October 2, 2014

Supplements, Oh the Confusion!

I walked into GNC looking to buy some supplements for my workouts. I entered as an eager fitness goer, ready to “better myself”. The burly salesman tried to sell me a slew of things off the shelves. He was giving me his best pitch but he might as well have been speaking in a foreign language, because it did not make a bit of sense to me. I’m sure he could tell I was confused by the look on my face. Needless to say, I left the store empty handed and more confused than ever. I decided to do some reading to find out what I needed for my workout, what to buy, and what my choices really were.

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There are endless types of supplements, and for a newbie to supplements it is absolutely overwhelming. Really, overwhelming is an understatement! Why are there a million types of supplements? And each type of supplement has a million brands all claiming to be better than the rest. Then the ingredients on the back are more mind boggling than the selection itself. I mean who really knows what the heck lysine, methionine, carnitine, cysteine are anyway? Ok yes, all you people who majored in sport science in college I’m sure you know. But to the rest of the uninformed population….this stuff is confusing! All I really wanted to know is what would be the best for my workouts? And there I was standing in GNC feeling like I needed to have a degree in supplements to understand what to use and when to use it.

Supplements can get very expensive. Of course it depends on what you buy and how often you buy it. When it comes to brands they all claim to be better for some reason or another. It seems like a lot of people spend all this money on supplements thinking that it will make them healthy. But supplements are just that…something that is supposed to supplement your daily life and food. You can’t survive on supplements alone, and no matter what brand or how much money you spend on your supplements they aren’t going to make you healthy unless you are doing the work to get healthy. They aren’t the magic pill to being physically fit, and giving you the body of your dreams. But at the same time you want to make sure that you are getting what is going to be best for your body and your workout as well as your wallet.

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So I decided to try to unravel the mountain that is “supplement knowledge.” As I read more I started to get a grasp on everything. Maybe there was no concrete answer to what supplements I should be getting? Maybe it was just trial and error? I went back to the GNC store with a plan. After talking to the salesman and doing my own research I decided on a basic protein combo I could start with. Below is a picture of what I personally use. Keep in mind that what I use might not be what you want to take and that is okay. I take the “100% Whey Protein Advanced” in the morning and in the late afternoon. I also take the “Wheybolic Extreme 60” within 30 minutes of my workout. Recently I started adding the “Alpha Amino” during my workout. So far, so good. Is this the answer? I don’t know but it’s working for me now. As my workout changes and my fitness needs change I’m sure my supplements will change as well. So if you are a newbie like me to the world of supplements, try not to let the overwhelming amount of information get you down. Learn a little as you go, jump in, be flexible and see what works best for you.IMG_4165IMG_4167

Below is a list and brief explanation of some basic supplements that would be a good place to start.

Protein Powders –

ANIMAL BASED PROTEIN POWDERS

Whey protein concentrate – this is usually the most “popular” among the   protein and also the cheapest. Whey protein is protein derived from milk. There is a lot of variation in quality, so make sure to look for a higher % of protein per serving if you go with the whey concentrate.

Whey protein isolate –This protein is also derived from milk, but is processed differently and has a higher % of protein with less fat and sugar. But it’s also a lot more expensive.

Casein Protein- This is also a milk protein just like whey, but longer lasting and slower digesting. A lot of people take casein before bed, or take a combination of whey and casein during the day.

Egg White Protein –It is fat free, lactose free, and cholesterol free. It has a moderate speed in digestion. A good option if you are lactose intolerant, but not as good if you are trying to build muscle.

*****Some protein powders come in mixtures so check your label.

 PLANT BASED PROTEIN POWDERS are also available

Soy Protein, Brown Rice Protein, Pea Protein, Hemp Protein

Endurance drinks—Not Gatorade! Endurance drinks/powders are loaded with amino acids and electrolytes (some have carbs) to help aid in endurance during your workouts.

Glutamine –This is an amino acid that helps after a workout to aid in faster recovery.

Other good supplements to consider are

Calcium, Fish Oil, Multi Vitamin, chondroitin & glucosamine

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