The Golden Ticket of #Gainz!
Imagine if you were Charlie and you just found the golden ticket. But in this story, the ticket gets you access to that all in one perfect supplement that builds muscle and spot reduces body fat while giving us the leeway to eat all the food we wanted! And exercise/training is optional!
And imagine that you get this golden ticket and you are given this glorious supplement! How exciting! So you gather up all the foods you love in various amounts, get your next season of your favorite shows ready to watch and you sit on the couch waiting for the #gainz to start a comin!
You do this routine for a couple weeks? and notice some significant gains but they were not the gains you expected! You are doing the opposite of what you were told the supplement was going to do! You are gaining body fat, not gaining any muscle and have no leeway to eat all the foods you wanted! What the heck!
In our health and fitness journey’s, we’ve all been at this point. We got a supplement or 2 or 10 that we thought would be that miracle cure but were let down time after time!
I mean I think we all have seen these ads (to the right) every time we go anywhere on the internet!
So you might be thinking, “So Zach, do you not take any supplements!? Are they all scams!?”
In all honesty, I believe supplements do play a very important role in our health and performance! But we all need to realize that they are a called “supplements” for a reason. They are simply meant to supplement your nutrition and training. We need to understand that our training and nutrition give us the most benefits but an individualized supplement plan can take them to the next level!
And so today I wanted to dive into how to create a highly individualized supplement program that is perfect for YOU!
In this guide, I am going to go over:
- The Hierarchy of Importance
- Why Supplementation should be individualized
- My Supplement Stack
- How to Create Your Own Individualized Supplement Plan
The Hierarchy of Importance
I am going to be honest from the very beginning.
Supplements on the magnitude scale do not rank very high because as their name suggests, they are “supplements.” They are simply meant to supplement our training and nutrition to fill in any gaps that have been left unfilled.
But……as we know, anything small can turn into something really big over time!
The Compound Effect:
I recently read Darren Hardy’s (Founder of Success Magazine) book The Compound Effect where he outlined the simple but overlooked principle that we are simply the result of many small habits/actions we have made or not made over the span of our lives. He used an amazing example to convey this message by showing the power of a single penny.
Without going into the whole story, he simply asked you to choose between two options:
- Take $1 million dollars today.
- Take 1 measly penny that doubles every day for the next 31 days.
So what if you choose the penny? Well after 1 week, you’d have an embarrassing $0.64 and after 2 weeks you’d have $81.92.
At this point you are thinking, “Why the heck would you choose the penny!?” But be patient and watch the compounding do its magic.
After 3 weeks and only 1 week away from your compounding coming to an end, you would still only have $10,485.76. But with the principle of compounding, you are building up the momentum to cause a true breakthrough and at the 30 day mark, you would have $5,368,709.12! Holy moly!
In todays society, we want that miracle supplement so that would be like taking that $1 million right away! We want to feel something right away that makes us 1 million times better! But as you can see from this example, that not really how it works. So this example was to paint the picture that a supplement that can give you a 3-5% benefit seems small in the beginning but when compounded over a lifetime, can make a world of a difference!
But remember this doesn’t compound over time like it does if we don’t have the other more important parts of our diet in line! Remember where this falls on the hierarchy of importance.
What Are Your Goals?
When thinking about creating your own individualized supplement stack, you need to first look at your goals and whether these supplements will supports those goals.
For most people, your goals are to:
- Look great naked
- Gain Strength
- Improve overall health
- Feel Great
- Slow that darn aging process
- And lets be honest, it always comes back to looking good naked!
Ok I’ll be honest, I was just describing myself so I guess it would be beneficial if I just go over my supplement stack and make individual recommendations for specific cases. Sound good!?
More is not always better…..
We live in a society where more is often seen as better. The same can be said when looking at how we take supplements. We think by taking every vitamin in our pantry that we’ve accumulated over the years along with a new multi vitamin? and any other supplement we can get your hands on we should take. I’m here to say STOP!!
Why is more not better!? Why not bomb ourselves with all these vitamins and minerals!??
