So, I mentioned in a post just the other day about the supplements that I continue to take, even though I am not competing at present and no plans to in the foreseeable or scheduled future.
Now, I get this feeling that a lot of people have this opinion on supplements that they are only required when they are comp prepping. and I don’t know why that is. After all they are for your health, and your health is still important outside comps, if not more important, as a competition takes up 4 months of your life, why allow your self to be and get to optimal health for only four short months, why not keep living it? I know and understand completely it can be expensive, to be honest I would spend more on myself, supplements, vegetables and anything health related than I would anything else. But I see it as an investment, I feel good for it, so I think it is needed.
Please keep in mind this is not what I am saying works, is the only way to do this, the only method of consumption, the best combination, flavors or products. Its just what I like based on experience, availability, knowledge, chnages overtime, addition of products and what makes me feel good. It’s all about listening to your own body and this is something I think you should take the time to educate yourself in.
So some of the supplements I take, why, why I source them, how I take them and their purpose is below:
PreWorkout – If you are going to need an energy boost, a kick, a get up and go. This is what a preworkout does. It is not a drug, it is a stimulant, it contains things such as caffeine, beta alanine (that’s what can create the tingle effect), creatine nitrate and other items that enhance your focus and pump effect in the gym. I have tried a few, white lightening, BPM labs and the BulkNutrients NO3X. I personally stick to the NO3X and the new watermelon is my favorite, I love how it doesn’t give me an overall uncomfortable skin crawling/tingling itchy feeling. I try not to use it all the time, as it can, like anything become a requirement of you can develop an immunity. I tend to use it for those early morning sessions, a leg workout or if my day has just been to long.
BCAAs – These are Branch Chain Amino Acids, and the product I use, again Bulk Nutrients, in a recovery formula. This combines your BCAAs and electrolytes so they are great for replacing lost essentials from your training session, as well as being long proven to help in recovery and soreness. These I drink throughout my training session. And always flavored. You can try the unflavored if you like, but if you are sipping them of not missing them into your own cordial, they are pretty hard to swallow. My favorite is lime and tropical, but other flavors are apple/raspberry and orange as well! that’s from the bulk range anyway, there are plenty of others to try. I have tried my trainers before but I cannot remember the name! You can even by in capsule form if you prefer, I don’t, as I already take a lot of capsules. and I also love having flavored water, it helps get all my liquids in for the day!
Protein – Either as a post workout drink or as a meal replacement when I am busy, this would be a number one drink for me. There are so many on the market that it can be hard to know what to go for! And it can depend on what you are after. Some have increased carbs so if you are bulking this is perfect, others are virtually no fat and carbs for those looking to slim down, some also taste so amazing its because you are drinking a milkshake laden with sugar. Protein as a drink can be mixed with water, milk or alternatives and is generally best consumed after your workout. It helps with muscle growth, recovery and that fuel after your session and replacing some of the items it needs! So while I will always opt for a full meat and veggie meal, sometimes if I can’t a protein shake is a great option to suppress the hunger, keep you going but provide your body with some fuel rather than starving yourself. So what one/s do I use? I’m sure it wont surprise you I predominately use BulkNutrients, I stick to their WPI and thermowhey protein powder. Your WPI is Pure whey protein isolate sourced from NZ dairy cows and is an Australian product, its good to support local . This has a high protein content but low carbs and fats, I love the chocolate, choc mint, mocha and coffee flavors, but as it also have vanilla, strawberry, cookies and cream, banana and i think that’s it, there is virtually something for everyone!. Thermowhey, while I don’t take it all the time has the combination of WPI and WPC as well as thermogenics which can help with fat loss, i also like that this comes in chocolate too!
Other proteins that I have tried and loved, are the protowhey, although not as good in protein content and other nutritional value as the Bulk product, but it has a creamier texture that I love a teaspoon into my black coffee, weird yes, but dieters do these things! I have also got onto the Alkaline extreme protein powder of recent, this is my go to for a treat. It is creamy as well and with a range of flours of banana cream, lemon cream pie, cinnamon bun, chocolate, strawberry milkshake, choc mint and I think a few others, the strawberry is so far a favorite. Finally I do also use Misellar casein.
Also from the Bulk nutrients range in chocolate and vanilla, micellar casein is protein powder that is super fine and a terrible mess to spill, but I love to add a scoop of this, a scoop or normal WPI or protein of choice and add this to a tbsp of cottage cheese and 170ml yogurt, this is my dessert, its like mousse! yum! Micellar Casein is a slow release protein, that’s why is is a great protein for night use as it can be absorbed over a longer period of time, and acts like a thickener so that’s why it makes my yogurt like mousse! It is often consumed before bed but could be used in addition to your WPI shake for thickness!
