Do I need supplements?

Loni wrote:

I have finally finished reading your blog!  Love it all and I have to give props for staying true to your fitness journey.

I am on a fitness journey myself and I am wondering something:  Do I need supplements?  My trainers have always suggested protein, joint support, or preworkout supplements, and others too, but I have always wanted to be fit through clean eating and exercise alone.  Now, one year into my journey, I am finding it harder than ever to recover and reach new goals for my workouts.  I know how you feel about supplements, but I want to know WHY you like them.  What’s the big deal?

Loni

Loni,
Anyone can be “short term fit” (a few months to a year), but its a bigger challenge to make fitness a lifestyle choice.  It is not only mentally hard to push yourself, its also hard on your body to push your progress to new levels.  Your body is being worked harder with every new goal you reach and it has to repair itself more efficiently than every past workout as well.

At the very least, I would recommend that anyone getting any exercise stick to the recommended intake guideline of .5-1g of protein per pound of bodyweight (to maintain muscle density and therefore aid in fat loss) and add joint support with a fish/flax oil supplement.  Beyond that, it all depends on what your individual goals are.

Personally, I feel clean eating will never replace supplementation.  In fact, to get all of the recommended protein in your diet without protein, you’d be looking at eating over 2500 calories per day..and that’d be mainly meat, cheese, and nuts…which would pretty much destroy your healthy eating plan (unless you’re a pro wrestler or something).

Can you smellllllllll what The Rock is eating?
Can you smmmellllllllll what The Rock is eating?

And, just because you may be a vegan, paleo, vegetarian eater doesn’t mean you have to skip supplementation (yes there are paleo supplements).  Even pro surfer and vegan Kelly Slater uses supplements…just vegan ones that align with his personal views.  There are supplement varieties for anyone..Celiacs, vegans, those allergic to nuts, etc.,…it is just a matter of finding something you like that works for your needs.

I recommend vitamins, protein, a preworkout drink, postworkout/recovery drink, joint support, and a probiotic.  You can always go for more, but to start, stick with the basics.  You will be pleased with your results.  If you don’t immediately find something that fits your tastebuds, keep looking.  These days, there is a flavor out there for everyone.

Again, I am not saying you can’t be fit without supplements…I am saying that if being fit is your LONG term plan, supplements make that an easier goal to reach.

Sean

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Supplement Review: True Solution Protein

customer-satisfaction (2)

I honestly can’t give this protein enough praise.  Not only is it an all natural 17 grams of protein…it’s also free of dairy, soy, nuts, gluten, and eggs.  Yes, this is a plant protein made up of pea protein, rice,  inulin fiber, cane sugar, and 23 vitamins and minerals.  It’s also real cane sugar (and it is ONLY 10g of sugar for moms looking for a healthy snack for kids)!

As I said in my last post, I haven’t been a fan of pea proteins because they were usually grainy, but True Solution Protein is not at all grainy..the texture is creamy and the taste is delicious.  My wife (who has Celiac disease for those who are new to the blog) liked the chocolate, and Olivia loved “both of them” but “especially vanilla”.  True Solution makes a great snack because they are filling, nutritious, and easy to drink (even at room temperature!).

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I was very impressed by True Solution.  It doesn’t have the junky fillers that some RTD (ready to drink) proteins have, the taste is top notch, and it has more fiber and less sugar than most of the RTD’s I’ve seen.  Topped off with great vanilla and chocolate flavors, it’s one protein that is right for anyone looking to have the perfect take-along drink to get them through their day.  The only thing I’d hope for is a larger drink with more protein for people used to the 30-40g protein drinks.  Hopefully we’ll see that in the future.  As far as the current lineup, you can find more information and shop here.  True Solution is my new favorite new RTD and I am convinced it’ll be yours too.

Sean

Supplement Review: Liftag Sport

A rainbow of flavor.
A rainbow of flavor.

I am the type of consumer that won’t just chug any old drink…I want flavor AND performance.  Liftag Sport’s Ulift Pre-Workout has both the amazing flavor and top notch performance to power you through any workout.  There are four flavors and Liftag NAILED each one.  The green apple is a great apple flavor without being too tart or two overpowering, the fruit punch is tasty and light, the watermelon actually tastes like watermelon (not watermelon candy) and, from someone that usually despises blue raspberry flavors, the blue raspberry flavor is my absolute favorite..it’s not thick, it’s not too strong, and it tastes more like a sweet red raspberry than a fake blue raspberry flavor.

As far as performance, it made my week of 5am workouts a breeze and I was able to shower and dress for work with no overpowering “tingle” that some other preworkout drinks sometimes have as a byproduct.  The formula is packed with L-Citrulline, Dimethylglycine, agmatine sulfate, and L-arginine, creatine and a sweet energy blend.  The result is a focus enhancing, power producing, all-around awesome product that is easy to drink time and time again.

Check out Liftag Sport here.  You can sign up for updates or follow them on Facebook as well.  This is one drink you’ll want to add to your workouts.

Product Review: High Energy Labs

So much power it should require a license.
So much power it should require a license.