Well there is a process in our bodies that is going on every time we take these direct antioxidants (vitamins and minerals) to where when we have too many of each one (the cup is ?overflowing) they are oxidize and become pro-oxidant. This is really really bad…
Let me use an example that will paint the picture.
- Think of when you bought some fruit or veggies that you forgot about in your fridge. When you first bought them, they were nice and fresh. But low and behold, one day you wake up and there is this ungodly smell coming from your fridge. They have gone bad and they are stinking up your whole house and attracting bugs from all over the neighborhood.
I want you to think of this same process going on in your body when you are bombing yourself with all these direct antioxidants you do not need! You are probably doing more bad than good!
Wait Zach, What About Multi-Vitamins!??
I am by all means not saying mutii-vitamins are bad but throwing 100% RDA doesn’t necessarily mean that you have the optimal levels of dosage. The RDA recommends levels of 400-800IU for Vitamin D when the optimal levels are actually between 2,000-5,000IU daily. And there are many micronutrients that you already get a ton of in your diet that you don’t need more of and run the risk of them become pro-oxidant like I described above. We definitely do not want that.
So do I take a multi vitamin!?!? Actually my answer is YES! But you have to take the right one….. Not all multi vitamins are the same…. Will touch on my recommendation later in the post.
But the moral of the story is that by creating an individualized approach with specific vitamins and minerals that you are deficient in, you can take what you need and not what you don’t.
So keep that in mind when reading this post and ask yourself if each one of my recommendations will help you reach your goals!
Disclosure: Please not that some of the link below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.
Please understand that I have experience with all of these companies and there supplements, and I recommend them because they are highly effective for me, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend your money on these products unless you feel you need them or they will help you achieve your goals.
My Supplement Stack
1. Multi Vitamin
You must be thinking, “Zach, you just went through bashing multi vitamins and now you recommend them right away!?” Yes that’s right!
Why it’s important:
- Well as I stated earlier, our micro nutrients (vitamins and minerals) are unbelievably important to our overall health. I think I’ve made that point so far. But MOST multi vitamins do not fill those voids. That is why you can find a multi vitamin at your local grocery store for a few dollars.
What do I recommend!?
- I highly recommend the recently released Tru Multi from PEScience. If anyone knows this company, they know they do not put out anything that is not great and backed in science! Not only that but they understand that micronutrients needs are gender sensitive so they have one specifically formulated for women as well!
And if you want to save 30% off, use the code “FDL” at checkout!
When to take it!?
- Best time to take it will be with a balanced meal with a solid amount of dietary fat. Why is this? Well dietary fat acts as a transporter for optimal absorption of all these micronutrients!?
2. Vitamin D3
Why it’s Important:?
Vitamin D3 is one of the 24 essential micronutrients that are critical for our human survival. We are meant to get most of our Vitamin D3 from the UV rays of the sun but in todays modern society, it is very difficult to reach these sufficient levels even if you live by the equator. Supplementation with Vitamin D3 is associated with a laundry list of benefits that is growing by the day. This list includes:
- Immune health
- Bone health
- Increased cognition
- Decreased risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and multiple sclerosis
Can I get enough from food or from the sun?
- Vitamin D is not really a “true” vitamin because we really don’t need food to get it. Natural sunlight allows our body to create this Vitamin D. But like I said above, it is very difficult to get enough of it because of our modernized society where we where we wear clothes (adam and eve messing things up by eating that darn fruit) and drive in cars with windows that block virtually all UVB. Same goes with sunscreen in which the bare minimum of SPF 15 will decrease the amount of vitamin D made in the body by about 99%!
- Vitamin D is extremely rare in foods. I am not going to go into too much detail on this but just know that vitamin D is truly the sunlight vitamin. This graphic below shows the very little variety we have in vitamin D containing foods and that they only contain minimal amounts of this essential vitamin.
Should you take it?
- Absolutely. You could get tested to see where your Vitamin D3 levels are by your doctor asking for a 25(OH)D test. Make sure to ask for this specific test because there are others that have similar names but this is the only one that will tell you if you are getting enough Vitamin D3. For me personally, I have “sufficient” levels of vitamin with my test stating that I was at 52 ng/ml. The Vitamin D Council suggest you aim for that ideal level to aim for be 50 ng/ml.