Green Tea – I never used to like the flavor of this, and I know many people still don’t. I think over time your taste buds change, although I gave olives another chance the other week after 5 years, and nope, we still aren’t friends. So, green tea, it has long been known for it’s nutritional benefits that include low/no caffeine and calories, digestion, as well as aiding to increase the metabolism which can aid in fat loss! It has also been known to improve the brain function and lower the risk of cancers as well as many more benefits. I didn’t start drinking green tea for this reason. Really I wanted something to have in between meals. As I work at a desk, I can find that in between meals I can be bored, well not bored but my mind wanders to want to eat something. Having a hot drink kept me occupied! but I cannot drink ten cups of coffee a day, this isn’t healthy, that much black tea also becomes bit much, and anything else is full of sugar! So standard green tea became my good friend. You can get it with the addition of lemon and other flavors but original is fine for me. Then a friend also recently got me onto X50 green Tea, this is a powdered green tea flavored or original that acts like a energy drink without all the nasties, but tastes amazing! So I let myself have one of these, around 2pm between meals, it gives me a pick me up, gets me through some more fluid that is important to get through your daily requirements and he flavors are original, tropical or raspberry. Personally I am sticking to tropical its so yummy.
Glutamine – Glutamine is an unflavored, normally powder, but can be in capsule form supplement. It is effective in preventing muscle wastage and being broken down by the liver as a fuel source as needed. With these properties it is very useful for those that diet. I have been using this since I began competing, and simply place the recommended dose into my post workout protein shake. It can be shot back on its own as well, but this isn’t the most pleasant taste. I guess you could just add it to your cordial as well, this would make it cloudy but I don’t think it would impair flavor. I have continued to take this, because as you know I do continue to diet to some effect, through my reverse diet.
Again there are many different options in regards to where to source your product from, I have only used one, BulkNutrients.
Multivitamins, minerals and other supplements – Basically this is everything else that I use, mainly in capsule or liquid form. But this includes things such as fish oil, HCL, zinc, magnesium, D3, water, and I think that’s all. With the number I take sometimes I am suprised I don’t rattle when I walk! So what do these all do and why do I take them? I mean I eat a diet high in vitamins and minerals anyway with all the veggies I eat and I get my good fats in, I eat a variety of protein sources and love salmon.
Fish oil provides our bodies with long chain fatty acids, the good fats, that we often don’t get enough of and are found in cold water fish. These have been proven to help which lowering cholesterol, preventing heart disease, helping with period pains, help with arthritis prevention and pain treatment so while I eat fish it is recommended to have two serves of fish a day, and that I do not consistently do! So this helps. I take mine in liquid form, just one quick swig of the orange flavored liquid and its all over. But I would suggest not on an empty stomach, it can repeat on you a bit. HCL – or Hydrochloric Acid – this aids in digestion, particularly in protein and fat absorption.
HCL is typically found in the stomach for the breakdown of food and is highly acidic, where we do not have enough or to much adverse effects can occur such as gas, bloating, mineral deficiency, indigestion and reflux. Taking HCl supplements helps to make our minerals and the foods we consume more absorbable and therefore we actually start to get more out of what we put in. Zinc, now we all know that zinc is wonderful for our hair, skin, nails etc but it is also helpful for treating a common cold, helping with performance and strength and treating infection, but it is also essential for blood clotting, immune function, wound healing and thyroid function. Large amounts of zinc are not required in our diets, it is known as a trace element, meaning small amounts, but it is also needed in almost every element of your body. Being deficient can result in stunted growth, infertility, poor mood, increased cravings, kidney failure, thyroid issues and other concerns. I take one supplements a day to boost my intake. I think it is this along with an excellent diet that have helped improve my skin, hair and nails, it has also been a huge controller in my craving levels, which I hardly have any more of and I swear by this and D3 for preventing me getting sick.
So D3, vitamin D3 to be exact, it comes from the sun. This helps ensure bone density and helps with immunity. While some D3 can come from foods mainly fatty fish, the majority is through the sun. In areas where little sun may be seen, or if you work inside a lot as I do, then it may be helpful to consider a supplements. For example people that live in England where the days are very short people can be going to and from work in the dark and not getting the chance to see daylight, this can also be a contribution factor to depression and other mental conditions. But people in hot sunny climates can also be at risk, with increased heat or sun people can spend to much time indoors, covering up or packing on sunscreen.
Magnesium is another supplement I take, predominately at night, with dinner and before bed. Magnesium can help prevent cramps, it can aid in recovery and is a muscle relaxant so it can also help in better sleep. It can also be used to aid in strength and endurance so many athletes use it, but it has its purposes in the elderly, treating disease and aid in the immune system. Again I think this none is very important to me and I hate running out of it, it helps a lot with consistent sleeping patterns! Which, after all is also an important natural factor in remaining god and healthy! I source the majority of my supplements through my trainer at ProTraining, she mainly sources from Poliquin. My fish oil, I get this from Iherb, and if you haven’t checked this out it is a great online source for natural and health foods, just don’t be fooled into thinking its all good for you!
So with all of those items that I consume, and this is on a daily basis, you wouldn’t there would be much else! but there is, there always will be! From additional fat burners, acetyl carnative, L carnatine, Garcia Cambogia, testosterone boosters, Nootropics, acytl Tyrosine, Alpha GPC and other mental supports, DIM, nettle root and other hormone blockers and enhancers, multivitamin, depending on what you need, there is someone or somewhere supplying it, you just need to educate yourself into whats needed and know your body can not handle it all, doesn’t matter what the label says its advantages are.