ready-made milkshakes postworkout. Frijj and yazoo ready-made milkshakes are essentially a protein and carbohydrate blend with, they offer a level of sweetness which is rarely found in an All in One product.
I think it really comes down to personal preference. I am in no rush to consume carbohydrates immediately postworkout, I find that my hunger levels really drop in the hour or so after finishing a session, and would rather wait and eat something solid
That being said, the addition of carbohydrate in the products being marketed is very convenient, especially for those that struggle to get in their calories or are following a high carbohydrate, calorie dense diet.
Creatine is the most researched supplement on the planet. There should be no doubt in your mind to add creatine to your supplement stack.
There are well over 1000 peer reviewed studies which demonstrate how effective this supplement is.
When looking for a creatine supplement, look no further than a simple creatine monohydrate. There is no need to splash any more cash than you need to with any other product. Creatine monohydrate has stood the test of time and will be around for years to come. If you’ve any doubts, check out this review of my protein’s creatine monohydrate.
Most All in One supplements do follow the standard pattern and offer the renowned creatine monohydrate, but I think this is more to do with saving costs than anything else.
The the biggest question for an All in One product is, how much creatine are you really being provided with? Would it be better to add your own to ensure you’re getting what you need? Read on to find out….
As I have said, there are number of ingredients you may be able to find added into an All in One product, these go beyond the scope of this review.
Each company has their own unique special blend which sets it apart from all of the others on the market, what you need to ask yourself is this… is it research backed? Is it necessary? Is it a marketing ploy?
If you can honestly answer these questions and justify the use of the added extras then be my guest, but I would suggest looking deeper into the use of a product before blindly adding it into your current stack.
Benefits of Using All In One Supplements
All in One supplements are convenient. There’s no denying that. Two scoops and you’re post workout shake is set. No messing around with multiple tubs, pouches, food scales and concoctions. They provide all of the typical ingredients you would expect to consume when trying to build muscle.
Thanks to all of the added goodies, you are guaranteed a thick, smooth shake. From reading the supplement reviews, most users agree that you are sure for a great texture of shake.
When I was younger I used both Hurricane XS from MyProtein and Synergy ISO 7 from Phd. I genuinely could not stand the taste of Hurricane XS. It was so artificial and overly sweet. To the point of it tasting sickly.
Synergy ISO 7. Now that is a different story altogether, before they changed the recipe, they offered a chocolate orange which was unbelievably tasty. If you can get your hands on that then go nuts. I had some pretty good results from using that, but it was hard to say whether my experience was a result of my new found love for lifting heavy stuff or the product itself.
Negatives of Using an All in One Supplement
The main issue that I have with All in One products is the fact that when you take this type of supplement, you have no control over the quantities of each ingredient you are consuming.
Yes, the products are “research driven”, which is why they contain the ingredients that they do. However, is there any point in a 70kg male and 95kg male consuming the same supplement with the same macronutrient breakdown?
Supplements, just like diet, should be specific to the individual.
Based on that, I would recommend establishing your macros, and then deciding how much protein and carbohydrate you want to consume postworkout. Once you know this, simply make up your own post workout shake.
I suppose the biggest selling point of an all in one is the convenience. As i’ve already mentioned, you don’t need to mess about weighing different ingredients. You simply just need to add a few scoops into your shaker.
In terms of price, you can pick up 2kg bags of All in One products for around £30 to £35. Whilst this won’t really break the bank , it would be considerably cheaper, especially using our supplement discount codes, to purchase protein, carbohydrate and creatine supplements individually and take control over your own supplement regime.
When To Use an All In One Supplement
There is one thing that the supplement companies agree on; an All in One product should be used as a postworkout product. The fast acting carbohydrates along with protein and creatine will provide essential nutrients to your muscles after a hard session.
Research has shown that a combination of both protein and carbohydrate is more effective in repairing damaged muscle fibres than either alone.
For all of the “hardgainers” out there, this type of product could also be used as a meal replacement at any time of the day.
Personally, I prefer to eat my calories. However, with a standard serving coming in at around 300 calories, this is definitely an easy way to make sure that you hit your macros without leaving you feeling overly full.
If you are in a calorie deficit I would steer clear. Calories are precious and I wouldn’t go wasting them on an All in One supplement.
Should You Use All In One Supplements?
I personally feel that All in One supplements are convenient, but have to question whether they are necessary.
My recommendation would be to make your own shakes. Whether these are mass gain meal replacement shakes, or post workout shakes. You can purchase the ingredients individually and make your own at a fraction of the price.
I see these all in one supplements as being marketed based on 2 areas;
I don’t need to speak any more about the convenience factor of these supplements, as i’ve already spoken about that.
These supplements, I feel, are marketed towards new comers to the gym. People who don’t yet know about the importance of diet, nutrition, and have never heard of a macro.
Instead they just see products labelled as pre-workout, during workout and post workout. Take this supplement to gain weight. Take this pill to lose fat.
They’re an easy market to sell to.
If you struggle with getting calories in or don’t have the time (see: can’t be bothered) to prepare separate supplements, then an All in One product could be for you.
However if you can reduce your hashtagging on instagram, not upload your facebook page with every meal you eat, or spend a few minutes less choking your chicken, you will have enough time to mix up your own “all in one” supplement.