Many people say supplements are a waste of money. ”Training and diet is all you need”, is the popular refrain- ”Supplements provide a placebo effect if anything” is another adage. While I used to agree with many of the supplements of days gone by, I think that there are quite a few currently out there that do make a difference to my training and overall health and well being. Furthermore, I think some people are fairly closed minded to anything which deviates from conventional thinking and approaches, and instead take a joy in shitting on anything outside their narrow view of reality.
That being said, do I believe supplements are necessary. No I don’t. While that might seem a contradiction to everything I’ve just said, I firmly believe that supplements can be used tactically to give yourself an edge when it comes to improving your quality of life and training. Although I take a lot of supplements at the moment, I do so because I’m getting ready for a contest and I’m leaving no stone unturned in my preparation. Contest prep is a totally different animal to regular training and being able to recover from the barrage of life and training stresses is paramount to keeping on top of the game.
There will be a time when I finish the show that I’ll go off most of the things I’m currently using and just use the bare minimum. My calorie intake will once again be high and I’ll be covering everything nutritionally from my food.
Because I am so familiar with my body and live life with a measure of routine consistency I can sense when things have an effect on my system. I love trying out new supplements, feeling their effects (or sometimes not) and measuring their results in terms of increased strength, more energy, better moods etc.
So here’s what I’m using to get in shape for the show. Note – I don’t use all of these every day. They are the HEALTH side of the supplement equation so I use them most often, but I still cycle and rotate them for best effect and minimum chance of gaining an intolerance to any one product.
Every Day – Overall Health
Creon Forte Prescription Enzymes – Not an over the counter supplement per se, I get these prescribed by my doctor because they are some powerful pancreatic digestive enzymes.
Apple Cider Vinegar – One tablespoon per day. Many health benefits attributed to this traditional supplement to ignore. Helps alkalize my system, improves digestion and insulin sensitivity.
Psyllium Husks – 3 tspn a day in water – To top up my fibre intake. Psyllium is pretty generic so any brand will do.
Flax Meal – Healthy fats and fibre for low carb days.
Biotest Mineral Support – Provides zinc and magnesium. Assists sleep.
Curcumin – For accumulated training aches and pains this up and coming superfood is supposedly hard to beat. It helps promote fat loss, controls cortisol levels and retain muscle mass when dieting, improves gut health and reduces inflammation. Two tabs, 3-4 times a week.
Vitamin D3 – The new wunder-supplement on the block. Vitamin D is being touted as being great for everything from longevity, fighting cancer, strengthens immunity, faster fat loss and retained muscle mass. Recent blood tests show I was on the lower end of normal of the scale, so I’m bumping it up for now during our winter. I take 3000IU a day.
Biotest Superfood -With one teaspoon providing an equivalent of 10-12 servings of fruit and veges and an ORAC score of 5000 this is a must to have in a supplement arsenal when dieting or bulking. I would rather take this than kitchen sink multivitamins which seem more of a shot-gun approach to vitamin supplementation. I take it 3 times a week.
Acai – High in antioxidants and a similar fatty acid profile to olive oil. I take this on low carb days in place of Superfood, jut to mix things up. 2-3 servings a week.
Melrose Coconut Oil – Not a supplement technically, but I use it like a supplement on my low carb days as my cooking oil Although high in so-called BAD saturated fat, coconut oil has been shown to to help as an antibiotic, improve insulin sensitivity and support the immune system. One of the better oils to use when cooking and gives an absolutely delicious flavour to eggs and low carb cookies.
Fish Oil – Fish oil has the reputation of being the tour de force supplement of modern time, although I have a somewhat weird relationship with it. When I take it daily as recommended, I start to develop bad brain fog. I therefore have to cycle it, taking it only a few times a week. Still, some is better than none I suppose. I’ve always gone for Biotest’s Flameout because of its pharmaceutical grade purity and higher ratio of DHA to EPA. It also contains CLA. I’m switching to Barleans liquid oil for a trial run because it’s simply less pricey at the moment.