I have recently spent some time reviewing products from High Energy Labs and I would recommend every single one I tried.  I reviewed a pre-workout, a testosterone booster, a sleep aid, a joint formula, and a lean body mass booster.

The pre-workout drink is Galvanized N.O. and it’s a great blend.  It’s got:

AKG, L-Arginine and L-Citrulline for nitric oxide optimization
Beta-alanine, glucuronolactone, green tea, and DMG for anti-fatigue and an energy boost
Creatine for muscle buffering and Astragin, B Vitamins, Magnesium, and Vitamin C.

Before I opened the container, I was concerned that, like many supplements that contain green tea, the taste would be bitter and “grassy”, but I was surprised when I mixed the product with water and only tasted the Watermelon flavor with no bitterness.  I was able to drink the formula before and in the middle of my workout with no bitter taste.

There was no huge energy push, just a steady stream of energy throughout my entire workout, which is a big bonus, because there was no crash after the workout.  It also mixed well with no chunking or grainy sediment.

The lean mass optimizer I tried was HGH Complete.  Many muscular movie and TV stars take HGH injections to maintain muscle mass, improve metabolism, fight the effects of aging, and improve libido.  Compared to age 21, about 80% of a body’s natural HGH level is depleted by the age of 60.  I took the recommended dosage for 5 days and I slept better, noticed a much faster recovery after the gym, I had more energy (no more going to bed at 9:30), and I also noticed an increase in libido.  The formula has 7-Keto, DHEA, MSM, Tribulus, L-Dopa, and Aswagandha for lean body mass/libido/and anti-aging optimization, along with GABA (which always helps my restless leg syndrome at night).  Combine that with a full blend off amino acids and you’ve got a great formula.

The testosterone booster was a whole new level of awesome.  When this product says it’ll boost energy, strength & lean mass, and increase libido, it’s certainly true.  With Testo RX, I was hitting the gym with new found power, I wasn’t half as sore the day after leg day either.  My energy levels went up and my libido did as well.  When combined with the HGH Complete, I’d say this is THE test boosting/anti-aging powerhouse combo.  Don’t worry about getting moody either.  There are plenty of ingredients in Testo RX to stop the body turning the excess testosterone into estrogen, including Chrysin.

The joint formula Multi Flex Complete completely changed what I thought about joint repair formulas.  It supports joint strength and flexibility with MSM and chondroitin , reduces swelling and inflammation with bromelain turmeric and yucca (among others) , and it helps rebuild cartilage with hyaluronic acid and glucosamine.  From a guy who has joints that creak like an old house, Multi Flex Complete is a blessing.

Last but not least, the sleep formula SomaRest is a complete rework of a sleep aid.  The formula consists of Hops extract, passion flower, valerian root, GABA, L-Tryptophan, Chamomille, Velvet Bean, L-Theanine, Lavender, Peppermint, and Melatonin and it works like a dream (no pun intended).  Within 10-15 minutes of taking the product and hopping into bed, I was out like a light and I slept the entire night.  I woke up refreshed and ready to face the day too.  The peppermint smell was also a bonus.  I’ve taken sleep aids before and they usually stink a little, so to have SomaRest smell nice, it was a great change.

I also sampled an amino acid chewable tablet called ElectroAmino and they were outstanding.  The lime flavor is delicious and it chews up like a Sweet Tart.  It’s basically a great tasting amino acid blend in a citrus flavored tablet.

High Energy Labs has other great products too, and you can check them all out here.  I’d easily recommend every single product I tried.  Try them for yourself and let me know what you think.
Sean

 

 

 

Get in a Workeat

Minnesodad,
Love your site BTW.  Question for ya:  I recently started my weightloss journey and I’ve been going hard and heavy for about a month.  The issue is, I am WAY more hungry than I ever have been.  I feel like snacking all day long!  I don’t want to ruin my progress so I usually settle for water.  My question is, why am I so hungry?  Bonus question: Should I eat when I am hungry or continue with water?
Leona
MUST EAT ALL OF THIS!!!
MUST EAT ALL OF THIS!!!
Leona,
Congrats on your healthy journey.  Without seeing what you’re eating each day, I have to ask, are you getting enough protein? If you would say “I get it from my food”, I’d say you’re definitely not.  You need more protein for your body than you can get from food (eating within 2000 calories or under) if you’re working out “hard and heavy”.  I’d recommend a whey protein (or soy if you’re animal free) to take within 30 minutes of your exercise.  All in all, you need .8g of protein per pound of bodyweight per day to maintain proper muscle mass.  Try also eating an apple or some healthy carbs with fiber within the 30 minute post-workout window too.  If you’re eating three meals per day, try also increasing that to 4-5 meals per day and divide your portions up to fit those lunch periods.  Don’t cut back on water, but you shouldn’t be drinking more than a gallon per day anyway.  You’re hungry because of two reasons: (A) your activity is stimulating your metabolism and your body is using what you eat more efficiently and (B) you may have changed your eating habits and your body is still getting used to the calorie expenditure versus the old way (meaning, you’re burning more but eating less and your body isn’t used to it).
Hopefully, spreading out your portions, increasing your protein and fiber intake, and giving yourself more “meal” times will help.  Feel free to let me know how it goes after you try it for a month or so.
Sean

HIIT me up

Anonymous wrote:

Sean,

Should I do HIIT training?  My trainer is all about it, but I am new to this gym thing and don’t really know if it’s a solid way to lose weight.  I am basically looking to lose weight for a wedding in a few months, so I had just been doing cardio classes, but my trainer is recommending HIIT.  Looking at it online, I see things both ways.  What’s up with that?

