What Supplements Should I Take?
“Tyler, what supplements would you recommend I take?” I get this question more often than you think.
It shouldn’t come by surprise that my view on supplements is also contrary to the public. As a population, we’re fat and out of shape. For the exercising public, we feel good if we exercise three times a week.
It has been my experience that exercise needs to happen at least five times a week — and those sessions shouldn’t be the traditional T.V.-watching elliptical workouts.
Imagine that you were me and someone working out three times a week came up to you and asked the following question:
“I want to get fitter. What movements would you recommend that I do after my three workouts a week?”
You wouldn’t tell them to do more deadlifts or sprint around on the track. Your answer would be simple: Work out more often.
The Harsh Reality
Supplements do very little. And if you are eating anything like the rest of America, they will run right through you with little to no effect at all.
If I were to guess, you eat well Monday-Thursday. But then you justify Friday Night’s “Date Night” as a cheat meal where you get Junior Mints and popcorn before the movie. Then, you drive to get some ice-cream and cookies after the movie.
Saturday morning rolls around and you find yourself sitting back down with pizza and sugar-coated buffalo wings for the football game. You justify the junk food because you ate healthy all week (and you worked hard in the yard that morning!).
Saturday turns into an all-day cheat meal.
Then you wake up on Sunday with a stomach ache. You swear not to eat any more junk food for at least another seven days… until you smell the brownies in the oven at night.
“Oh well. I’ll start with a clean slate tomorrow,” you tell yourself.
Supplements are meant to supplement a healthy diet; not replace a bad one.
“But I’m Different”
Returning back to the workout analogy – if you were working out six or more times a week with a goal of competing in some contest, my answer would certainly be different. The nature of your competition and the imbalances in your current regimen would influence my answer.
But that’s for less than 1% of the population. You can’t assume that because LeBron is drinking this powder or popping that pill, you should be too (unless you’re also 6’8″, 260 pounds, and 9% body fat).
The RxFIT stance on supplements is simple: Eat Real Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants. You don’t need supplements. What you need is real food, in smaller quantities, and more vegetables.
The Rare Breed
However, I know that answer isn’t good enough for you – so read on.
Here are my top three recommendations on how to obtain expensive urine:
Fish Oil: The EPA and DHA are healthy fats that will tremendously help your fitness and are only present in fish. To put a number on it, the minimum recommended EPA and DHA intake is 900 mg per day. The average American is eating less than 300 mg – 1/3 of what’s necessary. But remember, real food is always better than a pill. As you add fish back into your diet, supplement it with fish oil.
Green Food Supplement: For a competitive athlete, you should be eating six servings of vegetables a day. The issue with eating six servings per day is that you usually only eat three meals… so start simple: Eat one serving of vegetables at each meal and then supplement a green food supplement in between each meal throughout the day. Again, the goal should be to eventually just eat real food — “earth-made” is always better for the body than factory-made.
Protein Powder: Elite athletes should be having at least one gram of protein for every pound of bodyweight. So, if you are a 200 pound male, that’s about 7 chicken breasts in a day (yeah, probably not going to happen). A scoop of protein powder in your morning and evening shake can make that number a lot more manageable.
Don’t be bamboozled when it comes to supplements. If I wanted to get fitter, the first step is to workout more often — not do an extra set of curls at the end of my three workouts a week.
The same goes for food. Don’t attempt to replace a bad diet with supplements.
These four steps will summarize it nicely for you:
Step 1: Eat real food. Once you can eliminate eating the american-made food coated in sugar and salt, move on to step 2.
Step 2: Not too much. Control your portion sizes. Eat until you’re full. This is a skill in of itself – it’s much easier said than done. Once mastered, move on to step 3.
Step 3: Mostly plants. Eat a serving of vegetables at every meal. Your body needs it.
Step 4: Then, and only then, supplement. And I would start with the big three: fish oil, greens, and protein powder.
I hope this helps.