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Hey all, here are some notes about some supplementation options out there.
I’m not one to push it, and I don’t make much money off my supplement sales. I only stock what I believe in, and I’m honest about what I think is garbage. I send lots of my athletes to John at Supplement City because he’s a solid guy with a great knowledge base and good products (plus he’s a local business owner who knows what he’s doing and works hard, so we should support that, right??). With that said, there are some things to think about and probably a lot to learn!
I’ll come right out and say it: you should be able to get everything from food. There, I said it—sort of my due dilligence. You can’t out-supplement a shitty diet, and many people have absolutely no clue how to fuel their bodies with food, which is your primary fuel source. Should those people be taking supplements? NOPE! Fix your crappy diet first, then we can talk supplements down the road.
To defend supplementation, we don’t live in a perfect world: not everyone’s diets are flawlessly dialed in, and not everyone has access to the highest quality of foods. Plus, sometimes it’s pretty impossible to get as much of what you need from just eating whole foods. It’s an argument for another blog, and I’m certainly not bashing that line of thought, but especially if you’re a performance-level athlete, you’re going to need to supplement, period. If you need to fill in the gaps, here are some suggestions:
—Statistically, there is a very probably chance that living in the midwest this time of the year, you have a vitamin D deficiency. Lacking Vitamin D can cause loss of performance, bone health issues, among others. The absolute best source of Vitamin D is sunlight, but when you live here, you gotta make do with what you can. D3 from PurePharma is a great, high-quality vitamin D supplement.
—M3 from PurePharma (AKA: ZMA by other brands) is another great mineral supplement that will help improve muscle function and recovery time (from a performance standpoint).
—O3 from PurePharma is a high-quality fish oil that reduces inflammation in the body. Again, the best way to do this is with food, but unless everything you eat is perfectly dialed in, you could likely use some help in this area. Since basically every issue with the body can be boiled down to inflammation, taking a regular, high-quality anti-inflammatory would benefit you in literally about every way.
—WODpack from Nutriforce is a pretty great one-stop-shop micronutrient and greens supplementation packet. You tear open a packet and take it once a day (I do it at night).
—BCAA’s are a great way to get some pre-workout fuel in if you like to do a morning session fasted, or something to sip on between sessions, throughout the day, or even during some low-intensity strength (CP) sessions. The Nutriforce BCAA’s are a really clean option (no artificial colors, sweeteners, etc), though many people don’t particularly like the taste. In my opinion, the ‘best-taste’ award goes to Tri-Pep, which John can hook you up with at Supplement City.
—Fast Fuel is by far my favorite pre-workout to take about 30 minutes before I am ready to go. It’s got a great blend of energy, BCAA’s, and Creatine, giving it my one-stop-shop to take before a workout. The only other thing I will occasionally add to this is Beta-Alanine, which delays the onset of fatigue.
—Creatine is a must for anyone who cares about being strong. Forget all the horror stories you heard about how it makes women bulky, how the weight you put on is just water weight, or all that crap. Creatine is naturally found in red meat, but unless you eat an absurd amount of it every day, you won’t get as much naturally as you can in a powdered form. Fast Fuel has some in it that works well for my pre-workout dose, but I add more to my post-workout as well. It’s cheap, it’s usually flavorless, and it’s effective!
—Glutamine is another one that is cheap, usually flavorless and aids with recovery. I add this as well to my post-workout shakes.
Post workout, you need protein or a mixture of sugars and protein, depending on the training session, body type, frequency of working out, and your goals. If you want a specific recommendation regarding what would be best for you, I offer nutrition consultations, so get ahold of me and we can discuss it!
—SFH Pure Whey: Stronger Faster Healthier offers what is, in my opinion, the highest-quality whey protein on the market. It’s grass-fed, no hormones or antibiotics, and zero artificial sweeteners or colorings. It’s been my go-to protein for a few years now, and unless something better comes along that can compete with the price, it will continue to be.
—Recoverite: Hammer Nutrition’s post-workout recovery. I used this for quite some time. It’s is a 3:1 ratio carbs (maltodextrin) to protein (whey). No artificial sweeteners or colors, which is why most people didn’t like the way it tasted. BUT, you’re paying for fuel and quality, not for a candy bar, and Recoverite is one of the best PWO’s on the market.
—Ultragen: The newest item on the shelf. I have recently switched over to this for a couple reasons. It has more ‘extras’ in it (glutamine and BCAA’s already mixed in it). It’s the same ratio of carbs to protein, but the sugar source is dextrose instead, which is naturally sweeter, resulting in a better taste. It’s twice as concentrated, so you need half the amount of scoops to get the same volume you would have got with Recoverite, and it’s $15 less per tub, which makes it significantly more affordable at $40/tub.
A couple honorable mentions would be greens supplementation for micronutrients you may lack from not eating enough veggies (which many of us are surely guilty of!), as well as a probiotic if you are taking quite a bit of this stuff—it’s so important that your gut flora is healthy so that the food and supplements you’re spending money on, preparing, and eating are actually getting absorbed and utilized in your body!
I hope this was at least a little helpful to some of you, and please understand my intentions: I’m not in the supplementation industry. I offer products that I take personally and that I have used and seen success with. I’m skeptical by nature, and refuse to stock things I think are overpriced, low-quality, or simply don’t work. If you’re taking some stuff that has been working for you, more power to you. I do challenge everyone, however, to take a look at your labels and ask yourself if you’re okay with everything listed on it.
-Are you eating artificial sweeteners or dyes every single day? If so, are you okay with that?
-Is the quality of what you’re taking matching what you’re paying for it, or are you paying top-dollar for low-quality proteins (SOY)?
-If you are taking many of these supplements from a lower-quality source, how bioavailable is that supplement?
I’m not looking to get into the supplementation business, but I want what is best for my CFD athletes on all fronts, and supplementation can be something that helps you get that extra edge if you know what you’re doing.
As mentioned above, ask if you have questions! If you want nutrition help, I offer it for free for unlimited members. A great resource that is close to CFD is John at Supplement City—I drive right by his shop on my way to work every day and get a good amount of my stuff there as well. He has a much larger selection than I do and does supplements for a living!
See you at the box!