Hang Power Clean
One time I brought home a spelling test that I had aced. 110%! Mom though was not happy with my handwriting. Never mind all of the obviously deep psychological stuff going on here. It was a spelling test and I aced it! In our health and fitness, we often overlook the important stuff for really inconsequential stuff. With supplements, these companies are really good at getting us to look past the obvious and focus on the minute in order to get us to buy their product. I have an opinion on some supplements but with the understanding that nothing trumps quality whole food on a consistent basis.
sup-ple-ment. noun. 1. something that completes or enhances something else when added to it.
The definition of supplement doesn't include the word "replacement". Sometimes, we run into actual deficiencies. Someone is doing everything "right," (eating, training, recovering) but truly lacking somewhere, so we can try supplementing their already pretty good lifestyle. "Can't out-train a bad diet," we say it all the time, a mantra everyone has heard and almost everyone believes. I would add this one, lets see if it catches on, "can't out-supplement a poor lifestyle." I'm willing to bet that For every supplement you can legally use or buy, there is an equally effective, but inconvenient, lifestyle or nutrition solution to the same problem. Lets not talk about whether or not to take a fish oil, if you still drink soda. I don't want to comment on whether or not melatonin is a good idea unless you are going to bed without looking at your phone and in a completely dark and cool room.
But since I get asked often, here are the things I have found to be beneficial//
Protein powder// It's just food, it's not magic. I eat a lot of eggs and meat and we even get a little protein from our carbohydrates- vegetables, legumes, whole grains. Training the way you and I do though, in order to get enough protein to fully recover as quickly as I would like, it's tough to get from just food. I'm not tryin' to spend half my day choking down ground turkey or chicken breast. What's the best protein powder? Look for a Hydrolyzed Whey Protein Isolate. That is generally the highest quality because the other milk byproducts have been removed to the highest standard. Progenex tastes the best, but if you can't afford it, lets not look-over what is really important. The protein is the score of the spelling test, the quality of the protein is the handwriting. Just eat protein often. I've even kind of changed my thoughts on plant based protein powders too. Try a protein source, if it makes you feel gassy or uncomfortable, change it.
Creatine// It is the most studied and researched supplement period. Literally thousands of studies show it to be a safe and effective performance enhancer. People take it to increase lean muscle mass. With that goal in mind though it doesn't work the way you think it might. It's not magic muscle-grow-powder, so giving it to your kid who is spending his evenings playing video games won't get him a college scholarship. When supplemented regularly, creatine increases your capacity for intense exercise efforts. To break it down, consider this, you'll be able to get anywhere like 1-5 more reps before putting down the bar. If you add up 10-30 more reps per session over the course of a couple of months or a year of training, that could be 1k more reps than you might not have finished. Those 1k more reps are likely benefiting you not only through improved strength and muscle development, but that's a lot more calories burned as well. Creatine can also be dirt cheap. One time a $20 tub of it lasted me a whole year. I go through seasons of taking it or not, but if you choose to supplement with Creatine, you have to be on it consistently to reap the benefits.
Fish Oil- Anti-inflammatory. Training the way you do promotes a lot of inflammation. Fish oil will not reverse the effects of Burger King or Abby's Legendary Pizza. I'm not super well versed on exactly how it balances our omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, but consuming too much omega 6 which comes from saturated fats is considered inflammatory. Commercially farmed meats typically have a higher Omega-6 ratio so it’s something to consider if you’re trying to eat a lot of meat protein and get your meat from the grocery store. If your freezer is stocked with game meat and wild salmon, save your fish oil money and buy something cooler!
Beta-Alanine// whenever I try to read about beta-alanine, my head is spinning. It has similar performance effects as creatine but works differently. While creatine is shown to support prolonged intense efforts, beta-alanine prevents muscle fatigue. Confused? One helps you go longer, the other keeps you from stopping sooner... Whatever, it’s safe and gives you a fun skin tingle.
BCAA// branched chain amino acids. Think of protein as the bricks, bcaa’s are the mortar. Often, your protein has it already, but if you’re watching your calories, supplementing with bcaa’s helps prevent muscle loss while reducing calories.
Supplements are a common discussion around the gym so if you read about one or see something you’re interested in we can always do some research and help make you a recommendation.