Do you need to get tested?
- Probably not. I’m just OCD like that! But one thing I know for sure is that you should be taking this daily to make sure your Vitamin D3 levels are or stay at that healthy range.
How much do I take?
- The Vitamin D Council recommends that adults take 5,000 IUs per day if you do not get a lot of direct sunlight. If you do get regular direct sunlight, a dosage of 2,000 IUs per day should be perfect. That is personally what I have been taking for the past couple years because I live in Florida.
- We live in a society where more is seen as better but when you are taking your Vitamin D3 do not take more than 10,000 IUs. After this threshold, research has shown that it becomes toxic in the body?
When do you take it??
- Vitamin D3 is a fat soluble molecule, which simply means that the fatty acids serve as its transport. Just think Vitamin D3 is so big time just like the Fresh Prince of Bellair and has Jeffrey as his own chauffeur to take him to where all the beautiful women were!
- So you will want to take your vitamin D3 with either a meal containing some dietary fat or with your daily supplementation of fish oil which is next up on the list!
What Vitamin D3 supplement do I use??
- I personally take Now Foods Vitamin D-3 2000 IU.
3. Omega 3 Fish Oil paired with Vitamin E
Fish oil is at it’s simplest terms, oil from fish but it is much more than that from a health perspective.
There are 2 specific groups of Omega-3 fatty acids known as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and both are extremely important. Regular intake of these 2 Omega-3s is extremely important because they are very important for cardiovascular function, nervous system function, brain development, and immune health to name a few.
Why It’s Important?
- Well as I stated before, Omega 3’s are super important for those vital functions of the body but it goes much deeper than that.
- Omega 3 intake is essential for optimal performance of our cell membranes. ?Why do we want our cell membranes working optimally? Well this cell membrane for the cell is like the bouncer at the best club in LA. If we have a lot of omega 3 fatty acids surrounding our brain cells, then messages from our super important neurochemicals like serotonin can be transmitted more easily. Of the 40 million brain cells, most are influenced either directly or indirectly by serotonin so I hope this paints the picture of how important it is!
- Omega 3 intake is also super for metabolic health! Yeah now you can start paying attention! I know all that brain stuff was not going to interest you… Who cares about our brains, I’m just trying to get lean! Well Omega 3’s definitely help with that! With lots of Omega-3’s, our muscle cells become more insulin sensitive to insulin while fat cells decrease. So this simply means that your body will shuttle more nutrients to your muscles rather than to your body fat!
Can I get enough from food??
- Yes you definitely can but it is very difficult nowadays to do so.
- It’s hard for us who live in Western countries to get omega-3 fats from dietary sources. We eat very little to no wild caught fish and game to where most of these omega-3’s are present. And if you want to get it from whole foods, it is going to cost you an arm and leg to get the quality of sources necessary to get those omega-3’s.
Should you take it??
- In my eyes, this is a must nowadays in our modernized culture where everything is processed. It’s important to understand the Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acid ratio in the body too. We evolved with a fat intake ratio of 1:1 of these fatty acids but now it’s close to 1:20 because Omega-6 fatty acids are super abundant in our culture. Most meats, any vegetable oils, and nut/seeds, fast food, and any of those tasty desserts, are all chalk full of omega 6 fatty acids.
- So now you can see why that ratio is 1:20 now in favor of Omega-6’s! When this ratio is out of whack, it puts you at risk of cardiovascular disease, increased body fat, and a higher risk of depression to name a few!
How much should you take??
- Aim for between 3-9 grams of total fish oil with about 1-3 grams of EPA + DHA per day. And I mentioned at the top about pairing your fish oil with Vitamin E. This is anecdotal and still being tested but Vitamin E is known for it’s ability to prevent oxidation in the body so when pairing this with your fish oil (which is known to oxidize) you are giving yourself a better chance of preventing that oxidation.
When should I take it?
- I personally take mine at night after dinner. Nothing special about that. Just a habit I’ve established with when I take it.
