12 weeks to a half: the skinny on supplements [week 5]

STOP what you’re doing and answer the following questions:

  • do you regularly fit in 4-6 grueling sweat sessions per week?
  • do you secretly take great joy in workouts that leave you with massive muscle pain?
  • are you training for a half-marathon, marathon, or any other endurance event?
  • do you sometimes wonder why you have hit a plateau and aren’t seeing progress?

if you answered YES to any or all of the above questions, i’m talkin’ to you.  (you talkin’ to me?) yeah, i’m talkin’ to you. so listen up.

here’s what’s ‘supp: if you’re not adding supplements to your training program, it’s essentially the equivalent of repeatedly driving your car on fumes while the fuel indicator is on “E”. and yes, in true procrastinator spirit, i play fuel light roulette every so often, but not with my bod.  when it comes to your body, if you don’t keep it fueled, you can’t expect it to run like a well-oiled machine. i learned this the hard way.

like you, i’m busy. i don’t have time. but when the miles on my training program kept creeping upward, my lil’ bod started running down. so i headed to my local wholesale nutrition with my trainer boyfriend to stock up on some supps. here’s a peek at my easy supplement regimen – from someone who admittedly has a hard time remembering to take a multi. here’s the skinny on supplements + my go-to tips to reach your goals.

which supplements should i take?
while this varies, depending on your goals, here are the supplements that are the bare minimum (in my humble opinion). if you’re a dude wanting to add some muscle mass, you’ll want to visit a supp store to maybe bulk up your stack. if you’re fit female and you’re not taking anything right now, this might be a good start.

everyone (repeat: everyone) should at the very least be taking a multi! this ensures you get a base level of nutrients you need to fuel your body with vitamins and minerals. i’m not a pill person and i may or may not have been guilty of buying gummy prenatal vitamins in the past because it was a yummy way to get my multi + omegas. but lately i’m a fan of my vitaboost liquid multivitamin. it packs in all my essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and amino acids but (bonus): it’s a super-food because it also contains beneficial herbs, potassium, folic acid, ginseng, ginkgo biloba, a B-Vitamin complex. what do all these big words mean? it means that i take one (yummy) sweet shot in the morning and boom, i’m done. no pills and a boost of energy in the a.m.! my top tip: find a multi that you will actually TAKE. amazingly, they don’t work if they sit in your cupboard.
timing tip:  take your multi in mornin’. have a mental trigger so you remember each day. i take mine while breakfast is cooking and i keep it on the top shelf in my fridge so it’s the first thing i see. then, check it off in your fitbook - one thing accomplished before you’re out the door!

pre-workout fuel
you can absolutely fuel up for your workouts with natural foods, preferably quick-digesting carbs to give you instant energy. but you may want to add a pre-workout to up the intensity and endurance of your workouts. don’t be intimidated by all the words on the packaging like “jacked” and “vascularity”.  it’s simply a pretty little pink powder to power up your workout.  right now i’m using muscleprime which i love because in just 13 calories it packs in BCAA’s (for muscle recovery) with caffeine without leaving me jittery – plus, there’s no sugar or sodium so no belly bloat!
timing tip: take your pre-workout about 30-60mins before you hit the gym to give it time to kick in and also settle on your tummy.  i add my pre-workout powder to my blenderbottle and tote with me to work – then i just add cold water, shake + go!

post-workout fuel
one of the biggest mistakes you can make is hit it hard at the gym and not feed your muscles after. repeat after me: protein.  and while i’m not a big fan of promoting sugar, did you know this is the one time your body can use sugar (in moderation) to restore glycogen stores after you’ve depleted them during a workout? combined with protein, this optimal blend of carbohydrates is what your muscles crave. that’s why chocolate milk is now a popular perfect post-workout: it’s the combo of the protein in the milk with the sugary carbs in the chocolate! but you can take it up a notch by adding a post-workout protein shake with at least 15-20g protein. i’m a commitment-phobe when it comes to protein: i’ve tried them all. right now i’m using intek’s post-workout which also contains l-glutamine + BCAA’s for muscle recovery. while i’m not brand loyal necessarily, i am pretty adamant about using whey protein. there are a ton of proteins on the market (pea, rice, hemp) all of which are up to your personal preference. but as pro-whey i am, i am equally against soy. so why whey?  whey protein is the easiest for your body to digest and absorb the protein, plus it’s the most efficient  supplement for building muscle, it boosts your immune system, and also has antioxidants. wham, bam.
timing tip: swig your post-workout smoothie immediately after a workout. try my post-workout jolly rancher-esque recipe: 1 scoop watermelon Intek post-workout + 1/2c frozen berries + 1/2c alm milk + 1/4c nonfat plain greek yogurt + big handful baby spinach. blend til smooth + sip!

other supps
while they aren’t considered “performance supplements”, there are a list of other vitamins + minerals you might consider adding to your daily regimen for optimal health, specifically: omega 3′s, vitamin d + calcium. (dr. oz agrees!)

top tips for your supplement stack

  1. use a sharpie to write when + how much you should take of each on the lid. trust me, it helps to have it in black and white (or in my case, red) so you know what you should be taking and when.
  2. check it off in your fitbook (the little vitamin box) and then log your pre- and post-workout so you remember them. i use one checkbox for my multivitamin and the other one for my omega 3s!
  3. be prepared by keeping 2 shakers with you at all times: 1 pre-filled with your post-workout and 1 pre-filled with your post-workout so even if you’re on the go, you just add water!

‘supp facts + FAQs

how much protein should i eat per day?
this depends on your goal (lose weight, bulk up) but ideally you should take in .5 to 1g of protein per pound of body weight. but that doesn’t take into account your weight or activity level. this protein chart from fitsugar is the best i’ve seen for determining how many grams per day you should eat. then, track protein per meal (much more fun than calories) so you can ensure you’re properly fueling your bod for your goals.

is creatine just for dudes?
gasp! creatine? isn’t that for muscle heads wanting to bulk up? no! creatine works very differently in women than in men (because we don’t have testosterone) and it doesn’t cause weight gain. so don’t run from it. learn how this fat-loss supplement works for women.

so that’s the skinny on supplements! what other faq’s do you have? i’ll gladly answer them or point you in the right direction. i’m very passionate about getting my female fitness fanatics to embrace supplements because they are so pivotal for optimal performance. so what’s your question? i’m listening.



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