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: ASR (ASResearch)

Time for another supplement review!  I recently had the pleasure of trying 3 products from ASR and I am certainly loving the results.  On top of kicking my workouts to the next level, I also added more muscle to my physique and I have ASR to thank for the results.

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My workouts started out with ASR’s Invincible, a delicious fruit punch flavored preworkout (it actually isn’t the typical “fruit punch flavor”, it is more of a tropical cherry citrus punch) that delivers on the promises it makes.  It kicks in very quickly, but doesn’t overpower with jitters, it just gives a long lasting energy that lasted all of the way through my workouts.  It has beta-alanine, glutamine, L-arginine, L-carnitine, citruline, caffeine, rhodiola rosea, and L-histidine, among others.  The ingredients are important because they provide great results, but the dosages of the ingredients are what make this product an outstanding value.  Top that off with the refreshing flavor and it is a winner in anyone’s book.

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Since my workout demand was boosted, I started HyperGain Black to improve the results.  This is THE supplement to increase muscle growth and strength.  Creatine Magnapower provides a creatine with a higher bioavailability and improved protein absorption, AlphaSize A-GPC reduces physical and mental fatigue and sharpens agility, Kre-Alkalyn provides ph balanced muscle support, agmatine sulfate helps relieve pain and regulates NO levels in the body, GP L-carnitine acts as a powerful antioxidant and improves the metabolism of fatty acids (it can even help protect your kidneys), and vanadyl sulfate which can help insulin levels and improves vascularity.  HyperGain Black was one I took daily, and it gave me better results than I ever thought possible.

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The final supplement was Shred360, a fat burner that also provides a solid energy boost without the jitters.  The ingredients in this powerhouse help break down fat cells, kills cravings, and gives a solid boost of energy.  One of my biggest pet peeves is a pill that smells or tastes horrible, and most fat burners do stink to an extent, but that is NOT the case here…Shred360 has a faint raspberry smell to the capsules..so it is easy to toss a few in your pocket for the afternoon dose.

ASR supplements work, pure and simple.  Not only, do they work, they work well.  You can check them out here and visit their blog, which has some great workout tips, here.  A supplement company that gives you the knowledge AND supplements to reach your goals?  Yeah, that’s ASR.

Sean

Supplement Review: Haleo

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When I have a chance to do these reviews, it’s not every day that I am contacted by the President of the company to tell me more about the philosophy behind the products….but Haleo President (and one hell of a fit dude) Joey Rodrigues took the time to email me and tell me about Haleo before I had a chance to try the products, which I greatly appreciated.

Haleo was started by David Halton and Joey after they’d spent years in the supplement industry.  After noticing a lack of ethics in the industry as well as questionable practices concerning quality, they founded Haleo, which has a focus in safety and quality, is free of banned substances, and using only evidence based and naturally occurring substances in their products.  The result is a top notch product line that delivers on the promises they make.  It is truly a product with ethical care inside every product.

I first started with their preworkout, Vici (latin for conquer).  It has a tart Fruit Punch flavor that is a nice variation on the typical FP flavor, it mixes extremely well, and it goes down easy whether you take before or during a workout.  I even tried taking this on an empty stomach (many PWO’s give gut rot if taken on an empty stomach) and found that Vici had no stomach upset if taken on an empty stomach, which makes this a great preworkout drink for those early morning workouts.  Don’t think that it isn’t good for a night workout though..it certainly is.  I took it for a 7pm workout and blasted through it but still slept by 1030pm.  No jitters and no sleepless nights mean I have more time to conquer my day the next day.

Vici is comprised of electrolytes, a blend of betain, beta-alanine, and carnitine for power, malic acid, taurine, and caffeine for energy,  and beet root & agmatine for stamina.  It has tapioca starch, but no unidentified maltodextrin, so that’s always comforting too.  All in all, Vici has a powerful formula built for success.

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I also tried Mind Set, the clarity and concentration supplement.  This was an interesting trial for me because I usually depend on large doses of caffeine to focus my mind when I am doing analytical projects at work.  Mind Set gave me the ability to focus and really concentrate without the side effects of caffeine.

Mind Set is made of Tyrosine, Wild Blueberry Extract, Carnitine, Picamilon, Theanine, Theobromine, Ginkgo Biloba, Choline, and Bacopa Monneieri (also known as the Herb of Grace) which increases blood flow in the brain and is renowned for it’s neuroprotective properties.  It’s a formula unlike any other and it is certainly effective.  I love every aspect of my job but sometimes, the reporting can feel overwhelming as I build queries, and analyze large amounts of data.  Mind Set really helped my stay focused and power through even the toughest reports.  I’d certainly recommend it for any college student looking to push their progress in studying.

