Basic Nutrition Pt. 2: Supplements
Supplements… Where to begin?
You don’t NEED supplements to get fit and you shouldn’t bother with them if the other 95% of your diet isn’t dialed in
There’s a cost/benefit consideration with using supplements and there’s very little control over the quality, or even the contents, of most of them.
You get what you pay for, sometimes, if you know where they’re coming from.
That having been said, there are a few supplements that I use and can generally recommend.
1. Fish Oil
There are tremendous benefits to fish oil including:
- Reduces inflammation
- Muscle building and preservation
- Reduced muscle soreness from training
- Improved cardiovascular health and efficiency
- Accelerated fat loss
Find a good quality fish oil, I recommend the liquid stuff. 1-3g per day is the recommendation for athletes and that meant 10-15 of the pills. 1 Tbs of the liquid is enough.
Don’t pinch pennies on this one. Get the good stuff.
2. Vitamin D3
Strengthens bones and helps boosts immunity.
You produce is naturally in sunlight but if you live in a northern climate there’s a period of 2-3 months each year when you cannot produce vitamin D from the sun so dietary sources are your only option.
This one is usually not expensive, either.
Get your vitamin D levels checked by your doctor. Mine will throw it on a regular blood panel at a physical. There’s a range between 20-50 ng/mL that’s considered “good”. If you are on the low end 1000-3000 IU/day can help boost the number up. If you’re on the high end you may not need it at all. Discuss it with your doctor while you’re there.
Consider this one nutritional insurance. A good multivitamin may help make sure that you’re not lacking any particular nutrients.
There are a ton of options available so don’t get caught up in the marketing stuff. You don’t need 2000% RDA of anything.
A good multivitamin will dissolve in warm water within a few hours. This is a good sign your body can break it down.
I don’t commonly recommend this for body transformations. For strength training it’s a great way to get a few extra reps in a workout.
Think of it this way, it’s like topping off the gas tank on your muscles. If you’re doing a set of 5 bench presses you might fail at 4 reps but because you took a little creatine beforehand you manage to squeeze out that last rep.
It amounts to to a few extra reps per session, which doesn’t seem like much, but at the end of a year that could be hundreds of thousands of reps you otherwise would not have completed.
There’s some general neurological benefit as well, but as I stated before, unless you are chasing strength specifically I don’t feel it’s necessary.
This isn’t one that I would use all the time. However, if you’ve got a job and kids and have to get a workout in at a specific time it can be super helpful.
After a long day at the office it can be very difficult to get yourself geared up for a hard workout. A little pre can be just the thing to get the most out of a workout when it has to be NOW.
Be warned, most pre workouts are little different than raw crystal meth. Be selective.
You can likely get plenty of protein following my general nutrition guidelines but this is one I do use regularly.
I use a protein powder that nets about 30g of protein per scoop. I usually mix it with my cold-pressed coffee in the morning and sip on it over 2-3 hours.
The coffee and the protein both act as an appetite suppressant. The caffeine in the coffee also gives just a little kick.
I’ve been known to recommend Chike Protein Coffee. It’s pre-mixed so you just add water. It’s also delicious! 20g of protein and 2 shots of espresso per serving.
[begin sales pitch] Use code: Bear10 to save 10% at checkout [end sales pitch]
And that’s about it. There are tons of other options available but I tend to use as little as necessary, preferring to get as much as my body needs through good food choices than chemical alternatives. The ones I mentioned above are tools you can use to help you along the way, not magic pills.