What Fish Oil and Vitamin E do I use?
- I personally use Intelligent Labs Ultra Pure Omega 3 Fish Oil. This is a very high quality fish oil from smaller deep sea fish varieties and is is very cost effective. You can use the code “FDL20” for 20% off your order.
And my Vitamin E of choice is Kirkland Signature Vitamin E 400 IU.
Why It’s Important:
- I want you to think of Magnesium as the ultimate co factor in our bodies. What is a co factor? Well they are a non-protein chemical compound that is required for the protein to be able to do it’s job.
I could literaly write a whole 5,000 word post on magnesium but I’ll try and be short and sweet with this.
- Magnesium is a co-factor in over 350 enzymatic reactions in the body. It is necessary for the transmission of nerve impulses, muscular activity, heart function, temperature regulation, detoxification reactions, formation of healthy bones and improving insulin sensitivity.
Not enough magnesium, and you run the risk of a laundry list of problems such as:
- Muscle cramps, weakness, insomnia, loss of appetite, kidney stone, osteoporosis, nervousness, restlessness, irritability, sugar cravings, fatigue, and high blood pressure.
- Chronic deficiencies lead to increase risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome, reduced bone mineral density and osteoporosis, depression, and irregular heart rate.
- Literally every system throughout the body relies on magnesium! No one talks about this but it is vitally important!
- And if you have trouble with regularity with going to the bathroom (pooping) lol, this will help dramatically with this!
Can I get enough from food?
- In an ideal world the answer would be yes but in todays society, the World Health Organization has placed magnesium deficiency on it’s list of concerns because 2/3’s of the American population are deficient in magnesium. That’s a big number!
Why is this the case?
- Well our foods that are normally rich is magnesium, like our green leafy veggies, are being grown in soil that is deficient in magnesium, thus causing our veggies to be depleted too. And our other food sources that should be rich in magnesium such as nuts, seeds and legumes, contain various acids (phytic, oxalic) that interfere with the absorption of magnesium.
Should you take it?
- Absolutely. As you can see, magnesium is essential to pretty much every system of your body.
How much should you take??
- A recommended does would be 400mg daily for men and 200-300mg daily for women.
When should you take it?
- I personally like to take it at night before I go to bed. Why? Because one of the benefits to magnesium intake is that it helps with revving down your cortisol levels and up regulating the melatonin necessary to fall fast asleep. So I take my 4g about an hour before bed.
I personally use Bulk Supplements Magnesium Glycinate.
What Magnesium supplement do I use?
I personally use Natural Vitality Natural Calm because it tastes great and has worked very well for me. I take 4-6g every night in warm water.
- A mentor of mine named Ryan Andrews from Precision Nutrition once helped me truly understand probiotics just by helping me understand the root meaning of the word. Probiotic comes from the Latin root word of pro which means “before, forward” and bios which mean “life”. Thus when put together, probiotics are life promoting.
Why is this important?
- Probiotics are “life promoting” because they provide beneficial bacteria to our digestive tracts that allow for us to digest our food and absorb nutrients effectively. So just think that we are not technically digesting out food, the bacteria is. This bacteria is our gut influence our overall health, metabolism and body composition. They are extremely important in also helping our immune system distinguish between good and bad guys to make sure it pull the trigger to quickly.
- This is the case if you ever have had a food sensitivity. Mine used to be dairy but it had subsided since I started taking my probiotics.
- So if you are thinking, “well I’m trying to make #gainz, so how does this help me do that?” Well those trillions of microbial travelers that inhabit your body play a massive role in your production of anabolic hormones. These hormones are these free sterioids that are essential for muscle growth and recovery between workouts. A recent animal study found that male mice consuming the probiotic bacterium Lacotobacillus reuteri had a significantly higher levels of circulating testosterone regardless of the type of diet they ate!?
The most common causes of poor gut health are:
- Medications especially antibiotics (they kill our good bacteria)
- Poor Diet (alcohol, processed foods, over-eating, poor fiber intake, sugar)
- Radiation or Chemotherapy
Should you take it?
