Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Tuesday Training Tip: Supplements

Welcome to a new series I want to start that will be focused on all things fitness! Fitness is a major part of my life these days, and I'd love to have a place to discuss all our tips and tricks, successes and victories with all my bloggy friends! 

I'm calling this Tuesday Training Tips (because I love me some alliteration!), but I'm open to new names if any of y'all creative types can come up with something else. Maybe just Training Tuesday? 

Today I want to talk about supplements (ooh, what about Tuesday Training Talk?). I posted a picture of the supplements I use in a recent Friday Favorites, so I thought I'd go into more detail about how and why I use them. 

1. Cellucor CLK

CLK is a blend of CLA, raspberry ketones, and other factors that are proven to be a combination that aids in fat loss. That's my main focus in training right now, because I'm pretty happy with my muscle mass (although I still need help in some areas), but it's covered up with more fluff that I would like. I want a leaner look, so I need to cut down the fat I'm carrying so all the hard work I'm putting in shows! This is a non-stimulant weigh loss tool, so if other fat loss products have bothered you in some way, this might be a good one to try. 

2. Fish Oil

Omega-3's are everywhere these days, for a good reason. These are the healthy fats everyone needs to improve mental function and heart health. Fish oils come highly recommend by pretty much every healthcare practitioner, so you can trust that this is a supplement that will boost your overall health and well-being. I'm not loyal to one brand, but I do look at the cholesterol amounts when deciding which one to purchase. If you have a cholesterol issue, you might want to ask your doctor if there's a brand s/he recommends specifically for you and your situation. 

3. Multivitamin

I try very hard to eat a well-balanced, micronutrient dense diet, but I take a daily vitamin just to fill in any gaps that might be there. Just in case. If you know you don't eat a healthy diet, then a multivitamin is a must for you. I'm really liking Core Daily-1 for Women Multivitamin these days. It's made specifically to meet the nutritional needs of women, and contains a small amount of probiotics as well. 

4. Biotin

I do a lot of damage to my hair (coloring, heat styling, etc) so I take biotin to keep my hair as healthy as possible. I also take it to try to get my nails healthier and stronger, but I can't really say that it works. My nails still peel and break off once they grow past the fingertip. I can't grow long nails on my own at all! If you don't have hair or nail problems, you can totally skip this one. If you can tell me something else that will make my nails grow, I'll stop taking this, too! 

5. Probiotic

A healthy belly is essential to staying lean. All that healthy bacteria in a probiotic keeps food and waste from building up in your system, making you feel and look less bloated. It also helps the body absorb all those nutrients it needs. I think this is again one of those supplements that everyone needs to take for general health, regardless of your fitness journey.

6. Protein Powder

I'm trying to put on muscle, and in order to do that effectively, your body needs protein. I'm not an Atkins girl by any means, but I eat A LOT of protein. A diet high in protein is almost always going to result in fat loss, as long as your protein sources aren't bacon and cheese! Ha! I eat a lot of lean meats to get my protein goal in, but I generally have to supplement with protein powders and/or bars. My favorite powders are by Cellucor (S'mores and Cinnamon Swirl) and Syntrax (Nectar Chocolate Truffle). Yes, I'm aware those aren't the flavors in the pictures, because I'm still trying out flavors. That Cellucor Peanut Butter Marshmallow isn't half bad. It's in my top 5. 

7. Protein bars

Hands down, Quest bars are the bomb dot com. I don't eat any other protein bars anymore. I keep one in my purse and one in my gym bag in case the munchies ever hit when I'm on the go. Their calorie range is between 170-210, so these are generally something I use to tide me over until my next meal, or sometimes they're a light lunch on their own. My favorite flavors are Cookies & Cream and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, but you really can't go wrong with any of them. I have a box of Peanut Butter & Jelly right now, and I like them okay, but they're best when you put them in the microwave for a few seconds (I do 14 seconds but ymmv). I have ordered a box of their new S'mores flavor but haven't gotten them in yet. 

If you'd rather have bars that are cheaper or more easily accessible, I recommend Pure Protein bars. I used to buy these at Target before I discovered Quest. I also used to get the Simple Truth Double Chocolate ones from Kroger that are really good. 
The most important thing to look for in a protein bar is that there is more protein than anything else in them. A lot of protein bars you find have a decent amount of protein, but they have a ton of carbs in them to make them taste good. Defeats the purpose. There are bars out there that taste good without overloading on carbs, so look for those. 

8. Amino Acids

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein synthesis. I use a powder form and mix it with water to sip during my workouts. You can take amino acids (also known as BCAAs) anytime, but I like it during my workouts to prevent muscle breakdown and help with recovery. When I'm lifting, I'm breaking those little muscle fibers up, and my body has these aminos available to immediately start rebuilding. Now, any fitness guru will tell you that it's fine to take aminos before, during, or after your workout; it makes no difference. I'm sure that's true, and I am FAR from being a fitness guru, but my rationalization is that drinking aminos during my workout makes it easier for my body to recover, and then drinking a protein shake immediately following a weight session gives my muscles everything they need to get bigger and stronger. That's just my personal theory, with no real science to back it up, so take it for what you will. It works for me. 

Favorite: BSN Amino-X in Grape. Tastes just like Kool-Aid!

8. Pre-workout

These are workout fuel. By no means necessary, but they give me that extra oomph to get up and get moving. I use Cellucor C4, which contains beta-alanine. Beta-alanine will give you that tingly (sometimes itchy) feeling that some people can't stand, but for me, that just means it's kicking in and I need to get kickin'! I'm telling you, sometimes C4 is the only thing that gets my butt to the gym. Sometimes it's what gets me through a workout. Again, this one certainly isn't necessary, but I think it's something that you will need at one point or another because, let's face it, motivation comes and goes and pre-workout gives me that boost when I need it. Which is every day. #nojudging

FYI: my favorite flavors are Strawberry Margarita and Pineapple.

Disclaimer about pre-workouts: the POINT of them is that they make you jittery.  You're supposed to want to crawl out of your skin.  Getting a workout in will get it out of your system.  C4 does exactly what I want it to by giving me that jittery feeling, then going away. I took a pre-workout called Jack3d one time that kept me awake for days and absolutely made me want to peel my skin off. Fair warning. Just read reviews and check ingredients before you jump in the deep end. 


Hope this helps you in some way! If you have any questions, I'll be happy to answer them. I linked to shops where I purchase my supplements, but they are not affiliate links. These are just what I use and enjoy! I certainly haven't tried everything out there, but I've tried a good amount of different things and these are the products I keep coming back to. I'm happy to stand by them!

*I buy a lot of supplements from Amazon, Groupon, and eBay, in addition to these links. I just check around and see where the best deal is on buying day. typically has some affiliate discounts if you google it. 

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE Quest bars but they are a little high for me (WW points). If I were intensely training I would definitely eat them. I am impressed at your knowledge of supplements! GNC just simply overwhelms me so I stick to my multivitamin, extra vitamin C, and my Biotin! You look absolutely AMAZING so your hard work and research is definitely paying off! Love you my friend!


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