Don’t buy supplements you don’t need just because some kid at a store says you should. Put your money to the 20% of supplements that will give you 80% of the results.
Disclaimer: It took me 7 years to graduate college but it does not make me a doctor. Don’t be stupid and kill yourself. No one wins. Consult a doctor before taking any kind of supplement.
Back in my late teens and 20’s I would take just about anything if someone told me I could get abs or get an edge in the gym. I took fat burners, ephedra (not good for a person with a history of seizures), post workout powders to reduce soreness and different pills that promised me AMAZING RESULTS.
Thankfully I smartened up. But I do miss the roominess of those jeans.
I’d like to think I’m a little smarter with what I take now. I only buy what I need to, despite what that college kid tells me in GNC. I take what is backed by science. Boring old trusty science.
I’m still into getting abs, but now I know what it takes to get there. A flawless diet and working my ass off. There is no shortcut to looking like a fitness cover model (Yes this is a goal).
So instead of finding the magical supplement to make my gut disappear, I look for what is going to increase my quality of life most and aid where my diet lacks.
There is no shortcut to looking good. To lose weight, to get abs or to add muscle there is one tried and true way to do it. Hard work and disipline. It’s not popular, it’s not sexy but it works 100% of the time. Even taking steroids requires you to work.
WHAT SUPPLEMENTS I’M TAKING
What’s good for me might not pertain to you. I’m not welled versed in a lot of supplements because it doesn’t interest me. I look at supplements as a shortcut and every shortcut has a price. I don’t want that price to be my health. I take only what will increase my quality of life.
This stuff is so important to me I did a whole post on it. It helps with inflammation (from working out), reduces triglycerides in the blood and in some studies has been shown to elevate mood.
Fish oil is also great for the joints, and let’s be honest we’re not getting any younger. Extra lube in the joints makes getting out of bed easier in the morning.
HOW MUCH I TAKE – I take 2g in the morning and night every day.
Vitamin D is a seasonal supplement for me. I’ve dealt with seasonal depression since I was about 15. Every February is a bitch. The lack of sun and sub-arctic temperatures put my mind in the gutter every year.
Vitamin D, which I would normally get from the sun the rest of the year, combined with fish oil help me get through February with flying colors.
The mood elevating properties of vitamin D is the main reason I take it, but the other effects help too. Increased testosterone, bone and immune health and reducing the risk of heart disease.
HOW MUCH I TAKE – Oct-Mar: 4000 IU per day taken at night. Apr-Sep: none
This is where people go ape-shit and buy everything that promises a shortcut. This is where I like to keep it simple. The less my body has to process the better.
I got into Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) earlier this year when I tried Anabolic Fasting. I use these during the workout. Before the gym I eat a carb heavy breakfast of a banana cut up on toast with peanut butter. I know I’m breaking every diet rule but it works for me and it’s so freakin good. Some mornings I skip breakfast depending on what I ate the night before.
The BCAAs act as my protein to prevent catabolism so I don’t lose my gainz. Plus, on the mornings I skip breakfast, it gives me that little boost I need.
HOW MUCH I TAKE – 7g of BCAAs while I work out.
I’ve tried stopping protein for a while and it is a giant pain in the ass to eat 8 oz. of chicken in the morning. So I came back, but instead of whey I take a blend now. It digests slower so I can hold off for a few hours before my stomach is growling. With whey I’d be hungry in 20 minutes. For me, whey is like Chinese food.
Protein is used throughout the body but for my purpose I want to help my muscles grow.
HOW MUCH I TAKE – 2 scoops (~50g) after the gym. 1 scoop on off days as a meal if I’m too lazy to microwave something. Yes I am that lazy.
I take creatine when I have a goal. Without getting into all the boring science – creatine basically gives your muscles a bigger gas tank. This is very beneficial when you’re trying to push out those last few reps.
If I’m trying to get ready for a competition or get ready for summer, then I’ll start taking creatine. I have no idea why I don’t take it all year. It’s not something you need to cycle off, it’s beneficial for the body – I guess I’m just cheap.
When I do take it, I don’t load in the beginning. I can never mix it right and I always have to chew it before I swallow. Plus, the body can only absorb so much at a time. The rest you piss out. That aggravates me. Again the cheap thing kicks in.
HOW MUCH I TAKE – 5g in my post workout shake.
WHAT I’VE STOPPED RECENTLY
I’ve recently (4 months at the time of writing) stopped taking pre-workout. This honestly was a harder decision than deciding if I should marry my wife. I had taken pre-workout for probably close to 10 years without doing any research on it (carry-over from my JNCO days).
After starting this site, I was doing a couple of product review and giving a little synopsis of the ingredients (I took these pages down). The more I researched the more I questioned how my heart hadn’t exploded yet.
In your run-of-the-mill pre-workout there are conservatively 10 different stimulants in there, besides caffeine. Stimulating your brain, heart and nervous system so you can feel a pump or get those last few reps out. For me the benefits don’t outweigh the cost.
My pre-workout of choice now is black coffee. To my surprise there has been no downside to dropping pre-workout. My caffeine tolerance has come back to earth, I have more of a steady stream of energy all day and most of all my workouts haven’t suffered at all. I feel more of an effect after stopping creatine than I do after stopping pre-workout.
Save my heart, consistent energy all day and I can save $30 a month. Good-bye preworkout!
What supplements do you take that you feel has a positive benefit on your quality of life?
Did you rock the JNCOs back in the day?
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