Supplementation for Health and Performance
I am a big fan of supplementation.
Make no mistake though supplements do not make up for a poor diet. Nutrition is paramount. Once you clean that up, then you look at whether there is a need to supplement.
There are times however when supplementation is necessary. In fact I would go so far as to say that because of intensive farming methods, supermarkets buying in massive quantities and cold storing you will not get the nutrients that your body needs from the food you eat.
Couple that with modern life and the high stress levels that robs our bodies of vital nutrients and environmental pollutants that do the same, there can be a strong argument for having a daily supplementation regime in place.
NOTE: supplementation is not ‘meal replacements’ or ‘drug taking’. There is a huge difference.
Of course making the statement above I always get the question of…
“Why do I need supplements? Shouldn’t we get everything we need from our diet?”….
Put it this way…. If you live in a cave in a faraway land, away from all the pollutants (chemical and electromagnetic), spend most of your day keeping active instead of sitting on your arse in an office with poor oxygen, where you had access to a natural source of fresh clean drinking water instead of partaking in the office coffee round. Have no stress, sleep like a baby, have all the energy you want in a lean muscular physique instead of grabbing a quick sarnie from the sandwich van, eat nothing but lean organic game meat that you caught yourself, with some organic fruits and veggies that you picked that very same day, then you probably won’t ever need any further help and support for your body.
At a guess I would say that isn’t you and that your day quite possibly consists of sitting behind a desk or wheel of a vehicle, grabbing a quick sandwich and being bored.
You see it is getting so hard to get the correct nutrition and be in an environment that we as a species thrived in. Instead we have the weight of the world on our shoulders trying to make ends meet with a stress meltdown just waiting to happen. We are in a survive state, far removed from the thrive state we were once in.
So that prompts the question…
What the hell do we do about it?
If we are not getting the nutrients we need daily, then where do we start?
How do we choose the right supplements given that if you walk into the average health shop you will have a choice of 1000 different products, most with names you couldn’t spell without looking?
With dubious advice from people who work there who in most instances do not practice what they preach?
Of course you could have these “discussions” until the cows come home so I thought I would give you a helping hand in what you should look into. These recommendations are what have worked well for me personally and for my clients in my own fitness company. Assert Fitness.
They are based on what is required for the person, not the biggest and best magazine advert or what is on special at a supermarket or what “Derrick” from work says!
The greatest thing that the general populous have to deal with daily are that most have some kind of hormone imbalance, so simply buying things “off the shelf” rarely benefits the person as there may be other underlying factors. With our clients these usually appear in conversations we have and can be addressed. It is always better to seek professional advice from someone who knows what they are talking about such as a nutritionist.
Remember, Stress plays a major factor in every ones lives and it can kill. Make no mistake, if you are highly stressed due to relationships, finances, people or your job, the effect of supplements will be limited, but could just help keep you stable.
There are so many things touted for the management of stress there are simply too many to mention and some do not suit certain people. However, I am going to stick with what I have experience in so don’t readily discount things if they are not mentioned in this article.
I always look for best bang for buck so 90% of the time the supplements will do the job, where the other 10% may just need something more.
Before addressing supplements for stress though the following actions are the most important before you consider anything else.
- Train and rest/recover well. Get lots of sleep
- Train correctly, at the right intensity and regularly
- Focus on eating clean and keep toxins out of your system as much as you can. That being said don’t feel guilty about eating anything you want once a week.
- Learn to manage stress
- Those closest to you aren’t the best people to guide you with this stuff. Most of them are in the same boat and would rather keep up a pretence and mock you rather than admit their own problems.
Be aware that if I mention brand names than it is simply because that is what I trust to do the job based on the results I have seen. There are always alternatives, but I cannot comment on what I have not used.
This is such a common ailment that I wanted to start with it first. It certainly affects us in daily life and certainly when we are training. These are the supplements I recommend
- Greens drink full of vitamins and minerals – Take: twice per day. Recommendation – Lean Greens from lean-greens.co.uk
- Alkalizing Salts (sodium, magnesium, calcium and potassium) – Take: twice per day. Recommendation: – Alkalising salts complex.
- Vitamin C – Helps with stress as well as the immune system and repair. Take: with every meal. Recommendation: – 3g is a minimum requirement with upwards of 10g per day when training.
- Vitamin D – Especially if you live in a high latitude location (e.g. UK) or live in a sunny place but live in your office!
NOTE: I would also look at a magnesium-zinc complex may also make a difference to your energy especially as you head over 30 towards 40 and beyond. Along with recovery after training it also helps increase testosterone levels that are a key consideration for many reasons. That is a topic for another article
LOW ENERGY / EXCESS MUSCLE SORENESS
Next up is a combination that ties in with low energy. We all know that training tires you out… or it should do! And there is a good chance that it can make muscles sore. I am sure you have had DOMS before 🙂
What we are looking at here is if you are always shattered the day after training, then you will have to look at your post-workout recovery. Most people either take nothing or just bang in a whey protein shake, but you can do much better than that…
- Post Recovery Drink. A well balanced combination of carbohydrates and protein (and creatine if you engage in a lot of strength training). You can buy these individually and make it up yourself or my recommendation is Anabolic Drive or Vegabolic Drive by Phil Richards Performance.
Post recovery nutrition is the best time to pack in nutrients as your body is screaming out for them after you have depleted them during training. Your body is open to absorbing many more nutrients rather than storing excesses as fat at this time.