- I believe that this is a necessity from a prevention standpoint. Our guts are so important and is that front line that processing the very fuel that keeps us alive. We want that gut performing at its best at all times.
Can I get this from food?
- Yep you can so if you are healthy, you should aim for 1-2 servings of probiotic rich foods each day. These foods include yogurt, buttermilk, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and bacterially cultured cheese. So if you are eating these already and your digestion is working well, then you should be ok not taking a probiotic. But if not, then it would be well served to be taking one to make sure that gut it working at its best!
How much should you take?
- The goal should be to get at the very least 5 billion CFUs of health bacteria per day to support your digestive system. I personally take a whopping 50 billion CFUs because I know don’t want to leave any doubt.
- And small disclaimer… You may feel worse before you feel better when taking your probiotic because the bacteria releases toxins.
When should you take it?
- It is best to be taken with a meal. Preferably your first big meal of the day.
What probiotic do I take??
- I take Intelligent Labs Probiotic!
I’ve tried many and this one has given me the best results. You can use the code “FDL20” to save 20% off!
6. Creatine Monohydrate
Is one of the most researched and well documented supplements in history but is still one of the most misunderstood by most of the population! I’ll be frank when I say: Creatine is not a steroid!
Why this is important?:
A mentor and thought leader in the S&C field, Bret Contreras, said it perfectly when he titled creatine as “a versatile supplement” because of the many roles it plays in the body!?
- Creatine is a molecule that is already produced in the body where high energy phosphate groups (creatine phosphate) are stored. During high stress periods, these creatine phosphate molecules are released to aid in cellular function. This action is essential not only for increased strength but also in brain, bones, muscles and liver function.
- Creatine simply helps us take the energy that is stored in our food and transfer it to our bodies so we can fuel our work/activity. This reigns supreme for in the gym when you are squeaking that tough set of 5 reps on the bench press or on the track when you are running that 40 yard dash. Just adding 1 extra rep onto a heavy set or being able to run that 40 yd dash .05 seconds faster over time add up to significantly more volume that wouldn’t of been there without creatine. This allows for great #gainz in the long run!
- And the same can be said with our cognitive function as well! Our brains use creatine to transfer energy as well so when our brain cells have adequate creatine production, our thought and memory processes are improved!
Let me use this analogy to help paint the picture a bit more. So imagine you are going to make some burgers for the family tonight. Everyone is so excited and can’t wait to have these burgers. They have been thinking about these wonderful burgers all day! Well imagine that you go into the fridge and realize that you don’t have any ground beef to make these burgers with. Everyone is devastated…
- So now you run to the store to grab some ground beef, get stuck in traffic, long line at the grocery store, and traffic on the way back. By the time you get home, it has been over an hour and everyone already ate because they were starving. Now imagine this happened every time you promised a meal like this.
- That story is exactly what is happening to your body every time you need quick energy! You don’t have enough creatine phosphate stored to supply that energy and thus your body has to go to another energy system, which slows the process to create or replenish the energy! This is true for physical and mental performance!
Can I get it from food?
- Yep! A typical diet has about 1g of creatine but in order to get all the benefits of it, you need to be intaking around 5g per day. The richest sources of creatine are from your wild game (red meat) sources. This makes sense if you think of the athletic demands that these animals have on them to hunt or not be hunted in the wild. They need that readily available levels of creatine so they can survive.
Should you take it?
- Do you want to have quick energy available for your body and mind to perform at its best!? If so, then the answer should be a definitive yes!
How much should you take??
- 5g every day. You will hear people say to load and/or cycle on and off your creatine but don’t worry about all that. Just focus on getting 5g every single day.
When should I take it??
- Research has shown that it is better absorbed (not much better) around training but the research was in ?individuals who had never taken creatine before. From that, it is hard to tell if this would be the same for someone like myself who has been taking it for a long period time who’s creatine phosphate stores are already saturated. Just focus on picking a time when you will be consistent with taking it every day. 5g of creatine a day, keeps the #gainz comin your way!
What Creatine do I take??
- I personally take a Creatine Monohydrate from Bulk Supplements. It is super cost effective and super high quality so its a win-win!?
