Supplements suck. The few that don't are...

 

I'm a minimalist, a boot-strapper and a CHEK practitioner. The first two roles believe the best thing you can do with your money is not spend it. OR at least not spend it on crap you don't need. As for the third, CHEK practitioners tend to use supplements only to correct genetic deficiencies or specific problems that can't be corrected endogenously. Being a coach who is informed by all of these lifestyles, I tend to automatically reject the idea I "need" anything besides quality food, quality sleep and good exercise.

Being open minded, I can revisit concepts that don't fit with my viewpoint and IF (one of the big "IF's" I'll use professionally) a product is safe, sustainable and scientifically validated I will use it and sometimes recommend others use it. This rarely happens, but when it does, I am talking about these:

1) Protein powder

If you want to recover quickly and super-compensate from training, use a fast acting whey protein powder. If you're allergic to dairy protein you can use egg protein, although it doesn't breakdown as fast (not that you'll even be aware of that as you drink it). My favorite is Biotrust's LowCarb. Following that, Trutein. Following that, Gaspari nutrition's because it does NOT contain ANY SOY.

"A chocolate-flavored multi-protein nutritional supplement milkshake (right), consisting of circa 25g protein powder (center) and 300ml milk (left)." Date 1 March 2009 Source Sandstein

"A chocolate-flavored multi-protein nutritional supplement milkshake (right), consisting of circa 25g protein powder (center) and 300ml milk (left)." Date 1 March 2009 Source Sandstein

 

2) Fish oil

Fish oil has experienced a renaissance in the last decade or so for many reasons. By taking it you are helping to restore balance to your Omega 3-6-9 ratios. Elevation of our Omega 6s (highly inflammatory) is a contributing factor to the epidemic of very serious diseases like cancer and Alzheimer's. Various studies have shown it to support mood improvements, metabolism and energy levels. It is one of the two supplements that I take daily.

Nordic Naturals or Atheltic Greens Omega3.

3) No multivitamins, go green

Multivitamins sure do contain a lot of vitamins and minerals in one form or another. Greens are sourced from whole foods and delivered in a format that is more bio-available than most multi's. You can put the stuff in a smoothie that is your recovery drink or meal replacement and kill two birds with one stone. While multivitamins are great and all, you will actually feel different if you hit the greens. I use this instead of a daily multivitamin. Try this greens mix from Athletic Greens.

4) Creatine Monohydrate

An old and well-researched supplement, creatine is created in the kindneys, liver and pancreas at the rate of 1-2 grams per day. Having more creatine available allows for quicker restoration of ATP, the cells immediate energy source. There doesn't need to be any loading phase involved in creatine, and 3-5 grams a day will produce a noticeable increase in work capacity, with either a few extra reps per set or even a few extra pounds loaded on the bar. With no known side effects and some positive effects on the nervous system.

In a nutshell:

· Use the monohydrate form

· Consume 3-5 grams of creatine per day

· Dissolve the creatine in a warm beverage like green tea

· You can also take your creatine before and/or after workout sessions with your workout nutrition

· Take a break from creatine supplementation after using for 12-16 weeks

There may be some health benefits to vitamin D (I'm still skeptical on the form of the nutrient) but I ocassionally visit a tanning bed periodically to boost my mood. I'm still quite pale but I'm not in there for the melanoma...

So there it is. You can get by without ever taking supplements and live a healthy and wonderful life. These few items will SUPPLEMENT your choices and add to your vitality if you so choose. These are the LAST thing that you need to optimize your health, the other 95% is all about your healthy rituals, habits and overall lifestyle choices.

I said my piece. Now I'll get back to the best of training, nutrition and community in Portland! :)