I tend to be pretty relaxed with my supplement admonition. I don’t recommend them for most people but I think they can help in certain situations depending on the goals of that person. If you are overweight and trying to lose weight and get healthy, supplements may not be the best way to go. If you are comfortable where you’re at aesthetically and mainly want to increase performance, supplements could add that extra 5% (assuming your food is in order) you need.
I’ve tried almost everything (legal) but I always keep coming back to food. Real food. My biggest improvements and best recovery comes when I manage my food appropriately (eat enough – eat for quality). I drop weight the fastest when I manage my food appropriately (eat a little less – eat for quality – increase MetCon load). Supplements may have given me an edge, but have never been the defining factor for me. Then again I am relatively new at this. I find that they work great as a supplement (go figure) but never when you use them to try and replace real, quality, nutritious protein, fat and carbs.
Because supplements are not regulated by the FDA, please do not try and buy the cheapest thing possible. Most likely they will use mass amounts of fillers in their “proprietary” blend, and you will be flushing your money down the toilet. Check out http://truenutrition.com/ they have solid stuff and allow you to build some custom creations that you wont find at any GNC. Remember though, FOOD FIRST. We like fast, quick, and easy in America. So we would rather dump hundreds of dollars down the drain in hopes for a supp that will zap the fat and pack the lbs, but that wont happen. Get a solid baseline with real food, then see if supplements will help later.
My buddy Jonathan Reid, who recently was awarded best overall male lifter and 1st place in the 77kg category of the 2014 NL Provincial Championships, was gracious enough to share his favorite supplements.
Things to note: John (and myself) hover around the 77kg category. We are in the 8-11% Fat range unless we decide to put on weight. This is a performance based prescription for one person specifically.
*1) Beta-alanine (10g = 2tsp)
*2) L-carnitine (5-8g = 1 heaping tsp)
*3) Creatine (5-8g = 1 heaping tsp)
*4) BCAA’s (20-30g = 2-3 tbsp)
5) 2 scoops Amino Energy for flavour (you could use anything really, but do use something…)
Note: Mix all of 1-5 together and drink before lifting/during warmup.
*1) Maltodextrin (30-60g = 1-2 protein scoops, depending on intensity of workout)
*2) L-glutamine (20-30g = 2-3 tbsp)
*3) Creatine (5g = 1tsp)
4) 60g protein
5) Vitamin C (3-6g)
Note: Mix 1,2,3 together. Take 4 separately as well as 5.
*1) ZMA (3 caps)
2) Multi-vitamins (double the recommended serving)
Okay, so that’s basically it. Everything with a (*) in front of it you should order on www.truenutrition.com in powder form (except for ZMA). The following quantities of each should do you 4 months, so order accordingly i guess:
ZMAs: 2 bottles of 180 caps
- If you dont want to do true nutrition, and you have a local GNC you support: last time I went to GNC they would match any online price from any online store for the same product in their store. Just as an FYI.
- For weight gain, I’ll add some BCAAs (reach 40 grams total /day) into the regimen at some other point in the day.
- I have used dextrose before (instead of Maltodextrin). But because it is a shorter chain molecule it will upset my stomach occasionally. Malto/Sweet Potato powder is the way to go in my mind.
- Vitamin C – YES! great for recovery
- Multi-Vitamin – Eh… I’m not a huge fan. I have a bottle of a good multi-vits, but only take one occasionally to “fill any gaps.” If you are eating a balanced diet with lots of meat, fish, veggies, roots, tubers and some fruits you should be ok. (maybe need you’ll need some iodine)
- I like a little L-arginine as well, 1 gram before bed, 1 gram pre-workout.
- ZMA – I like it a lot! Plus it will give you some crazy dreams – which I enjoy. I also will use Natural Calm before bed if I want something warm and delicious. But remember Magnesium can act as a laxative…so “titrate” up on your dosage or you might be late for work in the morning.
I like a little caffeine pre-workout, so the Amino Energy for flavor and caffeine is a great idea.
UPDATE: Megan Anderson over at Crossfit Wrath in Tomball, Texas reminded me of the importance of Vitamin-D. Make sure you get plenty, especially if you work an office job and are stuck inside all day (me). I think liquid form is best, and in some sort of MCT/Coconut oil. Check out Carlson Labs for example.