Poor sleep can add to stress and certainly affect your health and most bodily processes get to work when you are in dreamland. There are various things you can look at taking to aid in a more restful sleep.
- Magnesium – a complex based on nature’s relaxant which promotes overall wellbeing and relaxes the muscles. Take: before sleep. Recommendation: Magnesium Relax.
- An amino acid complex designed to reset your brain waves and ‘slow your brain down’ – Recommendation: Amino Relax. When to take: Before Sleep
- Tulsi Tea. Not a supplement but definitely helps. Not many people know of this tea, but it not only helps with sleep but tastes great too. Take: any time after 2pm.
This is a bit of a minefield and can be due to a variety of hormonal issues but in general I would look at the following…
- Nutrition, nutrition, nutrition. Massively important that you address what you are eating. Start by basing your daily intake on low carbs to allow your body to use fat for energy.
- Fish Oil – Look for a high potency fish oil high in essential fatty acids. Take: 6-10g per day spread out with meals. Recommendation: Ultimate Fish Oil as a great source of Essential Fatty Acids which tastes nice and orangey instead of Squeezing the guts out of a fish and chowing down.
- Post Workout Recovery shake to improve recovery and maintain high metabolic rate
- Thyroid complex. Sometimes addressing thyroid issues has been found to work, however you should seek clearance from your GP first especially if already on thyroid medication. Recommendation: Iodine Forte. Take: 1-2 caps with breakfast
- Lots of people look at “fat burners” to help get rid of excess fat. I do not recommend thermogenics. They are high potency stimulants and can have an adverse effect on your adrenal. If you are a stress head then these can add to your symptoms and make your situation worse.
- Energy drinks seem to be taken with reckless abandon these days. If you are engaging in 60 mins or less of gym training, no matter how intense of how often, you don’t need energy drinks! This will blunt any effort to lose noticeable amounts of body fat. Your body cannot burn fat if you keep giving it an alternative fuel source! Eat good meals and you’ll be good to go.
POOR IMMUNE SYSTEM
Your immune system should be able to fend off bugs and viruses with ease. Instead we compromise ourselves via poor nutrition and high stress on a daily basis. Reaching for the flu meds has never been so high. How about instead you nourish your body and become indestructible? You breathe in pathogens every day, it is how well our immune systems are as to whether we breakdown and let it in. Here is what I am recommending to kick those bugs into touch…
- Greens drink
- High dose fish oil
- High dose Vitamin C
- Alkalizing Salts
The recommendations and doses are as above in the other sections. Keep your body strong!!
Everything starts with the gut. Get your digestion right and you will feel better, more positive and have more energy.
- Greens drink due to powerful inflammatory effect in the bowel area
- Digestive enzymes – If your greens drink doesn’t have them in then look at supplementing. Helps make more energy and nutrients available for absorption
- Provides support for digestive and immune health, enhances balance of good bacteria in the gut
- L-Glutamine – helps repair the gut lining after damage.
Before I start on supplements, without doubt, mindset coaching is more important than anything else. However, anything that supports the brain is going to help get over depression or anxiety.
- Fish Oils. Make sure it is high quality (as recommended above). The brain is made of 60% fat and is essential to get you thinking more clearly
- Vitamin D may also help is you suffer Seasonal Affective Disorder. This is due to lack of vitamin D via the sun and that is very common to be deficient in. Vitamin D helps to create serotonin, the feel good hormone.
Two for the Ladies…
Nutrition plays a major part in this too, so eating nutritionally dense food will help. Foods that give you loads of vitamins and minerals to aid the hormonal response. Here’s a supplement that will help you along.
- Magnesium complex, especially if you experience increased chocolate cravings around your period.
Follow the above fat loss advice as standard for this, but there are other things you can do. Cellulite is a made up word to describe the orange peel, dimple effect of the skin in the lower body in women.
- Supplement with more heavy leg workouts as well (I know…nobody likes them but they’re less distressing than wobbly legs right?)
- Vitamin C. Add a high dose into the mix to help with collagen reformation. This will prevent the skin ‘collapsing’ causing the infamous dimples!
- Magnesium should also be added to help with circulation and toxin removal.
However to summarise – it largely depends on intensity, duration and volume of training but these guidelines will hold you in good stead:
- Pre workout nutrition. 60+ minute sessions, take 1 scoops of Heart Fuel (opens up the cardiovascular pathways) and 1 scoop of Amino Work Capacity (amino acid complex) 45 minutes before you start and 15-20 minutes in. If you are in a competition, chug it down 30-45 mins before your fight.
- Post recovery nutrition. See excess muscle soreness above.
Supplements make a big difference, but remember as a rule of thumb, the cleaner your base nutrition, the bigger the impact the supplements have.
The worse your diet, the less effect they will have in taking you up another level in terms of energy, strength, stamina or body composition.
If you need any more advice on supplementation or want the links to the supplements we recommend then get in touch via email on firstname.lastname@example.org and I will help you out.
Oh by the way. I mentioned at the start that 90% of the time supplements work? Well here is the 100% er…
Drinking a good 2-3 litres per day of good, clean water will do wonders for all of the above conditions provided you aren’t totally out of balance in any other areas.
It controls the function of every cell in your body which controls everything else!
Yes water is that important!!!
To your strength and Health