I’m gonna preface this post by saying I apologize for being away the past week! It’s been pretty hectic with finals right around the corner and figuring out all my plans for Berkeley in the Fall – but I’m back now so let’s get right into it.
So a pretty common question and topic is the use of supplementation. Now I’m not talking about steroids or anything like that, just the more basic ones – protein, vitamins, fish oil, etc. Hopefully by the end of this you guys will have a clearer understanding of what some of the more basic supplements function as, and I’ll also give you a glimpse into what I personally take, and why I take them. And one more thing too…these are all SUPPLEMENTS, meaning they are not absolutely necessary. If you’re on a budget or feel like you’re getting a sufficient amount of vitamins and nutrients throughout your day from your regular diet then don’t worry about it, you’re not gonna lose those gains by not using supplements (although I do personally recommend a few).
So this is one supplement that most people categorize as an actual food, but it is indeed a supplement. Protein comes in three main forms, whey, soy and casein. To keep this post relatively short, I’ll focus on whey. Not only is it the most commonly used form of protein, but it’s also a complete protein, meaning it has all of the nine essential amino acids your body needs on a day to day basis. There’s a pretty big misconception out there in the bodybuilding world that you need an absurd amount of protein to make muscle gains, when in actuality, according to WebMD, you only need 10-14 additional grams of protein per day. So here’s a simple guideline to see if you’re getting enough protein throughout your day.
- Recreational athletes need 0.5-0.75 grams of protein daily for every per pound of body weight.
- Competitive athletes need 0.6-0.9 grams per pound.
- Teenage athletes need 0.8-0.9 grams per pound.
- Athletes building muscle mass need 0.7-0.9 grams per pound.
So for me, I weigh around 175lbs right now. I would only technically need to consume around 160 grams of protein per day, which might seem like a lot, but one protein shake usually has roughly 25-30 grams a protein per scoop. I highly recommend protein if you’re busy like me and don’t have a lot of time between school and work to get high quality meals in. I normally make a shake with almond milk before I head to school and sip on it throughout the day. Definitely give it a try.
I believe everyone should be taking a multivitamin every single day. Most people don’t get enough micronutrients in their diet so a multivitamin is such an easy way to supplement the gaps in your vitamin and nutrient intake. I personally take Optimum Nutrition’s Opti-Men Multivitamin in the morning with my first meal. It’s easy, it’s simple, and it ensures I’m getting the vitamins and minerals my body needs for the day.
Fish oils contain long-chain fatty acids – omega 3 fatty acids to be exact, which have important roles in numerous metabolic functions within your body. You can most commonly find them in salmon. One of the main benefits of fish oil is that it helps support a healthy blood cholesterol level. If you can start using fish oil, as well as eating a diet that is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, you will support overall health and well-being.
Another benefit of fish oil is its effect on bone health support. Studies have looked at the implications of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acid intakes on the bone density and calcium balance in women and have found that those who do take in higher levels of fatty acids may help support healthy bones.
Not only that, but they also enhance your join mobility. Once again, in the interest of length I won’t dive into the science behind it, but will in another post if you guys are interested.
Look, the leaner one becomes, the more lazy and tired your body can get. Decreased energy intake and decreased glycogen storage make for some rough workout sessions. If you’re too tired or weak to lift as heavy as your body was getting used to, your muscles will adapt, and they won’t use as much energy to get the work done. That means your body won’t increase lean muscle mass; it might also mean that your body will use lean muscle for energy because you aren’t using it to lift a heavy load. So how do you combat this muscle loss?
BCAAs! BCAAs not only increase the rate of protein synthesis, but they also increase the cell’s capacity for protein synthesis. Essentially, by increasing synthesis and decreasing breakdown this will result in the minimization of muscle loss.
I honestly only take BCAA’s when I really start to try to get lean because after a while your body starts to get lazy and tired, like I said, and BCAA’s are a great way to retain that hard earned muscle you don’t want to lose.
Caffeine can improve memory, decrease fatigue, improve your mental functioning, study after study suggests.
Essentially, I use a pre-wrokout that has a good amount of caffeine in it, so when I feel a bit lazy or need to get a little pumped up for my workout, then I’ll use it. I try not to use it every workout, and I like to cycle off of it so my tolerance for the stimulant doesn’t get too high. For example, I’ll use it for a couple months, then take a 4-6 week break and repeat.
So that’s it, not too complicated. The above supplements are something I take pretty regularly, if not every day. I did leave out creatine which is something I take here and there, but there’s so much to say about it that I’m gonna save it for an entire post. Just remember, you can get all the nutrients you need from a balanced diet, these are just some supplements I take and that I find work for me. I hope this helps you guys a little bit and gives you a glimpse into what I do/take to help me get lean and in shape. By the way, the pictures I used are of the actual products I have right now – the Iso 100 Protein is absolute fire but it is a little pricey. Anyways, thanks for reading fit fam. Stay tuned for some epic workout videos and other hype projects I’m working on!
Your Loyal FitDude,