When my clients ask me for supplement recommendations, I always tell them, “The very meaning of the word ‘supplement’ is ‘in addition to’, and in our case this means in addition to an …
When my clients ask me for supplement recommendations, I always tell them, “The very meaning of the word ‘supplement’ is ‘in addition to’, and in our case this means in addition to an already solid nutrition intake.” So, before we even sit down to take a look at how we can “add” to our daily life with supplements, we set a standard for what we should eat on a daily basis. Here’s how we start:
1) We define what their goals are –whether that is to get stronger, or to simply look better and 99 percent of people are coming in with the goal of doing both.
2) We look at exactly what they are currently eating. I have them keep a food journal for at least seven days. And though this sounds like a lot of trouble, as long as we get through the seven days we will have a much clearer picture of the steps we need to take next. If carb intake is too high in relation to protein and fat, we tweak it. If protein intake isn’t high enough to add muscle and stay satiated throughout the day, we bump up it. Most use the ‘MyFitPal’ app on their phones to quickly and easily track their food intake.
3) One of the most important things we can start doing this very moment to lose fat is to lower our blood glucose and decrease the number of times we spike our insulin throughout the day. We look at what can be taken out of the daily diet that will lower blood sugar and insulin. By the way, insulin is neither bad nor good, but it’s something everyone should carefully monitor if their goal is fat loss. And I haven’t met a single person who ever wanted to keep their muffin top. More to come on the topic of insulin in future articles.
At bare minimum, we cover these topics prior to talking about supplements.
So, we’ve got the daily food intake right where it needs to be. Now let’s add in some extras to boost overall health, help speed up the process of muscle recovery and fat loss with my top three supplement recommendations.
1) Fish Oil. When taken with food it mitigates (lowers) insulin response. Remember: Every time we ingest anything, whether it is carbs, fats or proteins, the pancreas secretes insulin. Insulin can either shuttle nutrients into depleted muscles, or if the glycogen stores in your liver and muscles are already full, the carbs you have taken in can be stored as fat. And since most people don’t need any extra energy (carbs) to get them through a normal day, or even through a workout, we do our best to avoid elevating insulin levels altogether, keeping what we eat from being stored in our adipose tissue (fat cells). Fish Oil – Helps keep us from adding to our waistlines by lowering the insulin response when we ingest food. The best on the market and brand I take is Dr. Tobias Extra Strength Omega 3’s.
2) BCAA’s – Branched Chain Amino Acids. There are three amino acids that make up this branched chain and they are Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine. When you cut your carb intake you lower serotonin levels and your brain sends out messages telling your body that you are hungry, when in fact, you really don’t need to eat. These amino acids assist your brain in making serotonin so instead of reaching for something to eat, you are completely satisfied with the serotonin release the BCAA’s helped the brain produce. In regards to dosing, I recommend five grams pre-workout and 5 grams post-workout. Some people take BCAA’s upon waking if they’re in a hurry, or if they know it’s going to be a while before they can get in a meal. BCAA’s—prevent muscle breakdown and reduce cravings. I use Alpha Aminos by Cellucor.
3) Whey Protein. There are several different types of shakes and types of proteins you can take when you wake up, post-workout or even both, but I recommend whey protein isolate which has been found to be easiest and quickest to digest. The best thing about protein is that it curbs cravings and builds muscle. For someone trying to shred fat, this is crucial. Ideally, you should get 0.8 to 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight each day if you are a woman and 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight if you are a man. If fat loss and muscle building are the goal, these numbers are what you want to shoot for.
Sometimes it’s just not possible to get all our protein from food, especially in today’s age where we are constantly on-the-go and don’t have lots of time to stop and cook something. But I don’t just recommend any kind of supplement, and that includes whey protein. Look for the brand Pro Jym. It’s one of the best, if not the best on the market. It contains not only whey protein isolate, but micellar casein, milk protein isolate and egg protein. Each one of these proteins break down at different rates, meaning you don’t just benefit from one of them for a limited amount of time. You kickstart the process of muscle building right after your workout with the whey protein isolate, then continue the process with casein and the other two. The brand of Pro Jym supplements was created by a fellow at Yale School of Medicine, as well as senior science editor at Muscle & Fitness and Flex magazine.
There are only a few brands I recommend purchasing supplements from and they aren't the multi-million dollar companies who pay famous people to advocate them. You need science-backed, sufficiently-dosed, high-quality and safe supplements formulated by individuals who care about your health more than they do their wealth. I encourage everyone to check out products by Dr. John Gray of ‘Mens are from Mars, Women are from Venus’, Dr. Jim Stoppani (JymSupplements) and the Dr. Tobias line of nutrition and supplementation.