Monday, July 26, 2010
I’ve been asked to blog more about supplements so I’ll start with a post on what I take and why. As many of you know, I’m referred to as Beachbody’s white mouse; meaning everything we make gets tested on me first. But I don’t just test what we make. A lot of what I test ends up on the cutting room (or is it bathroom?) floor.
Over the years I’ve tried hundreds, if not thousands, of supplements. My impression is that supplements are over-hyped and most are a waste of money. There are, however, cornerstones that I use as part of my daily diet and an occasional supplement I find vital for max performance in a given situation. The problem with supplements is that we hype them the same way we do drugs. They are not drugs. The upside to this is that it’s VERY hard to hurt yourself with supplements. The down side is that our expectations tend to be too high.
Supplements are food, or condensed food. Most can be consumed in their natural state and, if we ate well, many would be unnecessary. While this means they tend to be safe it also means we don’t “need” them. However, using proper supplementation strategy can help us live healthier and perform better, especially when we train hard and even more importantly when we’re dieting and exercising.
I break my supplements into basics and situational. Basic supplements are things I take pretty much all the time. Situational are those I use depending on what I’m doing. Let’s look at these first. In the same way that your diet should reflect what you are doing, so should the supplements you take.
For example, two of the most proven supplements in history are creatine monohydrate and 4 parts carb to one part protein recovery formulations. Neither are daily tonics. They are for given situations. Creatine is useful when you’re training hard and trying to build muscle or anaerobic strength. If those are not your goals it’s not only a waste but can interfere with your diet by encouraging your body to retain water to increase cell volume. Recovery formulations are only for when your glycogen stores are extinguished which takes hard exercise or starvation. No one eating well and exercising 30 minutes a day or less would ever need a recovery formulation. In fact, it would be terrible for you. However, when your training hard, eating lean, and using up your body’s limited glycogen stores the stuff is more valuable than gold.
Basics are things you should take everyday, like food. Since it came out Shakeology is on the top of my list. It’s like a healthy insurance policy in a glass.
I begin every morning with three Joint Support Formula capsules, one Core Cal Mag, two Omegas, and an Activit tablet. At night I take another Cal/Mag tablet and a vitamin with my Shake. I look at this group of supplements as part of my diet and nothing more.
Besides situational supplements that I know work I’m often playing my white mouse role by experimenting with something new or different. Currently it’s this protocol, and the jury is still out on what I think of it. My next block of training (experimenting with The Workout From Hell) is going to include something different, which I’ll report on if it’s effective. I’m also playing around with coconut oil and chia seeds. The latter is just a food but hasn’t become a staple yet. I think it will become so. I’m not yet as sure about coconut oil’s status as medium chain triglyceride. As fall rolls around and I begin to care more about my performance I’ll stop experimenting and revert back to proven supplements that work for whatever my goals are.