Anonymous

 

Not this kind of hit...though he's justified..
Not this kind of hit…though he’s justified..

Anonymous,

You’re right, it does go both ways, but look at the two audiences and you’ll see that each viewpoint is because of a certain lifestyle.

Marathon/endurance athletes don’t usually want extra muscle on their bodies, so gaining muscle tone and overall strength is not a priority which makes HIIT fall outside of their agenda.  To these athletes, cortisol is actually helping them by decreasing their muscle size and increasing fat stores so they can use it as fuel for their races/events. However, there are non-endurance running types that want all of the health benefits (muscle building, fat loss, good health) that would greatly benefit from HIIT, and for good reason.

There are many studies confirming HIIT as the most effective weight loss exercise type.  In fact, it’s what I’m now doing for my workouts and I’ve been seeing great results.  I’d recommend giving it a try and letting me know what you think.  For the non-endurance types, studies show HIIT is better for the long term, doesn’t stimulate cortisol production like steady-state (long distance) cardio, and that it still allows muscles to make size and strength gains while the body is still losing fat.

Let’s take a look at HIIT as a whole.  Yes, the workouts are shorter, but your body is working harder than the person running (or ellipticalling…is that a word?…next to you).  Unlike cardio-heavy and bodybuilding workouts, HIIT strays away from the moderate heart rate, steady-state cardio and has the person working at 90% of their max heart rate with periods of muscle building in between cardio bursts.  If you’re looking for a chiseled physique and didn’t see it above, you should know that too much long distance running actually stimulates cortisol production in the body and can reverse the progress your muscles are making by shrinking muscle tissue by using it for your body’s fuel, increasing abdominal fat (if you’re not burning enough of it), and compromising immune function.  HIIT has been shown to increase fat oxidization within the body and as an added bonus, you also burn more AFTER your workout due to the intense work your muscles have had to endure during the workout. .  This doesn’t mean you can go eat Old Country Buffet every time you finish at the gym though.  Proper diet AND exercise are always necessary for losing weight.

The downside?  HIIT is wonderfully draining.  When I do the workouts, I am completely drained for at least a day afterward.  This will change over time, but every time I step things up a level, the fatigue will start again.  HIIT can also be harder on your joints initially and that can increase recovery time needed after the workout.

There are a TON of good HIIT workouts on Bodybuilding.com and other sites.  I am guessing your trainer will also have some good ideas as well.  Again, the choice is up to you, but if any of you try it, I’d encourage you to let me know what you think.  I absolutely love it and I hope you find it beneficial too.
Sean

Supplement Review: Legion Supplements’ “Pulse”

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Yes, please.

I recently tried Pulse from Legion Supplements and I’ll definitely be adding this to my list of favorite preworkouts.  Not only does the fruit punch flavor taste great, it mixes EXTREMELY well and doesn’t make the skin “over-tingle” with the beta-alanine.  Pulse is a much-needed addition to the preworkout arena.

I took a half dose the first day of the trial, then the recommended dose the second (while my wife also tried some), and a 1.5 dose the third day.  All three doses provided steady energy and a push that reduced fatigue all of the way through my workout.  Even with the 1.5 dose, I didn’t feel over-stimulated or too tingly (beta-alanine can make the skin tingle from time to time).  I even found myself (in my HIIT phase) sprinting on the treadmill for the first time in two years without even skipping a beat when I got back to the weights.

Fruit Punch wasn’t sour, just a little tangy and not too sweet, which I like.  I can’t stand some products that make you feel like you’ve just downed toxic waste or others that make your tongue feel like you’ve eaten a pound of sugar.  Overall, the flavor was very pleasing.  It’s naturally sweetened with Stevia, has no artificial dyes or extra fillers.  All in all, it’s a solid product.

So what makes it so good? Just look at the label.  It’s packed with beta-alanine (increases carnosine level to reduce muscle fatigue), L-citrulline (reduces fatigue and boost blood flow), theanine (NO Boost), L-ornithine (reduces fatigue and increases fat burning), and some caffeine to boot.

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I’d recommend Pulse to anyone whether you’re new to the gym and looking for a boost to take you to the next level or you’re an “seasoned pro” that is sick of your old formula preworkout.  The best part is that Pulse is certified gluten free according to the manufacturer and their other products are going through the testing phase soon to get the same certification.  You can check out Pulse and all of the other Legion Supplements here.  I’m hoping to get my hands on their protein soon.  With a preworkout as great as Pulse, their protein has to be outstanding.

Enjoy!

Sean