I’m going to get into recommended supplements if you’re doing high intensity exercising or weight lifting, but wanted to have a little fun first.
One of the plugins I have shows site stats and search terms from search engines that somehow landed on my site. I appreciate all the readers and traffic I get since it’s fun to have an audience for all the random stuff that rattles around my head and is shaped into somewhat coherent thoughts for you all to enjoy. While my categories (on the right) only number seven, the topics within are all over the board. Because of that, people have found my site randomly with search engines and terms they’ve used. I’m sure Athol, PonyBoy and others have some great ones since their subject matter is definitely more R-XXX rated and varied than mine. Anyways, without further ado, some of the search terms that landed people here:
Dread Pirate Roberts
Dum with puppy
The Lincoln Beard
testicle juice video
average dads naked blog
I will not allow people to steamroll me
… and my favorite
youtube video guys farting loud with wet (seriously, WTF?)
If you eat a healthy diet you generally don’t need too many supplements if you’re a regular Joe who doesn’t do a whole lot. If you’re a Super Joe who is lifting weights, doing high-intensity cardio, trying to eat right, and who despite his best efforts may not get enough sleep, a few supplements to your diet may be a big help in recovering and getting the micro-nutrients you may be missing. I try to keep things simple and inexpensive so while there’s seemingly millions of supplements out there, these are the ones I take nearly every day. I don’t pretend to be an expert, but know a little about these as noted below.
I’m sure you’ve all read to some degree how fish oil is good. If you haven’t, I’ll give you a very brief rundown of why, and why for athletes it’s important.
Fish oils have omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation throughout the body. You can’t get into talking about fish oil without talking about the Omega-6 /Omega-3 fat balance. Omega-6 fats are found in vegetable oils, margarine and grain-fed animal fat (any meats including farmed salmon, you buy in a grocery store, Costco, etc. is almost 100% guaranteed to be grain fed). While grain fed meat are probably close to 30:1 Omega-6/3 ratio, grass fed are much closer to that prized 1:1 ratio. Omega-6 fats are pro-inflammation. More fish oil balances this ratio out and lowers heart disease risk, makes healthy brain and skin, reduces inflammation and cancer risks. Here’s a good FAQ on fish oil from Whole9Life.com
We use Kirkland (Costco) brand fish oil as well as this Coromega Omega-3 Supplement, Orange Flavor, Squeeze Packets, 90-Count Box
when we can afford it. Do not get the Vitamin D3 pill as it contains soybean oil=bad.
How much to take depends on how much Omega-6 fats you eat and how much you eat. However, I usually take 2-4 of the Kirkland pills per day (break them up at breakfast/dinner) which get’s you about 200-400 mg of DHA and 400-800 mg of EPA (the two types of fatty acids in fish oil that your body can not produce). Some places recommend 1-2 grams(!) of DHA every day (Whole9 recommends 2-4 grams of EPA/DHA per day which is about 4 of the Kirkland pills), which would equate to 10-20 pills per day of the cheap kind. Seems a little excessive, especially since we eat mostly grass fed beef and organic eggs. Also, Whole9 notes this:
However, if you eat lots of wild-caught salmon, grass-fed beef and other natural sources of omega-3 fatty acids, and generally avoid sources of omega-6 (like vegetable oils, factory-farmed meat, nuts and seeds), you may not need any fish oil supplementation at all.
If you’re lifting weights a lot, the general rule of thumb I’ve read (may vary) is 1 gram of protein per day per pound of bodyweight. So a 200 lb man would need 200 grams of protein to adequately recover from strenuous exercise and repair muscles. I find this to be pretty hard to accomplish especially since I usually only eat one big meal a day. Enter protein powder. There’s essentially three main kinds: whey, casein and egg, though there are now vegan ones made out of other plant ingredients. It also has the largest thermic effect, which means it requires more calories to be burned during digestion than any other macronutrient (again more than carbs or fat). Here’s a quick breakdown:
Whey: whey is made form milk and this type is the most popular powder. I’ve found it to be cheap, mixes well with milk or water and tastes generally pretty good. Whey concentrate is most economical per gram of protein and the best selling category. Whey isolate is lactose free and generally tastes slightly better. Protein also varies on the ability of the body to use for fixing muscle. Whey is the best at this category, is quickly uptaken by the body, and for that reason, unless you mix with fat (whole milk or with a meal) it is digested super fast. I wouldn’t recommend too much more than 30 grams in one sitting unless taken with a meal as you’ll be pissing it away without being used.
Casein: Another milk protein, this is absorbed very slowly, and may be one to take before bed at night. Worse than whey and egg in the body’s ability to use this protein. Mixes and tastes similar.
Egg white protein: A good quality protein, somewhere in the middle of whey and casein both in efficiency of the body to use as well as how fast absorbed/broken down. However, I’ve generally found this hard to mix and is clumpy.
Stay away from protein powders called “Mass Gainers” since they have carbs. A gram or two of fat or carbs are ok, but you want the protein. Take with water immediately after lifting to speed recovery. I stick exclusively with whey protein with water or whole milk (sometimes as a meal replacement) and have had good success with that. I just got Metabolic Nutrition – Protizyme – Peanut Butter Cookie, 2 lb powder
and is the best tasting I’ve EVER had (other flavors look good too). It’s pretty expensive (though I found it on Amazon for a short while for nearly half off, but that ended quickly). The other kind I like is Dymatize Nutrition Elite Natural Whey Protein Isolate, Rich Chocolate, 5-Pounds
whey protein, and have tried a number of their flavors, all pretty good. In a pinch I’ve used Muscle Milk or even 2 lb tubs I find at Target or Wal Mart, not too much difference between them.
For any of these, you’ll want a shaker bottle – essentially a closed plastic cup with a blending device inside. It helps mix things up and breaks up clumps.
BCAA – Branch Chain Amino Acids – Some serious lifters will add BCAA’s to their mix. They’re essentially protein broken down to their smallest components so are absorbed by the body even faster than whey, theoretically repairing muscles faster. I choose not to get into that minutia of detail with my protein and find the cost/benefit for BCAA not great for those on a budget or SUPER serious about their training. I may employ these at some point, but not now.
The next big one is a basic multivatamin. We eat well, but this is like an insurance policy to make sure our micro-nutrients are mostly up to date on a daily basis since our diets vary from day to day. Take them with a meal for maximum absorption since some of the vitamins are water and fat soluble and won’t be broken down without these. So many brands are out there, I don’t know what’s best, so stick with generic Kirkland store brand as I’ve found their quality to be high and their price low.
This is one I’ll cycle on or off depending on my goals. I’m about to cycle on again as I’m getting into heavy single rep olympic lifts (snatch, clean and jerk) where the Andenosine Triphosphate (ATP) is the primary source of energy, vs. say a 5k run where glycogen is the primary source or a 100 mile ride where fat is the primary source. Creatine plus water adds muscle bulk (can look sort of “soft’ or fat) where the ATP is stored. It’s scientifically proven to improve performance for the right exercises (short, intense energy bursts) but needs a loading period before this performance is impacted. I use creatine monohydrate that’s tasteless like Optimum Nutrition Creatine Powder, Unflavored, 600g
, and just put the recommended dosage (3-5 grams per day) into my mouth after a workout and chug some water or juice. I don’t load how some do (excessive creatine amounts), just let it slowly build up over time.
That’s all I think is necessary. Some added ones to look into may include magnesium, potassium and Zinc, but I don’t want to be a pill-popping monkey and think what I have laid out is enough for most people who eat fairly well balanced whole food, nutrient dense diet.