Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What Supplements Should I Take?

Everywhere you look and hear, people in the fitness industry are talking about what will make you bigger, stronger, faster or thinner, leaner and less sore, and you as the consumer wants a magic pill that will do all those things. Well I hate to be the guy that tells you…there are no magic pills! The goal of this article is to simplify the abundant amount of information to a very simple and easy to understand cheat sheet.

I am a firm believer that I practice what I preach and I would never recommend something to a client that I would not put in my system.

So here is the list, in order of importance!

1. Take a multi-vitamin! I don’t care if you think you are the best eater in the world and have things measured out to the T. I guarantee you there is always a margin of error. Why not just take a simple pill that will guarantee your success. They are inexpensive and a necessity. (1-2/day depending on the labeling)

2. Omega-3’s are #2 on the list. Everyone should be taking this simple supplement. I know you are going to say it comes back up and has a “fishy” taste, which is why you do not want to take them. Put them in the refrigerator and then take them. Keeping them cold reduces the reflux and keeps the after taste down. Not only is it great for your heart and circulatory system, is has some other tremendous benefits. It is categorized as a Essential Fatty Acid (EFA) which helps in the breakdown of fat mass (yes, I said FAT Mass), acts as a anti-inflammatory for pain or discomfort, decrease depression levels = happier people, helps post-partum depression, and decreases type II diabetes levels. If those aren’t enough to take the supplement, I don’t know what would be. (6g/day, getting close to 2g/day of each DHA and EPA)

3. The protein controversy. How much? What kind? How often? How much depends on the person, but I would say a general rule would be between 50-100% of you body weight in grams /day. Why such a big percentage? The greater the percentage the more lean mass you will be able to produce, the lower percentage is just for essential intake. What kind depends on the time of day. As a supplement, whey has been proven to be the best for short periods of time. Meaning it will be the fastest to be absorbed and last about 3 hours. So it would be best taken pre or post workout. Casein is slow to digest and lasts about 7 hours, which would be good before bed or as a meal replacement. As always, getting your protein intake is always best through food rather than supplementation. The benefit for the supplement form is you know exactly what you are getting, no more no less. I like the idea of 5-6 small-portioned meals/day. A perfect portion would be the size of your hand. The protein makes up the palm and the vegetables and carbohydrates make up the fingers and open space.

Other than those listed above, most other supplements are a waste for the average person just looking to get in shape and live your best life. If you are an athlete, Creatine is effective, safe and proven for results. Remember we produce Creatine naturally within our bodies. The supplement is to aid in the abundance of it, which will help provide our muscles with added energy.

Even though caffeine is proven to be effective, I DO NOT like it. Anyone that has taken an abundant amount of caffeine is playing with fire. It takes you up on a high and drops you down like a roller coaster. I just assume save the fun for the theme parks. It is proven to be safe, so if you do choose to take it, please be very safe and aware of the labeling so you do not take more than the recommended dosage.
I hope this article does more to clear up the confusion then add more.

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Train Hard!

Adam Freeman
Master Personal Trainer

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