People ask me all the time about supplements and which ones I recommend, so I thought I’d share with you five of my favorites.
I research everything I take (probably way more in depth than most of you care to know about 😊 ) so if you ever want more of the science behind these please ask- I literally LOVE to talk about it.
I also want to preface this blog by saying you need to make sure your diet is in check before considering a supplement routine. Supplements will only move the needle so far in your health journey. Diet is absolutely key in maximizing the benefits of these additions.
Post workout protein with a simple sugar carb- If you want to build muscle, providing your body with protein is key post-workout. Protein consists of amino acids that your muscles can use to rebuild themselves after you’re done breaking them down. The benefit of using a powdered protein is that it is already broken down into an ease to absorb form, bypassing the normal time-consuming digestion process. You want to time your protein intake to within 30 minutes from the end of your workout. Along with that protein, I highly recommend that you combine it with a simple sugar/carb source. A simple sugar combined with your protein will help deliver those crucial amino acids quicker to your muscles. Your muscles want to start repairing themselves (and building more) as soon as you stop using them, so providing them with the fuel they need as soon as possible is the best thing you can do for them. I alternate between Advocare’s post-workout recovery (includes sugar and 2 types of protein, which I am interested in the benefits of consuming different types) and Optimum Nutrition whey protein mixed with dextrose. The protein to sugar ratio you should have depends on your goals.
Nighttime Recovery- This is an Advocare product I have been taking for several years. Last year I had to live without it for several months due to Advocare not being able to source quality ingredients for the product (coming from the girl who’s day job is in quality, I appreciate their high standards!), and man could I tell a difference. First, it contains magnesium, which helps me sleep so much better at night. Second, it contains my favorite amino acid (nerd alert, I know). There are lots of claims on potential benefits of arginine, but the one that I particularly go for is it dilates and relaxes your arteries. It improves blood flow, meaning you can get more oxygen to your tissues. Your tissues need oxygen to help restore and repair themselves. Super important after your tough workouts! Nighttime recovery also includes a host of different types of extracts that I encourage you to research the benefits of as well.
3. & 4. Prebiotics and Probiotics- The potential benefits of probiotics are reported on a lot in the media. Probiotics add to the the bacteria we all have inside of us to maintain overall gut health and aid in digestion. Personally, I supplement because I don’t eat foods all that often that have them (i.e, yogurt, milk, sauerkraut). There are several other potential benefits that research is still inconclusive on. Prebiotics basically feed probiotics. They work symbiotically with probiotics to maintain balance in your gut. Prebiotics can be found in things like raw leeks, raw asparagus, and under-ripe bananas. I also supplement my prebiotic intake with Advocare’s advogreens at times when I know my diet has been lacking. I also like advogreens mixed with spark because of the types of vegetables in the blend. It contains a mix of barley grass, broccoli, kale, spirulina, chlorella, and several other types of greens that I do not consume on a normal basis. It is important to constantly vary the types of vitamins and nutrients you are consuming.
5. Arginine extreme mixed with beta alanine- This is my fun one. I wouldn’t call this the most crucial supplement out there, but I really love the side effects of it. I mix Adovcare’s arginine extreme with a beta-alanine powder as my pre-workout drink. Arginine not only is great for recovery purposes, but is also great for delivering oxygen to your blood vessels when you need it during your workout. If you can spend less time trying to suck oxygen into your body so you can keep moving, then you can perform better. Beta alanine raises muscle carnosine levels. Why is that so important? Basically it allows for your muscles to not fatigue as quickly during your workout. Again, less muscle fatigue means you can work harder, faster, longer, etc.
If you google any of these supplements on the internet, you will find all kinds of research that both support and are against using these supplements. I suggest reading articles that either are scientific journals or give you their sources at the end that you can refer back to. I also suggest that you research a supplement company before deciding to use their products. It’s a waste of your time, money, and potentially even your health to take supplements from a company that uses tons of “fillers” in their products. Read labels and check manufacturing practices! It may seem silly now, but your body will thank you later.