7. Beta Alanine
- Beta Alanine can be seen as Batman’s Robin with creatine being Batman. Beta Alanine is more of a performance supplement compared to creatine. It is a modified version of the amino acid alanine which has been shown to enhance muscular endurance. What makes beta alanine so special is because it is essential for the creation of the dipeptide know as carnosine, which is the true acid buffering agent. Along side beta alanine is histidine, which when are bonded, create this carsonine.
- Don’t stress over all this science! All you need to know is that if you were in the gym doing sets of 8-15 reps, then this would act as a buffer for the acid accumulation in the muscles, thus allowing you to be able to get a few more reps.
Why this is important??
- As we all know, training/exercise/working out or whatever you want to call it, is great for our overall health. We also know that they more muscle we have, the more healthy we tend to be (not going to list the millions of benefits).
- So think of every single workout you did, you were able to knock out a few more reps on each set of each exercise you did. For example, you did 4 exercises at the gym that each called for 4 sets of 15 reps. Well lets say you had been taking your beta alanine and were able to knock out 2 more reps on each set. So for each exercise, you were able to get 8 more reps, and for the whole workout, you were able to get a total of 32 more reps! Now over the span of 3 workouts during the week, you now got 96 more reps! And over the span of a month thats 384 more reps!
I think you got my point!!
- The same can be said for being able to do more weight for those 15 reps. So if you could only do 10lbs for that 15 reps and now you can do 12lbs for that 15 reps.
- So what happens when you are able to do more reps or more weight for those reps!? More muscle, more fat loss, better insulin sensitivity due to increase muscle and strength, and the list goes on!
Can you get it from food??
- Yes you can carnosine from carnivorous animals such as chicken, beef, fish and pork in the form of carnosine. ?But carnosine in its whole form is very hard for our bodies to absorb. Our body is efficient at producing the histidine but is not very proficient at the production of the beta alanine so by supplementing with the beta alanine, we are able to give our body the tools to create the carnosine thus leading to more #gainz!
How much do you take?
- I personally take 3.5g per day so I would advise anywhere between 3-5g daily. If you are a smaller woman, then I would take the lower side of those recommendations. Beware that you might have to ease yourself onto this because of the itchy/skin raising feeling it gives you. You can even spread out the dosage out across the day in smaller amounts to erase this itchy/skin raising feeling.
When should you take it?
- I personally have to take it with a meal because if I don’t, I get the feels super bad! Some people like it but I personally do not lol.
What Beta Alanine do I use??
- I personally use Bulk Supplement Beta Alanine Powder. It is super competitively priced and it super high quality!
8. Pre-Workout/Focus Enhancement
- I personally am not a big fan of typical pre workouts and stimulants because of the way they make me feel so I have stayed away from them for some time.
Typical pre workouts are just straight caffeine with a bit of creatine and beta alanine thrown in there. They honestly make me feel like I am going to have a heart attack every time I take them and then I crash a couple hours later from the huge rush that drains my adrenals.
- I personally use PEScience Prolific because of the combination of a moderate dose of caffeine (140mg) with L-Theanine. Why is that combination important? Well because L-Theanine is an amino acid that is synergistic with stimulants such as caffeine to take the edge off. That is massively important to me as I am someone who gets that edgy feeling from pre workouts. I notice it gives me an intense focus rather than a heart attack!
Why it’s important?
- Well if you are someone who wants to go to the gym not only with energy but with a combined focus that will yield you optimal performance, then this is the best option I have found for just that.
Should you take this??
- I highly recommend you take this if you need an extra boost to kill your workout but it is not a necessity. This is definitely a luxury supplement so if you have some extra money to blow on supplement, this is one that helps me perform my best in the gym.
What Pre-Workout/Brain Food supplement do I use?
- I use PEScience Prolific. PEScience Prolific It is by far the best pre workout supplement I have ever tried because of the brain food component. It is a game changer for me. Here is the link if you are interested in ordering some Prolific and use the discount code “FDL” for 30% off your order.