Haleo also makes a fat burning supplement.  You can find them all here.  I’d recommend Mind Set for everyone and for anyone looking to push their next workout to the limit, try Vici!  Enjoy your progress!

Sean

Supplement Review: True Solution Protein

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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: Lean1 Protein

In the past, I have not been a fan of pea protein because of the typically chalky texture.  After trying two proteins lately that have pea protein in them, I have to say, I am certainly realizing there are some great pea proteins out there.

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Awesome taste, smooth, and easy to drink!

Lean1 is a protein blend (whey, pea, casein) that not only tastes great, it mixes really well in either milk or water and it is formulated to help weight loss and fat burning.  Green Coffee Bean Extract helps with the fat burning, Hoodia helps with appetite control (so does Alpha Lipoic Acid), enzymes and probiotics aid in digestion, and it’s packed with vitamins and minerals to help your body be more efficient.

It’s also a solid 20g of lactose free protein!  If you desire more protein per serving, check out Lean1 Pro!

The strawberry flavor was also delicious and has more of a real strawberry taste than the typical “fake strawberry” flavor. I tried it for a few days and also shared some with my coworkers.  They all seemed impressed by the fact that it easily mixed with a shaker OR a spoon and cup, they all really enjoyed the flavor, and they all gave positive feedback on how smooth it was to drink.  They seemed even more amazed by the creamy flavor when I informed them Lean1 has pea protein in it. My coworkers gave overwhelmingly positive reviews of Lean1 and so do I.

You can buy here, and I also found Lean1 at our Minnesota Cub Foods for a great price too.  I feel this protein is worth every penny.  Enjoy some today!

Supplement Review: Six Nutrition

Six Nutrition sent some supplements to review and I have to say, they were amazing.  I sampled their Hydra hydration drinks, their Energy supplement, their Mela-Luna Sleep Supplement, and the multi-vitamins for Men.

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I started with Hydra, the hydration drinks (both flavors).  These aren’t your typical taste-like-garbage-even-though-it’s-good-for-you drink and they aren’t your sugar-laden Gatorade either.  Razor Raspberry is the energy blend with yerba mate, green tea caffeine, and Vitamin B. The flavor is the best raspberry flavored drink I’ve tried and it is light and easy to drink.  Tropical Staredown is the focus blend and it was my favorite of the two.  It’s also not a syrupy or heavy drink and it has Siberian Ginseng, yerba mate, and ginko biloba to help maintain focus.  You don’t have to be a weightlifter or hardcore athlete to benefit from these products either..they are great for anyone to use anytime.  Did I mention they have zero sugar and only 5 calories per serving?  Yeah!  This is definitely one hydration drink worth checking out.

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I tried the sleep formula (my leg issues are nothing to laugh at…I have to do what I can) for a few evenings and it was also a great experience.  Not only is it gluten free and paleo friendly, it also really works well.  In fact, I haven’t found a better night’s sleep with any other supplement.The mix of melatonin and B6 comes in a quick dissolving orange flavored tiny pill.  Who knew a solid night’s sleep could come in the form of something so tiny?

The energy supplement was more than I expected as well.  It is a zero calorie capsule of guarana, green tea, kelp, ginger root, and grape seed extract blended with 18 probiotics.  It’s a perfect way to have steady energy just by improving metabolism.  It doesn’t make you jittery, there is no crash, just pure, regular, day-long energy.

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Finally, the Men’s multi-vitamin provided everything I’d been looking for in a vitamin.  This multi isn’t just a bunch of stuff thrown together in the hopes of improving someone’s health…it is designed by matching vitamins to six main areas: Heart (Co Q-10/Arginine/Folic Acid/Vitamin D), Joint (Glucosamine/Vitamin E/Vitamin D/Olive Oil/Astaxanthin-my favorite anti-inflammatory that can also benefit your eyes and brain), Energy (the energy blend from above), Muscles (Arginine/Astaxanthin/Folic Acid/Glutamine), Mind (electrolytes/B Vitamins/Green Tea extract) and Sexual Health (Saw Palmetto/Arginine/Pumpkin Seed/Pygeum Africanum Bark which helps the kidneys and prostate).  Add these to a multivitamin that is packed with the vitamins and minerals your body needs and you have one incredible multi.  I am hooked.  I still have another multi that I was (yes…was) taking before Six Nutrition came along and I won’t be going back.

Six Nutrition isn’t just for men either.  There is a women’s multi, women’s arginine, and omega-3 capsules (for anyone) as well.  Six Nutrition is really about complete nutritional approach.  You can check them out here.   I am certainly glad I tried Six Nutrition…I know you will be too.

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.