I get asked a lot about supplements. When I worked in the high school most questions were about getting bigger and stronger, and what pill or powder can do that the best.
When I worked in the college setting, most of the supplements I saw were aimed at getting bigger and stronger, and the questions revolved around that as well.
I even did a few minor stints in the NFL and most of the supplements I saw there were also targeting size and strength.
So you can see that it was refreshing to me when I entered the private sector and starting talking and working with normal people…non-athletes. Supplement questions always come up, no matter who you talk with. Most of the questions I get now revolve around fat loss, energy boosting, long term health, short term health, and yep, you guessed it…size and strength.
I have always prided myself on being ahead in the supplement game, meaning I was always reading and studying the latest supplements out there trying to see through the BS and find out what works and what doesn’t. Lately it seems that more and more supplements are coming out every week claiming all kinds of things. While science is getting better, there is still no magic pill. There are some supplements that I feel are worth getting if you are serious about fitness, health and yes, getting big and strong. And remember, no supplement is worth anything without a healthy diet and hard work. Here are my lists of supplements that I feel are worth the money:
- Protein Powder – There are a few different kinds of protein available out there, but without getting into a major discussion of which is the best, just know that something is better than nothing. If you exercise a lot or if you are on the go, invest in a good protein powder. Most people need a little extra protein as it is. Protein has amazing effects on the body, including, but not limited to, fat loss, and muscle gain. This is a staple supplement in my house for the rest of my life.
- Fish Oil – Probably the best supplement out there and one that I recommend to anyone regardless of whether they workout or not. I will be doing a piece on the benefits of fish oil very soon, but in the meantime, get some and take it. It has more benefits than most people know. Another life time staple supplement.
- Green Tea – I read somewhere once that the only thing you should ever drink besides water is tea. And better than black tea is green tea. I make sure I always have a huge supply of green tea bags around. I used to take them to work with me even. Most people have heard of the great benefits of green tea, and this will probably be an upcoming article too. My advice to most people is to drink it everyday. It has amazing health benefits.
- Creatine – If you are not an athlete or a weight lifter trying to get stronger, skip this section. But if you are an athlete, or lift weights, creatine is the real deal. This supplement continues to get a bad rap. I still hear people bash this supplement and treat it like a steroid. Creatine has nothing in common with steroids what-so-ever except maybe that it helps athletes and lifters get stronger and maybe even put on a little size. Creatine is found naturally in the body and has been studied pretty extensively over the years. It has been found to be very safe with minimal side effects if any. Now, creatine does not work for everyone, and needs to be taken the right way to get maximal effects. Just know that it works and if you want to know anything else, shoot me an email and I will be happy to help you.
- Branch Chain Amino Acids – Again, if your goal is not to get bigger or stronger, you can probably skip this section, however there are reported benefits of fat loss and better overall energy levels in people who supplement with BCAA’s. This supplement is a must if you are a strength training athlete or person. The BCAA’s are leucine, isoleucine, and valine. What makes them different than other amino acids are the following properties:
BCAA,’s are used to provide energy.
BCAA’s can decrease post-workout soreness.
BCAA’s were shown to increase lean body mass and improve strength in certain lifts.
BCAA can increase exercise endurance, especially exercise conducted in high temperatures.
As little as 4 grams of BCAA can kick start the body from a catabolic state to an anabolic state.
The key thing to remember here is that supplements do just what the name implies, they supplement the diet. With that in mind the number one thing everyone should be worrying about first and foremost is their diet containing whole food sources. Once this is satisfied, you can start looking into the supplement world to fill you needs. Be forewarned that if you do, you will come across some crazy claims, and even if you read into them and think you really researched them, most are BS.
The majority of supplements do not work and don’t even come close to doing what they report. Some can be dangerous too. Be careful, read and ask questions to someone in the know. The above supplements are not necessary to a healthy life. You can get all of those benefits from whole food sources. The problem is most people don’t know how to go about doing that and more so, don’t have the time. Questions about any of these supplements or others, shoot me an email and I will glad to help in anyway I can.