9. Protein Powder
- And last but not least, we have the infamous protein powder supplement! We all know how important our protein intake is for literally every single facet of our bodies to be working optimally.
- The word protein actually comes from the Greek word Protos which means “first one” or “most important one.” So to say our protein intake was important would be an understatement.
- Protein powder is derived from many different food sources like milk, beef, egg, pea, hemp, rice, soy, cranberry, and artichoke. Each of these sources have there strength and weakness. I can cover each in more detail in a later post if you guys want me to but just know that if you have a digestibility issues with certain foods like dairy or eggs, then those might not be the best choice for you.
Why its important?
- Well as I stated before, Protein is derived from the greek work Protos meaning “most important one” and it lives up to that title. And for many of us, it is a struggle to get in enough protein in order to maximize our health and performance. This is where our protein comes in to fill the gaps.
Should you take it??
- If you struggle to hit your protein on daily basis then I think this is one that you should add to your stack.
How much do you take??
- Well this is up to you and your current protein intake from whole food sources.
- For example, I take in about 1-1.5 scoops of protein powder per day which equates to about 40g protein coming from protein powder.
- My goal for each day is 200g protein per day so it makes up 20% of my daily protein intake. The rest of my protein comes from mostly whole food sources. That should be your goal as well but don’t stress too much over it! Just hit your protein! Some days you’ll have 10% of your intake from protein powder and others it will be 50%. No worries! Just hitting you protein is the most important thing.
When do you take it??
- Well this question depends on your demands on recovery. From a strictly body composition standpoint, timing means very little but from a recovery standpoint, it is very important. If you have multiple sessions in a day or need to maximize recovery for the next session, then taking in 30g protein post workout would be best along with some carbs if you are a leaner individual.
What Protein Powders do I use?
-PEScience Select Protein Powder Select Protein Powder”
And why do I advise using this brand? Well because it checks off all the boxes above as a quality protein source but is also a blend between whey and casein protein which is a potent combination of fast and slow digesting proteins.
This combination is not only great for a steady stream of amino acids, but also is great for cooking which you all know me for! It takes away that dryness that most protein powders when cooked with result it. And you all know my recipes are not dry!
So use the discount code “FDL” to get 15% off your protein!
Need an idea of how to use protein powder? I got you!
Check out my Frosted Blueberry Pop Tart Oatmeal Recipe!
If you like what you saw, feel free to check out my Best Selling Recipe Book for even more delicious low-calorie recipes: https://www.flexibledietinglifestyle….
10. BCAAs (Branch Chain Amino Acids)
Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are the building blocks of protein. They get there name partly because of there structure which has a “side chain” of one carbon atom and three hydrogen atoms. These three BCAAs are leucine, isoleucine and valine. If you are not a geek like myself, don’t worry about all that sciencey stuff! Just know that BCAAs are the building blocks of protein synthesis and every production.
Why its important?
In order for our BCAAs to participate and facilitate these essential processes, they must be available to the body. This means that we need to eat enough of these BCAAs to ensure that they are there to fuel these essential processes.
The super cool thing about BCAAs are that they are the only amino acid that is not degraded in the liver. The usual process is that amino acids have to be regulated by the gut and liver before being circulated elsewhere in the body but BCAAs head straight to the bloodstream to fuel the gains!
Should you take it??
BCAAs are very important especially because of the concentration of the all important amino acid leucine. For the body to create new proteins, it needs an estimated daily leucine intake of between 1-4 grams per day. That is the bare minimum and if you are a hard training athlete, then this requirement has been se?en to be up to 12 grams per day!
I see the use of BCAAs to come into play in 3 different scenarios for those who track there macros.
For those who workout fasted or with little food in them. Limits the circulating BCAAs necessary to fuel performance and protein synthesis.
Those in a lower calorie intake aka those who are in the nitty gritty of their cut. Not as much building blocks for the body even if protein is hit so BCAA supplementation ensures you have enough to preserve that precious muscle.
Those who are working out multiple times per day or are working out for over 2 hours.
When should I take it??
