Today is December 1st. (I’m a genius!) In addition to my class and work schedule today, I had to swing by GNC to pick up a new shaker bottle. Apparently, a new habit of mine is dropping my bottle on any hard surface possible, and yesterday the cap came to it’s end. Conveniently for my time efficiency, but unfortunately for my wallet, I had to also pick up a number of other supplements. I happened to run out of a number of them at the same time, so I took advantage of Golf Card Week and grabbed what I needed. I’ve discussed the use of supplements before, but I haven’t spent a good deal of time discussing what’s sitting on top of my fridge. If you wandered into the Gibbons’ family kitchen, you’d see a multivitamin, fish oil, branched chain amino acids, creatine monohydrate, a greens supplement/probiotic, and whey.
Let’s go into more detail on each of these.
The multivitamin that I’ve been taking is the GNC Mega Men’s Sport. I don’t think that it takes a lot of explanation for why you should be taking a multivitamin. Yes, they are a supplement, and a perfect diet should fulfill all of your nutritional needs. Honestly though, who has a perfect diet? Exactly. Multivitamins can help fill in any holes in your nutrition. If your parents love you, you’ve been taking them since you were a kid. Unless your parents are still picking out what you eat, you should make sure your taking a multivitamin. I’m going to ask my mom what we’re having for dinner…
For some reason, the jury is still out on if Fish Oil is all that beneficial. I think this is a little peculiar, considering the body of research behind their health benefits. If you look at the reaseach, it’s apparent that you SHOULD be taking fish oil. A concise version can be found HERE, and if you’re into reading research, click HERE. Often, the question of quality arises when fish oil is questioned. Are all sources the same? No, they’re not. However, I think the differences are so minuite that they don’t warrant paying top dollar for fish oil that is sourced from Arctic Char that is hand caught by deep-sea divers in leotards. That’s a little much. Stores like Costco and CVS have reliable sources, without the cost; just make sure that whatever product you buy, you take it by the expiration date.
I first heard about BCAAs on Episode 69 of the FitCast. Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine are important amino acids for all mammals, and are extremely important for protein synthesis. They’re metabolized during exercise, and supplementation with them increases protein synthesis, allowing you to build bigger muscles. Most people turn to them because of this, but I like them because of a different reason. BCAA’s do a fantastic job of reducing the severity of DOMS (Delayed On-Set Muscle Soreness), and I quickly found out what it was like to have lower levels of soreness after each workout. You mean it IS possible to walk the day after you perform Romanian Deadlifts? They must be magic! Maybe not quite magic, but if soreness isn’t your cup of tea, these very well may be.
Creatine Monohydate is perhaps the most researched supplement in history. The body of research is substantial, and it’s pretty darn good for you. I’ve heard some asinine things about creatine monohydate, ranging from “Is that like a steroid?” to “Won’t it make you bloated?” (The answers are “No!”, and “No, your super-sized number 5 does!”) I’ve been using this analogy to explain to people why they should be taking creatine. If you were going to go out for a long bike ride, you’d pack gatorade or another sport drink with you. After an hour or so of riding, as you began to fatigue, it would help you keep going. Creatine is sort of the same thing for high intensity activity. If you’re performing an activity that requires a high level of force output, creatine can help you produce more force. It’s not going to add 50lbs to your 200lb bench, but you’ll certainly see some strength gains. Unless you actually want to be weak, I’d think creatine monohydrate should be on top of your fridge too.
If you’ve ever eaten with me, you know I’m not the biggest fan of veggies. I’ve been adding more and more to my diet, but I used to have a serious adversion to green foods that didn’t rhyme with ‘Pistachio Ice Cream’. I’ve been taking Life’s Greens for a few years now, and I love them. It’s a combination Greens/Probiotic, and while it tastes
absolutely terrible, it’s very good for you. How do I get around the taste? If it’s mixed in with some V8 or Orange Juice, you’d have no idea! People don’t like to talk about it, but taking a probiotic can make certain daily activities seem very…regular. Along with drinking plenty of water and getting your fiber, you should be brown golden!
I used to drink coffee before I worked out. The small dose of caffeine would give me just enough kick in the butt, and I’d fly through my workouts. That was awesome, until the coffee started making me nascuous; it was just too much liquid. I’m not a fan of most pre-workout drinks, because they’re based in broscience and acchieving those awesometacular skin-splitting pumps. The famed pump isn’t really a priority of mine, so I avoided them until I needed a coffee replacement. Jack3d works well, because I can drink it with a decent amount of water without feeling weighed down; I can stay hydrated AND get in some caffeine. I find it picks me up halfway through a workout that followed a 10 hour day.
I’m not the biggest fan of supplements; most of them are over-rated, and aren’t entirely necessary with a complete diet. However, there is a small list of ones which I’d recommend. The above list contains supplements that can help you be healthy and strong, and I don’t think you should have the latter without the former. We’re born with only one body, and should do everything we can to take care of it! Habitually eating a variety of whole, real foods provides you with a solid nutritional base, and some supplements do have their place. Eat right, exercise hard, and recover when you need to, and you’ll be going for quite some time.