I always get asked about supplements. It seems that people always want to know what a trainer is taking and see how that stacks up against what they’re doing.
Truth be told, supplements are a luxury item, not a necessity. They’re the icing on the cake that really rounds out your health and wellness provided that you’re covering all your other bases.
As an upfront disclaimer, you should always check with your doctor before taking any supplement as unintended side effects could cause harm. I am not a dietician or a doctor.
So, here are my top 5 (and also my only) supplements that I take!
Creatine has to be one of the best supplements that I have been taking for the longest time. It is the most researched supplement on the planet and has an iron-clad safety record. Furthermore, creatine has no taste and no smell which means that it can be put in any drink and not be noticed.
Because of this, I consider creatine to be safe and valuable for anyone.
Simply put, creatine is an energy-producing compound that is stored in your muscles. What this means for you is more energy when you’re in the gym which will lead to greater output with seemingly less effort. There are also some reports that creatine works as a nootropic which means you can get some cognitive benefits from it as well.
Creatine is not a stimulant. You will not physically feel its presence like when you drink coffee or take a pre-workout.
Pro tip: all creatine manufacturers will tell you to “load” your body up by taking 5x the normal dose for one week. You do not need to do this. Your body will reach saturation without loading up in one week. Take the normal 5g dose and you’ll be fine.
Protein powder is probably one of the first supplements that people gravitate towards if they’re thinking about getting supplements.
Protein is right up there with creatine for me as the longest-running supplement that I have been taking. Just like creatine, protein powder is safe and effective for everyone making it an ideal supplement to take.
What this supplement will do for you is help to rebuild your bodily tissues after you have broken them down during a hard workout. This is essential for your body to appropriately recover and be ready for the next workout.
When getting protein, you have two main options:
- Whey protein: this is an animal protein that comes from milk. So, if you’re vegan or sensitive to lactose, I’d stay away. When shopping for whey protein, make sure to get “whey isolate” as this is the purest form of the protein.
- Vegan/soy protein: Vegan proteins are great and have come a long way flavor-wise. These are also the better proteins to use when making protein smoothies as they do not make the smoothie super creamy.
Protein powders are so mainstream these days that it’s hard to go wrong when choosing one. If you go to any GNC or supplement shop, any protein powder that you get will do the job.
The flavor does play a big factor in protein powders. Some can taste like candy and others can taste terrible. Here is a short list of the best-tasting ones that I have had:
- Gaspari Proven Vegan Vanilla Chai (soy)
- Optimum nutrition extreme milk chocolate (whey)
- BSN cookies and cream (whey)
I don’t have too much to say about multivitamins. I think it is safe to assume that most of you are already taking some kind of multivitamin and have been for years.
I know that some people will say that they are unnecessary or that you will end up peeing most of them out. Here is my thought process behind that:
as far as supplements go, Multivitamins are so cheap that the potential benefit of making sure all of my micronutrients are topped off significantly outweighs the risk of peeing out a pennies-worth of vitamins.
I take a multi every day and sleep well knowing that my body will take from those vitamins everything that I have missed in my normal diet and discard the rest.
This is a new one for me and one that I have absolutely noticed in my day-to-day life.
Super beets are exactly as the title reads, beets that have been dehydrated and ground into a fine powder.
Now, before you get all bugged-out about how beets taste, Super Beets adds flavoring to the powder to try and mask the beet flavor. I have nothing against beets so it doesn’t bother me, but the black cherry flavor does a pretty good job masking the flavor in my opinion.
So, why is this on my supplements list? Because beets help boost the nitric oxide levels in your blood. Nitric oxide provides the following benefits:
- Increased libido
- Boosts exercise performance
- Lowers blood pressure
- It May help reduce soreness
- May help manage type 2 diabetes
I definitely have felt the benefits of Super Beets in my life in the past month that I have been using them and I think more people should try them out!
If there was one thing we learned during COVID times, it is that people with low levels of vitamin D had a really rough time.
You can get vitamin D from the sun, your diet, and obviously supplements. The problem is that most people don’t supplement vitamin D, don’t get enough from their diet, and don’t spend nearly enough time outside to get enough from the sun.
Even though it is called a “vitamin,” vitamin D actually acts as a hormone in your body making it very important. This is a big reason why seasonal depression disorder is such a problem and why in places like Alaska (where they have six months of darkness), people are encouraged to get vitamin D-producing lights for their homes.
I firmly believe that if your job is in a building, you should be supplementing with vitamin D. It really is that important and I know many people who have reported feeling the positive effects of supplementing vitamin D.
Jordan Tank, Personal Trainer, Columbus, Ohio
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