I personally take them first thing in the morning because I do not eat breakfast. So by adding in some BCAAs will ensure I have amino acids available until my first meal. I also take them intra workout to ensure that I have amino acids present to help with performance and recovery.
Can you get enough from food?
Absolutely! I personally take BCAAs when I am cutting in the mornings because I like to fast until I eat my big pre workout meal. So by taking 10g of BCAAs in the morning, I am getting that dose of these essential amino acids especially leucine, to fuel that new protein production.
BCAA content in food types (% grams of amino acids per 100g of protein)
- Whey protein isolate = 26%
- Milk protein = 21%
- Muscle protein = 18%
- Soy protein isolate = 18%
- Wheat protein = 15%
So think of your food intake and what sources of protein you use to hit your protein goals for the day.
And if you are new to Flexible Dieting and have never calculated your macros before, click here for the guide to walk you step by step on how to do that.
What BCAAs do I use?
I personally use the PEScience Amino IV because it has a whopping 5g Leucine per serving while most BCAA supplements on the market only have 2-3g. That’s amazing. Trust me on that! ?Along with all that leucine, you have a steady stream of the Essential Amino Acids that will fill in the gaps you do not get from your food. It’s the ultimate amino acid safety blanket! So you can use the code “FDL” to save 30%.
Honorable Mention Supplement Recommendations
Nitates are a compound found in leafy green veggies and beetroot.
Why its important?:
Nitrates are responsible for breaking down into nitrites which are eventually turned into nitric oxide (NO) which provide a multitude of performance benefits. They have been shown to improve anaerobic and aerobic endurance, blood flow, and work output. What that all means is increased muscle recovery between bouts of exercise. Just remember that Nitrates improve our bodies ability to product ATP from the food you eat. Takes the food we eat and turns it into fuel. High levels of these circulating nitrite help the mitochondria in cells produce ATP more efficiently.
Should I take it?
Well here is the tricky part. The selling of a nitrate supplement at a dose high enough to cause these effects is not legal. But fortunately we can get this benefit from whole food sources. So this could look like a shake with spinach, swiss chard and lettuce mixed in. Consuming in shake form will increase absorption.
How much should I take??
Well the recommendation is 500g of these leafy green veggies to enjoy the full benefits of this nitrate in your workout. I know that sounds like a lot. But once blended, its really not much at all.
So bare with me when I cover this supplement that has single handedly destroyed tons of credibility for the supplement industry as a whole. Most fat burners usually are super high in caffeine which cause a thermic effect in the food thus making us burn more calories. Don’t get me wrong, caffeine is well documented to be great for you but the copious amounts that are put in most is not the best thing in the world and also leads to diminishing returns due to your body becoming used those greater dosages.
But some people will want an option for a fat burning supplement and I will recommend that you have a great training and diet regime down and want that extra little additional push for losing body fat. This should be seen as icing on the cake.
The one fat burner I can recommend is one by PEScience. This is a caffeine free option compared to most that have 300mg or more. And it is full of awesome B-Vitamins as well as a mix of citrus and aframomum that are being cited more and more for there fat burning effects. You can click the link here if you want to check this one out.
No One-Size-Fits-All Approach Here
Supplements are bashed a lot in the fitness and nutrition industry as useless and an unneeded cost which is true most of the time. But as this guide was able to show you, there are a lot of great options that can help you plug in the gaps in your diet and training that will aid in your making those #gainz!
Supplements are called supplements for a reason. They are meant to be a supplement to an already well establish training and nutritional program. So if you think all of these supplements are going to be some quick fix then you are setting yourself up for failure.
If you are Flexible Dieting, tracking macros and training hard, then you are already way ahead of most people and with consistency, you will achieve amazing things results! Just remember our hierarchy of importance above and know that these can really help but they need to compound over time.
- These supplements are just a recommendation of what I take. I am not a doctor nor do I wish to be one (actually kinda do but too much school) but have done extensive research on all of these supplements. Check with your doctor before taking any of these supplements.
Look at your lifestyle, goals, budget and any other factors to figure out which supplements fit best with your plan.
Then please share this guide to any of your friend and family who could benefit from this guide!
Thanks and God Bless,
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